Monday, January 18, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 18

January 18, 1913 – Mrs. E. J. Chisum, Minneapolis, overpowered a holdup man near the Minneapolis and St. Louis Depot this evening, grabbing his revolver from his hand and knocking him to the tracks in front of a moving switch engine. The robber rolled off the tracks just in time to avoid being run over by the engine.

Mrs. Chisum fainted and was placed on the switch engine by the train crew, who took her to 20th Ave. N. so that she might report the case to the North Side police station.

When the robber rolled out of danger he jumped to his feet and disappeared in the yards. A squad of police and detectives searched for him but were unsuccessful.

Mrs. Chisum was prostrated as a result of her experience. She could barely tell how it happened.

She was on her way to buy some meat for the family’s Sunday meal. The cuts at her regular meat market didn’t suit her, so she started walking north on Washington Ave. to another market.

“When I got near the Minneapolis and St. Louis depot, a man approached me from behind and poked a large revolver in my face,” she said. “His only words were ‘Keep damned still and walk straight ahead.’

“When we got to a place where the tracks could be easily reached, he ordered me to turn. I did. The tracks at this point are dark and I could barely make out his size.

“Sticking the gun against my cheek he demanded that I hand over my pocketbook. I heard the train coming and prayed that some person would rescue me. All I can remember is that I grabbed the revolver with my left hand and hit the man in the face as hard as I could with my right.

“He fell over backwards on the tracks. The train was coming and I could almost see him being run over and killed. The next thing I remember is riding in the engine cab. It was a terrible experience.”

After Mrs. Chisum left the engine, she met Sergeant Barry of the North Side station on Plymouth Ave. to whom she told her story.

She was taken to the station where she became almost hysterical at the thought of what she had gone through. Policemen took her home.

Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Thug is Overpowered By Woman He Attacks. Mrs. E. J. Chisum Grapples Holdup Man, Knocking Him Onto Tracks. Then she Faints and Is Cared For by Crew of Switch Engine. Desperado Rolls Off Rails and Hurriedly Makes His Escape.”; January 19, 1913; p. 1.

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain January 18, 2016, as long as acknowledgement included


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