Black Bart in Butte County — 1879

On this date — June 21 — in 1879 the notorious stage robber Black Bart held up a stage coach near Forbestown in Butte County. It was his first robbery in the year 1879 and would be followed by two robberies in October in Shasta County. He generally spent his winters in San Francisco, living off his ill-gotten gains of the previous summer and fall.

Charles Boles aka Black Bart

Bart continued to evade capture. In the last issue of the Weekly Butte Record for 1882, the paper reported that Black Bart was still on the loose.

Weekly Butte Record 30 December 1882

The editor has kindly put blanks where Bart wrote some rather coarse language. Editors were more sensitive to their readers fine sensibilities in 1882. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.

Black Bart was finally captured and sent to San Quentin prison in November 1883. He disappeared from public notice after his release from prison in 1888. There is a theory (and a book) claiming that he spent the rest of his life as a druggist named Charles Wells in Marysville. If you want to read more about Black Bart, a good place to start is at

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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