Shot Through the Heart- Crime and Punishment in Indian Territory, is now available from the Bryan County Genealogy Library for $20 (plus $3.50 postage). Copies will NOT be available at Craighead’s in Caddo until Saturday, September 27.
Bryan County Genealogy Library & Archives, Inc.
P.O. Box 153
Calera, OK 74730
In addition to some horrible murders, the book contains bits and pieces of information about laws, officers, Caddo residents, etc. It is my hope that the information in my book will answer some questions for other researchers, provide closure for family genealogists, and provide further proof that the “good old days” were a myth. I know some of you will be disappointed that I didn’t find information about your family. Not all crimes were listed in the papers. Not all issues of the paper are available. Some that we do have are in terrible shape and sections are not readable. Please keep in mind that this is an ongoing process…I will post new findings here on my blog. And if you have specific dates and names for a crime please email me and I will be glad to search for more information.
Here are some snippets:
Detroit House of Corrections
As you will read later, many criminals who were not hung at Fort Smith were sentenced to life in prison at the Detroit House of Corrections.
The first Detroit House of Corrections opened in 1861 near Eastern Market on Detroit's east side. It was designed as a “work house” so that prisoners could be gainfully employed. Superintendent Zebulon Brockway set up a chair manufacturing facility that is said to have generated four times more income than required for the operating expenses of the institution. There was also education and limited “self-government” for prisoners, as it was the intention of Brockway to reform prisoners, not just punish them. In 1867 women were added to the facility. Sometimes referred to as DeHoCo, it housed some famous felons, including western outlaw Belle Starr and Mormon polygamist David Udall. The city of Detroit bought about 1,000 acres in Plymouth Township and Northville Township in 1919 for the construction of a new Detroit House of Corrections that would replace the old facility.
An Illegal Law
The act entitled “An Act Prohibiting Hunting”, passed by the last Choctaw Council, debars any non-citizen, even those living here under permit, from trapping or killing in any way whatever any game of any kind or description, under penalty of being arrested by the sheriff and turned over to the U. S. authorities. Under this law no renter is allowed to kill any wild animal at all, not even a squirrel or quail. Whether its framers intended this or not, we are unable to say, but be that as it may, as the law now stands it can be construed in no other way. A citizen of the country who may have the politeness to invite any of his pale-faced friends out on a turkey hunt or a deer drive lays himself liable as an accessory. We do not believe this act will receive the endorsement of any considerable number of our people and hope the next council will repeal it.
The Caddo Banner
January 11, 1895
Several of Jim French’s friends found the 16-year-old son of U. S. Deputy Marshal Dobson hunting on a creek three miles from Fort Gibson Tuesday morning, and taking him five miles into the woods, beat him unmercifully with riding whips. When they released him they told him to tell his father that they would take his life on sight. Dobson has been making a number of arrests about Fort Gibson the past few months and somewhat interfering with the personal liberty of the wayward element. It was he who recently arrested Lulu Cook.
The Caddo Banner
March 29, 1895
Outlaws meet Their Desserts
Fort Smith, Ark., March 28- Sam McWilliams, alias “Verdigris Kid”, and George Sanders, an outlaw of lesser note, were killed this morning at Braggs, I. T. while robbing Madden’s store. The bodies were brought to this city and delivered to Marshal Crump that the government reward of $250 for the body of “Verdigris” might be collected. There was no reward for Sanders. The bodies were then shipped back to Bragg for burial. Credit for the killing is due to Indian Deputy Sheriffs Stevens and Manning.
The Caddo Herald
September 15, 1899
Mrs. Ella Tugman was convicted in the district court Monday upon a charge of assault to kill. The charge grew out of the shooting of Charles Horseman 7 miles from town last October. Her husband, in custody for the same offense, will be tried next term of court.
Several pleas of guilty have been entered in the mayor’s court this week by violators of the gaming ordinance, arrested by the Marshal Wednesday night.
Thursday mayor’s court was presided over by E. G. Lloyd in the absence of the mayor.