November 3, 1883: In Copperopolis, California, “Black Bart the poet” a/k/a Charles E. Bowles, conducts his last stagecoach robbery. Bowels, was an English born criminal known for leaving poems behind at two of his robberies. During his final robbery, a shootout ensued between Bowels the stage driver and a passenger. Bowles was injured and forced to flee, but dropped some personal belongings in the process including a handkerchief with the laundry mark “F.X.O.7.” After visiting dozens of laundries in San Francisco, Wells Fargo Detectives were able to trace the handkerchief to Bowles at a nearby boarding house. Mistakenly believing that the statute of limitations had run out, Bowles confessed to several other robberies occurring before 1879. Bowels was eventually convicted and sentenced to 6 years in San Quentin prison but was released after serving 4 years. One of the gentleman bandit’s poems:
I’ve labored long and hard for bread,
For honor, and for riches,
But on my corns too long you’ve tread,
You fine-haired sons of bitches.