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posted
Does anyone have any good information on Pistol Pete who was one of the better deputies in the territories.
John
 
Posts: 18 | Registered: Mon December 29 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<Chuck>
posted
John,
I took the following off of the OSU "Pistol Pete" Home Page.
Pistol Pete's real name was Frank Eaton.
"************************************
The Man
To see other pictures of him, Click here, hereand Here
Click here to listen to Frank tell his story in WAV format
"My boy, may an old man's curse rest upon you, if you do not try to avenge your father...You must never stop until they are all accounted for!" These words, according to one of Eaton's many stories were spoken by a family friend following the brutal murder of his father, and guided the formative years of Frank's life.

Born in 1860, in Hartford, Connecticut, Frank moved with his family to Kansas shortly after the close of the Civil War. When Frank was eight years old, his father, a former Union soldier, was shot and killed by a group of lawless former Confederates. Frank was a witness to the murder and each of the murderers' faces was imprinted in his memory.

After being challenged to avenge his father's death by Mose Beaman, (the family friend) Frank set out to learn how to handle guns. Mose gave him a gun and holster, and taught him how to handle and shoot guns. Frank quickly learned to "shoot a snake's head off with either hand". During the next few years, Frank's days were spent helping his mothe r with chores and practicing shooting. With each passing year, he became faster and more accurate with his guns.

When Frank was fifteen, he learned of the location of one of his father's killers. After deciding it was almost time to set out on his mission, Frank wanted to make sure his shooting skills were good enough. He decided to visit Fort Gibson, a cavalry fort, to try to learn more about handling a gun. There he competed with the cavalry's best marksmen, beating them each time. After many competitions, the fort's commanding officer, Colonel Copinger gave Frank a marksmanship badge and a new name. From that day forward, Frank would be known as Pistol Pete!

Frank then set out on the trail of his father's killers. First was Shannon Campsey, Frank killed him on his own front porch. Doc Ferber was next, he was shot off of his horse with "two forty-five slugs through his breast". John Ferber would have been next, but the day before Frank caught up with him, he was shot for chea ting at cards. Frank went to his funeral just to make sure he was dead.

At John Ferber's funeral, Frank met a Deputy United States Marshal who was on the trail of the same men. After talking about the men, Frank was offered, and accepted a commission. At seventeen, Frank became a Deputy U.S. Marshal under Judge Isaac C. Parker, "the hanging judge".

Frank then caught up with Jim and Jonce Campsey together. They were both shot as they drew on Frank. Finally Frank tracked down the last murderer in New Mexico. Wyley Campsey was shot in a barroom gunfight along with two of his hired gunmen.

Finally, after six long years, Frank Eaton was able to avenge his father's death. Each man drew his gun first, but came out "second best" in the end.

Stories such as the above contributed to the fame and notariety of Frank Eaton. He lived the life of a true cowboy, said to "pack the fastest guns in the Indian Territory", he usually carried a loaded forty-five and often said "I'd rather have a pocket full of rock s than an empty gun". His quick-draw was the source of much interest throughout his later years, and Glenn Shirley of Stillwater, OK remembers taking him to an Indian Territory Gun Collectors Association meeting to show off his skills. He was also known to throw a coin in the air, draw, and shoot it before it hit the ground according to H.F. Donnelley of Stillwater who saw it himself. Donnelley also remembers Eaton picking up burning coals which had fallen out of the fire in his Blacksmith shop, with his toes (his feet were so worn and calloused that he couldn't feel it)! When he died, his obituary appeared throughout the country, in the New York Times, Newsweek Magazine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Cattleman, The 1959 American People's Encyclopedia Yearbook among others, each listing him as a former Deputy U.S. Marshal. In addition, according to his daughter, Elizabeth Wise of Perkins, OK his family received sympathy letters from as far away as Germany, Canada and Japan and was besieged with visitors at his home for many months following the funeral.

More information on Frank "Pistol Pete" Eaton, including personal correspondence and remembrances, audio interviews, photos, articles, etc. is available from the Oklahoma State University Office of University Archives and Special Collections. To view a page listing holdings on Frank Eaton click on Pete below."
OSU, in their library, has an extensive holding of his papers and artifacts.
Here is the addy for the OSU Homepage on Pistol Pete.
<<<http://collegeprep.okstate.edu/homepages.nsf/toc/pistolpete>>>

This is the addy for the page that lists the holdings for the Frank Eaton Collection:

<<<http://www.library.okstate.edu/scua/pistol.htm>>>>

Hope this helps.

Chuck
 
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<Chuck>
posted
John,
Here is a little more on Frank Eaton from the Perkins, Ok. Historical Society home page.
There is a copyright on the page, so here is the addy:
<<<<http://hometown.aol.com/perkinshis/myhomepage/eaton.html>>>

Chuck
 
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I personally have always been a critic of Frank "Pistol Pete" Eaton and I'm sure that I'll get some negative responses on this, but my reasoning is...I have never been able to locate any period documentation (ie court documents, letters, newspaper articles, etc.) which confirm that Eaton was a lawman. If anyone has anything on him, I'd love to prove myself wrong.

On the Trail
Diron Ahlquist
editor, Oklahombres Journal


On the Trail
Diron Ahlquist
Secretary, Oklahombres Inc.
 
Posts: 373 | Location: Oklahoma City, OK | Registered: Wed December 10 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<Real Storie Okie>
posted
Ditto to Diron. I am a close friend to one of Pete's earliest admirers, and I remember Old Pete when I went to school at A&M in Stillwater, OK. Most of it was "Clap Trap" Pete did have a blacksmith shop in Perkins, OK and that was his main claim to fame, other than belonging to the "Cherokee Strip Cowpunchers Association". I don't think that "Pete" was any more than an early day cowhand... By the way, Pete's guns (that were stolen from the Student Union), were a mixed bag of parts (nothing matched). Not a weapon of an expert marksman....
 
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Thanks for the backup Real Story! I thought I was all alone in that contention:-)

On the Trail
Diron Ahlquist
editor, Oklahombres Journal


On the Trail
Diron Ahlquist
Secretary, Oklahombres Inc.
 
Posts: 373 | Location: Oklahoma City, OK | Registered: Wed December 10 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I know where 'Pistol Pete' is buried, but I would to know where Frank Sr., is buried. Anyone know? I would also like to know the dates for the of the killings - does anyone have any?
 
Posts: 18 | Registered: Mon December 29 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would assume that Francis L. "Frank" Eaton Sr. is buried somewhere in Osage County, Kansas which is where "Pistol Pete" claimed the killing occurred. Since this discussion has started, I've been doing a little research on the matter and have confirmed several of the names which Eaton mentions in his book. However, as for any hard and fast evidence of the actual killing of his father, newspapers available online from the major urban areas surrounding Osage County, KS are silent on the matter. There are several things in Eaton's book "Pistol Pete" which seem to be accurate, but there are many glaring inconsistencies. I am working on an article concerning this which will appear in an upcoming issue of the Oklahombres Journal. Be on the lookout!

On the Trail
Diron Ahlquist
editor, Oklahombres Journal


On the Trail
Diron Ahlquist
Secretary, Oklahombres Inc.
 
Posts: 373 | Location: Oklahoma City, OK | Registered: Wed December 10 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<Guest>
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So far my research has shown a different county for sr.'s, burial site. I'll keep you posted.
 
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<Old West>
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According to the 1870 U.S. Census for Osage County, Kansas, Frank L. Eaton (Jr.) was only "4" years old in July of that year. He wouldn't be Five (5) years old until the following October (of 1870). Frank "Pistol Pete" Eaton was BORN on October 26, 1865 - - - NOT 1860 - - - as his "auto"-biography, and all subsequent magazine articles that relied on this erroneous information; as all biographical sketches of him, and personal interviews by him show; and (even) his death certficate indicates. They are ALL "Wrong"! He was born in 1865.

Therefor, if Pistol Pete's father was killed when Pete was around eight years old, the killing happened in 1873 or 1874 - - NOT in 1868 as the all the stories say. His father was definately NOT killed in 1868 because he is clearly listed as the Head-of-the-household on the 1870 Census. (NOTE: The nearest P.O. to the Eaton residence is at Olivet, Kansas. The town of Lyndon appears to be the Osage County Seat; and, Ottawa appears to be the County Seat of neigboring Douglas County, Kansas, to the East. However, if no "news account" can be found in either of these towns, the next "big" newspaper source migh be Lawrence, Kansas.)

Listed on the same page of this 1870 Census with the Francis L. Eaton family is the "KEMPSEY" family. It was the "Campsey gang of Regulators" in the Pistol Pete biography, who, allegedly, murdered Pistol Pete's father. The Kempsey family on the Census includes (parents) John and Caroline Kempsey and their ten children, including Wiley, James and (probably, a brother to John) Shannon Kempsey. All names given in Pistol Pete's indictment of the Campsey gang.

However, the Kempsey's were from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. They had a child named Mary born in 1865 in Illinois before moving into Kansas. This means that the family was in the North during the years of the Civil War. It is not likely that any of them were in a position to ride with "Quantrill". These inflamatory remarks about the Kempsey's may have been made by Pistol Pete to fully "demonize" his father's killers.

The book about Pistol Pete was ghost-written in 1952 by Eva Gillhouse of Las Vegas, Nevada, who must NOT have done ANY independent research on this subject. The Daily Oklahoman's Obituary on Pistol Pete, states that Ms. Gillhouse "put it (the information) into Pete's book AS HE TOLD IT." Mr. Eaton evidentally was not very good with his "dates" or chronology of events.

And, if he received a commission as a Deputy U.S. Marshal when he was 17 years old, as he reported, it should be found in the early 1880's, NOT 1877 (1860 + 17 = 1877).

More later.
 
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<Guest>
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Hello Everybody,
I've had lookups look at all the cemeteries in Osage County and they came up empty for Francis senior's grave. Had one lookup to look in the Twin Mound Cemetery in Douglas County but that too was a no show also.
 
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I am curious about <Real Story Okie>'s comments regarding the authencity of Pistol Pete's guns. What is his source?

In the early 1960's, I carried and fired those guns on several ceremonial occasions. True, they were utilitarian pistols, and not fancy. However, the OSHP officers who loaded them for me seemed impressed.

Dave


Not being an expert on firearms,
 
Posts: 9 | Registered: Sun August 07 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I the great, great, great, grand daugher of Frank Eaton/Pistol Pete. I have been researching back ground information on him since 1990, when I attended the family reunion in Perking Okla. and spoke with his daughter Elizebath Wise (Eaton). She gave me an 8x10 black and white picture of him. I also have the book that he wrote about him, his dad, and his family. Would really like to get all the information that I can as well as more old pictures of him. If anyone can help me please let me know. You can contact me here or on my web site. rscrazylady@comcast.net
 
Posts: 3 | Registered: Tue October 03 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In response to just how old he was when he died he was 98. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut on Oct. 26 in 1860. His fathercame home from the army, the Civil War, and sold his business and went and went west. He died at his home in Perkins, Okla. on April 8, 1958.
 
Posts: 3 | Registered: Tue October 03 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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About a year ago, I went on a little roadtrip from OKC to Stillwater and Perkins and decided to locate Pete's grave. It was found with every little effort as it is a large upright headstone made of brightly colored, polished stone. On the flip-side, just down the path in the same cemetery, lie the remains of Deputy U.S. Marshal Dick Speed who was killed in the battle at Ingalls in 1893. Speed's is a small upright sandstone marker with the writing quickly fading from the elements. I could not help but tear up when I compared and contrasted the markers of these two men. Speed gave his life serving as a deputy U.S. marshal and has a modest, weathered headstone to mark his grave. Pistol Pete appears to have been a fraud and a blow-hard and he has the elaborate marker for all to see. Just some thoughts from this old Oklahombres Editor.


On the Trail
Diron Ahlquist
Secretary, Oklahombres Inc.
 
Posts: 373 | Location: Oklahoma City, OK | Registered: Wed December 10 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Diron, we are all intitled to our opinions. You really shoud know someone befor you make any judgements. I feel that Frank Eaton was the way he was because of the things that happened to him while growing up. He had to grow up fast and he felt as many did in those days that he had to avenge his father's death. That is what he did. You should really read the book "PISTOL PETE, VETERAN OF THE OLD WEST" this book was written by a dear friend of his as he told the story of his life.
 
Posts: 3 | Registered: Tue October 03 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Something that would have been an indication that Pistol Pete really had been a deputy US marshal during the time period claimed would be the existence of discussions about him from other people of that time period. Reporters from that time period would have at least mentioned Frank Eaton in some of their newspaper stories and commentaries. In the years after the turn of the century, reporters sometimes recalled the territorial lawmen and described their exploits. There do not seem to be any newspaper stories at all that even mention the name of a lawman named Eaton.

There is a body of correspondence written by some of those territorial lawmen who were active in that time period. Well known men such as Heck Thomas and Bill Tilghman and Chris Madsen wrote letters to each other. Many of those letters have been preserved, and they sometimes refer to particular people and events. The most well known of these letters is from Heck to Bill describing the death of Bill Doolin. There is absolutely no known correspondence in which the name of Frank Eaton is mentioned.

It is reasonable to think that if Eaton had been a deputy and had done even one of the things he claimed to have done, one of the other deputies would have written something about Eaton in a letter to another deputy. No such word of Eaton seems to exist.

I am not aware of a single newspaper report or any other record from the 1800's that names Frank Eaton as a deputy US marshal. Perhaps such a record will surface some day, but has not yet happened. Lets be clear about this: I am talking about a record FROM the 1800's, not ABOUT the 1800's. In my 21 years of researching this subject I have never seen or even heard of a single record from that time period about a deputy named Frank Eaton. It appears to me that everything written about Eaton was written AFTER the book about him was published in 1952, based on what he had to say about himself. If anyone has records that show differently, please let me know.

It is also interesting to wonder where Eaton was during the time period that the Dalton/Doolin gang was active. Enormous abouts of information has been recorded over the years about the battle between these particular outlaws and all of the lawmen who chased them. Was Eaton present at the Battle of Ingalls and his name just left out of the newspaper accounts at the time? Not likely. Was Eaton present when any of the members of the Dalton/Doolin gang were captured or killed, but his name was overlooked? Not likely. As a matter of fact, just exactly where was Eaton during the 1870's, 1880's, and 1890's while newspapers in Oklahoma and Indian Territories reported the day to day activities of lots of other lawmen?


Dee Cordry
dcordry@gmail.com
Oklahombres.org webmaster
 
Posts: 158 | Location: Piedmont, OK | Registered: Wed November 12 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have been working on an article for the Oklahombres Journal for the last couple of years that will be an in-depth analysis of Pistol Pete and the facts as he tells them and the verifiable truth. Reading his biography, one gets the sense that this man did it all and knew absolutely everyone in the West who was anyone. It is just interesting to me that the deputy marshals that he mentions as having worked for out of Fort Smith generally did not exist. He mentions working with Sam Sixkiller, Bill Tilghman, etc. and of course by the time his biography came out all of these men were dead.
The federal census records for 1860 and 1870 confirm that his year of birth was 1866 and not the 1860 that he claims in his biography. This discrepancy is key to the timeline of confirming things that he could have done in his lifetime and the people he could have known.
For instance, he claims that he was taught to shoot by soldiers at Fort Gibson and ended up beating them in a shooting competition. He mentions the commanding officer at the time was a Col Coppinger. It is just interesting that Eaton gives this as occurring, if I recall, sometime in the mid-1870s and Coppinger was not commanding Ft Gibson until the 1880s.
It is just little tidbits like this that tear apart Eaton's story.
As I stated in an earlier entry on this posting, I would love to be proved wrong, but it's going to take alot more than the testimony of Eaton himself.


On the Trail
Diron Ahlquist
Secretary, Oklahombres Inc.
 
Posts: 373 | Location: Oklahoma City, OK | Registered: Wed December 10 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hey Dee,
I have actually found newspaper articles that relate to Eaton during the 1930s when he was first seen by students from OK A&M at Stillwater in a parade and they thought he would make a good looking mascot for the college. And from there the "Pistol Pete" legend begins.
I'm sure I'll get lynched once the article is published. Maybe I should publish it under a pen name for safety's sake:-)


On the Trail
Diron Ahlquist
Secretary, Oklahombres Inc.
 
Posts: 373 | Location: Oklahoma City, OK | Registered: Wed December 10 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Diron,
I haven't done anymore than rudementry research on Frank Eaton, but I have a couple questions since you have done deep research for the article your working on. I have seen that Eaton had worked as an army scout, does the army have records of his work? I have also seen in his biography online under the OSU Special Collections that he worked as a sheriff in Perkins, I was wondering if that would be town marshall or sheriff's deputy.
Thanks
 
Posts: 46 | Location: Pawnee | Registered: Fri June 17 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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