Monday, September 24, 2012

Robber’s Roost

Because events supposedly connected to Sherriff Henry Plummer and his suspected gang occurred near the Daly ranch in 1863 and 1864, mystery, legend, and mistaken identity have long been part of the history of the stage stop called Robber’s Roost. Although it never served as a gathering place for the road agents and no early-day murders have been documented there, the inn is historically important as a link between the two territorial capitals—Bannack and Virginia City—and one of few surviving log stage stations of this very early territorial period. Orlin Fitzgerald Gammell, who was born in 1846 and died in 1952, helped procure the logs that built Robber’s Roost. He says in his written reminiscence that ranch owner Pete Daly built the structure in the winter of 1866–1867, well after the vigilante hangings of Sheriff Henry Plummer and other suspected road agents.

Robber’s Roost never served as a hideout for robbers during that turbulent time, but it did later serve as an inn and stage station along the busy road between Bannack and Virginia City. So-called Robber’s Roost is actually important for a different reason. It was the place where Bill Fairweather, credited as the discoverer of the vast Alder Gulch gold deposits, died in 1875. Mrs. Daly cared for him during the final stages of acute alcoholism. He died penniless at the age of thirty-nine.

From Montana Moments: History on the Go