Posts Tagged ‘Sterretts Gap’

The Kidnapping of Frank Cayou – Part II

November 13, 2008

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

Black Maria

Black Maria

The Kidnapping of Frank Cayou

November 10, 2008

Rusty Shunk recently informed me of the existence of “The History of Football at Dickinson College: 1885 – 1969” by Wilbur J. Gobrecht. Why might I be interested in this book? The reason is simple. Several Carlisle Indians attended Dickinson College, its prep school and Dickinson School of Law. Some of them also played on Dickinson’s football team. Today’s piece is about an off-field incident involving one of these men.

In 1898 Francis M. Cayou enrolled in Dickinson College as member of the class of 1902 and played halfback on the 1898 football team – after Carlisle finished its season and only in the game against Penn State. Gobrecht uncovered an interesting story regarding Cayou told in 1930 by Rev. William H. Decker, also a member of the class of 1902, after he discovered a long-forgotten search warrant that had been issued by George W. Bowers, a Carlisle justice of the peace. That warrant gave Constable H. M. Fishburn the right to search the premises of the Mountain House at Sterretts Gap for “one F. M. Cayou, forcibly taken from Carlisle on Jan. 22, 1899.”

Frank had been warned of possible nefarious actions being planned by the class of 1901 but paid no heed to them. Rev. Decker recalled how the handsome Cayou took his girlfriend to the Sunday evening service at First Presbyterian Church on the square and was abducted on departing the church after the service. Members of the class of 1901, knowing he was there, placed a black maria wagon in the adjoining alley and waited for their opportunity. As the Indian exited the church, they tore him away from his girl and threw him bodily into the paddy wagon or hearse, which was used is not clear. Once he was inside, the wagon tore off madly over the icy streets into the dark countryside. “Burlys” of the class of 1902 rushed up, grabbed the horses’ harness and tried to cut it with knives but were unsuccessful.

To be continued …

cayou