Posts Tagged ‘outlaws’


June 18, 2008


Cherokee BillCrawford Goldsby was born on February 8, 1876,  in Fort Concho, Texas.   He was one of four children born to St. George and Ellen Goldsby.   His sisters name was Georgia and the brothers Luther and Clarence.  The father (from Alabama) had been a member of the Tenth United States Cavalry, (The famed Buffalo soldiers).  He claimed to be black, Sioux, Mexican, and white.  He had gone AWOL from the army in Texas because of a fracas of some type.  He fled and found refuge in the Indian Territory .  Bill’s mother was believed to be one half black, one-forth white and one-forth Cherokee.  Born in the Delaware District of the Cherokee Nation, her parents had been slaves owned at one time by a Cherokee, Jeffery Beck.

 Abandoned by her husband in Texas, Bills mother went to her family at Fort Gibson – Indian Territory.  She in turn abandoned her son Crawford, leaving him in the care of a black woman, Amanda Foster.  He remained there until the age of seven, then moved to Fort Gibson with his mother.  He was then sent to the Cherokee, Kansas, Indian School.  He spent three years there, then was sent to Carlisle Industrial School for Indians in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for two years.  Seemingly to no avail, for some sources claim he could barley read or write.

After leaving school he returned to Oklahoma.

Crawford’s mother remarried when he was about thirteen.  He did not like or get along with his step- father.  He began to hang with the wrong crowd and started drinking liquor and rebelling against authority.

At fifteen, he went to live with his sister, Georgia, and her husband.

At seventeen, he worked on a ranch where it was said he was liked by all.

At eighteen  he attended a dance at Fort Gibson.  A fellow by the name of Jake Lewis beat up his little Bill Cook of The Cook Gangbrother.  Crawford shot him twice and, feeling that discretion was the better part of valor, he headed for the Creek and Seminole Nations.   There he would meet the Cook brothers Jim and Bill. 

( Oklahoma was not just the home of the Cherokee, this was where the government was trying to cram all the eastern Indians at the time.  This was land originally thought of as no one would want, but now the whites were eyeing large parts of it, wanting it for themselves.)

The Cooks were already wanted by the law.  In the summer of 1894 they persuaded a restaurant owner to go and collect some money that was due each of them from as payment for some land, in the sale of the Cherokee Strip.  She did collect the money for them, but was trailed by a  sheriff’s posse attempting to apprehend the Cook brothers.  There was a gunfight as a result,  with one wounded and one killed.  The restaurant owner was later questioned and asked if Crawford was one of the three.  She replied no that the third one was “the Cherokee Kid”.  This is where Crawford obtained his nickname of Cherokee Bill.

Now with a string of robberies and murders across the Cherokee and Seminole Nations in July of 1894, TCook Gang with Cherokee Billhe Cook Gang had made itself known.

Here biographers differ in belief, some do not think Crawford began his trail of exploits until his eighteenth year when he joned forces with the Cook’s.  Others believe he killed his first man at twelve – Supposedly his brother-in-law over something to do with feeding hogs.  

Also they do not agree on how he got the name Cherokee Bill.  The number of people he killed ranges from seven to as many as thirteen.  But all agree that by eighteen he had joined the Bill Cook Gang .  Bill later formed his own gang.  Some claim he rode with Henry Star, Belle Star’s son.  Others claim he only met Henry Star in Jail.  He claimed to have ridden with Billy, The Kid, but no one really belives that statement.   (more…)



June 10, 2008


 When I left off last time I had taken the tale to the point Judge Parker Quotewhere Ned had fled to the remote area of the territory in an effort to give the Fort Smith crowd a time to cool of in their fervor to capture him.  At this time I belive I should give cause as to the U. S. Marshall’s office and the Hanging Judge Parker’s belief in his guilt.  First, Ned’s jacket he Painting Of Hanging Judge Parkerhad on the night of his drunken stupor was found near where he had passed out.  In the pocket was found the broken neck of the whiskey bottle from the night before.  Also found was the strip of cloth torn from Nancy “Old Lady” Shell’s apron, used to stopper the drink.  Near the scene of the shooting were the broken remains of the whiskey bottle.  This was enough to convince the investigating officers of Ned’s guilt.  So the warrant and order for arrest was issued.

     After Ned fled the area, John Parris and a second drinking parner of the night, Charlie Bobtail,  were confined to jail in Fort Smith.  They were both charged in the murder of Maples along with Christie and Bub Trainor.  However Trainor claimed that he was eating supper at Nancy Shell’s and well before the shooting, so he was released on bail.  He continued to raise hell, and appeared in court on various other charges.  Judge Parker ruled that the case could not go forward without the apprehension of Christie.

Image of Deputy Marshall Dan Maples On May 18, 1889,  Jacob Yates took over the duties of marshal.  A man of strong principles, he started to clean up the back log of cases before him.   The thing that most bothered him was the unsolved case of the killing of Deputy Marshal Dan Maples (image of maples in B&W, at left).  He called upon his most trusted Deputy Marshall – Heck Thomas, reminding him there was a $500 reward for Ned Christie.

    Heck Thomas was one of the most active officers ever to join the U. S. Marshals office.  In November of 1887 he is Deputy Marshall Heck Thomasreputed to have brought in a record 41 fugitives on one trip.

   Thomas enlisted the skill of a well known tracker one L. P. Isbell, also a marshal ,and started his usual circuit of the territory.  At Muskogee, they turned over 13 prisoners under guard, and met Bub Trainor.  Trainor knew Ned Christie and also knew his habits and haunts quite well.  Trainor claimed he wanted Christie captured to clear his own name.

   In late September of 1889, Heck Thomas with a posse of 13 men located Ned Christie at his home in Rabbit Trap.  In the early dawn of the 26th, they surrounded and crept near the house.  Suddenly the large pack of dogs Christie kept began to bark and give the alarm.  Thomas gave the order to rush the cabin.  They could hear Ned scramble into the loft.

    Deputy Thomas shouted for Christie to surrender.  The outlaw kicked a plank off the end of the loft and opened fire with his deadly Winchester.  Thomas then shouted that” if he was going to fight to first send out his women and children”.  Christie continued to fire.  The next move of the posse was to set fire to a small out-building near the house, hoping the smoke might flush out the occupants of the house. The desired effect was achieved – Nancy Christie soon ran out of the house.  Young James remained behind, scrambling into the loft to reload his fathers guns. (more…)