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Historical Note - Week of March 1st

The Butte Inter Mountain, March 3, 1903


A Well-Known Oldtimer Passes Away at Gardiner—A Prospector


Livingston, March 3.—J.W. Moore, better known as “Pike” Moore, an old-timer, who first discovered gold in Cooke City in 1870, is dead at Gardiner at the age of 70. The first mine he located in Cooke City was the Shoo Fly. He was offered $25,000 for the property, but refused it, wanting $30,000. Barring the possession of a few mining claims, he died poor. He leaves a brother in Connecticut and a sister in Missouri.

Extra Article:

The Butte Inter Mountain, March 3, 1903


With His Gun in His Foot, Enters Rooms of The California Club and Secures Coin-Shaves Himself at the Station When Arrested

One of the boldest robberies recorded in the history of Butte and Silver Bow counties, as well as one of the most unique methods of holding up that could possibly be imagined, was perpetrated shortly before 2 o’clock this morning when C. Payne, an armless man, entered the gambling hall of the California club and with a 44-caliber revolver between his toes compelled the dealer at one of the faro tables to give up $5 which the crippled man had lost earlier in the evening.

That a man without either of his upper limbs could manipulate a large revolver with his toes sufficiently well to terrorize every man in a large gambling hall, seems incredible, yet such are the facts. It is said that when Payne stepped into the middle of the room and at the same time flourished the weapon at the end of his foot, gamblers, players, boosters and all scattered like coyotes at the growl of a wolf.


“What do you want?” was asked the armless but armed man by one of the faro bank dealers when the latter had sufficiently recovered his composure to talk.

“I want my money,” was the reply.

“What money?”

“That $5 that I lost here an hour ago. And, what’s more, if I don’t get it pretty quick I’ll shoot up the house.”

The faro dealer opened his money drawer, took out a $5 bill and handed it over to the man with the gun between his toes. The latter stretched his gun leg far enough to put the weapon back in his pocket, and, with a sweeping bow, left the hall.

It was 10 minutes before there was a move. Then someone gasped in astonishment. This seemed to be the awakening signal, and 40 men were soon in the middle of the floor.

“Why didn’t you take the bloomin’ gun away from him?” asked one gambler of another.

“Take it yerself,” was the gruff response.

Then a general self-kicking went the rounds. No one could understand how a man without arms could awe a crowd into absolute submission. All hated to admit it had been done and some passed it over lightly by declaring the wielder of the gun must be a supernatural being.


At 2 o’clock the matter was reported at police headquarters and several policemen went out to look for the armless wonder, but he couldn’t be found until this morning.

His arrest follows another chapter of the story. Policemen Buckley and Lyden and Officer Barney McGillie heard there was a disturbance at No. 38 East Mercury street and went to the scene. When they entered the house they found Payne with a razor between the toes of one foot and a big pistol between the toes of the other. The occupants of the house were all under the beds or in the closets. The sight of the policeman’s uniforms infuriated Payne and he made several passes with the razor at Buckley and Lyden. McGillie was dressed in citizen’s clothes and had no trouble in disarming the man. The patrol wagon was sent for and Payne was taken to the city jail, where he was locked up.

There he amused the other prisoners by sitting in a chair before a small mirror and shaving himself, the razor being between the toes of his right foot. He seemed to be under the influence of liquor and later went to asleep, when the razor was taken from him for fear he would try to do further damage.

Payne will be held on two charges—for robbing a gambling house and for firing a shot at Pete Auerbach, one of the men in the house on East Mercury street. The police believe the man is crazed with drink.

From what can be learned Payne came to Butte from Spokane. He is a vaudeville performer, one of his specialties being the shooting of glass balls thrown in the air with a revolver held between his toes. He can shuffle off his shoes in a twinkling and draw his gun.

The man is considered a wonder and his work of holding up the gambling house single-handed (or, rather, single footed) is the talk of the town.

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