ILLINOIS ST. LOUIS,
VANDALIA AND TERRE HAUTE RAILROAD LINE WATER TOWER NAMED THE LONG POINT
WATER TOWER AS THE LOCATION WAS IN WHAT USED TO BE LONG POINT PRECINCT,
CUMBERLAND COUNTY, ILLINOIS UNTIL 1870
WHEN IT WAS CHANGED TO UNION TOWNSHIP. JUST ACROSS THE HOLLOW FROM
VEVAY PARK ON THE NATIONAL ROAD.
JULY 8TH, 1875
TRAIN HEIST TURNS TO MURDER
AS PUBLISHED BY THE TERRE HAUTE TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER 1875.
Train Heist Turns To Murder
As an east bound express train slowed to a stop just before midnight,
two men brandishing pistols and shielded by custom made steel armor
vaulted into the engine cab.
Within minutes the engineer was dead and the steel faced bandits
fiercely assaulted the baggage car guarded only by an Adams Express
It happened 120 years ago the week on July 8, 1875, 35 miles west of
Terra Haute in Cumberland County, Illinois. it became known as "The
Long Point Murder" among the most spectacular robbery attempts in
Long Point was the name of a Vandalia Railroad Stop, a title corrupted
from "Long Pond", a lake near the railway's water tank and mail
Milo Eames, the train's youthful Terre Haute engineer, was ruthlessly
murdered that night before his runaway locomotive halted near Casey
Terre Haute resident James Snavely, the fireman, was in the cab with
Eames and witnessed events unfold. One assailant gruffly commanded
Eames to release control of the train. Seconds later, the ruffians
fired two bullets into the engineer's chest.
Torchlight allowed Snavely to observe the aggressors. One, he vowed,
had a beard and a missing forefinger. An oval metal mask covered all
but his hazel eyes and "slanted" forehead. Both men wore linen over
As Eames slumped to the floor, the robbers uncoupled the passenger cars
and opened the engine's throttle. The jolt hurled Snavely out of the
cab onto the ground. Express Agent John Burke, alone in the adjoining
express car, heard shots and quickly barred the iron side doors to
protect the train's valuable cache.
Armed with his own revolvers, Burke prepared for a furious assault.
Soon, incessant gunfire ventilated the baggage car's thick oak walls.
Eames' slayers used axes, sledge hammers and a crowbar but could not
penetrate the massive wooden sides to seize the safe and valuables
The train's air brake remained on and the engine coughed as it sped
east. When it finally chugged to a stop, out of fuel, the outlaws
abandoned their venture and ran from the scene. Burke remained in the
baggage car for nearly an hour, unsure they were not quietly awaiting
Locomotive clatter prevented 12 shocked passengers from hearing gunfire
before the uncoupling. Possible witnesses were carefully interrogated.
Passenger Max Myerson, situated on the platform between two cars as the
train approached the Long Point stop. saw two men emerge from shadows
north of the track. Both wore black slouch hats. One was wearing a
coat, the other was not. A tramp, Charles Gibb, noticed two dubious men
lingering around the mail platform but could not see their faces.
Myerson then said the coatless suspect resembled Thomas Edmons, a Casey
grocer who had helped remove Eame's lifeless body from the engine. Some
officials were certain they had found the villain. A lynch party
assembled but was thwarted before it became menacing.
Edmon's best friend, Jack Cochrane, became a suspected accomplice. Both
surrendered readily, proclaiming their innocence. The Terre Haute
Evening Gazette declared that the "Vicious Long Point Murderers Have
Greenup, the Cumberland County seat, was a buzz. Noted Terre Haute
lawyer Richard W. Thompson presented the state's case at the trial
which began two weeks after the homicide. Throngs came by rail from
Terre Haute, St. Louis and Indianapolis for the spectavle. But Edmons
and Cochrane were acquited their alibies proved stable.
Then a startling development occured. The bandits' deserted custom-made
shields with leather attachments were found in a cornfield near the
train's last resting place. "English & Over Foundry, Indianaplois"
was etched in the metal.
The armor was exhibited in the Greenup bookstore window. About 10,000
people visited the display during the first two days. Newspapers
trumpeted that the brutal Long Point Murder was about to be "solved."
Tracking the Murderers Baffling mystery draws crowds of spectators to
Part II of the story
Crowds were so dense at the Cumberland County Court House in Greenup,
III., after The Long Point Murder that the floors sagged.
During July and August 1875, court hearings were moved outside to avert
catastrophe. The towns's three hotels constantly were packed with
Out-of-town reporters made their headquarters in Terre Haute, near
victim Milo Eames' home, Vandalia Railroad offices and the
On July 12, eight draped rail cars transported Eames' casket and nearly
including his pregnant widow, to Effingham, Ill. — where his parents
resided — for the funeral and burial.
After a jury exonerated two Casey men, police launched an intense
manhunt starting in the cornfield near Casey where the bandits' steel
suits were found Rewards totaling $3,950 were offered.
A search party stalked two suspects for a week through the black swamps
of the Embarass River, a criminal retreat since before the Civil War.
The probe yielded a desperado named Bridgman, captured at a cabin west
of Oaktown, Ind. He had missing fingers, an incriminating feature
reported by eyewitness Snavely.
A lynching was feared."Without doubt," The Terre Haute Evening Gazette
said, "Bridgman is the killer."
Another outlaw with, an amputated digit, Henry Farley, was found near
Shelbyville, Ind. Much to the police's distress, both Bridgman and
Farley amply explained their where-abouts on the night of the crime.
Meanwhile, Indianapolis newsmen quizzed workers at the English &
Over Foundry, and the Knippenberg Saw Works, where the three-piece
Jessup steel suits had been cut and tailored.
Two men who had requisitioned the outfits professed that the armor was
needed to shield planing mill workers.
Columbus Voorhees and Leander Kennedy, residing under assumed names at
Dave Phillips' notorious Pig & Whistle at Ninth and Wabash in Terre
Haute, were arrested in late July. A foundry foreman thought Kennedy
resembled the man who picked up the fabricated apparel. The pair had
been over-heard discussing plans to make a fortune.
Blacksmith Barney Cook, who molded the steel to specification, was less
certain about Kennedy's identity. The man he met was nicely dressed,
confident and well-spoken, qualities Kennedy lacked. Besides, Kennedy
and Voorhees were working at a Putnam County farm at the time of the
A fugitive who lived on a Wabash River bluff near Lawrenceville, Ill.,
and a Terre Haute prostitute, aware of an illegal plot involving six
men, were apprehended in August. Both were grilled for several days
before being freed.
Other suspects were detained and more preliminary hearings were
conducted. No one was ever convicted.
Who killed Eames 120 years ago remains a mystery, but Snavely's vivid
description of one assailant arouses curiosity. Though he never was a
suspect at Long Point, an amputated forefinger, receding forehead, and,
to a lesser degree, a beard, were trademarks of the most eminent train
robber in American history. .
His name was Jesse Woodson James.
The James-Younger gang was inactive for 19 months after December 1874,
when it supposedly robbed a Mississippi bank and a train at Muncie, Kan.
On July 7, 1876, it robbed a Missouri-Pacific train near Otterville,
Mo., netting $15,000 and some jewelry from, coincidentally, an Adams
Express agent. No one suspected the James brothers at Otterville until
a gang member tattled months later.
It would be interesting to know their whereabouts on July 8 and 9,
1875, the night of the unsolved Long Point Murder.
Submitted by James Winnett