|The Dalton Gang
Based in Kansas, this band of bank and train robbers enjoyed success until it tried to rob two banks at the same time.
Gratton Hanley "Grat" Dalton was born near Lawrence, Kansas, on March 30, 1861. He was living in California when his brother Frank, a U.S. Deputy Marshal for the Federal Court of Fort Smith, Arkansas, was shot and killed in an ambush. Grat returned to Indian Territory and picked up where Frank left off, becoming a U.S. Deputy Marshal for the Muskogee Court. But he soon got a bad reputation as a lawman, and decided to go to the other side of the law and started robbing trains.
Robert Rennick "Bob" Dalton was born near Belton, Missouri, on May 13, 1869, and raised on the border of Indian Territory near Coffeyville, Kansas. Before becoming an outlaw, he was a U.S. Deputy Marshal for the Federal Court in Wichita, Kansas, working in and out of the Osage Nation.
Emmett Dalton was also born near Belton, Missouri, on May 3, 1871. He was working as a cowboy on the Bar X Bar Ranch near the Pawnee Agency when he met most of his fellow gang members.
William St. Power, alias Bill Power, alias Tom Evans was a drifter. He met Emmett Dalton while working on a ranch in Indian Territory.
Dick Broadwell came from a prominent family near Hutchinson, Kansas. At the opening of Oklahoma Territory he staked a claim to a homestead in the Cowboy Flats area. He met and fell in love with the young lady who owned the homestead next to his and asked her to marry him. She agreed and persuaded him to sell both claims and move with her to Fort Worth, Texas, where she disappeared with the money. He returned to the territories and started working on area ranches. It was during this period that he met Emmett Dalton.
Charlie Pierce came from the Blue River country in Missouri. He fled to the Indian Nation to avoid trouble in Missouri, and settled in the Pawnee country. He spent time in the Fort Smith jail for whiskey peddling before meeting up with the Daltons.
George "Bitter Creek" Newcomb was from Fort Scott, Kansas. At the age of twelve he began working as a cowboy for C.C. Slaughter on the Long S Ranch in Texas. He later drifted into Indian and Oklahoma territories.
Charlie "Black-Faced" Bryant was from Wise County, Texas. His nickname referred to a black mark on his cheek that came from a powder burn.
March 21, 1890 -- Pawhaska, Indian Territory -- Bob and Emmett Dalton are arrested on charges of introducing intoxicating liquor into the Osage Nation.
July 1890 -- Claremore, Indian Territory -- Bob, Grat and Emmett Dalton are accused of stealing horses. Bob and Emmett flee to California. Grat is arrested, but subsequently released for lack of evidence; he then joined his brothers in California.
February 6, 1891 -- Alila, California -- A Southern Pacific train is robbed. Grat and Bill Dalton are arrested for the crime, while Bob and Emmett flee to Oklahoma.
May 1891 --Wharton, Oklahoma Territory -- Five members of the Gang rob a Santa Fe train, making away with $500.
August 1891 -- Hennessy, Oklahoma Territory -- Deputy Marshal Ed Short arrests Charley Bryant. While taking him to Wichita, Kansas, the prisoner secures a handgun. Both men are killed in the ensuing gunfight.
September 1891 -- Lillietta, Indian Territory -- Four members of the gang rob a Missouri Kansas & Texas train, making away with $2,500.
September 18, 1891 -- California -- Grat Dalton escapes from jail and returns to Oklahoma to join up with his brothers.
June 1, 1892 -- Red Rock, Oklahoma Territory -- Seven members of the gang rob a Santa Fe train and make away with $50.
July 14, 1892 -- Adair, Indian Territory -- Eight members of the gang rob a Missouri Kansas & Texas train. In a shoot-out with railroad guards, an innocent bystander is killed, another wounded. Two guards are also wounded. Total amount of take is never disclosed.
Raid on Coffeyville
Following the Adair train robbery the Dalton Gang split up and went their separate ways. With the law on their trail, the Daltons decided to carry out one last robbery and get enough money to leave the country. A plan was devised to rob two banks in the same town at the same time, thus getting the money they needed while also going down in history by accomplishing something that no other gang had ever even attempted. The perfect town for the robbery was Coffeyville, Kansas, their old home town.
Early in the morning of October 5, 1892, Bob, Grat and Emmett Dalton, along with Bill Power and Dick Broadwell, rode into Coffeyville and tied their horses in the alley across from the town's two banks. Bob and Emmett walked into the First National Bank, while the other three went into the Condon Bank. But the Daltons' plan began going wrong almost as soon as they rode into town.
At least one Coffeyville citizen recognized the Daltons and notified the Marshall. While the bandits were inside the banks, citizens were arming themselves with weapons and taking up positions to defend the town. Meanwhile, Cashier C.M. Ball of the Condon Bank stalled the robbers by claiming that the time lock on the vault had not released. As the gangs emerged from the two banks they found themselves under fire from the Coffeyville citizenry.
The ensuing gunfight lasted no more than twelve minutes. By the time it was over four of the bandits -- Bob and Grat Dalton, Bill Power, and Dick Broadwell -- were dead and Emmett Dalton was seriously wounded. Four Coffeyville citizens -- including the town Marshall -- were also killed, and another three were wounded.
The citizens of Coffeyville put the bodies of the four dead gang members on public display and sent copies of the photo below to major newspapers across the country.
Bob and Grat Dalton, along with Bill Powers, were buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Coffeyville. Broadwell's body was returned to Hutchinson, Kansas, by his relatives.
In March 1893, Emmett Dalton pled guilty to murder, and was sentenced to life in the state prison at Lansing, Kansas, by Judge J.D. McCue of the Montgomery County District Court. He spent 15 years in prison before winning a parole from Kansas Governor Hoch, on November 4, 1907. On September 1, 1908, he married Julie Johnson Gilstrap Lewis, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The couple lived in Bartlesville for a couple of years before moving to California. The remaining years of Emmett's life were spent on the stage, writing a book on the Dalton family and the Raid, and as a real estate dealer in California. In May 1931, the couple returned to Coffeyville for a visit, and were treated as celebrities. While there, Emmett had a marker placed on his brothers' graves. He died in Long Beach, California, on July 13, 1937.
Bill Doolin, Bitter Creek Newcomb, and Charlie Pierce continued to terrorize the territories for several more years. Along with another Dalton boy, Bill, they came to be known as the Doolin-Dalton Gang.
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This page was last updated on February 22, 2014.