THE ST. JOHNS HERALD                           April 23, 1898
Hiding in the Southern Part
of this County.
    Sheriff Creaghe, who has just returned from a trip to the southern portion of the County, says that the gang who recently attempted to hold up a train on the Santa Fe Pacific, at Grants Station, were, one day last week, in the neighborhood of the Escudilla Mountains, and passed by the ranch of Macedonio Bordeaux, and were recognized.  The members of the gang are Bill Johnson, Ed Coalter, "Red" Pipkins and another, whose name we did not learn.
  There was originally five men in this "Wild Bunch," but one of them quit the gang soon after the abortive attempt at train robbery. Special Guard Fowler, who followed the trail with a posse, camped one day close to the men he was following.  The signs were so fresh and evident that the men were in the immediate vicinity that he deemed it prudent to place certain parties under arrest to prevent them from communicating with the fugitives.  However, Fowler was unable to guard his prisoner very closely, and leave was given him to leave camp for the purpose of procuring a beef.  It is supposed that advantage was taken of this license to put the train robbers on their guard, and, at all events, they hurried and left, going out of the country by the usual route--"down the Blue."  
   Coalter and Pipkin are both reported to be wounded, each having caught a bullet in his leg, from Fowler's gun, during the fusilade at the time of the attempted robbery.  All of the men are very young, being hardly more than boys.  They are well known in Apache County, and everybody is surprised at their connection with as affair of this kind.  
   As the railroad and express companies are very backward in paying any proposed rewards for the apprehension of train robbers, and generally manage to wiggle out of paying even the ordinary expenses of such pursuits, the probability is that unless they send a posse of officers in their own pay after the fugitives, "Broncho Bill" Johnson and his gang will never be arrested.

Jack Becker's note:   Ed Colter was the son of James G.H. Colter.
THE ST. JOHNS HERALD                        September 24, 1898
St. Johns the Scene of More Excitement
Than has been known for Years
Last Monday morning the little town of St. Johns was all excitement over the escape of one of the prisoners. About 9 a.m. Deputy Sheriff Thomas Berry went into the jail for the purpose of giving the prisoners their breakfast. Smith, one of the prisoners, was in the habit of lying in bed rather late. Mr. Berry unlocked the door and left the key in the lock, while he went into the cell to wake him up; but instead of the man being in bed a roll of blankets had been put there as a bluff.  As Berry went into the cell, Smith came out of another and ran out through the door and locked it taking the key with him.  Mr. Berry was now the prisoner.  He says that when Smith ran out that he had a six-shooter in his hand and that he went out just west of the jail and there, he picked up a gun which had been put there by some of his pals.  He then took to his heels and made for the river, which he gained, while running he fired several shots.
After crossing the river he ran to a Mexican's corral, but upon finding no horses there, he fired several shots and gave two or three yells.  By this time the whole town was wild with excitement; and all was hurry and bustle; some went for horses; others for guns, while some were surmounting the highest points to watch the performance.  In a short time a posse of men went out to try and capture him.  After he left the corral he made for the water wagon and demanded one of the horses saying that someone had killed the Sheriff and he wanted the horse to help catch the fellow.  The posse saw him making for the wagon and made a dash to try and head him off.  But they were too late.  He made the distance and succeeded in getting the horse before the men could come up.  Several shots were fired at him but to no effect.  A hot chase ensued which lasted, while they went about four miles.  In the meantime Mr. Berry was gotten out of jail and he too was soon on the trail.  The posse, only having one Winchester, thought it best to come back and get fresh horses and more guns.  Mr. Berry and Curtis were on another trail however, and did not come back.  In about one hour after the return of the posse, the following men were in readiness to take the trail: Ed. Beeler, William Harris and William Gibbons.  Will Harris did not leave until an hour after the rest.  All men were well armed.  The afternoon passed quietly by until towards evening, when the town was again aroused by the appearance of three horsemen, who acted rather suspicious.  One of them went to the jail and inquired as where Smith was.  He was told that he had broken jail that morning.
He then went to where Smith had got the gun in the morning and looked around a little and finally rode out of town.  After they had left town it was thought it would be a wise plan to arrest them.  A party
of men went out in search of them but could not get any track of them.  About ten o'clock that night part of the posse that had left in the morning came back.  They reported that they had been on the trail all day but, at night, their horses were so tired that they deemed it better to come back.  On their arrival here they found Sheriff W. W. Berry and other men just starting on the trail, but upon learning the direction the convict had taken, they changed their course and went to Springerville to try and head him off.  Will Harris, the one that left after all the posse had gone, came in Tuesday evening.  He reported, having been on the trail all day Monday, and that towards evening he saw a man, whom he hailed, but the man put spurs to his horse and galloped away.  Will says that he chased him about two miles but his horse gave out on him.  He then went to the Cienega Amarillo where he stayed all night and in the morning took the trail again and followed it until evening, when he gave up the chase and came home.  The horse which was taken from the water wagon and which belonged to Mr. Mineer came home today looking as though he had been used pretty badly, and thus stands the case today.

Sheriff Berry returned during the night with four prisoners belonging to some clique of the escaped convict.  On their arrival here, one was turned loose, as there was no charges against him.  He returned to Springerville.

$100 REWARD!
For the capture of Will Smith
who broke jail on the morning
of the 20th last. I will pay a
reward of $100. W.W. Berry, Sheriff.
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From Jack Becker's Collection