KNOX – A gang of thieves will be remembered and celebrated again as part of a week-long tradition in Knox.
The annual Horsethief Days festival will kick off Saturday morning and will celebrate the famous horse thief, Sebastian Boston “Boss” Buck.
Boss led the gang of thieves and counterfeiters in the 1850s. He was born in Centre County and is now considered the most famous horse thief in the history of the United States.
According to information from the Horsethief committee, Boss and his band of thieves would steal horses from the North and take them South to be resold.
His reach extended as far north as Maine and as far south as Kentucky.
Although he has an extended area from which he and his gang would steal horses, Clarion County near the Clarion River was his headquarters.
Several deceiving tricks were done to disguise the stolen horses.
The horses’ manes would be cut, their skin painted or their shoes would be turned so it appeared the horse were walking the opposite direction.
The Horsethief committee also shared the information that Boss would also sand the shoulders of young horses to give the appearance that the horse had worn a harness and worked many years in a field.
The thief had a reputation of having a good conscious. He never stole horses from the poor, or from a family that used the horse as a means of income.
Horse stealing was not the only activity that kept Boss busy, he was also a well known counterfeiter.
Boss continued to steal and sell horses until he was finally arrested in 1872 for counterfeiting. Before his arrest Boss stole horses from local residents in both Clarion and Forest counties.
Knox has been celebrating the history of Boss for 55 years. The community has claimed the title of “horsethief capital of the world.”