100 years ago, he got caught…

Princeton has had its share of colourful characters, and the "Gentleman Bandit" was one of them

'Gentleman Bandit' Bill Miner

'Gentleman Bandit' Bill Miner

Princeton has had its share of colourful characters. Around 1904, a soft spoken southern gentleman came to Princeton in search of peace, quiet and a climate compatible with his health.

“George Edwards” as he called himself, settled in at the Mount Baldy ranch of Jack Budd, whom he was said to have met in Texas. The true nature of their relationship was never known.

Throughout Mr. Edwards’ stay in Princeton, he became well-liked by all who knew him. He was noted for kindness and generosity to children, his charm with the ladies, was reportedly a good dancer and also skilled at playing the fiddle.

Some residents remembered that he dabbled a little in prospecting and farming, but didn’t seem to work very much. Despite this, he never lacked for money and had a strange habit of disappearing for short periods of time. No one suspected the soft spoken gentleman called George Edwards was actually Bill Miner, infamous train robber and prison escape artist.

Jack Budd’s ranch was used as a place to plan Miner’s next train robbery near Kamloops. The other members of his gang were Louis Calquhoun, a quiet unassuming school teacher from Ontario and William “Shorty” Dunn, who worked as a clerk in the A.L. White Hardware Store.

Shortly after the train robbery near Kamloops, the three were captured and sent to prison in New Westminster.

It is believed that Bill Miner was helped by the CPR to escape, and he fled to the States where he was again captured. After escaping one last time, he died in the Milledgeville, Georgia prison in 1913.

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