Compiled by The Idaho County Historical Society and

The Bicentennial Historical Museum



DECEMBER 7, 1900


Grangeville, Dec. 6 – Joe Smith was killed Tuesday night at the Dewey mine by Andy Gilbert accused Smith of stealing.  Smith was cut in the abdomen and after receiving the injury, he shot Gilbert through the mouth.  Gilbert escaped and fled to Harpster where he was captured.  Smith died Wednesday at 2 a.m.  A preliminary examination was held this morning at 10 o’clock before Probate Judge Vincent.  There has been talk of lynch law, but the sheriff has taken measures to insure the safety of the prisoner.



DECEMBER 15, 1900

Grangeville – Andy Gilbert, who killed Joe Smith, has been held with bail to the district court to answer the charge of murder in the first degree.



MAY 2, 1901


Idaho County Man Convicted of Murder in the Second Degree

A Mount Idaho dispatch to the Spokane Review says:

Andy Gilbert, charged with killing Joseph Smith on the south fork of the Clearwater, near the Dewey Mine, last winter, was found guilty of murder in the second degree by a jury in the district court today.  The killing of Smith was a result of a desperate duel, in which Smith used a gun and Gilbert a knife.  The men had fought from a tent on the bank of the river to the middle of the stream before persons arrived on the scene and separated them.  Smith died a few moments later from the wounds.  Gilbert was shot in the jaw.

Mrs. Smith, widow of the murdered man, was an eye witness of the affray.  Both Smith and Gilbert were well known residents of Idaho County, and were employed in the Dewey mine.



MAY 17, 1902


Judgment of Lower Court, in Case of Andrew Gilbert, Sent to Penitentiary for Life, was Affirmed – Twenty Opinions to be Prepared

State of Idaho, respondent, vs. Andrew Gilbert, appellant.  This case having been heard here-to-fore and taken under advisement by the court, was called again and the decision of the questions involved was made and the opinion was delivered by Chief Justice Quaries, and sustained the judgment of the lower court.  The case was filed in the Supreme Court October 9, 1901, being an appeal from Idaho county district court.  The papers in the case show that Andrew Gilbert was charged with murder, and there being no grand jury he was tried on information filed by the county attorney.  Gilbert was found guilty of the murder of Joseph Smith, the crime having been committed at Camp Dewey December 4, 1900, in Idaho County.  He was sentenced to imprisonment for life in the penitentiary. 

Thirty-six errors were assigned, all of which were reviewed by the court.   One was the summonsing of a jury on Sunday.  The court held that this was a ministerial and not a judicial act and was not prohibited by statute.  The opinion sustains the judgment of the court below at every point. 



MAY 18, 1907


Andrew Gilbert, a “Trusty”, Has Not Been Seen Since 9 o’clock Last Night


Missing Man Worked With Crawford on Night Shift at Power House – Acting Queerly of Late and May Have Wandered Away – Indications That He Was Induced to Leave

Andrew Gilbert, a Swede, trusty and life termer at the state penitentiary, has been missing from that institution since about 9 o’clock last night and what efforts were made last night to get trace of him failed. 

Warden Whitney thinks it possible that his mind is unbalanced, his actions of late tending to show weakening of his mental faculties.  But if this proves to be not true, the warden says he will be convinced that influence has been brought to bear on Gilbert by prisoners and outsiders causing him to leave.

The absence of Gilbert was reported to the penitentiary office at 10 o’clock by Dave Harwood, also a prisoner, with whom Gilbert worked at the power house on the night shift.  Harwood and Gilbert have been coming in from the power house to supper at 10 o’clock each evening.  Harwood could not find Gilbert when he left for supper last evening and reported at the office that he had not seen him since 9 o’clock.

Warden Whitney at once sent several guards on an inspection of the grounds and outbuildings in search of the missing man, but at 12 o’clock no trace of him had been found.  The warden puts most credence in the belief that Gilbert’s mind is unbalanced and he will probably send out men today to thoroughly scour the hills in the hope of finding him.

Gilbert was sentenced from Idaho county June 6, 1901, for murder in the second degree.  For some time he had been a trusty and Warden Whitney stated last night that the missing man often took walks of four or five miles into the hills, but always returned soon.  He had thousands of opportunities to escape, the warden stated, but he was fully trusted and such a thing as his leaving surprises Warden Whitney.  The warden cannot believe that Gilbert left of his own free will or was influenced to go, holding to the belief that his mind was given way and that he is now wandering around somewhere in the hills.

There are some indications that he has had assistance, said the warden last night, and simply hiked.  We have been checking up pretty closely around here of late and have found evidences that indicate Gilbert may have been advised by prisoners and outsiders to make his get-away.  I think I know from what source such advice, if any, came, but I do not care to state the source at this time.

I am more convinced, however, that Gilbert’s mind has become unbalanced and has caused him to wander away from the grounds.  He had been acting queerly of late – sleeping and eating little and his talk indicating that he was off.

Gilbert has been doing the first night shift in running the engines at the power house and attending to other duties.  He worked until 12 o’clock, during which time Harwood was sleeping, and would then go to his bunk for the remainder of the night.

Gilbert yesterday received a letter from Idaho County written by a friend in which it was stated that several friends, of whom he had many strong ones in Idaho County, would come to Boise soon to see what they could do to secure his release.  The letter contained nothing to cause Gilbert to leave, it was stated by Warden Whitney.  The warden further said that Gilbert had a good chance with his excellent behavior since his term began, to get his sentence commuted.  Gilbert knew this, the warden stated, which makes him more convinced that he did not leave voluntarily.

The missing man is 50 years of age.  He is 5 feet 9 inches in height, of light complexion, light hair and blue eyes.  He talks in broken Swedish and has a peculiar walk.  He sort of stumbles along.  His legs are slightly bowed and he shows his age.



MAY 19, 1907


Life Term Murderer Trusty is Fifty Years of Age

Boise, Idaho, May 18

Andrew Gilbert escaped from the State Penitentiary last night.  He was serving a term for life for murder in the first degree, having been sent up from Idaho County, June 6, 1901.  Gilbert was a trusty and one of the men who had charge of the prison power house.  He is 50 years of age.



MAY 19, 1907


Searching Parties Fail to Locate Andrew Gilbert, Who Left Penitentiary Friday

Andrew Gilbert, the Swede Trusty who was missed from the penitentiary Friday night, is still at liberty and the officials at the penitentiary have not yet found any clue to his where-abouts.  A report was made to them that a man answering the description of the escaped convict was seen Friday evening about 7 o’clock near the river on Eleventh street, but Warden Whitney says that the person seen could not have been the man as Gilbert did not make his escape until bout 8:45 o’clock.

Men scoured the hills back of the penitentiary as it was thought very likely Gilbert had lost his mind and might be wandering around in the hills.  He had been acting very queer for quite a while before his get-away.

Warden Whitney says he is now firmly convinced that Gilbert was given assistance form both outside and inside the penitentiary.  The search will be kept up  and it is expected the fugitive will be found before many days have passed, if he has not thrown himself into the river as he suggested to a guard recently.



June 28, 1907


Wraps His Feet in Rags to Throw Bloodhounds from His Trail – Friends Give Him Assistance in Evading Officers – Jurymen Who Convicted Him Apprehensive of Their Lives

Although a guard from the penitentiary has visited that part of the state to which Andrew Gilbert, the trusty and life termer is supposed to have fled after his escape from the penitentiary several weeks ago and has been assisted I his search for him by deputies and others.  Gilbert has not been apprehended and it is thought he is now in the hills at the head of the Clearwater River.  The following interesting story printed in the Idaho County Free Press tells of the flight of Gilbert, who it is feared has returned to his old haunts seeking the lives of the jurymen who convicted him of murder, and of Gilbert having been assisted in evading the officers:

Andrew Gilbert, the murderer sent up from this county for life, and who escaped from the state prison at Boise a month ago, has been tracked to his old haunts in the Clearwater country, where he has completely dropped out of sight.  Since hi escape from the prison it has been learned from fellow prisoners that Gilbert’s intentions were if he ever escaped to come to Grangeville and vicinity and inaugurate a carnival of murder by taking the lives of many of the men who gave evidence or served on the jury which found him guilty.

D.P. Rich, captain of the guards of the penitentiary, and C.S. Stone, who had been deputized by Rich, arrived in this city Saturday night and left Sunday in search of the convict.  According to the prison authorities they have been conducting a diligent search for Gilbert ever since his escape, using blood hounds to track him but on account of the prisoner having wrapped his feet with old rags the dogs were unable to trail him.


Trailed From Squaw Creek

When news was received of his having been near Squaw creek, Rich started to trail him and followed him through the mountains to the Little Salmon.  It seems Gilbert came down the breaks of the Little Salmon to Race Creek where he crossed and went into the country known as the “Traps,” climbed out and came on down the Salmon to a point opposite Lucille, where he dropped into the rough country known as the “Hole in the Ground,” crawling out onto the point and made his way to Reed’s ranch, arriving there on the night of May 30.  He stayed all night with Reed who little knew he was keeping an escaped convict.  Before leaving the ranch on the following morning he told Reed he was Andy Gilbert, the man who was doing time for killing Smith and when Reed expressed grave doubts regarding his statements he unbuttoned his shirt and exposed the scar on his neck which he has always claimed was the result of a bullet fired by Smith. 


Claimed He Was Pardoned

To Reed he stated he had been pardoned from the prison and was going to cross the river at the Widow Rubies and enter the Clearwater country.  He undoubtedly made this statement to throw anyone off his trail who might be in pursuit, as he went down the Salmon between the divide of the Salmon and Snake until in the vicinity of White Bird.  ON the evening of the thirty-first he took supper at the Otto ranch and stated to them he was a prospector.  He had with his a small prospector’s pick and a gunny sack containing just what is not known.  Before leaving here he inquired about certain people on the Doumecq.  Came up to Rice Creek and following it to its mouth, then worked his way down the Salmon to Lancaster’s arriving here perhaps June 1st.  Her it seem he received food and shelter and information from the outside world.


Found Friend in Lancaster

Due to certain information which the men in pursuit had it was figured out by the guard and Stone that hew as or had been at Lancaster’s.  It seems along about June 1 Lancaster and his wife went to Cottonwood and had secured a young fellow by the name of Peters to do the chores while they were away.  Peters went to the place Saturday evening, June 1 and found a man sleeping in the brush.  The dogs barked and aroused the stranger who stated to the young man that he was awaiting the arrival of Lancaster and that Peters need not return the next morning to do the work as he might just as well look after things.  Peters went over the following morning and found Gilbert sleeping in the barn.  It is only just to state that Peters did not know Gilbert, and had no idea he was other than an ordinary citizen of the law-abiding sort.  Gilbert remained at the Lancaster home just about ten days and here received news of the reward offered for his capture and food and shelter.  Lancaster knew full well what he was doing and that sheltering a criminal was contrary to law and a grave crime must have been knowledge of his.  The law is very severe in cases of this kind and there is no doubt but that it will be enforced to the letter in this instance.


Strategy of Pursuers

The way the pursuers worked the story and admission out of Lancaster cannot but help provoking admiration for the average reader.  The guard secreted himself in the undergrowth near the Lancaster home, as he is known by Lancaster, and Stone visited the ranch under the pretense of buying cattle.  He took dinner with the family and during the meal casually remarked that he had noticed the state was offering a reward of $50 for the capture of Andy Gilbert.  The effect this had on the man of the house was noticeable and with other information elicited in various ways, Stone was sure Gilbert had been or was on the place.  IN the afternoon he rode out with Lancaster to look at the cattle and when well away from the house, reined up his horse and said to Lancaster:  “I want you to take me to Andy Gilbert; I want you to produce him.”  Lancaster replied: “why, Stoney, what do you mean?”  Stone mad it plain to Lancaster that he was sure Gilbert had been there and if he didn’t tell all he knew they would take him along.  With these remarks Lancaster admitted that he had been there only for a few days.  Said he had taken him across the river on the evening of June 10 and made a few minor admissions.


Almost Lose Lives

The guard and Stone were taken across by Lancaster and almost lost their lives, the boat being carried down the stream in the riffle for a mile and finally they effected a landing at a point a day’s journey from the trail.   He was followed up the Bowman trail to northwest of Tolo where he took the section road and came out the section road headed east for the Clearwater country.

Unsuccessful in Clearwater

A posse has been searching the Clearwater country for the past several days but up to the present time without any success.  News comes from over that way that a general exodus of the people of the Clearwater country is at hand since the news indicating his presence over there.  The search will not be given up and every effort will be made to capture the blood-thirsty brute who has, on more than one occasion expressed his intention to kill as many of the good citizens who were instrumental in his conviction as possible.  His life is of no consequence and he undoubtedly counts on revenge at all hazards.  The law is very plain and mighty severe upon those who harbor criminals and carries with it a term in the state’s prison; it might be well for any who are kindly disposed toward the escaped man to tarry long before they take him under the roof or assist him in any manner.





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