Outlaw William M. "Bill" Doolin was born in Johnson County, Arkansas, in 1858. A son of Michael and Artemina Beller Doolin, he left home in 1881 and became a cowboy in Indian Territory. He worked on ranches in the Unassigned Lands and the Cherokee Outlet and was considered honest and quiet.
Doolin met Emmett Dalton while employed with the Bar X Bar ranch near present Pawnee, Oklahoma. Doolin was involved in a shooting at Coffeyville, Kansas, in July 1891, and joined the Dalton gang shortly thereafter. He participated in railroad robberies at Leliaetta (near Wagoner), Red Rock, and Adair, but he was not present when the gang was overwhelmed at Coffeyville in October 1892.
The Dalton gang's demise resulted in the formation of Doolin's "Wild Bunch." Its members included Bill Dalton, George Waightman, and George Newcomb. After perpetrating crimes in Kansas, the desperados were surrounded by lawmen at Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory (O.T.), on September 1, 1893. The outlaws escaped after killing one marshal and mortally wounding two others. Subsequent robberies were committed at Pawnee and Woodward in 1894 and Dover in 1895.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Tilghman captured Doolin at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, on January 15, 1896, but Doolin escaped from the jail in Guthrie, O.T. Doolin had married Edith Ellsworth in 1893, and she and their son resided at Lawson in present Pawnee County. There, on August 25, 1896, Doolin was killed by a posse under Deputy U.S. Marshal Henry "Heck" Thomas and was buried in Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bailey C. Hanes, Bill Doolin, Outlaw O.T. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968). Bill O'Neal, Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979). Richard M. Patterson, Historical Atlas of the Outlaw West (Boulder, Colo.: Johnson Books, 1985). Glenn Shirley, West of Hell's Fringe: Crime, Criminals, and the Federal Peace Officer in Oklahoma Territory, 1889-1907 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978).
Jon D. May
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