Newspaper Articles About Sam Hildebrand

Butler Missouri Times
(no date)

While discussing the Youngers & the Jameses, it is just as well to remember that they were not the only dangerous men in the dug out.  There were others along in the ‘60’s.  Missouri woods were full of men who could hit a bullseye or a human target ten times out of ten.  Only of few of them, however, kept on shooting long enough after the war to ensure lasting reputations.

Historic Old Home Made into Resort
By: Merrill S. McCarty
6 May 1917

The Bonne Terre correspondent of The News enjoyed a delightful trip to the old Hildebrand home near Bonne Terrre Tuesday afternoon and was greatly impressed with the beauty of this historic spot and the education which it brings to those who now desire to visit it. Being unaware that our city had so near it such a beautiful resort, I was surprised when I ended my journey and proud that we have so near us this beautiful park.

Almost every man, woman and child in St. Francois County has heard of Sam Hildebrand, has been told thrilling stories of his life, etc., but I feel sure that but few have learned of the recent opening of the Hildebrand-Chalet, which is located on Big River, two miles north of Bonne Terre on Highway No. 61.  The old rock home, which was greatly damaged by fire years ago, has been equipped with historic and antique furniture, provided with table, dishes, etc., and one may now go there and entertain or be entertained.  A charming hostess will greet you and devote her time imparting to you her knowledge of the numerous antiques and beautiful objects that are in the spacious dining room, and will also serve you refreshments, or a delicious meal if you desire.  This room contains many articles of interest, among them a Turkish Tea-wood wine compartment case, which has been in St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve counties 200 years.  It was brought to Ste. Genevieve when the first white man landed there by Trope Ricard and came from Ste. Trope, France.  It came later to his daughter Mrs. Hagan, and then to her daughter, Mrs. Tullock, to her daughter, Mrs. McCarty, and then to her son, Merril S. McCarty, the present owner.  It contains four handmade bottles (now valued at $100,000 each.)  It is very much on the order of an old time trunk.  It has been loaned to the Missouri Historic Society for the past ten years and Mr. McCarty just recently had it returned to him.  There are also a number of hand carved chairs, all copies of period chairs, which were made in Florence, Italy.  In the collection of furniture is a Louis Fourteenth table which is more than 200 years old, and a pie crust settee of rosewood, both of which are very valuable.  Near the entrance is a mahogany “Secretaire, which was made in Paris for Attorney General Bates.  In this desk are three volumes of the life of Hildebrand, which the guests may read, but which cannot be taken from the house.  There are only a handful of these books in circulation today and they are worth $15.00 each.  It is at this desk that the guests register.

While the above named articles and many more are to be seen in the dining room, not all of the interesting things of this resort are there.  Mr. McCarty has had erected on the beautiful hill several log cabins.  Some of these are furnished with period furniture and may be rented by the day for $1.00.  In this picturesque mountain park one may swim, fish, enjoy a basket picnic or a party of your own planning.  At the foot of the hill, at the entrance, is a rustic cabin which will be converted into a store which will be open on Sunday and on holidays.  Those not desiring to eat in the dining room of the old stone house may buy sandwiches, drinks, etc., at this cabin.

The old cabin which the neighbors built for Mrs. Hilderbrand after the fire is still standing and Mr. McCarty has furnished it just as such a place should be furnished.  It contains two rooms and an attic.  In the front room is a fireplace and near it are two spinning wheels which are very old and which carrry with them a real history.  There is in this room a four-poster bed which was in the family of Edgar Allen Poe and many other things of interest.  All of the Hildebrand relics of today are owned by Mr. McCarty and are on exhibit at the Chalet, but many of the antiques and much of the furniture there has fallen to him as heirlooms or has been purchased by him in foreign countries at a great price, many of them so valuable and rare that money could not purchase them.

A cover charge of fifty cents for adults entitles one to view these relics and to the use of the grounds all day if desired.  Clubs or churches may have their parties and picnics there for a small charge.  The resort is strictly a high-class, respectable one and Mr. McCarty intends to see that it remains such at all times.  All are invited to visit it and to bring your friends to enjoy it with you.  The hostess will make you feel at home and serve you in a courteous manner. 


The following article concerning Sam Hildebrand was published in the
Democrat-Register newspaper of Bonne Terre, St. Francois County,
on June 23, 1905.

VERNON, TEX., June 18 -- Sam Hilderbrand (sic), the aged and notorious
outlaw who has been evading officers of the law for forty years, is said
to have called at a store near the crossing of the Red river yesterday.
He was recognized, but he disappeared before officers could be notified.

Hilderbrand (sic) and his brother committed many robberies and other
depredations in Missouri, Arkansas and Texas in the 60's.  Frank
Hilderbrand was captured and hanged.  Sam avenged the death of his
by murdering two of the men who were concerned in his capture.  At the
heard of a band of outlaws he made his rendezvous in Indian Territory and
the wilds of Arkansas, and committed many bloody deeds.

It is claimed that the records show that he committed, single-handed,
twenty-seven murders.  He disappeared in 1872, and it was supposed that
was dead until a few days ago when he was discovered, it is said, living
on a farm near Lawton, Okla.  His identify was clearly established, and a
warrant sworn out for arrest.  Before it could be served the old man
disappeared.  A description was sent to all of the towns of this section,
and this led to his being recognized yesterday when he called at a store
for provisions ---[Globe-Democrat, St. Louis, Missouri].

The following article concerning Sam Hildebrand was published in the
Democrat-Register newspaper of Bonne Terre, Missouri, on July 7, 1905.

The St. Louis papers are devoting a good deal of space as to whether Sam
Hilderbrand (sic) is dead or not and as to whether he is buried in St.
Francois County.  Mr. George Helderbrand, formerly sheriff of Madison
county, has this to say in regard to the same:  "Sam Helderbrand (sic)
not killed in Illinois, as reported years ago, and his body is not buried
in St. Francois county, Mo."

Old Man Boyer and Billy Townsend of Madison county, were intimate friends
of his cousin Sam and that about fifteen years ago Billy Townsend moved
Arkansas, and after he had been there a few years Old Man Boyer received
letter from him saying "Our old friend Preacher Morgan (the name by which
Sam was known to his intimate friends) spent the night with me.  He is in
good health and on his way to Texas."  Continuing, Mr. Helderbrand said:

"The body buried in St. Francois county was never identified as that of
Sam Helderbrand.  His son who was called to St. Francois county to
identify the body, could not do it.  He said it looked like his father in
some respects, and in others it did not, and that was as far as the
identification went.

"If Sam Helderbrand (sic) is dead," said George, "he has died in the last
twelve months, and I don't think he is dead." ---Fredericktown Dem-News.

From: Bettye Warner
==== MOSTFRAN Mailing List ====
St. Francois County MoGenWeb Page:


I found the following death notice for Sam's wife on page 3 of the January 31, 1872 Jefferson City (Mo.) Peoples Tribune--

"DIED--At the residence of her husband, of erysipelas on December 21st, Margaret Hilderbrand, wife of Samuel S. Hilderbrand, of whom so much was heard a few years ago.  The subject of the above notice was born and reared in St. Francois county, where she leaves a large circle of relatives and friends to mourn her untimely death.  She left six small children."
Courtesy of Kirby Ross.  -  Darryl Lawson

FARMINGTON TIMES, Farmington, St. Francois County, Missouri, Friday,
February 23, 1917


John H. Ragland, who became famous in 1872 by killing Sam Hildebrand, the
famous outlaw, whose depredations in Southeast Missouri rival the James Boys
in Northern Missouri, died a few days ago in Los Angeles, Calif., where he
went from Benton, Ill., several years ago.

F. A. Wiggs, editor of the Lutesville Banner, who was a close friend of
Ragland, has just learned of his death.  Ragland became the hero of Southern
Illinois and Southeast Missouri by slaying the bandit.

Ragland was a constable at Pinckneyville, Ill., when he shot Hilderbrand
[sic].  The noted outlaw operated in the counties of Southeast Missouri and
Southwest Illinois, and made regular pilgrimages from one State to the
other.  His permanent headquarters, however, were in a cave on Big River,
near Bonne Terre, Mo.

According to reports of early settlers, Hilderbrand became an outlaw because
a posse lynched his brother, who was accused of horse stealing.  Sam
Hilderbrand swore vengeance on the members of the posse and is said to have
assassinated all but one of them.

Hilderbrand's band committed many outrages during the Civil War period.
During the war period Hilderbrand's band joined the Boland Brothers, who
were also desperate outlaws.  Nath Boland, who planned the massacre of the
members of the Cape Girardeau militia, at Round Pond, was Hilderbrand's
closest advisers.  The destruction of the militia at Round Pond, about half
way between Cape Girardeau and Bloomfield, is historic.  The military
authorities at Cape Girardeau were notified by a courier from Bloomfield
that the Rebels had surrounded that city and the Union forces were not
strong enough to drive them back.  The troops from this city were en route
to Bloomfield to re-inforce the Union army and had camped for the night at
Round Pond.  While asleep, the Boland brothers entered camp and massacred
all but a negro cook, who escaped after a thrilling experience, and told the
story of the tragedy.

Nath Boland was captured by a posse a few weeks later and hanged.

There are many stories related among the early residents of Cape Girardeau
concerning the activities of Sam Hilderbrand.  Amon Frissell, a brother of
N. C. Frissell, the well-known civil engineer, joined in the campaign of
citizens to exterminate Hilderbrand and his gang.  He knew Hilderbrand and
was personally liked by Hilderbrand.  N. C. Frissell relates a story of his
brother's experience with Hilderbrand.  Amos Frissell led a posse in search
for Hilderbrand.  The citizens met the outlaw in an open field and opened
fire upon him.  He replied and put the posse to flight.  Frissell, in his
effort to escape, stumbled and rolled down a hill.  Hilderbrand, who had
known Frissell in youth, did not want to injure him, and instead of shooting
Mr. Frissell he aimed his rifle so that the bullet would get close enough to
frighten Frissell but not touch him.  It is said that Frissell was so badly
scared that he could hardly articulate after the encounter.

Dr. C. A. Peterson of Fredericktown organized a posse to capture
Hilderbrand, and in a pitched battle which followed, resulted in several
being wounded.  Peterson and Hilderbrand fought a duel, and Peterson
succeeded in wounding the bandit, but the outlaw escaped after seriously
wounding several of his pursuers.  Dr. Peterson, who later became the head
of a St. Louis detective agency, died in that city two years ago.

John H. Ragland, who slew Hilderbrand, did not know that he had captured the
famous bandit until after he had killed him.  Ragland was known as the
"fighting constable" because of his ability to attack and capture noted
criminals.  He was notified by farmers that three bandits were camped in the
hills a few miles from Pinckneyville, Ill., and were committing many
outrages.  Ragland deputized two men to assist him, and drove out to the
bandits' camp.  Before they were discovered they dismounted and crept upon
the three outlaws as they were cooking their evening meal over a camp fire.
The outlaws were arrested and the officers started back to Pinckneyville
with them.  A short distance from the town, Hilderbrand attempted to escape.
He attacked Ragland with a long knife, stabbing the constable in the right
hip.  The officer shot the bandit through the head.  The body was taken to
Pinckneyville were [sic] it was identified as that of Hilderbrand.  The
identification was made by a man who at one time had been acquainted with
the bandit.  The identification was acknowledged by the two men captured
with Hilderbrand.  Metropolitan newspapers and magazines devoted much space
to the killing of the notorious outlaw, who rivaled Jesse and Frank James.

Ragland several years ago moved to California for his health.  His recent
death was the result principally of old age. -- Cape Girardeau Tribune.

From: Melanie Rickmar



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