March 29, 1908
Pioneer Saloon of Territories
Was Operated at Caddo, 30 years Ago;
Closed by Soldiers
Special to the Oklahoman
Muskogee, Okla. March 25- The first saloon that was ever opened in Indian Territory was at Caddo. It was about 30 years (ago), and the M.K.&T. railroad had just completed its line as far south as Caddo, which point had been made the fright depot for Fort Sill and other military posts to the west and south. Supplies for the posts were shipped by rail to Caddo and from there long caravans of prairie freighters took the supplies overland. From Caddo to the southwest along these trails the bootlegger flourished. The nearest authority was the federal court at Fort Smith, Ark. and the deputy marshals rode out from there, and the bootleggers, with their scouts always out, easily evaded them.
A Chickasaw named Johnson, a desperate character, decided that he would openly defy the law and sell whiskey as he pleased. So her opened up a saloon. Whiskey was sold over the bar, the same as anywhere else. Johnson had gathered around him a good sized band of men as reckless as himself and for four months he ran his saloon in open and notorious defiance of the United States marshal at Fort Smith. Often times a stranger would appear and ask for a drink of whiskey. If he had the money he could get it, but he was usually treated to the extra thrill of looking into the muzzle of a six-shooter while he drank it, for these men took no chances.
Finally the federal authorities determined that this saloon had to be wiped out or the authority of the marshal and his deputies over the territory might as well be revoked. But the marshal found the job too big for him so the war department was appealed to. One morning a squad of soldiers dropped off the train at Caddo and quickly surrounded the saloon, called upon Johnson and his gang to come out. Johnson came to the door and saw the situation. When told to surrender he asked for time to consult his men. The commander of the squad gave him just ten seconds. But before the time was up, Johnson followed by the gang, walked out of the saloon, each man with his hands up.