Decades later Parson Decker, freshman president of the class of 1902, recalled that a “council of war” was convened after which a bus pulled by a team of four horses was engaged to search for and retrieve their captured classmate. Around midnight the bus loaded with a dozen or so men from the class set out for Boiling Springs and Mt. Holly Springs in near-zero-degree weather. Dispirited, they returned to Carlisle around dawn Monday and assembled at The Wellington Hotel, the site of the next day’s class banquet.
During the day various information and misinformation traveled through the grapevine that Cayou and his captors were holed up in the Mountain House atop Sterretts Gap on North Mountain. Armed with the search warrant, the “rangy and rugged classmen” and the bus headed up Sterretts Gap late that afternoon. Halfway up the mountain, the bus stopped, the occupants got out, and went to their appointed posts encircling the hill. At the signal they started moving upwards, tightening the noose on the abductors. The plan was executed perfectly and, once all the men were at the top, the process-server served the warrant on the innkeeper who informed them of their errors. First, he said that warrants could only be served in the daytime and, second, this was a Cumberland County warrant and the Mission House was located in Perry County.
Regrouping after their hopes were dashed a contingent headed off to Summerdale to acquire a proper warrant. Using the second floor of a nearby corncrib as a barracks, those left guarding the hotel rested after setting up a watch schedule. Sleet began to fall, but the guards made their appointed rounds using only blankets taken from the bus as cover.
The next morning the correct search warrant was served but nothing was found. A search of the premises revealed nothing because Cayou’s captors got wind of the expedition the previous night and hustled him down the mountainside where they took refuge in a woodman’s hut.
As the dejected men of the class of ’02 went down the hill their bus met another “black maria” heading up. Some men of ’02 grabbed the harnesses of the horses pulling ‘01’s bus up the hill. Others pulled Chambers and Odgers, classmates who had been kidnapped that morning, out of that bus and put them into that of their own class. Feeling a little less disappointed with the success of their mission, the posse returned to The Wellington where the entire class, less Cayou, stayed incommunicado the rest of the day to reduce further losses.
The banquet was held as scheduled, sans Cayou who was returned the next morning.
Next time The Indian Helper’s take on Cayou’s abduction