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A.K.A.: "The Handsome Bandit"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Wild West outlaw - Robberies
Number of victims: 2 +
Date of murders: 1870's - 1900's
Date of birth: April 14, 1856
Victims profile: Men
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Colorado/Wyoming/Missouri/California, USA
Status: Shot and killed by police on December 31, 1910 during a botched Chicago saloon robbery

Marion Hedgepeth (1856-1910) - also known as the Handsome Bandit, the Debonair Bandit, the Derby Kid and the Montana Bandit. He was a famous Wild West outlaw.


Hedgepeth was born in Prairie Home, Missouri on April 14, 1856. Running away from home at the age of 15, he was an outlaw by the time he was 20, having killed in Colorado and Wyoming, as well as robbing trains.

In November, 1883, Hedgepeth was sentenced to serve a term of seven years in the Missouri penitentiary on the charge of larceny and jail breaking. He was discharged on February 16, 1889.

Hedgepeth lived for awhile in a lawless region of Kansas City, Missouri, known as "Seldom Seen" because the police were seldon seen there. He became a member of the "famous Slye-Wilson gang of safe blowers and highwaymen".

On October 7, 1890 Hedgepeth and the other members of Slye-Wilson gang (Adalbert Slye, "Jim" Francis and "Dink" Wilson) robbed a train of $40,000 in Glendale, Missouri near St. Louis, Missouri personally escaping with some $10,000. The gang fled to Salt Lake city and disbanded.

After being relentlessly pursued by the Pinkertons, he was finally arrested on February 1, 1892 in San Francisco, along with Slye, and brought back to Missouri for trial. Convicted, he was sentenced in 1893 to twenty-five years in the Missouri State Prison.

Hedgepath informed on a former cell-mate, whom he knew as "H.M. Howard" but was really H H Holmes, which eventually resulted in the notorious killer's unmasking, conviction and execution in 1896. For this Hedgepeth was pardoned by Missouri state governor Joseph W. Folk 14 years into his 25 year term.

He was arrested in 1907 in Omaha, for the burglary of a storage house at Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was convicted and sent to an Iowa state prison in March, 1908, and was released after serving one year.

He was shot and killed by police on December 31, 1910 during a botched Chicago saloon robbery.


Hedgepeth died a robber

The End of the Missouri Bandit in a Chicago Saloon Holdup

The Kansas City Times

January 4, 1910

Chicago, Jan. 3--It was learned today that the robber shot and killed by a policeman New Year's Eve while holding up a saloon in West Sixteenth Street was the notorious Marion Hedgepeth, who had a long criminal record in Missouri, California, Nebraska, Iowa and other Western states. From cards in his pocket it had been concluded that the highwayman was Arthur Heywood. The identification was made by E. J. Weiss, assistant superintendent of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

It was Hedgepeth who gave the police information that led to the arrest and conviction of H. H. Holmes, who was charged for the murder of a dozen women he had killed for their life insurance. For this he was pardoned by Governor Folk of Missouri while serving a 25-year sentence for the Glendale hold-up. Hedgepeth's mother lives at his former home, Prairie Home, Mo. Fifteen years ago he was a member of the famous Slye-Wilson gang of safe blowers and highwaymen.

Hedgepeth had served three terms in prison. One before the Glendale sentence and one afterward. In November, 1883, he was sentenced to serve a term of seven years in the Missouri penitentiary on the charge of larceny and jail breaking. He was discharged February 16, 1889.

He was arrested in 1907 in Omaha, suspected of having been implicated in the burglary of a storage house at Council Bluffs, Ia. He was convicted and sent to the Iowa state prison in March, 1908, and was released after serving one year.

Something like twenty years ago Hedgepeth lived in the then uncertain region of Kansas City, known as "Seldom Seen." The neighborhood lay between the two Kansas Cities, mostly on the Kansas side of the line in the region now lying between Swift's packing house and the Cypress yards. It drew its name from the fact that a policeman was seldom seen there. Persons who couldn't exactly look the world in the face liked to live there. The old shanties once the haunt of criminals who liked the gloom have been been carried away long since by the floods.

Marion Hedgepeth was sentenced to twenty-five years in the penitentiary in 1893, after being convicted of a part in the Glendale train robbery which happened the day before Christmas, 1891. More than $40,000 was taken from the train. The search for Hedgepeth and his three confederates led from St. Louis to San Fransisco and lasted several months. A little girl found a dime while playing in a shed in the yard of her home in St. Louis. That dime dispelled the mystery of the Glendale robbery which had baffled the police of St. Louis for weeks.

On the afternoon of December 24, 1891, four masked men, heavily armed, secretly boarded the blind baggage of a St. Louis & San Francisco train at Tower Grove Station, near St. Louis, climbed over the tender of the engine as the train was approaching Glendale Station, twenty miles from St. Louis, and ordered the crew at the point of revolvers to stop the train. They dynamited the safe in the express car after wounding the messenger and terrifying the passengers, and stole envelopes and sacks containing $40,000. There were all the facts concerning the robbery in the possession of the police except for a meager description of the robbers.

Three weeks later the little girl found the dime. Search for more money in the shed revealed a watch, a revolver and several express envelopes. The police set to work. They found that a large, heavy trunk had been buried in the shed. An expressman had hauled it away at the behest of Marion Hedgepeth. For his pains he had received money enough to start a saloon.

One of the new policemen on the St. Louis force, who, prior to his appointment, worked as a bartender in Kansas City, told Chief Harrigan of the presence in the city of a man by the name of Marion Hedgepeth. The new policeman knew Hedgepeth in Kansas City. Hedgepeth, according to the policeman, was a daring criminal. The policeman said he had seen Hedgepeth board a Market Street car at Jefferson Avenue about a week before the big robbery. Finally the expressman admitted that he had shipped the heavy trunk to San Francisco for Hedgepeth, but that the man had gone to Salt Lake City.

After days and days of hard work, the detectives learned that Hedgepeth's gang, which was composed of Adalbert Slye, "Jim" Francis and "Dink" Wilson, had disbanded and left Salt Lake City.

It was afterwards learned that Francis had gone to Lamar, Mo, where he robbed the station agent. He later killed a policeman who attempted to arrest him and in turn was shot to death by a posse of citizens.

Wilson was traced to Syracuse, N.Y., where he was arrested for killing a detective named James Harvey. He was afterwards electrocuted for the crime.

Slye was found in Los Angeles, Cal., where he was conducting a saloon. He was lured to the postoffice by means of a decoy letter and was taken.

The efforts of the San Francisco police to find the trunk which had been shipped from St. Louis were finally rewarded. The trunk, which contained costly furs, had been sent to San Francisco at the request of Mrs. Hedgepeth. She was seen on the street and trailed to a flat in the central part of the city. The officers were ignorant of the fact that Hedgepeth and his wife were occupying two flats, on opposite corners and that from the window of one of them he could see the detectives shadowing Mrs. Hedgepeth as she entered the other flat. After the officers had surrounded the flat in which Mrs. Hedgepeth had gone, Hedgepeth slipped from the other and made his escape.

Detectives learned that Hedgepeth had communicated with a firm of attorneys in Kansas City. By watching the mail of these lawyers they learned the man's address in San Francisco.

A decoy notice was sent to Hedgepeth telling him that important mail awaited him at the San Francisco postoffice. He called for the mail, and although he had two loaded revolvers in his possession, he was taken without a struggle. Detectives, who were secreted in all parts of the postoffice, pounced upon him and before he had a chance to defend himself he was overpowered and taken a prisoner. That was February 1, 1892, just two months after the Glendale train robbery.

Hedgepeth steadfastly refused to admit the robbery, but Slye finally confessed. Slye was given a 20 year sentence and Hedgepeth twenty-five years.

The robber was then 27 years old and weighed 150 pounds. Fourteen years later when he came out of prison on a pardon he looked like a skeleton and appeared 60 years old. His jaws were sunken, his eyes deep set and his hair thin and gray. He said he was ready to be good.



Marion Hedgepeth



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