Someone recently got in touch looking for old photos of Scotia and by coincidence I also just ran across the story below. I thought folks might enjoy both the old photo of the Scotia Inn above, and this story about Emerson’s Saloon ….
19 January 1904
The Humboldt Times
Heavily masked and armed to the teeth, three men held up the Emerson saloon and brothel near Scotia Sunday night, a few minutes after ten o’clock and left ten minutes later richer by between $2OO and $3OO than when they made their bold and daring entrance. Outside of a brief exchange of shots, the daring stand and deliver game was quietly played. Slipping away in the darkness no trace of the perpetrators of one of the boldest holdups in the criminal annals of this county -has yet been found.
The usual Sunday night crowd, composed of woodsmen and millmen from the P. L. Company’s big plant, gathered early at the Emerson resort to make a night of it with wine and women and cards. The evening was going along merrily enough, round after round of strikes followed in quick succession and by 10 o’clock it was a jovial assemblage. So absorbed was the crowd that the entrance of two men, with features obscured by bandana handkerchiefs, in which eyeholes had been cut, was not noticed until the piercing cry rang out, ‘hands up you ___ ____ ____ ; faces to the wall, we mean business.” So unexpectedly was the revelry disturbed that for a moment the gang of woodsmen and millmen imagined a joke was being perpetrated upon them. A repetition of the demand enforced by four six shooters persuaded the gathering that things were serious and one and all complied. Up went the hands of every man in the room as they ranged themselves in a group at the bar.
One of the masked men then approached the fear stricken crowd and while his companion kept them covered took highwayman’s toll. A confederate on the outside guarded the entrance, consequently there was nothing to fear in that vicinity. The search was progressing nicely enough when a woman in the brothel adjoining the saloon shouted to another, “we are being robbed.” “Come out herd and join the rest of the bunch,” commanded the masked men who were keeping the men under cover. “Not on your life,” shouted the woman in reply and bang went the door. A moment later Frank Wolford, a gambler, who was in the rooms with the women, suddenly opened the door and took a shot at the man making the collection. The shot was fired from an ordinary bull dog pistol and the bullet missed its intended victim several feet. Quick as a flash the companion of the man whom Wolford had taken a pot shot at fired several shots at him as he retreated through the door, but missed his man entirely.
The search then proceeded uninterrupted. As near as can be estimated, between $2OO and $3OO was secured. The bartender alone contributed $1O out of his jacket and about $47 out of the till, his wife added $2O more to the fund, another man was relieved of about $5O, another of $30, while between $15 and $2O was gathered up in small amounts from the less wealthy ones. The other women in the room contributed only a few dollars, most of their money being secreted in their stockings, and while the burglar searched for this, either his modesty or gallantry cost him a number of shekels, for his search was not extended enough to reveal the hidden coin. Every man in the room contributed all the money in his possession with the exception of Bert Leenters, but seventy five cents of his coin going into the sack. Leenters, when the command to throw up hands came, had a purse in his pocket containing $47.26. Unlike his companions, he did not believe he was being made the victim of a hoax. Up went one hand readily enough but the other found the vicinity of his pistol pocket where the purse was kept. Taking the leather receptacle out of his pocket he dropped it on the floor, at the same time scraping sawdust over it with his foot. When the collector came to him he secured only seventy-five cents carried in another pocket. After the men had left he readily recovered the purse and found its contents intact.
After relieving the men of their money the robbers, making no attempt to search the other part of the premises, where over $lOOO was stowed away for safe keeping, marshalled six of the men in line and marched them out doors. Commanding those remaining within to no noise and not to leave the premises for twenty minutes under pain of death, terrible and instantaneous, the men joined their confederate on the outside, forced the escort of six to accompany them quite a distance away from the scene of their crime. They then permitted them to return, cautioning them not to follow them further and to raise no outcry.
The robbers then disappeared into the darkness of the night. The escort returned to the saloon where all was excitement and many a wild scheme having as its object the apprehension of the men was being suggested. Finally all thought of an attempt to catch them was given up for the night.
Sheriff Brown’s office was notified at midnight, but owing to the lateness of the hour nothing was thought to be done. Yesterday a man was dispatched to the scene but no trace of the men found.
In the afternoon a report gained circulation that one of the robbers had been arrested upon the arrival of the afternoon train but he proved to be the wrong man. This proved to be a man named Carter who had been doing an acrobatic stunt at Scotia and whom some believed was mixed up in the robbery owing to his resemblance to one of the robbers. When taken from the train by Under Sheriff Ferrill he disclaimed all participation in the hold-up and stated inquiry in Loleta would show he had slept there Sunday night. Deputy Ferrill communicated with the Loleta Constable and found that this was true. Carter having proved an alibi, he was forced to release him.
Emerson’s saloon is located about a half mile from Scotia and is no admirable spot for the successful carrying out of such a crime as was committed Sunday night. The men involved in the affair, according to Leenters, who gave the story of the hold-up to a Times representative, are both of about the same size and quite large. One has a queer shambling gait and a voice which he believes he would recognize anywhere. The other man had no marked peculiarities. The confederate on the outside he did not see except in the darkness and consequently could not describe him. None of the men had been seen around the camp previous to Sunday night, but it is believed they were familiar with their ground and also with the fact that many of the men had just been paid off.
Constable Brown of Scotia and a deputy from the Sheriff’s office were busy on the chase yesterday, but up to a late hour last night nothing had been received here that could throw any light on the culprits.