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HomeHistory StoriesFrom the Files of the Lassen Historical Society: The Bogard Family

From the Files of the Lassen Historical Society: The Bogard Family

John Jasper Bogard

by Susan Couso

George Jasper Bogard was born in Indiana in 1811 and died in Tehama County in 1867. The Bogards were of French descent (the name comes from ‘someone living near an orchard’). Bogard and his wife, Elizabeth, had five children. They brought their family out west and became farmers, mainly raising sheep.

As their sons, Andrew Jackson Bogard and John Jasper Bogard took over the family business, after their father’s death, they brought their sheep into Lassen County’s Eagle Lake Basin for summer grazing. This was in the 1870’s, and their sheep grazed in the area of Bogard Ranger Station, Bogard Buttes, etc. In 1931, a road was built through the area, and today’s State Route 44 roughly follows the path.

As the sheep business faltered, the Bogard brothers turned to other forms of employment, and John Jasper Bogard became the Sheriff of Tehama County. In 1895, Sheriff Bogard was a passenger on the north bound Oregon Express train when it was forced to stop between Wheatland and Reed Station and held up by two robbers.

The bandits forced the engineer and fireman, at gunpoint, to leave the engine cab and go to the express car. Then, they were told to order the messenger to open the door.

The messenger responded, but the car had nothing of value for the robbers. The outlaws then decided to rob the passengers. The engineer, fireman and messenger were all forced to head to the day coach and ‘smoking car’, where the gunmen terrorized the passengers and took what valuables they could grab.

As the bigger of the suspects, named Jack Brady, headed down the aisle of the smoking car, Sheriff John Bogard, quietly observing the scene, was ready. When he was told to raise his hands, he brought up his right hand with a pistol in it and began firing, killing the bandit with the first shot. The other suspect, a man named Browning, was standing guard outside.

He came from the other end of the car, behind Bogard and began firing. One of his bullets hit Bogard in the back, killing him in an instant. He continued firing, wounding Fireman Nethercott who was shot in the neck and leg. Browning dropped the bag of loot from the passengers as he turned to run, jumped from the train and escaped.

Thus, one of Northern California’s most exciting train robberies occurred, and authorities were brought out in full force. The manhunt was on. Nethercott eventually recovered from his wounds, and Browning was captured several weeks later, sentenced to prison, and paroled in the 1930’s.

The train robbery and murder of Sheriff Bogard made a sensational story that was carried in newspapers throughout the West. Bogard’s widow was paid $5,000 by the railroad for his part in preventing the robbery.

After John Jasper Bogard’s death in 1895, his brother Andrew Jackson Bogard became Sheriff of Tehama County. He lived a long successful life, dying in 1930.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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