The newspaper report in the August 17th, 1925 edition of the Carthage Press revealed the details of a shooting that occurred when a robbery was taking place at the Sarcoxie Frisco Depot.
The headline and story in part, read. . .
AGENT AT SARCOXIE SLAYS BANDIT
TWO ALLEGED PALS OF DEAD ROBBER CAPTURED
A. B. COX, 62 YEARS OLD, AND TWO SONS SURPRISE TRIO TRYING TO BLOW SAFE
A. B. Cox, 62 years old, Frisco station agent at Sarcoxie, MO., shot and fatally wounded one of three bandits who were surprised in the act of blowing the safe of the Sarcoxie depot at 3:45 o'clock yesterday morning.
The other two bandits escaped, but Cleo Vandergriff, former Sarcoxie man, was arrested at Picher, Oklahoma this morning and Harry Miller was arrested at Sarcoxie this afternoon by the sheriff's force as the alleged other members of the trio.
The man killed by the station agent gave his name as Thomas Madden and his home, Louisville, KY., but refused to give authorities any other information. He died in the Carthage Hospital at 9 o'clock yesterday morning. He had received the most of a charge of No. 4 shot from a 12-gauge shotgun in the side of his face, neck, shoulder and chest, the charge being delivered at a range of about 30 feet. Madden claimed to be 51 years old.
The account went on to read. .
Woman Gives Alarm
About 3:45 o'clock yesterday morning, Mrs. Charles Wilson, who lived near the station in Sarcoxie, called A. B. Cox by telephone at his home a few blocks away, telling him that someone was making considerable noise around the depot and she believed there was a robbery going on.
Summoning his two sons, Ray Cox, 35 and Cecil Cox, 21, the three hurriedly donned clothing and, the father and younger son each taking a shotgun and the older son an automatic pistol, started for the depot.
Nearing the station they separated and approached from different angles, the older son approaching from the front or side next to the tracks, the father from the rear side of the depot and Cecil from around the roadway.
Turns and Opens Fire
Ray Cox had reached the platform when two men suddenly emerged from the waiting room and ordered him to halt, then commanding him to turn around and go back the way he had come. Ray complied, edging toward a coal bin some distance away. The two bandits, seeing Cecil Cox, who had stopped near their automobile, turned and fled. Ray had about reached the coal shed and taking shelter turned and opened fire, sending two shells in the direction of the bandits before his gun "jammed".
Hearing the shots, the senior Mr. Cox, who had squatted down on the ground back of the station when he heard the two bandits halt his son, raised up. At that moment, through a waiting room window, he saw a man open the door between the waiting room and the office and come out into the waiting room. An electric light was burning in the waiting room.
Mr. Cox was able to see only the upper part of the man's body as he came through the door, and fired at him. After firing, Mr. Cox jumped up on the platform and saw the man on the floor. He then ran across a roadway, his older son joining him, while the other remained concealed beside the bandit car some distance away.
The agent and Ray Cox then took refuge in a ditch beside the road where they could keep a lookout for developments about the station. All was quiet. In a few moments several citizens who had heard the shooting came down the street to the corner where Mr. Cox and his son were concealed. Together the group advanced upon the station and entering found the one bandit lying on the floor, his face and neck a mass of clotted blood.
An ambulance was summoned and the bandit was taken to the Carthage Hospital where he later died.
The story went on to read. . .
Ready to Blow Safe
The bandits left on the floor in front of the safe a short barreled sledge hammer, a wrecking bar and a large pump wrench, or pipe wrench, also a bottle containing several ounces of liquid, also believed to be nitroglycerin.
The burglars had pounded the combination dial until it would be impossible to work the combination. The safe was prepared ready for shooting, nitroglycerin already having been poured in the cracks about the door, which were sealed up with soap. At the top of the door a small cup had been formed out of soap or wax and here the explosive liquid had been poured in to trickle through the crevices. A short dynamite fuse with cap attached lay on top of the safe. Apparently the job was all finished but for laying the fuse in the cup and touching a match to it.
Nitro Still in Safe
The safe, which contained about $16 in money and the agent's ticket stamp was treated with respect all day yesterday and today, it not having been decided just how to proceed to open the safe without setting off the dangerous charge with which it had been loaded. The agent did not make arrangements until today to resume selling tickets.
Two oil and gasoline storage stations near the Frisco depot were broken into, supposedly by the robbers, in an effort to get a supply of gasoline, but they were unable to unlock the tanks.
Three automobile tires taken from the station freight room were found yesterday morning lying beside the coal shed.
Cox Veteran Agent
Mr. Cox has been station agent at Sarcoxie 26 years. Twice before the station was robbed during the time he has had charge, the burglars taking small amounts from the cash drawer each time and escaping.
The burglars last night forced the door between the waiting room and office to effect an entrance. The waiting room is left open all night, with an electric light burning. The station closes at 10 o'clock and is not reopened until early the next morning. Fred Pasley is second trick operator. He saw no suspicious persons about the station Saturday night.
One of Mr. Cox's sons is agent for the railroad at Reeds and the other is an express company employee.
Frisco Official Compliments Cox
Mr. Cox today received a message from J. H. Fraser, general manager of the railroad with headquarters in Springfield, complimenting him upon his work in foiling the robbery.
The excitement of the tragedy did not seriously affect the station agent. Mr. Cox is an ardent baseball fan and went to Stotts City yesterday afternoon to witness a baseball game.
The body of the slain bandit yesterday was removed from the hospital to the Ulmer-Drake Funeral Home. An inquest will be held there at 8 o'clock tonight.
(bio by NJBrewer)
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