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WAIGHTMAN (WEIGHTMAN) GANG

Oklahoma outlaw George "Red Buck" Waightman was probably born in Texas, where he was a horse thief. His alias came from the fact that he was a tall, burly man with auburn hair and moustache. In 1890 Deputy U.S. Marshal Henry "Heck" Thomas arrested Waightman for stealing mules in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. Sentenced to nine years, Waightman escaped from a train car while being transported to prison. By August 1893 he had joined the Doolin gang, and on April 3, 1895, they robbed a train near Dover, Oklahoma Territory. After the Dover train robbery Waightman stole a horse and shot its owner, a preacher. An argument ensued between Bill Doolin and Waightman about murdering the minister, and Waightman soon left the Doolin gang.

By fall 1895 Waightman had formed his own gang, which included George Miller, a Texas lawman turned outlaw, and two Texas fugitives, Joe Beckham and Elmer "Kid" Lewis. They rustled cattle and robbed general stores in western Oklahoma. The gang held up a train near Curtis in Woodward County on September 12, 1895, and in October 1895 robbed Charles E. Noyes's general store in Arapaho.

The Waightman gang members, all fugitives from Texas, died violent deaths. Beckham died in a shoot-out in December 1895, and Lewis was hanged by an angry mob on February 27, 1896, after robbing a Wichita Falls, Texas, bank. On March 4, 1896, Waightman was killed and Miller wounded by lawmen in Custer County, Oklahoma. Waightman, the "man who could make a fiddle whisper love after his guns had spoken death," was buried in an Arapaho, Oklahoma, cemetery. Recovered from his wounds, Miller had a hook prosthesis placed on his right hand, which had been severely damaged by gunshot wounds. During the 1920s George "Hookey" Miller served as a deputy sheriff in the oil boom town of Three Sands, Oklahoma, where he was killed on July 21, 1923, by a Choctaw named Jackson Burns. Miller was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

SEE ALSO: LAW ENFORCEMENT, OUTLAWS, TERRITORIAL ERA

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hennessey (Oklahoma Territory) Clipper, 12 March 1896. Oklahoma City (Oklahoma) Times, 24 July 1923. Charles Power Rainbolt, "In Pursuit of the Outlaw 'Red Buck'" (Inola, Okla.: Evans Publications, 1990). 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). "George Weightman" and "George Miller," Vertical Files, Library Resources Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Linda D. Wilson

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