FC: Cherokee Bill By: Isaac Nagel
1: In Fort Concho, Texas on February 8, 1876, Crawford Goldsby the boy that would one day become known as "Cherokee Bill” was born. | Bill’s father was a mulatto from Alabama, a sergeant of the Tenth United States Cavalry, and a Buffalo Soldier. His mother was a Cherokee Freedman, half black, 1/4 cherokee and 1/4 white.
2: When Bill was 7 years old, he was sent to an Indian School in Kansas, where he attended for three years. | After three years, he was sent to an Industrial School for Indians in Carlisle, Pennsylvania for two years. | Despite attempts to provide him a good education, sources indicate that he could barely read and write. | By the time Bill was 7 years old, his parents had separated.
3: He left school at the age of 12 and returned to Fort Gibson. | At 12 years old Bill killed his first man. | Bill, large for his age confronted his brother-in-law who had told him to feed some hogs. Grabbing a gun, Bill shot and killed him, but was not prosecuted because of his age.
4: A year later his mother remarried and young Bill did not get along with his new stepfather. It was around that time that he began to be with a bad crowd, drank liquor, and generally rebelled against any authority. | Two years later, at the age of 15, he moved from his mother’s house to his sister Georgia’s and her husband. | By the time he was 17, he was working a ranch, where he said to have been well-liked.
5: In the spring of 1894, at the age of 18, Cherokee Bill's crime spree began when he shot a man named Jake Lewis for beating up his younger brother. | Though Lewis would later recover from his wounds, Bill was sure he had killed the man and fled for the Creek and Seminole Nations, where he joined up with outlaws Jim and Bill Cook. | In June, 1894, the trio was confronted at Fourteen Mile Creek near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, with a warrant for Jim Cook. In the shoot out that occurred, Cherokee Bill shot and killed lawman Sequoyah Houston.
6: Bill rode to the home of his sister, Maud Brown, hiding from the law. When her husband, George Brown, a vicious drunk, began to beat Maud with a whip for not responding quickly enough to his orders, Bill walked up behind the man and shot him to death. | Bill Cook and Cherokee Bill rounded up a gang, mostly comprised of black men with Indian blood and began to terrorize Oklahoma. Starting out small, they were first accused on whiskey charges and horse theft, before advancing to robbing banks, stores and stagecoaches. The outlaws were ruthless, shooting anyone who got in their way.
7: On July 16th, the gang allegedly robbed a man named William Drew and two days later, held up the Frisco train at Red Fork. | On July 31, 1894, the gang stole $500 from the Lincoln County bank in Chandler, Oklahoma, killing one person and wounding others. In the process, one member of the gang, Elmer Luca, was shot and captured by authorities.
8: Hotly pursued, the Cook Gang was surrounded at the home of a friend some fourteen miles west of Sapulpa, Oklahoma on August 2, 1894. During the gunshots, one of the lawmen was shot and severely wounded. Two of the gang members, Lon Gordon and Henry Munson were killed and Ad Berryhill was captured. The rest of the gang fled. | Continuing with their outlaw deeds they robbed the J.A. Parkinson and Company store in Okmulgee, Oklahoma on September 21st, getting away with over $600.00.
9: On February 26th, Cherokee Bill was tried for the murder of Melton before Judge Parker and found guilty. On April 13th, the seemingly unconcerned Crawford Goldsby was sentenced to death. | Judge Isaac Park characterized him as a "bloodthirsty mad dog who killed for the love of killing" and as "the most vicious" of all the outlaws in the Oklahoma Territory. | On March 17, 1896 federal officials hanged him before hundreds of spectators. Reportedly, when he was asked if he had any last words, he said: "I came here to die, not to make a speech.