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"Barney O'connor came to Finney county in 1884, and proved up a claim north of Lakin. He engaged in farming and cattle raising, and during that time, he also conducted a business of shipping horses from Mexico to Dodge City and other points. For four years he served as undersheriff of Finney county, and for three years was Deputy United States Marshal. Mr. O'Connor came to Southwest Kansas in the days when settlements were small and many miles apart, and he had many thrilling experiences.

In 1874 he rode the pony express from Medicine Lodge to Wichita. He started out early one morning on a regular trip, but had travelled only a few miles when he came in sight of a large band of Indians camped on Sand Creek. He turned back at once to warn the settlement at Medicine Lodge.

"What brought you back to town?" they asked him. "Indians," he answered.

O'Connor was a tall slender lad of seventeen, and the men were inclined to joke him about seeing Indians.

"Why, Skinney, you are not scared are you? It would be about as easy to shoot a well-rope as to try to hit you." "Well, you better go tell Captain Ricker, anyway," advised O'Connor. He had started out before breakfast, so he left the men and went into a restaurant. The bugle sounded before he was through eating, and in a very short time he was called to lead Captain Ricker and his company of thirty-five soldiers to the place where he had seen the Indians.

"When I yell, it's everybody for himself," said Sergeant John Mosely, and about that time they came in sight of the Indians. They charged down upon them, and the Indians fearing a large detachment of soldiers were after them, deserted their morning meal, tepees, and everything but their ponies on which they fled across the prairie. The soldiers fired after them and killed seven bucks, and captured one big, fat squaw. O'Connor stood around while the soldiers scalped the dead Indians, and then they voted on whether to kill the squaw. They decided to put her on a horse, and ordered her to travel. She lost no time in making a get-a-way, and soon vanished from sight.

That night a big celebration took place in Medicine Lodge. Two of the soldiers played "The Buffalo Girl" and other popular tunes of that time on fiddles, and a gay dance took place in the street. The girls all danced bare-footed.

Mr. O'Connor was at Medicine Lodge when the famous bank robbery happened there April 30, 1884. He arrived in Medicine Lodge that morning from El Paso, Texas, with seventeen carloads of Mexican horses, twenty-four horses to a car. Most of them were wild, but he had six carloads of saddle horses that were broken, to be delivered at Dodge City.

The first thing he wanted to do that day was to see his friend, E. W. Payne, the president of the Medicine Valley Bank, and he waited in a saloon across the street until time for the bank to open. About 9 o'clock he stepped out in the street just as the robbers rode up to the rear of the bank and stopped their horses at an old corn crib. They were Henry Brown, chief of police of Caldwell, Kansas; Ben Wheeler, assistant chief of police; and John Wesley and Billy Smith, cowboys. Smith held the horses while the other three entered the bank. They ordered E. W. Payne and George Geppert, the cashier to put up their hands. Geppert obeyed, but Payne reached for his six-shooter which lay on his desk. Henry Brown then shot Payne through the body and at the same time, Gep-pert sank at his window with two bullets through him from the guns of Wheeler and Wesley. The shots alarmed the town and the bandits made a hasty retreat to their horses without a cent of the bank's money.

O'Connor ran into a livery stable that was on the corner across from the bank, and saddled the first horse he came to. He started at once with Vernon Lytle, Alex McKinney and C. J. Talliafarro after the bandits, who had headed their horses for the canyons west of town.

They kept exchanging shots with the robbers all the time, and all were experts with guns, but not a shot took effect on either side. It was raining steadily and Talliafarro soon gave up the chase. The other three kept on and about eight miles west of Medicine Lodge they cornered the robbers in a canyon at a point where they could not force their horses up the steep banks. They dismounted and laid down on the ground, but continued firing at their pursuers. They held this stand until the water from the rain on the hills, began pouring down on them through the bed of the usually dry canyon. The water kept rising around them until just their heads were showing, and they were forced to surrender.

About this time Tom Doran, Lee Bradley, Roe Clark, Wayne McKinney, George Friedly and John Fleming came up. The bandits objected to being taken back to Medicine Lodge, for fear of being hung. Their captors assured them they would be protected and turned over to the sheriff, regardless of the demands of any mob. 

They started toward town, and about half way they met C. T. Riggs, who was sheriff, leading a big posse of men. The sheriff at once took charge of the robbers and they were escorted by the whole crowd back to Medicine Lodge, where they were locked in the jail.

The news of the attempted robbery and the shooting of the bankers travelled swiftly, and by evening the town was thronged with men from all the surrounding counties. About dusk, a howling mob formed in front of the jail and demanded the prisoners, threatening to tear the jail down if the sheriff did not give them the keys. Barney O'Connor happened to be standing near the sheriff, and he was given the keys.

As soon as the door was opened, Henry Brown made a dash for liberty, but a load of buckshot from the gun of Bill Kelley hit him in the back and he died in a few minutes. Ben Wheeler also made a break to get away, but was shot and badly wounded. The other two were taken out of the jail, and with Wheeler, led to a big elm tree, standing in the river bottom east of town, and hung. Wesley and Smith never flinched, and their only request was to have their belongings sent home to their mothers in Texas. They were drawn up at the same time. Wheeler begged them to let him live until morning, but they hung him in the same tree.

Seven men lay dead in Medicine Lodge that night. Two bankers, four bandits and a citizen who dropped dead from heart failure during the excitement. The four bandits were buried in one grave. Henry Brown had only been married a short time, and it is claimed that his bride drove a horse and buggy from Caldwell, and had some one to help her dig up Brown's body. She propped it up in the buggy seat by her side, and in this way, took it back to her home.