By Corene Hulse
Above, the site of the 1906 robbery on Kennewick Avenue and Auburn Street that led to the shooting deaths of three lawmen and one criminal. Photos courtesy of the East Benton County Historical Society.
The events leading to the 1906 shootout began sometime the night before, on October 30. That night, two Kennewick, Washington stores, Kennewick Hardware and Tull & Goodwin General Merchandise, on opposite corners of Kennewick Avenue and Auburn Street, were burglarized. A woman living nearby saw the culprits, and her husband called Marshal Glover. The marshal found the two stores had been broken into, burglarized, and the interiors damaged. Glover sent to Prosser (the county seat) for Sheriff McNeill, who arrived by train at 10 o’ clock that next morning, on Halloween.
In the mean time, Deputy Holzhey, and Stag saloon owner, H.E. Roseman, were the first to reach a group of poplar trees, next to the Northern Pacific railroad bridge. The trees were often used by transients, and were referred to locally as the “hobo jungle,” which lay approximately a mile away from the site of the robberies.
They spotted two men by a campfire: Kid Barker (Robert E. Barker, age 16) and “Jake” Lake, a Wallula sheep herder. One of the men told Holzhey and Roseman in an angry tone that he didn’t like them snooping around, and to stay away or there would be trouble. Holzhey told them they were looking for the missing loot from the robberies, and they searched their packs, but found nothing, and then returned to town.
Back in town, they met up with Marshal Glover and Sheriff McNeill, and all four decided to return to the poplar grove. It was about three o’clock in the afternoon.
According to a later interview of Kid Barker, he had come from Montana, and had met up with Jake to go to Spokane to a fair, and then returned to Kennewick to camp in the poplar trees.
When they saw the lawmen returning in greater numbers, Jake said to Kid Barker, “we’ll make the bulls hike back to town, get your gun.” Kid Barker claimed he was behind Jake when he stepped out and asked the lawmen why they were following them, ordering them to throw up their hands, pointing his rifle at them at the same time. As the lawmen reached for their guns, Jake started shooting.
H.E. Roseman, who was unarmed, was behind the lawmen and later gave this account of the firefight: “Jake said, ‘Good evening gentlemen. You’re looking for trouble, and you’re going to get it,’ and fired the rifle.” Holzhey dropped at the first shot. Roseman scampered for cover hearing more shots. He saw Marshal Glover fall, and Sheriff McNeill continued firing his revolver until the bullets were gone, and wounded, he retreated to the railroad tracks. Roseman found him there and rushed him to Kennewick on a railroad handcart.
A posse was quickly formed and galloped to the scene of the shooting. There they found Glover dead and Holzhey seriously wounded with a gunshot to the abdomen. He died the next morning.
Later that evening, they found the body of the dead outlaw, Jacob Lake, and returned to Kennewick with it. Kid Barker had disappeared.
By now, Kennewick citizens and the surrounding area were in a furor. A deputy had arrived from Prosser with 20 men, and by dusk 200 men were armed and waiting for a Walla Walla prison guard to arrive with a pack of bloodhounds.
Throughout the night, the area was searched, giving special attention to the poplar grove, and “hobo jungle.” There at the grove, the bloodhounds were baying and throngs from Kennewick were interfering with the search. Posse member Forrest Perry (24), married, came upon the bandit, Kid Barker, and said, “Up with your hands, or I will shoot every one of you,” thinking there was more than one in hiding.
Other posse members, who could hear shouting, but could not see him because of the dense brush and darkness, thought he was the bandit, and fired their guns. Perry died three hours later.
Kid Barker surrendered, and admitted his role in the shooting, but claimed he never hit anyone. He was taken to jail in Prosser. After a few months, he escaped the jail and was never heard from again.
In 1998, Lawmen Honored in Special Ceremony
Ninety-two years later, on May 11, 1998 at Riverview Heights Cemetery, the two men were honored with the Medal of Honor as part of the state-wide project to recognize all lawmen killed in the line of duty in Washington State from 1855 to 1998.
Marshall Glover left a widow and five young children without a father. He was a dedicated and respected lawman, as was shown by the large gathering at his funeral services on November 3, 1906. He would be remembered for starting the first night patrols in Kennewick and being instrumental in building Kennewick’s first jail. He was the first executive officer of the Kennewick Board of Health.
Joseph Holzhey was 33 years old and had lived in Kennewick for three years. During that time, he had become Glover’s right-hand man. After his funeral, his body was returned to his hometown of Bedina, Kansas for internment.