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body bags

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Sat October 29 2011, 12:01 PM
shadowline
body bags
What would a U.S. Deputy Marshal have used for a body bag to bring in a body or bodies? I'm assuming that they would have covered or wrapped the body/bodies in canvas.
Sat October 29 2011, 12:46 PM
sundowner
If my memory serves me correctly that happened only in the movies. The deputy [for a while] was responsible for burial of the fugitives that he killed and at his expense. Later that policy was changed but the bottom line is they were buried in the area where killed before they became ripe.
Sun October 30 2011, 04:07 AM
shadowline
Norm: In this case there is a reward so I'm assuming that body/bodies would have to be offered for proof. And yes, these bodies are going to be very ripe....LOL.
Sun October 30 2011, 07:51 AM
Tower
Two things on the above string. Depending on the distance to be traveled, the bodies were wrapped in quilts if the trip could be made in a day. Sometimes, if the weather was hot, cold water would be sloshed on the body and quilts to slow down bloating. If the transport was going to take time, a crude coffin was built and filled with charcoal. In one instance, the weather was cool, so the deputy chained two live prisoners to three dead ones, (dead, live, dead, live, dead) and drove them via wagon 180 miles to Ft. Smith. That would be about a week if one hurried along.
The court rule requiring a body was during the early 1890's and was imposed because "shot while trying to escape" was too commonplace. The body was examined by court officials and regardless of outcome, the deputy was responsible for burial expenses. If the death was determined to be "fishy" then the deputy was examined and referred to the grand jury to take their chances. In the 1890's all shootings by a deputy were brought before a commissioner for examination to determine the circumstances and were often referred to the grand jury as assault.
Sun October 30 2011, 07:55 AM
Tower
Forgot. When a reward was involved, the deputy attempted to get a positive i. d. while in the field via folks who knew the deceased. They would also get a photograph if they could find a photographer. But, an attempt would be made to haul the body back. In one case, during July, the decomposition was so bad the deputies, after two days travel, buried the bodies; preferring to take their chances with the grand jury rather than endure the stench any longer.
Sun October 30 2011, 04:24 PM
sundowner
Again Mike, thanks for the education. I had read that prior to 1890's the deputy was not required to bring the body in. Is that correct?
Sun October 30 2011, 04:50 PM
Oklahoma Kid
I have read and was told that the deputies in the 1880s, if it was not possible to bring a body back to Fort Smith, they would cut the head off and put it in a gunny sack for identification. I know for certainty that was what was done with Dick Glass. Besides the head they would bring in any other objects that could be identified as possessions of the outlaw. Pretty gruesome. As the Indian Territory got more civilized they probably thought that was too archiac a process. It probably also depended on the reward money.
Sun October 30 2011, 05:41 PM
shadowline
Guys, thank-you so much for your answers....they all are very helpful.
Sun October 30 2011, 06:36 PM
Oklahoma Kid
I do remember reading one episode where Captain Charles LeFlore, of the United States Indian Police, was bringing in an outlaw he killed. On his way to Fort Smith, he stopped at his ranch at Limestone Gap in the Choctaw Naion. LeFlore had the body salted down for transport to Fort Smith.
Sun October 30 2011, 06:53 PM
sundowner
That's what is really great about this organization; the knowledge and helpfulness is super!
Mon October 31 2011, 04:43 AM
shadowline
Yep, I think salt is the ticket for my transportation dilemma. Perfect. Thanks, Kid.