Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 2, No. 4
December, 1924

Page 400

One of the most picturesque figures in the history of Oklahoma, passed off the stage of action with the killing of William Tilghman, of Oklahoma City, who had been serving as a peace officer at the new old town of Cromwell, in Seminole County, on Saturday evening November 1, 1924. "Bill" Tilghman, as familiarly known throughout that part of the state which had been included in old Oklahoma Territory, was one of the most noted peace officers of the Southwest. Born in Iowa, over seventy years ago, he made his way out to the frontier of western Kansas while he was still a youth. There he drove cattle, hunted buffalo, went through a brief Indian war campaign and saw service as a peace officer at Dodge City, when that celebrated market for range cattle was reputed to be "wide open, wild and wooly," and served several years as marshal or chief of police. He came thence to Oklahoma in 1889, when the first lands of the Territory were thrown open to settlement, entering the service as a deputy United States marshal, at the time there was no other form of civil government yet established. His service in this capacity was continuous and arduous most of the time during the territorial period. He also served as sheriff of Lincoln County and subsequently rrepresented his district in the State Senate.

Page 401

Still later, he filled the office of chief of police of Oklahoma City. As a peace officer, his reputation for fidelity and fearlessness was untarnished. He traced his descent straight back in the direct male line to one of the founders of the colony of Maryland and he proved to be a worthy cion of the stock from which he sprang.

Henry Clay Meigs, long a prominent citizen of the old Cherokee Nation, died at his home in Fort Gibson, on Sunday, September 14, at the age of eighty-three. He was of distinguished ancestry. Return Johnathan Meigs, who served as an aide of the staff of General George Washington during the War for American Independence and who, after his retirement from the military service at the beginning of President Jefferson's administration, was appointed as the tribal agent for the Cherokee Indians, was his paternal grandfather. John Ross, who served as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1828 until his death, in 1866, was his maternal grandfather. In his youth, Mr. Meigs saw brief service as a soldier during the Civil War. He had filled several official positions under the Cherokee national government and was reputed to be one of the oldest members of the Masonic order in the state. Always a man of sturdy physique, it was his unvarying custom to bathe in the waters of Grand River once each day except when the inclemency of the weather prevented.

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