July 2016 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Crawford Goldsby - Wikipedia

Crawford Goldsby (February 8, 1876 – March 17, 1896) was a 19th-century American outlaw, known by the alias Cherokee Bill. Responsible for the murders of seven men (including his brother-in-law), he and his gang terrorized the Indian Territory for over two years.

Early life

Goldsby was born to Sgt. George and Ellen (née Beck) Goldsby on February 8, 1876 at Fort Concho in San Angelo, Texas. Goldsby's father, George Goldsby, was a mulatto from Perry County, Alabama, a sergeant of the Tenth United States Cavalry, and a Buffalo Soldier. Goldsby's mother was a Cherokee freedman, with mixed African, Indian and white ancestry. Goldsby had one sister, Georgia, and two brothers, Luther and Clarence.

In a signed deposition on January 29, 1912, George Goldsby stated that he was born in Perry County, Alabama on February 22, 1843. His father was Thornton Goldsby of Selma, Alabama and his mother Hester King, a mulatto, who resided on her own place west of Summerfield Road between Selma and Marion, Alabama. George also stated that he had four brothers and two sisters by the same father and mother: Crawford, Abner, Joseph, Blevens, Mary, and Susie.

George served as a hired servant with a Confederate infantry regiment during the American Civil War. While serving at Gettysburg, he fled and went to Harrisburg, where he worked as a teamster in a Union quartermaster unit and subsequently enlisted as a white man in the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment under the name of George Goosby. (The spelling sometimes varied between Goosbey and Goosley).

After the Civil War ended, he returned to the Selma area. During his last visit, the word was out that he would be captured and lynched for fighting with the Union Army, after which time he departed the area for the Indian Territory.

In 1867, Goldsby enlisted in the 10th Cavalry Regiment (Buffalo Soldier) under his proper name, and by 1872 was promoted to sergeant major. After the expiration of his five-year term, he re-enlisted and became first sergeant of Company D, 10th Cavalry.

During 1878 (when Crawford Goldsby was two years old), serious trouble began to occur in San Angela (San Angelo), Texas, between the black soldiers and cowboys and hunters. The incident that led to the largest confrontation took place in Morris' saloon. A group of cowboys and hunters ripped the chevrons from the sleeves of a Company D sergeant and the stripes from his pants. The soldier returned to the post and enlisted the aid of fellow soldiers, who armed themselves with carbines and returned to the saloon. A blazing gunfight commenced, resulting in one hunter being killed and two others wounded. One private was killed and another wounded.[3]

Texas Ranger Captain G. W. Arrington, along with a party of rangers, went on-post (at Fort Concho) in an attempt to arrest Goldsby, charging that he was responsible for arming the soldiers. Colonel Benjamin Grierson, post commander, challenged the authority of the rangers in a federal fort.

Goldsby apparently knew that the Army could not, or would not, protect him away from the post, so he went AWOL. He escaped from Texas into the Indian Territory.

Sometime after being abandoned at Fort Concho, Ellen Beck Goldsby moved with her family to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory. She left Crawford Goldsby in the care of an elderly black lady known as "Aunty" Amanda Foster. She cared for him until he was seven years old, and then he was sent to the Indian school at Cherokee, Kansas. Three years later, he was sent to the Catholic Indian School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. At the age of 12, he returned home to Fort Gibson.

Upon returning home, Goldsby learned that his mother had remarried. After departing Fort Apache, on June 27, 1889, Ellen married William Lynch in Kansas City, Missouri, before proceeding to Fort Gibson. Lynch, born in Waynesville, Ohio, was a private in K Troop, 9th Cavalry. He had served during an earlier enlistment with H Troop, 10th Cavalry. She was the "authenticated" laundress of the 10th Cavalry, D Troop, and stayed with the unit which gave her rations, transportation, and quarters. She transferred to Fort Davis, Texas, and to Fort Grant, Arizona. She was also with the unit at Fort Apache, Arizona.

Goldsby and William Lynch, his stepfather, did not get along. Goldsby began to associate with unsavory characters, drink liquor, and rebel against authority.

By the time he was 15, Goldsby had moved in with his sister and her husband, Mose Brown, near Nowata, Oklahoma. However, Mose and his brother-in-law did not get along well, and Goldsby did not stay for long. He went back to Fort Gibson, moved in with a man named Bud Buffington, and began working odd jobs.

Life as an outlaw

Goldsby’s life as an outlaw began when he was 18. At a dance in Fort Gibson, Jake Lewis and he had a confrontation over a dispute that Lewis had with one of Goldsby’s brothers. A few days later, Goldsby took a six-shooter and shot Lewis. Thinking Lewis was dead, Goldsby went on the run, leaving Fort Gibson and heading for the Creek and Seminole Nations, where he met up with outlaws Jim and Bill Cook, who were mixed-blood Cherokees.

During the summer of 1894, the United States government purchased rights to a strip of Cherokee land and agreed to pay out $265.70 to each person who had a legal claim. Since Goldsby and the Cook brothers were part Cherokee, they headed out to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, capitol of the Cherokee Nation, to get their money.

At this time, Goldsby was wanted for shooting Lewis, while Jim Cook was wanted on larceny charges. The men did not want to be seen by the authorities, so they stopped at a hotel and restaurant run by an acquaintance, Effie Crittenden. They coaxed her go to Tahlequah to get their money. On her way back, she was followed by Sheriff Ellis Rattling Gourd, who hoped to capture Goldsby and the Cooks. On June 17, 1894, Sheriff Rattling Gourd and his posse got into a gunfight with Goldsby and the Cook brothers. One of Gourd’s men, Deputy Sequoyah Houston, was killed, and Jim Cook was injured. The authorities fled, but later on, when Effie Crittenden was asked if Goldsby had been involved, she stated that it was not Goldsby, but it was Cherokee Bill. After her statement, Crawford Goldsby got the nickname "Cherokee Bill" and became known as one of the most dangerous men of the Indian Territory.

Crawford Goldsby gang
After this, the Cooks and Goldsby formed the Cook Gang and began to terrorize Oklahoma. The gang quickly began robbing banks, stagecoaches, and stores, and were willing to shoot anyone who got in their way. Between August and October, Goldsby and the Cooks went on a crime spree, robbing and mercilessly killing those who stood in their way. During this time, Goldsby's hair started to fall out due to a disease inherited from his grandfather. The disease left him with so little hair on his head, he decided to shave the remainder off.

    On July 18, 1894, Goldsby and his gang robbed Wells-Fargo Express Company and the St Louis and San Francisco railroad. train at Red Fork;
    Thirteen days later, they robbed the Lincoln County Bank in Chandler, Oklahoma, and made off with $500, killing J.B. Mitchell in the process.
    Summer 1894, railroad station agent Dick Richards of Nowata was reportedly killed by Cherokee Bill of which he later boasted and later which
     he denied.
    After his capture, an 1896 account reports that at a date not given {but reportedly before killing his brother-in-law} when Cherokee Bill was
     ejected from a train at Ft Gibson for not paying the fare, he shot and killed trainman Samuel Collins.
    In September of that same year, Goldsby shot and killed his brother-in-law, Mose Brown, over an argument about some hogs.
    On October 22, 1894, Goldsby and three others robbed the post office and Donaldson's Store at Watova.
    On November 8, 1894, when the men robbed the Shufeldt and Son General Store, Goldsby shot and killed Ernest Melton, who happened to
    enter the store during the robbery.
    On December 23, 1894, Goldsby and an accomplice Jim French held up and robbed Nowata, Oklahoma Station Agent Bristow of $190.00

Jail break

Because of the Melton murder incident, the authorities stepped up their pursuit for Goldsby and the Cook Gang. With the pressure on, the gang split up. Most of the men were captured or killed, but Goldsby managed to escape. When the authorities offered a $1300 reward for the capture of Goldsby, some of his acquaintances came forward and agreed to help.

On January 30, 1895, Goldsby was captured by Constables James McBride and Henry Connelly  and taken to Fort Smith, Arkansas, to wait for his trial. On April 13, 1895, he was sentenced to death after being tried and convicted for the murder of Ernest Melton. However, his lawyer managed to postpone the execution date.

In the meantime, Goldsby had made a friend, Sherman Vann, who was a trusty at the jail. Sherman managed to sneak a six-gun into Goldsby's cell. On July 26, 1895, Goldsby attempted a jail break with it. He jumped the night guards as they came to lock him into his cell. A guard, Lawrence Keating, was shot in the stomach. As Keating staggered back down the corridor, Goldsby shot him again in the back. Other guards arrived and prevented Goldsby from escaping, but were not able to enter the jail either. Then another prisoner, Henry Starr, convinced the guards to let him go in and get Goldsby out. Moments later he came back with Goldsby, who was unarmed.


The second trial lasted three days, resulting in a guilty verdict and U.S. District Judge Isaac Parker sentenced Goldsby to be hanged on September 10, 1895. A stay was granted, pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. On December 2, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Fort Smith court and Judge Parker again set the execution date as March 17, 1896.

On the morning of March 17, Goldsby awoke at six to have a smoke break. He ate a light breakfast sent from the hotel by his mother. At 9:20, his mother and "Aunty" Amanda Foster were admitted to his cell and shortly afterwards Father Pius arrived.

The hanging was scheduled for 11 am, but was delayed until 2 pm so his sister Georgia could see him before the hanging. She was scheduled to arrive at 1 pm on the eastbound train.

Shortly after 2 pm while on the gallows, it was reported Goldsby was asked if he had anything to say and he replied, "I came here to die, not make a speech." About 12 minutes later, Crawford "Cherokee Bill" Goldsby, the most notorious outlaw in the Territory, was dead.

The body was placed in a coffin, which was placed in a box and taken to the Missouri Pacific depot. Placed aboard the train, Ellen and Georgia escorted the body to Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, for interment at the Cherokee National Cemetery.

On April 20, 1897, Ike "Robinson" {Rogers}, who was reported to have been involved in the capture of Cherokee Bill, was shot and killed by Clarence Goldsby at Ft Gibson Oklahoma.

The role of Cherokee Bill was played by the actor Pat Hogan in a 1955 episode of the syndicated television series, Stories of the Century, starring and narrated by Jim Davis. Pierre Watkin had an uncredited role in this episode as Judge Parker.

Hyman G. Neill - from Wikipedia
Hyman G. Neill, better known as Hoodoo Brown, was the leader of the Dodge City Gang in Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1879 and early 1880. According to Harold Thatcher, curator of the Rough Rider Museum in Las Vegas, Hoodoo was "the baddest cowboy of them all". He was described as tall and thin, with light hair, a rakish look, and a small moustache.

Early life and background

Neill hailed from a traditional Southern family from Lexington, Missouri. His father had come to Lexington from Lee County, Virginia in the 1830s. Hyman's father practiced law and would have joined the Confederacy when the American Civil War began, however, he decided he could not disavow his oath to support the Constitution and ended up joining the Union. This choice, coupled with his wife's death, caused him to move his family to Warrensburg, Missouri after the war. His date of birth is possibly unknown.

Hoodoo became a printer's devil when he was a teenager, until one day he was asked to retrieve rags needed for printing. Young Neill jumped on a freight train going by the back door of the office, saying he was leaving to "get your durn rags".

He was hunting American bison and hauling lumber in 1872. At the time, he was known to be a small-time gambler and confidence trickster. He eventually went to Colorado, working in silver mines with a friend. Hoodoo and his friend ended up in Mexico to form an opera company.

Formation of the Dodge City Gang

When Hoodoo arrived in Las Vegas, New Mexico, he found it was developing a reputation as a lawless place, filled with outlaws, confidence tricksters, murderers and thieves. His displeasure with this led to his election as Justice of the Peace for East Las Vegas. He also served as coroner and mayor of the town, and recruited several former gunfighters from Kansas to form a police force. However, the force was as lawless as the criminals they were supposed to be policing. Called the "Dodge City Gang", the force included J. J. Webb as the town marshal, Mysterious Dave Mather, Joe Carson, "Dutchy" Schunderberger and Dave Rudabaugh.

Dodge City Gang's achievements

From 1879 through 1880, Hoodoo led the Dodge City Gang on stagecoach and train robberies, murders, thievery and municipal corruption. Hoodoo's position as Coroner enabled him to install the gang as the "Coroner's Jury", which they used to determine whether or not killings were in self-defense. This position enabled Hoodoo's gang to cover up most of their crimes.

Arrest and disappearance

By the summer of 1880, the citizens of Las Vegas, New Mexico, had had enough of Hoodoo's corruption, and organized a team of vigilantes to overthrow the mayor. Hoodoo was not killed, but instead driven from the state. Historians have stated that Hoodoo stole money from a dead man before moving on to Houston, Texas.

Meanwhile, the widow of one of Hoodoo's deputies, who had been killed two months earlier, had exhumed her husband to move him to Houston. When she arrived, she found Hoodoo had been arrested. The widow visited Hoodoo in prison. The Parsons Sun reported that "the meeting between the pair is said to have been affecting in the extreme, and rather more affectionate than would be expected under the circumstances." The Parsons Eclipse, another newspaper added that Hoodoo's specific offense committed at Las Vegas was murder and robbery, and it was indicated that seduction and adultery was connected to the crime.

Soon thereafter, however, Hoodoo hired two local attorneys and was released when the attorneys managed to prove that the officers had no legal authority for holding Brown. Neither he nor the widow were ever seen again. The Chicago Times soon reported that Brown and the widow have been "skylarking through some of the interior towns of Kansas ever since".

Reputed death and family

Reports from a descendant of Hyman G. Neill indicate that Hoodoo died in Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico, where he left a common-law wife and a son. Two of Hoodoo's brothers brought back his remains to Lexington. His son was also brought there, and was raised. Hoodoo Brown was buried at his family plot in Lexington under the name Henry G. Neill.

Years later, records listed a woman named Elizabeth Brown who was living in Leadville, Colorado. A heavy drinker, she claimed to have been married to a gambler named Hoodoo Brown, who was shot and killed in a gambling dispute. She may have been Hoodoo's common law wife, but this was never proven.

In popular culture

In the 2005 video game Gun, Hoodoo Brown is shown as the mayor of fictional Empire City, New Mexico. He resembles the real-life Hoodoo in both appearance and character. In the game, Hoodoo deputizes the game's protagonist, Colton White, and agrees to help him find Josiah Reed, an assassin that masquerades as a preacher Colton is looking for. Colton soon finds out, however, that Hoodoo is on the same side as the assassin, and must escape Hoodoo's prison, later killing him. Dave Rudebaugh and J.J. Webb are also portrayed in the game as Hoodoo's deputies. Hoodoo is voiced by Ron Perlman in the game.

Brown also appears in two stories of the Italian comic Tex Willer, episodes 601 and 602, as mayor of Vegas, New Mexico, and head of the Dodge City gang. When Tex and his fellow ranger Kit Carson discover that Brown, with appointed sheriff Dave Mather and deputies of the town, among which John Joshua Webb and Dave Rudabaugh, as Dan Rudabaugh, participated in several robberies, they are involved in a duel, and Tex and Carson manage to kill Brown.

Hyman Neil appears in the weird western novel Merkabah Rider: The Mensch With No Name, by Edward M. Erdelac.[1] He unofficially hires the Rider, Mysterious Dave Mather, and Doc Holliday to find two thousand dollars in cash stolen in a train robbery outside Las Vegas, New Mexico.

John King Fisher - Wikipedia
John King Fisher (October 1853 – March 11, 1884) was a gunslinger from the U.S. state of Texas during the heyday of the American Old West.

Early life and education

Fisher was born during October 1853 in Collin County, north of Dallas, Texas, to Jobe Fisher and the former Lucinda Warren. His brothers were Jasper and James Fisher. His mother died when he was two years old, and his father married a woman named Minerva. After the Civil War ended, the family moved to Williamson County, near Austin, where his brother James was then residing.

Jobe Fisher was a cattleman who owned and operated two freight wagons. After the death of his stepmother Minerva, the Fishers moved to Goliad west of Victoria, Texas, where they were joined by his paternal grandmother, who helped her son raise his children. King Fisher was restless, handsome, popular with the girls, and prone to running with a 

yough crowd. His father sent him to live with his brother James in or about 1869. Some two years later, Fisher was arrested for horse theft and sentenced to two years in prison. However, because of his youth, he was released after only a short time that same year.

Cowboy and outlaw

After his release from prison, Fisher began working as a cowboy, breaking horses. Because of the incessant raids, lootings, and rapes of Texas ranch and farm families by bandits, he soon found himself taking part in posse activities. As a result of his successes in this arena, he fancied himself as a gunman. He began to dress rather flamboyantly and carried ivory handled pistols. He became quite proficient with a gun and began running with a band of outlaws which carried out frequent raids into Mexico.

However, after only a short time, a dispute arose over how the spoils of their loot would be divided. One of the men drew his pistol, and Fisher immediately pulled his guns and managed to kill three of the bandits in the ensuing shootout. He then took over as leader of the gang, and over the course of the next several months killed seven more Mexican bandits. In 1872, he bought a ranch on the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, in Maverick County on the Mexican border. He used this ranch as his gang's base of operations and even was so brazen as to place a sign that read "This is King Fisher's road. Take the other one."

During this time, King Fisher rarely committed acts of violence or theft against other Texan settlers, instead opting to raid and rustle cattle across the Mexican border. This was a time of massive raids, pillaging, looting, raping, and murder by United States and Mexican bandits. In response to feelings of alleged lack of reprisal or defense by authorities, the Texans formed more groups of bandits. This activity only fueled disputes and ill will from the Mexican side and generating substantial problems for Texas Ranger battalions who were trying to quell Mexican bandit raids into Texas. The Texas Rangers, under Leander H. McNelly, opposed the Mexican rebel leader Juan Cortina. The Rangers also raided the Fisher Ranch and arrested Fisher. However, he was released after a "gentleman's agreement"' was reached that his cattle rustling into Mexico would end. Pressure from the Texas Rangers caused Fisher to retire from this trade, and he began legitimate ranching.


By the late 1870s, Fisher had a reputation as being fast with a gun. In 1878, an argument between Fisher and four Mexican vaqueros erupted. Fisher is alleged to have clubbed the nearest one to him with a branding iron, then as a second drew a pistol Fisher drew his own pistol and shot and killed the man. He then spun around and shot the other two, who evidently had not produced weapons and merely sat on the fence during the altercation.

Fisher was arrested several times for altercations in public by local lawmen and had been charged at least once with "intent to kill". The charges were dropped after no witnesses came forward. Although well known as a trouble maker, Fisher was well liked in south Texas. He married the former Sarah Vivian on April 6, 1876, and the couple had four daughters.

With his new family, he began a more settled life by working in the cattle business. He served briefly in 1883 as acting sheriff of Uvalde County, Texas. During this service he trailed two stagecoach robbery suspects, the brothers Tom and Jim Hannehan, to their ranch near Leakey in Real County, Texas. The Hannehans resisted, and Fisher shot and killed Tom. Jim then surrendered and was taken into custody along with the stolen loot from the robbery. For years after Fisher's death, Tom Hannehan's mother would travel to Fisher's grave on the anniversary of Tom Hannehan's death. She would build a fire on top of the grave and then dance around it.

Ambush and murder

In 1884, while in San Antonio, Texas, on business, Fisher came into contact with his old friend, gunfighter and gambler Ben Thompson. Thompson was unpopular in San Antonio, since he had earlier killed a popular theater owner there named Jack Harris. A feud over that killing had been brewing since between Thompson and friends of Harris. Fisher and Thompson attended a play on March 11 at the Turner Hall Opera House, and later, about 10:30 p.m., they went to the Vaudeville Variety Theater. A local lawman named Jacob Coy sat with them. Thompson wanted to see Joe Foster, a theater owner and friend of Harris's, and one of those fueling the ongoing feud. Thompson had already spoken to Billy Simms, another theater owner, and Foster's new partner.

Fisher and Thompson were directed upstairs to meet with Foster. Coy and Simms soon joined them in the theater box. Foster refused to speak to Thompson. Fisher allegedly noticed that something was not right. Simms and Coy stepped aside, and as they did Fisher and Thompson leapt to their feet just as a volley of gunfire erupted from another theater box, a hail of bullets hitting both Thompson and Fisher. Thompson fell onto his side, and either Coy or Foster ran up to him and shot him in the head with a pistol. Thompson was unable to return fire and died almost immediately. Fisher was shot thirteen times, and did fire one round in retaliation, possibly wounding Coy, but that is not confirmed. Coy may have been shot by one of the attackers and was left crippled for life.

Foster, in attempting to draw his pistol at the first of the fight, shot himself in the leg, which was later amputated. He died shortly thereafter. The description of the events of that night are contradictory. There was a public outcry for a grand jury indictment of those involved. However, no action was ever taken. The San Antonio police and the prosecutor showed little interest in the case. Fisher was buried on his ranch. His body was later moved to the Pioneer Cemetery in Uvalde, Texas, the hometown of future Vice President of the United States John Nance Garner.

I popular culture

    Fisher is portrayed by Jack Lambert in the 1959 episode "Incident in Leadville" of the television series Bat Masterson starring Gene Barry.
    Fisher is portrayed by Robert Yuro in the 1970 episode "King of the Uvalde Road" of the syndicated television series Death Valley Days,
    with Dale Robertson as host and co-star in this episode In the story line, Fisher tries to keep the mail from being delivered to Uvalde from 
    San Antonio. He knows that if the mail comes through, his power will be jeopardized.
    Alfred Molina plays Fisher in the 2001 film Texas Rangers.

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