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Pale Horse Revelations #50 - The Battle of Ingalls


Hello readers and welcome back to Pale Horse Revelations. where we explore significant people, places, and events in Old West history. While I make no promises, don't be surprised if some of these places, people, or events find their way into future Pale Rider adventures.

After several consecutive week's featuring significant people, we switched things up a bit last week by focusing on a significant place. This week we're going to switch things up again by examining the bloody and violent events that unfolded one September day in a small Oklahoma town. The clash between the forces of law and order and a gang of notorious outlaws would be recorded in history as the Battle of Ingalls.

Ingalls, Oklahoma was a town with a reputation for harboring outlaws. Its citizens profited from the outlaws' free spending ways. For their part, the criminals made it a point to be on their best behavior, lest they wear out their welcome.

Among the many outlaw bands that found a safe haven in Ingalls was the notorious Doolin-Daltin Gang. After the Daltin Gang, led by Bob Daltin, was wiped out during a botched robbery in Coffeyville, Kansas, Bill Daltin decided to join forces with former gang member Bill Doolin to avenge his brother's death. Co-led by Doolin and Daltin the combined force became the Doolin-Daltin Gang, more colorfully known as the Wild Bunch. The newly formed gang immediately carried out a series of bank and train robberies.

August 1893 found a significant number of the gang members, including its leaders, taking refuge in the small Oklahoma town of Ingalls. They had been there for several weeks; most having taken up residence in the small city hotel. Despite their many crimes, the gang was welcomed with open arms. Because they targeted wealthy institutions, the general public tended to look favorably upon the gang. We'll see several examples of that as our story unfolds.

While the gang members were content to spend their days drinking and gambling in the Ransom Saloon, the "long arm of the law" was busy making plans to bring the gang's nefarious actions to an end. Newly appointed U.S. Marshal Evett Dumas (E.D.) Nix was busy forming a task force that included twenty-seven deputy marshals and an unspecified number of Indian Police. On the night of August 31, 1893, the lawmen made camp along a creek not far from Ingalls.

The next day, September 1, 1893, the men set out toward the outlaw haven. Slipping away before them was a small boy who had observed them the night before. The boy arrived in Ingalls ahead of the posse, screaming "The marshals are coming" as he ran. The outlaws made haste to the livery stable where they quickly saddled their horses. But inexplicably, they elected to return to the saloon rather than flee.

A short time later the lawmen crept into town and took up their positions. When one of the outlaws, George "Bitter Creek" Newcomb, emerged from the saloon and mounted his horse one of the lawmen opened fire. Newcomb was wounded but managed to escape.

Meanwhile, another outlaw, "Arkansas Tom" Jones, opened fire from his second story room at the O.K. Hotel. He had been lying in bed, sick, when he heard gunfire and moved to the window to see what was happening. Jones managed to hit deputy marshal Thomas Hueston, mortally wounding the lawman. Hueston would die from his wounds the following day.

What ensued sounds like a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster. The remaining outlaws opened fire from within the saloon. As the lawmen returned fire the outlaws burst through a side door and shot their way to the livery stable. As the outlaws moved toward the stable the enraged saloon owner, known only as Murray, came through the front door and fired on the marshals. Murray was hit in the ribs and arm by return fire, effectively taking him out of the fight.

Meanwhile, the outlaws had reached the stable and mounted their horses. Three of them, Red Buck, Bill Daltin, and "Tulsa Jack" Blake rode forth with guns blazing. Deputy Lafayette Shadley stood his ground and fired at Bill Daltin. His rounds struck the outlaw's horse toppling Daltin to the ground. As he rose from the ground, Daltin returned fire, managing to mortally wound the lawman. It would take two days for Shadley to succumb to his fate.

Meanwhile, Bill Doolin managed to shoot and kill deputy marshal Richard Speed. Two of the outlaws, Dan "Dynamite Dick" Clifton and Charlie Pierce, were wounded but both managed to mount up and ride away.

"Arkansas Tom" Jones continued to fire on the pinned down marshals from his elevated position in the hotel until deputy marshal Jim Masterson tossed a stick of dynamite through the open window. Jones was stunned by the blast and eventually captured. He was the only outlaw who failed to escape that day.

The battle that day was a decisive victory for the outlaws. All but Jones managed to escape and while several of them were wounded they all recovered. On the other side of the ledger, three of the lawmen lost their lives. Innocent bystanders Young Simmons and a citizen known only as Old Man Ransom were hit by stray rounds. Simmons was hit and killed as he sought cover in Vaughn's Saloon. Ransom was hit in the leg but survived.

Although the outlaws won the battle, the victory would be short lived. Every single one of the gang members who rode out of Ingalls that day would eventually be hunted down and killed. Most lost their lives at the hands of the surviving marshals.

Today, Ingalls, Oklahoma, no longer appears on state highway maps. All that remains at the sight of the historic gunfight are a few deserted buildings, stone foundations, and a stone memorial.

This brings us to the end of another edition of Pale Horse Revelations. I hope you found it to be both interesting and entertaining. As usual, I have tried to provide some interesting historical information while trying not to bog the casual reader down with too much detail. I encourage anyone interested in learning more to dig in and do a little research of their own. 

As a reminder, I would love to hear your suggestions for topics to focus on in future editions of Pale Horse Revelations. If there's a particular location, person, or event that you would like to know more about, please let me know. Just fill out the Contact form found on the "Contact the Author" page of this website and indicate your desired topic in the message box at the bottom of the form. I look forward to hearing from you all.

Please be sure to check back next week for the next installment of Pale Horse Revelations and thank you for your continued interest and support.


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