We have discussed the killing of the outlaw Bill Dalton in a previous
column. Dalton was killed June 8th, 1894 near the community of Elk
in the Arbuckle Mountains south of Hennepin. That last shootout was
just one of many Dalton was involved in during his carrier as a scouter.
The most famous outlaw shootout occurred in Ingles, O.T. between the Bill
Doolin Gang and the U.S. Deputy Marshals. While the famous Gunfight
at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona last an estimated 10 to 15 seconds,
the gunfight at Ingles lasted over one hour.
After the Coffeyville Raid by the Dalton brothers with the death of Bob
and Grat and the wounding of Emmit, the remainder of the gang scattered.
Brother Bill would gather the old gang members Bill Doolin, "Tulsa
Jack" Blake, "Bitter Creek" Newcomb, Red Buck and Charley
Pierce and begin a new reign of bandit terror in the territory. The
shootout at Ingles in the Cherokee Strip on September 1, 1893 left the
entire gang wounded, some severely but only "Arkansas Tom" Jones
It was about this time that the Rose of Cimarron came into the picture and
her fame was eternally woven into the fabric of outlaw legend in Oklahoma
history. Rose, as she was later called, became the wife of a very
influential Oklahoma politician and was a respected Christian woman, good
mother and wife. To respect her privacy and maybe a youthful
indiscretion in love, she is only referred to in history as the Rose of
Cimarron to protect her privacy.
Normally the gang hung out in a cave in the Creek Nation a few miles from
Ingles. But on this morning they came out of hiding for a trip to
the saloon and to check on Arkansas Tom who was sick.
On the morning of the shootout, two farm wagons containing the concealed
posse drove into Ingles. The posse consisted of U. S. Marshals
Hixon, Lafe Shadley, Dick Speed and A. H. Houston and other civilian posse
men unnamed. They concealed themselves along the street and sent a
messenger into the saloon to tell Bill Doolin that he was surrounded and
to surrender. Soon the messenger returned to Marshal Hixon with
Doolin's reply, "Go to hell".
The outlaws present in the saloon included Bill Dalton, Bill Doolin,
Bitter Creek Newcomb, Little Dick West, Tulsa Jack and Dynamite Dick.
Arkansas Tom was in Mrs. Pierce's hotel and was bedfast with a fever.
Evidently back then you had to have a really catchy alias to be a
As soon as the messenger delivered Doolin's reply, Winchesters opened up
from the saloon raining leaden messengers upon the posse. Those
citizens of Ingles who could escape quickly evacuated the town.
Others were trapped inside their businesses ducking for cover as the
bullets shredded the thin board walls of their buildings.
It was here that the Rose of Cimarron performed one of the most incredible
feats of courage ever witnessed in the old west. Rose peered down
from the second floor of Mrs. Pierce's hotel into the street and saw that
her sweetheart Bitter Creek had only his six-shooter for protection.
She ran to his room and retrieved his Winchester and cartridge belt.
Rose could see that the posse had surrounded the hotel and there was no
means of escape by any of the doors. She then ran to Arkansas Tom's
room where she heard the crash of glass and crockery from bullets that
were taking their toll on Tom's room.
Rose, desperate to deliver the much needed Winchester and cartridge belt
to her lover, tore a bed sheet into strips and lowered the gear to the
ground. She then tore other bedding into strips, tied them together
into a rope and lowered herself to the ground from Arkansas Tom's room.
The thought must have crossed Rose's mind that the posse would not shoot a
woman. The misspent lead was hitting in the streets like a hard rain
on dusty ground. Puffs of smoke were seen on both sides of the
street. A man or even a small animal could not last more that thirty
seconds in this hail of gunfire had they ventured into the open street.
Rose wrapped the rifle and the belt in her skirt and ran across the street
to where her lover lay behind cover. Upon arriving, she found Bitter
Creek badly wounded so she gave his rifle to another outlaw who used it to
get Bitter Creek to freedom in the barn at the end of the street.
Slowly the gunfight moved to the front of the barn with Dalton and Doolin
providing covering fire on the posse while the rest of the gang loaded
Bitter Creek on a horse and made their escape good.
Arkansas Tom was the only outlaw captured that day. Although sick
but not wounded, Mrs. Pierce persuaded Tom to surrender because the posse
was shooting her hotel all to pieces.
The rest of the outlaws escaped but all were wounded, some seriously.
On the laws side, Dalton killed Marshal Shadley and Doolin killed Marshal
Speed who were trying to rush the barn during the final escape.
Contributed by Dennis Muncrief, February 2003.