Friday, October 5, 2012

The Dalton Gang

Dalton gang following the Coffeyville, Kansas raid. Left to right: Bill Power; Bob Dalton; Grat Dalton, Dick Broadwell
The Dalton Gang, also known as The Dalton Brothers, was a family of both lawmen and outlaws in the American Old West during 1890–1892. They specialized in bank and train robberies. They were related to the Younger brothers, who rode with Jesse James, though they acted later and independently of the James-Younger Gang. The three Dalton brothers involved in the gang were Gratton "Grat" Dalton (b. 1861), Bob Dalton (b. 1869), and Emmett Dalton (b. 1871). A fourth brother, William M. "Bill" Dalton (1866–1894), also had a career as an outlaw, but operated as a member of the Wild Bunch.
Bob Dalton wanted to make sure his name would long be remembered. He would, he claimed, "beat anything Jesse James ever did—rob two banks at once, in broad daylight." On October 5, 1892, the Dalton gang attempted this feat when they set out to rob the C.M. Condon & Company's Bank and the First National Bank in Coffeyville, Kansas. Since the locals were aware of what they looked like, they wore fake beards. But they were still identified by one of the townspeople.
While the gang was busy trying to hold up the banks, the people armed themselves and prepared for a gun battle. When the gang exited the banks, a shootout began. There were three townspeople shot, and Town Marshal Charles Connelly was killed when he ran into the street after hearing gunfire, returning fire before he died killing one member of the gang. Grat Dalton, Bob Dalton, Dick Broadwell and Bill Power were killed. Emmett Dalton received 23 gunshot wounds and survived. He was given a life sentence in the Kansas penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas, of which he served 14 years before being pardoned. He moved to California and became a real estate agent, author and actor, and died in 1937 at age 66. Bill Doolin, "Bitter Creek" Newcomb, and Charlie Pierce were the only members left of the Dalton Gang, although none was present at the Coffeyville shootout. Speculation later suggested that there had been a sixth man holding horses in an alleyway and that he had escaped, and that man was believed to have been Bill Doolin. However, that has never been confirmed.
Emmett Dalton would say years after the robberies, and after his release from prison, that Deputy US Marshal Heck Thomas was a key factor in their decision to commit the robberies. According to Emmett, Thomas was relentless in his pursuit of the gang, keeping them on the move constantly. With one big score from the two banks, the gang intended on leaving the territory for a time, hoping the heat brought down by Thomas would subside.


“I repaired a veranda roof for Mr Van- this morning which took about two hours.  Husked corn until about two o’clock – it rained and I went to work and finished a 24 ft ladder.”
Leesah

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