#1 in our Accounts of the Old West series.
The “27 Club” refers to the famous who died way too early at the age of 27. In modern days Jimi Hendrix, Curt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Robert Johnson, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, and Amy Winehouse are renowned “members.”
Following a train robbery outside of Big Springs, Nebraska, Sam Bass and other outlaws got away with 3,000 twenty-dollar gold pieces, along with jewelry and money taken from the passengers.
After dividing the loot, the outlaws split up. Bass went to his hideout at Cove Hollow near Denton, Texas. Some believe he buried his treasure at Cove Hollow, although others believe he just as easily could have spent the money. He soon formed a gang, robbed more stages and added to his caches.
Bass made plans to rob the Williamson County Bank in Round Rock, Texas. But his friend from Denton, Jim Murphy had made a deal with the law to turn Bass in.
Murphy telegraphed the plan to officials causing Texas Rangers to be dispatched to Round Rock to apprehend the robbers.
Williamson County Deputy Sheriff Caige Grimes was waiting and watching a ways off. When Grimes started coming towards the store he was shot and killed.
Other lawmen, who had also been lying in wait, opened fire. A deputy named Moore fell, wounded. Bass also took a bullet, but was still on his feet. The robbers quickly went for their horses hoping to escape. One was hit and killed as he mounted his horse, but another got away.
While getting away, Bass was shot again in the back. Who actually shot Bass has been the subject of much controversy. Some say Texas Ranger George Herold shot him. Others say it was Private Dick Ware. Ware was in a barbershop getting a shave when the outlaws killed Grimes. With his shave only half done, Ware had rushed out of the shop and fired at the fleeing outlaws.
Several witnesses said Bass, even as he lay dying, said the man who shot him had shaving lather on his face. The outlaw, however, did get up and flee. Texas Rangers caught up with him in a nearby pasture.
Bass died from his wounds later on his birthday, July 21, 1878 at the age of 27, thus making him one of the original members of the 27 Club.
He was buried in the cemetery at Old Round Rock. A small monument was erected over his grave by a sister in 1879. Part of the inscription reads, “A brave man reposes in death here. Why was he not true?”
With his death went the knowledge of the location of his treasure caches at Cove Hollow.
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Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.