October 20, 1883

(The Gustav Becker account of the robbery)

     The old axiom that "like invites like" was never more true than that continually endured at the Clanton "Holdout," east of Springerville near the old TIN or present H-V ranch, in Township 7, North Range 31.

     Outlaws passing through, or coming to the mountains for a period of rest and quiet from the turmoil of law and posse's in other lands seemed to automatically gravitate to the Clanton "headquarters.  There they often planned out new depredations, near and far, from information they got from the Clanton's or others.

So in 1882, when Big Dave and Cubb hurriedly left southern Arizona and soon afterwards Clifton, they traveled to the mountains and sojourned at Ike's.  There they learned that since they were unknown in Springerville, it would be easy for them to hold up the store.

     They rode into town on two fine horses and wore two six-shooters apiece, as so many in those days did.  They got off their horses to the left or north of the store door.  The horses apparently had been well trained to stand with one rein up and one on the ground.  Walking into the building, they made a few small purchases and asked about the chances of getting jobs as cowboys in these parts.  Hardly waiting for the information and at a nod from Big Dave, both he and Cubb whipped out their pistols and demanded that Gus and Julius put up their hands.  As neither of these had on their guns at the time Gus raises his, while Julius merely folded his arms and refuses to put them any higher.  

     Big Dave covered Gus and Julius with his two pistols while Cubb looked for the money box.  Dave apparently believed that Julius was the one to be watched, mostly because of his refusal to put up his hands.  He seemed to concentrate most of his attention on him.  This permitted Gus to ease along the counter a few feet to where they had a cigar box of gold and silver coins underneath, near a roll of leather and he quietly pushed the money behind the roll of leather with his foot.  Having accomplished this, he slowly eased along a few feet farther to where his belt and pistol were hanging on the inside of the 2x6 counter support and hid these with his knees as Cubb searched by him.  

     Finding a cash box with about $200.00 in silver, Cubb decided to let it go at that and he and Big Dave backed out for the door and made a run for their horses. Meantime, Gus had recovered his pistol and reached the front door as the two outlaws were riding off.  He emptied his pistol at them and they emptied theirs at him as they rode off, apparently making their getaway.

     Soon afterwards, Big Dave was found dying by the roadside a mile east of town.  Cubb had apparently decided he couldn't help him but had taken his horse and ridden on with the money.  Gus and George Creighe soon afterwards, tracked him to the Clanton ranch, but knowing they could not take him and the day being almost gone, returned to town.

     The next day, Stanley,(Clanton's brother-in-law) rode into town and learning they were organizing a posse to go after the Clanton gang.  He told who Cubb was and assured Gus and Julius that the Clantons wouldn't put up a fight if the Sheriff went out after Cubb.  Gus swore out a warrant and the Sheriff went after and took Cubb to St Johns.

     The Clantons had their rivals who were often as notorious as they were themselves.  When Ike assured Cubb in St Johns, the day before the trial, that his gang would see to it that Gus never would get down to testify against him, his remark was overheard and reported to the Sheriff.   In the meantime, four or five of a rival outlaw gang had drifted into town and the Sheriff decided to make use of their hatred of the Clantons.  While the latter were watching for someone to leave Springerville to get Gus, one of the townspeople had quietly hitched up a buckboard and driven it to a gulley a mile out of town where it was secured.  

     The rival outlaws mixed with the Clanton gang, drinking a little and rubbing shoulders till about 9 o'clock at night, when they announced they were going to bed, so they could enjoy the show the next day.

     Two of them, Red and Jim, who had been deputized, quietly slipped out in the dark and walked out to the buckboard where they drove to Springerville as fast as as they could, arriving there about 1:30 A.M. and notified Gus, he was to accompany them to St Johns.  Knowing them to be as vicious as the Clantons, he refused to do this until they showed him the necessary papers.  

     It was a weird trip for Gus; a pitch dark night, seated between Red and Jim, two killers who now were serving the law, and who told about how the Clantons had promised that Gus would never get there alive.

     They insisted on whistling away the tune, "Nearer My God To Thee," for the entire trip.  They arrived in St Johns at dawn, safely.   

     Cubb was tried and found guilty.  He was sentenced to twelve years.

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From Jack Becker's Collection