“FEARLESS AND EFFICIENT”

Deputy U.S. Marshal

— ONE OF A KIND —  Deputy U.S. Marshal F.M. Miller adjusted the Colt revolver and full cartridge belt, shot a quick glance at a wagon full of prisoners, and then mounted up. Miller happened to be the only female deputy working in the Indian Territory in the late 19th century. 

The Nov. 19, 1891, issue of the Muskogee Phoenix reported Miller won the appointment from the federal court at Paris, Texas, and most of […]

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“13 STEPS TO JUSTICE”

FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS

— FORT SMITH’S FIRST EXECUTION — The afternoon of August 15, 1873, turned gray and foreboding, but the crowd gathered around the new gallows at Fort Smith, Arkansas, ignored the threat of an approaching storm to watch a prisoner navigate the thirteen steps to the scaffold.

Prisoner John Childers, cigar clamped between his teeth, wore a look of indifference as he made his way through the crowd of […]

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“ROTTEN TO THE CORE”

OUTLAW BILL POSEY

— BOLD AND SHAMELESS — On a muggy moonlit night in June 1873, Bill Posey and his gang forced their way into the home of Matt and Sarah Wallace outside Waco, Texas, and dragged the husband outside. Sarah, holding their bewildered two-year-old daughter, screamed in protest, but her pleas went unheeded.

Wife and daughter, powerless to intervene, watched as someone tied her husband’s hands behind his back and lifted to the back of […]

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A MAN OF COURAGE

US DEPUTY MARSHAL HECK THOMAS

— ACTING ALONE, HE ONCE DELIVERED 41 FELONS TO A FEDERAL JAIL — Three Deputy U.S. Deputy Marshals tracked the Aaron Purdy Gang into Indian Country and cornered them in a ravine near the Snake River. Deputy U.S. Marshal Henry “Heck” Thomas decided to go it alone and give the outlaws a chance to give themselves up.

The law wanted Purdy and the other gang members for moonshining, horse stealing, and train robbery.

Heck […]

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