The following story was submitted by Trudy (Norman) Kemper
The Eliason Family Hosted the Dalton Gang
I have come to the conclusion that I am never going
to accurately nail down an exact date or exacts of anything. Here is
what I know and I have attached a picture with the evidence.
As best as I can put together:
Sometime in 1891 or 1892, a group of men with guns rode up on horses
to the Andor Eliason homestead (4 ½ miles west of Fowler on G
Road(old Hwy 98), 1 mile south on 22 Road, ¼ mile west, located on
the south side of the H Road). Andor & Helena were some of the early
white folk to come to Meade County. They were Norwegian immigrants
that had come from Norway in 1866, settled in Minnesota for a while
(where they married and had their first 3 daughters, one of which
was my grandmother Julia Eliason Norman). They came to Meade County
area in 1878-1879 time period. Their son, John Emaus Eliason, was
said to be the first white child born in Meade County on 23 Mar
1880. There used to be a picture of him hanging in the Meade County
Museum, but I was unable to find it when I visited there the last
In those days, the children were told never to look strangers in the
eyes, but to keep their heads down, and to always serve those who
visited you. The older girls were busy helping Helena in the kitchen
to make a meal for the men. John Eliason kept stealing a look at the
big guns hanging in the men’s holsters. Helena kept shushing him and
telling him not to look. One of the older girls went into the parlor
to get some supplies that were stored on a shelf over head. She
dropped the box and startled one of the men sitting in the parlor.
He leapt up in a hurry and his gun went off. The bullet hole was
left as the evidence of the visit.
One of the girls, which I am unable to pin point if it was Lena,
Amelia, or my grandmother, Julia, was told to play the piano to
entertain the men while they ate.
I am unsure how long the visit was, and any more details. A few
weeks or months later, Andor had gone to Dodge City with the wagon
for some supplies and some of the older children had gone with him.
A newspaper was spotted with a picture of the Dalton Gang laying
dead after the Coffeyville robbery. It was at this time the family
recognized the men and realized that their visitors from a few weeks
or months back had been the notorious Dalton gang.
The attached picture is my grandmother, Julia Eliason Norman, 2nd
daughter born to Andor & Helena Eliason. She would have been about
18 or 19 at the time of this picture. On the wall behind her is the
“bullet hole” that was said to have been from the Dalton gang visit.
Trudy Norman Kemper
||Julia Eliason Norman
born in Meade County
courtesy Meade County Historical Society