B&O RR Detective Robert Webber captures Arthur Spencer 1902
on passenger train at Pt of Rocks


Long before Webber approached him, Spencer's right hand had been on the .32 caliber revolver hidden

in his jacket. Leaping to his feet, Arthur drew the gun on Webber,  Spencer began backing away, with the gun aimed at the detective. Arthur moved out through the rear of the car. He made it to the small platform behind the coach, with Webber following him, barely kept at a distance by the brandished gun

Webber dove for the revolver. The two men fought over the gun,rolling about on the hard metal platform.  Webber wrested the gun away. During this battle, Arthur fell off the moving train.


He sprang to his feet, having lost both his gun and his satchel. Arthur began running west, along the tracks. The wiry man had walked hundreds of miles in the past few months and was in top physical condition. Normally, Spencer would expect that he could outrun any railroad man

As the train's momentum subsided, Webber jumped down onto the berm of the track. With a burst of speed that greatly exceeded Spencer's, the athletic detective was closing fast on the fleeing, older man.


Sensing this, Spencer turned right and ran toward higher ground. The newspapers said that he ran

toward "the top of the mountain that is there." Locals would more correctly refer to such a geological

formation as "a ridge." Spencer began heading toward the top of the ridge on the Maryland side,


The ascent was quite steep. It some places, the angle of Arthur's climb greatly exceeded 45 degrees. Climbing such an incline is immediately exhausting, and must be done on all fours, moving like a dog.

In his The Youth's Companion story, "The Battle for Life," Spencer wrote, "Before I realized it, he was

coming toward me with the speed of a whirlwind." Webber overtook the suspect and tackled him on the

hillside, about thirty feet above the level of the tracks


The two men exchanged blows and wrestled, with Spencer kicking and fighting as if for his life. Robert

Webber, well-practiced in the tactics required, began blasting hard right fists into Arthur's head and

jugular, and the animal trainer yelled for mercy


The two combatants were about 3,000 feet west of the train station at Point of Rocks, and quite a good

distance up the stony soil of the ridge. Experienced with animals who resist being moved, Spencer

simply refused to walk. He lay on the ground, offering no assistance toward being taken to the station


"Walk!" yelled Webber. Spencer still refused.Webber grabbed the 150-pound man by the ankles and began dragging him down the abrasive slope. As Spencer sledded down the stony hillside on his back, the pain he felt was immediately agonizing. He screamed for Webber to stop, but Webber shouted, "I'll drag you down this hill until your hide rips off!" And so he continued. Spencer yelled, "I'll stand! I'll stand!" Forced to walk, Arthur was taken to the station at Point of Rocks.

Arriving at the depot with the prisoner, Robert Webber was informed that Washington County Sheriff

Samuel P. Angle had sent a telegram to all stations along the line saying that the suspect known as

"Everett" had eluded him.

Robert Webber instructed the telegrapher to send this message to Sheriff Angle in Winchester, "I have

him at Point of Rocks."

Compiled from  Adam Smith book.

The Man Who Lived in Wade Hall

The Story of Arthur Spencer

by Adam Smith

copyright 2011. Adam Smith. All rights reserved