Where in Texas did most of the stolen horses from the Indian Territory wind up being sold?
That's damn good question!! I wonder why the Federal Marshals didn't resolve that for us. My sense of the disposal from reading old court documents, is that there were specific livries and ranchers along the border which would take horses at a set price, no questions asked. I read someplace that U. S. Attorney Horace Speed discussed a map of "hold outs" found the possession of a horse theif captured in Oklahoma Territory which listed the locations of specific ranches within the Chickasaw Nation, Seminole Nation, Pawnee and Ponca reserves, Oklahoma Territory, and the Leased District,where horses could be held and livery stables which would pay $20 per horse, no questions asked. So, at some point, Texas stopped being the market of choice.
Probably the markets in Texas for stolen horses were more plentiful in the 70s and 80s. The markets for stolen horses in the territories became more abundant and available in the late 80s and 90s. I wonder is there any research on this in regards to the Anti-Horsethief Association in the Twin Territories.
I have seen in original court documents and period accounts that stolen horses made it as far south as the vicinity of Dallas, Texas where they were sold. I even found one in 1870 where a herd of government horses were stolen in southern Kansas or northern I.T. by a gang of thieves and driven south through the I.T., into Texas, and finally ended up in Louisiana where they were sold to an "unwitting buyer". I've also seen similar accounts stating that stolen stock was sold in the border towns of southern Kansas. Specifically Wellington, Arkansas City, and Coffeyville.
On the Trail
editor, Oklahombres Journal
On the Trail
Secretary, Oklahombres Inc.
I found this in the Pauls Valley Sentinel, May 5, 1905:
Muskogee: Deputy Marshal Cowan came in from Okmulgee, and has placed in the Federal Jail here two prisoners charged with stealing horses from Sam Wilson. This makes six persons who have been arrested in the western part of the Creek Nation within the past three weeks for stealing horses. Deputy Cowan states there is an organized band of thieves working in the western part of Indian Territory ranging from Holdenville to Prague, Okla. They steal horses in the territory and run them across the line where they are sold very cheaply and often to persons who know, or have reason to know, that the horses were stolen. Quite frequently these thieves will take a horse across the line and trade it for a few dollars and a supply of whiskey to bring back to the territory. Keokuk Falls is a little town just over the Oklahoma line and is a favorite crossing place for this class of person...The gang of thieves have been operating for some time and have stolen a lot of horses.
In the early 1880s, a family of rustlers by the name of Ross was operating in the lower Chickasaw Nation, stealing horses, mules, and even pigs, and then running the larger animals over the Texas line and selling them to specific livery stables. When the heat was put on them, they moved north. While passing through the Middle Washita River valley, one of their members was shot and killed by Sam Paul and Fred Waite. Sam was an Indian Policeman and acting on information received by a cowboy working for one of the victims who had tracked the outfit from near the Red River to Cherokee Town. After the shooting this bunch, which was traveling by wagon caravan, went west to the Chisholm Trail, turned south and moved into Clay County, Texas, where they started stealing horses. The gang left Texas with about 40 head of horses, including 2 horses and 2 mules from a man named J. H. Herrin (or Herron) The Rosses were pursued by Herrin who tracked them to Fort Sill, then picked up on them again in Caldwell, Kansas. Herrin and U. S. Marshal Cash Hollister located them at Hunnewell, but not before two of the gang had gone ahead to Wichita to sell some of the booty. Hollister went back to Caldwell and picked up a posse which included Fred Waite's old buddy, Henry Brown, then City Marshall of Caldwell. A gun fight ensued and one of the Ross boys was killed and the other wounded. Bill O'Neal, in an "Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters," University of Oklahoma Press wrote about the Kansas escapades but the Chickasaw Nation part is new info I located.
Just realized I gave the wrong reference--it should be: Nyle H. Miller and Joseph W. Snell, "Great Gunfighters of the Kansas Cowtowns, 1867-1886" (University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln 1963)
They - the outlaws - have had a trail of line houses - places where they could leave their goods for safe keeping for about as long as there have been people here. Pat Hennessey's freight wagon stock was being peddled in Wichita Kan. about three weeks after he was killed, and it wern't by Indians. Then there is honest Bill Tilghman, didn't know how the stolen cattle - 300 hundred head - got on the back side of his place in Kansas. One could go on and on about organized crime from before the Civil War to the present day.
Going on about outlaws and lawmen is what this page is all about. Leola Lehman, in "A Deputy U.S. Marshal in the Territories" Chronicles of Oklahoma, Autum, 1965 quoted an article from the St. Louis Republic of 9-15-1912 speaks of a map found on a rustler in 1900 and turned over to Federal Prosecutor Horace Speed. The map depicted a large circle beginning near the Delaware Bend on the Red River extending north and east through the Chickasaw Nation to the Seminole Nation, over to the Pawnee and Ponca Reserves, southwest through the Glass Mountains, back through the Wichita Mountains and southeast to point of origin. Within the boundaries was the exact location of "hold-outs." According to the article, gangs of theives ran stolen stock into Southern Kansas where they were sold at certain ranches and liveries for $10-20, no questions asked.
Caldwell Journal, 1883 repeating item from Albany, Texas under title:"Stolen Horses Recovered"
"Friday night last, six ponies were stolen from the Tonkawa Indians near Fort Griffin (Texas). Sunday morning, deputy Sheriff Henry Herron left here traveled via Fort Griffin, where he was joined by six Tonkawas as trailers and posse, proceeded to Seymour where they were joined by Sheriff Ingram and deputy of Baylor County. They traveled north across the Wichita River and soon after struck the trail which was fresh. The Tonquins, like bloodhounds, followed the trail and in a short time the game was within sight. They pressed the theives so close that the latter abandoned five of the six stolen horses...It is believed by Sheriff Ingram that these thieves are the same ones who stole cows and calves from pens in Seymour a short time ago. Two of the party were seen in Fort Griffin the night the Indians horses were stolen..." The Journal then opinions... "that the theives undoubtedly belong to the same gang that finds a harboring place in that portion of the Territory called Greer County. In time the cattle men of that portion of the Territory will be compelled to combine and kill them off. That seems to be the only remedy for the disease."
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