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How to track down an OK horse thief?
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<Nan>
posted
This site is fascinating and most informative! I'm new to this kind of research, so I hope I'm not imposing by asking for help. I'm seeking guidance on how to find information on a great-great-uncle who got crosswise with the law in Oklahoma sometime between the late 1880s to mid-1890s. Would I be able to track down an arrest warrant somehow?...and if so, how?

Here's what I know about him: His name was George Adam Harklerode (also freqently spelled with a "c" &/or "-road"), b. 1861 in PA. He moved to Allen County KS with his folks when he was a boy and lived there at least through 1885 (per fed & state census records). By 1900, he was using the alias "William Tucker" and working as a ranch hand near Taos, NM. He maintained occasional contact with his family in KS for the remaining 45 years of his life, but he continued using the alias "William Tucker" or "William L. Tucker" because he believed himself to be wanted for horse theft (family lore says, "in OK"). His father, a KS farmer, committed suicide in 1897 in a fit of severe depression. According to family lore, that depression was the result of learning that his youngest son George had become an outlaw.

Thereafter, George seems to have led a quiet, loner life breaking horses for neighboring farms in ND, where he also attempted homesteading bewteen 1906-1921. (Neighbors there thought he may have come from TX.) He has been relatively easy to track because he lied about his name but nothing else when cornered by the census taker or when enrolling in the ND state home for the aged, where he ultimately died in his late 80s.

As you can tell from his story, he may not have been enough of an outlaw to gain any notoriety, but, if possibe, I'd like to find out what he did (and where) to cause him to adopt the alias. Any help you all can give me would be most sincerely appreciated.
 
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Nan, there is no easy way. If you know the locale, you can check local papers, local historical societies and the like. I did a quick scan of the National Archieves records for the Fort Smith court which had jurisdiction for the period you describe and scored a zero on Harklerode, but there are several cases in the late 1880's and early 1890's involving a William Tucker, including one William G.(possibly a George?). Interestingly enough, the 1888 cases for both Wm and Wm. G. Tucker involved larceny, a crime which includes rustling. Said record is available for viewing at the Fort Worth branch of the NARA, or you can pull it up via a search at the site, then using name, jacket number, and crime, you can order a copy; but ordering can run to money if the file is bulky. The best bet is to go and look. Happy hunting!
 
Posts: 512 | Location: Cortez, Colorado | Registered: Fri December 12 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<Nan>
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Thank you so much for checking and for ideas on how I can proceed. If I ever find out, I'll let you know... Thanks again.
 
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