The Horace Gee home in Marlow

COURTESY

A carriage stops by the home of Horace Gee in Marlow. The night of June 11, 1850, another horse and carriage visited Gee, the carriage filled with stolen loot from a Charlestown bank.

At about 9 p.m. on the evening of June 11, 1850, Abijah Larned and an accomplice broke into the bank at Charlestown. By midnight they had loaded nearly $12,000 in gold, silver and bills into their carriage and drove peacefully out of town.

Eleven miles to the south they came to the long hill between Drewsville and Marlow. The pair decided to get out of the carriage so that their horse would have less weight to carry up the hill. One man walked in front of the carriage, one man behind. When they arrived at the top of the hill, the horse and carriage were nowhere to be seen. Each man thought that the other had been guiding the horse. They went back down the hill, but still could not find the carriage. They searched for a few hours in the dark, but realizing that the authorities would soon be searching for them, they made their escape as morning arrived.

At about the same hour, Horace Gee of Marlow found the horse and carriage wandering in the road near his home. Mr. Gee soon learned of the robbery and returned the money to Charlestown to claim a reward that had been offered.

Abijah Larned was later arrested and agreed to return to Charlestown to stand trial, probably in part so that he could learn what had happened to his carriage of riches. He asked to be taken before the bank officers, where he confessed to the crime and apologized for the trouble he had caused. Furthermore, he insisted that he repay any expenses incurred by the crime, including damage done to the vault and the reward paid to Horace Gee. Larned told the story of the lost carriage and it was determined that the horse had turned off on a side road halfway up the long hill and peacefully continued along to Gee’s house in Marlow.

Larned’s apology so impressed the local officials that they returned his burglar’s tools and allowed him to leave Charlestown after posting a small bail. Needless to say, Larned jumped bail and never returned to stand trial. He did continue to use his burglar’s tools, however, and was later arrested and jailed for robbing the bank in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Alan F. Rumrill is executive director of the Historical Society of Cheshire County, which has been collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the region since 1927. It’s on Main Street. To learn more about its public programs and collections, visit hsccnh.org.