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 January 2011

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Penski

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20170105
PostJanuary 2011

Resolution

Governor Warren is about to leave office and cleaning up loose ends. Is one of those "loose ends" an amnesty?



A Resolution

November 30, 1890
Cheyenne, Wyoming

Governor Warren yawned as he took out his pocket watch and checked the time. 11:00 p.m. No wonder he was exhausted. “Mr. Becker,” he called for his secretary outside the door, “is there anything else I need to sign in my last hour as governor?”

A middle-aged man with a receding hairline came to the desk. “No, sir. I went through all the files and it appears we have addressed any issues outstanding while you were governor of the territory and state.” He paused for a moment. “There is that one file drawer in your desk that is of a more personal matter. I did not go through those files.”

“Ah yes. I forgot about those files. What am I going to do without you in Washington, Mr. Becker? It’s getting late. If you want to go…”

“It’s quite all right, sir. I will wait until you leave. If you need me, I’ll be right outside the door.”

“Thank you.” Warren opened the fore-mentioned drawer and pulled out the files. He glanced at the first and tossed it in the trash. The second one brought a chuckle and he placed it in his briefcase. Several other files were discarded or placed in the briefcase. He opened the last file and his eyebrows furrowed. He placed the folder on his desk, sat back in his chair and sighed. Closing his eyes, he folded his hands as he tapped his thumbs together. One last item to consider as governor.

Warren remembered the day Sheriff Lom Trevors came to his office during his first term as governor of the territory. The sheriff proposed a “deal” to him—amnesty for the infamous Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. They were willing to quit robbing banks and trains if they would be considered for a pardon for their life of crime. Warren recollected laughing at the ludicrous proposal and the sheriff’s arguments for it. Trevors should have been a politician instead of a lawman because his arguments convinced Warren that it was a winning proposition; he would no longer have Heyes and Curry committing crimes against his biggest backers, the banks and railroad.

And now Warren recalled the “deal” he made with Heyes and Curry—possible amnesty if they would be law-abiding citizen for one year, although they would still be wanted. That was in 1885 during his first term of governor. Over a year later, President Cleveland removed him from office. Heyes and Curry had fulfilled their part of the deal; he had not.

Warren had heard that Trevors proposed the same “deal” to other governors. All agreed so not to entice Heyes and Curry back into a life of crime, but none had followed through. And although there were rumors of the outlaws returning to crime, those incidents were quickly resolved to be someone posing as them.

Sitting up, Warren stared at the file in front of him. In the packet was a Resolution of Amnesty ready for him to sign and date. As a Wyoming Senator in Washington DC, he no longer needed to be concerned about pleasing the banks and railroads. In fact, he heard they had significantly reduced the reward since there was no activity from the outlaws.

Warren picked up his pen and dipped it into the ink bottle. He frowned as he read the resolution again. With a sigh, he signed his name to the bottom of the amnesty and dated it. Staring at the piece of paper in his hand, he scowled. They had committed crimes against the people of Wyoming and deserved to be punished. The paper ripped into several pieces. Leaning back in his chair, Warren stared at the file. “Mr. Becker…”


January 31, 1891
Weaverville, New Mexico

Heyes and Curry inconspicuously noted all the details of the town, including the name of the sheriff, as rode down Main Street.

“Looks like a quiet little town,” noted Curry as they dismounted in front of the hotel.

“Yep; it’ll be nice to relax for a few days.” Heyes untied his saddle bag. “Want to take the horses to the livery and I’ll sign in?”

“Sure.” Curry handed his bag to his partner and took the reins of both horses.

A half hour later, when the Kid entered their room, Heyes was stretched out in bed reading.

“What are you readin’ already?”

“There were some old newspapers in the lobby that I grabbed.”

“Anything interestin’?”

“Mrs. Miller’s jam won a contest and the Jackson’s dog had a litter of twenty pups.”

“Twenty! Poor dog! Ready to go down to the café?”

“Yeah.” Heyes got up, ran his fingers through his hair and put on his hat. Grabbing a few of the newspapers, he followed the Kid out the door.

After their meal, Heyes was drinking coffee and eating his pie while reading. “Now here’s something. Governor Warren resigned as governor of Wyoming having been elected as a Senator.”

“Didn’t he just become the governor?”

“Yeah, he’s the last governor of the territory and then governor of the state for only two months.”

Kid Curry shook his head at the thought of Warren. “I wouldn’t have voted for him—didn’t keep his promises.”

Heyes sat up straighter in the chair. “Kid…” His eyes became wide as he continued to read.

“What?”

“He did!”

“Did what?”

“He did keep his promise! Come on!” Heyes stood up and threw some bills on the table as he rushed towards the door.

“Wha…where you goin’ in such a hurry?” The Kid grabbed his hat, took another swallow of coffee, and hurried to catch up with his partner.


February 24, 1891
Porterville, Wyoming

Lom sat at his desk working on the endless paperwork. He put his pen down and yawned. Getting up, he stretched, and poured some more coffee. Sitting down again, he took a sip to test how hot the coffee was and then a larger swallow.

The front door flew opened and, startled, Lom spewed out his coffee over his paperwork.

“Lom, is it true?” Heyes and Curry rushed to his desk. “Do we have amnesty?”

“Where in tarnation have you boys been? And look what you made me do!” Trevors started patting his paperwork with his bandana to absorb the coffee.

“Sorry about that, Lom.” The Kid removed his bandana and tried to help, but the dust from being on the trail caused more of a mess.

“Would you stop!”

Kid looked remorseful. “Sorry.”

“So did Warren sign the amnesty paper?” Heyes impatiently asked again.

“Yes.” Trevors continued to clean up the mess on his desk.

“When?”

“Just before he left office—on November 30.”

“Two months ago?! And we’re just hearing about it now?”

“Well, if you’d have telegraphed me once in awhile like you used to in the beginning, I could have told you sooner. Had no idea where to find you.”

Curry poured two cups of coffee and handed one to Heyes. “It was just so frustratin’ askin’ and hearin’ the same thing over and over…not the right time, boys.”

Heyes gratefully took the cup and took a sip. “Where is it?”

“In my drawer somewhere.” Trevors started rifling through his desk. “You’re lucky. It was the last act Warren signed as governor. Heard from his secretary, Mr. Becker, that he actually signed it and then ripped it up. Then his conscience got the best of him and he asked Becker to draw up a new resolution. Signed it just before midnight. Here it is!” Lom handed the official piece of paper over to Heyes. “How’d you hear about it?”

“Heyes was readin’ old newpapers.” Curry glanced over his partner’s shoulder to see the coveted paper. “Well, what’s it say?”

Heyes swallowed hard and his hands slightly shook as he began to read.



Resolution of Amnesty

Whereas, Under the outlawry pronounced against Hannibal Heyes and Jed “Kid” Curry, who gallantly periled their lives and their all in defense of their principles, they are of necessity made desperate, driven as they are from the fields of honest industry, from their friends, their families, their homes and their country, they can know no law but the law of self-preservation; can have no respect for and feel no allegiance to a government which forces them to the very acts it professes to deprecate and then offers a bounty for their apprehension, and arms foreign mercenaries with power to capture and kill; and

Whereas, Believing these men too brave to be mean; too generous to be revengeful, and too gallant and honorable to betray a friend or break a promise, and believing further, that most, if not all, the offenses with which they are charged have been committed by others, and perhaps by those pretending to hunt them, or by their confederates, that their names are and have been used to divert suspicion from, and thereby relieve the actual perpetrators – that the return of these men to their home and friends would have the effect of greatly lessening crime in our State, by turning public attention to the real criminals, and that common justice, sound policy and true statesmanship alike demand that general amnesty should be extended to all alike, …; therefore be it

Resolved, that Hannibal Heyes and Jed “Kid” Curry are cleared of all charges against them; and be it further

Resolved, that Hannibal Heyes and Jed “Kid” Curry are no longer wanted by the state of Wyoming and there is no longer any bounty for their capture.

Governor Francis E. Warren November 30, 1891
Governor of the State of Wyoming Date



Heyes turned to his partner and friend grinning. “We got it, Kid! We really got it!”



Historical notes –

In February 1885, Warren was appointed Governor of the Territory of Wyoming by President Chester A. Arthur, although he was removed by Democratic President Grover Cleveland in November 1886. He was reappointed by President Benjamin Harrison in March 1889 and served until 1890, when he was elected first Governor of Wyoming (September–November 1890).

In November 1890, Warren resigned as Governor, having been elected to the United States Senate as a Republican, serving until March 4, 1893. He then resumed his former business pursuits before returning to the Senate (March 4, 1895–November 24, 1929).

The above Resolution of Amnesty (the Whereas paragraphs) was written for Jesse James. Found in ‘Jesse James Was His Name’ by William A. Settle, Jr.
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