June 2014 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
The Three Gaurdsman - from Wikipedia

The Three Guardsmen is the name popularized in Old West literature describing three lawmen who became legendary in their pursuit of many outlaws of the late 19th century. Deputy U.S. Marshals Bill Tilghman (1854–1924), Chris Madsen (1851–1944), and Heck Thomas (1850–1912) were The Three Guardsmen, working under U.S. Marshal Evett "E.D." Nix.

Career and notoriety

Beginning in 1889, they began "cleaning up" part of what became the State of Oklahoma. Widely considered honest, dutiful, and capable, they were responsible for suppressing much of the outlaw element in the Indian Territory and environs, reportedly arresting in excess of some 300 desperadoes during the next decade, and killing several others. All three had the reputation of being dauntless in their pursuit, ignoring bad weather, and each was known for their unique tracking abilities. Ironically the nickname "Three Guardsmen" was given to them by outlaws they pursued. Heck Thomas' relentless pursuit of the Dalton Gang was specifically mentioned by gang member Emmett Dalton as one reason the Dalton Gang attempted to rob two banks simultaneously in Coffeyville, Kansas--to make one big score so that they could leave the territory for a time. Resistance from the lawmen and citizens of Coffeyville to this robbery ended the gang with the deaths of most of its members.

They are most famous for their relentless pursuit of the Wild Bunch, or Doolin Gang, which included surviving members of the Dalton Gang. The three lawmen eliminated many of the Doolin Gang by systematically killing gang members who resisted them and arresting those who would surrender. Deputy Marshal Heck Thomas killed gang leader Bill Doolin. Deputy Marshal Chris Madsen led the posse that killed Doolin gang members "Dynamite Dan" Clifton and Richard "Little Dick" West. Deputy Marshal Tilghman was ultimately responsible for the death of Doolin gang member William F. "Little Bill" Raidler. Other gang members were also captured or killed by them. 

Later years

Heck Thomas retired in 1905, and in 1907 accepted a Chief of Police position in Lawton, Oklahoma. He died in 1912 of Bright's disease.

Bill Tilghman retired in 1910 and was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate. On Halloween night, 1924, and at the age of 70, Tilghman was murdered by a corrupt prohibition agent named Wiley Lynn, while serving as town Marshal for Cromwell, Oklahoma. Cromwell at the time was a wild town full of brothels, pool halls and saloons. One month after his death, the entire town was burned to the ground--no building was left standing. Chris Madsen and other former law enforcement friends of Tilghman were believed to have been responsible, but no investigation into the arsons was ever conducted. The town of Cromwell never recovered; as of the 2000 census, its population was less than 300.

Madsen had retired in 1905, and died in 1944 at the age of 93.
Chris Madsen
 -  (February 25, 1851 - January 9, 1944) was a lawman of the Old West who is best known as being one of The Three Guardsmen, the name given to Madsen and two other Deputy US Marshals who were responsible for the apprehension and/or killing of several outlaws of that era. 


Chris Madsen was born Chris Madsen Rørmose in Denmark. Upon emigrating to the United States in 1876, he dropped the last name, Rørmose. He later claimed to have been a soldier in the Danish Army and the French Foreign Legion. Arriving in New York City, Madsen enlisted in the U.S. Army on January 21, 1876, and served fifteen years in the Fifth Cavalry. He was quartermaster sergeant of the Fifth Cavalry and fought in many major Indian campaigns. Later, in 1883, he became President Chester A. Arthur's guide to Yellowstone.

Law career

Discharged on January 10, 1891, Madsen became a deputy U.S. marshal under Marshal William Grimes in Oklahoma Territory. He had joined the US Marshals as a Deputy Marshal with the priority of policing the vast Oklahoma Territory. Over 300 outlaws were either apprehended or killed by Madsen, Thomas and Tilghman, thus leading to their nickname, The Three Guardsmen.The three lawmen were largely responsible for bringing down outlaw Bill Doolin and his Doolin Dalton gang. Madsen was personally responsible for the killings of Doolin gang members Dan "Dynamite Dick" Clifton, George "Red Buck" Waightman, and Richard "Little Dick" West. 

In 1898, he joined Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders, serving as Quartermaster Sergeant. After the Spanish-American War, Madsen returned to Indian Territory and served as deputy U.S. marshal. In 1911 he was appointed U.S. Marshal for the entire state of Oklahoma. While in his sixties he was appointed Chief of Police for Oklahoma City. From 1918 to 1922 he served as a special investigator for the governor of Oklahoma. He eventually settled in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and at the outset of World War I he tried to enlist in the U.S. Army but was rejected due to his age
Henry Andrew "Heck" Thomas

- (January 3, 1850 - August 14, 1912) was a lawman on the American frontier, most notably in Oklahoma.


Thomas was born in 1850 in Oxford, Georgia, the youngest of five children of Martha Ann Fullwood (née Bedell) and Lovick Pierce Thomas, I.

At the beginning of the American Civil War, Thomas, at the age of twelve, accompanied as a courier his uncle, Edward Lloyd Thomas, and his father, who were officers in the 35th Georgia Infantry, to the battlefields in Virginia.

On September 1, 1862, Union General Philip Kearny was killed at the Battle of Chantilly, Young "Heck" was entrusted with the general's horse and equipment and was ordered by Confederate General Robert E. Lee to take them through the lines to General Kearny's widow. He recounted this in a letter to his brother Lovick Pierce Thomas, II

One evening while the fight was going on or, rather, just before dark, a soldier came to the rear where Uncle Ed's baggage and the darkies and I were, leading a black horse with  saddle and bridle. He brought also a sword. Just after this, Stonewall Jackson crossed over into Maryland and captured the city of Frederick; that was after taking Harper's Ferry (now West Virginia) and about 14,000 federal prisoners. These prisoners were held by Uncle Ed's brigade, while the army was fighting the Battle of Sharpsburg. We could see the smoke and hear they cannon from Harper's Ferry. While we were at Harpers Ferry, General Lee sent an order to uncle Ed for the horse and equipments. I carried them forward, and it was one of the proudest minutes of my life when I found myself under the observation of General Robert E. Lee. Then General Lee sent the horse and everything through the lines , under a flag of truce, to General Kearney's  widow. I had ridden the horse and cared for him up to that time, and I hated to part with him.

In 1863, Thomas contracted typhoid fever and returned to his family in Athens. As a young man he clerked in the store in Atlanta of his brother, Lovick Pierce Thomas, II, and then worked as an Atlanta policeman. In 1871, he married Isabel Gray.

He and his family migrated to Texas in 1875 and with the help of his cousin, Jim Thomas, obtained a job with the railroad as a guard. Thomas became a railroad detective and later went to work for the Fort Worth Detective Association. He was appointed U.S. Deputy Marshal out of Fort Smith, Arkansas, working under U.S. District Judge Isaac C. Parker.

By 1889 Thomas teamed with two other deputy U.S. marshals, Chris Madsen and Bill Tilghman. They became known as the Three Guardsmen and were credited with bringing law and order to the Indian Territory, in the state that would become Oklahoma in 1907.

The Three Guardsmen were credited with the apprehension of more than three hundred outlaws over the next decade, killing several. They were credited with the ultimate demise of the Wild Bunch or Doolin Gang. Thomas was specifically mentioned by Emmett Dalton, years after his release from prison, as one of the main reasons the Dalton Gang chose to commit two simultaneous bank robberies in Coffeyville in southeastern Kansas, stating that Thomas was relentless in his pursuit, and the gang decided to make one big score, and leave the territory for a time. Instead, the gang was wiped out in the Coffeyville robberies, with Emmett Dalton being the only survivor.

In August, 1896, Thomas lead a posse that tracked down and killed outlaw Bill Doolin, who had previously been captured by Tilghman, only to escape from prison on July 5, 1896.

By 1902, much of Oklahoma had been settled. Thomas was sent to Lawton, where he was elected as the first police chief in the town. He served in that position for seven years until his health began to fail.

Showing his lighter side, Heck assembled a posse, chased and captured bank robbers in the 1908 film The Bank Robbery. The outlaws were led by Al Jennings, while the one-reel movie was directed by Bill Tilghman, James Bennie Kent was the cinema-photographer, and it was produced by the Oklahoma Natural Mutoscene Company. The film was shot in Cache, Oklahoma, and at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, with Quanah Parker having a bit part. A bystander thought that the bank was really being robbed and jumped out a window to run for the police.

Thomas died in Lawton, Oklahoma on August 14, 1912 of Bright's disease.
Bill Tilghman
 - (July 4, 1854–November 1, 1924) was a lawman and gunfighter in the American Old West.

Early life

William Matthew Tilghman, Jr. was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on 4 July 1854. He became a buffalo hunter at the age of fifteen and claimed that he killed more than one thousand bison over his five years of activity. During this time he may have become acquainted with Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Mysterious Dave Mather, who hunted buffalo. Tilghman's older brother, Richard, hunted with him, and at one point during the mid-1870s when the hunting team was attacked by a war party of American Indians, his brother was killed.

Following his hunting career, Tilghman moved to Dodge City, Kansas, where he used the money he had 

saved to open a saloon in 1875. Tilghman was a teetotaler but, like so many of the famous figures of the Old West, such as Bob Ford, the assassin of Jesse James, he saw owning a saloon as a financial opportunity. He left Dodge City to pursue other opportunities three years later. However, he returned briefly and he was present with Wyatt Earp, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, and others during the Dodge City War, and was pictured in one of a series of three photographs taken of those considered to be the "Dodge City Peace Commission", although only one of the photos was widely publicized. In the most famous and well circulated photo taken that day, little known businessman and small time gunman W. F. Petillon is pictured with the group, whereas in another photo Petillon is absent and Tilghman is instead pictured with the group.

Law enforcement

In September 1878, he served as a scout for the U.S. Cavalry during a surge of Cheyenne raids on settlements, working alongside the likes of gunman John Joshua Webb. Later that same year, he was approached by Bat Masterson to serve as a deputy sheriff, and he accepted. He served in that capacity until 1884 and earned an excellent reputation, working at various law enforcement jobs for the rest of his life, earning the respect of Masterson, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, and Virgil Earp. By 1889, Tilghman moved to Guthrie in Logan County in the new Oklahoma Territory during the land rush. Town Marshal Bill Grimes approached him to serve as deputy marshal, and he accepted.

In January 1889, Tilghman participated in the Battle of Cimarron, a famous gunfight during the Gray County War that also involved James Masterson, and Ben Daniels. Tilghman was wounded in the leg, but managed to shoot his way out of town with a wagon and a few of his men. Four others, including Masterson, were held up in the Old Gray County Courthouse and left to shoot it out with a small army of Cimarron men.

The territory had formerly been part of the Indian Territory and was still one of the most lawless places in the West. As a deputy US Marshal, Tilghman was one of the three men most responsible for finally bringing law and order to the area. The others were Heck Thomas and Chris Madsen. The trio were collectively known as the Three Guardsmen and were responsible for the arrest and/or killings of many of the worst criminal elements of the era, numbering by some estimates as high as three hundred arrests, including the systematic elimination of the notorious Wild Bunch. On January 15, 1895, 

this  single handed capture of Bill Doolin in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, brought him increased fame as a lawman, for which he became best known. That same year he shot and wounded Doolin gang member "Little Bill" Raidler. Raidler was sentenced to prison and was released some years later because he suffered constantly from his gunshot wounds. Raidler died in 1904 as a result of those wounds.

Tilghman is credited with the capture in mid-August 1895 of the teenaged female bandit Little Britches, or Jennie Stevens, who had quickly escaped from a restaurant in Pawnee in northern Oklahoma, after having been taken there for a meal by Sheriff Frank Lake. Tilghman and another marshal, Steve Burke, tracked down Little Britches and her partner in crime Cattle Annie. While Burke apprehended Cattle Annie fairly easily, Tilghman had a difficult task in subduing Little Britches. She fired unsuccessfully with a Winchester rifle at Tilghman, who then opened fire on her horse. As the animal dropped to the ground, Little Britches was taken into custody and jailed but only after she had tried to discharge a pistol and then to attack Tilghman physically. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, however, maintains that Tilghman had nothing to do with the apprehension of Little Britches and that neither bandit had any verifiable direct connection to the Doolin gang.

Retirement, return to law enforcement

 Tilghman retired as a U.S. marshal in 1910 and was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate. A Democrat, Tilghman had been a delegate to his party's 1904 convention, which met in St. Louis, Missouri, to nominate New York Judge Alton B. Parker, a former law partner of U.S. President Grover Cleveland, to run against the successful Republican incumbent, Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1911, Tilghman accepted the position of police chief of Oklahoma City.

In 1924, at the age of seventy, Tilghman accepted a position as marshal of Cromwell in Seminole County, Oklahoma, though he had been warned that because of his advanced age he might be shot to death on the job. During this time, Tilghman lived in nearby Chandler, where he is interred at Oak Park Cemetery.


Tilghman was on the job as the marshal in Cromwell for less than a year before he was killed in the line of duty, as he had been warned might happen. He died on 1 November 1924, having been shot by Wiley Lynn, a corrupt Prohibition Agent. Lynn and Tilghman had had numerous verbal confrontations because Lynn repeatedly released prisoners who were arrested by Tilghman. The incident began on Halloween night, when Tilghman, Deputy Marshal Hugh Sawyer, and businessman W. E. Sirmans were having coffee at a cafe called Ma Murphy's.

Shots were heard outside, and Tilghman drew his handgun and went outside. In the street stood a drunken Wiley Lynn, with a gun in his hand. Brothel madam Rose Lutke was standing beside him. Another prostitute, Eva Caton, was sitting inside Lynn's car with a date, a furloughed United States Army sergeant. Tilghman clasped Lynn's gun hand and called for Deputy Sawyer to come assist. As Sawyer ran outside, Tilghman, Lynn and Rose Lutke stood body to body in the darkness. Two shots rang out, and Lutke screamed. As Deputy Sawyer rushed forward, Tilghman slumped forward and fell. Deputy Sawyer, inexperienced, did not fire but rather disarmed Lynn and yelled "Wiley Lynn has shot the marshal". Lynn then fled with Rose Lutke to the car and sped away.

Wiley Lynn was acquitted after several of the witnesses to the shooting, allegedly intimidated, failed to appear, and Deputy Sawyer, whether he was coerced or merely incompetent, testified that he could not see clearly as to what actually happened. Rose Lutke disappeared, and was never heard from again. Despite his acquittal, Lynn was dismissed from the Prohibition Unit. Years later, in a shootout with another police officer, Agent Crockett Long of the Oklahoma State Crime Bureau, Lynn was killed, but not before fatally wounding Long and an innocent bystander.

The local Knights of the Ku Klux Klan demanded justice and printed fliers and warnings to criminal elements to leave town or suffer the consequences.[citation needed] One month after Tilghman's murder, the town of Cromwell was torched, with every brothel, bar, flophouse and pool hall burned to the ground, and no arrests were ever made. Cromwell never recovered its former "wild" status after that, and as of the 2000 census, its population was fewer than three hundred residents.

A city park in Chandler is named in Tilghman's honor.

Tilghman's widow, Zoe Agnes Stratton Tilghman, penned a book about her husband, Marshal of the Last Frontier.

In 1960, Tilghman was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Film portrayals

In 1915, Tilghman co-wrote, directed, and starred in the movie, The Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws, which dramatized the law enforcement activities of Tilghman and the other "Guardsmen." The film is noted as an early attempt to de-glamorize the image of the criminal element.

In 1960, Brad Johnson, a star with Gail Davis of the Annie Oakley television series, played Tilghman in the episode "The Wedding Dress" of the syndicated anthology series, Death Valley Days.

Tilghman was played by Rod Steiger in the 1981 film Cattle Annie and Little Britches.

The 1999 made-for-television movie You Know My Name dramatized Tilghman's life and final days. It is was based on Matt Braun's novel One Last Town, which fictionalized Tilghman's activities in Cromwell. Veteran actor Sam Elliott produced the film and starred as Tilghman.

Sam Sixkiller from Wikipedia 

Sam Sixkiller (1842–December 24, 1886) was a prominent Native American leader during the American Civil War and the postbellum period.

Sixkiller was born in the Going Snake district of the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory - now Adair County, Oklahoma. He served on both sides during the Civil War, offering his support to the Confederacy as a private in the 1st Cherokee Cavalry before switching allegiance to the Union and serving with his father at Fort Gibson in an artillery battery.

Following the war, he became the first captain of the Indian Police, providing police services for the lands of all five tribes. He was also a Deputy U.S. Marshal and a special agent for the Missouri Pacific Railroad.

Sixkiller was murdered December 24, 1886, in Muskogee, Indian Territory.

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