Albert Mansker was convicted of robbing a train, and he was executed by hanging.
Although the Find A Grave profile gives a birth year of 1852, the census records give years of 1855 and 1856. Since Albert was five during the 1860 census, 1855 is the most likely correct estimate for his birth year.
William Albert was living with his parents during the 1860 census at Kelley, Ripley, Missouri.
William Albert was living with his siblings (parents absent from census) at Thomas, Butler, Missouri during the 1870 census.
The Daily Arkansas Gazette in an article 7 Apr 1894 reported that this William Mansker married Mollie Jones. However, a careful examination of this claim shows there was a different William Richard Mansker who married Mollie Jones, and that this different William Richard Mansker lived until 1919. The Daily Arkansas Gazette claimed William Albert Mansker had two or three additional wives, but there is no evidence to support this claim.
William Albert Mansker married Mary Mullens 5 Mar 1893 at Crawford County, Arkansas.
William Albert is said to have been a school teacher.
Albert Mansker was widely known for his participation in a train robbery, and was a farm laborer up to that time.
Died by hanging 6 Apr 1894 at Newport, Jackson, Arkansas.
Albert requested to be buried next to his friend, James Wyrick. James Wyrick is buried at Oakhill Cemetery, Fountain lake, Garland, Arkansas; however there are no grave markers for Albert Mansker at Oakhill Cemetery.
There is a story on the Internet that claims Albert Mansker is really an alias for John Hill. However, the John Hill theory has major holes. First, John Hill was born in 1852, and John Hill's father died in 1854. If John Hill was Albert Mansker, then according to the marriage license for Albert and Mary C. Mullins, the estimated birth year for Albert would be wrong by six years. The marriage license states that Albert was 35 when he married Mary, who was 17. If he were John Hill, he would have been 41 at the time of marriage. Second, the birth certificate for Albert's son, William Albert, list Albert senior's birth place as Willow Springs, Howell County, Missouri; yet, John Hill was born in Texas County, Missouri. Third, there is a photo of Albert Mansker with a young woman, who appears to be his wife, Mary. Albert does not look like he is 41 years old in that photo.
Galveston Daily News 7 Feb 1894: Murder in the First Degree
Newport, Ark., Feb. 6. - The jury in the case of Albert Mansker, one of the Oliphant train robbers, who killed Conductor W. P. McNally of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern railroad, returned a verdict to-day of guilty of murder in the first degree. Mansker is the third of the gang that received such a verdict.
The Stevens Point Journal 14 Apr 1894: Bandits Hanged - Three Train Robbers and Murderers Executed in Arkansas.
NEWPORT, Ark., April 9. - The three trains robbers, J. L. Wyrick, Thomas Brady, and Albert Mansker, who killed Conductor W. P. McNally at Oliphant, Ark., November 3 last, were hanged here. The drop fell at 7:55 a. m. and the men were pronounced dead at 8:05. Their necks were broken.
The men spent the night in prayer and preparation for death. When they found that all hope was gone they confessed that the evidence adduced at their trial was correct and that the story of the train-robbery and murder as told by George Padgett, who turned state's evidence, was true. All three united, however, in asserting that Padgett planned the crime, drew the others into it, and then deserted them when his own neck was endangered. There was no hitch in the triple execution, which passed off smoothly.
On the night of November 3, 1893. an Iron Mountain passenger train was held up near Oliphant by seven masked men. The expresss and passenger coaches were looted and Conductor W. P. McNally, who bravely attempted to defend his train, was killed. About two weeks previous to the robbery half a dozen young farmers disappeared from their homes near Bentonville. They rode ponies and were heavily armed. To their friends they said they were going to Indian territory to buy cattle. Their names were Albert Mansker, James L. Wyrick, George Padgett, O. L. Thruman and Pennyweight Powell and his younger brother Sam. Under the leadership of Thomas Brady, a whisky peddler from the Indian territory, these agriculturists left their farms, families and friends to become train-robbers. Brady, Mansker, Wyrick and Padgett were arrested not long after the holdup. Padgett turned state's evidence and is in jail awaiting trial at the spring term of the Jackson county circuit court. His three companions were tried in February and convicted of McNally's murder. Pennyweight Powell was captured in Denver about a month ago and is now in prison awaiting trial. O. L. Truman and Sam Powell are still fugitives from justice.
The Daily Review 7 Apr 1894: Three Murderers Executed
NEWPORT, Ark., April 6 - The three train robbers, J. L. Wyrick, Thomas Brady and Albert Mansker, who killed Conductor W. P. McNally at Oliphant, Ark., Nov. 3, 1893, were hanged here this morning. The drop fell at 7:55 o'clock and the men were pronounced dead at 8:05. All three necks were broken.
The Weekly Herald Despatch (Decatur, Illinois) 14 Apr 1894: THREE AT ONE DROP; Execution of Three of the Olyphant (Ark.) Train Robbers; FOR MURDERING CONDUCTOR M'NALLY; Thomas Brady, James L. Wyrick and Albert Mansker Hanged at Newport Simultaneously - The Story of the Crime:
THREE AT ONE DROP; NEWPORT, Ark., April 6. - At five minutes before 8 o'clock Thomas Brady, J. L. Wyrick and Albert Mansker paid the extreme penalty of the law for the murder of Conductor McNally while they were robbing the Iron Mountain train at Olyphant, November 3, 1893.
They all passed through the trap at once and hung from the same scaffold. Life was pronounced extinct at the end of ten minutes. Their necks were all broken.
Wyrick and Mansker professed to be ready to die. Brady had doubts. The last request was that their bodies be sent to Hot Springs for burial.
They all declared Padgett to be the originator of the robbery, and that the testimony adduced at the trial as to how the robbery was committed was correct.
They spent all day Thursday and all of the night in praying. All bore up well to the last moment.
Sheriff Hobgood, who executed the death warrant, adjusted the caps, the rope and the trap with great nerve and skill and the murderers of Conductor McNally were launched into eternity.
GALLOWS AND SPECTATORS: The gallows on which the men met death stands in the jail yard, which is situated in the center of the city. The yard is enclosed by a plank fence twenty feet high. Only twenty-five persons, in addition to the officials, were permitted to witness the execution. To them tickets of admission were granted by the sheriff. But hundreds of curious persons watched the springing of the death traps from the windows of the opera house and the city hall, both high buildings overlooking the jail yard.
STORY OF THE TRAIN ROBBERY: The story of the Olyphant train robbery outranks in interest the scenes of hold ups that have taken place on western railways in the past few years, in that it has the element of murder in it. Conductor J. V. McNally of the wayland train was shot and instantly killed.
It was the night of November 3 last that the south-bound St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern train, in charge of Conductor McNally, was brought to a standstill near Olyphant by eight masked men, all heavily armed. When a surrender was demanded the hapless conductor made a suspicious movement and was instantly fired upon. Then the gang looted the express car and afterwards passed through the train, robbing passengers of everything valuable. Leaving the cars they mounted horses, hitched near the scene and rode away. For a number of weeks the local authorities developed nothing, when the express and railroad companies gave the matter into the hands of the Thiel agency of St. Louis. Detective Thiel and his manager, Clarence F. Newcomb, then assumed personal charge of the search.
There as little trace left to work upon, but a long hunt through the swamps of Arkansas brought to light a man by the name of Arnett, alias Padgett, who turned out to be one of the robbers. But a short time elapsed then before Detective Thiel had Albert Mansker and Thomas Brady, alias Lemon, in custody. The trio refused to divulge the names of their associates in the crime, but from outside sources James Wyrick, a character living with his wife near the scene of the crime, was suspected, and subsequently captured.
WYRICK's STORY: To his captors Wyrick told the whole story of the planning of the robbery. They not only intended to rob train No. 51, the south-bound express, but they intended to use it in wrecking No. 56, the cannon ball going north and conveying money packages from Little Rock and the southwest. Had this plan worked hundreds of lives must have been sacrificed, for both trains were heavily loaded with passengers.
They planned with full knowledge of the railway situation. The cannon ball has the right of way, being a fast through train. Train 51 usually gets nearly to Grand Glaise, 6 miles south of Olyphant, and there goes on a long siding, where it waits until the cannon ball arrives. This gives the cannon ball a clear track, and it goes by Grand Glaise and the sidings at its high rate of speed.
the cannon ball got to Grand Glaise on time on the night of November 3, but the engineer noticed that 51 was not on the siding. He was not flagged for orders, but he felt that something was wrong, and he applied the air brakes until he had come almost to a standstill. Then he crept on toward Olyphant, peering ahead of his cab window.
The switch at Olyphant is south of the depot. It is a long switch. Train 51 was detained by the robbers half an hour. There was a regular fusillade from loud-voiced fire-arms. The son of a man who owns a mill about one-eighth of a mile out of Olyphant, and lives down near the south end of the switch, heard the shots and thought of robbers. There are not a half a dozen houses in the village, and he could not organize a relief party. He knew the cannon ball express was nearly due an he scented a collision and its associate horrors. He had no lantern and it was dark. He ran toward the railroad tracks with his paper in his hand. He was none too soon. Looking up the track he saw the headlight of the cannon ball cutting a round hole in the night.
At this moment he espied the switch lantern. Here was a red light ready at hand. He took it from its position on top of the switch and turning its red side toward the oncoming train held it aloft. The cannon-ball's saw it and whistled for brakes. The firing at the train near the station suddenly ceased.
The robbers got away in the darkness only to be captured later. Padgett turned state's evidence, and his testimony with Wyrick's admission resulted in the conviction of Mansker, Brady, and Wyrick of the murder of McNally.
ALL WERE STRANGERS: The men executed were all strangers in this part of the country, having come from the Indian territory and western Arkansas. Powell and G. W. Padgett are confined in the penitentiary at Little Rock. The other three robbers have not been apprehended.
Until Thursday Brady, Wyrick and Mansker were kept inside the pententiary to prevent any attempt at escape. Thursday they were brought here, and the sheriff placed the death watch on them.
LEFT LARGE FAMILIES: Wyrick's family accompanied him from Little Rock and was with him in his cell all day Thursday. They live 8 miles from Hot Springs, having moved there from the Indian nation directly after the robbery. His family consists of his wife, eldest daughter Dolly, aged 18, and two other girls and two boys.
Thos. Brady leaves a wife and five children who are now in the nation.
Mansker confessed to having been married to five women and deserted them.
Large crowds visited the jail Thursday afternoon where the condemned men were and the prisoners conversed freely with all and professed to be prepared to meet their fate.
↑ "Arkansas County Marriages, 1838–1957." Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2011. "Arkansas County Marriages, 1838–1957," database, FamilySearch; from Arkansas Courts of Common Pleas and County Clerks. Digital images of originals housed at various county courthouses in the State of Arkansas. Marriage records. Ancestry Record 2548 #523444
↑ "Arkansas County Marriages, 1838–1957." Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2011. "Arkansas County Marriages, 1838–1957," database, FamilySearch; from Arkansas Courts of Common Pleas and County Clerks. Digital images of originals housed at various county courthouses in the State of Arkansas. Marriage records.