Friday, July 15, 2011

Now This Was A Bad, Bad Man...!

There are lot's of really bad guys in the annuls of history, and this guy was one of them!

I guess that what attracted me to this guy's history was the fact that he was a real life hermit! Interesting fellow to read about! I found this article over at!

Jul 15, 1904:
The Mad Trapper of Rat River heads for U.S.

When he was six years old, the Norwegian Jonsen headed for America with his family on this day in 1904. His Swedish father settled the family on a barren 320-acre homestead in North Dakota. At an early age, Jonsen became a skilled outdoorsman and hunter, and by the time he was in his teens was bored with the backbreaking life of a high plains farmer. He struck up a friendship with a local rustler and gunslinger named Bert Dekler who helped him refine his expertise with a pistol.

In 1915, at the age of 17, Jonsen committed his first robbery, seizing $2,800 from the Farmers' State Bank of Medicine Lake, Montana. He managed a successful escape, but was later apprehended in Wyoming for horse theft and returned to Montana. He served three years in the Montana State Penitentiary before being released and quickly returning to a life in crime.

Because he used a variety of aliases, it is difficult to know exactly how many crimes Jonsen committed, but they were apparently abundant. Yet, as he grew older Jonsen began to retreat into the wilderness, where he increasingly became an antisocial hermit. By 1930, he was living in a cabin along the Rat River in an isolated far northeastern section of the Canadian Yukon. There he tolerated no visitors and survived by trapping beaver. He had not totally abandoned his larcenous ways, though--other trappers complained that he pillaged their trap lines.

In late December 1931, an officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and three other men arrived at Jonsen's cabin with a search warrant to investigate the claims that he was pilfering from other trappers' lines. When the Mountie knocked, Jonsen replied by shooting through the door, wounding the officer in the chest. The four men fled, but a larger force returned soon after and began a 15-hour attack with gunfire and dynamite that failed to force Jonsen's surrender. The following day, a blizzard swept in and Jonsen managed to sneak off obscured by the thick curtains of snow. A massive manhunt began that eventually involved scores of men aided by airplanes, dog teams, and skilled Indian guides. Yet, Jonsen-traveling on foot with almost no food-managed to avoid capture for more than month.

On February 17, 1932, the posse found Jonsen and trapped him on the ice in the middle of a frozen river. Still Jonsen refused to surrender. He shot one of his pursuers before the posse killed him with a massive volley of bullets. Having survived 45 days traveling through some of the roughest country in the world with almost no food, the once robust "Mad Trapper of Rat River" was skin and bones. His corpse weighed less than 100 pounds.

Like I said, this was one bad man! Made some of the outlaws we had in the wild west seem pretty tame in comparison!

What say we get some fresh coffee and sit outside on the patio! Just might get some sprinkles!


Sixbears said...

He might have been bad, but he certainly was tough.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
This is the kind of guy you would want on your side in a fight!

Just think how much we could learn from someone like this!

Hard to catch as well! Hey, thanks for coming by today!

chinasyndrome said...

Sounds like Charles Bronson's death hunt was loosely based on this fella.


JoJo said...

Great story. Keep em coming. I love to read these on your blog. I sure hope you get that rain today and not just some sprinkles.
I wil have another cup with you before I take off to Greer. Hope to get some great photos.

HermitJim said...

Hey China...
I was thinking the very same thing! Makes a big difference when you read about some of the real characters, doesn't it?

Hey, thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey JoJo...
I'm glad you find these stories entertaining!

I've given up on the rain, just about. Lots of thunder and clouds, but that's all.

Good luck on getting some good pictures!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

Craig Cavanaugh said...

One tough hombre for sure!

Marjie said...

It would make a good movie, if movie makers were interested in stories these days instead of the shoot-em-up inane things and "CGI" that pass for movies.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

The things I learn when reading your posts, HJ. Thanks for posting this story of one tough dude.

HermitJim said...

Hey Craig...
He did seem to be just that, didn't he?

Not someone you want to mess with, I think!

Hey buddy, thanks for coming over today!

Hey Marjie...
They did make a movie with a very similar story line, starring Charles Bronson! Pretty good movie!

I really appreciate you coming by today!

Hey Beatrice...
I do hope you enjoy all these crazy stories I put on here! Lots of history out there to read about!

I hope that you find it a little entertaining!

Many thanks for coming by today!