One thing that can always be said about the folks who reside now and who resided in past years in Wallace and Burke is that we look out for our own. Sure, we may get into a knock down punching match in a local bar or on the school grounds but, let a stranger come in and try it there is a very serious price to pay.
It was late on September 23, 1962 when the proprietor of the Combination Bar in Burke,Idaho was shot and seriously wounded. The Spokane Daily Chronicle told it like this.
Mrs. Esther Vincent battled for her life in Providence Hospital in near-by Wallace where her condition is reported as weakened. Emergency surgery failed to locate the bullet which entered her body between the hip and the stomach, and several blood transfusions were given during surgery. More surgery is planned to find and remove the bullet.It was getting late on the 23,rd when a stranger to town picked the wrong bar to hold up. The robber was leaving the bar with $150.00 of the bar's money. As he fled the bar. Mrs. Vincent evidently did not take kindly to losing her money, and in a act of either defiance or desperation, she hurled a bar stool at the man and followed him outside. Unfortunately for Mrs. Vincent, the perpetrator had a .22 pistol and shot the proprietor three times.
Now, the good old boys of Burke did not take kindly to having the lady who served their drinks shot, Two of the town's citizens fired shots at the fleeing low life, but their bullets fell short of the mark. Well, I can tell you, the whole town was up in arms. You don't mess with the locals, and you sure as heck don't shoot the lady who provides your drinks.
Again, here is how the Chronicle reported it.
Two witnesses said that the robber fled into the Hecla Mining Company mill,but he was not found.
Residents throughout town armed themselves and joined Sheriff Gardner, his deputies, and police from Wallace in a building to building search.
Yes, the wild, wild, west was still alive in Burke in 1962. Burke and Wallace were tough, tough, towns. Beware, don't mess with the locals. They will protect their own. Now, I wonder, was this robber ever found, did he get away with it, or was a little vigilante justice administered in the mill? I don't know the answer.