First National Bank Robbery , Bowie Texas 1894

Gypsy Heart

Gold Member
Nov 29, 2005
12,686
327
Ozarks
In 1894, four bandits held up the First National Bank in Bowie. They thought the job would be a cinch, but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with them and neither did the law.
The robbery ran smoothly for about 15 minutes. The bank clerk filled canvas bags with $10,000 in 20-dollar gold pieces and $18,000 in currency. But two of the robbers panicked when more bank employees entered the bank and started firing. Although the robbers grabbed the loot and ran for their horses, the townspeople heard the gunfire. Several citizens fired at the fleeing robbers, but they rode out of town unharmed. However, a posse quickly organized and headed to the likeliest escape route, north to the Red River.
The robbers fled toward Indian Territory, the promised land for outlaws in the 1900s. They were dismayed to see that the Red River was badly flooded from spring rains and impossible to cross. The outlaws camped on the south bank of the river at Rock Crossing and planned to cross the river in the morning. They had no inkling that a posse was hot on their heels and worse trouble to boot.
Sure enough, by morning the level of the river had gone down some. Before they left, the robbers split the currency from the robbery but left the gold coins tied up in canvas bags. They saddled up, but one bandit decided the weight of the gold coins might prevent their escape. He quickly dug a hole by a large tree at the campsite, deposited the sacks and hurriedly covered the plunder.
But crossing the river, they saw the Bowie posse. The fleeing outlaws plunged into the turbulent river, swimming beside their horses and barely surviving. They came out on the other side gasping and exhausted, never dreaming they were swimming toward their worst nightmare — federal marshals. A marshal in Bowie had telegraphed Lewis Palmore, a U.S. deputy marshal that was in Indian Territory. Palmore guessed that the robbers could only cross the flooded river at Rock Crossing, and he was right.


The federal marshals arrested and manacled the desperados, who seemed destined to be caught from the first gunshot at the bank. The four carried $18,000 in paper money, but not a single gold coin. Palmore treated the robbers well and talked with them as they rode to Fort Sill, Ark. But none confessed where the remaining loot was hidden.
The unlucky crooks came under the glaring judgment of “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker at Fort Sill. They were pronounced guilty and sentenced to hang immediately. Right before their joint execution, one man told Palmore that the gold was buried at their final campsite on the south bank of the Red River. However, he said this with a wink.
Palmore returned to the popular campsite at Rock Crossing, but he never found any buried gold. Later, he told the tale to his son, who also searched the site with a metal detector. His son, Frank couldn’t find any coins either. Accumulated research points to the treasure resting where the Red River and Little Wichita rivers converge (between Highway 81 and the mouth of the Little Wichita River).
Frank Palmore believed that to find the coins, the treasure tracker had to visualize the way the flooded river was in 1894. He advised getting the help of local people to determine factors such as the river’s water level, the riverbanks’ location and the old Rock Crossing site,
Researchers believe the $10,000 in 1894 gold coins has not been recovered — any other speculations about locations are theories waiting to be proven.

Suggested resources: Wilson, Steve. Oklahoma Treasures and Treasure Tales. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1976 and Jameson, W.C. Buried Treasure of Texas. Little Rock, Ark.: August House Publishers, Inc., 1991.
http://www.grahamleader.com/news/get-news.asp?id=11093&catid=5&cpg=get-news.asp
 

NoNeck

Full Member
Aug 31, 2010
106
0
Wichita Falls, TX
Detector(s) used
Minelab E-Trac, Ace 250, Garrett PP, Lesche
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I want to do an update on my research on this story. I located the land area where they camped near the River and I located the Land owner and was informed that he already leases the land to a man like a hunting lease but he told me the man does not go there to hunt he comes out ever now and then to metal detect near the river. Hmmm I know what he's looking for. I did not say anything not sure if he knows of this story or not but I kept my mouth about it shut.
 

goverton

Sr. Member
Oct 9, 2010
407
43
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Well, if this man has a "Hunting Lease", then I would ask the owner if I could look on this same land for historic relics.
One might be able to have permission to look for more than game.

I would give it a go.
 

k10silv

Jr. Member
Sep 21, 2011
43
0
Dallas, Texas
Detector(s) used
Ace 250
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I read this story when I was a kid and even went out and metal detected the area. Now that I'm a little older I put a lot of my time into research. Not to say that it didn't happen but the research I've done turned up nothing. No record of a bank robbery, no record of Lewis Palmore and no record of those men being hung. Like I said I'm not saying it didn't happen but I've turned up nothing. I have since filed this story away in my fiction section.
 

foolsgoldtx

Jr. Member
May 5, 2010
32
2
i spent about a year on this one, and came to the same conclusions....have actually been out there twice(its only about an hour drive from me) to research the story, other times to do another kind of hunting.
only reason i ever went out there, was because it was so close.

like others, i could find no Frank, Franklin or any Palmore in records that was an Oklahoma lawman, or marshall of any kind

i have a book on Judge Parker, it actually lists all his hangings, and there were never 4 men at the same time at or around this date. the list also included descriptions of what they hangings were for, and again nothing lined up.

like others, i did find some areas called 'rock crossing', but nowhere near the area described.

i did find that there was a bank in bowie at the time though! but thats about it.

wish i could put this one on the keep researching and start searching list, but it has way too many holes!!
even the locals chuckle when they find out why your up there...
i would mark it off the list...actually i already have, but if i were you, id do the same!
good luck!
 

Wade

Newbie
Jan 10, 2013
3
0
eldorado texas, schleicher
Detector(s) used
Compass liberty 100, soon garret ATI Pro
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I grew up in Bowie, My father and I hunted that area off and on for years
We lived off of hwy 81 we looked all over this area My dad was President of the
Wichita Falls Treasure hunting Club for a while in the early 70s
when we lived in Holiday. his name Was Robert Shirley we loved hunting
around there and in Spanish Fort, We found a big bunch of Spanish 1cent pieces outside
of Burkburnet all in one hone With the rotten bag they were in.
I hope that treasure story was true my dad talked about it all the time.
 

kikker

Newbie
Jan 22, 2013
2
0
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I've heard this story before. Once by one of my great uncles and again by my grandmother. Only one error in the OP. Isaac Parker was a United States District Court judge in Western Arkansas. My great-grand father was a US Marshall working out of Fort Smith Arkansas during the time.

Does anyone know where Rock Crossing is or was?
 
Last edited:

coazon de oro

Bronze Member
May 7, 2010
1,585
3,739
texas
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I've heard this story before. Once by one of my great uncles and again by my grandmother. Only one error in the OP. Isaac Parker was a United States District Court judge in Western Arkansas. My great-grand father was a US Marshall working out of Fort Smith Arkansas during the time.

Does anyone know where Rock Crossing is or was?

Howdy kikker,

I've never been there, but I would place it @ 33° 53' 47.67"N x 97° 58' 55.60"W

Homar
 
Last edited:

Woods62010

Newbie
Oct 31, 2013
4
1
Sanger, TX
Primary Interest:
Cache Hunting
Hypothetically... if someone found this cashe, who would you take it to to authenticate the find as being from this robbery, if anyone? Would authentication make it more valuable than a presumption?

Thanks!
 

brajen

Newbie
Nov 17, 2013
2
0
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Hi, I am new to this site my research on this very treasure is what lead me here. I have been focusing on the bank robbery
mostly just trying to prove that it happen. I know wiki isn't the most reliable source lol but what I did find interesting is that if you search Bowie TX on there and go to the history time line it does mention a bank robbery in 1894 in fact it says the towns people gave chase and caught the four bandits. It does not mention the 18000 cash are anything about lost treasure it just says they got 10000 in gold. Oh course this could just be some butchered up version of this story but still I thought it was a interesting tid bit. This site is great and I am really glad I found it and if I happen to find some real proof one day I will post it here. Good hunting guys...
 

pyledriver

Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2007
416
88
North Texas
Detector(s) used
Garrett AT Gold, CTX3030, SDC2300, GoFind 60, Whites TM-808, Dip Needle, EYES
Primary Interest:
Cache Hunting
Do a search on the topic-there has been discussion about it. Mainly debunking the tale. However. There are other tales for the area that are intriguing as well!
 

coazon de oro

Bronze Member
May 7, 2010
1,585
3,739
texas
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Those coordinates are in the middle of the Red River.

Howdy ForePlinger,

Welcome to TreasureNet. It is a river crossing, that's why the coordinates are in the middle of the Red River. Rivers were crossed with the flow, so you will notice that on the south side of the Red, the entrance to the river is a little to the west of those coordinates, then on the north side of the Red, the exit is a little to the east of those coordinates.

This is just my honest opinion, seeing as how rocky, and low it is at that point which is very close to the Little Wichita.

Homar P. Olivarez
 
Last edited:

RyGuy

Newbie
Jan 16, 2016
3
0
San Diego / Wichita Falls, Tx
Detector(s) used
Whites 6000 DI PRO SL / Whites Surfmaster PI/ Garrett Pointer
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Hey All,
So I Realize that I am about 6 years lake to this thread, but I recently discovered this story and I too have spent time researching the facts. The only fact that I have been able to prove is that the bank in Bowie did exist. They operate as LegendBank now and have many artifacts from the First National days. They refer to the robbery as a legend and my inquiries into any documentation they have on the incident have gone, as yet, unanswered. the rest of the principal "facts" are either undocumented at best or complete bunk. Given the almost 6 years since the last posting has anyone been able to verify any facts other fact is this story? Thanks for the read, good to be here.


-Ryan
 

Top Member Reactions

Users who are viewing this thread

Latest Discussions

Top