Oklahombres member Dennis Lippe has information on his excellent web site (http://www.oklemem.com/) about the 1901 killing of Deputy US Marshal John Poe:
"John Poe, Deputy U.S. Marshal
John Poe was appointed a deputy U.S. Marshal by U.S. Marshal John Hammer of the Southern District of Indian Territory. On Wednesday, September 25, 1901, Poe and his posse, J.H. Neely boarded the northbound Frisco train in Denison, TX. The trip was peaceful until the train was approaching Ravia, a small town three miles of Tishomingo. Poe walked toward the rear of the train. As he entered he noticed B.W. Taylor causing a disturbance. Poe identified himself and then advised Taylor to settle down or he would arrest him. An argument started and Poe told Taylor he was under arrest for disturbing the peace. As Poe tried to handcuff him, Taylor jumped him and a fight started.
Another passenger told Neely of the fight. As Neely entered the rear of the train, he saw Poe trying to handcuff Taylor. Dave Bruner got up and headed toward Poe. Neely charged Bruner and knocked him to the floor with the butt of his gun. George Yargee was headed toward Poe and was also knocked to the floor by Neely. Taylor broke away from Poe and then knocked Neely to the ground, at the same time grabbing the posse's gun. Poe tackled Taylor and all three men began a desperate fight for control of the gun. As the fight continued a shot rang out and Deputy Poe dropped to the floor. A bullet had entered the right side of his chest, traveled through the chest and exited out of the left side.
Neely was able to gain control of Taylor, his son Ben, Dave Bruner and George Yargee at gunpoint. Neely turned the prisoners over to Deputy U.S. Marshal Bridges at Mill Creek. Bridges took the prisoners to Ardmore where they were jailed to await trial. When the trial was over, the judge released Bruner, Ben Taylor and George Yarhee due to a determination that they were not involved in the actual shooting. The judge further stated that the evidence was inconclusive as to who had control of the gun when it went off and therefore, he had no choice but to release B.W. Taylor with no charges."
I was recently in Tishomingo and found the following information in the book "Johnston County History" that tells a slightly different version:
"John Poe was the deputy United States marshal at Mill Creek. The bootleggers had to get rid of him in some way, he was leading them a Cat's Life, by incessantly "butting" into their business.
He obtained a pass over the Frisco System by some hook or crook and rode all trains in and out of Dennison, Texas; he actually lived on the train. Dennison was the nearest 'source of supply and demand,' he broke and arrested all people found on those trains with the contraband, interferred with express shipments into Mill Creek and adjoining towns and, in bootleggers language, became a public nuisance and dealt the 'unshirted Hell.'
They ran an excursion train on the Frisco to Dennison for a baseball game, and in coming back on the train that night they matched a free for all. Anybody who felt lucky was dealt a hand. John 'butted in' just as they knew he would and got killed either accidentally or on purpose, no difference, he was dead!"
This is kind of interesting. It seems possible that the fight which resulted in Poe's death may have been been staged and set up for the purpose of murdering Poe.
Thanks for the kind words and info Dee.
The information on the Memorial web site ref DUSM John Poe was taken from a few newspaper articles I have and books by Oklahombres members Ron Owens' "Oklahoma Heroes" and Bob Ernst's recent well researched book "Deadly Affrays: The Violent Deaths of the U. S. Marshals."
Dennis L Lippe, Chairman
Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial
PO Box 10776
Oklahoma City, OK 73140-1776
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