Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jerome Cursed with a "Blind Tiger" and Desperadoes

The Seymour Press - 6 February 1896
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  --Our neighboring little town of Jerome, while possessing the normal amount of morality, is cursed with a "blind tiger," the worst form of all the illicit dispensaries of whiskey, beer and such like.  A mean little dingy, dirty shanty near the railroad, unpicturesque, uninviting and unsuspicious looking enough to the casual observer, is where this nefarious and illegitimate sale of intoxicants is carried on, defying the officers who have time and again endeavored to break up the den by raiding it. But the man who pours out the stuff does it behind a solid partition makes the sale through a small, sliding box near the floor and of course is seen by no one. This makes it practically impossible for the officers to act intelligently in making arrests, although the booze has been arrested a number of times. A week or two ago the old joint up town, which had been unoccupied for several months, was town down or moved away and under where it had stood was discovered a rude cave with a subterranean passage leading several yardsaway where it came to an end with an exit aperture opening behind another shanty.
  --The presence of a gang of desperadoes, escaped convicts and all-around crooks whoe haunt is a miserable little shanty not a great way east of Jerome in an obscure and remote part of the heavily timbered locality is giving cause for monumental alarm, fear and uneasiness among the civilized denizens of these environs. Their haunt is known as the Drummond Monkey and there is at least a half dozen habitues of the den. The leader of the gang is a recently escaped convict and professional safe cracker. He conceals his identity by wearing a mask of long white hair and beard and is said by those who have seen him to resemble the old hermit so graphically depicted between the paper covers of the novel. A short time ago they came in a body to Jerome and at the blind tiger became gloriously jagged on the booze which is so easily gotten at that place. Their hilarity and boisterousness attracted a crowd of the sporty young fellows to the scene of their drunken orgies and unconsciously the thugs divulged many secrets of their past lives and future intentions declarations which they evidently otherwise could not have been forced to make.   Aooarently one member of the gang had a grievance against his pals or else the burden of his past sins was already more than he could bear without adding more to it, for he made his escape from the maudlin crowd, went to a prominent business man in Jerome and confessed to himj, after laying bare the past record and other details of the desperadoes, that they had come to Jerome for the purpose of looting his store, but that through his persuasion they had decided to wait until on or after  pay day, and implored the frightened store keeper to put on a force of well armed night guards. The proprietor of the store had implicit confidence in what the narrator divulged and lost no time in procuring five of the bravest men in the burg, gave each a Winchester and told them what would be expected in case an attack was made.  These vigils have been kept for over two weeks and no attack has been made but it is nightly anticipated.  While reveling in their drunken debauchery the bandits made startling displays of their money which the;y had in large sums concealed about their clothes.  Only a week of two ago a man was struck down and robbed while walking along the railroad track near the haunt of these land pirates and numerous local burglaries have been laid to them.

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