Butch Cassidy Robs the Montpelier Bank
On the hot afternoon of August 23, 1896, Butch Cassidy
with two members of his Wild Bunch Gang, Elza Lay
and Bob Meeks, robbed The Bank of Montpelier—
which was originally located in the building
across the street from this sign.
The Bank of Montpelier Robbery
as told by a local Bear Lake historian Pat Wilde in his book,
"Treasured Tidbits of Time, Volume 1"
After a casual drink or two, they reached the bank just before closing time and tied up
their horses at the hitching rack across the street. Cashier G.C. Gray was standing on the
steps of the bank talking with a friend. Cassidy and Lay left Meeks to tend the horses
as they stepped across the street and suddenly and pushed the surprised banker and his
friend into the bank. There they forced the pay teller, A.N. Mackintosh and a girl stenographer
up against the wall. Lay leaned across the writing desk and trained guns on the
personnel while Cassidy quickly moved around scooping the money into a gunny sac.
Mackintosh, with his face to the wall, looked out of the window noticing the third man,
Meeks, standing by the horses. He made an accurate mental note of the man just before
he was struck across the face by Lay in an attempt to get him to tell where other moneys
were located. It was his description that later resulted in the arrest and conviction
of Meeks. Cassidy left the bank first with the money, walked nonchalantly across the
street, mounted on his horse and rode
slowly away. Meeks moved across the
street with the remaining horses and
left Lay's hourse standing in front of the
bank and he rode away. Finally Lay left the bank in haste.
As soon as Lay cleared the bank,
pandemonium erupted as the alarm
spread. Deputy Fred Cruikshank, first
on a bicycle and then on his horse gave
chase along with Attorney Bagley.
Minutes later, Sheriff Jefferson
Davis amd a posse chased the robbers
up Montpelier Canyon
For a week the posse followed but gave up the chase near Snyder Basin. No one really
knows what happened to the money or for the matter exactly where the men
went. After his arrest later, Meeks swore that he never got a penny of the
loot......Meeks was the only one ever arrested. Cassody and Lay were
never brought to trial. The amount of loot stolen has often been in
dispute with figures ranging between 7,000 to 16,500.
Mackintosh.....stated: The 13th was the cause of it all. He
noted it was the 13th day of the month; it occurred after
the 13th deposit had been made that day at a sum of
$13.00 and occurred and 13 minutes after the hour
of 3:00 p.m.
Sponsors: Greater Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce, Montpelier Gem Community Team, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, The Bear Lake County Historical Society, USDA Rural Development Agency & Utah Power. History reseach by Ann Fernsworth and Steve Allred.
Modern-day marker in front of the old Bank of Montplier commemorating the spot
where Butch Cassidy and his gang actually pulled off the in
This tourist wanted poster is an example of what dogged
Butch Cassidy all the days of his life...and beyond.
Mock wanted posters are still available throughout the
Bear Lake Vally hoping for tourist to find Cassidy,
and finally bring him justice. No one has proven
once and for all what happened to Cassidy. Whether he
dies in Bolivia in a shoot out or returned to the his
days in the USA, it is sure that his infamous legacy
lives on in the history of Bear Lake County
Butch Cassidy's Montpelier Heist re-enactment in the
early 1900's in front of the building where it actually happened.
Photo courtesy of The News-Examiner
Photo thought to be of Butch Cassidy
Barbershop chair used as Ed
Grenfearn's Barbership from 1917
to 1971 located next to the old
Bank of Montpelier building —
currently on display at the Rails
and Trails Museum in Montpelier.
Bank of Montpelier as it is today