I am enquiring if anyone knows how to locate the death certificate or any information leading to the death of Marshal Robert "Bob" Cox. All modern accounts state that he died on or around April 14, 1890. This is an interesting note in history since the incident involved Marshal Floyd Wilson and either Bob or Grat Dalton.
The Officer Down Memorial Page states: "Deputy Marshal Cox was shot and killed in Claremore, Oklahoma, after he and another marshal arrested a man for selling liquor at a barn dance. A father and son who witnessed the arrest decided they would free the suspect. As Deputy Marshal Cox retrieved his rifle from a closet the two opened fire on him, striking him in the neck and shoulders. The other marshal then exchanged shots with the two, who managed to escape with the prisoner. Deputy Marshal Cox died the following day."
The man under arrest was Ed Louthers. The father and son were Alex and Jesse Cochran. Those familiar with the story would know that in most accounts, Bob Dalton later shot the horse out from under the son, wounding him in the leg. The Vinita, Oklahoma, Indian Chieftain on April 17, 1890, validates this stating that Cox was "shot through part of his neck and shoulder....Cox became weak an put up at a house..." The article concludes with, "Saturday evening the younger Cochran went to town after cartridges and on his way back was hailed by Dalton, another officer. Refusing to halt, the other opened fire, killing the horse and shooting the boy through the leg."
On April 24, 1890, the Vinita, Oklahoma, Indian Chieftain reported: "Alex Chochran's boy, who was shot in the leg, is getting well, so reports Dr. Box who is waiting on him. Bob Cox, whom Alex Cochran shot through the neck, is able to walk around and will soon be ready for duty."
In spite of this, modern accounts report count Marshal Cox as one of those who died under the
service of Judge saac Parker. The Fort Smith Historical Society list him as killed in action in two separate locations. The Fort Smith Historical Society and other accounts are in these links.
A death certificate of Marshal Robert Cox would determine the truth.
On April 11, 1890, Deputy U.S. Marshal Floyd Wilson received a telegram to come to Claremore and serve arrest warrants on two men; one of them was a man named Halm who was an escapee from the penitentiary in Little Rock, Arkansas. Halm was running a saloon in the loft of a barn on the property of a man named Hightman near Claremore.
The next day, Wilson arrived in Claremore with two deputies, Robert "Bob" Cox and Charley Canon. Wilson immediately went to bed with a cold and tried to convince the other officers not to go after their suspect until he felt better and could accompany them; but, they decided to go ahead without him.
Cox and Canon went to the Hightman barn about 9 p.m., where a dance was in progress. They decided to just meld in with the crowd until an opportune time to arrest Halm presented itself. During the evening, the officers purchased a quart of illegal whiskey from a man named Ed Louthers. About 3 a.m., the officers prepared to arrest Halm but arrested and handcuffed Louthers first.
Witnessing the arrest of Louthers, a local father and son named Alex and Jesse Cochran decided to free the prisoner from the officers. As Deputy Cox reached inside a closet to retrieve his rifle, Alex Cochran shot him in the shoulders and neck. Deputy Canon drew his weapon and the men traded a dozen shots, another shot from Jesse Cochran wounding Cox in one thigh. In the melee, Louthers escaped, still wearing the handcuffs, and so did the Cochrans.
That night, one of Cochran's younger sons was riding into Claremore to buy more ammunition when he was met on the trail by Deputy U.S. Marshal Grat Dalton, serving for Judge Parker's court before he and his brothers went over to the other side of the law. Dalton arrested Cochran but not without resistance. During the arrest, Deputy Dalton wounded Cochran in one leg and killed his horse.
Although Deputy Cox's wounds were initially reported as "not serious", he died two days later.
(Source: "Oklahoma Heroes - A Tribute to Fallen Law Enforcement Officers" by Ron Owens, pp. 76-77)
Thank you for the good description as given by Ron Owens. The description is more clear than the newspaper reports of the day.
I also posed this guestion to the Oklahoma Historical Society. Researcher Carolyn Krumanocker noted that of course, "Oklahoma did not become a State until 1907 and it was not mandatory for birth and death records to be kept until then. Even up until the 1930's birth and death records are sparse."
I realize the newspapers of the day weren't always accurate either, but that the Vinita Indian Chieftan was reporting as late as the 25th of that month that "Bob Cox was walking around and would soon return to duty," leaves an odd question in the air.
Since one of the links above comes from the national archives from the Department of Justice, that lends weight to the idea Cox did pass away, even though, they note the date as the 13th.
Thanks again for your assistance and good description of the events.
Randal L Long
Located a newspaper article in the Muskogee, Oklahoma Phoenix dated April 17, 1890 that substantiates the story of Box Cox death. "Deputy Bob Dalton who happened near by, was informed of the young man's purchase of cartridges and endeavored to take them from him. The boy put Spurs to his horse and was rapidly getting away when Dalton drew down with his Winchester and put five balls into the horse, killing the animal instantly. One ball entered the boy's leg, causing a painful though not serious wound...It has since been learned that Deputy Cox died."
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