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Armed robbers hit state treasury

June
11
1865

On this day in 1865, an estimated fifty desperadoes broke into the state treasury in Austin, one of the boldest crimes in Texas history. The robbery occurred during the chaotic period immediately after the downfall of the Confederacy in the spring of 1865. Gen. Nathan G. Shelley informed George R. Freeman, a Confederate veteran and leader of a small company of volunteer militia, that the robbery was imminent. By the time Freeman and about twenty of his troops arrived at the treasury, the robbers were in the building. A brief gunfight erupted in which one of the robbers was mortally wounded; all the other robbers fled toward Mount Bonnell, west of Austin, carrying with them about $17,000 in specie, more than half of the gold and silver in the state treasury. None was ever captured. The loot was never recovered, although some of the money was found strewn between the treasury building and Mount Bonnell. Freeman and his company of volunteers were later recognized by the state for their service in defending the public treasury, but the resolution providing a reward for their services never passed the legislature.

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