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Jim Herron, He Eluded the Law for Fifty Years

By Roger Meyers (copyright)

     If one is to believe Jim Herron’s autobiography, he did indeed live a “fantastic life as a cowboy, sheriff, fugitive from the law, hotel and saloon owner, and international cattleman.” He was the first sheriff of Beaver County, Oklahoma, before being convicted of stealing 100 head of cattle in the Oklahoma Panhandle and embarking upon his “Fifty Years on the Owl Hoot Trail.”1 Skipping out before he could be sentenced, Herron embarked on several adventures in southeastern Arizona and Mexico.

     Jim Herron was probably born in 1864, in Ellis County, Texas. Herron claimed he was born in 1866, and his headstone gives the year as 1865. He claimed to know neither the month or the day. In later years he would adopt December 25 as the anniversary of his birth. When his mother died two years later, Jim and his father remained on the farm at least until 1880 when they moved the operation to Coleman County, Texas.2

     The next year Herron, now 16, hooked up with a trail herd owned by a “Major Garth of St. Joseph, Missouri.” This herd consisted of ten men driving 3000 head to the Black Hills. The ramrod of the drive was a man named Quinlan.

     Everything seems to have gone well on the drive until the herd reached the Wichita River north of Seymour, Texas. Here, Quinlan left the herd to scout ahead. A short time later his black gelding came back to the herd lame and dripping wet. When the herd reached the river, they were held there for two days waiting for the swollen river to recede and to search for Quinlan’s body which was found washed up on a sandbar three miles down stream. With Quinlan dead, a man named Pearl took control of the herd and guided it to Doan’s Crossing of the Red River.

     Within a few days of crossing into Indian Territory came Herron’s first encounter with Indians, a meeting that made Jim sorry he’d ever left home. Riding drag (trailing the herd, the least desirable position) Jim took off after a steer that had strayed from the herd. Suddenly, over a hill to the east rode several Indians directly toward Herron. Forgetting the stray, Herron spurred his horse back toward the herd and Wes Standifer. Seeing the Indians ten feet behind Jim, Standifer pulled his six-shooter and shot twice forcing the natives to turn back. Whether Herron was really in danger or, as Standifer teased him later, that the “braves were young fellows and just having fun with me,” didn’t matter to Herron. He wasn’t about to get very far from the herd from then on.

     Passing Fort Supply, the herd trudged on toward Dodge City where the men spent a few days resting and “seeing the elephant.” Accompanied into town by the older Standifer, Herron’s first visit to the “Babylon of the Plains” was uneventful. In a few days the herd was pointed north toward Ogallala, Nebraska. Herron had now been on the trail for forty days. With the exception of the loss of the trail boss, Quinlan, the trip had been fairly uneventful. Each man was expected to guard the herd for about 2 hours per night and all night a few times during storms. But there had only been two stampedes before reaching Dodge and none between there and Ogallala.

     Ogallala at that time, according to Herron, was only a few shacks standing guard over a dusty street running beside the Union Pacific tracks. Here, Jim decided he’d had enough of trail driving and quit the herd. But before heading back down the trail home, Jim thought he’d see the sights of Ogallala, Dodge’s rival for the title of toughest town in the west.

     Tying his horse to a hitching rack in front of the Crystal Palace saloon, the young Herron stepped just inside the door. A man whom Herron said was “not a cowman” was standing inside the saloon twirling a short-barreled revolver which, to Herron’s way of thinking, was just asking for trouble. He soon found it when a shot rang out. The show-off dropped his pistol and “squeal[ed] like a javelina. A small fellow walked over from a card table, blew smoke away from his own revolver, and spoke sharply to the injured man. Later, a man told me that [the shooter’s] name was Ben Thompson and that he was a well-known gambler and gunfighter.”3

     History, however, proves that it is not possible that the man was Ben Thompson who was in Dodge City at the time. The story is perhaps a corrupt retelling of the shooting of Bill Tucker by Ben’s brother, Billy. According to Tom Bicknell who is the most reliable source on the Thompson brothers, Billy stood outside Tucker’s saloon on June 21, 1880, and fired two shots into the building where Tucker was pouring a drink for a customer. The second shot hit Tucker in the hand cutting off one finger and mangling the others on his left hand. Tucker grabbed an available shotgun, chased the retreating Thompson, and fill his backside with buckshot. It is perhaps more likely that Herron heard the story after arriving in town and repeated it in his manuscript to enhance his story.4

     Jim left Ogallala after a few days and followed the Western Trail back down to Dodge where he briefly went to work for stableman Hamilton Bell. Continuing on south, Herron found work on the YL Ranch north and west of Fort Supply.

     Soon Herron began buying cattle that could not keep up with the rest of the herd for his own account from drovers passing through the area on their way to Dodge City, Ogallala, and points farther north, each time receiving a bill of sale from the trail boss. At the same time he began to cut out cattle from herds that had a Texas brand different from the herd in which they were trailing, cattle that had (to Herron’s way of thinking) gotten mixed in with the herd and would be considered as trail loss by the rightful owners. He branded all these cattle with a TK and secreted them in a little valley not far from the YL range. It was no secret that his title to the cattle, which he sold at a good profit to stockman John Over a few months later, was spurious at best.

     Herron’s reputation was becoming a little tainted. His boss on the YL, Alex Young, after learning of Jim’s acquiring cattle, (cowboys were prohibited from owning their own cattle by the rules of the Western Kansas Stockmen’s Association) counseled Jim that his actions were known and frowned upon by the WKSA.6 He promised not to fire Herron unless forced to by the association. Herron took a leave, sold his cattle to M Bar ranch for $1800 and went back to Ellis County, Texas, to visit his father.

     His father, after learning of Jim’s means of acquiring his new wealth, warned Jim he was playing with fire. Unaffected, Heron headed north and again found himself in Dodge City in April of 1884. Jim signed on with the Healy Brothers in current Beaver County, Oklahoma, south of Englewood, Kansas, the next spring. He continued as foreman for that ranch for a number of years until George Healy told Herron that he was being pressured by the members of the WKSA to get rid of him. According to Herron, in order to save Healy any hardship or embarrassment, he resigned his position with Healy Brothers. He continued to run his own cattle on the open ranges of the Kansas/Indian Territory line. He also began to court Alice Groves whom he married in Benton, Oklahoma in 1886. To this union was born one daughter in January of 1888. They called the girl Olive Dorothy, Ollie Dot for short. January 1888 also saw one of the worst blizzards to hit that section of the country.

     Cattle losses were heavy from the storm, made heavier by the construction of a drift fence from the New Mexico line to the western edge of the Cherokee Strip. When the blizzard hit, naturally the cattle tried to drift south ahead of it but were stopped by the barbed wire fence. Against this barrier, thousands of cattle perished including a good portion of Jim‘s 400 head. The only thing left to do, as had been done on the Kansas range in 1886, was to skin the cattle and sell the hides which were worth from $3 to $5 apiece in Dodge City.

     What is now the Oklahoma Panhandle was, during the 1880’s, a lawless land laying between Kansas and the Texas Panhandle, bordered on the east by the Cherokee Strip and on the west by New Mexico Territory. It was 34 1/2 miles wide and 157 miles long. Dominion over the area was claimed by none of the above. It had no laws except those locally passed by unofficial assemblies of citizens and enforced by locally appointed sheriffs and vigilance committees. Shysters, claim jumpers and thieves preyed upon the honest cattlemen and homesteaders wanting to make this beautiful area their home.

     In November 1886, the inhabitants came together and formed their own territorial government and called it Cimarron Territory. The seat of government was placed at present day Beaver, Oklahoma. Of course the new territory needed law enforcement and Jim Herron won the position of sheriff, charged with enforcing the law over the entire 5400 square miles.

     Charlie Hitch, one of the largest of the Panhandle’s cattlemen told of an incident he witnessed during Jim’s term. “I saw a street fight one day in front of Jack Garvey’s saloon, [in Beaver] along in 1887 or 1888, when 45 Colt bullets were flying everywhere. Jim was several blocks away. Jim came running and jumped into the middle of this war and grabbed the boys’ arms and held them high so the bullets would go up in the air. All I heard him say was, ‘Boys, cut it out! You know the next crack will be mine!’

     “Jim did not have a gun on him, although he might have thought he had one at the time. In less than thirty minutes they were all shaking hands. All went into Jack Garvey’s saloon and I think everyone got drunk except Jim. He did not ever drink much, but he was a big hit with the women, for he was a fine-looking chap.”7

     In 1890, Congress caused Cimarron Territory to be annexed to Oklahoma Territory. Jim filed for the position of sheriff of Beaver County, which still encompassed all the panhandle and was elected. He also claimed he secured an appointment as deputy United States marshal for the area.

     By 1890, Jim had claimed a larger range in the Strip due in part to John Over having sold a large portion of his herd making it possible for Herron to throw his cattle onto range claimed by Over. He managed to make a deal with a New Mexico man to care for about 3000 head of “Meskin” cattle at $1.50 per head. He and Over fenced off the range, fencing off 300 square miles east of Benton. Water was supplied by the Beaver River flowing in from the west. After shipping the 3000 head of New Mexico cattle, Jim acquired 1000 head from near Mobeetie, Texas, at $12.50 per head. This deal would be the genesis of Jim’s troubles with the law.

     At about the same time Herron and his wife bought the Beaver City Hotel in Beaver. He still held his job as sheriff which didn’t entail much more than serving processes allowing him time to deal with his cattle and the hotel.

     Alice fell ill in the winter of 1892, and was taken to Kansas City for surgery for an ovarian tumor. She died there on January 10, 1893.8 Jim brought her body back on the train to Meade, Kansas, and then over the Jones and Plummer trail to Beaver in a wagon. She was buried on a “wind-swept hill that overlooks the little village from the southwest, near the Jones and Plummer Trail.”9

     Over the years, Herron “adopted” several cattle brands, among them the TK, the TXA, the Bar O, and the DOT for his daughter. The year 1893 looked to be a good year for Jim. In the spring of 1893, Jim got in touch with J. W. Slavins of Kansas City, Missouri, who had “Government contract for furnishing beef to the Pine Ridge Indian Agency at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and...the Rose Bud Indian Agency at Rose Bud, South Dakota.”10 Jim had also sold about 175 head to W. W. Standiford of Medicine Lodge, Kansas.

     On May 22, Standiford arrived on the Cimarron River about 35 miles south of Meade, Kansas. Herron wasn’t ready to deliver the cattle on that day and Standiford left to return the next day. Herron had rounded up, according to Standiford, about 1000 head of cattle. When Standiford came back on the 23rd he found Fred Taintor, Thomas Johnson, Robert Oates, William Wright, M. W. “Doc” Anschutz, S. J. Jackman, “and others whose names he couldn’t recall examining the herd for cattle belonging to other outfits in the area. Standiford, himself an expert on local brands, examined the herd several times. He did not find any brands that did not belong with the herd.11

     After the cattle had been inspected by Taintor et al, Jim moved the herd north to Meade to be loaded on railroad cars and shipped to Kansas City and then on to Valentine, Nebraska. While at Meade, the WKSA inspector from Liberal, Kansas, inspected the herd and cleared them for shipment. The cattle were loaded on two trains and sent east.

     The cattle were met at Valentine, Nebraska, on May 28 and 29 by John Neiss, Pete King, and Ed Clark.12 All were employed by J. W. Slavins. The men drove the cattle to “Rock Creek on the Rose Bud Reservation.” Already at Rock Creek were 300 head of cattle being held there by a cowboy named Granville Wilson. Two hundred fifty of those cattle had been driven there from Valentine three days before Herron’s two trainloads arrived at Rock Creek. The two herds were now thrown together under the care of Ed Clark, assisted by Wilson. Neiss and King went back to Valentine to receive more cattle being gone about five days.

During Neiss and King’s absence, about June 2nd another herd of sixty cattle were driven into the existing herd from the southwest. Wilson noticed one steer with a “swallow fork” marking in the left ear and a “gingle [sic] bob” in the right ear. This steer also had an “inverted ” on the left shoulder and side. Four head were branded , four branded K on the left loin, and four branded Circle Dot (a circle with a dot in the center). The sixty head were never segregated from the 300 cattle held originally by Slavins’ men and the approximately 1000 head delivered by Herron. Wilson testified he did not see any of the above brands in the herd prior to the sixty head being driven into the original 1300. All were delivered to the Rose Bud and Pine Ridge reservations.13

     According to Herron, a brand inspector from Dodge City went to South Dakota and inspected the cattle delivered to the reservations. He claimed to have found “two hundred head of steers wearing Association brands on that Dakota reservation range. He further claimed they had been shipped there with my cattle.”14 A warrant was sworn out for the arrest of Jim Herron, not for stealing 200 head of cattle, but for stealing 13 head, four from M. Z. Smisson, four from Cape Willingham, four from Sylvester Flitch and one from M. F. Word.15

     Jim’s trial began on Thursday, September 7, 1893, and lasted for one week. Also under indictment on the same charge was F. M. (Jack) Rhodes. Edward Sample of Medicine Lodge and Harry Bone of Ashland, Kansas, were Herron’s attorneys. A. F. Bodle, county attorney from Meade, Kansas, handled the prosecution, advised and assisted by Samuel Cowan, attorney for the Fort Worth Stock Growers Association. After all the evidence had been presented the jury was instructed and sent out to deliberate. They were out for nine hours.

     As Herron came down from his room on the morning the verdict was to be read he was stopped by rancher Cape Willingham and livestock inspector P. Doyle. They wanted to talk to him. Willingham and Doyle wanted Herron to turn state’s evidence against others suspected of stealing cattle from association members. In turn, Willingham and Doyle could “get [Jim] out of this scrape if you will do what we want.” Herron refused the proposition, taking his chances on the verdict.16 The jury brought in a verdict of guilty at 9:00 a. m., September 15. Herron and Rhodes, who had not yet been tried but whose bond was now revoked, were placed in charge of deputy sheriff Sam Givler until Rhodes could secure bond and Herron’s motion for a new trial could be heard.

     Herron wrote that he invited Givler to the drug store to buy some cigars. Next door to the store was Buis’s barn. Jim said he convinced Givler to allow him to go the barn in order to relieve himself. Givler and Rhodes accompanied Herron on his nature call. Unknown to Givler, Rhodes had a .41 caliber Colt pistol concealed in his money belt and two horses stood saddled inside the barn. Herron said they’d been put there by his hired hand, an African/American he only called “Bob.”

     There are several versions as to what happened in the barn. The Meade County Globe reported that when the men entered the barn about 11:00 a. m., Rhodes pulled the Colt’s from his belt and demanded Givler’s gun. The deputy said he had no gun “and [it was then] that Herron told Rhodes to kill the s--of a b----,” according to testimony given by Peter King to the coroner‘s jury. The Globe reported two shots in “quick succession” were heard coming from the barn. Herron and Rhodes burst from the barn, Rhodes firing a shot at deputy Givler. The fugitives galloped east toward Crooked Creek on the east edge of Meade. A bloody deputy Givler ran a few yards after the horsemen and fired one more shot. At first Givler said he was shot but a closer look revealed only a small cut near the base of his nose.17

     Herron’s version was reported in a story concerning his August 1935 visit to Beaver County, OK. The Beaver Herald-Democrat quoted Herron as saying, “Jack must have got cold feet. When the time came he didn’t do nothing. After a second or two we both run for our horses and left by the nearest door. The deputy emptied his gun at us, and Jack was fatally wounded.”

     Another item from an unknown newspaper but probably from Meade, Kansas, at the same time, said, “the men asked Givler to step in the R. Buis livery stable when they suddenly searched Givler, then knocked him down. They failed to find a gun in the shoulder holster. Both men ran for horses already saddled. Mr. Givler began shooting and Herron was seen to stop the horses, take Rhodes off and laid him beside the road, then continued his ride to the territory.”

     Herron wrote in his memoirs that Rhodes never pulled his weapon and that the exchange of words in the livery stable were somewhat congenial. Robert Colgan, who said he was in the livery stable at the time of the escape, in his testimony at the inquest said he “saw neither Rhodes or Herron have a gun nor saw any of the ‘holding up’ affair.

     As the fugitives crossed the Crooked Creek valley and rode up the hill toward Graceland Cemetery, one of the riders was seen to sway in the saddle and the other ride close and hold him up. The wounded man was Jack Rhodes. The men stopped and Herron helped Rhodes from the saddle and laid him beside the road. Realizing he couldn’t help Jack, Jim took the gun proffered by Rhodes, quickly remounted Rhodes’ horse, it being the faster mount, and made his escape south into No-Man’s-Land.

     Jack Rhodes was placed in Luther Braden’s wagon and brought back to the Osgood Hotel where he died about ten minutes later. At the coroner’s inquest, it was found Rhodes had been wounded twice, once “just below the right shoulder blade and the other just above the right hip coming out near the navel.”18 Jim said he’d been grazed across the stomach by one of Givler’s shots.

     Herron said he spent the next several weeks around Beaver, Oklahoma, before heading west to Globe, Arizona. Several times Herron made his way back to Beaver County where he attempted to win a retrial. One of his lawyers on one of the attempts was the famous Temple Houston. The request to Judge Francis Price was denied. He collected about $5,000 owed him by a man he refused to name but called “Tex.” He also made arrangements for his new love, May Goddard, to meet him in San Antonio, New Mexico, and for his daughter, Olive Dorothy, to stay with her maternal grandparents. Jim and his fiancé left for Jim’s new home at Payson, Arizona, to continue his journey down the “Owl Hoot Trail.”

     Jim and May married at Luna Valley, New Mexico. A year later they had a son named Thomas Darrel. Two years after that, they had a daughter named Morita. Another two years brought another son, James Herron, Jr.

     Jim had, on his earlier stay in Arizona, befriended the county sheriff of Gila County. With some comfort, Jim and May ranched there for a couple of years before he was notified by the sheriff that word was out that Jim had a reward on his head for his criminal activities in Beaver, Oklahoma, and Meade, Kansas. It became obvious that if Jim wanted to remain free, he’d have to move on.

     Pearce, Arizona, was being “boomed” at the time and the saloon business beckoned Herron. Life was good for the Herrons. That good life lasted for about a year until word of Jim’s past became known forcing a move eight miles south of the border in Sonora, Mexico. Jim acquired a ranch in the area as well as a hotel and a saloon, called the Cow Ranch, just across the border in Naco, Arizona. He also began brokering cattle, buying them cheaply on the Mexican side of the border and reselling them in Arizona, and opened a saloon. The cattle business would again cause Jim Herron official difficulty, this time with the Mexican authorities.

     Herron kept his horse herd on the Mexican side of the border where the grass was good. He’d use these horses to drive the cattle he bought further south up into the Arizona market. In late 1899, the Mexican authorities impounded forty head of Herron’s horses under the suspicion they’d been smuggled into the country. According to Herron’s side of the story, this was merely a pretext to shake him down for ten of the best horses. Herron wasn’t about to pay protection money to anyone. He decided to seek relief through the Mexican courts in Nogales.

     Herron, his wife and children, friends Bud Powers and wife and son, with an escort of seven Mexican soldiers headed for Nogales on Saturday, September 9.19 An interpreter called “Franco” and Herron’s hired man, Bob Clayton, a witness to Herron’s legally acquiring the horses, were to follow at a distance of a few hundred yards but remain in sight. After the party had gone about ten miles, Herron became worried that Clayton and Franco were not following.

     Back at the border, as Bob Clayton and Franco crossed the border they were stopped by two Mexican customs officers and twelve soldiers. The officers demanded the weapons of Clayton and Franco. It was illegal, although almost always overlooked, to bring guns into Mexico. The hot-headed Clayton refused to surrender his weapon. A soldier grabbed the reins of Clayton’s horse and Bob snatched them back. As the soldier reached again for the reins, Clayton shot him and the soldier’s commanding officer, one Captain Molino. The Mexican soldiers returned fire, killing Clayton and wounding Franco who was then thrown into jail.

     Herron’s bartender, Harry Ramsey, hearing of the shooting and rumors that “Herron’s party will never reach Nogales alive,” headed south to rescue the Americans.

     After the Herron party had ridden a few miles farther, three riders approached the party from the direction of Naco. Two of the men dismounted at a distance of 300 yards while the third rode on in. The man was Harry Ramsey and he was carrying a double-barrel shotgun and two six-shooters. Ramsey spoke to the lieutenant in charge of the army escort. “Lieutenant, there’s been trouble at Naco, and I’m obliged to arrest all of you. Order your men to toss their guns in [Herron’s wagon].” At the same time, Ramsey turned the shotgun on the lieutenant. The lieutenant said something in Spanish and reached for his revolver. Ramsey blasted him out of the saddle and turned on the sergeant, shooting him in the hand and arm. The balance of the army escort turned tail and rode away as Ramsey’s two friends rode up with rifles drawn. Herron turned the wagon north and whipped the horses into a run for the United States border four miles north. They arrived at the ranch of George Spindles on the U. S. side of the border and spent the night.20

     Returning to Naco, Herron made plans to again get a hearing at the Federal court in Nogales where his property was restored to him and absolved of any responsibility in the killings on the road to Nogales. Herron subsequently moved back to the United States, buying a home in Naco, Arizona. A move to Tombstone, Arizona, came in 1903.

     In Tombstone, Herron bought the Nobles Hotel, renamed it the La Rita Hotel, and opened a saloon two doors west of the Crystal Palace. Jim also continued in his cattle business. Within a year, Jim’s wife May died and in 1906 Jim married his third wife, Mary Valencia. One child was born to Jim and Mary, Millie on April 15, 1908. In later years Jim and Mary divorced.

     The family moved to Courtland, AZ, in 1910 after business in Tombstone slowed enough to make further operations there unprofitable. In Courtland, Herron opened the Pastime Pool Hall, ranched, and opened a slaughter house and butcher shop with a branch in nearby Pearce. The slaughter house would be the cause of his final run in with the law.

     The sheriff’s office had become suspicious of Herron’s operations at the slaughter house, suspecting Jim was slaughtering rustled beef. The place staked out for several days. On the evening of Sunday, June 2, 1912, deputy John Bright and two assistants, Charles L. McKinney and John Parrish, discovered several hides in “an old assessment hole near the slaughter house.” At the same time they observed Herron drive two cows into the corral and immediately head back to town. The deputies slipped up to the corral and inspected the two cows. A trap was set.

     Within a short time Herron, John Oldham, and Tom Maloney returned and the trap was sprung. The lawmen stormed into the slaughter house with guns drawn, catching the three butchering the cows. One cow had already been skinned and Herron “display[ed] another hide as the one that had been removed from the one animal, but the ruse did not work.”21

     In his memoirs, Jim Herron said the cattle had gotten mixed in with a bunch he’d bought from the Sulphur Springs Valley Cattle Company. He said that when such mix ups had occurred before, he’d found the owner and made restitution. He doesn’t explain why he didn’t notify the rightful owners before the cattle were slaughtered.22

     One count of larceny, case # 39, was filed against Jim Herron, John Oldham, and T. W. Maloney.23 Maloney was subsequently released from custody and the charges dropped. Another count of larceny, case # 40, was filed against Jim Herron only. On August 19, 1912, John Oldham plead guilty in case # 39 and was sentenced to five years in prison. Herron was found not guilty in that particular case on August 31. However, Jim still had one count against him for stealing one heifer branded \ on the left hip and belonging to the Sulphur Springs Valley Cattle Company.

     Oldham, who had testified on behalf of Jim at an earlier trial , now changed his story and implicated Herron. Jim took the stand in his own defense but failed to convince the jury of his innocence. He too was sentenced to five years in the prison at Florence, AZ. He was remanded to the prison’s custody on October 9, 1912.

     The official “Description of Convict” showed Jim Herron to be 48 years and 11 months old, 5’ 9” tall with a light complexion, dark brown hair and brown eyes. One year later, on October 5, 1913, Jim Herron was paroled and restored to citizenship.24

     Jim returned to Courtland where he again engaged in the cattle trading business, buying cheap cattle in Mexico and bringing them into Arizona for resale. More than once did Herron encounter difficulties, not only with the Mexican government, but with rustlers and factions opposing each other during the Mexican Revolution.

     Jim Herron returned to Beaver County in 1935, hoping to get a new trial up in Meade County, Kansas, on the old 1893 charge. No action was ever taken but, also, Jim was never extradited back to Kansas. The matter was simply forgotten.

     Jim Herron, the first sheriff of Beaver County, Oklahoma, died September 4, 1949, and is buried in Newman, California.

NOTES:

1 Herron was actually tried for stealing 13 head of “neat cattle.” It was said one was on the “Owl Hoot Trail” if one was on the run from the law.

2 One James Herron, 16 years old, is enumerated in Precinct

3, Ellis County, Texas, in the federal census of 1880. Jim’s father appears to have been Riley W. Herron, a 59 year old widower who was a native of Tennessee and engaged in farming. Also living there at that time are Jim’s brothers Riley, Jr., aged 22; G. F., aged 20; John, aged 18; a sister-in-law Allie, born in Illinois and aged 19; and Allie’s three month old son who is unnamed. The Herron children are all listed as having been born in Texas, their mother in Kentucky. 3 Chrisman, Harry E., Fifty Years on the Owl Hoot Trail, Chicago, Sage Books, 1969.

4 Shortly after the shootout, Bat Masterson, acting upon the request of Ben Thompson, rescued Billy from a hotel in Ogallala where he was recuperating from his wounds and brought him back to Dodge City arriving there on ....

5 Headquarters for the YL, or the Cattle Ranche & Land Company, were according to Chrisman, “on Kiowa Creek, four miles from the eastern end of the Neutral Strip in the Cherokee Strip. Their range ran over into the Texas Panhandle and Neutral Strip, and the company, by 1882, claimed 26,000 head of cattle, range count.”

6 The organizational meeting of the Western Kansas Stockmen’s Association was held in Dodge City, Kansas, on April 10, 1883. The primary purpose of the association was, in the words of Mr. Arthur Gorham, “that we...may bind ourselves together in a permanent organization -a Cattlemen’s Association ¬for mutual protection and for the general advancement of our interests.”

7 Undated item in the Guymon Herald, reprinted in Fifty Years on the Owl Hoot Trial, page 293-4.

8 Meade, Kansas, Republican, January 25, 1893.

9 Chrisman, pages 120-121.

10 Case no. 1389, State of Kansas vs James Herron, “Exhibit A.”

11 Ibid, “Exhibit C.” Although not stated, it must be assumed Standiford received his contracted cattle from Herron’s herd.

12 Pete King had arrived in Valentine, NB with one of the train loads of cattle.

13 Ibid, “Exhibit B.”

14 Chrisman, page 123.

15 Ibid, “Information, State of Kansas vs. James Herron.”

16 Meade County, Kansas, Press, August 22, 1935.

17 It is not clear if this is the same Peter King who arrived in Nebraska with part of the cattle sent there by Slavins.

18 Meade County Globe, September 21, 1893. Jack Rhodes was born in Jack County, Texas in October 1866. According to Mrs. M. W. Anschutz, the Rhodes family had come down to the Meade/Beaver area in 1878 from the Pawnee Creek in Kansas. It is interesting to note that one Thomas Rhodes, who was involved in the killing of Ed Masterson in April 1878, was also probably from the same Pawnee Creek. It is possible that there is some family connection.

19 The Nogales, Arizona, Oasis of September 16, 1899, as reprinted in Fifty Years on the Owl Hoot Trail, said there were only three guards in the escort, two were killed and one escaped.

20 Chrisman, pages 219-220. Herron claimed that he learned later that one of the men riding with Ramsey whom he called “Burr” was actually George Musgrave, a member of the Black Jack Christian gang.

21 Courtland Arizonan, June 8, 1912.

22 Chrisman, pages 264-265. Herron also wrote that McKinney, who ran cattle near Herron, suspected that Herron was changing McKinney’s M-T brand to Herron’s MAY.

23 The three were accused of stealing “one cow... the property of C. J. Hysham and W. H. Neel.”

24 John Oldham was not so lucky. He was received at Florence on September 3, 1912 as prisoner # 3834. On January 17, 1913, Oldham escaped with prisoner # 3751 from the “Florence-Mesa road camp.” The men stole two horses during their escape. He was recaptured and returned on October 13, 1916. On May 13, 1917, John escaped from “Clifton R. C.” and was never recaptured. He lived on the “Owl Hoot Trial” for ten years, leading a good and responsible life. It appears from the available records that Oldham applied for a pardon in in April 1927, receiving it in 1929.

 

 

 

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