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Mojave Desert History: Pioneer of the Mojave
Lane's Crossing

OUTLAWS CAPTURED AT LANE'S

One constant threat on the Mojave came from the criminals in the California southland who sought to avoid capture by escaping through Cajon Pass and out into the desert. A potentially deadly incident took place at Lane's in March of 1859, when a deputy sheriff and posse trailed a dangerous criminal to the upper crossing.

Undersheriff H. E. Lewis and Police Officer W. C. Warren, both of Los Angeles, had tracked a suspect by the name of Wade Helm to Agua Mansa. Helm was wanted statewide for the vicious murder of a miner, and the governor had offered a reward for his arrest. Losing the trail in Agua Mansa, the officers continued on to San Bernardino, and upon inquiry were told the suspect had been seen at Martin's Ranch in Cajon Pass.

After recruiting two local citizens and acquiring fresh horses from Cajon toll road owner John Brown and another man, they headed out to Martin's, where they learned that their quarry had spent the night at the ranch and had left that morning. The posse followed the tracks of Helm's horse, which led them to Lane's way station.

Helm and an accomplice named Mace were inside the station when the posse arrived, and the two came out with pistols "drawn and cocked." At this point it looked like a gun fight was inevitable, but Deputy Lewis skillfully defused the situation and arrested Helm and Mace without bloodshed.

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