A Hold Up at the Silver Moon Saloon

Joplin had the atmosphere of the roughest mining towns in the American West. On the evening of December 8, 1903, the Silver Moon Saloon was the scene of a “bold hold-up.” Located at the northeast corner of Fifteenth and Main Streets, the Silver Moon Saloon may not have been as refined as Joplin’s famed House of Lords, but it served the needs of the countless men who crossed its threshold.

Main Street Joplin circa 1906 or earlier.

Main Street Joplin circa 1906 or earlier.

It was 10:40 in the evening. The saloon was empty, save for Einhart, the proprietor, and an old man who was passed out from a bout of heavy drinking. Einhart was cleaning glasses when two men strode into the saloon. As Einhart later told a Globe reporter, “They were strangers to me and I did not pay any particular attention to them when they started to the rear. I did not take my eyes off of my work. They certainly did not appear to be robbers. Neither of them looked vicious.”

The two men silently approached Einhart with their Colt .45 revolvers pointed at him. The saloon owner confessed, “Without saying a word they induced me to throw up my hands for I could see then that they meant business.” One of the men came around the bar and riffled through Einhart’s pockets. He pulled out Einhart’s watch, but the bar owner protested, saying it was a present from a “very good friend.” The robber laughed and told him he could keep it. Einhart then pointed his assailant to the cash register, secretly pleased he had already taken out most the night’s take earlier in the evening.

At this, the old man who had been passed out suddenly revived, looked at the two robbers, and “ran out the side door and headed down Fifteenth Street as hard as he could, screaming meantime as loud as possible.” Frightened, the two men grabbed money from cash register, dashed out the door, and ran east down Fifteenth Street. For their efforts, the two men pocketed $32.10 out of the cash register, a couple of dollars out of Einhart’s pockets, and some checks.

Joplin Police Officer Snow and Night Watchman Heady began tracking down leads in the case within the hour. By the end of the night, they arrested two suspects, Oscar Orman and C. Ownes, both of whom had come to Joplin from Galena, Kansas, earlier in the evening. Both men were locked up and charges followed the next day.

Source: Joplin Globe

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