Arago: Crimes


Detonator used by the DeAutremont brothers


The DeAutremont brothers stole this DuPont Blasting Machine No. 3 from the Oregon City Construction Company and used it to perpetrate the robbery of a mail train. Made of 5/8-inch thick wood joined with mortice and tenon and flathead screws, the device has a plunger, a leather strap handle, and two butterfly connections. The metal advertising plate on top of the device provides instructions for use.

The twins Roy and Ray DeAutremont and their younger brother Hugh ambushed the Southern Pacific train #13 near Siskiyou, Oregon, on October 11, 1923. The brothers killed three railway employees after stopping the train. They used too much dynamite to blow open the safe, and the explosion and fire burned much of the mail and claimed the life of the Railway Post Office clerk. An extensive international manhunt produced the arrest of Hugh DeAutremont in 1927, followed by the apprehension of his brothers a few months later. All three were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Hugh died in 1958, Roy died in 1983, and Ray died in 1984.

October 11, 1923
Dupont / Blasting Machine / No 3 [on metal plate, top of device]
wood; metal; leather; paper
Height x Width x Depth: 17 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 6 in. (44.45 x 21.59 x 15.24 cm) Weight: 26 lb.
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