The Life Story of Emmett Dalton
One of the members of the Dalton Gang who survived 23 bullet wounds at the gun battle at Coffeyville, Kansas on October 5, 1892
This story has been researched, complied, formatted, indexed and taken from sources on the Internet by Rodney G. Dalton in the comfort of his easy chair in Farr West, Utah in the United States of America in the Twenty First-Century A.D.
Generations earlier, James Lewis Dalton's (D'Alton) forbears had left France for Ireland. Their descendants ultimately came to Kentucky from Virginia.
James Lewis Dalton served an even 365 days under General Zachary Taylor as a fifer for Company I, Second Regiment of Kentucky Foot Volunteers during the Mexican War. Lewis Dalton came west from Kentucky to Missouri during the late 1840s. By 1850 Lewis Dalton was trading horses and running a small saloon at Westport (now Kansas City). Lewis and Adeline Younger Dalton had 15 children. The Daltons moved to Coffeyville, Kansas in 1886 and lived there for a short time. Coffeyville, Kansas became the hometown of "the Dalton boys." They went on train robberies and gun battles throughout the West.
The Dalton brothers, there were ten of them, will always be remembered for the misdeeds of the four bad ones, Grat, Bob, Emmett, and Bill. They rode across the Cherokee Strip a century ago and provided a never-ending source of stories for the newspapers of the day, while most of the Dalton family led honest and sedentary lives in the Kingfisher area. The three brothers were credited with shootings and robberies from one end of the country to the other.
The rumor that the Daltons might be headed for a particular town struck terror in the hearts of its businessmen. Those who claimed to know said one good reason why the Daltons were the way they were was be cause of their bad blood.
Adeline Younger Dalton, mother of the clan, was the aunt of another family of out laws, the Younger’s. Her nephews, Cole, Bob, and Jim, rode the out law trail in the fashion of some more of their relatives, Frank and Jesse James.
The Dalton boys were the sons of James Lewis and Adeline Younger Dalton, who had brought them out of Missouri at the start of the Civil War and settled the family on a farm near Coffeyville, Kansas, just north of the Indian Territory. It was a wild and law less frontier town where the young boys grew up on the tales of their out law relatives.
When the new Oklahoma Territory was opened in 1889, the Dalton family joined the land rush and the father and older sons obtained claims near King fisher, Oklahoma.
The claim that James and Adeline Dalton chose was the SW ¼ of sec. 11, in town ship 17, north of Range 8, west of the Indian Meridan in Oklahoma. This claim contained 160 acres, all bottom land, 6 miles north east of the town of King fisher, Oklahoma. Times were hard in the new raw land. James Lewis Dalton, father of the clan, re turned to Kansas to work in Coffeyville while Mrs. Dalton remained on the claim with the children to prove it up.
James Lewis Dalton died in 1890, leaving the family on their own. He was buried at the Robbins Cemetery in Dearing, Kansas, near Coffeyville.
Four of the sons served as deputy marshals from time to time while the fifth moved to Montana and eventually to California. Bill Dalton served with the State of California two terms. Charles, Ben and Littleton Dalton took claims near King fisher. Henry Coleman Dalton participated in the Cherokee Strip land rush and took a claim near Enid, Oklahoma.
One son, Frank Dalton, was a Deputy US Marshal who was killed in the line of duty in 1887. Frank had been the most stable of the brothers, well grounded and mature, and by all accounts Frank kept his brothers in line. They respected him, and had at times ridden with him in posses. When killed, Frank had been tracking a horse thief in the Oklahoma Territory. When he located the suspect on November 27, 1887, he confronted him and a shootout erupted, resulting in Dalton being killed, two outlaws being killed, and his deputy being wounded. One week later, on December 3, 1887, the suspect was tracked by other lawmen, and another shootout erupted. In that second shootout, Deputy U.S. Marshal Ed Stokley shot and killed the suspect, but Stokley was also killed during the gunfight. Sam Wingo was a US Marshal who ran with the gang robbing after he shot the wrong man in Arkansas, and escaped custody in a subsequent shoot out with deputies. Perhaps hoping to avenge their brother's death, the three younger Dalton boys—Gratton "Grat" Dalton (b. 1861), Bob Dalton (b. 1869), and Emmett Dalton (b. 1871)—became lawmen. But in 1890, the boys moved to the other side of the law.
The children of James Lewis Dalton; b. 16 Feb. 1826, Kentucky, d. 16 July 1890, married, 12 March 1851, Jackson, Co., MO. Died Kingfisher, O.T. and Adeline Lee Younger; b. 15 Sep. 1835, Jackson, Co., MO; d. 24 Jan. 1925, Kingfisher, OK.
1- Charles Benjamin "Ben" Dalton - 1853 - 1936
2- Henry Coleman "Cole" Dalton - 26 Nov. 1853 - 27 Feb. 1920
3- Louis Kossuth Dalton - 1855 - 1862
4- Bea Elizabeth "Lelia" Dalton - 14 March 1856 - 28 Dec. 1894; married Tom Phillips in Texas
5- Littleton Lee "Lit" Dalton - 2 Oct. 1857 - 2 Jan. 1942
6- Franklin "Frank" Dalton - 1859 - Nov. 27, 1887, Deputy U.S. Marshal killed in the line of duty.
7- Gratton Hanley "Grat" Dalton - 30 Mar 1861 - 5 Oct 1892
8- William Marion "Bill" Dalton - 1865 - 1894
9- Eva Dalton - 25 Jan 1867 - 28 Jan 1939, married John Whipple
10- Robert Rennick "Bob" Dalton - 13 May 1869 - 5 Oct 1892
11- Emmet Dalton - 3 May 1871
12- Leona Randolph Dalton - 17 July 1875 - 18 April 1964 , never married
13- Nancy "Nannie" Dalton Clute, March 1876 - 1902
14- Simon Noel "Sam" Dalton - 6 July 1879 - 13 Sept 1928 - twin
15- Hannah Adeline Dalton - 6 July 1879 - twin
Emmett Dalton before the Coffeyville Raid
Members of the notorious Dalton gang were killed October 5, 1892, during attempted bank robberies in Coffeyville, Kansas. Emmett Dalton survived, receiving 23 gunshot wounds. He was sentenced to life in prison at Lansing.
Emmett Dalton was born in 1871 in Missouri, the youngest in a large family. The Daltons moved to Indian Territory in 1882. At first his brothers became guards, posse men, deputies, and marshals. Several of the Dalton sons moved to California and were blamed for a series of train robberies beginning in 1889.
On October 5, 1892, Emmett along with his brothers Bob and Grat, and two other men, were shot during robberies in Coffeyville. Bob, Grat, and the two other men were killed; Emmett was shot while trying to help his brother Bob onto a horse and was captured.
After he had served 14 years at Lansing, Dalton was pardoned and lived his remaining life in California where he died in 1937.
Burial: Kingfisher Cemetery, Kingfisher, Kingfisher County, Oklahoma.
Emmett Dalton; His Life After the Coffeyville Raid
Copied from the web Site: http://kayempea.net/ by K M Presland, 2008
Plenty has been written about the Dalton gang, the famed Oklahoma outlaws, and their story ends at Coffeyville, Kansas. But one of them survived. His life after the disastrous bank raid is mostly covered by just a handful of sentences. I wanted to know more about the man. And I thought I’d like to share what I found.
Most of the material in this biography comes from old newspapers, which, I believe, show Emmett Dalton more as he really was than some later writings, affected by prejudices or poor research. The articles are transcribed, as they appeared, mistakes and all. I have found virtually nothing specifically about him prior to the Coffeyville raid. A man named Louis Medler, who had settled 12 miles north of Bartlesville in 1880’s, said he “knew Emmett well but could recall no particular incident with regard to him.” (Indian-Pioneer Papers)
Harry Richter, who had run a store in Pawhuska, I. T., said in 1907: “Emmett used to come to the store with his brothers frequently. He was a fine boy and I believe he would never gotten into trouble if it had not been for his older brothers.”
Bill Norin writes about the Daltons in California, including: “Emmett Dalton, according to Mrs. McCane, was the most civilized of them. ‘When my father’s brother died at home in Estrella, Emmett went with a horse and buggy to the Platt Place for my mother to take her there.’ ”
His Aunt Tessie had said: “At one of these socials, young Emmett Dalton asked me to dance with him. He was a handsome boy, very polite, and I was delighted to be his partner.”
E.D. Nix, U.S. Marshal at Guthrie in the 1890’s, wrote in his book Oklahombres: “Emmett Dalton was fearless and he loved excitement, but he lacked the bloodthirsty bravado of the successful bandit.”
In the May 1966 issue of Real West Harold Preece wrote an article “The Truth about Emmett Dalton”. He describes Emmett as a harmonica playing, self-centered, boastful idiot. I do not know where he might have gotten his information. It does not fit with anything I have found. His article is so full of false myths and incorrect statements, that I cannot see any value in it.
After his stay in jail at Independence, the Star and Kansan summed him up thus: “When in confinement in here Emmett made friends with every one he met. …was genial and gentlemanly in his bearing and was not given to swaggering or boasting, though his determination and bravery were evident enough. That a young man so well endowed by nature with the elements that win friends and would have assured him success in any honorable calling should have drifted into a course of life that made him a greater menace to the peace and order of society than the most callous and depraved criminal that breathes the free air of Kansas to-day, seems a thousand pities.”
Emmett was born on May 3, 1871, near Belton, Missouri, to Lewis and Adeline Dalton. He was their eleventh child (more about the Dalton family; look at a photo of young Emmett). The family moved to the Indian Territory, near Vinita, in 1882. Emmett wrote in his book When the Daltons Rode (1931), and this seems to have become an accepted fact, that in 1887 he worked as a cowboy at the Bar-X-Bar ranch in Triangle Country. There, and at the nearby Turkey Track ranch, he conveniently met ALL the future gang members. Together as buddies they had wonderful, carefree times. I don’t believe this. Rather, as Emmett wrote in Beyond the Law (1918) about the gang coming together: “There were plenty of others like us in that country, and it was not long before the masonry of those in trouble brought us together.” One article mentioned that Emmett had done cowboying on a ranch 20 miles south of Tulsa. This also seems more likely. His brother Frank had gone to work as a deputy U.S. marshal. Whiskey runners killed him in November 1887. At that time Bob Dalton (b. May 13, 1869) had been working as a posse man for him. Frank was buried at Coffeyville, Kansas, and the Dalton family moved, or had already moved, near Coffeyville. Another brother, Grat (b. Mar. 30, 1861), came from California and became a deputy. Bob carried on as a posse man. Before long Bob also became a deputy and Emmett joined his brothers as a guard and posse man. Since childhood Bob and Emmett had run together. Emmett looked up to Bob, and would follow his wild and reckless brother with eventually disastrous consequences. By all accounts the Daltons were considered good officers; brave, friendly and polite. There is one exception, Ninnian Tannehill said: “…when the Dalton boys were U.S. Marshals they were cold and cruel. While I was in Fort Smith, the Dalton boys came to a place close to Fort Smith to arrest a boy. He was staying with his sister and her husband in a tent. As the Dalton boys approached, the woman came out of the front of the tent with her baby in her arms and they shot her through her breast; the ball passed through her body and for some time I helped to care for her and she finally recovered. The men shot and killed her husband but the boy, her brother, escaped by leaving the thirty-foot tent by the rear (Indian Pioneer-Papers).” I think this story can be totally dismissed. If there was any truth in it, it would surely have appeared earlier somewhere else.
March 21, 1890, Bob and Emmett were arrested for “introducing intoxicating liquor into the Osage Nation on Dec. 25, 1889.” After a hearing, Emmett was acquitted. All agreed he had stayed on the road some distance away. Bob was released on bail to appear at a trial Sept. 1, 1890, which he did not do (more details of this incident can be found in The Dalton Gang Story by Nancy Samuelson). They also accepted bribes from those arrested as Bob was having trouble getting paid.
Lewis Dalton died on July 16, 1890, and it seems that Bob and Grat sold his stock of horses. They started dealing in horses. After selling some stolen horses, the word went around that Bob, Grat and Emmett were stealing horses all over the place. Emmett and Bob left the country while Grat was arrested. He was later released.
Next they turn up in California, around the San Joaquin Valley, where more of the Dalton boys were living. Bob and Emmett went to stay with Bill Dalton (b. 1865) on the Estrella River. They were footloose and fancy-free young men from a rough country, and were considered rather wild by the locals. They carried their guns at all times and liked to practice their shooting skills. Mary True and her sister Helen Kennamon recalled their father, Charles True, who had been about fifteen at the time, saying the Daltons used to lie on their backs in the barn and try to shoot through the holes in the roof. Bill, too, seemed to have had a wild streak in him. Grat arrived a little later with news to Bob and Emmett that officers in the Indian Territory wanted them. Then there was an attempted train robbery at Alila in the evening of Feb. 6, 1891. Two masked robbers had entered the engine. In the heavy shooting between the robbers and the express guard, the fireman got shot and later died. The robbers rode off empty-handed. The next day it was reported that in the morning Sheriff Kay of Tulare had found very distinct tracks of three robbers and he sent a posse after them (at the trial of Grat Dalton, Sheriff Kay mentioned only two sets of tracks leading away from the scene). The trail led to the Coast Range Mountains. Other officers were looking in different directions. It was believed the men were the same that had perpetrated the earlier robberies at Pixley and Goshen, though the trainmen considered these robbers as novices. Several persons were suspected. On February 12, Grat Dalton was arrested in Fresno by Detective Hickey, who was very close-mouthed as to the reasons for the arrest. There were many at Fresno who would be able to testify that Grat was there on the night of the robbery from as early as 9 o’clock, playing poker nearly all that night. Grat was released but shadowed. Last week of February he was arrested about 12 miles north of Paso Robles (Bill’s place, perhaps?) on suspicion of being one of the Alila robbers. On March 2, Cole Dalton and a man named Jack Parker, who worked for Cole, were arrested at the same place for the Alila robbery. The detectives claimed to have evidence to convict and were confident that they had the right men. But again the officers were close-mouthed and would not give any details. According to another account, Cole was arrested as an accessory, Parker as a witness, and detectives still after the three robbers. However, Cole and Mr. Parker were released. Detective Smith was still scouring the mountains, by now probably after Emmett and Bob. On March 12, Bill Dalton was arrested. He admitted that he had hidden Bob and Emmett. Officers claimed that they had cleared up the Pixley, Goshen and Alila robberies, and that other arrests would soon be made. Bob and Emmett, now being the main suspects, felt the heat and took off back to the Oklahoma and Indian Territories. Grat and Bill were held for trial concerning the Alila robbery. Grat was convicted even though he had been miles away, Bill was found not guilty (again, for more details, see Nancy Samuelson’s book).
Did Bob and Emmett do it? There had been train robberies before Alila in the area and the only bit of information on the robbers was that one was tall and straight, the other short and heavy set. The same description apparently was given after the Alila robbery. The evidence at Grat's trial concentrated much on the tall and short man, and their movements before the attempted robbery. From a photograph, Bob was usually recognized as the tall man. The short man could have been Grat, or someone similar in looks. Bob was tall, Emmett heavier set but close to Bob in height. Emmett would later claim they were wrongly accused and that this had directly caused them to become train robbers for real (After the Coffeyville raid, Ben Dalton said the same thing, stating that Bob and Emmett escaped because of circumstantial evidence against them. Read Ben Dalton's interview). But, as we shall see, right after the Coffeyville raid when he had been captured, Emmett confessed that Bob and Grat had been involved, though the date was given as January 1890. Other train robberies that he confessed to were the same he admitted later as the work of the Daltons. Also, very strangely if they were innocent, he does not mention the California incident until he wrote his first book as a reason for them going astray. Why stay quiet about something so pivotal in your life for so long?
Obviously Grat was not involved, but perhaps Bill was. This is purely speculation on my part. Bill was shorter and stockier (“short and stout,” according to one article) than Bob, had no love for the railroads, and was a bit of a joker. Bob might have been bored with life in the more sedate California. Extra cash would have been handy, if he and Emmett intended to travel further afield as they worried about officers being after them due to the trouble in the Indian Territory. A train had been robbed at Pixley in February 1889; another at Goshen January 1890, so it might have seemed another one should be due. Maybe Bob and Bill did it for laughs, thinking they could get away with it. Bill had been a respected citizen and would have found plenty of assistance at his trial, especially as the Southern Pacific railroad was much hated. It could have been Bob and Bill entering the engine, with Emmett outside ready to give support. Obviously Emmett would not indicate Bill in his confession at Coffeyville, as he was still alive. I might be totally wrong, and it is impossible to find out what really happened. Strangely, both Bill and Grat had told the officers on several occasions that Bob and Emmett did the robbery. Normally you would not expect anyone to shop his or her brothers, not even in jest. Seemingly not taking anything too seriously, Bill had also said that Bob and Emmett were wanted for murder back in the east, and that his older brothers had robbed a train when they were but sixteen and eighteen years of age. Bill was described as a free talker. Grat escaped from jail and went to join Bob and Emmett, Bill relocated to Kingfisher, O.T. The train robberies in the area continued after the Daltons had departed. But now the Dalton gang became the topic of the day across the country. All sorts of stories about them were printed as far as Pennsylvania.
Then there followed the train robberies in the Indian Territory: Wharton, May 8, 1891; Lelieatta, Sept. 15, 1891; Red Rock, June 2, 1892; Adair, July 14, 1892. In his first book, Beyond the Law, Emmett claimed he took no part in the actual robberies. This just might be correct in the case of Wharton. There is an interesting account of a train robbery at Wharton, which I believe was the one committed by the Daltons. In that account there seems to be just three robbers. Emmett wrote that Bob, Charley Bryant and George Newcomb took part in it. As to the other robberies, it would be rather incredible had he not been involved. (Go to articles about the robberies and the Dalton gang)
The Daltons were blamed for nearly all the robberies that took place at that time. The following item had appeared in a Visalia newspaper on August 11, 1892: “California is getting up a reputation as notorious as Oklahoma and Indian Territory regarding train robberies. Those Dalton boys must travel on the fastest trains to be able to bury their treasure in Indian Territory one week and rob a train here the next. If a company of trappers were to be robbed at Hudson Bay tomorrow the Daltons would get the credit. While officers are chasing the Daltons, other highwaymen are committing robberies and stepping aside to watch the officers hunt the Daltons (from Dalton Gang Days by Frank F.Latta).
The Aftermath of the Coffeyville Raid
Emmett Dalton's career as an outlaw came to an abrupt end at Coffeyville, Kansas. Badly shot up, he was left in agony to fight for his life. No one expected him to survive. Four outlaws and four citizens had already died as the result of the raid.
On the morning of October 5, 1892, Bob, Grat and Emmett Dalton with Dick Broadwell and Bill Power rode into Coffeyville, Kansas, intending to rob the town’s two banks, the C.M. Condon and the First National. The raid has been recounted so many times and in so many places, I shall not go over it again. The best accounts of the events of the raid can be found in What Really Happened on October 5, 1892 by Lou Barndollar, The Last Raid of the Daltons by D.S. Elliott and the Coffeyville Journal Oct. 7, 1892, all available from the Coffeyville Historical Society.
Also see, Dalton Gang’s Last Raid, 1892.
Star and Kansan, Oct. 7, 1892: … Emmet Dalton, still with the money from the First National bank, had mounted his horse and started to go; but seeing his brother Bob shot down he returned and in an attempt to help him onto his horse, was shot and so badly wounded that he was captured. … Emmet Dalton was taken to Dr. Well’s office, placed under guard, and his wounds dressed. He was shot through the muscle of the right arm, and the bone was crushed. Also in the back and a very seriously wound in the right hip.
Emmett was shot through the right arm, as described, below the shoulder, through left (right, in some accounts) hip and groin, and got 18-23 buckshot in the back.
Star and Kansan, Oct. 7, 1892: Through the kindness of Sheriff Callahan we were permitted to visit the office of Dr. Wells, when Emmet Dalton was under examination. We saw a young man lying on a bed who had just reached his majority. He had rather an attractive face, a mild, clear eye, good complexion, regular features, and a voice as smooth and pleasant as a man often possesses. There was nothing coarse, or brutal, nor villainous looking about him. A man would indeed have been hard hearted, who could have witnessed the ordeal through which he went without feeling a pity in his heart.
All the bodies were carried before him for identification. The first corpse was of a tall young man, rawboned, with prominent features. As it was lifted to where Emmet could recognize it, he faltered, and in quivering voice said: “I identify that as my brother Bob Dalton.” The tears filled his eyes and for a moment it seemed as if he would give up to his feelings, but he soon recovered himself, and proceeded to answer questions.
He said Bob Dalton was 23 years old the 13th of last May. That he had not been with his brothers for a year and a half, until the 1st of October, when he met them south of Tulsa in the territory. Bob told him that he was in the Adair robbery, and also in the California robbery in January 1890. Grat Dalton, Tom Evans and Jake Moore were in the Adair robbery with Bob.
The second corpse brought into the room was identified as Graton Dalton, and again he broke down. He said Bob told him that Graton was in the California robbery. He was 31 years of age.
The third corpse he identified as Tom Evans and the fourth as Jake Moore. He knew nothing about them. He first met them October 1st. He knew nothing about “Texas Jack” or whether he was the man called Jake Moore or not.
In an imperfect manner we noted down the following statement, as he made it, in regard to the Coffeyville bank robbery: “On the 1st of October I met the boys 20 miles south of Tulsa. They asked me how much money I had, I told them about $20. I asked them the amount they had, and they replied about $900. I asked them what they were going to do. They said this town of Coffeyville had been talking about them; and some of the people at Coffeyville had been trying to have them captured. I told them it was a lie; that they used to have lots of friends there. Bob said that he could discount the James’ boys record, and go up and rob both banks in one day. I told him that I didn’t want any of it in mine. They said I had better go along and help, and get some of the money and leave the country; that if I staid around here by myself I would be sure and get caught, or killed.
“On the morning of the 3d we were north of Tulsa, in Osage nation, and we rode twenty miles towards Coffeyville. We talked the bank robbery over as we came along that day. I tried to persuade them not to come, for the people here had never done us any harm. So they said all right, if I didn’t want to go along, that four of them would go and give them a round up. So I told them if that was the case I might as well go along; and I went for the love of my brothers. I knew the people would chase me just as hard if I was not along, and I had no money to get out of the country on.
We camped yesterday, the 4th, on a timbered hill on Hickory creek, about 12 miles from Coffeyville. During the night we saddled up and rode to Onion creek, and camped on Mr. Davis’ farm. This morning we fed the horses some corn, and I asked them if they were still in the notion of coming up here, and they said they were. I told them they had better not go; that it wouldn’t be treating the men right who had always defended us. I asked them how they were going to do it. Bob said we’d ride in here about 9:30 a.m. I asked him what his idea was for that, and he said there wouldn’t be so many people to hold up in the morning and we wouldn’t have to hurt anybody. He told me he would like to have me go with him because I was quick on foot, and he and I would go to the First National bank and let the other three go to other bank. So he said we would ride and hitch north of the lumberyard. We would hitch there as people wouldn’t see us until we were right in the bank. When we got out to the lumberyard we saw there were no hitch racks, so we came around near the cooler.
“I am a full cousin of the Younger boys. My mother is a sister to Cole Younger’s father. They and the James boys are no relation. Five were all there were of us. I have not seen Allie Ogee for two years.
“Bob and I started to come out the front way of the First National bank. Bob stepped on the street and shot his Winchester south once. We then went back and went out of the back door to the alley. Met a man with a six-shooter. Bob killed him. We then went west went in back of Wells Bros. to our horses. Bob shot several times going up the street. I did not see Cubine. I know him. I could have got away, but saw Bob fall, and rode back to him. He held up his hand and I was endeavoring to get him on my horse, when I was disabled.”
He here showed signs of weakening under the questioning and murmuring something about his dead brothers began to cry. The sheriff stopped the examination and cleared the room.
Emmet told the story several times during the day, and always the same way, except in some small details. Knowing that a man guilty of the acts he was that day could not be relied on, we heard his statements with many doubts as to the part he played in the tragedy. It seems to us, since considering it, that he was making a shrewd, careful talk for his life, as he evidently feared the mob.
When asked where the Dalton’s hiding place had been, he refused to answer, saying it would implicate others. He said Evans and Moore had been with his brothers about one year.
… The Daltons used to live at Coffeyville and wintered there as late as two years ago, and knew the kind of people they had to deal with and the desperate chances they were taking. Their recklessness can only be counted for on the theory as suggested by Emmet Dalton in his statement, that his brother was anxious to be the hero of an exploit that would excel Jesse James.
— Emmet said when first captured said to let the people finish him up; that he would not blame them if they did.
— He at first declared he was not a Dalton [he gave his name as Charley McLoughlin], but when so many identified him he weakened, and admitted it.
— The Dalton boys were very popular when first appointed deputy U.S. marshals in the territory, and they still have warm friends all through Southern Kansas and the territory. A lady now visiting in this city that lived at Tulsa at the time, says their visits were always welcome there during their official career. The people felt safer when they were around, and considered them reliable, brave and handsome young men, until their name became connected with various big steals and daring robberies.
— The relic hunters were on hand. Bob Dalton’s pants were cut off by piecemeal up to his knees; the dead horses tails were clipped off and shoes taken from their feet.
Kansas City Star. October 6, 1892: Last night Attorney Dooley went to the bedside of Emmet Dalton, the wounded desperado who is only 21 years old, and secured from him the following statement under oath: On the 1st day of October, 1892, I met the boys south of Tulsa and they asked me how much money I had…
Emmet also testified that Bob and Grat were concerned with the California robbery, and they were in the Adair robbery some weeks ago. He claimed that he has only been with the gang since October 1. He said they held a three-hour consultation on the prairie south of town yesterday morning and he warned them of the result if they came in. Had they succeeded in getting to their horses they would have killed many more, as he said Bob and Grat wanted to kill many of the citizens.
The Daily Northwestern, Oct. 6, 1892: COFFEYVILLE, Kan., Oct. 6. - … The stairway leading to the room where Emmett Dalton lies, is surrounded by a crowd of men and women endeavoring to persuade the guard to allow them to see him. He is very weak from loss of blood. His wounds were dressed this morning. In conversation with a reporter he said that Bob put up the job last Saturday, and prevailed upon the rest to take part in it, though they were opposed to it, believing it not feasible. They were short of funds and were preparing to leave the country as they were being closely pressed.
— Emmet Dalton made a sworn statement that Bob and Gratton were concerned in the California robbery, and also in the Adair robbery several weeks ago.
Sundusky Daily Register, Oct. 7, 1892: … The stairway leading to the room where Emmet Dalton lies is at all times surrounded by a crowd of men and women who do their utmost to persuade the guard to let them pass up the stairway to the presence of the wounded men. All sorts of reasons are advanced by these people for their requests, but with few exceptions they are not complied with.
Through the courtesy of Sheriff Callahan a Star reporter was allowed to enter the room. Emmet was weak from the loss of blood and talked little. He said: “I met the boys last Saturday near Tulsa and in the course of their talk they asked me how much money I had. I replied, $20. They said they had $900 and then told me of their plan to rob both banks of Coffeyville in one day. Bob said he wanted to Lower Jesse James’ record. I tried to persuade him not to try it but did not succeed as he had a grudge against the town and wanted revenge for what he had heard the people here saying and trying to do about us. I had no money to leave the country and also did not think we could get away if we came. I finally consented. We knew the lay of the land thoroughly and it was agreed that Bob and I should take the First National and the other three boys the Condon’s bank. Bob thought he and I were better than any six of the others and knowing the First National to be the hardest to rob we selected that and assigned Condon’s to the others.”
He stated he was an own cousin of the Younger brothers and until he knew that the other boys were dead he refused to say anything, but when their dead bodies were carried up to him for inspection, he identified them as Bob and Grattan Dalton, Tom Evans and Jack Moore. He shed tears as he gazed on his dead brothers. The names he gave to the two latter men are not the names they were known by in this section, but they are not their real names. These are withheld from the public to day for good reasons, but their names are known.
The money secured from the First National bank amounted to $20,240 and that from Condon’s $3,000. The amounts turned over to the banks exceed this amount and serves to verify the statement by Emmet that they had $900 when they came to town.
Kansas Weekly Capital and Farm Journal, Oct. 13, 1892: COFFEYVILLE, Kan., October 5. - Emmett Dalton is being closely guarded by a company of citizens tonight under command of the deputy city marshal. Only newspaper correspondents are allowed to see him. An Associated Press representative saw him at 11 o’clock tonight and procured from him a statement of his life, particular attention being paid to the last two years of it. He confessed the gang was responsible for the Red Rock, Wharton, Adair and other train robberies in the territory, which had been credited to them. The story of a hidden treasure, he said, was nonsense. “If there had been a hidden treasure,” he said, “we would all have been alive today. It was because we were all broke that we planned this Coffeyville raid. We were being hard pressed by the officers down in the territory, when Bob decided we would have to get out of the country. He planned the robbery about two weeks ago, while we were camped in the Osage country. He said he would outdo the James boys’ exploits and would go to Coffeyville and rob both banks at the same time. We tried to persuade him not to do it, and then he called us cowards. That settled it, and we started for the scene of the raid. We all met Monday night at Tulsa and proceeded by easy stages to Timber Hill, twelve miles north of here, where we stopped last night. We started for Coffeyville at 7 30 this morning and arrived here about 9 30. You know the rest.”
It was with great difficulty that the bandit told his story, as he was suffering terribly from the wound in his side. The physician attending him says he cannot possibly survive.
Clipping: Emmett Dalton is not dead but he is slowly dying in a hotel here and death is expected at any moment.
Indignation against the robbers was so intense this afternoon that the citizens wanted to lynch the dying bandit. To prevent this the coroner gave out the statement that he was already dead. Now people will wait for death to do the work they had planned should be done by lynch law.
The following day two warrants were issued for Emmett’s arrest; one, at Independence, for the murder of Lucius Baldwin and the other for the murder of George Cubine (see document pertaining to this arrest), although these were credited to Bob in the local paper.
Coffeyville Journal, Oct. 7, 1892: … As Bob and Emmett were going out at the back part of the lot in the rear of the National bank, they were met by the heroic Lucius M. Baldwin with a pistol in his hand. Bob called to him to stop, but as the young man stated in his dying moments, he mistook them for citizens trying to protect the bank and the fact that Teller Sheppard was walking in front of the robbers, led him to make his fatal mistake. Bob drew his Winchester and shot him through the left breast near the heart. When Bob and Emmett reached the east side of Union street the eye of the former fell on poor George Cubine, who was standing in a drug store with his face towards the front of the National bank, with a gun in his hand. Bob fired a ball into the back of a man who had been his acquaintance and friend in former years, and Cubine fell with the fatal bullet in his heart.
The Galveston Daily News, Oct. 7, 1892: GUTHRIE, Ok., Oct. 6. - William Dalton, brother of the three outlaws killed at Coffeyville yesterday, was in the city to-day en route to that place to claim the bodies of his brothers and take them to Hennessy, Ok., where the mother lives. In an interview he states that he is one of ten brothers and five sisters, all of whom were living until yesterday except Frank, the oldest brother, who was killed while serving as a deputy marshal some years ago. The mother of this family, who lives on a farm near Hennessy, is a sister of the notorious Younger brothers and has a young son at home who was named after Cole Younger. The oldest son was named after Frank James. William, the one who was here to-day, is short and stout, smooth shaven and does not appear to be over 25. He is an ex-member of the California legislature and was a man of prominence until his brothers robbed a Southern Pacific train in Tulane County and he was arrested as an accomplice. He was acquitted of the crime, but at once returned east.
Kansas Weekly Capital and Farm Journal, Oct. 13, 1892: COFFEYVILLE, Kan., Oct. 6. - Sheriff Callahan wants to take Emmet to Independence, but it will be hardly allowed, as the people are determined he shall not be taken away from this town.
At 11 o’clock tonight Emmett Dalton was still alive. He suffers great agony from the wounds and the physician attending him does not think he will survive another day. William Dalton arrived this evening from his home in Oklahoma and is in constant attendance upon his brother’s bedside.
At midnight Emmett is slowly sinking and there is no possibility of his recovering. His brother remains constantly at his bedside and attends him as faithfully and as tenderly as if the dying bandit were an innocent boy instead of a hardened ruffian.
Star and Kansan, Oct. 7, 1892: Just as we go to press we learn that Allie Ogee was in the gang, and his body was discovered yesterday in the territory six miles south of Coffeyville and brought back and identified by Emmet Dalton. We heard Emmet Dalton declare, in that innocent way of his, that he had not seen Ogee for 2 years, and that the majority of people believed there were but five.
Coffeyville Journal, Oct. 7, 1892: The Journal has a letter from Ally Ogee that will be published next week.
Sheriff Callahan made preparations to remove Emmett Dalton to the jail at Independence this morning, but was compelled to abandon the attempt on the account of the manifest disposition of the people to resist anything of the kind. It is safe to say that Dalton would have been taken away from the sheriff and hung, if the sheriff had taken him out of the room where he is confined at the Farmer’s Hotel.
Ben and Will Dalton, brothers of the desperadoes, accompanied by their mother and sister, Mrs. Whipple, arrived from Kingfisher, Oklahoma, on Friday morning.
New York Times, Oct. 8, 1892: COFFEYVILLE, Kan., Oct. 7. - … In conversation with a reporter to-day Ben said: “I was sick in bed at our home on our farm, four miles north of Kingfisher, when we received the news of this awful affair, but managed to come with mother and the others. We had not seen the boys for two years, and had no idea where they were or what they were doing. I never had much in common with the ones who lie here dead and dying, as I am a farmer and try to be a good citizen. I wish you would state that mother and I have no ill feeling against the people of Coffeyville and no words of censure. They simply did their duty, and while we naturally deplore the loss of our boys, we also sorrow for the citizens who gave up their lives in defense of the town. Emmett tells me he has been treated better than he hoped by your people, and we are feeling sad, but not angry.”
The Dallas Morning News, Oct. 10, 1892: KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 9. - A special from Coffeyville, Kan., says: Emmett Dalton’s condition is so greatly improved that it is probable he will recover.
At Independence; October 1892 – December 1892
On October 11, 1892, Emmett Dalton was carried on a cot and taken to jail at Independence, Kansas, without any trouble from the citizens of Coffeyville. He would remain in bed until December. City Attorney Fritch, who earlier had filed a murder charge against him, became his legal advisor.
St. Louis Republic, Oct. 11, 1892: COFFEYVILLE, Kas., Oct. 11. - Emmett Dalton was taken to Independence to jail this morning by Sheriff Callahan without any objection by the citizens. William Dalton went along. Now that he is gone, the citizens believe that his presence here kept the town full of undesirable visitors who were apt to cause trouble. He is better, and it is now thought he will recover. The officers investigating the raid claim to have found a relay of horses left by the Daltons at a friend's at Double Creek [About 20 miles north of Tulsa] to aid in their escape.
Star and Kansan, Oct. 14, 1892: Emmet Dalton was brought to this city on Wednesday morning and placed in the county jail. The warrant on which he was arrested charged him with murder. His brother, Will Dalton, came up with him. The latter is a heavyset man, smooth shaven and does not appear to be over 25. He at one time lived in California and is said to have stood high in the state until his brother robbed a Southern Pacific train in Tulare county, and he was arrested as an accomplish, but was acquitted. He is a pleasant, fine appearing young man. Emmet’s sister was also here on Tuesday, having come over from Cherryvale. She was on her way home, but there had been considerable talk about lynching her brother, if removed, and when she heard he was on his way to this city, with true sisterly devotion, she hastened to learn if he arrived safely.
All that talk about Coffeyville citizens refusing to permit him to be removed, was the merest bosh. Coffeyville citizens are brave, law-abiding men. Necessity compelled them in self-defense to take the law in their hands, when they shot the robbers down. Each did his duty manfully. Such men are above resorting to unnecessary mob violence, that would leave a stigma upon the fair reputation of their city; and Emmet Dalton was removed without any demonstrations. Indeed, the manner in which that outraged people acted throughout the whole affair is deserving of the highest praise.
Of the horses taken, one of them belonged to Broadwell, two of them were attached for debt, and one of them was identified as a horse stolen from a man living near Tulsa. Emmet says, however, that this one was his horse, and that he paid for it.
The mother of Emmet Dalton arrived in the city yesterday.
Yesterday morning Sheriff Callahan received the following dispatch:
COFFEYVILLE, KANSAS, Oct.13 -- See the following message just received by me, and look out.
T.H. Brooks, Agent. WHARTON, I.T. - T.H. BROOKS, Agent:
Heck Thomas and I leave here to-night trying to get balance of party. I have reliable information that these outlaws we are now after are trying to rescue Emmet. I think that I can with my outfit kill them before they reach there. Tell the committee that I am afraid of Emmet’s release, but I will try to outride these men, and if I do I will try to kill them before they reach Coffeyville. It is possible I may have to come into your town. If so I will come in alone. Please ask your people not to mistake us for outlaws until I can confer with them, for our party has the appearance of being outlaws themselves, see that we are not mistaken.
The F.J. Dodge referred to is the chief detective of Wells, Fargo express company, and such report coming from him created great excitement at Coffeyville. A gentleman from there last night said the banks at once closed their sales, and every man in the city armed himself. A telegram was sent to Parsons for 25 armed men, and one to Kansas City for ten more Winchesters. It caused a cessation of most all business, and the war-like preparations were such as to make strangers feel safer in some other locality.
Sheriff Callahan does not anticipate any disturbance. He thinks that Dalton’s friends might have come to his rescue at Coffeyville, but they will hardly undertake the dangerous task of taking him from the jail here. In the first place, he is unable to be removed; and in the next, there is such a warm reception prepared for any crowd that will tackle the county jail as to make it decidedly unhealthy.
A telegram went over the wires last night that 100 men were camped near Coffeyville, but it probably was only a wild rumor. Sheriff Callahan received a telegram this morning that 16 armed men got off the train at Deering.
Mr. Wm. Brown came in from Coffeyville this morning. He says that the outlaws have not put in an appearance there yet, but that there is no doubt but that 25 or more of them are coming this way. He thinks they mean business and will make an attempt to rescue Dalton even though it causes his death.
Bill Dalton wanted to be the administrator of the estates of Bob and Grat. He needed to raise money for it and went to see Deputy U.S. Marshal Bud Heady (he had worked as a posse man for Frank Dalton) at Watova. He wrote the following letter to his wife:
Watova, I.T. Oct. 17, 1892
My Dear Wife & Babes,
I left Independence Saturday night and came down here yesterday (Sunday). I left Emmett getting along nice and going to get well I think [illegible word]. I am going to administer on Grat and Bobs personal property amounting to about $1300. Bob had $900 in money and the people just robbed their bodies in a scandalous manner and I will have it all to hunt up. I came down here to see Bud Heady and get him to help me to get my bond for administering on the estate. I have to give Bonds for double the amt $2600. As soon as I get back to Coffeyville I will send you the money and let you know where and when to come. Mother Eva and Ben have gone home and I am Dam glad of it. I am in a hurry so answer me at Independence Kansas and write a long letter.
(from The Dalton Gang Story by Samuelson)
Obviously Bill could not raise the money as one John Callahan did the administering on the estates. Bill went on to try and recover the belongings of Bob and Grat. The way he went about things certainly did not endear him to the citizenry of Coffeyville. It might have been better all around if he had managed to be a bit more diplomatic.
Star and Kansan, Oct. 21, 1892: There has not yet been any attempt to rescue Emmet Dalton from jail or to make a raid on Coffeyville, as was indicated in the dispatch from Detective Dodge, as published last week.
Sandusky Daily Register, Oct. 27, 1892: COFFEYVILLE, Kans., Oct. 26 - Bill Dalton, brother of the exterminated outlaws, is here and says he is going to bring suit against the city of Coffeyville for $10,000 damages because the pockets of the dead bandits were rifled after they were shot down. He claims they had $900 of their own money and that he knows who got it. It is believed that Attorney Luther Perkins, of this place, has put this idea into Bill Dalton’s head and that he will take the case on a contingent fee. Emmet Dalton is on the road to rapid recovery and will soon be in a condition to be arraigned.
Indian Chieftain, Oct. 27, 1892: Coffeyville, Kan. - A new feature in the Dalton affair is promised, and a most unique one it is. Will Dalton is contemplating suing the city for damages, alleging as a cause of action that while the bodies of the dead bandits were in the charge of the city, unauthorized persons were allowed to rifle the pockets and abstract money and valuables, which have not been turned over to William or the family.
William is not very popular here as it is, and such a move as this and statements like he made yesterday when he said: “The boys were wrong in trying to rob the banks, but were right when they shot the men who were trying to kill them,” are calculated to make him less so.
Emmet is still improving and will undoubtedly recover. His cell is brightened by bouquets of beautiful flowers sent him by foolish women and he is having what many people think an easy time of it when it is considered that three widows and one poor old mother mourn their husbands and son by reason of the Dalton raid. William declares that there will be no danger of Emmet's conviction and that there will be plenty of money for his defense is certain.
Will is pretty smooth individual with cards, and it is said by knowing ones that Sunday night was a time which will be remembered by Independence sports on account of William walking away with $500 of their cash which they had wagered in a poker game.
In speaking of Ben, the elder brother Will says: “He is too chicken hearted and easy. Why he was scared half to death when he was here and kept begging me to keep still, but they can't bluff me, I say what I please.” The statement of Ben being frightened is hard to believe, for in addition to his impressing one with a belief in his coolness and grit his actions here were quiet and gentlemanly and he was well treated by everyone. All the citizens believe in his honesty and credit him being a good citizen, so there was no reason for his being frightened even if he were inclined to be a coward. After the conversation with the reporter Will entered the hotel office and stated he came “very near shooting a newspaper man just now and the next one that braced him would be shot.”
Star and Kansan, Oct. 28, 1892: The Coffeyville correspondent of the Kansas City Times evidently has a great many rents in the top of his hat. In Wednesday's issue he publishes an article telling about foolish women of Independence sending Emmett Dalton boquets; and that Will Dalton is about to commence a suit against Coffeyville; and that he had been in Independence last Sunday night and at the card table won $500 from Independence sports. Will Dalton has not commenced a suit against Coffeyville; nor did he win $500 from Independence sports last Sunday night, and if he had he could not have found any sports with that amount of money. Nor are Independence ladies sending Emmett bouquets. Indeed, but very few have seen him as Sheriff Callahan has prevented demonstrations of any kind. The few ladies that have seen the young man lying there seriously wounded as a result of his criminal folly, were among the best ladies of this city, and they only expressed their regret that he had chosen such a life. He is a young man with an attractive face; and no man or woman in the world would believe him a criminal did they know nothing of his career. But in spite of this the sheriff’s care in excluding visitors has prevented the usual [illegible word] expressions of sympathy in such cases. Emmett is treated as any prisoner in his condition should be treated; and in no other way.
Deputy Marshal Chapman had gone to Coffeyville claiming that Emmett had stolen his horse, which Emmett denied. Having recovered things belonging to Bob and Grat, Bill was now after Emmett’s horse and guns.
The St. Louis Republic, Nov. 3, 1892: MUSKOGEE, I. T., Nov. 2. - William Dalton, brother of the notorious Dalton boys, is in town, and has introduced replevin proceedings against Deputy United States Marshal Chapman of the Fort Smith court for a valuable horse. Dalton claims his brother Emmet bought the horse from Chapman when Grant and Bob Dalton were killed at Coffeyville, Kan. It is claimed that Chapman went to Coffeyville and recovered the animal as stolen property.
Star and Kansan, Nov. 18, 1892: County Attorney Charlton has been down to Coffeyville gathering evidence in the case of the State against Emmett Dalton. It is now thought that this case will be tried at the latter end of this term of court.
There was also friction developing between the newspapers of Independence and Coffeyville.
Star and Kansan, Nov. 25, 1892: Goodygoontz and Elliott, the editorial Dromios of Coffeyville, endeavor to have it appear that any person that fails to admire them is a Dalton sympathizer. They make themselves ridiculous in the eyes of the people by endeavoring to use this unfortunate affair, which brought sorrow to so many homes in their city, to advance their personal interests.
The Daily Northeastern, Nov. 29, 1892: ST. LOUIS, Mo., Nov. 29 - A report received from the Deep Fork country in the Indian Territory says William Dalton, brother of the notorious bandits, shot and seriously wounded Deputy Marshal Chapman yesterday. They quarreled over a horse Chapman sold Emmet Dalton before the Coffeyville raid.
Kansas City Times, Nov. 30, 1892: COFFEYVILLE, KAN., Nov. 29. - The reported killing of Deputy Marshal Chapman by William Dalton is not believed here, as William was here last night and went south from here this morning. It is, however, learned that he was in the territory last week for the purpose of getting the house referred to in the Muskogee dispatch and he came up from there Saturday night. Last night he presented an order signed “Emmet Dalton, his mark,” for Emmet's pistols, to Colonel Elliott, editor of the Journal of this city, but Elliott did not give them to him, as the officials desire them for evidence. He was under the influence of liquor to some extent, but did not appear nervous, as might be expected had he committed the murder reported.
The Daily Inter Ocean, Nov. 30, 1892: KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 29. - Special Telegram - John Joseph Kloehr, of Coffeyville, Kan., the man who used his Winchester so effectively and fatally upon the Dalton gang, who raided the banks of that place a few months ago, is in the city. Asked about the probable fate of Emmett Dalton, the survivor of the gang, who lies in the Montgomery County Jail with a bullet in his body, Mr. Kloehr said there was no danger of any lynching, as the excitement had about died out. The prisoner, he said, would be brought to trial as soon as he had sufficiently recovered.
Star and Kansan, Dec. 2, 1892: A great many of our country readers have sent us inquiries as to the time Emmett Dalton will be tried. He is still confined to his bed, and it is not probable that he will be able to walk or to be taken to the courtroom at this term of court. There has been reports that he would be put on trial at an adjourned term of court during the last of this month, and that senator Vest of Missouri, would be here to defend him; but the proper officials will not confirm this report; and are of the opinion that the prisoner's condition will necessitate the postponement of the trial until the March term.
The report sent out of Muskogee last Monday that Wm. Dalton had shot Deputy Marshal Chapman on the day previous in the Deep Fork country, over Emmett Dalton’s horse, is undoubtedly false. On the day referred to Dalton was in this city, (Independence, KS) and remained until Monday.
Coffeyville Journal, Dec. 2, 1892: From the Daily Telegram. The sequel to the demand of Bill Dalton on the editor of The Journal, for Emmet’s pistols came out this morning when constable H. C. Jewett of Independence came down and served a writ of replevin on the editor for the guns. The writ was issued on behalf of that exemplary candidate for heaven, Col. Emmet Dalton who is now visiting with Major Thos. Callahan, sheriff of Montgomery county, occupying the chamber of state in the county hotel and receiving the deferential and obsequious attentions of the many good people of Independence who deeply sympathize with him over the very unfortunate circumstance of his being charged with assisting in the murder of four of the citizens of Coffeyville and attempting in a joking way to abstract the money belonging to those robber institutions, the banks of this city.
In his hour of trouble he is greatly comforted by the hearty sympathy and assistance offered him by Col. Charles Ehret of the Star and Kansan, and other scalawags too numerous to mention. …In this replevin action it was necessary for even such a distinguished and noble citizen, as Col. Dalton to give bond. Although for several years having been in open rebellion against the unjust laws of the country which, owing to carelessness on the part of lawmakers, did not give him the right to levy tribute on express companies and banks and to use his “God given right of self defense” (according to his brother, General William Dalton, of California fame) in depriving any who might object, of their lives, he in this instance had to conform to the laws which he so justly despises. This was no doubt a hard pill to swallow but Dr. Mc Cullagh and Major Grant sugar coated it by going on the bond.
The guns were given up by the editor who it must be confessed acted something nearly akin to a champ in letting this outfit take any advantage of laws meant for the protection of decent people and which have numerous clauses providing for the care of such roosters, in a thickly populated settlement, not far from Leavenworth. It is surmised, by the way, that the reason parts of this gang have not long since joined the population of that busy community, is due to hesitancy on the part of the managers, who dislike the danger of corrupting the morals of their wards.
One thing however must be taken into consideration and that is, a probable desire on the part of Callahan’s distinguished guest, to pay a visit to his friends in the Territory and help his brother “Billious” search for some of the wealth which Billious and the other members of the tribe concealed at various times and places. When the time comes for him to go on this visit these revolvers will come in good play, for it may be possible some ignorant guards, (waiters, Emmet likes to consider them and it must be confessed this seems to be the right name) might object to his leaving on such short notice and these “persuaders” would help him overcome their objections.
That he will have these in his possession is certain, for the writ directs the constable to turn them over to him and when it comes to serving him the officers will of course do their whole duty.
Star and Kansan, Dec. 9, 1892: “Yours for Law and Order,” the late manager of the Humphrey forces, Col. D. Stewart Elliott, was this week forced to give up the revolvers in his possession, belonging to the Dalton gang. Constable Jewett went down with a writ of replevin, and after protesting, cursing and swearing the doughty Colonel surrendered the weapons. He at times became dramatic, and with the tragic force of a “Leab, The Forsaken,” called down curses on Independence. Although he predicted that the revolvers would kill somebody before they reached Independence, the constable brought them up, and they are now in Sheriff Callahan’s possession. The best thing Elliott can do is to cool off, and understand he had no right to those weapons, whether he got them from dead or wounded bandits.
Joe Goodygoontz, the mental as well as physical deformity that presides over the destinies of the insignificant sheet called the Coffeyville Telegram, continues to make himself ridiculous by attempting to furnish the public sensational articles in regard to the “Dalton Raid.” The best display of editorial hysterics was on the occasion when his master, Col. D. Stewart Elliott, (the author of that defunct historical work “The Last Raid of Daltons,” which can now be procured without price in most any stable or out house) was forced to surrender the revolvers taken from the dead and crippled bandits. In an ungrammatical and awkward production, Goodygoontz stamped named citizens of Independence as Dalton sympathizers and associates, and bestowed on several, including the editor of this paper, military titles. It was never our misfortune to have been near a battle or to shoot a bank robber, but we have no doubt that we are as justly entitled to be called “Colonel” as the editor of the Coffeyville Journal, in whose defense and at whose dictation Goodygoontz prepared the article referred to. Brave men, and men who have won military distinction on the field of battle, were never guilty of stealing from the dead and wounded or retaining in their possession property belonging to another, not even if it was a robber’s.
Emmet Dalton’s Winchester was found in the possession of an Independence citizen this week, who surrendered it as reluctantly as did the Coffeyville Journal editor the revolvers. Every shot was discharged, and the man who had it claims it was in that condition when it came into his possession.
Star and Kansan, Dec. 16, 1892: Emmett Dalton’s case is set for next week Monday. His physical condition has improved considerably in the past two weeks.
Kansas City Times, Dec. 21, 1892: ...Rumors are about to the effect that Emmet is willing to plead guilty to the charge of robbery, but will fight a charge of murder. These rumors, however, cannot be verified and are generally disbelieved.
Star and Kansan, Dec. 23, 1892: On last Monday morning district courts reconvened and the first case called was that of Emmett Dalton, charged with murder. He was taken from the county jail in a chair, fastened on two polls, and carried by Deputy Sheriff Morgan and Bailiff Hamilton. Tom Earnest and Harrison Fairleigh marched in front with Sheriff Callahan and Marshal Griffey behind. Out side of the jurors and lawyers there were but few in the court room at the time; but about 200 afterwards came up. When Dalton was placed in position he looked weary and worn. The judge asked him if he was ready for trial, and he said he was not. He was then asked if he was ready to enter a plea in regard to the information charging him with murder, and he said he was not. He was then asked if he had a lawyer, and he replied no. He said that he had consulted with City Attorney Fritch some, but it was more in regard to other matters. Mr. Fritch then arose and stated to the court that he had to leave the city on the morning train, and would be unable to look after the matter. When asked if he had money to employ an attorney, Dalton said he could raise some, perhaps. After these preliminaries, Judge McCue said, owing to the weak condition of his wife, he was unable to hold court this week; but instructed Dalton to be ready for trial at nine o’clock next Monday morning. It was the work of but a few minutes and Dalton was taken back to jail, and court adjourned until the time above mentioned.
This was canceled due to the worsening condition of the judge’s wife, who was terminally ill. A new date was set for Monday, January 16, 1893.
Coffeyville Journal, Dec. 23, 1892: The latest farce in the dealing out of justice is the appointment of Bill Dalton as deputy United States Marshal, his commission being issued from the office of Col. Yoe at Ft. Smith. There have, for several days, been rumors to the effect that this was the case, but not until yesterday were we able to ascertain definitely the facts in the case.
The commission is a special one, issued with a warrant for the arrest of Ed Chapman who has possession of the horse Emmet rode into Coffeyville. It would seem that there are enough good men to enforce the laws of the land without calling on the Dalton gang.
The State, Dec. 26, 1892: COFFEYVILLE, Kans., Dec. 25. - Christmas in this lively town is bristling with excitement over the appointment of William Dalton as a deputy United States marshal. It is said that Dalton has declared now that he will square himself with some of his old enemies, under the guise of law, and there are many such here.
Among others Dalton has it in for are newspaper correspondents. He is hard after one Chapman, who is charged with horse stealing. Accompanying Dalton’s commission was a warrant for the arrest of Chapman. The horse alleged to have been stolen is the one Emmett Dalton rode into Coffeyville of October 6, and the warrant was issued at the instance of the survivors of the Dalton gang.
The appointment will give Dalton a chance to kill Chapman. That he will arrest him no one believes, for Chapman is considered a brave man, and would be a dangerous person for William to tackle.
Bismarck Daily Tribune, Dec. 27, 1892: KANSAS CITY, Dec. 26. - Bill Dalton, a brother of the outlaws killed in the Coffeyville raid, holds a special commission as deputy marshal from Colonel Yoe, marshal for the Indian Territory, with headquarters at Fort Smith, Ark. This was rumored several days ago, but until Friday lacked confirmation. Accompanying the commission was a warrant for the arrest of Ed Chapman for horse stealing. Chapman is the man Bill was reported to have killed some days ago. The horse alleged to have been stolen is the one Emmet Dalton rode into Coffeyville, and the warrant was issued at the instance of survivors of the Dalton gang. The appointment will give Dalton a chance to kill Chapman. That he will arrest him no one believes, for Chapman is considered a brave man and would be a dangerous person for William to tackle. William likes to parade his pistols where he thinks there is no danger.
Kansas City Star, Dec. 28, 1892: WASHINGTON, Dec. 28. - Attorney General Miller has sent letters to the United States marshals of Kansas and the Indian Territory expressing vigorous disapproval of the appointment of Bill Dalton, brother of the notorious desperadoes, as a deputy marshal. No further action will be taken until the marshals have been heard from.
The Washington Post, Dec. 29, 1892: COFFEYVILLE, Kans., Dec. 28. - Emmett Dalton, although having recovered from the wounds, which he received at the time the citizens of this town repelled the attack upon the banks of this town by the Dalton gang and killed four members of the band, has not yet been brought to trial. He has been indicted for murder, but the county attorneys have had the case postponed until spring.
It now seems Emmett Dalton cannot be tried. The state, of course, cannot take a change of venue to another county, and Dalton will not. In this county it will be impossible to get an unprejudiced jury, and Dalton will probably escape trial in the same way, as did James Brennan, who killed Smallwood in Stevens County, and for whose trial an impartial jury could not be obtained.
FORT SMITH, Ark., Dec. 28. - Jacob Yoes, United States marshal for the western district of Arkansas, has sent a word to various news agencies that there is no truth in the report recently sent out from Kansas City that Bill Dalton, brother of the outlaws recently killed in the Coffeyville raid, has been commissioned a United States deputy marshal. The marshal says that there never was any intention of giving Bill Dalton the position in question, and there is none now. He characterizes the whole thing as pure fabrication.
Idaho Daily Statesman, Dec. 30, 1892: WASHINGTON, Dec. 29. - Attorney General Miller today received a letter from United States Marshal Walker, at Topeka, Kan., saying: “William Dalton does not now nor has ever held a commission as deputy United States marshal for this district under me. Bob and Emmett Dalton were deputies under Col. Jones when I came into office and I retained them for a few months, but removed them in the fall of 1889.”
Emmett was never a deputy, and possibly the Daltons left Walker when Bob did not get his pay from him. Jones had not been paying him either.
Bill managed to reclaim Emmett’s horse without killing Chapman.
Sentenced For Life; January 1893 – March 1893
With his trial looming ahead, Emmett Dalton was strongly advised to plead guilty to murder in the second degree. At the last moment he reluctantly agreed, even though he always had maintained he never fired a shot during the raid. Judge McCue was quick to pass a life sentence at hard labor.
Star and Kansan, Jan. 6, 1893: WASHINGTON, Jan. 4. - Attorney General Miller, being asked if he had any further information with reference to the truth of the dispatches from Coffeyville, Kan., to the effect that Bill Dalton and Bill Lipsey were acting as deputy United States marshals, said:
“I have word from the marshals of Kansas, of the Western district of Arkansas, Oklahoma, the Indian Territory and the Eastern district of Texas, and all deny that Bill Dalton or any member of the Dalton family or gang, has been appointed, or been acting deputy United States marshal for any of these districts for more than two years past, and each denies that Bill Lipsey has ever acted under him. Marshal Yoes, of the Western district Arkansas says: ’The Daltons were officers under my predecessor. I retained Grat Dalton until May 1890. Robert and Emmet acted as posse twice in 1890, assisting in arresting three noted desperadoes. They were all considered trustworthy men until the fall of 1890, when their first unlawful acts begun. None of the gang were employed by me after that time.”
Emmett Dalton has so far improved as to be able to walk around, and to use his wounded arm a little.
Star and Kansan, Jan. 20, 1893: The preliminary examination of Emmett Dalton came on before Justice Gilmore last Monday morning. It was held in the consultation room at the courthouse, and owing to the fact that the public had no knowledge that it was to take place there were but few spectators present. The prisoner walked over from the jail with the sheriff without attracting any great attention. He was neatly dressed, and had the appearance of having recovered almost entirely from the wounds received on the memorable 5th of October. There was just a perceptible limp in his walk, and the manner he used his hands gave no evidence that he had a crippled arm. As he took his seat he carelessly glanced at the Justice, lawyers and spectators, and during the whole proceeding manifested no special interest except occasionally whispering to his attorney.
County Attorney Ziegler was assisted by J. R. Charlton, and City Attorney Fritch appeared for the defense. The defense made the motion to quash the indictment on the ground that there was a case pending in another court against the defendant, charging him with the identical offence he was about to be tried for. The State held that in the case in the district court, in which Dalton had his preliminary examination in Coffeyville, he was charged with murder in the second degree for the killing of Geo. Cubine, while the present action was for murder in the first degree for the killing of George Cubine. The motion was overruled.
Thos. G. Ayers, cashier of First National Bank at Coffeyville, was the first witness called. The attorney for the defense objected to taking any testimony on the same grounds that he objected to the examination, but the objection was overruled, and the taking of testimony proceeded with, ex-County Attorney Charlton asking the questions, the defense making no cross-examination. The other witnesses put on the stand were T. H. Brooks, agent for Wells Fargo express, Kirby Long, a clerk in Barndollar’s store, and Wm. McCoy, a merchant of Coffeyville. There was nothing new nor startling in evidence, the state only producing enough to bind the prisoner over to answer in the district court for the crime charged. A number of other witnesses were subpoenaed but were not placed but were not placed on the stand. No arguments were made, and Dalton was held for trial without bail.
Mr. Thos. Ayres, of the First National Bank, at Coffeyville, was a pleasant caller last Monday. He still suffers severely from the wound received in his head during the Dalton raid. It has drawn his face out of shape, while his fast whitening hair and the deep lines to his face tell only too well the terrible suffering he has experienced.
Star and Kansan, Jan. 27, 1893: Wm. Dalton has been in town again.
That is the last mention of William in Independence. Obviously he could not arrange any great defense for Emmett, and there is no mention of him even at Emmett’s trial.
Kansas City Times, Jan. 28, 1893: DALTON GANG REORGANIZING. COFFEYVILLE, Kan. - Reliable information has reached here to the effect that William Dalton, brother of Robert and Emmett Dalton, is getting together a gang of desperadoes for the purpose of raiding the jail at Independence and rescuing Emmett. William, in company with a half a dozen others of his ilk, has been holding a rendezvous at Nowata, the same place at which the original Dalton gang was made up. The crowd is fully armed. Sheriff Callahan says he has no doubt that an attempt at rescue will be made shortly, and that he is prepared to give the gang a warm reception.
Star and Kansan, Feb. 4, 1893: As usual you must go away from home to learn the news. A Coffeyville dispatch to the Kansas City Times quotes Sheriff Callahan, as saying that he has no doubt that an attempt to rescue Emmett Dalton will shortly be made. Sheriff Callahan is anxious to know what Ananias it is that the Times allows to fill its columns with such stuff as this Coffeyville dispatch, and some others that preceded it - especially the one that represented the ladies of Independence as filling Emmett’s cell with flowers. This story like the others had no foundation whatever. Mr. Callahan wishes us to state that not only has he never said that he expected a raid to rescue Emmett Dalton, but he never thought there would be such a raid - though if such a thing should happen he would not be unprepared.
Speaking of the possibility of his rescue from jail, Emmett had said if his brothers Bob and Grat had been alive, it would certainly have been attempted.
Star and Kansan, Feb. 11, 1893: As there are about seventy five less cases on the docket of our district court than there were a year ago, the term would be short one if it weren’t for the Dalton case. And that may possibly not be tried. Most people here remember how it was with another famous criminal case that was to have been tried here eight years ago this spring. A dispensation of Providence in the shape of a mob took the case out of the courts and settled it down at the railroad trestle north of town.
The idea that it will be difficult to secure a jury to try Emmett Dalton in this county is frequently met with, but it seems to me that there is very little foundation for it. That, among the five thousand or more adult males in this county a dozen good men and true cannot be found, who will try the case according to the law and the evidence seems to us a very violent presumption. Quite possibly the regular and special panels may be exhausted before the jury is secured, but after the limit of peremptory challenges is reached, it will not take very long to fill up the box.
Star and Kansan, Feb. 24, 1893: The colored man who was in jail the other day in default of the payment of about twenty dollars fine and costs remarked to his fellow prisoners that if they had let him alone he would soon have made that $20.
“H—,” remarked Emmett Dalton, “if they had let me alone a few minutes I would have made $40,000.”
The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, March 2, 1893: KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 2. - The police of Kansas City, Kansas, are swelled up with importance because they have had Bill Dalton under close surveillance for several days. He is a brother of the Dalton boys who were shot in the raid on the Coffeyville bank Oct. 5 last. He has been at the Hotel Ryus in Kansas City since Saturday night. He came in with stock, which he sold at the stockyards. He has been under police watch at the instance of Cary Seemans, a barber who took part in the battle. When he heard that Dalton was in town he became alarmed, and, although “Bill” Dalton was always considered a reputable citizen, Seemans reported his fear that Dalton was on a mission of vengeance. Detectives were detailed to shadow Dalton. He spent the greater part of his nights in the gambling houses near the state line, and came out ahead of the game.
Lincoln Evening News, March 2, 1893: KANSAS CITY - Captain J. C. Green of Independence, Kan., was in the city. He said the trial of Emmett Dalton comes up next Tuesday, at the March term of court. Captain Green is confident that Dalton will be convicted, despite the hopes of his friends that 12 men cannot be found to act as jurors. Judge McCue, who will preside, is a fearless man, and says that a jury will be secured and that there will be no whitewashing.
Star and Kansan, March 10, 1893: It is not always the expected that happens. As we intimated several weeks ago might be possible, Emmett Dalton was not tried. He was brought into court on Tuesday and pleaded “not guilty,” and his trial was set for nine o’clock the following morning. He did not manifest the same bravado as on his preliminary but seemed a good deal cowed, and, admitting that he had no funds to employ counsel, the court assigned to F. J. Fritch the duty of defending him. It is due to Mr. Fritch to say that this appointment was not sought by him; but that as the mandate of the court, he could not disobey it, even though such service always has to be rendered gratuitously.
Wednesday afternoon strong influences were brought to bear on Emmett to induce him to plead guilty. Although strenuously insisting that he killed no body at Coffeyville, he had before expressed willingness to plead guilty to manslaughter. This the court would not have accepted; but he was given to understand that a plea of murder in the second degree would be considered. His eldest brother, Ben, a man who has always been an honorable upright citizen, was here and urged him to make that plea. He held out for some time but finally yielded.
When the case was called on Wednesday morning the courtroom was thronged by a deeply interested crowd whose every eye was fastened on the mild and pleasant featured, boyish looking young bandit who was being arraigned at the bar for the highest crime known to our laws. When he pleaded “guilty of murder in the second degree” Judge McCue proceeded at once to pass sentence, making his remarks to the culprit very brief and imposing the greatest possible penalty, imprisonment in the penitentiary during his natural life at hard labor. Emmett’s stoicism gave way beneath the unexpected weight of the penalty, and the tears commenced trickling down his cheeks while he protested that it was an unjust sentence.
Taking the prisoner back to the jail Sheriff Callahan lost no time in making preparations for getting rid of his notorious guest. A ’bus was summoned and, with Emmett handcuffed to Wm. E. Smith, who has been acting as guard at the jail for several weeks past, and Marshal Griffey, the sheriff started on the journey to Leavenworth, a journey which might have been a more dangerous one had it been longer premeditated. It was not more than thirty minutes from the time Emmett was brought into courtroom until he started over the road; and within an hour the party were moving away on the train. Justice certainly didn’t move with leaden feet in this case, and the annals of our county will be searched in vain for an example of more rapid work.
In taking leave of his brother Ben and other friends at the depot Emmett broke down completely and wept like a child. He took out his scarf pin and sent it to his aged mother, who lives in Oklahoma. His Winchester he gave to Sheriff Callahan, his pistols to Attorney Fritch, and his white cowboy hat to Billy Smith.
The journey up the road was not particularly eventful one. Crowds of curious sightseers were gathered at every station to catch a glimpse of the bandit, of whom they had heard so much, and all passed through the car, as if it marked an era in their lives to gaze upon a live Dalton. At one place Harry pointed out Billy Smith as Emmett, and our friend will no doubt be remembered as one of the most villainous looking desperadoes they ever met. To the query what Emmett was going up for Harry responded, “rape, and told them his sentence was five years.”
Beyond Holliday a crowd of youngsters entered the train, and when Emmett arose from his seat and made a move as if to start for them, they flew from the train as if shot out of a gun. The notorious Jim Legate came in there and told Emmett he wanted to see his face, and remarked, “you don’t look like a bad man.” Knowing Jim’s history we doubt whether Emmett would have wanted to return the compliment.
About seven o’clock the party reached the penitentiary, where the sheriff turned over his charge of the past five months to the warden, commending him for his good conduct.
The wound in Emmett’s arm is not yet entirely healed. He directed that his horse be sold and the proceeds applied to paying Dr. McCulley for his medical services.
Mr. Smith says that Emmett assured him with the utmost possessiveness and solemnity that the Coffeyville raid was the first expedition of the kind in which he was ever engaged [It was his first bank robbery!]; but Officer Shadley and others in the territory who are familiar with the career of the gang, are not willing to take his word for that. He also stated that U. S. Marshal Walker of this state owed his brother Bob about $1,200 for fees at the time of his death; and that it was the inability to collect their fees as deputy marshals, after doing a good deal of hard riding at their own expense, that first led his brothers into criminal practices. Finding that after they had captured a criminal and taken him to prison they were unable to collect the fees due from the marshal, they fell into the habit when they arrested a whiskey peddler, of collecting a fine, putting it in their own pockets and telling the fellow to go and sin no more - or more probably some more. We understand they afterwards tried peddling whiskey themselves, and when arrested and put under $2,000 bail, jumped their bond and made the daring outlaw gang that became the terror of the border.
When in confinement here Emmett made friends of every one he met. There was nothing in his appearance to suggest the conventional villain. Scarcely more than twenty-one years of age, he looked you square in the face with a mild and pleasant blue eye, was genial and gentlemanly in his bearing and was not given to swaggering or boasting, though his determination and bravery were evident enough.
That a young man so well endowed by nature with the elements that win friends and would have assured him success in any honorable calling should have drifted into a course of life that made him a greater menace to peace and order of society than the most callous and depraved criminal that breathes the free air of Kansas to-day, seems a thousand pities.
Although his sentence is for life, it is a well known fact that, on average, life convicts are pardoned in less than twenty years; and we suppose that when Emmett has been a prisoner long enough to insure that he won’t drift back into his former life, he may hope to be free again. While he has doubtless already suffered more since he fell in Slosson’s alley at Coffeyville than if he had died there; and more already than he will in all the weary, monotonous years he will pass inside the grim stone walls of the state penitentiary, we are not among those who deem his sentence too severe. His crime was such a one, as society must reprobate in the strongest possible manner, if not willing to dissolve in anarchy.
It is a fact known to but few that attempts were made several weeks ago to rescue Emmett Dalton with hard dollars. The turnkey at the jail was offered $250, and subsequently $500, to give the bandit a chance to walk out. Sheriff Callahan reposed the utmost confidence in Mr. Sparke and told us he didn’t believe the gang could pile up enough money to induce him to betray his trust. The offer was made by Emmett; the sheriff was in hopes to trap the man outside who was behind him, but in this he failed.
The taxpayers of the county are not at all sorry that Emmett Dalton pleaded guilty and saved therein the thousand dollars it would have cost to try him.
Judge McCue was taken quite ill last night with chill and fever, so that a physician had to be summoned. He has been suffering some time with an attack of the grip.
Star and Kansan, April 14, 1983: The fee bill allowed by the county board in the case of the state against Emmett Dalton amounted to $256.95. The expenses for the guards, etc., outside of this will bring the total cost to the county of punishing this bandit up to about $500. And the taxpayers can congratulate themselves, even at this figure, that they got off wonderfully cheap. Had Emmett chosen to stand trial instead of pleading guilty, the trial would have broken down in a day or two when Judge McCue fell sick; and would have had to be recommenced at the next term. It would have been like hunting for a needle in a haystack, trying to get jurors for the second trial; and by the time it was over the county would have found itself confronted with costs amounting probably to not less than $5,000. Emmett’s plea of guilty was certainly worth several thousand dollars to Montgomery County.
Prisoner 6472; 1893-1906
A small, grim prison cell was now home for Emmett Dalton. But he had no intention to stay there for the rest of his life. His plans were not of escape, but earning his freedom with good behavior. And his mother's support of him never failed.
John N. Reynolds, who spent 16 months at the Lansing penitentiary from October 1889, wrote a book about his experiences and the conditions at the prison, which gives some idea about the place that was to be home for Emmett for some years to come. Most likely due to his injuries, he was spared from having to work in the coal mine. He was assigned to the tailor shop.
From the prison ledger (Kansas State Historical Society)
Whether Bill Dalton became an outlaw or not, the newspapers certainly made him one. In May 1894 various papers carried a small item quoting Emmett as saying that he wishes his brother Bill would quit robbing people on the outside. That he says, if it were not for the actions of his brother, he would have a chance to reduce his sentence by good behavior, but prejudice against him increases all the time. This prompted Emmett to write a letter to the Kansas City Star.
Kansas City Star, May 30, 1894: EMMETT DALTON INDIGNANT. TO THE KANSAS CITY STAR: I noticed a short squib in one of your last week’s dailies representing me as saying “I wished my Brother Bill would quit his robbing the People on the outside and if it was not for Bill’s Monkey shines I might shorten my sentence by good conduct.” Possibly you did not intend to do any one an injury, yet the above statement is detrimental in every particular.
I should think that the News Papers would soon become ashamed of their oft-repeated unmitigated falsehoods concerning the Daltons. Bill Dalton is not a robber and is not in this country; when he has been said to have been killed at least a dozen different times. Therefore it is exceedingly silly to suppose that I should even think of such, much less so have expressed it.
In the next place, the writer of this base falsehood exhibits stupidity in inferring that Bill’s conduct could in any way affect commutation for good conduct; see the robbing that the so called Dalton gang are doing is being done in the offices of disreputable newspapers by lining pencil shivers and possibly is being done for pocket sugar. Since you have given publicity to the falsehood, I think it is no more than right that you should give equal publicity to this letter. Yours in correction, EMMETT DALTON, Lansing, Kansas, May 28.
Also Cole Dalton had stated on April 26, 1894, that Bill was not in United States. On June 9, a cowboy named Bill McKinney at Hennessey, Ok., said that he had been with Bill Dalton at a fandango given in the city of Chihuahua the previous week, and that Dalton went south to the City of Mexico. Some cowboys were known to have received letters from him from Mexico a couple of weeks earlier. However, Bill was connected to a bank robbery at Longview, Texas, on May 23, 1894, and the law went after him. He was killed, or more likely murdered, by a posse of deputies on June 8, 1894, near Ardmore, Oklahoma (see more on this story in The Dalton Gang Story by N. Samuelson).
Kansas City Star, April 26, 1895: Young Emmet Dalton every day files in and out of the cell house and the dining hall at the Kansas penitentiary at the head of a group of convicts in lock step. He steps lightly and firmly. He is the picture of health and content. It is more than likely that he eats more and better food with greater regularity, wears better clothes, takes more healthy exercise in the penitentiary than outside and is altogether better off physically than he would be in any other condition. He is said to read books and papers, and has become a model citizen in the prison. There is no reason why the sincere friends of any young outlaw should mourn over the fact of his going to the penitentiary. The disgrace was in the deed, which sent him there, not in the penitentiary itself. A man with criminal instinct is taught industry and discipline in the penal institutions and, if his term is for life, he leads as comfortable and, on the whole, as contented a life, and certainly as honorable a life, as he would outside, constantly battling with society.
The lock step: convicts walked in a single file, the right hand on the shoulder of the man in front, the left hand on the side, stepping in unison, raising the right foot high and shuffling with the left.
As the years went by, Emmett would concentrate his thoughts on regaining his freedom.
Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital, Nov. 5, 1897: An effort is being made to secure a pardon for Emmet Dalton now confined in the Kansas penitentiary. Dalton is said to be exceptionally well-behaved prisoner, but that is hardly an argument in favor of his release. The general opinion of the public is that the wild rough life he led prior to his apprehension entitles him to the comfort, rest and seclusion of the pen as long as he can be kept there.
Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital, Dec. 14, 1897: Arkansas City, Kan., Dec. 13. - Emmett Dalton, a bank robber in the penitentiary at Lansing, has written to George S. Hartley a bank president of this city asking for assistance in the matter of securing a pardon. His letter is as follows:
Lansing, Kan., Nov. 29, 1897.
George S. Hartley, Arkansas City, Kan.:
Dear Sir: - I write to you to ask a favor and one I hope you will grant. Of course, when the proper time comes, I expect to make an effort to secure a pardon or a commutation of sentence, and would like to have a letter of recommendation from you giving your idea of our trouble and the cause that led up to it. As you are as well acquainted with both sides as any one. I feel that a few lines from you would help me greatly in my case.
I would also like to get a letter from H. E. Richter, but do not know his address nor just how to strike him. Would be glad if you would inform me how and where to reach him.
Hoping you can comply with the above, I will anxiously await for your reply. Yours truly, EMMETT DALTON.
Hartley had been a federally licensed trader with the Osage Indians near Pawhuska, moving to Arkansas City in 1894, where he became a conspicuous figure in political, banking and civic life. When Bob failed to get his pay from Marshal Walker, according to Emmett: “Bob resigned and turned over his accounts to George Hartely, a wealthy Indian trader at Pawhuska. Mr. Hartely was a good friend of ours and, after repeated and persistent attempts, failed to collect anything from Walker.” Richter also had been a trader at Pawhuska, and well acquainted with Emmett and Bob.
Emmett had the nerve to approach Judge McCue as well.
Idaho Daily Statesman, Dec. 20, 1897: Kansas City, Dec. 19. - Emmett Dalton, who was captured during the attempt at wholesale bank robbery in Coffeyville, Kan., five years ago and sentenced to imprisonment for life, is about to apply for a pardon. Judge J. D. McCue of this city, who was for five years judge of the district court of Montgomery County, Kan., and who passed sentence upon Emmett Dalton, has received the following letter:
Judge J. D. McCue, Kansas City, Mo., Dear Sir: When the proper time comes I shall as a matter of course make application for executive clemency and would value a letter of recommendation from you very highly, as I think it would have some weight in my case. I shall put forth all my best endeavors to merit any favor which may be shown in the way of procuring for me another chance at something in this life and give me hope for the future. You may be somewhat surprised at my making this request at this time, but knowing the uncertainties of life I feel that through some mishap I might not be able to reach you at a later day.
As you are thoroughly familiar with the facts and circumstances connected with the case it would be a loss of time as well as an imposition on your patience to relate them to you now. I believe you can and will help me without any way injuring or compromising yourself.
Will you kindly write and forward to me such a letter or recommendation, addressed to the governor and board of pardons, as will do me for future use.
Thanking you in advance for any kindness shown in the matter, I am sincerely yours, EMMETT DALTON
When Judge McCue was asked if he would grant the request of the outlaw he replied:
“I certainly could not consistently recommend executive clemency now. What course I might take some years later I cannot now say. There is no question in my mind but Dalton should be severely punished.”
Arizona Weekly Journal, Dec. 29, 1897: Emmet Dalton, one of the Coffeyville, Kansas, bank robbers, who has been in the penitentiary for five years, has applied for a pardon.
Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital, Aug. 16, 1898: KANSAS NEWS AND COMMENT. One of the best prisoners in the Kansas pen is Emmett Dalton.
In the articles that follow, I shall skip the forever-repeated accounts of the Coffeyville raid, unless they contain details of interest.
Waterloo Daily Courier, Sept. 13, 1898: …Emmet did recover and is now serving a life sentence in the penitentiary, whence he recently sent a cane to Dr. Wells, the local physician whose practice was so much better than his diagnosis [that Emmett could not survive over two hours] that he healed the lad from the effect of three Winchester bullets and two loads of buckshot.
The Perry Advetiser, April 21, 1899: Emmet Dalton, youngest member of the famous Dalton gang, now in the Kansas penitentiary for train robbery, murder and other crimes, may receive a pardon soon. Governor Stanley is said to have taken an interest in Dalton’s case and thinks the outlaw is not as black as has been painted. Young Dalton has been in the penitentiary since 1891. He was sentenced for life.
Kansas City Star, May 12, 1899: Topeka, May 12. - Emmett Dalton, the sole survivor of the Dalton gang after the Coffeyville raid a few years ago, has made no application for a pardon, but the people of Montgomery county, apprehensive that he will, have filed numerously signed remonstrance’s. Among them is the protest of C. A. Connelly, whose father, the city marshal of the town, was killed by the bandits. Others who object are ex-governor Lyman U. Humphrey, W. E. Zeigler, the prosecuting attorney who sent Dalton to the penitentiary; Thomas G. Ayres, a lawyer of Coffeyville; O. P. Ergenbright, a lawyer of Independence; W. T. Yoe, editor of the Independence Tribune; E. P. Allen W. P. Lyon and R. D. Hollingsworth, bankers of Independence, and F. C. Frazier, mayor of Independence. In addition to individual protests is a remonstrance signed by 800 men. Dalton is an exemplary prisoner, and by his good conduct had hoped to win executive clemency in the near future, but since these remonstrances have been filed he probably will not present a petition until another administration comes in. He expected to file a petition in July.
Miami Daily News-Record (I. T.), Nov. 18, 1899: Topeka. - The mother of Emmett Dalton, the noted outlaw is working diligently to secure a pardon for her son. The prison officials say that the petition is signed by a large majority of the people of Coffeyville, where the Daltons did their killing.
The Oklahoman, Oct. 13, 1901: Topeka, Kansas, Oct. 12. - Governor Stanley today set November 15 as the date for hearing an application for a pardon for Emmett Dalton, the noted outlaw who is serving a life sentence in the Kansas penitentiary for participating in the Coffeyville bank robbery in 1893.
Much opposition was made to setting a date for the hearing by those who opposed granting the pardon, and the action may therefore be considered a victory for Dalton’s friends.
Governor Jenkins of Oklahoma has written to Governor Stanley asking that the pardon be granted.
In the same issue Governor Jenkins received a lot of flak for his support of Emmett, including: “Yet our territory, which is preparing even now to ask admission to statehood, is disgraced by its governor asking this outlaw and desperado be granted pardon. Is the governor of Oklahoma bereft of a sense of proprieties?”
Adeline Dalton, Emmett’s mother, was doing all she could to secure freedom for her son.
Checotah Enquirer, Oct. 18, 1901: O. G. Eckstein of Wichita was in Topeka, Kansas, the first of the week to review before Governor Stanley the application of Emmett Dalton for a pardon, or parole. Dalton is in the penitentiary under a life sentence for participation in the murder of four citizens of Coffeyville, Montgomery County, incident to a raid on the banks of that town October 5, 1892. …
Eckstein is employed by the convict’s mother, who lives near Kingfisher, Oklahoma, and is 73 years old. Eckstein has favorable letters from three former wardens of the penitentiary and also from citizens of Independence, the county seat of McHenry County. Judge McCue so far has refused to sign the petition. Dalton is now 28 years old.
Dalton is now at work in the Kansas Penitentiary tailor shop again. He was the clerk at a cell house for about a year, but was recently changed to his own place in the tailoring department. Dalton is said to be the best cutter around the penitentiary, and he works on the suits supplied to the prison officials. He talks much about getting a pardon. His conduct in prison has always been good.
The Oklahoman, Oct. 23, 1901: … “Sentiment in Coffeyville is all against a pardon for Emmett Dalton,” said Benefiel. “I don’t know of a solitary person in the town who would sign a petition for his release. The reason we have not got up any protests is because we do not think it is necessary. It is beyond our comprehension to believe there is the least chance of Dalton getting a pardon.”
Sunday World-Herald, Oct. 27, 1901: A 70-year-old mother is seeking to open the penitentiary door for Emmett Dalton. It is said that this time Mrs. Dalton is soon to win the pardon she has sought for the last four years.
Two years ago the mother almost succeeded in her effort, but there were four men of Coffeyville killed in that memorable battle. Seven years had not sufficed to placate the citizens of the Southern Kansas town for the outrageous murders. Coffeyville protested, and Emmett Dalton remained in the Kansas penitentiary serving out a monotonous life sentence at the tailoring trade.
Emmett is a fine looking, stalwart fellow, and a silent, painstaking workman - patient because he knows that if he works unceasingly and uncompromisingly with the scissors and cloth he may some day gain the precious boon of liberty once more.
After waiting two more years, Dalton’s mother made a new effort this fall. The parole of the Younger brothers from Stillwater gave her a new hope. If Minnesota could be lenient with the Younger’s because the wild environment of their bandit days is no more, and they are as men born again, his old mother wondered why Kansas could not remember his youth, the leadership of his older brothers and manly career in prison, and permit liberty for Emmett Dalton.
The Oklahoman, Nov. 16, 1901: Wichita, Kan., Nov. 15. - A petition signed by the business and professional men of this city was forwarded to Governor Stanley today, protesting against the granting of parole to Emmett Dalton, the noted outlaw. The petition is that it would be detrimental to the best interests of the state, that the effect would be bad on the outlaw element, and that he committed the crime in the full consciousness of his nature, and compassion for widows, orphans and relatives should not enter the case. The hearing of the application comes up tomorrow. L. F. Cochran, assistant chief clerk of the railway mail service here, will present the protest. His brother-in-law, Lewis Baldwin, was one of the young men killed in the Dalton raid. Adeline Dalton, the mother of Emmett, came up from Kingfisher yesterday, and, with attorney Otto Eckstein, continued to Topeka this morning. They will be present at the hearing of the application for the parole. A number of Coffeyville people also will be present to protest against the granting of the pardon, and some interesting testimony is expected to be presented.
Topeka, Kan., Nov. 15. - Mrs. Adeline Dalton, mother of Emmett Dalton, with her attorney, Otto Eckstein, arrived tonight to present Dalton’s application for a pardon to the governor tomorrow. She is an old woman and has worked so hard she is on the verge of collapse.
Topeka, Kan., Nov. 15. - The application to the governor for the parole of Emmett Dalton, the last of the Dalton gang of bank robbers, and who is serving a life term for murder committed during the raid in Coffeyville, Kansas, in 1892, was withdrawn today. The popular protest against the parole being so overwhelming that Dalton’s friends considered it best not to wait for an adverse decision.
The Oklahoman, Aug. 16, 1903: Guthrie, Okla., Aug. 15. - The matter of a pardon for Emmett Dalton, the only surviving member of the notorious Dalton gang which operated in the southwest in the early ’90’s, is being agitated in Kansas and Oklahoma, and all men of prominence in the two commonwealths are being petitioned by the widowed mother of the convict to sign the prayer to Governor Bailey of Kansas. … The attempt to secure the pardon was also made of Governor W. E. Stanley, but failed entirely, as Stanley refused to consider the matter.
The aged mother of Dalton lives on a farm in Kingfisher County, Oklahoma, where she took a claim when that county was opened to settlement. At this farm all of her boys, at one time, were gathered, before they became the terrors of the southwest, bank robbers, train wreckers, the murderers alike of innocent citizens and officers. There is not a better known citizen of that county, however, than the widowed mother, who is unceasing in her efforts to secure a pardon, or parole, for her “baby boy,” as she lovingly refers to the prisoner.
She is an interesting woman and relates her life story in a way that attracts the sympathy of all. Not once has she given up the hope of seeing Emmet Dalton back on the old farm, where she may again influence him for right and an honorable life. She has talked frequently with Governor T. B. Ferguson and other territorial officials regarding her pardon, or parole, whichever she can get; and if these men, together with those of equal prominence in Kansas, intercede in the mother’s behalf (as it is now believed they will) there is a belief that Governor Bailey will issue the pardon. Whatever is done will be done because the mother asks it.
Oklahoma people are much interested in the petition, to be presented to Governor Bailey. The name Dalton is a very familiar one to the old residents of the territory, for it was in Oklahoma and never far from her borders that the desperate acts of the Dalton gang were committed. There are many yet residing in the territory that were victims of the gang and of course these do not feel kindly toward the movement to secure the pardon for Emmett. There is also much opposition to the pardon from Coffeyville, and other Kansas towns, which were raided by the Dalton gang [it pays to remember here that the Daltons were accused just about all the crimes in these areas, were they guilty or not, and by this time plenty of fiction had been written about their ’desperate deeds’]. In fact, when the attempt was made, when Stanley was governor, the citizens of these towns protested in a body.
It is now related that Emmet Dalton tried to prevent his brothers from carrying out the plans to raid Coffeyville, but he was unsuccessful. He even solicited the assistance of his mother, writing to her of the intended robbery, and asking her to see the boys, but they paid no heed to her pleas and the Coffeyville affair will go down in history as one of the boldest deeds in the history of outlawry in the southwest. Emmett was captured and sentenced to the penitentiary, having now served about ten years.
The agitation for this pardon, or parole, is one of the things that Governor Bailey inherited in entering upon his gubernatorial duties. The mother of the prisoner began another campaign as soon as the campaign was ended which resulted in the election of a new governor. If Governor Bailey does not grant her prayer, then she will bide her time until another opportunity presents itself.
William Grimes, secretary of Oklahoma territory, and United States Marshal here under President Harrison, knew the Daltons personally and knowing much of their history has always been opposed to the pardon, or parole, being granted. He is also a resident of Kingfisher County, near the aged Dalton mother’s home. Grimes asserts that Emmet Dalton did not try to prevent the robbery of the Coffeyville banks by his brothers.
The present United States marshal for Oklahoma, William Fossett, was a well-known outlaw fighter at the time the Daltons were notorious and he also opposes the pardon, although it is believed that both he and Grimes will listen to and assist the mother in her work. It is a well known fact that several of her sons met death as outlaws and that another was a deputy marshal in the service of the government and was killed by outlaws in the Indian Territory.
Miami Daily News-Record (I.T.), Aug. 28, 1903: No, my son, Emmet Dalton will not pardoned in Kansas no more than Willie Sells will go scot free.
Willie Sells caused a sensation in 1886, when, at the age of 16, he brutally murdered his family. He was sentenced for life at Lansing prison and, at least for some time, worked in the tailor shop.
Kansas City Star, May 6, 1904: LEAVENWORTH, Kansas, May 6. - Emmet Dalton, one of the Dalton brothers, bandits, has applied to the board of directors of the Kansas penitentiary for a parole. Under a new law the prison directors act as a parole board. Dalton is serving a life sentence for his part in the Coffeyville bank robbery, when several citizens were killed. Almost all the members of the Dalton gang were killed and the organization was broken up. Emmet Dalton’s face has a deep scar, the result of a wound received in that fight.
Two efforts have been made to secure a pardon for Dalton. His mother worked up some sentiment in his behalf and the aid of several Populist politicians was enlisted in Governor Leedy’s term, but nothing came of it. Dalton says he wants a chance to show that he has reformed. His plans are to help his mother run the farm. Above all, Dalton promises not to take to the stage or show business. He has expressed his disapproval of the action of Cole Younger for exhibiting himself and feels that this course has injured his chances for obtaining a pardon.
Dalton’s prison record is good. He is a tailor and makes the prison officers’ clothing. He has been a time clerk in one of the cell houses.
Dallas Morning News, June 7, 1904: Leavenworth, Kan., June 6 - J. E. Marcell, whose forgeries of $100,000 wrecked the Highland bank, has been sentenced to thirty-five years in prison, five years on each of seven accounts, and he began serving time in the penitentiary today. He was placed as an apprentice under Emmett Dalton, the former outlaw and bank robber, in the tailor shop. Marcell was cashier of the wrecked bank. What he did with the thousands he stole is still a mystery.
The Oklahoman, Sept. 23, 1904: James Morgan, who is serving a fifteen years’ sentence for killing a man near Jefferson two years ago, writes home to Grant county that he is employed in the penitentiary as a tailor, his head boss being Emmett Dalton, the ex-outlaw.
The Oklahoman, Dec. 16, 1904: Topeka, Dec. 15. - The sixth unsuccessful attempt to have Emmett Dalton, one of the Coffeyville bandits, pardoned from the penitentiary was made today. The requests for a pardon for this criminal have become so common that every governor expects to have to refuse them three or four times while he is in office. The request today was made by Mrs. Dalton, the mother of the prisoner.
Emmett Dalton has been in the penitentiary twelve years, serving a life sentence for his part in the raid on the Coffeyville bank. He was only 19 years old when the raid was made. Governor Bailey listened to the plea of Mrs. Dalton, but told her that he could not take up the case at this time, as it is too near the end of his term of office. He had already heard the application for the pardon twice and had refused to grant it.
Kansas City Star, Aug. 22, 1905: “Is Emmett Dalton a criminal at heart? If he were released now, would he lead an honest and useful life?” I asked these two questions of Warden Jewett, at the state penitentiary a few days ago. The answer was positive and given readily.
“I am convinced he is not,” he said, “and I am just as positive that if he were released tomorrow he would lead a life creditable to the community in which he resided and that the criminal records of Kansas or any other state would never again have his name written upon them.”
I had just had a talk with Dalton outside the tailor shop where he is the chief cutter. It was not much of a talk because he didn’t talk much. No person who comes in personal contact with Emmett Dalton can help being impressed by his personality. And when one remembers the circumstances that brought him to the place where he is now, the inevitable conclusion is that environment and early training were more responsible for his act when he assisted in attempting to rob two banks at Coffeyville thirteen years ago, than that he is a criminal at heart.
Emmett Dalton is a man of splendid physique. He has a round boyish face and frank brown eyes. As he stood before me, tall and erect, there was a constant reminder of the sacrifice this man had made in his attempt to save a dying brother. Had it not been his for his love and hero worship of “Bob” Dalton, Emmett might have escaped.
Thirteen years Emmett Dalton, twenty years old, was the constant companion of his brother “Bob”. “Bob” was a fearless, brutal, cruel, desperate outlaw, who thought no more of taking a man’s life than would a man who wishes to do away with a rabid dog. He had been a deputy United States marshal and was dismissed because he robbed a prisoner and then allowed him to escape.
“Bob” Dalton organized a gang to rob two banks in Coffeyville. Emmett never questioned the right or the wrong of the project. “Bob” wanted him to go and he went. His reliance upon “Bob” amounted almost to idolatry. The boy knew no other master. He was born in he “bad man’s country” where his earliest recollections of man, of almost any description, was a being who “toted guns” and who drew them at the slightest provocation. He was reared in the belief that human life was the cheapest thing to be found thereabouts. [Good grief, where on earth did this reporter get all this stuff!!!]
Warden Jewitt continued talking. He said: “You want to know what I think of Emmett Dalton, what his relation is to the prison, what he is doing and whether I think there is a possibility that, if released, he would become a good citizen. The fact that other brothers of his family besides himself had committed crime leads many persons to advance the idea that the blood of the family is tainted, and whether Emmett would or not, he could not break away from the habit of the criminal. Mrs. Dalton is the mother of ten sons. It is asserted, and I guess there is no question about it, that four of these sons committed crimes. The Coffeyville raid, however, was the first and last for Emmett Dalton. …There is nothing in the tainted blood proposition, in my judgment. It is said that the mother is related to the Younger family, and this is used as an argument that the blood is corrupted. …Dalton is to very great extent, probably wholly so, the product of his environments. His contact with the frontier was at the time of life when impressions were easily made and had their effect. …”
So obviously Emmett kept professing his innocence to any crimes other than the Coffeyville raid, which of course was bad enough for him. And, how many of us would admit to wrongdoings if we didn’t have to and there was no solid evidence to prove otherwise?
The Macon Daily Telegraph, Jan. 14, 1906: One of the famous prisoners of the Kansas penitentiary is Emmet Dalton. Probably no prisoner has had more frequent and earnest efforts made for him for a pardon.
At the time of the Coffeyville raid, the last picturesque bank robbery in Kansas, two of the Daltons were killed and Emmet was badly wounded. Emmet was only 18 then, and his friends say he was drawn into the expedition without realizing just what it was. When the plan was made clear to him he attempted to back out, but his brothers and the older men in the party forced him into line.
When the attack was made he was left to guard the horses and did not fire a shot. The latest plea for his pardon is based on the necessities of his mother, who lives only four miles from Kingfisher. She is very old and is greatly in need of her son for support.
Emmett keeps getting younger and even his involvement in the raid less and less! As to his mother needing his support, she had her son Ben living near-by and daughter Leona lived with her. She managed to survive till 1925 without Emmett’s support.
The Oklahoman, May 29, 1906: An attempt is to be made among friends of Emmett Dalton in the Osage Indian Nation to have him paroled from the Kansas penitentiary, where he is serving a life sentence for his part in the robbery of the Coffeyville bank a number of years ago. Young Dalton was a resident of the Osage country in the early days.
Freedom - 1907
Emmett Dalton had become known as one of the best prisoners at Lansing penitentiary. He had gained the trust of all officers, and had many supportive friends outside. But it was trouble with the old wound in his arm that allowed him his first taste of freedom.
Emmett’s mother and friends may have influenced some minds, but I believe Emmett’s own conduct was the main reason for most of the support shown to him. For instance, Chalk Beeson, who had been a lawman in Dodge City and was a member of the Kansas Legislature, said that much of his admiration for Dalton was due to his “gameness”. Around February 1907 Emmett also became a prison trusty. As a shipping clerk he was allowed to go the train depot and town in Lansing without a guard. Meanwhile, the wound he had received in his right arm at Coffeyville had started to give him a lot trouble and pain. It was getting worse all the time and by June he was in the prison hospital.
Coffeyville Journal, June 7, 1907: County Attorney Charlton, accompanied by Mrs. Charlton, spent Sunday at Lansing visiting Chaplain and Mrs. J. D. McBrian at the state penitentiary. Mr. Charlton visited Emmett Dalton while there and the Independence Star tells the story as follows:
Mr. Charlton also saw and talked to Emmet Dalton. He was the prosecuting attorney when Emmett was sent up from this county. He was a boy then, but is now a man of 34. He greets his visitors frankly and heartily and still cherishes the belief that he will regain his liberty at no far distant day. Mr. Charlton says he always did like Emmett and seems to think that if released he would always after be a good citizen. Dalton is now in the hospital where he is suffering greatly from the wound in one arm received when he rode back to rescue his brother Grat who had fallen in the fatal alley. The doctors say the arm will have to be split and the bone scraped to prevent decay and blood poisoning.
On June 18, 1907, E. U. Mowry (Mrs. E. U. Mowry from Cherryvale, Kansas. I do not know what her connection was to Emmett) wrote a letter to Governor Hoch asking him to grant parole to Emmett: “…I feel I must write to you in regard to Emmett Dalton. His arm that was shot at Coffeyville is giving him a great deal of trouble again, and needs another operation. …Emmett looked sick and feverish, and is unable to raise his hand to his mouth. …What I am asking is that you please parole Emmett, so that he may go to some good hospital and have this given proper treatment. Imagine the torture he has endured with this arm. I know his worst enemy would not wish him to lose his arm, maybe his life. He is not one to complain and has taken his punishment like a man, but time has come, it seems to me, to be merciful…”
On June 20, 1907, Emmett wrote to Mr. T. H. Hoffman a letter, which included the following: “…Have been in Hosp. every day since I saw you but my arm is now about healed over again. It will never be cured till operated on which cannot happen here. The Gov. has promised to look into this for me and I am to have a talk with him about it next Sat. or Sunday. I am compelled to cut this short as it is rather painful to write and the Dr. has forbidden my using it…”
Governor Hoch granted Emmett four months’ parole, starting on July 6.
Kansas City Star, July 6, 1907: LEAVENWORTH, Kansas, July 6. - The face of Emmet Dalton wore a constant smile showing his happiness this morning as he was “dressing out” for departure on his four months’ provisional parole, granted by Governor Hoch yesterday. He leaves at 3 o’clock this afternoon over the Santa Fe for Topeka.
“I have no special plans,” was Dalton’s reply when asked about his parole. “I will be operated on in Topeka hospital. Mother will meet me in Topeka probably Monday. I know she will come as soon as she can get there. Nothing will be done until she arrives. She has the money for the expenses. It is my plan to spend the parole time in a quiet manner. Governor Hoch and the prison officials will have no cause to regret the confidence placed in me.”
While Dalton was talking Dr. Kanaval was dressing his wounded arm. Dalton stood the probing in a place where it had been lanced without flinching, showing the wonderful nerve of the man. The smile of happiness did not leave him while the dressing was in progress. Under provisional parole Dalton is not to leave Kansas. It is probable that he will remain in hospital most of the time.
Dalton has many friends. Messages are coming to the penitentiary offering to help him. Some persons are inviting him to visit them. The prison officials inform these friends of Dalton that he is not going on a holiday jaunt and that it is for the purpose of receiving attention to affect a permanent cure of the wound on his arm.
Coffeyville Journal, July 12, 1907: Topeka, July 6. - Governor Hoch yesterday evening granted a parole of four months to Emmett Dalton, the ex-bandit now in the Kansas penitentiary. Dalton is suffering from an old wound in his shoulder and it will be necessary for him to undergo an operation to save his arm. He has been under treatment at the prison hospital for some time and Wednesday the parole board issued a recommendation that a parole be issued to him so that he could go to Kansas City in charge of his mother to have surgical treatment. Governor Hoch did not reach Topeka until afternoon. Warden W. Haskell was here with the recommendation and Governor Hoch granted the parole at once.
In the fifteen years that have elapsed since the Dalton raid Coffeyville has grown from a village of two thousand people to a city of nearly eighteen thousand. This of course means that the greater part of this population knows of the Dalton raid only by hearsay and that they have but little interest in the matter aside from the usual sentiment in favor of the enforcement of the law and the punishment of the guilty. The whole town therefore can probably not be stirred up over the matter as it used to be whenever the application came up for hearing before the governor. Only the old timers are left to fight the case and there is no disguising the fact that with some of them time has healed over their bitterness toward Emmett Dalton.
The famous convict has during the past year written many letters here, addressing them to prominent citizens and appealing in a straightforward way to them to allow him “Just one more chance for life.” He recites his side of the case in a detailed manner, calling attention to his youthfulness at the time of the raid, saying he was forced into it against his will and that he and Bob could have escaped without a scratch if they had wished to [They just might have, had they carried on along the Eighth street up to Maple and then to the horses, while the others ran up the alley taking the fire from the citizens. (See diagram) ]. Then he says that if he is ever going to be allowed a chance in life it must come before age depreciates his ability to make a living, and that his main desire now is to be allowed to comfort his mother’s few declining years. There are few people who have been thus appealed to but what have been affected more or less by his statements. But there are those here who will fight any move to give Dalton his freedom. One of them, as stated on Saturday, is Thomas G. Ayres, now an attorney, but at the time of the raid one of the bankers. He carries the scar of a bullet wound in his jaw from the raid, and has never ceased to feel the injury.
One of the bankers stated Saturday afternoon that while the people are largely indifferent toward the matter on account of most of them not being here at the time, it is very probable that the banks of the city will take active steps to oppose Dalton’s parole if he renews his application at the end of four months. “We cannot do otherwise,” said the banker, “and we would not be true to ourselves nor to our citizenship if we failed to enter an emphatic protest at this move for his freedom. Fifteen years is not long enough for the satisfaction of justice from any standpoint in the case of any man who has helped kill innocent citizens and rob two banks of thousands of dollars. What protection have we if for fifteen years in prison a man can commit such crimes.”
A Topeka dispatch Saturday night said:
Topeka, July 6. - “Well, the very first man I meet when I arrive in Topeka is a policeman,” said Emmett Dalton, the ex-bandit, when he got off the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe train here tonight. The policeman was Thomas O’Leary, ex-guard at the Kansas penitentiary, and now a detective for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad company. O’Leary and Dalton exchanged greetings and the detective asked about his arm and wished the ex-bandit well.
Emmett Dalton was released from the Kansas penitentiary this morning on a parole of four months to have an operation performed on his right arm. He came to Topeka today and tomorrow will talk with Dr. J. C. McClintock and Dr. W.S. Bowen about the operation for necrosis. It is probable that Dalton will go to the Christ hospital, where the operation will be performed, and there he will stay. The ex-bandit was in a cheerful mood when he arrived.
“Emmett Dalton, Kingfisher, O. T.,” is the way he registered at the Copeland hotel. From Holliday he rode with an old friend,
The Copeland Hotel, Topeka, in 1907
Harry E. Richter, ex-lieutenant governor. Richter once ran a store in Pawhuska, O. T., and the Dalton boys made it their headquarters when Bob and Gratton Dalton were deputy United States marshals and before they became “bad men.” On the train Richter and Dalton had a pleasant time telling stories of the early days when Dalton was a little boy. Dalton went to the Copeland hotel where he registered, asked for a “common, plain room,” and was assigned to room 233, which will cost him $2.50 a day. He paid in advance until after breakfast Monday morning when he expects to go to Christ hospital for the operation. Mrs. Dalton will be with her son when the operation is performed.
Saturday night’s Leavenworth Post says:
“Dalton appeared in happy spirits when he left Lansing this afternoon. Dalton has been a trusty at the penitentiary for several months and has acquitted himself admirably. Making him a trusty was the first step toward a pardon. It is almost certain that Dalton will be pardoned by Governor Hoch before he has finished his parole.”
W. H. Haskell, warden of the penitentiary, Saturday afternoon said:
“I hope the newspapers won’t criticize Governor Hoch for granting this parole. Governor Hoch acted on my recommendation and I am willing to take full responsibility for the act. The fact that we are sending him away to be operated upon is no reflection upon our prison physician Dr. Kanavel, but is simply because we do not have the proper antiseptic conditions here for such an operation. We might not be able to take the right kind of care of him. Dalton is not in bad shape physically, but it was necessary to have this operation performed. As far as the parole is concerned, there is not a slightest danger about Dalton’s keeping his part of the bargain. He will be back here on November 1.
“Give Dalton a show while he is in Topeka. He is a man whom I believe you can trust and we are trusting him in the parole.”
Gov. Hoch’s side of it.
“I paroled him temporarily for the sake of humanity,” said Governor Hoch Saturday. “Dalton is a strapping young fellow and it would be almost criminal to allow him to lose his arm for want of proper medical attention. I have released him for four months at the solicitation of the prison officials who know him best. They have no fear of the result.”
Sunday’s Topeka Capital said: Dalton’s arm is almost useless. He can use the fingers and a part of the hand but must move his arm with his left hand. It was quite a task for him to write his name on the hotel register because of this disability. During his stay in Topeka he will have the wound opened and the shoulder blade scraped. Physicians say that is the only thing that will save the arm.
“I don’t think it will be a severe operation,” said Dalton, “at least no more severe than the pains I have endured from it for the last eighteen months. It has bothered me night and day and something must be done at once.”
In spite of his fifteen years confinement, Dalton is healthy looking and appears very much as any man of his age would. He is perhaps six feet tall and rather slender. He lacks the prison pallor, probably because of the fact that he has been allowed considerable liberty recently. The penitentiary officials have all confidence in him and he has been permitted to go outside the prison walls on many errands.
Last night he wore a black checked suit, a soft striped shirt and a black slouch hat. He had nothing of the prison trademark about him. But there is something in his eyes and the manner in which he pulls the brim of his hat down over them that marks him an unusual man. He speaks in a very low tone, so low that it is often difficult to make out his words.
“Boys, I mustn’t talk. I’m only on parole, you know.”
These were the first words spoken by Emmett Dalton, the famous “death” prisoner, when he stepped off the Santa Fe train in Topeka last night. He was accompanied by former Lieutenant Governor Harry Richter, who happened to meet him at Holliday. Otherwise Dalton was alone. There were no guards. He is a free man temporarily.
Harry Richter knew all the Dalton boys when he was a trader in the Indian Territory. Bob and Grat were deputy United States Marshals and made their headquarters at Richter’s store.
“That was some time before the Coffeyville trouble,” he said last night. “Emmett used to come to the store with his brothers frequently. He was a fine boy and I believe he would never gotten into trouble if it had not been for his older brothers. He was a boy and they were grown men. He admired them and was an easy victim when they planned the raid on the Coffeyville banks. I hope the people of Topeka will treat him right for he has the making of a man in him..”
“Now, boys, don’t try to make him talk’” said Richter. “He is out on parole and knows he ought not to talk. His wound hurts him, so don’t bother him.”
Topeka State Journal, July 10, 1907: “Good-bye, boys, if I don’t see you again in this world, I will in the next,” were the last words of ex-Bandit Emmett Dalton as he succumbed to the ether administered previous to an operation performed at Bethesda by Dr. John Outland, who is attempting to save the right arm which was shattered by a Winchester ball during the raid on the Coffeyville bank in October 1892. …
It was the intention of Dalton to have the operation performed in Kansas City but he changed his mind and came to Topeka Saturday and Monday entered Bethesda hospital to prepare for the operation, which took place this morning. He did not dread it as most patients would but was anxious to get it over with.
He walked into the operating room at a quarter of 9 this morning and after joking with the attending physicians climbed up on the operating table and prepared for the ether. There was not a bobble and a few moments latter he drifted into the unknown world and for an hour and ten minutes Dr. Outland alternately chiseled, scraped and cut in his attempt to remove the diseased portion of the bone.
There is but little doubt but the operation will prove a success is the opinion of Dr. Outland and Doctors Ernest and Powell who assisted in the operation, though it is barely possible that another slight operation may be necessary later on to remove small portions of diseased bone that have been overlooked.
Two incisions were made in the arm between the elbow and shoulder and several pus cavities and particles of necroses bone removed. Neither of the joints at the elbow or shoulder were affected and it is more than likely that Dalton will not only recover the use of his arm, but his fingers as well and in time the arm will be as strong as before it was injured.
The mark of the rifle bullet could be plainly seen and the wonder is that the present trouble has been averted as long as it has. About half of the bone was chiseled away for a space of three inches and this cavity will have to be filled with a new growth of bone before the arm will be of use.
Dalton had dreaded the operation more from the fact that the surgeons insisted on administering an anesthetic than from the operation itself, but submitted when told that the operation would be a long one and an anesthetic necessary. He was cool and collected and asked Dr. Outland to keep him under the influence of the anesthetic as long as necessary to make a good job of the operation. “Don’t hurry the affair,” he said, “for I can wait and want a thorough job made of it.”
It was expected that Mrs. Dalton of Kingfisher, Okla., mother of the patient, would arrive in time for the operation but she was delayed and Dalton took a philosophical view of the matter and insisted on the operation taking place this morning as it had been arranged. He readily recovered from the effects of the anesthetic, though, as he expressed it, his tongue was thick for a while, though he was not sick, as is often the case.
The Duluth News Tribune, July 15, 1907: …Dalton’s mother, Mrs. Lucy Dalton of Kingfisher, Okla., has been with him practically all the time since he came to Topeka, and until he entered the hospital the pair put up at one of the leading hotels. Few people recognized the former desperado in the handsome, quiet, well-mannered Emmet Dalton of today.
During his long confinement at Lansing Dalton has read much and he is exceedingly well posted regarding current affairs. He talks well, carries himself modestly and with a native dignity that goes far toward disconcerting the curious loungers about the hotel lobbies.
Coffeyville Journal, July 19, 1907: Topeka, July 15. - Mrs. Angeline Dalton, mother of Emmett Dalton, arrived in this city Saturday morning from Kingfisher, Ok., and will remain at the bedside of her son, who is recovering from an operation at Bethesda hospital, until he is able to be up and about unless called home to the bedside of a grandson, who makes his home with her and has been ailing for some time.
Mrs. Dalton is a motherly woman, well past sixty tears of age, well educated and refined and a soft, low voice that bespeaks the sorrows of her life. It has been through her devotion to her son that he secured the parole, which has given him a chance to save his injured arm and may perhaps result in a permanent parole in time.
“Oh, it seems so good,” she said, “to be with my boy once more and that outside of the prison walls and oh, how I long to take him home with me, for he has always been my baby though he was not my youngest child. I remember him best when a boy before all this trouble came to us and the time he has been away seems a dark blank.
“When I saw him last at Lansing and I looked back at him as I was leaving the prison I thought to myself that perhaps next time I would see him that it would be somewhere else, and it seems that an always kind providence has willed that my desire should come true. It seems to me that he has been sufficiently punished, but I suppose that all mothers would feel that way toward their boy.
“He has always been the pride of my heart and it was he who always looked after me when he was at home. Others might for a moment forget their mother, but it was never so with Emmett, for when I was left alone he would come and stay with me for fear that I should be lonesome. Every one has been kind to us and when the news reached our town that Emmett had been released for this operation it seemed that every one knew it immediately and rushed over to tell me the good news.
“I want to stay here with my boy for this is the first time I have seen him in nearly fifteen years when I could feel we were both free to do and say what we pleased, and it is such a good feeling. I may be called home at any time on account of illness there, but I will come back to my boy,” she continued as she stroked his forehead and smoothed his hair affectionately.
“I never will be able to express my thanks to the friends who have been so good to me and borne with me so kindly, for I feel that I must sometimes bear them. I have made no plans for the future, but I will stay with Emmett until his arm is well and then perhaps something will happen that will make me the happiest woman in the world.”
Emmett Dalton is able to sit propped up in his bed and his arm is not paining him as intensely as it has since the operation and he is hopeful that he will be permitted to walk about the hospital by the last of the week. As he sat by the side of the bed listening to his mother talk he would deprecate her remarks as to his kindness to her and now and then a tear would find its way to the corner of his eye as she told of his childish pranks.
When asked about the operation Mr. Dalton said: “I feel cut up some but mighty good when I think that I am through with the operation and that my arm is in as good shape as the doctors seem to think that it is, I am convinced that had the operation been postponed a few months longer that I would have lost my arm and now I am hopeful that I will be about again within a few weeks and that I will eventually regain the use of my arm.
“I am in favor of this later day surgery, for after I had taken a few breaths of the ether it was all off with me and I seemed leave the earth for a journey through space, and as I remember the trip it was a long one and through a country filled with strange sights. They say that I said some things that I would not repeat in the presence of my nurse, but I was having troubles that would have made a deacon swear about that time.
“That is all so new to me that I am not able to accommodate myself to the surroundings and I am not used to women nurses and there must be a hundred of them about this institution, and they are all bosses as far as I am concerned. They brought me in my dinner today and told me to eat it. I told the little girl that I was not hungry, but she said that I had better eat something, but I didn’t feel hungry and told her so. She came back a few minutes later and told me to eat my dinner as it was necessary for me to do so, and it wasn’t so much what she said as the way she said it that convinced me that I was in the wrong, and I ate as she directed.
“I wouldn’t be surprised at any moment for one of the nurses to come in and tell me jump out of that window, and while I don’t have any idea how far it is to the ground I would obey if it broke my back. I took a look at the incisions the doctors made in my arm, this morning and I am not surprised at the pain I have suffered since I came from under the influence of the anesthetic.
“I find that I can use my fingers and thumb a little and I think in time I will be alright again so I can take up my work where I left off when I first went to the hospital. I have had a number of letters from friends from various parts of the state and Chalk Beeson of Dodge City, wrote that he would come down to Topeka within next few days to visit me.
“When a fellow is in the shape that I am it does him lots of good to receive letters from such men as Beeson, and one realizes that things might be worse even though they seem as bad as they can. I knew mother would be here today and every time I heard the doorbell ring I knew it was she.
“She has been so faithful to me in my troubles, and I want to see her now that I am all fixed up and tell her how nicely I have been treated by every one for it will make her feel so good. I was out in the country Monday with Dr. Outland in his auto-mobile, out among the fields of ripening grain and growing vegetables and through the deep woods and the feeling of freedom which came over me was such as I never remember of experiencing. It brought back memories of my boyhood days when I attended a country school and a longing for the freedom, which was then mine. But who knows but what there is something yet in life for me, and at any rate there is something comforting in hope and I guess that we all hope even though we sometimes feel that it is in vain.”
If the nurses made an impression on Emmett, it seems he made an impression at least on one of them. Florence Peterson dressed his arm daily after the operation while he sat on an office chair. Miss Peterson later got and kept this chair. It is still in the family (The Dalton Chair).
Emmett later gave this photograph to J. E. House of the Daily Capital who had covered his surgery and convalescence, and also had testified favorably in his petition for a commutation of sentence.
Coffeyville Journal, Aug. 16, 1907: The following article in opposition to the pardoning of Emmett Dalton is taken from the Burlington Republican:
It seems to be the general impression that Governor Hoch will give Emmett Dalton a complete pardon when his parole expires, but the Republican trusts that such an impression is unfounded and that Governor Hoch will not be guilty of granting such an uncalled for pardon. …He (Emmett) knew that in all probability they would shoot to kill some of the innocent citizens of that town. He was old enough to know the awfulness of their crime and should be made to pay the penalty. He is not a martyr even though he did try to rescue his wounded brother. He was not enough interested in saving his brother to drop the bag containing the $20,000 he and his brother had stolen from the bank
One of the victims on that raid was Lucius Baldwin of this place, a son of Mrs. Baldwin Loy. Lucius was 23 years old at the time, was a fine young man in every way and the principal support of his widowed mother.
Ever since his incarceration Dalton’s friends (and every desperado has friends) have been at work to obtain his release and they have worked on every possible influence. It is worthy of comment that Dalton went from the penitentiary to the Copeland hotel immediately upon his release on parole indicating that possibly he was more interested in seeing the politicians than in having his arm treated.
It is also worthy of comment that Dalton was to go to hospital the following Monday and had to stay somewhere until then!
Kansas City Star, Aug. 19, 1907: COFFEYVILLE, Kansas, Aug. 19. - The bankers of this city will formally oppose the granting of any executive clemency to Emmett Dalton, …There are four banks here now, and all of them have joined in a letter that will be sent to every banking institution in Kansas and Kansas City asking other bankers to protest to Governor Hoch against any favors being shown to young Dalton.
…The letter being sent out is bitter in its denunciation of Dalton and the crimes which were committed by the band to which he belonged. It is pointed out that in the raid which resulted in the death of all the Daltons except Emmett, four men of Coffeyville were killed and four were wounded. A mawkish sentiment is blamed for the efforts being made to secure the pardon of the ex-bandit.
The letter is signed by the Condon National bank, the First National bank, the State bank and the People’s State Saving bank.
The Washington Post, Aug. 25, 1907: Topeka, Kans., Aug. 24. - Emmet Dalton, a once notorious bandit, who is out of the state penitentiary on parole, is to be night clerk in a Topeka hotel. Dalton was released from the Lansing prison on July 6 to undergo a surgical operation. His parole will end on November 6.
Dalton’s conduct has been exemplary and the parole may be extended to a pardon.
Kansas City Star, Aug. 27, 1907: Governor Hoch says that those persons who are remonstrating against a pardon for Emmet Dalton are illogical. Worse than that, it is feared that they have no conservatories in their souls.
Coffeyville Journal, Aug. 30, 1907: Dalton comment.
Kansas City Times: Coffeyville opposes a pardon for Emmett Dalton; yet who ever heard of Coffeyville before that Dalton raid?
Times: Friends of Emmett Dalton will regret to note that he has become a night clerk of a Topeka hotel. Inasmuch as he is barely out of prison on parole, he ought to keep as far away from temptation as possible.
Coffeyville Journal, Sept. 13, 1907: “I don’t think any further action will be taken by the local banks against the Dalton pardon,” said C. T. Carpenter of the Condon National bank. “The governor has already shown his one-sided prejudice by the way he answered our letter. He has also shown the value he holds the opinions of others.” …
“It is an outrage,” said Mr. King of the State bank. “The bankers have done all they can to oppose it. Public morals have become so lenient now that almost any criminal can escape after a few years of imprisonment. Robberies of this kind are liable to occur at any time and the banks should be protected from such men as he.” …
Belleville News-Democrat, Sept. 18, 1907: … All the bankers of Kansas were asked to protest against Dalton’s pardon. Only five have written protests, while a hundred letters ask for his pardon.
Coffeyville Journal, Oct. 11, 1907: Emmett Dalton’s arm is somewhat better and has improved considerably since he gave up his work as night clerk at the Copeland hotel, but it is still far from well. He has not recovered its use and it is still likely that a second operation will be necessary. His parole does not expire until November 6, so that there is still over a month for the arm to get entirely well.
Dalton regretted very much that he was compelled to give up his work at the Copeland as he enjoyed the experience of being able to do something for himself. James Chappelle, proprietor of the hotel, also was loath to let him go.
“I have never, said Mr. Chappelle, had a man in my employ who showed such a capacity to master details. He was careful and absolutely trustworthy. He was placed in entire charge of the hotel at night and he met every possible requirement. I am so well satisfied with his work that I would jump at a chance of re-employing him if I were given the opportunity. I am satisfied that Dalton is a man to be trusted and will make a first-class citizen.”
Los Angeles Herald, Oct. 12, 1907: KANSAS LAWRENCE - Emmett Dalton, the paroled convict, spent a day here and witnessed the first football game he had ever seen. He said it was just fifteen years ago that the famous raid was made on Coffeyville. “I will see a battle, but of a different kind,” he said before leaving for the game, “than I saw fifteen years ago.” He was delighted with the game. He came from Topeka on a motorcar.
Most likely he was taken there by Dr. Outland who was a prominent sports figure in his own right—two time College football All America, offense and defense, and member of the College Football Hall of Fame—founder of the Kansas Relays—football coach at Kansas University and two other schools—benefactor of the Outland Trophy given to the year's best lineman in college football.
Kansas City Star, Oct. 31, 1907: It is doubtful if public sentiment in Kansas demands the return of Emmet Dalton to the state penitentiary. The ex-bandit has been at liberty for five months and his conduct has been exemplary and decent to a degree that he has enlisted the sympathy of the people. To compel him to return to the degradation of prison life after a realization of such an extended period of freedom without an additional charge of misconduct on his part would have the appearance of unwarranted persecution. It would have been more merciful to have denied him a parole at all. Reformation of the law-breakers is really more to be desired than their punishment, and it would certainly contribute nothing to the young man’s moral uplift to subject him again to prison stripes and the associations of prison life. Isn’t it possible that Kansas could extend leniency to Dalton, the convict, without in any way offering an extenuation for the crime of Dalton the bandit?
In his book Beyond the Law Emmett wrote: “The Governor’s parole clerk, in making out my papers, had made a mistake and dated the expiration November 1, instead of 6, which would have been the four months I asked for. The Governor’s son Homer, who was his secretary, ’phoned me that my parole expired the next day and the Governor was out of town and not expected back for three or four days, and there was nothing to do but go back to prison.”
The Oklahoman, Nov. 1, 1907: TOPEKA, Kan. Oct. 31. - Emmett Dalton, the noted ex-bandit who has for four months been out on parole, having his injured arm treated in a Topeka hospital, went back to Lansing this afternoon, unaccompanied. His parole expires November 1 and Governor Hoch, who it was thought would pardon Dalton, has not returned from Washington. It is generally believed that Dalton will be pardoned as soon as Governor Hoch returns.
Kansas City Star, Nov. 1, 1907: Emmett Dalton reported to the officials of the Kansas penitentiary early this morning. His parole does not expire until to-night, and in the absence of W. H. Haskell, the warden, it was suggested to Dalton that he defer “dressing in” until the warden’s return. In the meantime Dalton’s friends have hope that Governor Hoch will be heard from and a pardon granted.
“There is nothing new for me to say about prison life,” said Dalton this morning. “I’ll take whatever is in store for me without complaint. Everybody has treated me kindly. The treatment accorded me while at liberty convinces me that the public is ready to help any man if he shows he deserves it.”
If the governor is not heard from Dalton will take up his duties as a prison trusty tomorrow. He will be a runner, a place he had four months previous to his parole. Dalton’s arm is in such condition that he cannot work at cutting or tailoring, a trade he learned while in prison.
Dalton has the good will of the prison officials. All would be glad to see him pardoned.
According to Emmett: “About four o’clock in the afternoon I received two ’phone calls; one from Kansas City Star, saying that they had located the Governor in Council Bluffs, Iowa, another from the Governor’s son that he had also located the Governor and that he had continued my parole until the sixth and for me return to Topeka at once - which I was more than glad to do.
“On the morning of November 2, Governor Hoch returned and that afternoon about three-thirty ’phoned me to come to his office.”
Kansas City Star, Nov. 3, 1907: TOPEKA, Nov. 2. - Emmett Dalton, the fifteen years a prisoner in the Kansas state penitentiary, is free. Governor Hoch commuted his sentence to-night to a term expiring at the moment his name was affixed to the papers. In granting the commutation, Governor Hoch said that it had been his intention to grant Dalton an unconditional pardon, but there had been no publication of the case, as required by law, and therefore he could not carry out that desire. “However,” continued the governor, “this commutation gives Emmett his absolute freedom.”
Governor Hoch returned from Council Bluffs, Ia., to-day at noon. It will be remembered that Dalton of his own accord returned to the penitentiary yesterday prepared to return to prison life. He had supposed, until he examined the papers in the governor’s office last Thursday, that his parole did not end until November 6. The governor was under the same impression, so at 5:30 o’clock last night the governor extended the parole until November 6. Dalton came back to Topeka, arriving this morning.
The governor’s action in extending the parole was taken by many to mean that the pardon would be granted at the end of the parole. Few there were who thought it was to come this afternoon. Late this afternoon, however, Governor Hoch sent for Dalton. The young man went directly to the executive office. He was accompanied by his brother, L. B. Dalton, a farmer near Kingfisher, Ok. In the room were Mrs. Hoch, wife of the governor, Mr. and Mrs. Homer Hoch and two newspapermen.
Emmett was perceptibly nervous. Everything in his surroundings indicated that the constant wish of fifteen years was about to be realized and yet, as he said afterward, he felt that he did not dare to hope too strong for fear of some disappointment in the end. The governor came out of his private office and with outstretched hand advanced to meet Emmett. He was introduced to the older brother. Then he turned again to Emmett.
“Emmett,” he said, “I have given a great deal of thought to your case. I have watched you and have talked to a great many people regarding your conduct since you have been at liberty. You have qualities of a good man. But you realize, of course, the position I am in. I have to stand between mercy on one hand and good government on the other.”
The governor’s voice trembled and he could not conceal his emotion.
“But,” continued the governor, “I do not believe that good government will suffer because of the fact that you are a free man.”
Until that time Dalton’s face had not betrayed that he had heard the governor’s words. But he seemed to realize what was coming and what it meant to him. His face twitched and he was restless, but he looked his benefactor square in the eye. His brother buried his face in his hands. The two women present moved closer together and covered their faces.
“I believe Emmett,” continued the governor, “that you will make a good citizen and with this belief -” here the governor took from his secretary the parchment bearing the state’s seal which means freedom for Dalton and started to hand it to him. At that moment the lights went out and left the room in darkness, but without hesitation the governor continued: “with this belief I extend you this pardon.”
Dalton rose from his chair but said nothing. The governor was the first to break the silence.
“It gives me a great deal of pleasure to do this,” continued the governor, “because I feel that the confidence that I am now placing in you is not misplaced.”
A twilight sun cast just enough light in the room to allow those there to distinguish the two figures standing in the gloom. From the place where were seated Mrs. Hoch and her daughter came suppressed sobs.
“Governor,” said Dalton, his voice was trembling now. If there were tears in his eyes, they could not be seen. “The trouble is that there is no way for me properly to express my gratitude. But I certainly thank you with all my heart and soul. I wish to say this, however, that you nor any one else will ever have reason to regret what you have done to-day. I shall do everything in my power to live a useful life and be a good citizen.”
The governor stood for a moment without speaking. Dalton did the same. Finally Emmett said;“ Governor, I believe I shall ask to be excused. I want to go to the telegraph office and tell mother.”
Dalton will remain in Topeka for a few days until Dr. Outland feels that his arm has sufficiently healed to allow him to travel. He will then go to Kingfisher, the home of his mother and brother.
To a reporter for The Star Dalton said: “I am deeply grateful to Governor Hoch for what he has done for me and to the friends who have stood by me through my trouble. I recognize the fact that all the assistance I have received has been given under the implied agreement that I will make good in the future and I shall certainly try to carry out my part of the agreement.”
Leavenworth, Kansas, Nov. 2. - “Tell them all I am free,” was a message on the long distance telephone by Emmett Dalton to the Kansas penitentiary conveying the first information to the officers and prisoners that he was pardoned. It was received by a runner who answers the telephone at night and his congratulations to Dalton were sent in the form of a cheer that was heard in the cell houses. None of the officials was in the main offices and Dalton’s former comrade was instructed to send word to certain officials at their homes and convey the news around.
Governor Hoch, after granting commutation, which is equivalent to a pardon, gave out this statement:
I have given a great deal of thought and much patient study to the case of Emmett Dalton and I do not believe any unprejudiced person can study the case as I have studied it without reaching the conclusion that this young man has in him the elements of good citizenship. Every officer of the institution in which he has been confined for the last fifteen years with whom I have conversed share this opinion and expressed it in the strongest possible language. He has made a model prisoner and has given every evidence that he has done so from considerations of character and manhood and not for policy’s sake. He has been a trusty and has never betrayed the trust. …
Believing that Emmett Dalton’s youthfulness is an extenuation of his great offense, and believing that he has thoroughly repented in every possible way and believing that a government without mercy is not strong, but weak, and believing that Emmett Dalton will make a good citizen and live a good, clean, useful life, I have concluded to give him the opportunity.
New Beginnings - 1907-1908
Emmett Dalton soon proved himself a useful citizen. He went into business with his cousin in Tulsa, opened a tailor shop, and joined the Tulsa "boosters" on their long trip to promote the town. In Washington he went to the White House and, with the other businessmen from Tulsa, met President Roosevelt.
After receiving his pardon, Emmett talked to the reporters giving his first version of the Coffeyville raid and the events leading up to it. How much his telling was colored by what had been said by his mother, or friends, is hard to say. Also, he must have been aware of all the exaggerated stories about the Dalton gang exploits and naturally wanted to show himself in the best possible light, not knowing how the public would take to him. Everything he said seems very carefully calculated. Another thing to bear in mind is that the memory of such events often disagrees with what actually happened. For instance, Emmett always said he and Bob reached their horses before the others got into the alley. Other accounts have the bandits enter the alley about the same time.
Kansas City Star, Nov. 3, 1907: TOPEKA, Nov. 2. - Not long ago Emmett Dalton was asked if he would say something of himself and tell the details of the Coffeyville raid. There were five members of the gang that participated in that raid but Emmett Dalton was the only one who escaped with his life. For fifteen years, during his imprisonment at Lansing, Dalton has steadfastly refused to discuss, as he expresses it, “the great mistake of his life.” When asked about it by newspaper men and others he always has been courteous, but in some way no amount of insistence could get him to tell of his part of the robbery.
“I have always refused to talk,” said Dalton, “not because I did not care to have my version known, but because I feared that if I had given out interviews the public might get the impression that I was fishing for sympathy. That I have never done. I am as susceptible to sympathy as any man. Every person, man or woman, has it within him to be glad when fellow man expresses compassion for him. But I made up my mind fully fifteen years ago that whatever I did in looking for a pardon no one would be able to say that I had asked it simply on the grounds that he was sorry for me.
“When I entered the penitentiary I laid out a course of action. I made up my mind to strictly adhere to these lines of action; to conform absolutely to the prison’s rules, to work as hard as my health and energy would let me and to keep my mouth shut so far as complaining was concerned. I strove for the good will of every warden and employee under whom I served and determined that it should never be said that I whined or sulked. That I kept to these rules is evidenced by the fact that the present warden and every ex-warden not only signed my petition for pardon, but all made it a point to see the governor in my behalf.”
Dalton sat for a moment as if contemplating what he should say next. His fifteen years confinement had apparently left no traces upon his face.
“I was born in Cass County, near Belton, Mo.,” he finally said. “I had three older brothers who went to the Indian Territory and finally my mother decided that she and I would follow. I was then 15 years old. All of my brothers were deputy United States marshals. Everybody knows, I presume, what the social conditions of Oklahoma and Indian Territory were nearly twenty years ago. There was a semblance of law, but as a matter of fact everything was as near wide open as anything could be. Shooting was common. The killing of a man was almost a daily occurrence. My oldest brother was shot in the performance of his duty by desperadoes. ’Bad man’ talk was as common then as ’law enforcement’ arguments are in Kansas and Missouri now. As I said before I, a boy of 16 was thrown into this atmosphere.
“Everywhere I went I drank in this talk. Soon I seemed to become part of it all and I became a willing listener to the conversations that at first shocked me. However, I did not become a ’bad man’ in any sense of the word. Before the affair at Coffeyville I had never broken the law in the slightest degree, but my environment had had its influence as the Coffeyville mistake showed.
“One day when I was about 18 years old, I was with my brother Bob. He was then a United States deputy marshal. He started to make an arrest. The men resisted. Bob drew as they did and told me to ‘git’. I was just that young to not have sense enough to run so I drew my six-shooter and got into the game. We arrested the men and put them in jail.
“Its funny how small things change the entire course of a fellow’s life, isn’t it?” asked Dalton with that smile that has done as much as any other thing to attract men to him. “If I had run that day with Bob, the chances are that the Coffeyville raid would have been pulled off and I would never have been asked to be one of the gang. But that performance in sticking to my brother seemed to make a great impression upon him. Did you ever have a brother you simply idolized? That was the way I looked upon my brother Bob. In fact to my eyes he was my hero. While in prison I read ’Hero Worship’ by Carlisle. It impressed me because that was my case so far as Bob was concerned. As I said the fact that I refused to run under fire impressed Bob a heap. He spoke of it many times, and said several times that some day he wanted me with him. I didn’t know what he meant then, but I found out later.
“Fully a month before the Coffeyville robbery Bob spoke of the large amount of money the banks there were supposed to have on deposit. We had lived there for a while. In fact I attended the public schools there. I was as well known as any youngster in the town. Gradually Bob led up to the suggestion of robbing the banks at Coffeyville, mentioning that as I hadn’t run before I probably would be game in this case. I discouraged the idea. The more I opposed the more determined he seemed to be. I finally yielded. It was not so much that I wanted to turn outlaw, bandit and desperado, as it was that I feared Bob would consider me lacking in nerve. In the gang as finally made up were five: Bob, my other brother Grattin, Bill Power, Dick Broadwell and myself.
“The night of October 4 we rode to a place about three miles out of Coffeyville and camped in a little draw, that is from about 2 o’clock in the morning until daylight, we lay upon our blankets on the ground. I didn’t sleep much. I confess that I was nervous. The thought of the danger in the morrow’s venture did not seem to occur to me as I remember it now. I believe I had sort of an idea that all there was to the matter was that we would merely ride into the town, rob the banks and ride away again. The fact of the matter is that I didn’t take the affair with any degree of seriousness. I was near Bob and that was about all there was in it.
“The next morning, October 5, 1892, this plan was outlined: We were to ride into town at shortly after 9 o’clock, dismount in an alley east of the Condon bank and the First National bank. These two banks were almost directly across the street from each other. Grat, Power and Broadwell were to enter Condon’s bank while Bob and I crossed the street and rifled the First National. It was decided that we were to remain together after the robbery, make for a spot across the line in the Indian Territory. There we were to divide the money, separate and each man take care of himself.
“What a beautiful plan it was! All planned at daylight, but three hours later four of the planners were dead and the fifth, myself, was riddled with bullets. Can anyone imagine a more insane, crazier scheme? Here I was a kid of 19, known by practically everyone in the town; entering it without disguise or mask of any kind; making me a marked man forever; looked for as a wanderer fugitive, even if I had escaped. I think that my capture there was the best thing that could have happened. True, I have spent fifteen years in prison, but these years instead of embittering me have taught me that to be square with your fellow man is the thing that wins out after all. I have also learned that when a fellow shows that he is trying to be on the square, even if he has been a convict, the average man is not going to give him a push, but rather a boost.
“We rode into Coffeyville shortly after 9 o’clock. Bob and I went straight to the First National bank, while the other three went into the Condon’s bank. In the First National were Thomas Ayres, the cashier, his son, the teller and bookkeeper and three customers. We drew our revolvers and threw them down on the crowd and told them to put up their hands. This they did. Bob walked behind the counter while I remained outside. He entered the vault, took all the currency in sight and took all the money on the counter, except some silver. This amounted to $23,000. He put it in a sack. We started to back out the way we had come, by the front door. Bob had handed me the sack. As Bob got to the front door a Winchester bullet buzzed close to his ear. He turned to me and said:
“ ‘Let’s go by the back door.’
“We left that way. We passed through the back yard of the bank into the alley, turned north to Eighth Street, as I remember the name now. On this we went west to another alley, then south to the alley where our horses were tied. The other three of the gang were not there.”
Dalton drew a piece of paper toward him and made a rough sketch of the immediate surroundings of Coffeyville so far as they related to the fight.
“You can see by this,” he continued, “the circuitous route we had to take to get back to our horses. When we got there it seemed that everybody in town had procured a Winchester and had opened fire. The moment we had ridden into town most of the town was aroused. Many ran to the hardware store, ‘D,’ which you will see is in a direct line with the alley. Still the other three didn’t come. Just then a bullet struck me in the right shoulder. My right arm was put out of commission. My Winchester dropped from my right hand. Bob had begun to shoot.
“Right here I wish to make a statement. I didn’t kill a soul that day, because I didn’t fire a shot. I couldn’t if I had wanted to. My right arm was as useless as if it hadn’t been there.
“The shooting had now become general. It seemed that the bullets were coming from every house, store and fence within range of where we stood. We didn’t mount.
“Bob said: ‘The others are in trouble. Let’s go and help them.’ We didn’t get a chance to start. They, at that moment came running out of the bank across the street, a running target for fifty or sixty guns, shooting as they ran. They joined us at the horses. I was trying to untie my horse with my left hand. Bob fell. I thought he was dead. Grat was the next. Then Bill Power went down. Broadwell managed to get on his horse and rode away down the street ‘E.’ He was found dead in the road a mile from town. Just as I was about to mount a Winchester bullet struck me in the back, passed entirely through my body and came out. I got on my horse, nevertheless, and started. The money sack was on my saddle.
“As I turned the corner into the street ‘E’ I looked back. Bob was sitting on the ground with his back to a large rock. I saw that he wasn’t dead. I gave no thought to the consequences. I had one idea only. There was my brother alive and I might save him by carrying him away. No second thought of caution was needed. I wheeled my horse and went back into the firing. I learned afterward that fifteen men fired at me at once, but I wasn’t scratched. I reached Bob’s side; I leaned over and got hold of his wrist with my left hand, my right being useless. Bob was still alive. Just then a load of buckshot struck me in the back and the back of the neck. I remember that I said to Bob: ‘My God, I’m killed!’ Had I been sitting up straight the buckshot would have killed me. As it was they glanced off my back.
“That’s the last I remember, for I rolled off my horse to the ground. I was in bed seventy-two days. I was advised to plead guilty to murder in the second degree and Judge Jerry McCune, now living and practicing law in Kansas City, sentenced me to the penitentiary for life.”
“What delayed the three in the Condon’s bank?” was asked.
“Oh yes, I had forgotten to tell you of that and by the way it was the real cause of the failure of the raid. When they went in the bank vault was closed. The cashier told them the time lock was on.
“ ‘How long will it be before it will be off?’ asked Grat.
“ ‘Three minutes,’ was the answer.
“ ‘We’ll wait,’ said Grat.
“At a time like that,” said Emmet, “three minutes is a lifetime. It meant death to my two brothers and two companions and fifteen years in the penitentiary for me.”
Kansas City Star, Nov. 7, 1907: TOPEKA, Nov. 7. - The mail of Emmett Dalton, pardoned by Governor Hoch from Kansas penitentiary last Saturday night, appears to be increasing rather than diminishing. Letters are coming from all parts of United States from men and women offering words of congratulations and cheer. Some of these are from persons that Dalton has never known.
He has also received about half a dozen letters from theatrical managers offering him a place in their show. One offered him $5,000 a year and all expenses “simply to take a minor part in a sketch where no real acting is really necessary.” Another suggested a “good round salary” to become a part of a carnival company. Asked if he contemplated accepting any of these offers Dalton said this morning:
“I wish it stated plainly that, under no circumstances, will I even consider a proposition or even a suggestion to exhibit myself, either on the stage or in a ‘Wild West’ show or any sort of public performance where my star stunt would be, only, that I am ‘Emmett Dalton of the Dalton gang.’ That part of my life I would like to see forgotten, and I am going to try and do everything in my power to assist people to forget it. If I had been an actor and had some real dramatic ability I presume there could be no criticism if I re-entered my profession. But I am not an actor, never have been and never can be.
“I have only one object in my life. That is to get some decent employment or get into business in a small way and try to make an honorable living. If I can do that I hope to be known some day as Emmett Dalton, “citizen,” and not as Emmett Dalton, “ex-bandit.”
Dalton hopes to be able to leave Topeka next Sunday for Kingfisher. After a short visit with his mother and brother, who is a farmer, he will return to Topeka for further examination of his wounded arm. He will then go to Kansas City with the expectation of locating permanently.
Kansas City Star, Nov. 15, 1907: OKLAHOMA CITY, Ok., Nov. 15. - Emmett Dalton, who was implicated in the Coffeyville robbery and was pardoned recently by Governor Hoch, has decided to open a tailor shop in Oklahoma City or Muskogee and will visit this city next week to look over the situation. — At the time he was pardoned Dalton said he would engage in business in Kansas City.
Moberly Weekly Monitor, Nov. 22, 1907: It is likely that Emmett Dalton just pardoned from the Kansas penitentiary by Gov. Hoch, has gone to Oklahoma City and will open a tailor shop in that city. During his stay in prison, Dalton accumulated some money, partly from the allowance credited to him and other money earned for tailoring done for private parties. Dalton is spending a few days with his mother at Kingfisher and his sister at El Reno.
Emmett had some more ambitious ideas as well. In her book Heck Thomas, My Papa, Beth Thomas Meeks tells: “Once, Emmett Dalton came. He had just got out of prison and was trying to get a U. S. deputy marshal job. He wanted Papa to help him, but Papa said no, and wrote a letter protesting Emmett’s application to the U. S. marshal’s office at Muskogee, and the marshal agreed with him.” That was the job he had wanted before his troubles began, but obviously it was now impossible with his record. She also said that while Emmett was in prison: “My father saw him several times during those years and Emmett told him that he, Heck Thomas, had been the one lawman that the gang really feared.” The Daltons had known Thomas in their law-enforcing days and his qualities as a lawman. Emmett would have done better to have him as his hero instead of Bob.
The Oklahoman, Dec. 3, 1907: Emmett Dalton, recently released from the Kansas penitentiary, where he was serving a life term for his part in the famous Coffeyville bank robbery of years ago, will visit in Tulsa in a few days. He will be the guest of Scout Younger, of the well-known family, who conducts a market on East Third Street.
It was in the vicinity of Tulsa that the Coffeyville bank robbery was planned, so it is said by old timers. The older Daltons were well-known federal officers in the early days of their career in Indian Territory, making their headquarters for the most part at the old St. Elmo hotel in Tulsa.
The Fort Worth Telegram, Dec. 6, 1907: TULSA, Okla., Dec. 6 - Back to the same place where the Coffeyville bank robbery was planned, yesterday came Emmet Dalton, the ex-bandit, recently pardoned from the Kansas penitentiary where he serving a life sentence for his part in the Coffeyville affair.
Dalton is the guest of Scout Younger, a cousin and member of the well-known Younger family.
Dalton complains frequently of his wounded arm received in the Coffeyville raid and is on his way to the hospital in Kansas City for further treatment. He says it seems like a dream to return to Tulsa and find it a modern city. He knew the place as a struggling cow town of a few hundred people, consisting largely of outlaws. Dalton, himself, as a boy, was a cowpuncher and helped round up many a bunch of cattle where now is the Glenn oil field, south of this city. His arm is in such shape now that he cannot use it, but if he recovers the use of it expects to embark in the tailoring business in some city in Oklahoma and looks with favor on Tulsa.
The Oklahoman, Feb. 13, 1908: Tulsa, Okla., Feb. 12. - Emmett Dalton, former member of the famous Dalton band and sentenced to the Kansas penitentiary for participating in the Coffeyville raid, has decided to engage in business in Tulsa. He will become a butcher in company with Scout Younger.
Tulsa in 1908
The Oklahoman, Feb. 21, 1908: Enid, Okla., Feb. 20. - While in Enid Emmett Dalton denied that he had agreed to become connected with Pawnee Bill’s Wild West show and said there is no foundation for such a rumor.
In Tulsa Emmett was also opening a tailor shop with Mr. J. G. Schuler, aged 41. He wrote the following letter to Mrs. Mowry:
Tulsa Okla. 3/31/08
My dear Mrs. Mowry -
I have everything arranged to open our tailor shop about Apr. 10, and if you can conveniently let me have $100 (one hundred) dollars, on my and my Mother’s note, of course you know, it will be appreciated. Mr. Schuler is to put in 300 against my 100 and teaching of him how to cut and we are to divide the profits half & half I am sure there is something to be made at it otherwise I would not feel like borrowing money to go into its Please let me know about this as soon as you can as I am going into this soon as possible but will virtually be on salary giving my name to the other party unless I have something to put into the business. My arm seems to be improving nicely but slowly and I hope the card you sent is a true representation of myself after my course of electrical treatment
Very truly yours
(from Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas)
Emmett was in a hurry to get this business organized (Schuler owned this business in 1910, according to census) as he was leaving Tulsa on April 13. Tulsa Commercial Club was sending a “Tulsa booster” train to cities in the east and northeast in an effort to advertise Tulsa and attract business there. Emmett went along with other Tulsa businessmen. He was glad to as long as he didn’t have to talk. Newspapermen called him “the silent man of the party”.
Dallas Morning News, April 13, 1908: Tulsa, Ok., April 12. - At 2 o’clock tomorrow afternoon, Tulsa’s “Booster” special, carrying 150 prominent business men and band of twenty-six pieces, will leave to cover an itinerary of 10,000 miles, heralding to the world that a panic cannot down a good town like Tulsa.
The party will travel in a solid train of Pullmans with every provision for comfort. A daily paper will be published en route, telling of the wonders and advantages of Tulsa and the new State of Oklahoma.
In the party will be Emmett Dalton and Creek, Osage and Cherokee Indians, though in most instances it will be difficult to detect the Indian blood.
The first extended stop will be made at St. Louis, with a brief stop at Springfield, Mo.
This is one of the greatest feats of advertising ever attempted by a young Southwestern city.
The Oklahoma City Times, April 17, 1908: At the age of 33 years, nearly half of which were spent in a Kansas prison for a crime he never conceived, tried hard to prevent and never had it in his heart to do, Emmet Dalton, outlaw for only a short time, game to the core, has again taken his stand among men, and is today with the Tulsa business men’s excursion on their trip east, welcomed by them at home and will begin life anew in the land where he first experienced the vicissitudes that made his one of the most eventful careers that make newspaper material.
There has been a great deal printed in the newspapers about Emmet Dalton. He has been pictured by those who did not know him as a bad man. He admits to his friends that he did wrong, but he does not feel like the average fellow who comes out of confinement that the world is against him, and does not care what becomes of him. No cynic about Emmet Dalton. He is willing to take his chances among men, if they will at least go half way to give him credit what he can do as a citizen. That is what he intends to be.
There have been many incidents printed in connection with the Coffeyville, Kan., bank robbery, in which the Dalton boys perpetuated their fame for boldness and daring, and in which two of the brothers were killed. There are a few facts that have not been used. They show the true side of Emmet Dalton, and were instrumental in bringing about his pardon, by Governor Hoch of Kansas, a short time ago. The following letter, written by Emmet shows that he did not want to get in the Coffeyville job, but was persuaded by others because he thought, in his untutored mind, that it was a coward who turned back in anything:
Ind. Ter., October 1, 1892. Dear Mother: Get somebody to see Bob at once. He has planned to rob two banks in —— on the 5th. Am with him now, but he will not listen to me. If he pulls off this job, I will have to go with him. Grat is in it, too. I won’t let them think I am a quitter, so will go with them, unless somebody talks them out of it. It’s going to be close to where we used to live. If Will is in Kingfisher, send him. He knows where we are.
This letter was received in Kingfisher, Okla., by Mrs. Dalton, mother of the boys, from Emmet Dalton on the 3d day of October, 1892. Mrs. Dalton immediately went to Bill Dalton, who was at that time practicing law in Kingfisher, but who later turned out to be an outlaw as bas as the others, and who was killed near Ardmore a few years later, showed him the letter from Emmet and advised him to go. The place of the holdup, which turned out to be the Coffeyville affair, was not told in Emmet’s letter. The dates are correct, but Bill Dalton failed to reach the boys before two of them were killed and Emmet seriously wounded.
As soon as Bill had left Kingfisher to go to the boys in the effort to dissuade them from their purpose, Mrs. Dalton went to William Grimes, then United States marshal of Oklahoma, and told him of the contents of Emmet’s letter. Mr. Grimes at once dispatched couriers to where he thought the Dalton boys were camped, but they could not be found.
These facts, heretofore unpublished, were brought out when Emmet made application for a pardon, and were told to the writer in person by Mr. Grimes.
[More about the letter below, at the end of this article.]
Emmet Dalton was not an outlaw at heart. He was of different turn of mind than his brothers. As a boy he was dignified, unassuming and reserved. He is now. He was but little past 17 when the Coffeyville affair took place, and had been with his brothers, Bob and Grat only a few days before that eventful affair.
“I won’t let them think I am a quitter,” said Emmet to his mother. He didn’t but it proved his downfall. Being younger in years his advice went for naught, and rather than let himself be twitted as a coward by his brothers, he decided to go with them if necessary, but his first thought was to bring about some way that would cause them to give up the job.
Emmet’s nerve was always with him. Whatever else has been said of him, his action at Coffeyville that long-to-be-remembered day shows that he did not know the coward’s mind. Such acts of bravado have been only seldom mentioned, but in this young 17-year-old boy there was the spirit of innocent bravery that once in a while is brought out. Emmet and Bob were in one bank, and Grat Dalton, Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers were across the street, calmly awaiting the hour of 10 o’clock when the time lock in the safe of the bank would open the big steel box that contained the treasure they were to get. When the thing was actually pulled off, and the citizens of the town learned what had happened they began to pour a hail of shot into the bank where Emmet and Bob were. Bob handed Emmet a flour sack containing $22,000 and told him to get to the horses. Bob with his hands free began his terrible slaughter of human lives, while Emmet was running to the alley where the horses were tied.
Emmet mounted his horse and in an instant was a hundred yards away. He could have escaped without a scratch. But he turned his head, saw Bob fall, immediately he wheeled his horse and deliberately rode back in a rain of shot to where Bob had fallen, fatally wounded. Emmet dismounted and while doing so was shot in the shoulder, but with one arm raised Bob to the saddle of his (Emmet’s) horse, mounted behind him and started away. When Emmet reached Bob, the latter was lying against a rock where he had fallen. The only words he uttered were: “Emmet, I am killed.”
As Emmet started away with his brother he (Emmet) received a full charge of buckshot at short range in the back. Thirty-three struck him full in the back, some of them going clear through his lungs. He fell from his horse with the body of his brother, Bob, who was now dead. When Emmet was disarmed it was found that he had not fired a shot from his six-shooter or Winchester.
Emmet Dalton is now a reformed man. His reputation at the penitentiary was exemplary and his behavior since gaining his freedom has been such as to entitle him to the well feeling of any man. He looks and talks more like a college athlete than a man of the plains. His boyhood days were spent on the farm in the country. He never had the advantage of education, and 14 years behind prison walls, as a usual thing, does not leave a man in a very polished condition. But Emmet Dalton is a gentleman, every inch of him. The west that he lived in is no more. He has had enough flattery since his freedom to turn the head of any ordinary man.
Recently he showed the writer a score of letters from theatrical managers from all parts of the country, from the Yukon Exposition at Seattle to the Airdome of New York, at salaries that would seem fabulous to the ordinary man, but not one has been accepted.
“I want to be a useful citizen,” he says, “I know I did wrong. I have no complaint to make of my punishment. But I do claim the privilege to try to be an honest citizen, and I shall. I like the press boys, because to them I attribute more than any other source my pardon. At first I was reticent in talking about myself to the reporters, but soon found out that they would have a story in the paper about me, and I decided to be frank with them. However, I dislike to be interviewed on a subject that I would give 20 years of my life to blot forever from my mind.”
“The west that I lived in is gone.”
What a man, our Emmett. Shot through lungs and lived to tell the tale! Sometimes I do wonder about these reporters! And now he had been only 17, and a good innocent, if ignorant, farm boy. Who told the reporter all this? Who showed him the letter? This thing about Emmett’s letter is somewhat mysterious. It was first mentioned in 1903, at which time Marshal Grimes stated that Emmett had not tried to stop the raid (see Prisoner 6472). He also said that he did not support a pardon for Emmett, but, curiously, it was believed that he (with U.S. Marshal Fossett, also of Kingfisher and a good friend of Grimes) was helping Adeline Dalton in her work to free Emmett. Could it be that he feared it would be detrimental to his career to be publicly supporting Emmett? Emmett himself never mentioned the letter, and obviously had refused to talk about the Coffeyville affair with the reporter above. It may be he felt a traitor having gone behind the backs of the others, especially as there had been rumors that Coffeyville knew to expect the Daltons, and he might not have liked his loyalty becoming questionable.
Some have suggested that the letter was invented to help Emmett gain his freedom. Here again Robert Barr Smith goes way over the top in his efforts to deny anything good in a Dalton. Not only does he discredit Emmett, but also Grimes. In his book Daltons! He writes: “Grimes, incidentally, seems to have been a bit of a blowhard, who was later fired for taking undeserved credit for Dalton-chasing.” I have checked the career of William Grimes and he was a well-respected law officer, credited for organizing the first United States marshal force in Oklahoma. He was never fired. The truth of the matter is that he dismissed deputy Ransom Payne for furnishing false material for a book (The Dalton Brothers by Eyewitness), making himself the man the Daltons feared the most, while actually he had been a coward. It is sad that Mr. Smith resorts to spoiling the reputation of a good man just because he loathes Emmett Dalton. His views (which he is perfectly entitled to) shine bright enough throughout his book without him having to resort to such tactics.
Grimes would have been in an awkward situation. Surely he would have wanted to stop any such raid, but Adeline would have feared for the lives of her sons should a big posse be sent after them. Years later, George Yoes, son of Jacob Yoes who was a marshal at Fort Smith at the time, told a story of a prisoner telling his father about the Daltons planning to hit either Coffeyville or Van Buren banks. But maybe it was Grimes who sent some kind of a warning. Van Buren had two banks and the boys had lived near by when acting as officers, and could be as such also considered a target. Cole Dalton later told reporters that before the raid Bill Dalton had ridden out of Kingfisher with some speed, and after the raid disheveled looking Bill had ridden into Guthrie from the direction where the gang was known to have been.
After the raid Emmett said he met the others on October 1st (the date on the letter) and they discussed how much money each had. It may be he had been somewhere, perhaps getting supplies, and would have had a chance to write this letter. No doubt it would have been a spur of the moment, last-ditch effort at stopping the raid. And very much against his normal code of conduct.
The Washington Post, April 19, 1908: When the special train bearing the delegation of Tulsans who are making a tour of he principal Eastern cities in the interest of Tulsa, Okla., pulled out of Union Station yesterday afternoon for Baltimore, a solitary man stood on the rear platform of the last car and gazed wonderingly upon the great buildings, the sweeping thoroughfares, and the majestic pose of the Indian on the dome of the Capitol. He was Emmet Dalton, once a member of the famous outlaw band which thirty years ago, under the leadership of Frank and Jesse James, terrorized the Western country.
About five months ago Dalton was released from the penitentiary on parole by direction of the governor of Kansas, after having served nearly seventeen years of a sentence for complicity in the outrages perpetrated by this notorious band He is now a respected citizen of Tulsa, and conducts a meat store there with Scott Younger, a relative of the famous Younger brothers, who participated in many of the expeditions of the James boys. Dalton is a member of the Tulsa delegation, and is viewing the wonders of the big cities for the first time.
Although his picturesque career has gilded outlawry with an allurement unsurpassed since the days of Robin Hood, Dalton is desirous that his experience should prove no false lesson to American youth He is not at all proud of his wasted years. He declares that a man who chooses the career of an outlaw is either a natural fool or an innocent madman But Dalton does not beguile himself. He does not pretend to be a hero; he repels all efforts of the morbid-minded to exploit him in heroic guise. And he is respected by prominent men of Tulsa.
Dalton is about fifty years old. He bears erect a six foot, portly frame, clad in conventional black His eyes are dark gray, his face ruddy with a healthy complexion He appears the middle-aged, prosperous citizen of excellent endowments His countenance indicates also uncommon coolness, courage, tenacity of purpose.
“To me ” said Dalton, “the word ‘outlaw’ is a living coal of fire The past to me is a tragedy shrouded in bitter memories I was young and foolish, and association with men of adventurous proclivities eventually resulted in imprisonment And how many men can conceive what it means to languish in prison? But I learned much in my lonely cell I have learned to hope in a divinity, that a surplus of energy and determination will conquer every weakness.
“I do not desire to plunge deeply into my past I shall strive to build up a name that will be famed for sincerity and honesty And if directness of purpose can accomplish anything, I shall succeed The wrong a man commits should not live with him, mock his efforts and constitute a perpetual embarrassment When a man has paid a penalty for wrongdoing, he should be permitted to demonstrate the caliber of his character If he fails to reform, then it is time for condemnation by the world.
“When I joined the wild band I was a mere youth Perhaps my age accounted for the indiscretions I committed When I became branded, so to speak, I never visited my home except by stealth Everywhere the members of the band went around armed on the lookout for enemies and detectives Again and again we were charged with offences committed at places we never had seen If a bank was robbed anywhere in the Middle West if a train or stage coach was held up the blame was laid at our door.
“I do not mean to deny that many outrages were perpetrated by the gang, but I do insist that we were frequently wrongly accused ”
The Sun, April 19, 1908: The 33 hacks that went from Mount Royal Station last night and passed through Druid Hill Park, the aristocratic residential section and the burnt district was not a funeral procession. It was the delegation of 113 merchants, lawyers and residents of Tulsa, Okla. - a flourishing city of 16,000 inhabitants - who are traveling over the United States in a special train of five cars to advertise their city.
A more progressive, energetic and business-like delegation of men probably never visited Baltimore. ...
In the delegation which arrived on its special train from Washington at 7 o’clock was Emmett Dalton, one of the family of Dalton brothers, who were noted for daring robberies in the Southwest about 14 years ago. ...He was pardoned some years ago and has since acquired fame as one who advises the boys of the East against undertaking trips to the “wild and wooly West” He has a large produce business and is looked upon as a model citizen.
Baltimore American, April 17, 1908: “Emmet Dalton, once a member of a band of notorious robbers, led by two of his older brothers, Bob and Grant, is now a respected business man of our town,” said Mr. M. A. Sansom, a cattleman of Tulsa, Okla., at the Rennert.
“Emmet Dalton was but 20 years old and completely under the domination of his brother Bob, the leader of the outlaws, when he participated in the attempted robbery of a bank at Coffeyville, Kan., in 1892. A fierce fight ensued between the bandits and citizens of the town, in which Bob and Grant Dalton were killed. Emmet got a life term in the penitentiary, but last September he was pardoned by Governor Hoch, an act that met the general approval of the Kansas people, as the young man had been a model prisoner while confined and there was no doubt of his complete reformation.
“He told me not long ago that he found his greatest consolation and pleasure while incarcerated in the study of Shakespeare, which he read so studiously during the 16 years of his enforced retirement that he can justly claim an enviable acquaintance with the works of the great bard. He is engaged in the prosaic business of selling groceries, and the chances are that he will become one of our prosperous citizens.”
Dallas Morning News, April 25, 1908: Chicago, Ill., April 24 - With a special train of five cars a party of 123 representative citizens and a military band of twenty-three pieces, the Tulsa, Ok., “boosters” reached Chicago this morning and brought to the Great Northern Hotel, State street, the stock yards and other metropolitan points a breezy touch of Southwestern vigor.
Tulsa is pleased to call itself the Chicago of the Southwest. That is the reason that Chicago has been saved practically till the last in a trip, which has included all the large cities of the Eastern and Middle States.
Emmett Dalton, a man whose name years ago was synonymous with bloody battles in frontier towns and conjures up images of the “Dalton gang,” so called, came with the Tulsa delegation of business men, respected and honored by them as a fellow citizen. Dalton was the most inconspicuous member of the party. Although Dalton is not seeking notoriety himself his friends bubble over with anecdotes tending to show his natural magnanimity.
Coffeyville Journal, April 27, 1908: …All of the Tulsa, Okla., delegation, including Emmett Dalton, had discovered that “hustling” for their home town was no joke. All except Dalton said so. Dalton, however, when he learned that his presence here was known, sought seclusion and covered his trail as successfully as in the old days, when he was being pursued by United States deputy marshals.
Becky Tiernan, in Tulsa World, 03/09/1997, wrote about the booster trains. Her article included this: “In addition to an 18-piece band, the 125 trippers took along paroled outlaw Emmett Dalton, who had terrorized the Southwest. The reformed gunslinger was promoting his touring Wild West Show starring sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Dalton proved his entertainment prowess on a visit to the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. He held up the place in true western style. The stunt caused hilarity among the traders but the sudden halt in trading sent a panic throughout New York, London and Paris.”
I do not know where she got this story. I have found nothing of the sort in old newspapers. Also, Emmett never had a Wild West Show. It seems to me as another one of those invented Dalton tales.
The Washington Times, May 3, 1908: It’s a far cry from the ranks of high-handed outlawry and subsequent prison glamour to the White House and hobnobbing with the President of the United States.
Such, however, is the route traversed by Emmett Dalton, a dashing young Westerner, who was in Washington a few days ago.
When Dalton stepped to President Roosevelt’s side, pinned a button on the Chief Executive’s coat, and said, “Allow me to initiate you as a booster for Tulsa, Oklahoma,” the former rough rider and frontiersman little knew that the man with the gentle voice, radiant smile and innocent face who stood in front was not many months ago feared by the entire population of the West, and that the law granted him the liberty of nicking four notches on the butt of his gun.
A year ago Emmett Dalton, this tall, gentlemanly, handsome, and refined young man who initiated the President, Vice President, Secretary Taft, and other dignitaries into the clan of Tulsa boosters, was confined in a dingy, gloomy little prison cell in Lansing, Kan., with a life sentence within those high stone walls and barred doors staring him in the face. Today he is a substantial merchant, an honorable man, an enthusiastic booster for his town, and respected by his fellow citizens.
EMMETT DALTON robbed a bank of $23.000. He did not get away with it. The only thing he saved was his life. That was more than was saved by the others of the desperate and far-famed Dalton gang of highwaymen and bank robbers, the mention of whose name struck terror into the hearts of Kansas and people living in the Far Southwest.
He was sentenced to spend the remainder of his life in Lansing prison.
Each day he remained in the cell he fought harder to get out. The people of Kansas and the Southwest were afraid of him. It was frankly admitted that perhaps he did not have the fairest of chances in the matter of a trial, but the bankers and cattle owners reckoned that a good Dalton was a dead Dalton, or a Dalton up for life. The harder he fought to get out the harder they fought back, and the harder they fought back the more determined and persistent the young man became.
He finally won over the majority; proved by fighting spirit and indefatigable will that he would not be the under dog and in consequence of his untiring efforts of fourteen years the heavy iron doors of Lansing prison swung open for him last July and he stepped out into the sunshine a free man again. In November he was unconditionally pardoned.
Since then Dalton has been hitting the line hard. He is a fighter and determined to succeed. He has the grit and the spunk about him and the people of Tulsa are strong for him.
No man can ever understand how Dalton feels toward the people of this new little Oklahoma town. He cannot express his feelings. He tries, but each time a lump rises in his throat, his voice becomes husky, and one must guess the rest. Branded as a criminal he struck straight for Tulsa. Out there they say, “It’s not what you were but what you are.” Emmett Dalton when he landed in Tulsa was young, strong, determined to live an honorable, upright life, and willing to start out from the cradle afresh. That is just what he is doing.
He has started life anew and is a credit to Tulsa. He is one of the most popular and successful men in the town, and throughout the Eastern trip of 125 of the most prominent citizens of the town - of which he was one - the former outlaw and prisoner was as enthusiastic over the prospects of Tulsa and the hospitality of the people as he could possibly be. Dalton is grateful beyond expression for the cordial reception given him by the inhabitants of the town.
When he left Lansing he did not know how the world would receive him. He said he hoped it would fight him in order that he might fight back and show the good that was in him, since the world knew all the bad. Dalton declares sympathy unnerves him and says it is the one thing that will cause him to give up. With strong opposition he says he can work out an honorable destiny much faster and more satisfactorily. But to the people of Tulsa he is indebted for his fresh start. He cannot say too much in praise of the inhabitants or the soil.
To see Dalton and to know him are two vastly different things. He has a clear blue eye, a determined mouth, but more wonderful than all, in view of his confinement, suffering and humiliation, is his winning smile, his soft, gentle manner, and tolerance of other people. None could ruffle him. He is as meek and docile as a lamb. He looks every man straight in the eye, but never talks above a whisper.
Bank robbing is the one subject he does not care to talk about. He has put the one act of his life of which he is ashamed behind him and is living in such a fashion as to blot out this episode from the memory of other men as well as his own.
While Dalton was in Washington a dispatch was received from Coffeyville, Kan., telling of another robbery in the same bank, which he and his brother visited in 1893. He read the dispatch, but displayed little interest. “That’s bad business,” was the only comment he made.
Dalton has the greatest respect for the law, which punished him. He makes no complaint against the statutes, but rather holds them in reverence and says he wants to see the same law which punished him enforced at all hazards and times. He does feel, however, that his sentence was a little steep, but since he did not serve the remainder of his life in the dark cell he glories in the triumph of having been sentenced for so long and being liberated so soon.
“That First National Bank incident is something black in my life which I want to forget,” said Dalton after being repeatedly questioned and realizing the utter hopelessness of getting out of telling something about the robbery which shocked the West, cost four lives, resulted in permanent injury for him, and cast him into a cell for fourteen years.
This is possibly the strangest version of the Coffeyville raid told by Emmett.
“I was twenty-one years old when it all occurred. I knew it was wrong, but I did it. Every man knows what brother love is, what it is to be young and daring. That’s all there was to the bank robbery. I had never done anything like that before, and I never will again. It is not right. I realized that I was not doing right when I went into the bank in broad daylight to rob it, and I knew it.
“Yes, I am the only one not killed in the fight following the robbery of the two banks, but there are many things worse than death. There were other men besides Daltons in the gang but it has been called the Dalton band all these years, so let the Daltons stand the notoriety, which I hope will soon die down.
“I have no idea what brought the whole thing about. We had a good home, honorable parents, and a fine farm. My brothers, Jim and Bob, have been blamed for many crimes, which they did not commit, but they were caught and killed when they were guilty. I never will understand what started them on this expedition of pillage.
“They had served as deputy United States marshals for some time, and asked repeatedly for $2.000 which was due them. The money was never paid. That may have started them. Both were older than I, and seldom took me into their confidence. I did know, however, about a month ahead that they had planned to tap the First National Bank and C. M. Condon’s bank on the main street in broad daylight. As I say, I was only twenty-one years old at that time, and the dramatic, spectacular effect of robbing a bank in open light, with business going on, appealed to me, but I knew it would be wrong to steal the money. Perhaps I was not as enthusiastic as my brothers and their companions, and for some weeks it was a matter of conjecture as to whether or not I would accompany them.
“Finally they decided that I should go with them. We mounted our horses on the outskirts of Topeka and galloped into Coffeyville. It was somewhere near noon and we knew many deposits had been made. With a rush we charged up to the corner. The two banks were directly opposite each other. I wore a belt with two horse pistols and fifty rounds of ammunition in it. In the holster near my stirrup strap I carried a brand new Winchester. It was a thrilling experience, but I never want to go through it again.
“Jim and his friend went to Condon’s bank and Bob and I ran into the First National. Across my left arm I carried a sack in which we were to carry away the money. In my right hand I carried my Winchester. Bob drew no weapon as he entered behind me.
“I walked into the little bank and old man Ayres and his son, who were counting gold, silver and certificates, looked up. I leveled my Winchester at the old man’s head. We were good friends, but when he looked into the muzzle of that gun he immediately threw up his hands as I very coolly informed him that I would have to ask him to oblige in that direction. His son’s hands went up in the air simultaneously.
“Then Bob stepped forward, took the sack off from my arm and went behind the wire grating. He shoveled in all the coin, bills, and checks on the counter and in the drawers and then cleaned out the safe, while the old man and his son stood mute and I had the business end of the Winchester headed their way.
“As we passed out of the bank we bid them good day and they lowered their hands.
“Previous to this robbery my brothers had an unenviable name, although I don’t believe they deserved it. When we rode into town it was a signal for a posse to form.
“While we were busy in the First National, my other brother was engaged in similar operations across the street. The four of us reached the pavement at the same time. Bob passed the sack of money to me and I ran to my horse and vaulted to the saddle. I saw the fellows across the street had their sack, too.
“The posse opened fire as soon as I put spurs to my horse. I rode on at breakneck speed, believing Bob and the others would join me at any minute. After riding some distance and failing to see any of the party by my side, I looked back. As I turned in my saddle a bullet hit my right arm and still another lodged in my right hand.
“I saw Bob lying on the ground near his horse and I determined to rescue him. Although they were all firing at me and I had the money, my only thought was of the safety of Bob, and I spurred my horse into a gallop and started back toward the bank. I escaped many bullets and buck shots and passed a number of members of the posse before I reached a spot opposite where my brother lay.
“Reining up my horse I was preparing to dismount and throw Bob over my saddle when a terrific load of buckshot struck me square in the back and I was knocked off my horse landing in the street near my brother. The moneybag fell on top of me. I made no effort to save it. I thought I had been killed.
“They captured me and carried me away. For weeks I was treated by Drs. Platt, Wilsop, McQuinn and McCarthy. They dressed my wounds every day. The injuries still pain me and the wound on my right arm has to be dressed every morning. I am able to to do that myself now. I have good use of the arm, but my right hand is swollen almost twice its normal proportions.
“Four members of the posse were slain on that fateful day. My brothers and their companions were also killed. I hovered between life and death for many weeks.
“Finally I got strong enough to go to trial. I was charged with murder in the second degree, although I don’t remember having fired a shot. My attorneys suggested that I plead guilty as the maximum penalty was twenty years and we did not believe I would be given more than that length of time. I have the greatest reverence and respect for the law and bench, and I don’t want to be construed as criticizing either, but while I appreciate that I was rightly punished, I believe I could have been tried before a more unbiased judge. I have no complaint to make because I offended and should have suffered, but I firmly believe that mercy should always precede justice.”
Brother Jim? The Tacoma Daily News (Sept. 9, 1892) had this to say about the Daltons: “The Daltons are probably the most notorious outlaws in the country. There are three brothers - Robert, George and Jim. Only two, however, have been identified with the industry of robbing trains, banks, express cars and killing people. George is a moderate farmer, living on a little ranch in southwestern part of Kansas, where he is respected by his neighbors as an industrious, law-abiding citizen.” The names of the doctors seem all wrong as well. At Coffeyville he was treated by Drs. Wells and Ryan, at Independence by Drs. McCulley and Masterman. Galloping from the vicinity of Topeka? Just about everything in this account is wrong. Why? Was he annoyed these reporters pestered him to tell about the raid and, rather than offend them by refusing, he told them whatever came to mind? I feel the names must have had some meaning. It seems he was playing some game for his own private amusement.
“With a life sentence hanging over my head, I - a mere youth just budding into manhood - was carried off to the penitentiary, shackled, disgraced, but undaunted.
“From the first day they closed that door on me until they opened it and let me go my way I fought for my liberty. Years dragged on. Sixty minutes meant that much more inward suffering to me and the agony was long drawn out. I read everything from the almanac to the bible. When you are looking for good interesting and comforting reading the bible is the volume you should select. It stood me in good stead and I shall never go back on it. I read law and ferreted out technicalities on which I could be freed, but I wanted to get out on better grounds than technicalities. I wrote letters to my friends constantly and - if I must confess - I wrote some poetry and short stories to unburden my wearied soul and express my inner feelings.
“I never once lost hope. I knew I was fighting for a just cause, that my friends were with me, and I must succeed in the end. I was young during those fourteen years of misery and suffering, and I am young yet, so I never gave up. There is no such thing as ’can’t’ when you’re in the right, and keep plugging. Each day, I believed, brought me nearer liberty, and that kept me buoyed up. The thought what I would do or how I would feel if I was not liberated until death never occurred to me. While I was planning to get out I was also determining my course after I was free. I had had enough of criminality and the felon’s life and I resolved that however the world greeted me I would show only the best that was in me, lead an honorable life and prove to my dear old mother that I was a good son. She is still living. She believes I, as well as my brothers, am innocent of everything with which we were ever charged. I am living to be a credit to her, to myself and to my town.
“I went into the prison March 8, 1893. July 6 of last year I was paroled, and on November 12 I was unconditionally pardoned by Governor Hoch. There is one of the squarest and best men in the world. He pardoned me because he thought it was right to do so. I admire him for more reasons than because he pardoned me. He is a sincere, genuine man of courage and strength and I stand for him. When he pardoned me he said the more he saw of weak humanity the more sympathy he had for it. I don’t want sympathy. That is the one thing that will knock the heart out of me, and cause me to throw up the sponge. I want opposition. Competition is the life of trade, and the heart of life. I get along better if I have to struggle.
“I admire President Roosevelt immensely, not because he is the first man in the nation, but because he is a man through and through, and one that is worth knowing as a citizen and fellow, as well as a President.
“Tulsa is the greatest place in the world. It welcomed me, received me, as a man starting life all over again, and without a slightest bit of a past, and has never asked any questions. I am trying to live a straight life. If I slip up and my conduct cannot be reconciled with the law, I want to be punished. I am just getting on my feet out there, but I seem to have a good start, and nothing I can think of can cause me to swerve in my course except pitying sympathy.”
Mayor Rhode, prominent bankers, real estate dealers, doctors, lawyers and merchants who were in the bands of Tulsans spoke in the highest terms of the former outlaw. They believe in him, say they would trust him with their lives or money, and respect him. This feeling warms the heart of the big reformed bank robber, and he is striving to more firmly root himself in their hearts every day.
Dalton would be the last man to suspect of a lurid past. He is a man of refinement, is well dressed, uses faultless language, and is a most gentlemanly and interesting man. A more complete reformation could not be expected of mortal man.
Marriage and Movies - 1908-1910
Emmett Dalton went to Coffeyville for the first time since the raid and was well received. He married, moved to Bartlesville, Ok., and was nominated for a member of the city council. But trouble arose following his decision to get involved in the movie business.
Coffeyville Journal, June 19, 1908: A handsome man, smooth-shaven and wearing a light grey suit, stepped off the north bound Katy train from Bartlesville at 9.55 Saturday morning and leisurely walked up to town. He attracted no particular attention until it became whispered that he was Emmett Dalton and then everyone began to eye him curiously.
The man was Emmett Dalton and this was his first visit to Coffeyville since he was taken from here to the county jail at Independence and later to the state penitentiary at Lansing, following the Dalton bank raid in this city October 5, 1892.
Coffeyville has grown so much since those days that Mr. Dalton hardly knew the place until he reached the Plaza. There everything came back to him, for the buildings then occupied by the banks still stand and “Death Alley,” where his brothers were shot down, still stretches away to the west from the open space formed by the junction of Walnut and Union streets.
Emmett Dalton went no further up town than this until a crowd began to gather about him and he shook hands with hundreds of people. All were glad to see him and if there was any bitterness upon the part of the people of Coffeyville toward the young man, it was not apparent Saturday. He met some of the men who had shot at his brothers - probably some of the men who had killed them. But it all was far in the past, and the citizens shook hands with Dalton like the comrades on different sides after a battle.
Emmett visited “Death Alley” and looked over the old-time scene of carnage with interest. He had little to say and viewed the scenes for several moments in absolute silence.
“The town has changed,” he said, “but I recognize this place. There is the stairway where they carried me up to the doctor’s office,” he added, pointing to the stairs on the north side of the Slosson drug store. “I’ll never forget that day nor the long years in prison that followed it.”
Dalton was soon surrounded by a crowd and wherever he went all day there were people gathered around him. He says he attracted attention everywhere but it was probably worse here than in any other town. This being the scene of the famous bank raid made him a character of great local interest. Among others he met while here was Dr. C. E. Griggsby, formerly a surgeon at the penitentiary. They had quite a visit, for Dr. Griggsby had treated Dalton’s arm at Lansing while surgeon. Another old friend met was Bob Laird, who spent Saturday afternoon with Dalton.
Mr. Dalton went east recently with the Tulsa boomers and he says the newspapermen everywhere there hunted him up for an interview. He is not seeking notoriety but treats newspapermen pleasantly.
“The boys have always been good to me, especially at Topeka,” said Mr. Dalton, “and I always try to treat them nicely. I realize that they want good copy and if they think my story makes it they are of course welcome to use anything I can give them. I tried to sidestep them in New York and other eastern cities but even if I got away the first day they would land me by the second day.”
Mr. Dalton and “Scout” Younger are in the grocery and meat market business at Tulsa and are doing well. It has been reported here that they were running a tailor shop, for that was Dalton’s work at Lansing, but he says they are not. Younger is a distant relative of Cole Younger, once a member of the James gang. Dalton says people everywhere treat him kindly and he is exceedingly grateful to them for doing so. He is now nearly 37 years old and is practically just starting in life. He probably has many discouragements but if so he does not speak of them. He says he will try to make his future conduct so that Governor Hoch will never regret pardoning him and giving him another fair chance in life. Asked about his aged mother, who did so much to get him out of prison, he said she is at Stillwater and is enjoying good health. She is 77 years old and is living with another of her sons. Emmett has been there to see her several times.
Mr. Dalton lacks much of being a well man although one would not know it from a glance into his fine, ruddy face. His right arm is swollen and numb and while he has use of it there is no feeling in it at times. When he was shot in the arm here in 1892 the treatment given him was necessarily hasty and it seems that that the wound has never fully healed. Several operations have been made on the arm recently and in fact, the first parole given Dalton was made so he could go to Topeka and have the limb treated. Two long incisions were made in the arm near the wound made by the bullet and through these incisions the bones of the arm were scraped. This has not cured the arm however, and the wound still troubles him. He is now taking electrical treatment for it at Tulsa and is hopeful of getting it healed completely. Other than this Dalton is in perfect health and seems to be enjoying life after fifteen years of imprisonment at Lansing.
If you think Dalton is not well posted you are in error. He knows all about Kansas and Oklahoma politics and has the personal acquaintance of nearly every politician of this state. Many of these men were met while he was at Topeka clerking in the Copeland hotel while his arm was being treated. He has been in Tulsa long enough to get acquainted with the politicians of the new state and he knows them all. In fact few men have more influential friends than Dalton has. It was largely such influences as these men exerted that induced Gov. Hoch to take up Dalton’s case.
Speaking of the recent bank robberies Dalton says that it is reported at Tulsa that Henry Starr is getting an alibi ready and will try to prove himself innocent of the Tyro and other bank robberies. Starr’s headquarters were at Tulsa and he is apparently in communication with friends there now, according to common report there as expressed by Mr. Dalton.
Mr. Dalton will leave tomorrow evening for Independence and will return home by Caney early next week. Saturday afternoon he went out to the Natatorium and stopped at Elmwood cemetery to see the graves of his brothers who were killed here in the bank raid.
Columbus Daily Enquirer, June 28, 1908: Coffeyville, Kan., June 27. - For the first time after he was taken from the city in handcuffs and guarded by twenty-five heavily armed men, Emmett Dalton visited Coffeyville a few days ago and met and talked with some of the same men who escorted him to the county jail in Independence and later to the state prison at Lansing, after the memorable Dalton raid here in 1892.
Dalton came here from Tulsa and had hardly alighted from the train before a crowd surrounded him. Coming up town he visited the scene of the bank robbery and later walked through Dalton alley where two of his brothers were killed in the fight that followed the raid on the banks. Then he walked up the stairway where he himself was carried to a doctor’s office to have the bullet taken from his right shoulder. He viewed most of these scenes in silence and had nothing to say afterward about his impressions, except that he would never forget that eventful day nor the long hours in prison afterward.
Dalton met relatives of the citizens killed in the raid, but if there was any bitterness on either side it was not apparent. He met, among others, the Chief of Police, John J. Kloeher, who is generally credited with having killed at least two of the gang, one of them being “Bob” Dalton. He and the Chief were together an hour or more.
Emmett went out to Elmwood cemetery to see the graves of his two brothers who were killed in the raid. Their graves were marked only by a bent piece of gas pipe, taken from the hitch rack to which the Daltons tied their horses before entering the banks. Dalton was considerably affected when he saw these graves.
Dalton is now living in Tulsa, where he and “Scout” Younger, a distant relative of Cole Younger, are running a meat market and grocery.
“I’m only flesh and blood, like other men,” said Dalton, “but I’ll try to so live that neither the people of Coffeyville nor Governor Hoch will ever regret my having been pardoned and given another chance in life.”
Dalton is still having treatment for his wounded arm, which has never healed, but which now shows signs of ultimate recovery.
Bartlesville Enterprise, June 19, 1908: …Among others who talked with Dalton was John J. Kloehr, who wears on his breast a gold medal presented him by the people of Coffeyville for having killed Bob and Grat Dalton when they made their raid. He is also credited with having wounded Emmett in the fight in “Death Alley.” It was the first time Dalton had seen the medal and he looked at it with a great deal of interest.
While he was here Dalton visited the graves of his brother who are buried in the cemetery here. This was the real purpose of his visit to the city.
It was actually the citizens of Chicago who presented Kloehr with the medal. It had the text “John Joseph Kloehr The Emergency Arose, The Man Appeared” inscribed on the front. I’d be interested to know if Thomas Ayres talked to Emmett, considering how much he had opposed Emmett being pardoned. Perhaps Emmett went to Caney to see his son, Bert Ayres, who had been a bookkeeper at the First National bank at the time of the raid and now an assistant cashier at the Caney Valley bank in Caney.
The Oklahoman, June 19, 1908: Emmet Dalton says the word outlaw is a thorn in his flesh to him, but nevertheless he keeps the press agent busy reviving ancient memories that he of all others should be desirous of forgetting.
As we have seen, it was not that he wanted to bring up the past, but was constantly asked to do so. Seemingly a no win situation. Although everyone must have known who Emmett Dalton was, the papers always called him the ex-outlaw and never failed to remind readers of his Coffeyville connection. There was no way he could shake off the past.
At some point Emmett had gotten together with widowed Mrs. Julia Lewis. In his book When the Daltons Rode Emmett tells a wonderful, romantic story how he fell in love with Julia Johnson in the spring of 1887, how their love survived the years of outlawry and imprisonment. It is not true, though. One book review in 1931 had this to say: “…and while he neglects to mention the heroic efforts of his mother, who tried for years to get her son pardoned, he spends much time in praise of his sweetheart, who waited faithfully for his release - at least in the story. Recorded history is at variance with this part of the narrative, but novelist is entitled to some prerogatives, even in biographical or reminiscent essays.” All the same, this legend has endured and is often told as fact in biographies about the Daltons. Although Emmett never even mentioned Julia in his first book, this story was not something invented just for his new book. It first came out at the time of their marriage.
In 1887 Julia was married to Robert Gilstrap and expecting a baby. Not much chance of her gallivanting with Emmett on his pony across the prairies. It is perfectly possible Emmett did fall in love with “Blackie”, his “sprightly young gypsy of the plains”, but she was not Julia. Julia’s husband was killed on Christmas Eve 1889, in Bartlesville, in a gunfight. She did not marry again until about 1902, and then to a shady character called Ernest Lewis, suspected of train robberies (he was arrested for one at Wharton, the former hunting ground of the Daltons), murder, bootlegging… Surely he must have had something good or interesting about him for Julia to marry him. Lewis was killed in a gunfight at his bar in Bartlesville on November 16, 1907.
Julia’s granddaughter Hazel Chapman in the Coffeyville Journal, October 2, 1991, stated that Emmett and Julia met after Emmett had been released from prison. But then she also claimed that during the Coffeyville raid Emmett, truth be told, was not in either bank. She said: “He was just 19 years old. They (his brothers) wouldn’t let him in the banks. They made him stay with the horses. He later admitted he wasn’t in the bank.” Knowing Emmett, he may well have “admitted” that, but it is surprising Chapman would take it as fact. So what she claims is not necessarily the truth. It is by no means impossible that they would have met before. The Daltons were well known in and around Bartlesville.
It is not clear from the following articles who had given the reporters the story of their supposed romance. Emmett seems to have been somewhat reluctant to comment on it. However it started, it must have appealed to Emmett to have something nice in his past, not just the Coffeyville raid and the Dalton gang.
Coffeyville Journal, Sept. 4, 1908: Bartlesville, Ok., Sept. 2. - Of unusual interest throughout the Southwest was the wedding here last night of Emmett Dalton and Mrs. Julia Lewis. The principals are among the best known in their circles in the entire country.
Only a few months ago Dalton was pardoned from the Kansas penitentiary, where he was serving a life sentence for participating in the raid on the Coffeyville banks more than sixteen years ago.
His bride is the widow of Earnest Lewis, who died in a bloody fight with United States Marshals Keeler and Williams in this city last November. Lewis killed Williams during the battle, in which more than twenty shots were fired in a small room filled with smoke.
Lewis had served a term in the Colorado penitentiary for train robbery, and had worried the authorities of Kansas and Oklahoma by conducting a modern “Monte Carlo” on a narrow strip of ground which he declared was owned by neither state. It was discovered later that he had moved the state line marker six years before, preparatory to entering upon this sort of an enterprise.
The romance between Dalton and Julia Lewis began twenty years ago, when the latter was the pretty daughter of “Texas” Johnson and lived with her parents near the Kansas line, eighteen miles north of Bartlesville. She and Dalton were about the same age, and they rode races, practiced shooting with rifles and rode their ponies to all of the dances within thirty miles of the Johnson home.
While Dalton was hidden from the officers, it is said that the girl cooked his meals and kept him informed of the movements of the pursuers. It was at about this time Dalton was shot while robbing the Coffeyville banks with his brothers. He was sent to the penitentiary and never saw his former sweetheart until he was released last winter.
She wrote to him frequently and spent a great deal of her time working to gain him a pardon. She visited those who opposed the pardon and persuaded them to give Emmett another trial. She did more than all others to wear out the opposition to her former sweetheart’s pardon.
It does amaze me how these reporters always swallow everything they are told. It was not that long before, when the papers wrote about Adeline doing her best to win a pardon for Emmett; with no one ever mentioning Julia.
Dalton is in business in Tulsa, but expects to make his home in the future in Bartlesville, where his bride has a large amount of property. The wedding was a very quiet affair, before the justice of the peace. Dalton and his bride refused to accede to the request of some of their friends that it is in the nature of a public affair. The bride and groom have refused to accept a lucrative offer to go on the stage, made by a Chicago showman who came here yesterday.
“Yes, I am pretty happy,” laughed Mrs. Lewis when asked about the approaching wedding, “and I think Emmett is a mighty fine man.”
“We have known each other for a long time,” said the blushing groom when cornered and made to confess the details. “I have reached the age when it is time for me to marry and settle down. Any man, who from past experience, must be more or less in the public eye, has a great deal to contend with and when I found my boyhood sweetheart in Bartlesville and she was willing I thought it well to settle down.”
Kansas City Star, Sept. 2, 1908: BARTLESVILLE, OK., Sept. 1. - A romantic attachment, formed when they were boy and girl, has culminated in the marriage of Emmett Dalton and Mrs. Julia Lewis, of this city. The wedding took place here to-night. Mr. Dalton is engaged in business at Tulsa, but they are not decided whether to remove there or remain in Bartlesville, where Mrs. Dalton has property interests. It was over twenty years ago when Emmett Dalton first met his present bride, while he was working with his brothers, “Bob” and “Grat,” then deputy United States marshals for Indian Territory. Along the Kansas line lived a man named “Texas” Johnson, famed as a great entertainer. The Dalton boys often stopped with Mr. Johnson, and Emmett, the younger, became very friendly with Miss Julia Johnson, a couple of months his junior.
He took advantage of every opportunity to visit the Johnson home after having once visited it. He and Miss Johnson soon became the best of friends, riding together, practicing marksmanship and attending dances for miles around. Many a time Emmett Dalton rode a day and a night that he might get to dance with the pretty Johnson girl.
Then came the famous Coffeyville raid, in which Emmett was captured because he went back to assist his mortally wounded brother. He was separated from his girl sweetheart, yet all the time he was at the penitentiary he kept in communication with Julia Johnson. She married twice because he was in prison supposedly for life.
Among those who worked for his pardon, however, none was more diligent and more earnest than his girl friend. She talked to those who opposed granting it and her effort had much to do with the cessation of the opposition.
“We have known each other for a long time,” said the blushing groom when cornered and made to confess the details. “I have reached the age when it is time for me to marry and settle down. Any man, who from past unpleasant experience, must be more or less in the public eye, has a great deal to contend with and when I found my boyhood sweetheart in Bartlesville and she was willing I thought it well to settle down.”
That is a chivalrous and delicate compliment, which Emmett Dalton pays to a woman in assigning as a reason for his marriage to his old sweetheart his need of the help that a good and faithful wife can give to her husband. Men are what they are, very often, by chance of circumstances. No one can tell what Emmett Dalton might have been under the influence of environments different from those that shaped his early career, and it is certain that many an exemplary citizen and “pillar of society” owes his standing to the absence of temptation and contact with the forces that Dalton encountered in his youth. There is much that is not bad in a man who holds woman at her true worth. Emmett Dalton, bridegroom, may understand much better than the average citizen how many men have been saved from becoming desperadoes through the sustaining help of good wives. So, here’s good luck to Emmett and his bride.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Sept. 4, 1908: …It was of Emmett Dalton, that Gov. Hoch once said to the Topeka newspapermen, “I regard him as one of the noblest young men of this state and a man who would be a credit to the citizenship of any state or community.”
Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Dalton entertained a few friends last night in an informal reception at their home, Fifth and Cheyenne. Light luncheon was served assisting the participants to enjoy a very pleasant evening. Mr. and Mrs. Dalton proved themselves prime entertainers, while the reception gave the visitors opportunity to extend congratulations.
Emmett and Julia settled down to live at 421 South Cheyenne Avenue, Bartlesville.
The Dalton home at Bartlesville in 2003 (Courtesy of Jim Mitchell)
The Evening News (Ada, Ok.), Dec. 4, 1908: Bartlesville, Ok., Dec. 3. - Emmett Dalton, last of the American outlaws, is writing the story of his life. Dalton is a resident of this city where he has lived since he was recently pardoned by Governor Hoch of Kansas for participation in the famous Coffeyville raid fifteen years ago.
“I am going to tell frankly and freely the story of outlawry in the Southwest,” said Dalton tonight. “I know secrets of the trade that are unsuspected by the officers or the public. The old outlaws are all dead or in prison and no harm can come from a recital of the deeds of the daring men who terrorized Southwestern America for years. I also hope to teach the lesson that the business does not pay.”
So Emmett had already gotten the idea that stories of outlaws could be used as moral tales teaching the futility of crime. But he was not to write his book, yet. J. B. Tackett from Coffeyville, famed for the photographs he took after the raid, was to cause him to take a different direction in the way of his teachings.
Coffeyville Journal, Dec. 18, 1908: The Dalton raid, which occurred in Coffeyville October 5, 1892, is to be reproduced in moving picture film at the big Seattle exposition that opens in May, 1909.
The films for the raid are being prepared by John B. Tackett of the Auditorium, and the complete pictorial history of the raid is now about completed. With several more scenes it will be ready for the machines.
However, the local public need not expect to see this picture yet awhile as it will not be shown here, at least until after its initial production in Seattle, next May. It is to be as complete and accurate as a reproduction can be made.
Wednesday members of the Morgan Stock Company rode out to the park as was mentioned in Wednesday’s Journal, to rehearse one of the scenes. This was to show the life of the Dalton gang in camp and the practice yesterday was showing the Daltons at morning exercise. The most picturesque, was showing the members of the gang shooting at an egg target. It shows Bob Dalton missing with his rifle and then drawing a revolver and breaking the egg with the shot.
It was reported that Emmett Dalton would be shown in the picture but this is incorrect. He has no desire for further notoriety. He was out to the practice yesterday but took no part in it, save to tell the actors if they were wrong. He is not shown in any of the films. Of course one of the actors impersonates him, but Dalton himself has declined to go into the pictures.
His advice was sought as to details and this was only given when it was certain that the pictures were to be taken and on the theory that it was better to have the scenes accurate than faked up, so that these pictures will be as nearly accurate as it is possible to make them.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Jan. 15, 1909: The following dispatch was printed in the Kansas City Journal this morning:
Topeka, Jan. 13. - Former Governor E. W. Hoch threatens to prosecute any moving picture outfit that uses a representation of a “pardon scene” in the pictures of the Dalton raid at Coffeyville. He has served notice to that effect on Emmet Dalton.
Hoch feels outraged that Dalton should permit himself to be worked by a moving pictures outfit, and has earnestly advised him to abandon the project.
Last Sunday Dalton came to Topeka to see the governor. He wanted to explain. On his way here Dalton passed the letter that the governor had written him on Saturday. So the governor not only told him the contents of the letter, but added several things to it.
The explanation given by Dalton is that the whole proposition is a scheme of the Coffeyville Commercial Club to advertise that town. He says that the club wants to show what strides Coffeyville has made since the Dalton raid, and one picture is to represent the town at the time of the raid, together with a scene of the raid, and another the town today. His own interest, he said in the matter was simply to verify the historical points and scenes.
Still, the governor didn’t think this a sufficient excuse for Dalton to be tangled up with the affair, and said so. The governor also doubted if a picture of the Dalton raid would now be a very good advertisement for Coffeyville, even for comparison purposes, and he doubts the wisdom of the Coffeyville Commercial Club in backing such an enterprise. Dalton said he took no hand in it until strongly urged by some of the leading businessmen and ministers of Coffeyville.
The Emporia Gazette, Jan. 13, 1909: Emmet Dalton, who was pardoned out of the penitentiary by Governor Hoch, and who promised to behave himself and lead the simple life, has been persuaded by some oily-tongued strangers of Oklahoma to figure in moving pictures, representing the Coffeyville bank robbery in which he took a hand. They hypnotized him to such an extent that he went to Topeka to urge Governor Hoch to pose for a picture in the pardon scene. Mr. Hoch gave him a talking to that should have curled his hair, and the young man went back to Oklahoma sadder, and it may be hoped wiser. The ex-governor says that if he is made to figure in any moving pictures connected with Dalton, he will see what the law can do to protect him and bring the vile miscreants to justice.
Kansas City Star, Jan. 21, 1909: BARTLESVILLE, Ok., Jan. 20. - Emmet Dalton, in reply to a letter from ex-Governor Hoch remonstrating against Dalton’s connection with the moving pictures portraying the Coffeyville, Kas., bank robbery, has written to Mr. Hoch saying that his purpose was to see that the story was accurately told, and that the pictures will teach a moral lesson. C. F. Tackett, maker of the picture films, could not be induced to abandon his plans.
Bartlesville Enterprise, March 12, 1909 (from Monday’s Daily): Emmet Dalton, who has been suggested for member of the city council from the Fourth Ward, says he will not be a candidate unless everybody else declines to run. Dalton told the Enterprise today that the Fourth Ward wants its share of sidewalks and fire protection and that he will stand for the council to get these improvements.
“We need an alderman,” said Dalton, “who will get these things for us, and, if we can not get some good man to go in to win, I will run.”
Dalton was suggested for the council Saturday evening by a mass meeting of Fourth Warders held at Redmen Hall. Other candidates were suggested too, but Dalton got the entire twenty-six votes cast.
Emmett was nominated with Mr. Schwartz as a democratic candidate from Ward 4. Schwartz was elected.
Bartlesville Enterprise, July 2, 1909: H. S. James, editor of the Independence Reporter, was in Bartlesville this week and wrote the following interesting story about Emmett Dalton:
“When the question was up for the pardon of Emmett Dalton, the Reporter wrote Governor Hoch that it believed Dalton would make an upright, useful citizen and that his conduct would be such that the governor would never have occasion to regret his action.
“Emmett Dalton is making good that prediction. Immediately after leaving Lansing Dalton located in Tulsa and at once engaged in business. He did not waste time beating around the country. He found a useful place in the world for himself. Later he sold his Tulsa place of business and moved to Bartlesville, where he married. Mrs. Dalton herself has some property. The two are fond of each other and both are ambitious.
“The time Emmett Dalton was in Lansing was not lost. He was a student. He read, read, read - always good literature. He strove even behind iron bars to better himself and he did so by learning well two or three trades. The result was when he came out he was equipped to grapple with the affairs of life.
One of the first experiences after locating in Bartlesville was defending his rights in a piece of property, which was being purchased for a union station site. Dalton won in the courts and came out $4,000 to the good.
“Dalton is a likeable fellow and is popular at Bartlesville. His neighbors wanted him to be councilman for his ward. He is essentially a businessman, and the indications are that he is going to make a success of his life in spite of the handicap of his youth and the late start. He has just purchased a tract of land at Copan and is preparing to drill for oil. The land is well located and there is every indication that he will get oil. He has purchased another tract of land and hopes to make money out of that. He has a good business head and is careful and conservative.
“For many months Dalton was fearful that he was going to lose his arm, which had been bothering him more or less for fifteen years from a gun wound. But apparently the last operation for the removal of diseased bone was successful. The wound has entirely healed and the arm is well and strong. Recently Dalton has grown a moustache and is now regarded as one of the handsomest men in Bartlesville.”
Bartlesville Enterprise, July 9, 1909: A good-sized crowd braved the heat to attend the first race meeting at Bella Mead track yesterday afternoon. There were a number of other celebrations in the vicinity of Bartlesville and the crowd was larger than could reasonably have been expected under such conditions.
Those who attended saw some good races and saw Governor Hoch, the running horse recently purchased by Emmett Dalton, win his race twice. Miss Weber, the other horse in this race, fell down after the horses got away and Dalton kindly consented to give her another chance. The distance was a half mile and Governor Hoch ran it in 50 3-4 seconds.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Aug. 13, 1909: Emmett Dalton has shaved his moustache and is again a pretty good-looking young fellow.
At some point Emmett decided to tour with moving pictures John Tackett had made of the Coffeyville raid and to lecture on the evils of crime. It is likely that Tackett wanted to go on the road with his movie and, by going along, Emmett could have some say how it was done.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Sept. 17, 1909 (From Wednesday’s Daily): Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Dalton left today to travel with the motion picture of “Daltons’ Last Raid.” They go from here to Tulsa and from there to Muskogee. Their route from there has not yet been decided upon.
The Oklahoman, Sept. 30, 1909: Emmet Dalton, ex-bandit, pardoned from the Kansas state penitentiary, where he was imprisoned fourteen years for complicity in the Coffeyville bank robbery Oct. 5, 1892, is in Oklahoma City in the role of lecturer and moving picture owner. Dalton makes his living with his moving pictures, showing vividly the scenes, which stirred Coffeyville to its depths with one of the most daring bandit feats in history. These pictures will be displayed at the Yale Theater, near the Rock Island depot, for the next four days beginning today.
Emmet Dalton will take tickets and talk about his pictures. With the memory of Emmet’s pardon fresh in the minds of most people, his coming to Oklahoma City will revive the story of the Coffeyville raid which cost the lives of eight men, Emmet alone escaping.
The Oklahoman, Oct. 1, 1909: More than 3,500 paid admission to see Emmet Dalton, at the head of a company reproducing the exploits of the famous Dalton gang at the Yale theater. The performance started at 10 o’clock in the morning and was continuous until midnight. The house was packed throughout the day and many were turned away from time to time.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Oct. 22, 1909: Emmett Dalton spent Sunday here and is leaving tonight for Wichita where the Dalton raid pictures will be shown tonight. Emmett has been traveling with his pictures nearly a month and has been making money.
“In Bartlesville,” he said, “we showed to more people in a single day than we have in any other Oklahoma town - although we had an average of 2,000 a day for nine days in Oklahoma City.”
The Dalton pictures cost about $200 a week to operate, carrying a regular troupe of assistants - an advance agent, a lecturer, and operator and Messrs. Dalton and Tackett, the owners. Several hundred feet of Bartlesville street scenes and a lot of prison life scenes have been added. The pictures have been shown in Tulsa, Muskogee, Sapulpa, Pawhuska, Arkansas City, El Reno, Oklahoma City, Lawton and Enid.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Oct. 29, 1909: WEAKER MANAGERS ARE KNOCKING EMMETT DALTON’S EFFORT - THEY HOPE TO INJURE HIM BY A CRY OF “MORAL EFFECT”
Emmett Dalton has been paying the penalty of being in the show business lately by the knocks he has been getting from the newspapers. The Enid Eagle took a fall out of him when he was there last week and the Kansas City Times of this week had a half column under an Enid date line taking him to task for the business he is following.
A funny feature of the times story, according to Dalton, is the fact that “Al” Jennings, who served a term in the penitentiary for train robbery, is quoted as denouncing Dalton’s show. The facts are that Jennings is also in the show business and opened his moving picture show in Oklahoma City a few weeks ago in a room adjoining that in which Dalton was showing his pictures. The Dalton show was too strong for Jennings and he moved after two disastrous days. The story in the Times is as follows:
Enid, Okla., Oct. 20. - Emmett Dalton, the paroled bandit, is exhibiting moving pictures of the Coffeyville, Kansas, bank robbery. Dalton took part in this robbery and two of his brothers were killed in the fight that followed. Dalton was captured and sent to the Kansas penitentiary. His prison conduct was such that Governor Hoch paroled him. Dalton had many friends in Oklahoma who interceded for him with Governor Hoch, in the belief that Dalton would shun notoriety.
The moving pictures are crudely made, and portray the deeds of the Dalton gang in the spirit of the yellow back novel, though they are purported to be shown as a warning to young men to shun an evil life. Incidentally, Dalton displays as part of the scenic story photographs of the dead bodies of his two brothers and for this he accepts money.
“Al” Jennings, who served a term in the federal prison in Columbia, O., for train robbery, is quoted as saying there was no possible chance of his ever being guilty of trying to take money from the public by the exhibition of such scenes as are shown in the moving picture of the Coffeyville raid. Dalton is being criticized by Oklahoma newspapers for his conduct, the Enid Eagle saying:
“Emmett Dalton has made a woeful mistake in going about the country exploiting the career of himself and associates as bandits. The spectacle presented in this city today of relics of the bloody raid being exhibited to attract the attention of the morbidly curious and pictures of the Coffeyville robbery being offered to the young to poison their minds, is one that may well call down censure from any civilized community. The power of suggestion in criminal records is too well established to admit of dispute. Emmett Dalton has many friends in Enid, who, when he was in sadder circumstances, wished and worked for his release and rejoiced when the day of that release came. He is still a young man and has plenty of opportunity before him. Paths of usefulness are open to him on every hand. Apparently he does not realize his responsibility as an example to the young.”
After wanting so much to forget the Coffeyville raid, why was he now going over and over it to all who wanted to see and hear? Never a man for a sedentary life, joining Tackett must have been attractive. Julia may have had her say, too. Realizing the power of the new media, he could turn the bad in his life to a useful lesson to others, although this point was obviously missed by some. And they disliked his making money from the raid, but then Coffeyville saw the dollar signs just about as soon as the smoke cleared after the fight. If you have something you can sell, then of course you will. But I’d like to think he explained himself to ex-governor Hoch.
Kansas City Times, Nov. 17, 1909: WICHITA, KAS., Nov. 16. - As of a result of a protest to Mayor C. L. Davidson by Emmett Dalton, ex-member of the famous Dalton gang of Coffeyville bank robbers, against the closing up of his moving picture show portraying the fight and escape of the Daltons from Coffeyville, the mayor called a special meeting of the city commissioners to take action this afternoon.
Late this afternoon the commissioners passed a special ordinance making it unlawful to depict crime by either stationary or moving pictures.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Nov. 19, 1909: Bartlesville Man Gets Good Advertising in Wichita.
Wichita, Kansas, Nov. 17. - A special meeting of the city commissioners last evening passed an ordinance providing for censor of plays and moving picture shows, in order that they might legally stop the motion picture reproduction of the Coffeyville bank raid by the Dalton gang, being presented here by Emmett Dalton, the sole survivor of the gang, and a pardoned convict.
Dalton closed the show when told to do so by the chief of police but will ask for an injunction against the commissioners.
In November 26 issue, the Bartlesville Enterprise further commented on all the free advertising Emmett was getting and quoted an article from the Kansas City Journal. The article called Emmett’s show “A Demoralizing Exhibition” and included comments such as: “…the pictures are of a kind to impair the morals of susceptible youths… To capitalize the malodorous ‘fame’ of the Dalton gang is a palpable offence against public morals… Hundreds of sympathizing people helped Dalton to gain the freedom which he is so deplorably abusing.”
Clipping, Sedalia, Missouri, Jan. 3, 1910: Emmett Dalton, the reformed bandit, here with a moving picture show, paid the Democrat-Sentinel a visit. His wife is with him and they are stopping at Hotel Huckins.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Jan. 21, 1910: Chanute, Kansas, Jan. 9. - Mayor Abbott this afternoon stopped the Emmett Dalton picture show and lecture at the Electric Theater.
A conference between the Mayor and Mr. Dalton is in progress to determine whether the show will be put on tonight.
Dalton is insistent that he violates no ordinance or law and that the pictures he shows are no different from those in all picture theaters. The agitation against them comes from the fact that they are based on a real incident.
“I shall violate no law or ordinance. I shall go ahead doing the good that I can and preachers, mayors, governors or petty politicians cannot stop me. I know what I am doing and you will notice that I am not running. I am attending to my own business.”
Emmett Dalton, the famous survivor of the famous Dalton raid upon Coffeyville, came to town this afternoon. He came here from Pittsburg where he has been for two or three days.
At all the larger churches action was taken to protest against the appearance of Mr. Dalton in this city, and asking city officials to prohibit his show in case they had authority to do so.
Speaking of the city’s jurisdiction Mayor Abbott said: “The city attorney and myself have gone over the ordinances and found they contain nothing which will allow us to prohibit a public exhibition unless it is immoral, lewd or indecent.
“The ordinance governing public exhibitions was passed before moving pictures were invented. The police will be instructed to watch the performance and see that nothing which they consider a violation of the ordinance is done. They have the authority to stop the performance in case anything immoral, indecent or lewd is shown or said.”
The Oklahoman, Jan. 15, 1910: Topeka, Kan., Jan. 14. - Governor Stubbs today requested Attorney General Jackson to examine the pardon papers of Emmett Dalton, the only surviving member of the famous “Dalton gang,” to see if the pardon can be revoked.
Dalton was pardoned by former Governor E. W. Hoch Nov. 2, 1907. Since then he has started a “wild west” show and has exhibited moving pictures, showing a reproduction of the robbery of the Coffeyville bank on Oct. 5, 1893, at which the Dalton gang was broken up, and for which Emmett was sentenced to prison.
Governor Stubbs has received complaints from Pittsburg against Dalton’s moving picture show being given there and is highly displeased with Dalton’s actions since he was pardoned.
Emmett Dalton appeared with his show in Oklahoma City during the state fair, filling an engagement at a North Broadway moving picture theater. He did an immense business here, although there was some criticism of the class of pictures he was showing.
Kansas City Times, Jan. 15, 1910: TOPEKA, Jan. 14. - Governor Stubbs will revoke the pardon of Emmett Dalton, the Coffeyville bandit, if it is possible for him to do so. The governor sent to Fred B. Jackson, attorney general, today a request for an opinion as to whether the governor could revoke the pardon and return Dalton to the penitentiary.
Dalton was released by Governor Hoch two years ago November 2, under commutation of sentence. The governor at the time urged that Dalton should not make a show of himself or attempt to make money from a display of the exploits of himself or brothers in the Coffeyville or other robbery raids. This was not made a part of the pardon. Almost as soon as Dalton was released he set about to arrange a moving picture show of the Coffeyville raid. He posed as one of the bandits and had others made up as his brothers and other members of the gang and as officers and citizens. This show has been traveling about Kansas and Oklahoma for several months. Dalton gives lectures during the show. Governor Stubbs is disgusted with Dalton’s actions.
Kansas City Times, Jan. 19, 1910: IOLA, Kansas, Jan. 19. - The city authorities stopped Emmett Dalton, the ex-bandit, from putting his moving picture show here yesterday afternoon. Dalton had advertised a matinee and an evening performance, but on his arrival in the city was informed by the chief of police that the show would not be permitted. Delegations of citizens called on Mayor H. F. Travis this morning and entered a protest against the pictures.
Dalton insisted that his show was clean and invited the officers in to see it before offering it to the public. When he was given a final answer that the performance could not be given, he said he would show any way, and test the matter in the courts, but later he changed his mind, and shipped his paraphernalia to St. Joseph.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Jan. 21, 1910: Pittsburg Kansas Jan. 17. - “It’s all politics,” declared Emmett Dalton Saturday evening, when informed Governor Stubbs had ordered Attorney General Jackson to examine the pardon papers of the only surviving member of the Dalton gang, to see if the pardon granted by Former Governor Hoch could be revoked.
“If that bunch starts anything with me they will find me meeting them half, yes, three quarters of the way. Governor Stubbs is a good man and has done good things for this state but like all other men holding similar offices, he is pestered by petty politicians. I am a politician myself and know what I am talking about. My pardon papers are all right. I would stake everything I posses on that. You see, I am the man most concerned and I know what I am talking about. I will give any person $1,000 who will prove that my pardon papers are not regular.”
Dalton said he never conducted a Wild West show nor indulged in any other business except the enterprise he now heads.
“ The talk about my having a Wild West show is all bosh,” said he “the people know what kind of a show I’ve got. I am lecturing on morals and what do I care what petty politicians are doing.”
Attorney General Jackson today wired ex-Governor Hoch if there were any conditions exacted when he pardoned Emmet Dalton.
“I remember the governor asked me about putting in some conditions at the time,” said Mr. Jackson, “and I am under the impression they went into the pardon. The official records are silent in regard to the matter. The evidence of former Governor Hoch would be just as good as official records in the matter, and if there were any conditions, written or verbal, we may be able to lay our hands on Dalton.” The governor and attorney general are determined to drive Dalton out of the picture show business, in Kansas, at least.
Report from Kansas, where Dalton pictures are now being shown, is that they are doing splendid business. It is nothing uncommon to take over $200 in a single night. Governor Stubbs’ intent to revoke Dalton’s pardon if possible, is acting as a big advertisement for the pictures.
Kansas City Times, Jan. 21, 1910: Emmett Dalton, one time bandit, and paroled convict From the Kansas penitentiary, is in Kansas City to place in a orphan’s home a boy, 7 years old, whom Dalton and his wife took charge of in Oklahoma. The ex-bandit proposes to pay for the support of the boy.
Dalton says he has been in Kansas for more than a week and that he has no fear that Governor Stubbs will send him back to prison. He insists that the moving pictures are perfectly legitimate and that they are not shown without the full consent of the mayor and the approval of the people of the towns visited.
He may buy a moving picture theater in Kansas City.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Feb. 4, 1910: Emmett Dalton was the guest of Scout Younger in Tulsa Sunday, and the Tulsa Democrat printed a half column interview with him.
Advertisement, Kansas City, Feb. 20, 1910: The Feature Program in Kansas City, All This Week Beginning Monday, February 21, Emmett Dalton at The Olympic Theater 1123 Grand Ave., In a special feature program, moral lectures, short talks etc., Admission 10 Cents
Davis County Clipper, March 4, 1910: EX-BANDIT DEFIANT Emmett Dalton Hands Hot Talk to Governor
“Emmett Dalton has no business to be going around the country giving a bank robbery picture show. He has broken his parole, and if he is not careful I’ll send him back to the penitentiary.” - W. R. Stubbs, Governor of Kansas.
“I’m not here to be awed by any petty politician. Gov. Stubbs is a showman like myself and likes to keep in the public eye. It’s all bosh and I defy any man to imprison me for breaking my parole.” - Emmett Dalton, Ex-Bank Robber.
KANSAS CITY, Kan., - A lively controversy between the governor of Kansas and Emmett Dalton, the last of the famous Dalton gang, has resulted from the insistence of Dalton on giving moving picture exhibitions of a bank robbery, accompanied by a realistic lecture and advice to young men not to stray from the straight and narrow path.
Gov. Stubbs says Dalton ought to be in prison. Dalton virtually invites the governor to go to blazes.
The man who smashed two political machines and outwrestled the Demon Rum found himself doffed by the one time outlaw.
Dalton and his wife, who, by the way, have adopted two orphan children to bring up, were touring Kansas towns with great success, crowds flocking to hear the former bank robber tell of such adventures as the raid on the Coffeyville bank, which led to Jim Dalton’s capture and the surrender of Emmett, who gave himself up rather than leave his wounded brother to captors who, for all he knew, would hang him on the spot.
Gov. Stubbs says Dalton is out on parole, and he will send him back to serve his time out. Dalton says the governor is “talking through his hat.”
No more “meek as a lamb” Dalton. Stubbs should have known better than to oppose Dalton when Dalton knew he was in the right and ready to fight.
As to these “orphaned children”, the Daltons had adopted one boy, Roy Reynolds. The 1910 census had him as eight years old, parents unknown. According to Nancy Samuelson in her book The Dalton Gang Story, Roy was several years later adopted by people named Johnson, who were not related to Julia.
Bartlesville Enterprise, March 11, 1910: Emmett Dalton’s show is now in Kansas City and the sign over the door of the theater says, “Mr. Dalton is here in person.”
Bartlesville Enterprise, March 25, 1910 (From Tuesday’s Daily): Emmett Dalton returned last evening from Missouri where he has been with his moving pictures. The film, which has been in use, wore out and John Tackett of Coffeyville is making a duplicate film. The show will open in Kansas in about a week.
That week Emmett landed in some trouble. The Bartlesville Examiner told of an incident that occurred near the Oklah Theater between Emmett and the manager of the theater, John Flinn. Emmett was demanding some kind of settlement from Flinn and he was arrested for public drunkenness and fined $11.75, but appealed the sentence. Thursday’s daily (March 31) Enterprise had a short report from police court that morning, including that Emmett had pleaded not guilty and would be tried later. Nothing further was mentioned about this incident.
In Oklahoma Today magazine, March-April 1986, I found this little bit: “…After filming a re-creation of how his brothers died robbing a Coffeyville, Kansas, bank, Emmett agreed to denounce the crooked life between shows. Unfortunately, speaking before the crowd at Bartlesville’s Oklan Theater made him cower. The cure? Red-eye whiskey. However, he required so many snorts of the stuff that he emptied the jug, demanded another and jumped for the manager’s throat when refused. After spending the night in jail, Dalton announced he was going west, landed in Hollywood and became a millionaire in real estate, again according to Sam Henderson.”
That is a good example how Dalton stories evolve into something far from the truth.
In spite of his tough man act, the criticism he had received might have been difficult to take. Especially in view of all the admiration he had attracted up to that point. Solace is often sought from the bottle.
Bartlesville Enterprise, April 1, 1910: “While lecturing in Missouri I noticed that an old white haired man in one of the front seats seemed to be enjoying the lecture immensely. Every time I made a point he would applaud loudly. I waxed eloquent and he applauded the louder. When the lecture was over, I met the old man in the lobby of the theater as he was leaving and asked him how he liked my lecture. He gazed at me in astonishment for a moment then pointed to his mouth and eyes and shook his head - he was deaf and dumb.” — Emmett Dalton
Bartlesville Enterprise, April 8, 1910: Mrs. Emmett Dalton was called to Kansas City last evening by the illness of her son, who is attending school there.
Bartlesville Enterprise, April 15, 1910: Salina, Kansas, April 9. - Emmett Dalton is sick and will not be able to be in Salina the middle of this month with his celebrated moving picture show, showing the raid on the bank in Coffeyville 18 years ago. This fact was learned from Carl Thacher, manager of the National Theater, who received a letter from Dalton’s advance man.
The Oklahoman, Aug. 6, 1910: Emmett Dalton, once famous, is very friendly with the management of the Bartlesville Examiner. The other day he was sitting in the editorial chair when an irate reader entered seeking satisfaction. He refused to be convinced that Dalton was not the editor, and shook his fist in Dalton’s face. It’s something to wonder about - what he will say when he finds out who he insulted.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Aug. 12, 1910: The fact that Emmet Dalton was going to sell tickets to his moving picture show has drawn a crowd faster than the show itself.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Sept. 16, 1910: Jeff Younger, who has been the guest of Emmett Dalton returned to Arkansas last night.
Bartlesville Enterprise, Oct. 14, 1910 (From Monday’s Daily): Emmett Dalton returned this morning from Vinita, where he has been assisting in prosecuting a negro named Joe Flinn, who sold him a piece of land in Texas for $700 and which was not the Negros’s property at all.
Destination Hollywood - 1911-1920
Emmett Dalton was determined to succeed in using the Coffeyville raid as a moral lesson for the youth of America. With a refreshed version of the Dalton movie, he toured the country lecturing against crime. He finally wrote his book, and then headed off to Hollywood to make yet another Dalton movie, now based on his book.
Kansas City Star, April 2, 1911: A report has been circulated that Emmett Dalton, the former bandit, pardoned from the Lansing penitentiary by Governor Hoch, is working in an El Paso, Tex., gambling hall, watching a keno game. A telegram sent by the Star last night to El Paso brought an answer that a man who admitted he was one of the Dalton boys was keeper of a keno game. That man, however, is not Emmett Dalton. A telegram from Bartlesville, Ok., said Emmett Dalton was living in Bartlesville, was married and occupied his time attending to his wife’s business interests, which are many.
The Alaska Citizen, Aug. 7, 1911: NOTED BANDIT ON MORALS - “My advice to the young men and boys of the present day is that they should obey the law to the letter. Never try to hold up a bank. I tried it once and served fourteen years and four months in the state penitentiary at Lansing, Kan. I had been sentenced for life.”
So says Emmett Dalton, youngest member of the notorious band of outlaws known as the Dalton gang who threw the town of Coffeyville, Kan., into panic on the morning of October 5, 1892…
Emmett Dalton, in those days quick as a cat and possessed of iron nerve and muscles of steel, rode at top speed out of town. Though terribly wounded, he continued his flight, and it was not until an hour and a half had passed that he was brought to earth.
The posse conducted him to Independence for safe keeping. He remained in jail there for over 70 days and then was arraigned on two charges of first degree murder and one of bank robbery. A verdict of guilty was returned and the prisoner was sentenced to a life term in the Lansing prison.
His excellent deportment in the prison won him many friends. Not a black mark was registered against him during his stay of 14 years and 4 months. Governor Hoch paroled him, and on November 8, 1907, granted him a full pardon.
Dalton now is in the prime of his life, and he says he will devote his time teaching lessons from his career.
“The sea of time,” he says, “is strewn with wrecks, and most of these wrecks are caused by men and boys not following the true chart in the voyage of life. The only chart is the advice of God, wife and mother, and the influence of a happy home. In these you find all the dangers pointed out. They build a beacon on every reef. Always follow good advice. The young man who refuses to listen to father or mother goes from bad to worse until he sinks beneath the wave of humiliation and disgrace.
Be strong for the right, and against the wrong. Be manly. There is only one thing in the world that equals a manly man, and that is a womanly woman. The world is full of dudes and butterflies, but men and women are at a premium. Life is full of tempter’s wiles. Siren songs entice and the charms of sin allure, and unless the unwary youth beware, he will be snared into the meshes of sin. If you want to do great good do not cater to the low or vicious.”
Dalton will probably spend the balance of the summer in Colorado.
We may well laugh at his language, but this was in 1911. He certainly sounds like a preacher and this became his gospel for the rest of his life. He never had been a real bad or a mean man, and obviously had suffered terribly for the folly of his youth. This subject was close to his heart, and if he could turn just one man away from the path of crime, his preaching would not have been in vain.
While John Tackett teamed up with Scout Younger to make a western movie in Tulsa, Emmett went on to make a new version of his moving pictures. It first appeared in 1911 under the title The Last Raid of the Dalton Gang, in 1912 it was The Last Stand of the Dalton Boys, later still The True Life History of the Dalton Boys.
Kevin Brownlow in The War, The West And The Wilderness wrote: “…The only surviving member of the notorious Dalton gang, he used the moving picture to illustrate his wild past as a grim example to modern youth. The Last Stand of the Dalton Boys (1912) was a three-realer, directed by Jack Kenyon, who had worked for Selig.
Advertisements called it ’the Triumph of Western Realism,’ and it undoubtedly contained a great deal of valuable documentary material; it was ’taken on exact localities’ and ’posed by people that actually took part in the raid.’ The picture opens at the childhood home of the Daltons, where they were brought up by a devoted mother. The boys grew to manhood, and the oldest, Frank Dalton, enrolls as a deputy U. S. marshal, helping to stamp out bootleggers. He is shot in the performance of his duties, and his brothers, Bob and Emmett, become deputies to avenge his death. Through political chicanery, the Daltons are ousted from the service without their back pay, and they turn to crime, organizing the Dalton gang. They terrorize the Southwest until the final raid at Coffeyville, Kansas, where they stage the first double bank-robbery on 5 October 1892. The film ends with the shooting of Emmett and his arrest, as he lies helpless in Death Alley. There was a coda showing his conviction and pardon.”
Additionally, from papers: “…Then Bob, Emmet and Grat become U.S. marshals and suffer all the hardships that fall to the lot of the range riders who have given their lives to bringing order out of chaos. Through the dishonesty of their paymaster they were forced to retire from the service of Uncle Sam and then began a reign of terror never equaled in the Southwest. Shows their first crime - a very common one at that time, horse stealing, and all the various dangers they went through - including the holding up of a train at Adair to the planning of the Coffeyville, Kansas, raid. Here Death Alley, the Condon Bank and the First National Bank, Shoe Store, the Livery Man and the Hardware Man are faithfully portrayed. Shows Emmet Dalton returning to pick up his fallen brother Bob - the barber who wounded Emmet - Emmet’s arrest. The expiation of his crime, his return to his home and his welcome by one who always believed in him, his mother.” “…Original target practice scene on Snow Creek, near Coffeyville; eggs are used for targets. Campground night before the raid. Bob Dalton awakening the gang. Starting for Coffeyville. Dick Broadwell, a member of the gang, climbing telegraph poles to cut wires between Ft. Smith, Ark., and Coffeyville. … ATTENTION - These pictures are not stage work, but the real production; showing the battle between the citizens and the desperadoes at the Plaza in Coffeyville, the banks where the robbery took place” etc., etc.
William Selig was a noted pioneer of the American motion picture industry. Tom Mix from Bartlesville, who later became a famed western star, had gone to work with Selig in 1910.
Advertisement, Moberly, Missouri, June 1911: At the Bijou This Week EMMETT DALTON in a reproduction of the Dalton raid of 1892 at Coffeyville, Kansas. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED OR MONEY CHEERFULLY REFUNDED
Advertisement, Waterloo, Iowa, Sept. 1911: SPECIAL AT DREAMLAND Tuesday and Wed., Sept. 12-13 THE GREATEST MOTION PICTURE EVER MANUFACTURED - THE LAST RAID OF THE “DALTON GANG” IN COFFEYVILLE, KANSAS, OCT. 5, 1892.
The robbing of the two banks in broad daylight posed and created by the only surviving member, EMMETT DALTON who was pardoned from the Kansas State Penitentiary after serving fifteen years out of a 99-year sentence imposed upon him. Every scene in this pictured story being enacted on the same grounds where the original scenes took place and covering a radius of eight miles.
These motion pictures are accompanied with a lecture, and is a good moral lesson, being approved by the press and public; also the St. Louis, Chicago, and Kansas City board as being one of the greatest moral lessons ever produced in motion pictures, demonstrating that the wages of sin is death.
The lecture explains each and every act as they appear on the screen. Run in connection with the regular picture show program, making two shows in one.
This time he had the approval of all. Governor Stubbs and all the “petty politicians” stayed quiet.
The Macon Daily Telegraph, Aug. 27, 1912: LAST RAID OF THE DALTON GANG HELD OVER TODAY AT THE ALAMO
So great and hearty was the public approval yesterday on this wonderful picture, that the management decided to hold this sensational picture over for another day. It is a truly sensational film, and full of life of the frontier days.
It shows the last raid of the Dalton Gang in Coffeyville, Kansas, on October the fifth, 1892. The robbing of the two banks in broad daylight posed and created by the only surviving member, Emmett Dalton.
Every scene is enacted on the identical grounds where the original scenes took place just a few years ago. These pictures are accompanied by a lecture and have been endorsed by all the leading cities, as one of the greatest moral lessons, demonstrating that “The wages of sin is death.” It leaves a lasting impression on all who hear it.
Advertisement, Athens, Ohio, Oct. 19, 1912: TONIGHT---FEATURE NIGHT At “THE GRAND”
The Greatest Moral Lesson Ever Produced in Motion Pictures LAST STAND OF THE DALTON BOYS AT COFFEYVILLE, KANSAS. 3---REELS---3
Photographed on exact localities where the Dalton Gang operated. Most realistic moving picture ever produced. Acted by the only and original EMMETT DALTON The One Living Survivor of the Famous Band. A Picture Every Man, Woman and Child should see. ALWAYS 5 CENTS.
Advertisement, Janesville, Wisconsin, Feb. 1913: APOLLO THEATER VERY SPECIAL PROGRAM Thursday Afternoon and Evening
…And by special arrangement with the Atlas Feature Film Co., a presentation of their 3000 foot films. “THE LAST STAND OF THE DALTON BOYS” With Emmett Dalton as the Principal.
PROGRAM: FEATURE 1- Last Stand of the Dalton Boys. Part one. FEATURE 2- The Cowboy monologist - Harry L. Siebert FEATURE 3- Chief White Eagle, Cheyenne Indian in Clay Modeling Specialty, presenting a- Buffalo Bill, b- Sitting Bull, c- George Washington, d- Abraham Lincoln, e- Pat Clancy of Denver, f- Fong Lee, the ranch cook FEATURE 4- Roping contest - Jack Macurio of Senora, Mexico, will demonstrate how Long Horns are roped and branded in Texas FEATURE 5- Last Stand of the Dalton Boys. Part two. FEATURE 6- A Realistic Western Comedy entitled: A CHEYENNE REHEARSAL Note: During the action of the comedy, a genuine Cheyenne War dance is given by White Eagle, also the sensational shooting of Jack Macurio. FEATURE 7- Last Stand of the Dalton Boys. Part three.
The Oklahoman, Aug. 5, 1913: Crowd witnessing motion picture production of the Dalton gang early day escapades was so large at Henryetta last week that a portion of the floor in the theater gave way, according to Henryetta Free Lance.
The Lexington Herald, Aug. 14, 1913: The docket in Police Court yesterday was disposed of as follows:
Emmet Dalton, loitering, $5 and costs.
Emmett loitering in Kentucky? This could well be some other Emmett or Emmet Dalton, but considering what follows next, something was going wrong with Emmett.
Kansas City Star, Aug. 23, 1913: JOPLIN, Mo., Aug.23. - “I nursed an oath to kill Emmett Dalton fifteen years,” said J. G. Brown, a young miner, as he tried to induce the judge in police court to free Dalton or reduce his fine so that Brown could pay it. “Now I have seen the folly of my way of thinking and want to help him instead of doing him harm.”
Brown said that Dalton had killed his father in the raid made by the Dalton gang in Coffeyville, Kansas, about seventeen years ago. Brown’s father was a shoemaker in the little village and was one of the men killed in opposing the bandits. Emmett, the younger of the Dalton boys, was released from the Kansas penitentiary after serving part of a life term.
In the last two weeks Dalton has been in jail several times on charges of intoxication. On his fourth appearance he pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Judge Laughlin to pay a fine of $30. Dalton couldn’t pay the fine, but was quoted in a newspaper here as saying that the jail was worse than the Kansas penitentiary.
Brown read the story and went to the police station with the intention of paying the fine. He told of his fifteen years resolve to kill Dalton on sight and of his change of heart. Dalton shed tears when told of the incident. He said he knew that a shoemaker had been killed in the raid but had forgotten his name.
Kansas City Star, Aug. 26, 1913: TOPEKA, Aug. 26. - Emmett Dalton, who was fined $25 for drunkenness in Joplin, Mo., was granted a commutation of his life sentence by Governor Hoch November 2, 1907. It is the same as a pardon and Dalton cannot be returned to prison. Governor Hoch wanted to return him several years ago because of Dalton’s drunken sprees at Bartlesville, and asked the attorney general about it. Once he sent for Dalton and told him the commutation would be revoked, but Dalton laughed in the governor’s face and told him to go climb a tree. The commutation could not be revoked, and Dalton knew Hoch was bluffing.
Emmett was once arrested for public drunkenness at Bartlesville. There were no “drunken sprees”, and I have a feeling the writer confused Hoch, who was not the governor at that time (1910), with Governor Stubbs. It would have been pointless to ask the attorney general as Stubbs had already done so in connection with his moving pictures. Ex-governor Hoch probably did not even know about the incident at Bartlesville, as it was not widely reported.
It is clear Emmett had quite a problem (at least in Joplin), although I have found only two instances of him appearing intoxicated. It is also clear that he managed to sort himself out. Frank F. Latta wrote in his Dalton Gang Days: “It was obvious to me that Emmett was not a drinking man. No one who had been acquainted with him since he left prison knew of him doing any drinking.” His drinking was obviously connected to particularly troubled times.
The Daily Advocate, Feb. 4, 1914: Something out of the ordinary happened in Victoria yesterday when Emmett Dalton, the famous ex-outlaw, and William H. Haskell, who was warden of the Kansas penitentiary when Dalton was a prisoner, met by chance for the first time since Dalton was pardoned by Governor Hoch of Kansas.
Mr. Haskell, a resident of Kansas City, is interested in the Robertson-Tuttle Land Company of this city, and came to Victoria several days ago to look after some of his investments.
Mr. and Mrs. Dalton came here yesterday to show the true life history of the Dalton boys in moving pictures at the Electra Theatre. An immense crowd saw the pictures, and during an intermission both Haskell and Dalton addressed the audience. Haskell paid high tribute to Dalton as a man, and spoke a kindly word for all men released from prison, asking that society give them a chance to regain their lost standing.
Dalton is now 43 years old. He is a fine looking fellow about six feet tall, and looks more like a society leader than an ex-outlaw. He takes great interest in politics, and is well-informed regarding public affairs. He is well acquainted with Al Jennings, the ex-bandit, who is a candidate for governor of Oklahoma, and expresses the hope that Jennings would be elected. “Jennings is a good man now and a brilliant fellow and a whole lot better than the gang that is trying to defeat him,” asserted Dalton.
While in Victoria, Dalton visited the campaign headquarters of Leopold Morris, candidate for governor of Texas, and pledged Mr. Morris his support. “Morris is a sure winner,” prophesied Dalton. “I have traveled over most of the state during the last few months, and everywhere I have been I have found the masses of the people strong for the Victoria candidate. And if Morris is elected I hope he will exert every effort to find out what is wrong with the Texas penitentiary system, and if he does so he will have every assistance I can give him.”
Mr. and Mrs. Dalton left this morning for San Antonio, and will go from there to Dallas, where they are making their home.
Neither Jennings nor Morris won their campaigns.
The San Antonio Light, March 22, 1914: Austin, Tex., March 21. - Captain Ben E. Campbell of Dallas, former chairman of the prison commission, who was here today, strongly recommends the pardon of Jim Nite, the Longview bank robber, for whose liberty Emmett Dalton has interceded with the governor.
With all the false and exaggerated tales about the Dalton gang, Emmett jealously guarded his story and trusted no one else to tell that story. In 1914 another Dalton film appeared, entitled The Dalton Boys. The story was much the same as in Emmett’s film, but it lacked in quality. Emmett promptly took out an advertisement in Moving Picture World (April 18, 1914): “This is to inform you that ‘fake’ Moving Picture Films, purporting to represent the lives of the Dalton boys are being shown throughout the country. My brothers’ pictures and mine are copyrighted. I will prosecute anyone (Theater or Individual) who shows, impersonates or attempts to do same without my or my mother’s consent.”
The Washington Post, April 16, 1914: From the St. Louis Democrat: Emmett Dalton, last of the gang of bandits who terrorized Oklahoma and Kansas twenty years ago, whose raid on two banks at Coffeyville, Kans., in one day resulted in killing of seven men, led another raid today on a local moving picture company which makes reels.
When Dalton was pardoned from the penitentiary where he was serving a life sentence he staged a moving picture reproduction of scenes of his bandit days, which was produced throughout the country. Then he and his partner separated, and Dalton declares the partner took the negatives and sold them without accounting to Dalton.
A writ of replevin was issued, and Dalton, with deputies, descended upon the movie plant. When Dalton announced his identity, the manager turned over the property.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 10, 1914: AUSTIN, Dec. 10. - Jim Nite, a member of the notorious Dalton band of outlaws [He never rode with the Daltons that included Emmett. The Dalton gang somehow managed to survive years after the Coffeyville raid. I read an article where someone told how the train he had been on was robbed by the Daltons. This had happened on Christmas Eve 1901!] And now serving a life sentence for alleged participation in the celebrated Longview bank robbery twenty-five years ago is to go free.
Governor Colquitt today granted Nite a conditional pardon. Nite always has maintained his innocence, contending that while he was a member of the Dalton gang that he was not a member of the gang that robbed neither the bank nor a party to the murders that followed.
Emmett Dalton, the youngest and only survivor of the Dalton brothers, came to Austin several months ago and made a personal plea to Governor Colquitt for the pardon of Nite. Nite has been in prison nearly twenty-five years and said to be a model convict. He is now 42 years old.
He may have been a model prisoner like Emmett, but there the similarity ends. He was killed in 1929 while trying to rob a drug store in Tulsa.
The Washington Post, March 28, 1915: When a clerical looking gentleman walked up to the room clerk of the Raleigh last week and registered “Emmett Dalton and wife, Tulsa, Okla.,” he gave no indication whatever that he was the last surviving member of the noted band of Dalton brothers, which for years spread terror and fear among the inhabitants of Indian Territory, Kansas, New Mexico and Texas.
Tall, gaunt and looking like the trained athlete, Emmett Dalton did not object to discussing a few of his experiences with his brothers in their lawless ventures before he heard a Kansas judge sentence him to imprisonment for life for participation in the murder of four men at Coffeyville, Kans., 1892.
“I am here purely for pleasure,” he said, “and it’s the first time I have been in Washington. I am the youngest of the Dalton boys, and while there were eight of us, only three engaged in the business of getting money without working or begging for it.
“Much has been said about us in the dime novels that is untrue, for the Dalton brothers weren’t half as bad as they were painted. The truth of the matter is Bob and Grat were at one time United States deputy marshals, but though they risked their lives in their official capacities on many occasions, they were never paid for it as the marshal told them Congress had failed to provide for their salaries. So they both quit and with myself and Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers engaged in other ’business.’ On October 5, 1892, all five of us galloped into Coffeyville, Kans., intent upon tapping two banks just as they opened.
“Dick Broadwell and I were to tackle the First National and my brothers, Bob and Grat, and Bill Powers were to hold up the C. M. Condon Bank…
“I spent fourteen and half years in Lansing prison and was pardoned by Gov. Hoch, who said the nine bunkers confined there might not prove to be good company.”
Again a little change in his story. Now he went with Broadwell and not Bob. In 1906, various papers ran John J. Kloehr’s story of the Coffeyville raid. It was another strange version, and, interestingly, he also had Emmett in the First National with Broadwell. He took part in the fight, and should have known the facts. It seems nobody in those days could tell a straight story. (Read Kloehr’s story here)
Advertisement, Charleston, West Virginia, June 1915: ROYAL THEATRE Tomorrow Only! Return Engagement. By Special Request. The true life history of the Dalton Boys in three reels. Lectured by the only living member EMMETT DALTON Showing their World-Famous Double Bank Robbery at Coffeyville, Kansas.
Charleston Mail, June 8, 1915: It is understood that Emmett Dalton, the only survivor… has written a letter to Governor Hatfield suggesting executive clemency to the extent of commuting a death sentence to life imprisonment in favor of Mat Jarrell, who has been sentenced to hang July 9 for the killing of Silas F. Nance at Eskdale.
Dalton is opposed to the death sentence on the ground that it serves no good purpose in the interest of society, and he believes every man should have a chance for reformation.
It is said this plea is receiving consideration at the hands of the governor.
In 1915 Emmett also made a movie about the Hatfield-McCoy feud, which had started in 1878 over a land dispute and lasted till 1891, on the Kentucky and West Virginia border.
Advertisements, Kokomo, Indiana, Dec. 1915: Last of the Notorious Gang of Bandits Is at Picture land. - Emmett Dalton, one of the notorious “Dalton Boys” who terrorized Kansas and Oklahoma twenty years ago, is at Pictureland theatre today with a special motion picture feature film called “The Hatfield-McCoy Feud,” in which an effort is made to reproduce the days of sudden death in the southwest.
Picture land - - - Monday THE TRUE LIFE HISTORY OF THE DALTON BOYS In 3 reels Nothing to mislead the young or repel the old.
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Jan. 3, 1916: Emmett Dalton, who is the feature attraction playing to capacity business at the Star theater, will continue until Wednesday night. Many people commented favorably on Mr. Dalton’s lecture to the young men.
His pictures are an exact reproduction of their world famous “Double Bank Robbery” at Coffeyville, Kan., October 5, 1892. Mr. Dalton does not attempt to glorify crime in his lecture and many ladies can be seen wiping their eyes when the mother of the Dalton boys appears, decorating the graves of her sons who are buried at Coffeyville, Kan., and hear Emmett Dalton explain this - the saddest of all scenes.
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Jan. 9, 1916: To-day the Star theatre has a double feature program. The Dalton boys in three reels with Emmett Dalton, the only living member of the Dalton “gang” lecturing on their lives.
Emmett Dalton is said to be the most noted ex-outlaw living and his explanation of the reels while their double bank robbery is on the screen is said to be almost perfect.
In the Hatfield-McCoy feud of West Virginia and Kentucky, Old Devil Anise Hatfield, who is an uncle of the governor of West Virginia, is seen as the leader of one of the most noted feuds in the world’s history. Grandpa Hatfield, as Devil Anse is known in West Virginia, is now 76 years old, very wealthy and highly respected by all who know him. It is said that Emmett Dalton is the first person who ever had the nerve (gall as he calls it) to go right into this hotbed of feudists and get both factions to work in a picture.
Mr. Dalton says he examined all guns before the sham battles came off for fear some of the feudists might think he saw a chance to “get even” and slip in a real bullet in his gun.
After the picture was completed Mr. Dalton took all the feudists in the theatre and showed them how they had been acting for the last twenty years and he says they were as tickled as children.
The Janesville Daily Gazette, May 29, 1916: …and declares he is now leading the straight and narrow path. He looks it, too. He is at the head of an enterprise, which will show the exploits of the Dalton boys in moving pictures at the Myers theatre tomorrow and Wednesday. Mr. Dalton gives a lecture as the pictures are presented.
The former bandit has given out interviews in which he expresses his confidence in the efforts of old-time crooks to be on the square. He is credited with declaring that ignorance is the foundation of all sin and crime. In his lecture he says, he points out the cause of the downfall of so many men.
Mr. Dalton is not yet forty-four years of age. Fourteen years’ imprisonment has not marred his youthful appearance.
The Stevens Point Daily Journal, June 24, 1916: A clean shaven, well dressed, pleasant appearing man about forty-six years of age, nearly or quite six feet tall and well proportioned, stepped into the Journal office. “Are you the editor?” he asked, to which we answered in the affirmative. But if we had lived in the great and wooly southwest in the early 90’s, and had happened to have any money about us, our answer no doubt would have been attended with many misgivings and considerable trepidation - for “I am Emmett Dalton,” he said with a smile.
Mr. Dalton, who appeared at the Empire Sunday evening, is the youngest of three brothers whose exploits in the Indian Territory, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas and Kansas in the early 90’s have furnished many true and thrilling newspaper and other stories. Two of his brothers, Bob and Grat, were formerly deputy United States marshals and on several occasions, it is said, risked their lives in the discharge of their duties in the then lawless southwest. For this service, their brother said, they were not paid, the marshal telling them congress had not provided for their pay. This made them “sore.” They quit the service of the government and with their youngest brother, Emmett, and Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers became “road agents.” The result was that the “Dalton gang” became a terror in the states and territories above named. But all things must have an ending and the end of Bob and Grat Dalton and Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers came at Coffeyville, Kansas.
In describing the raid on the banks at Coffeyville Emmett Dalton said: “On October 5, 1892, all five of us galloped into Coffeyville intent upon relieving the two banks there of their surplus cash. Dick Broadwell and I went to attack the First National and my brothers Bob and Grat and Bill Powers were to hold up the C. M. Condon bank…
“Ignorance,” declared Emmett Dalton, “is the cause of most sin and crime. The principal reason for many men’s downfall is their drink habits and the craving for foolish pleasures and excitement.”
This Coffeyville story told by Emmett is the same, almost word for word, he told to the Washington Post in March 1915. He had added that after the others had been killed he “stood off the crowd as long as I could but finally fell.” And did not mention any bankers in Lansing prison. So he did not speak spontaneously to the reporters but had his story, or different variations of it, ready scripted (for his lectures?). It could be that it was easier to prattle off familiar lines, repeated hundreds of times, rather than actually talk about the incident which had caused him so much pain. But it does give rather a superficial feel to his comments.
The Decatur Review, Sept. 27, 1916: “Tell the merchants to lock their safes tightly tonight because I’m in town,” said Emmett Dalton of Bartlesville, Okla., Wednesday noon. Dalton was formerly a member of the noted Dalton band of train and bank robbers, which operated in the west fifteen or twenty years ago.
Dalton is appearing at the Crystal Theater Thursday and Friday, lecturing on his former escapades and showing motion pictures.
The Miami Herald, Feb. 22, 1917: One wouldn’t think, to look at a handsome man of forty-six years now in Miami, that he is the sole survivor of the once famous Dalton gang of western bandits and bank robbers.
“Emmett Dalton, gentleman,” is the way his friends now refer to him, since he has paid the penalty for his infractions of law and is spending his time in advising Young America not to emulate his example.
Dalton arrived in Miami accompanied by his wife, and on Friday afternoon and night, at the Fotosho, he will lecture while the three-reel pictures of operations of the Dalton Gang are being shown on the curtain.
“This is our first visit to Miami,” said Mr. Dalton to a representative of the Herald. “It is wonderful. My wife and I shall improve the opportunity to get around to various points of interest while here, but it will not be necessary for citizens to keep their valuables hidden.”
In proof of this latter assertion he showed letters, one from a noted educator, thanking him for his lecture delivered to boys of a school.
It will be remembered that the bank at Coffeyville… As stated, he is now forty-six years of age, and looks less like a bandit than - well, than most any male citizen of Miami, it might be said with a smile while saying it.
“I like Florida so well,” said Mr. Dalton, “that I have put a small piece of money into ten acres in the state, not far from Miami. It may be that the time will come when I want to locate here. At present my greatest land interest is a western ranch, which demands most of my attention.”
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Dalton is in Oklahoma, but they seldom see it now. The former outlaw is writing a book, which may be published in the near future.
When Dalton talks to audiences he relates that crime is a losing game, and as he and his brothers were, years ago, in the class of Jesse James and Rube Burroughs it would seem that he speaks from intimate knowledge of the subject.
That he also visited schools to preach his message against crime shows that it was important for him. At the same time one gets a feeling that he was still trying prove himself a “good” man.
Emmett (marked with an x) and Julia in Florida
Columbus Enquirer-Sun, March 16, 1917: …Emmett looks the age of 46, but at that is a big, bluff, good natured fellow, not averse in referring to his earlier life, on which he takes occasion to remark that “the life of the bandit does not pay.”
…Dalton’s lecture has been favorably commented on from coast to coast, and at the present time he is making his first final trip through this section of the south, having previously visited Florida and Georgia towns and cities, where his program has been well received.
The Charlotte Observer, May 1, 1917: Back in the eighties or even the early nineties, the simple announcement that one of the “Dalton gang” was in town would have caused every bank cashier in the Queen City to tremble for the safety of his strong box. …One of the Dalton gang came to the city Monday. Such has been the change in Emmett Dalton in the past quarter century, however, that he does not come with a smoking six-shooter, with ulterior motives toward Charlotte vaults, but in the role of a lecturer. …
Emmett Dalton is now 44 years old and bears little outward evidence either of the desperate adventures of his younger days or his long period of confinement in the penitentiary. After a short time spent in the mercantile business, following his release, he entered upon the lecture platform and has also recently completed a series of articles dealing with the Dalton gang exploits, which will be syndicated to a number of the leading newspapers in the country.
Emmett had also completed his first book Beyond the Law, but was having problems getting it published. On July 3, 1917, he wrote a letter from New York, where he was with Julia, to William H. Frank of Philadelphia which included this: “Just a line or two to let you know we are here yet and have not forgotten you, yet I am putting in most of my time interviewing magazine & book publishers Just now They all say my story is a dinger but want to wait a month or two to see if the price of paper wont go down but I think they don’t want to pay my price … However, it will keep until I do get my price or publish & picture it myself…”
Fort Wayne Journal, Sept. 15, 1917: …To-day still under fifty, the erstwhile bandit is a genial, well-reputed man of business, temporarily on a visit to New York, and willing to talk of his regeneration if it can help others.
…Emmett Dalton recovered, was tried and convicted, and after serving fourteen years was pardoned. And that is the man who is in New York to-day on legitimate business of his own - a quiet, likeable, reputable citizen.
There is hardly any trace of his former life upon him. He looks slightly heavy for a horseman, and too genial, frank and friendly ever to have been the man that once he really was. His black hair is shot with gray, his face is as smooth and good-natured as a boy’s, and his light gray eyes are quiet and thoughtful. Yet there is something about him - his low, musical Southwestern drawl, his large hands, his powerful frame, his cool, direct gaze that makes one aware he would be a bad man if driven into a corner.
While reticent about his life as a bandit, Dalton will talk at length on the futility of attempting to grow rich by crime.
“When once a man has stepped over the at times indistinct line that divides right from wrong,” he says, “there is no come-back. From that time on his life is not that of a man but of a hunted animal. He trusts no one - not even his boon companions. He knows they may buy immunity by betraying him.
“What few friends he has, who are not outlaws, are not really friends but blackmailers. If they give him shelter or aid, they expect payment for it. They will ask for a loan of several hundred dollars to pay off a mortgage, rebuild a barn, or send their children to school. The bandit dares not to refuse, for he may have need of their services again. He realizes they will never repay him. And they know it, too. They consider that he got the money by violence, that he will be killed eventually anyway, so there is no need to worry about making good the “loan.”
“And such an end generally does come to him, as it did to us at Coffeyville; suddenly and violently, with a dishonorable grave as a final memorial.”
Emmett’s book got published in 1918. In the preface he states, “Every statement herein contained, regarding myself and brothers, is absolutely true in every detail…” Well, that for starters is not true. Even though he had previously admitted that they accepted bribes as officers, this is not mentioned. Their “first crime” has changed from horse stealing to holding up a crooked game of Monte (which changed into roulette in his film Beyond the Law and into faro in his second book) in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Nancy Samuelson had not found any records in Santa Rosa of such an incident having taken place. And now suddenly Emmett comes up with the story that they had been falsely accused of train robbery in California, this directly causing them to become train robbers for real. Although he did not offer this as a justification for their actions, it looks like he was seeking some sympathy from the public for the Daltons. No doubt the wildly exaggerated stories about them had something to do with this. He also claimed he had not even been in California at that time, but all the same: “From the time in the yard at Bill’s ranch in California that we learned we were suspected of the Alila hold up, until the last ghastly minute on the street in Coffeyville, there was hardly an hour that I did not know where my brother Bob was.” Lit Dalton talked extensively to writer and historian Frank Latta after the death of Emmett. While most of what he said can be dismissed as stories of a very bitter old man with an ax to grind, he may have been right when he said that Emmett had thought he had shot and killed fireman Radcliff at Alila. This would go a long way to explain Emmett's total dissociation from California and the Alila robbery. He still had a reluctance to admitting he took part in any robberies before the Coffeyville raid. In the book he stayed with the horses while “the boys” robbed the trains. He has no romantic adventures with Julia, but Euginia Moore is introduced as Bob’s sweetheart. She gathered information about money shipments but other than that she was mainly just told by Bob to go here or there and wait to hear from him.
An adoption of this story of the Daltons appeared serialized in the Wide World magazine and newspapers carried condensed versions of it. Now all that remained was to make a movie of it, and this he set out to do.
Emmett and Julia moved to Hollywood. The film was made by the Southern Feature Film Corporation in seven reels, directed by Theodor Marston with Emmett supervising. Emmett played the parts of himself, Bob, and Frank Dalton, with Harris Gordon playing the part of young Emmett. Now also Emmett had a sweetheart, Ruth Lake (played by Virginia Lee), who with his mother (Ida Pardee) worked for his release from prison. Beyond the Law was released on November 26, 1918, but found no takers. Seemingly the production company had put too high a price on it. Finally it made the theaters in the spring of 1919. Again Emmett went on the road with the movie, lecturing at the theaters.
Advertisement, The Charlotte Observer, March 3, 1919: Emmett Dalton (The One-Time Famous Outlaw, But Now a Moving Picture Star) IN PERSON, also in picture “Beyond the Law” In this beautiful love story written by and featuring Mr. Dalton, will also be seen the beautiful star VIRGINIA LEE and little BOBBY CONNELLY The first historical picture to feature an original character. Mr. Emmett Dalton (himself) will personally deliver a short lecture at each performance.
Bridgeport Standard Telegram, Aug. 1, 1919: Those bandit chaps aren't such a bad lot when you get to know them - especially after they've reformed. The gentle reader may accept this statement on the word of a large proportion of the staff of The Standard Telegram who last night came face to face with Emmet Dalton, sole survivor of the famous " “Dalton Boys.”
The reformed desperado doesn't look the part a bit. He's a great big fellow well over six feet and weighing about 200 pounds. He is soft spoken and can trot out a very gracious smile when required. He dresses just like the ordinary businessman - and that's just what he is nowadays.
When he was presented to the staff last evening the copy boys union ordered a general strike. Information was expected by them of the inside facts of the famous Coffeyville bank robbery, where two of the Dalton boys and two of their gang were killed. But Dalton didn't talk about that. He merely wanted to say hello to the folks - it's his first trip East - and to mention, incidentally, his picture “Beyond the Law” which is at Poll's.
The (Ada) Evening News, Nov. 8, 1919: LOS ANGELES, Nov. 8. - There are only few of them left and two of the most noted met in this city recently. Emmett Dalton, ex-bandit, and Al Jennings, who used to make them stand and deliver.
They held up their heads as they looked into each other’s eyes - for both have paid the price - and each knew that the other had forgotten his long gray yesterday behind prison walls because today is so glorious.
They hadn’t talked more than a half a minute before both found a common ground; they have no use for banditry but they denounced profiteering as a worse crime than robbing banks. And Dalton added, “Crooked politics.”
The meeting occurred in Jennings’ office, South Hollywood, where he has a studio. Dalton is president of two motion picture corporations [Southern Feature Film Corporation and Standard Pictures of California Inc.]. In appearance they are opposite, but their careers have been strikingly similar. It is perhaps logical, however, that both have become moving picture magnates; in their youth they adopted what looked to be the most lucrative profession and now - but why finish when the conclusion is so obvious.
Both were sentenced to life imprisonment. Dalton after he had robbed a bank in Coffeyville, Kansas, and his four companions had been shot. He served fourteen years and was pardoned.
It had been twelve years since the two most noted ex-bandits had met and they have had time to do a lot of forgetting, which they have done by doing a lot of accomplishing.
In truth, Al Jennings had a very short career in Oklahoma during 1897 as one of the most unsuccessful outlaws. He was freed from prison on technicalities in 1902 and became involved in politics before moving to California, where he made westerns telling much-exaggerated tales of his past.
Kansas City Times, Nov. 23, 1919: Emmett Dalton, bandit and train robber, stopped shooting people a long time ago. Instead of that, he has taken to “shooting” pictures.
Emmett Dalton, movie magnate, came to Kansas City yesterday. To look at him, nobody would think he was ever a desperado. A tall man, brawny in the shoulders, but a peaceful, mobile face and a kindly eye, he talks regretfully of his past.
Yet, on the ashes of his past he is building his success today. For the biggest of his movie productions, a seven-reeler entitled “Beyond the Law,” depicts incidents of his bandit days. Emmett, the last of four brothers, plays the bandit parts.
“I don’t glorify my past in this picture,” he said. “The story points out a moral. If anything in my sordid history can be made into a lesson for the youth of the land, I shall be glad. That is the idea which caused me to make this picture.”
Emmett also made and acted in several two-reel pictures like When a Man’s a Pal, Across the Chasm and The Desert Man. Apparently these were based on real incidents in his life. They went round the theaters for a number of years as secondary features.
Advertisement, Wyoming, Dec. 1919: ‘Beyond the Law’ features EMMETT DALTON … This Seven Reel Feature Shows How That famous Gang Operated in Oklahoma and Kansas, from 1889 to 1892. Train Hold-ups - See Them rob Two banks at the Same Time - How They Lost Their Lives, All But Emmett, Who Served Fifteen Years in Prison, and was pardoned - See the Beautiful Love Story - Miss Moore’s Love for Bob Dalton, and the Price She Paid - Historically True. DON’T MISS THIS WONDERFUL PICTURE
Advertisement, Texas, March 1920: THE PICTURE SENSATION OF THE YEAR EMMETT DALTON Of the Famous Dalton Gang in Beyond the Law 7 - wonderful parts - 7 -See Emmett Dalton and his gang hold up the First State Bank of Coffeyville, Kansas. See the fight with the posse. - See the big lobby display on exhibition in front of the theater: guns, handcuffs and other articles used by Emmett Dalton. -See Emmett Dalton, last of the famous Dalton gang, in the daring and bold hold-up of the Kansas City Southern Railroad. - A seven-reel feature; not a dull moment; weaved in with a pretty love story. Also the capture of Emmett Dalton and his escape for liberty. -See Emmett Dalton of the famous outlaw gang, in his many daring episodes of his life as a notorious bandit. -See the daring hold-up, the robbery at Sweetwater, Texas; how he foiled the law and again makes a wonderful escape.
Advertisement, Tulsa World, July 17, 1920: ROYAL THEATER Emmett Dalton
The notorious reformed outlaw in “When a Man’s a Pal” (An actual event of his life)
It has been said that Emmett’s film Beyond the Law was a flop. Actually, it toured the country for years. His acting career, though, did not take off.
Successful Citizen - 1920-1925
Emmett Dalton's acting career may not have taken off, but there were plenty of opportunities in Hollywood. While still involved in the moving picture business, he also became a real estate man with considerable success. The area was growing fast, and the newly rich movie stars needed fine homes.
Kansas City Star, September 7, 1920: Emmett Dalton, reformed bandit, now identified with the motion picture industry, has petitioned the governor of California to commute the death sentence of Roy Wolff, 16 years old, who was convicted of killing Elmer E. Greer near Bakersfield last March. The execution of the sentence is scheduled to take place at the San Quentin prison September 17.
In a letter opposing capital punishment, Dalton says, “murder is an act of horror, and one horror cannot be cured by another.
“As I once had a life sentence, and from my experience for observation along these lines, I have become unalterably opposed to capital punishment. The aim of society should never be to hurt, but to cure.”
Governor Stephens commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.
The Morning Oregonian, September 21, 1921: That Roy Gardner “beat the news of his escape to the mainland” and made his get-away from McNeil’s island penitentiary through the aid of friends in high-power launch is the theory of Emmett Dalton, last of the notorious Dalton bandit gang and now a motion picture producer, who visited Portland for a few hours yesterday afternoon.
“In certain respects, Gardner’s escape is a comedy to me,” said Dalton. “He is probably in Mexico by this time. The best thing for Gardner to do is surrender, for he can’t get away with it forever. If he gives himself up and behaves himself, he always has a chance to win parole after a few years.”
…And is now president and general manager of the Standard Pictures Company of California, which has produced a film called “Beyond the Law.” In this production Dalton appears in three roles in a story based on the exploits of the Dalton gang. The principal purpose of the picture, according to Dalton, is to give the youth of America the message that banditry and law braking do not pay.
“I have tried through the motion picture screen to destroy the effect on American boys of stories of famous outlaws and bandits which are covered with a certain false cloud of glamour and romance,” he said.
Roy Gardner was a headline making train robber as he kept escaping from prison. This was his third escape, and, by the way, he later said he swam to the shore. He was a graduate from Colorado University, and married with a young child.
The (San Jose) Evening News, September 28, 1921: Thrill takes on a new and deeper significance during the next four days at the Theater Jose where Emmett Dalton, last of the “Dalton Boys” - world-famous American brigands - is not only the star of “Beyond the Law,” headline attraction, but will appear in person, prefacing each showing of his stirring motion picture production…
Mr. Dalton has now a consequential message for the youth of the land - for everyone in fact who has ever thrilled to the more gallant aspects of outlawry and its daring adherents - and his life-experience fits him peculiarly for this particular mission. He will give this instructive, and above all, constructive, talk before each showing of “Beyond the Law,” afternoon and evening, and as a prologue to this highly dramatic and exiting screen tale, it is without a shadow of doubt the most appropriate, the most colorful, that could be devised.
A big scandal had hit the papers when a girl died at a hotel where comic actor “Fatty” Arbuckle was partying.
The Evening News, Oct, 1, 1921: Emmett Dalton, formerly the famous bandit of the “Dalton gang,” who is at present stopping in San Jose, gave the News today a statement of his views on the Arbuckle case.
“You ask me what I think of the Arbuckle case? About all I can say is that you can score another one for John Barleycorn.
“While my sympathies are all with the poor, deluded, dead girl, Virginia Rappe, regardless of who she was or what she did, yet Arbuckle is entitled to a fair and impartial trial, regardless who he is or what he did.
“We should withhold our judgment until all the evidence is in. I have heard, in San Francisco, that the defense has some very strong evidence to introduce.
“I have read in the papers lately that a noted New York pastoral ‘nut,’ probably seeking notoriety, and taking the Arbuckle case as a theme has consigned the whole human race to hell, with show people occupying the lowest depths But I think God this reverenced gentleman does not represent the ministry of this country If the reverend gentleman will take care of his Jimmie Stillmans in the east I am sure the level headed people of the west will take care of the same class out here.
“I can name just as clean and moral people in the show business as is in the ministry or any other profession.
“I might add here without commenting on the guilt or innocence of Mr. Arbuckle that if the case can be used as a warning to some of our wealthy, drunken licentious libertines, it will not have been without some good results.”
Arbuckle was eventually cleared of the murder charge against him, but his career was effectually ruined.
The Morning Oregonian, Nov. 2, 1921: The authority of the motion picture board of the city [Portland] may be tested, if Emmett Dalton, last of the notorious gang of Dalton bandits and now a motion picture producer, carries out his threat made yesterday to ask the courts to settle the right of the censor board to forbid the showing of a Dalton film in this city. The film in question is “Beyond the Law,” a seven-reel picture, which has been booked to be shown at the Star Theater November 26.
The city censor board unanimously voted to condemn the picture. The reason given was that it shows the actual commission of crime.
Mr. Dalton last night told motion picture men that he intended to ask for an injunction to restrain the board from carrying out this order.
Either Emmett gave up or lost his case; on Nov. 26, the Star Theater was showing a five-reel melodrama The Greater Profit.
The Morning Olympian, Nov. 5, 1921: There’s a bandit loose in town! [Olympia, Wash.]
But he’s a reformed bandit, so there is no need to put an extra lock on the doors, or watching the window latches.
For Emmett Dalton quit outlawry, except in pictures, some years ago, and has found the “straight and narrow” a very pleasant path to trod after the hectic rush of desperate deeds and fearsome hiding which were his portion in his earlier years.
Dalton is here to appear in person at the Ray Theater next Sunday and Monday, when the picture of some of his experiences as a reckless bandit, embodied in “Beyond the Law,” will be shown for two days.
The Morning Oregonian, Nov. 9, 1921: CENTRALIA, Wash., Nov. 8. - Emmett Dalton, member of a famous gang of outlaws in the 80’s who is in Centralia for a two days’ performance at a local theater, yesterday sent a telegram to President Harding asking for executive clemency for Roy Gardner, fugitive from McNeil island penitentiary.
“I am convinced this man can be made a good and useful citizen,” Dalton’s message read. “If I can persuade him to surrender and will give him employment and put up a bond for his good behavior, will you consider paroling him after he has served not less than one year of his sentence? My own experience makes me certain I can handle this man so he will be a worthy American. I earnestly appeal to you, Mr. President, to consider this case with your heart. Certainly, Gardner’s wife and baby would never forget such an act of executive clemency and kindness. Having transgressed the law myself and paid the penalty, I know what it means to fight the way back to an honorable life. I also know, Mr. President, that Gardner is worth saving.”
Gardner did not surrender, but was caught later that month when attempting to rob a train in Arizona. He was paroled from Alcatraz in 1939, and he committed suicide in 1941.
Kansas City Star, Oct. 4, 1922: In a gray business suit, diamond stud in cravat, an air of dignity and substantial well being, successful business man, perhaps, a motion picture magnate from his card - Emmett Dalton, youngest of the Dalton boys, bank bandits and train robbers who terrorized the Southwest thirty years ago.
Emmett Dalton, en route to New York from his Los Angeles home on business connected with the Standard Pictures Corporation, of which he is president, stopping in Kansas City long enough to see the Priests of Pallas parade. Finding the parade beautiful.
Emmett Dalton, at 21, sole survivor of ill-fated bank raid of Coffeyville, Kas., where two brothers, Bob and Gratten, were killed in a revolver battle in which four citizens lost their lives. Pardoned in 1907 from a life sentence in the Kansas state penitentiary.
Dalton spent fourteen years in the penitentiary before he was pardoned. “A long time.” Assuredly.
Leaves tonight for New York, where he will stay about two weeks. Just a general tour of the country on business - in a gray business suit and with an air of dignity and substantial well-being.
Successful business man - undoubtedly.
The Priests of Pallas parade was a week-long festival held in Kansas City annually from 1887 until 1912, and revived briefly from 1922 to 1924. It set out to promote Kansas City as the “Athens of the West.” The festival included parades of ornate floats, concerts and other performances.
In 1922 Emmett also got involved in the construction business building houses. This was to be the most lucrative of his ventures.
New Castle News, Nov. 15, 1922: It is just thirty years since five bandits, fearless and determined, rode into Coffeyville…
But one of the bandits lived to tell the story and he is spending a week or two in this section of the country [Pennsylvania] appearing in connection with one of his moving pictures.
New Castle will have an opportunity of seeing this one-time bandit, Emmett Dalton, now a prosperous businessman of the moving picture industry. He will be at the Regent Theater on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week with a production of his company, Standard Pictures of California, Inc., Los Angeles, California. He is the president of that concern.
Speaking of the Coffeyville affair, Mr. Dalton, former member of the Dalton gang, has this to say; “Yes, I paid my debt to society. I served fourteen years at Leavenworth. I was pardoned by Governor E. W. Hoch and what I have done during the years since I left a great number of men in prison can do. All they need is a life, someone to give them a start. I venture that 60 [or could be 80] per cent of the men in prison would go straight, make useful citizens of themselves, if given a chance.
“Crime is, of course, the product of ignorance, or, in some cases, momentary aberration. I don’t know why I got into the Coffeyville fight, except that the rest of the boys were in it and we stuck together. They talk of crime waves. That makes me laugh. There is no such thing as a crime wave. One would think the world is getting worse, but I know, deep down in my heart and soul, that the world is getting better. A man to accomplish good in this world, either for himself or others, has got to feel this.
“The bandit game is unhealthy,” is the way Mr. Dalton puts it.
“My three brothers were killed - Frank in Indian Territory in 1887, and Bob and Grat at the Coffeyville shoot up. But that isn’t the reason I quit. I quit because it is wrong. The cure for crime starts back around the cradle. Proper environment and education are the essential cures and that is what I preach wherever I go.”
New Castle News, Nov. 20, 1922: Former Bank Robber, Here, Ridicules Exciting Gun-in-Each-Hand Stories
“Our Hero” burst into the town square, flaming in the gorgeous beauty of a pair of flossy chaps, as hairy as the Pomeranian dog, which he had never seen.
The crashing guns of hundreds of panicky citizens roared from rooftops, doorway and alley. “Our Hero” was unabashed, either by the chaps or the guns. He vaulted - they always vault - from the saddle.
His long-barreled repeating rifle crashed from the hip. With one hand he worked the gun, with the other he swung his hat defiantly.
Citizens fell like the blades of grass before the reaper, like the comets of the night. Our hero dropped his gun. The hot barrel had blistered his strong little finger. His six-guns leaped from their “scabbards”. They always leap.
Together they belched back at the citizenry. Both guns crashed at once.
“Our Hero” sighted the left gun with the left eye and the right gun with the right eye, simultaneously. He was not cross-eyed, it is plain. The six-guns were empty. Many citizens had died. “Our Hero” died gloriously, as he had lived, in his chaps.
A! It was superb - a superb lie. That’s what Emmett Dalton, last of the notorious Dalton gang of train highwaymen and bank robbers, now in New Castle with the motion picture in which he plays the lead, maintains. Mr. Dalton, who after serving 14 years in prison, is a prosperous Los Angeles real estate man, motion picture owner and actor, is spending the rest of his life, he says, trying to keep other boys from going wrong because of to many foolish ideas in their heads.
In about 45 minutes of conversation today he “knocked galley west” a score of false impressions about the “wild west”, which that representative had held as sacred traditions ever since he ran around the backyard with a cap pistol shouting “bang - bang!” at a lot of other little kids.
Mr. Dalton knows what he is talking about when he speaks of old-fashioned revolvers and hard-riding, hard-dying free-booters of the west. He was captured after the Coffeyville bank raid. He is now aged 52 years. He was then aged 22 years.
Chaps! We dressed just the way I am today. Ordinary suits and flannel shirts. If one of us had ridden into town in chaps we wouldn’t have reached the third block. Good boots, a good saddle and a good horse. That’s what we needed.
No man ever fired a revolver in each hand, except in stories or the movie. I had all I could do, lots of times, to handle one gun, let alone two. I’d let a two-gun man shoot at me all day for 25 cents a shot if he used two guns. I’ll tell you that.”
The (Uniontown) Morning Herald, Dec. 15, 1922: The extremely quiet spoken man, with the broad black felt hat, the blue business suit over his tall body, the peculiarly tight mouth and the eyes that look through the interrogator and away off somewhere, rode into Coffeyville, Kan., one day in the 90’s. …
He was the junior partner in a gang composed of two of his brothers, himself and two other men. In a short time the five men robbed two banks.
Mr. Dalton appears at the Penn again today and tomorrow.
The One and Only Emmett Dalton In Person and In His Terrific Motion Picture of His Life “Beyond the Law”
Mr. Dalton Has Found Motion Pictures More Profitable Than Robbing!
Charleston Daily Mail, March 11, 1923: The sole surviving member of the famed Dalton gang, who invaded the little town of Coffeyville, Kan., on the morning of October 5, 1892, and staged one of the most stupendous hold-ups and bank robberies that had ever been committed to that time, even to the extent of overlapping the notorious Jesse James, is coming to lecture at the Rialto April 2, 3 and 4, in connection with “Beyond the Law.”
His name is Emmett Dalton, but in coming to Charleston he does not come with a brace of .44’s or salute with the command to throw up your mitts. He comes not as a criminal, but as a gentleman, and a prosperous gentleman. Emmett Dalton served fourteen and one-half years for his act of indiscretion on that October morning, and he has justified himself by his sacrifice.
Emmett Dalton will make a personal appearance. He will make short and interesting talks on his life, and the lives and careers of those associated with him during the period when the west was ringing with the name of the Daltons.
“Beyond the Law” differs from any picture of this kind now before the public. It is a biography in animation. It explains the reasons for the organization of the gang, who composed it, its objects, the working out of its career, the many exploits in which they were participants, the planning and scheming, the leadership, and how the various difficulties were met and overcome. It goes deep into the subject and having been filmed under the personal supervision of Emmett Dalton, on the exact locations where many of the deeds actually happened, it is besides a great educational opportunity, an entertainment value too great to be overlooked.
Charleston Daily Mail, March 30, 1923: Emmett Dalton opened his “personal appearance” performance at the Strand theater yesterday. The bill is booked for the balance of the week…
Speaking from grave experience Mr. Dalton quietly tells a moral tale, pointing out the wrong and disadvantages in the life of an outlaw.
Hamilton Evening Journal, March 31, 1923: A really exceptional attraction has been booked for four days presentation at the Regent, beginning next Wednesday. It is Emmett Dalton, the last surviving member…
His story, calmly, tersely told, is said to be a wonderful revelation - one that brings home in a most startling manner that it is needles and useless to attempt to live beyond the law.
Mr. Dalton, accompanied by his wife, will arrive in Hamilton Wednesday morning and during the stay of the picture at the Regent will appear at least four times daily in person. It is seldom that any of the smaller cities has the opportunity of having Dalton and his picture together as an attraction.
Advertisement, Hamilton, Ohio, April 1923: EMMETT DALTON Sole survivor of the famous DALTON BOYS and last of the outlaws of the Old West will positively appear IN PERSON at each performance in conjunction with “BEYOND THE LAW” A Drama of His Life NOTE: One of the most unique and entertaining attractions ever in New York. - N. Y. World
The Fitchburg Sentinel, May 19, 1923: Emmet Dalton, only survivor of the Dalton gang, says: “What chance has the old-style bandit, who worked with a gun and a blackjack - decent and out in the open - with the modern bandit who lurks in the mahogany office and works with the stock dividend and bankruptcy proceedings? We might as well be honest.”
Clearfield Progress, June 26, 1923: Emmet Dalton, the last of the famous Dalton brothers’ gang, which terrorized the West, a generation ago says: “A dollar honestly earned is worth $10,000 obtained by fraudulent means.”
Davenport Democrat and Leader, Aug. 1, 1923: Battle Creek, Mich., Aug. 1. - Emmett Dalton is tired of carrying his leaden mementoes around with him.
The famous ex-bandit whose holdup of the Coffeyville, Kan., bank 31 years ago, is a “crime classic”, yesterday underwent an operation to have 20 bullets which a posse fired into his body on that occasion removed from his body.
For weeks Dalton, whose older brothers were killed in the holdup, lay at the point of death in Leavenworth state penitentiary. Two of the bullets taken from his body today were large caliber rifle bullets, others ranged from buckshot to pistol bullets.
…Since his release from prison Dalton has lived the life of a respected citizen, making it his life mission going about the country lecturing young men to stay on the straight and narrow path.
Indiana Evening Gazette, Aug. 15, 1923: How the mighty have fallen!
Here we have Emmett Dalton, a member of the notorious - we almost said famous - “Dalton Boys” - an inmate of the Battle Creek Sanatorium.
The fire-eating bandit has become a diet patient. He who used to sleep out in the rain and the snow now takes hot baths and avoids drafts. His plunging steed has given place to a wheelchair. The bullets with which he used to be so free have been replaced by little brown pellets in a pill box under the label - “Take one every hour.”
Nineteen years of prison life have made remarkable changes in the bank robber. Nurses at the sanatorium say they cannot imagine the gray-haired Dalton, now 52 years old, soft of speech, with mild eyes and kindly smile, as a member of a band of desperadoes of which the entire Southwest stood in fear for three years and for whom rewards of $40,000 were at one time outstanding.
“Why, he looks more like a lawyer, or a banker,” observed one nurse.
There is hardly trace of the former life about Dalton. He looks somewhat heavy now, for a horseman, and took genial frank and friendly ever to have been the man that once he was. His hair, once black, is gray, his face is as smooth and good-natured as a boy’s, and his light gray eyes are mild and thoughtful. He is mild mannered, kind and to all appearances a good citizen.
And yet, there are those who say our penitentiaries are but training schools for criminals.
What the writer of the above did not know, is that Emmett had been viewed with that same disbelief at least since October 5, 1892!
The Battle Creek Sanatorium was the most famous health institution in the country, catering for the upper and middle classes. It was elegant, and offered amenities of a first-class hotel. It had medical facilities, promoted healthy living, good diet and exercise, and supported vegetarianism and temperance. Rather than having various bullets removed from his body, Emmett could have been trying a different approach to heal his ever-bothersome arm.
Hamilton Evening Journal, Sept. 11, 1923: Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 11. - Emmett Dalton, last survivor of the famous Dalton gang, which operated in Kansas, and Kentucky years ago yesterday court here seeking $1,000,000 damages from William H. Fawcett, published a monthly magazine, because of articles published in the periodical.
The articles, it is alleged, reflected on the character of the gangsters “who had high code of honor, even in their career of crime.”
Since Dalton was released from prison in 1907, he has devoted much of his time to lectures on the subject of right living.
Emmett Dalton appeared personally at the Regent Theater in Hamilton two years ago and made many acquaintances here.
Helena Daily Independent, Nov. 5, 1923: “Novices,” opined Emmett Dalton, participant in five train robberies and three big bank robberies, when he learned of the holdup of a fast passenger train in a tunnel in Siskiyou county, California. “A gang of inexperienced novices.”
“Novices because they used dynamite, novices because they shot before there was need of shooting. If they had had any experience they would never have tampered with the United States government mails. The fact that they chose the most dangerous victim possible shows that they have little knowledge of their game.”
According to Dalton, the section in which the holdup took place is one especially suitable for such business. It is a wild and mountainous country. There is plenty of water and berries and other natural resources. This will make good their temporary escape. But sooner or later they will be forced to come out in the open.
“But it doesn’t pay,” Dalton said. There was a touch of remorsefulness in his soft blue eyes. Perhaps he was thinking of the time when his brothers were killed and he himself severely wounded when the tried to rob a Coffeyville (Kans.) bank in broad daylight. Or was it the picture of 14 years of miserable existence, which he had spent, in the Kansas state penitentiary?
“Sooner or later they’re bound to be caught. If not today, tomorrow. Life never intended to be otherwise. If they aren’t betrayed by some one of their pretended friends they’ll keep up their work until they get caught in the act and put away for life.”
“We never tampered with the mails or with passenger trains,” Dalton continued. “Our holdups were limited to private companies and banks. Smarter men than the California bandits have failed to get away with it. Smarter men than myself have all met the same fate. They may escape temporarily, but they’re bound to be caught in the end.”
Dalton appears at the Antlers Theater tomorrow and Wednesday with his photoplay “Beyond the Law.” “And I have been beyond the law plenty of times,” he remarks.
Nevada State Journal, Dec. 23, 1923: Thirty years ago…
Emmett Dalton looks the part - of a preacher, not a bandit. That long black frock coat, his neat black tie with its unobtrusive diamond stickpin, and his broad brimmed black hat, go well with his softly modulated voice. It is hard to believe as he fingers the heavy gold watch chain across his diaphragm, that at one time he caressed the handle of a six-shooter in the same spot.
Perhaps the fourteen and a half years in the Kansas penitentiary have instilled this sincere modesty, this note of hesitancy, in the fiery spirit that once was the younger Emmett Dalton.
He passes these 14 and a half years off lightly. “I led the simple life for a long time,” he said, “then the governor pardoned me, probably because he thought I was in bad company. There were 27 bankers in jail with me.”
But that tinge of humor passes when he says, “I’ve paid my debt to society. That’s more than many men can say today.”
Although Dalton freely admits of being in a number of bank robberies and at least five train holdups in Oklahoma he declares that many of the crimes attributed to the Dalton brothers were greatly exaggerated.
“One time,” he said, “a train robbery occurred in California and one in Kansas on the same day. It was reported that members of the Dalton gang were recognized at each place. As a matter of fact, all of us were in Oklahoma.”
A Kansas banker at another time, Dalton said, claimed to have been taken along with the bank’s money to an out of the way spot, and then he, alone, released. He gave good descriptions of the bandits. Police believed them to be the Dalton gang, but one hardhearted Kansas farmer was skeptical. He demanded the investigation of the bank’s books.
The banker went to prison for two years. “I had the extreme pleasure of measuring him for a brand new suit of stripes,” Dalton laughed.
Though Dalton declares he is a changed man, he champions the outlaw of former days. “At least, bandits were men in those days,“ he said. “The modern bandit slays from ambush, and substitutes drugs and stimulants for courage.”
“The returns were big in those outlaw days but expenses were heavy, we were always broke.
“I feel I have an obligation in this unsettled time, when morals seem to be relaxing, to tell the fellows who are now the age I was when I went outlaw (21) that there’s nothing in it, and the end is as certain, even as the end of my brothers and pals.
“I guess the young fellows ought to listen to me when I say ’Don’t do it.’ Who was it said ’Nobody can rebuke sin like Satan - nobody else knows enough’.”
Emmett Dalton is 52. He earns his living now as a real estate man and a motion picture director and actor.
He lectures as his latest picture, “Beyond the Law,” a sort of film biography of the Dalton family is shown.
Reno Evening Gazette, Oct. 18, 1924: Emmett Dalton, last of the famous Dalton gang of bandits, who for years has been in the real estate business in Los Angeles, and who is interested in a moving picture showing that a life of crime does not pay, arrived in Reno this morning. He will appear in person at the Grand Theatre the first three days of the week, beginning tomorrow.
The Dalton gang terrorized…
After his release he wrote a book for the purpose of discouraging crime, and later produced his motion picture with the same idea in view.
Modesto Evening News, Nov. 8, 1924: OAKLAND, Nov. 8. - “No sir; times ain’t what they used to be,” Emmett Dalton, sole survivor of the famous “Dalton gang,” told the police here.
“Here I was, just arrived in town and wanting to telephone. I telephoned, alright, but, while I was in the booth, some bird makes off with my suitcase.
“Remember that Coffeyville raid? Well, I wish the bird that got my stuff had been between the two lines of fire.”
The Oxnard Daily Courier, Jan. 3, 1925: Banditry is bunk, flappers are fine, and a man can make a comfortable living in real estate and the movies if he so desires, opines Emmett Dalton, the only surviving member of the notorious Dalton gang, who will make a personal appearance Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the Victory theater and who is visiting here today.
Dalton is rotund of stomach and rubicund in countenance, steady of eye and mild mannered and soft-spoken - the last man in the world perhaps to be taken for a bandit. A sparkling diamond glitters from his necktie and a friendly gleam radiates from his brown eyes. He is 52 years old but has all of his hair, or a goodly portion of it, and he doesn’t wear glasses. He is now a good law-abiding citizen of Los Angeles.
The Dalton gang made life miserable for trainmen and bank cashiers back in the early 90’s by its daring and successful robberies. Mr. Dalton’s admonition that “there is no glorification in crime,” must be heeded, however, so in his own words, “there is nothing to a life of crime.”
The Dalton gang broke up or rather was shot up at Coffeyville…
Then Emmett started a life sentence in the Kansas state penitentiary but was pardoned after he had served “fourteen years, five months and 25 days to the minute.”
Mr. Dalton then married, moved to California, started a story of his life which later developed into the movie, “Beyond the Law,” and now apparently he has stowed away his portion of worldly goods. Dalton takes the leading part in the motion picture.
On January 24, 1925, Emmett’s mother, Adeline, died. His name was not listed among the family members attending her funeral. It is possible his presence was not desired, as he would attract media attention. While The Man of the Desert was still being shown in theaters, Emmett seems to have stopped going around with Beyond the Law.
Declining Years - 1927-1937
For a number of years Emmett lived attending to his interests in Hollywood and not attracting public attention. This would change with the writing of his second book When the Daltons Rode, and his trip back to Coffeyville with Julia. In 1929 Bob Dalton also made an appearance!
An article in the Real West, May 1976, recalled an incident involving Emmett in 1927, written by James H. Mulgannon, who at the time was a young police officer. Here is an abridged version of this article:
Two legendary figures lived not far from each other in Los Angeles during the third decade of this century. Wyatt Earp was 78 and had two more years to live. Emmett Dalton was in his mid-fifties and active as a building contractor with an office on North Common-wealth Avenue. This narrative deals with Emmett Dalton.
A motorcycle officer, Ben Mushaney, turned off his motor and walked into San Fernando’s small police station. Ben and I were discussing Referee Jack Barry’s long count on Gene Tunney when he was actually knocked out by Jack Dempsey.
The sound of an automobile was heard approaching. The engine quieted, and very shortly four hulking figures entered the small room.
I immediately recognized the leading person, William S. Hart, the old two-gun slinger of the Western silents. A second familiar face was Walter Scott, better known as “Death Valley Scotty,” a roly-poly sourdough. Man of mystery, it was rumored he had many secrets as to gold deposits in the north end of Death Valley.
In a breezy manner, Mr. Hart said, “Hello, officers! I’m down from Saugus-Newhall. Meet Mr. Dalton, Mr. Scott and Sheriff McCrabb from Coffeyville, Kansas.”
The handshaking being dispensed with, he said, “I have a favor to ask of you. We’re having an outdoor barbeque at my ranch and need some music. Do you know of any Mexicans with guitars who want to earn a few bucks?”
Ben spoke up. “Well, we can go down by the old mission and find out. Can we use your car?”
“Of course”, replied the western star. “I’ll go with you and leave my friends with your partner.”
Bill Hart strode out of the station in the company of Ben Mushaney. I was left with Hart’s friends.
Dalton spoke first. “As Mr. Hart told you, I am Emmett Dalton. Here’s my card [This card is now at the Dalton Defenders Museum in Coffeyville, see image]. If you’re ever in the city, I will be delighted to see you. The sheriff here is from my hometown, Coffeyville. And you know Mr. Scott? He lives on the other side of the Sierras.”
I gulped hard in such august company. I tried to make conversation, and I failed miserably.
Scott and the sheriff were not given to conversation, but Dalton was free and easy. I felt comfortable talking to him. I still recall a soft midwestern quality that one attaches to a voice found in the Kansas-Oklahoma sectional.
Within an hour, Ben and Hart returned. Two middle-aged Mexicans, one with a guitar and the other with a mandolin, were seated in the rear of the limousine. A final shake of the hand, and the sedan with six passengers pulled away, crossed the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks and headed for Newhall-Saugus.
This article well illustrates Emmett’s unassuming manner and the ease with which he could make friends.
In 1928 Emmett was diagnosed with hypertension.
The Edwardsville Intelligencer, May 18, 1929: Watsonville, Calif., May 18 - Society which Bob Dalton once preyed upon as leader of the famous Dalton bandit gang, notorious desperadoes of the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma and California in the late eighties, has joined to help him in his old age.
Dalton was recognized here by Arthur Dresser, who was a victim of the gang in 1891.
The gang leader is near death from consumption and has no money for hospital bills. He is 70 years old. Contributions were offered by residents of the city to pay for medical treatment.
Dresser was a Wells Fargo agent at Hanford, Cal., when he was held up by the Daltons.
Ponca City News, May 22, 1929: If there is a Bob Dalton living in California, claiming to be a member of the old Dalton outlaw gang nearly forty years ago, then Bob Dalton, who was killed at Coffeyville, Kansas, on October 6, 1892, has come to life, according to Major Gordon W. Lillie (Pawnee Bill), who knew all the Daltons. Lillie says it is impossible for any of the Daltons to be in Watsonville or any other California town, where press reports state funds are being raised to aid him in his old age.
“C. M. Scott, scout for the state of Kansas, and myself rode into Coffeyville, Kansas, just as the sun was sinking in the west on October 6, 1892,” says Major Lillie in giving a brief, interesting statement regarding the wiping out of the Dalton outlaw gang. “In the triangular square, on two cellar doors lay the remains of Bob Dalton, leader of the Dalton gang, and by his side Grat Dalton, his brother, Bill Powers and Dick Broadwell.
Emmett Dalton was lying on a cot in an empty store building, less than a square away, with his faithful mother and several of the members, anxiously watching and waiting, and expecting every moment to be his last. …”
More living Bob Daltons were to emerge in various places. One of them later claimed to be Jesse James.
The Evening Tribune (Albert Lee, Minn.), June 27, 1929: Coffeyville, Ky., June 27 —(AP)— Old timers in Coffeyville were surprised to read that Jack Dalton, supposed member of the notorious Dalton outlaw gang, had been married in Albuquerque, N. M. to “Cattle Annie” Burke, his boyhood sweetheart. History records that Emmett Dalton was the only one of the Dalton boys to survive a pitched battle here in 1892 when the gang raided a bank. Grattin and Bob Dalton were slain by posse men.
Los Angeles Times, June 28, 1929: Admitting he was once an outlaw, but denying that that he is any relation to the Jack Dalton who married “Cattle Annie” Burke in an airplane at Albuquerque, N. M., Wednesday, Emmett Dalton of 1928 Hillhurst avenue yesterday declared he is the only living member of the Dalton gang of 1892.
“I don’t know this Jack Dalton and never heard of him before, but I do know he was not, as he says, a member of the Dalton gang,” said Mr. Dalton.
“The telegraph story in the Times says that in 1896 the Dalton gang was rounded up and sentenced to the penitentiary for robbing a bank at Coffeyville, Kan. The fact is that it was in 1892 that the gang, consisting of my two brothers and myself, a man named Powers and one named Broadwell, were rounded up, but all of them were shot excepting myself. I escaped, but was captured and sentenced to penitentiary for life.”
Mr. Dalton, who now is a contractor and builder, served fourteen and one-half years in prison for his participation in the Coffeyville robbery and then was pardoned by Gov. Hoch of Kansas.
“Today I have no more use for guns than I have for fakers, and it hurts my feelings to have friends calling me up and kidding me about my kinship with this Jack Dalton fellow,” said Mr. Dalton.
Los Angeles Times, July 1, 1929: What makes a hit with me is the magnificent disdain with which Mr. Emmett Dalton, the ex-outlaw, disowns one Jack Dalton. He says firmly, positively and indignantly that this bogus Jack did not have the honor of belonging to the “Dalton gang.”
Incidentally - if the police see a mob any of these mornings they should not be unduly alarmed. It will only be the Hollywood authors in hot pursuit of Emmett Dalton to get his “life story.”
The Oklahoman, Sept.1, 1929: HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Aug. 31. - (Special.) - From holding up express trains and banks in Oklahoma to dealing in Hollywood real estate is a far cry, but Emmett Dalton, only surviving member of the famous Dalton gang, who is now a quiet, law-abiding citizen residing at 1928 Hillhurst avenue, says it is an agreeable change - and a profitable one.
The eyes of the once frontier desperado, that were trained to look down a barrel of a rifle at a quaking bank official or through ambush at an approaching mail train, now watch the rapid multiplication of new homes here and rising prices of land values with a brighter gleam of satisfaction than ever marked them in the exiting days of the early nineties.
Dalton, quiet-voiced, mild mannered, and unassuming can remember the days when his name was used by mothers to hush crying children, when the family cognomen was uttered everywhere in a whisper. Dime novels have glorified the exploits of him and his two brothers. Many accusations have been made against him. These he accepts philosophically. But he does want it understood that there are no Dalton graveyards around Los Angeles.
Newspapers last week told of police detectives uncovering a site 839 West Ninth Street and finding old bones. The opinion was expressed by detectives that the bones might be the remains of a victim of the Dalton brothers.
“Ridiculous,” said Dalton. “I traveled with my brothers during all their raids and I know this is untrue. Yes, we roamed some in California, but we never lived in Los Angeles. We have been accused of holding up a train near Tulare in 1890, but never of any depredation in this city.”
Dalton recalled how the gang came to grief in Coffeyville…
After 14 years he was pardoned. That was 23 years ago. Emmett started all over. He began producing motion pictures in Oklahoma, and made a fair success of it. Then 12 years ago the California fever caught him and he came to Hollywood. He has lived here since, engaged in building work, and likes it.
“There isn’t such a thing as a successful outlaw,” the erstwhile bandit opined. “A man is a fool to try to beat the game. Crime never pays. The criminal plays a losing game. Anyone these days can make more money observing the laws than breaking them.”
In the gang’s four years of plundering in Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas, it earned about $200,000, but the money was squandered. Their friends wanted loans. The money disappeared as fast as it could be taken from banks and railway cars.
“I will say that in those days we did have a code of honor,” said Dalton. “We never killed unless it was absolutely necessary. We were inspired by a belief that rich corporations were fleecing the poor people and that the law protected them, and so we only robbed the big corporations. We never shot unless it was absolutely necessary.
“I believe that there is nothing that so encourages crime as the belief that rich men and corporations are making illicit gains without being liable for punishment.”
Dalton said that the incident that pitched the brothers into their hectic career was the government refusal to pay Bob and Frat for a year’s services as United States marshals.
“I don’t think there is a crime wave today,” the former train robber said. “There are more acts penalized, and hence more laws violated, but there is no more crime. The thing that makes it appear so is that acts, formally permitted, are now penal offences. Naturally we have a greater crime record.
Dalton doesn’t recall all the depredation committed by the gang. One of the most daring, he said, occurred just three months before the Coffeyville raid. On this particular occasion a train was held up at Adair, Okla., 11 guards and United States marshals held at bay, and $10,000 taken.
The Hollywood builder was born in Kansas City, and lived there during his early life. Incidentally, first cousins on his mother’s side were the Younger brothers - Cole, Jim and Bob - all notorious members of the Jesse James gang. Their raids were made at an earlier period.
“But that was a lawless age, and we were ignorant. If we had lived in this enlightened age, we would have known that such a career is a losing one,” Dalton went on. “There is a lot more money in honest trade.”
In 1930 Emmett had a book West of 96 published by Butterick Publishing Company. “96” referred to the meridian line that runs across Tulsa which used to be a rough boundary for the wilderness of the west. It is fair to assume that this was no big seller as he immediately went on to write another one (it is also possible that this was a reprint of Beyond the Law under a different title). This was done with the collaboration of Jack Jungmeyer, an experienced fiction writer. The title was much more informative When the Daltons Rode, and was about twice the length of West of 96. I think it was written pretty much tongue in cheek. By now Emmett knew he could tell, and be believed, just about anything, and gave people what they wanted rather than a true history. The mantle of an old-time outlaw was no longer shameful and he had learned to live with it. No longer did he stay with the horses during the train robberies, but was a full-blown outlaw. He did not even resist the Coffeyville raid. And, oh, he was dead cool in the First National bank. There was Abe Knott in the bank with a six-shooter in his belt (he was in the bank, but minus the gun). Emmett wrote: “I had learned from experience never to take my gaze off the other fellow in moments of danger, and never to give back a step. As I looked into his steady eye I felt that one of us might have to die.” Now, according to the Coffeyville Journal of the time, Emmett kept those in the bank in a state of nervousness by his swearing and the reckless manner in which he flourished his rifle. That does not sound so cool! But, under all the romantic nonsense, one can find some interesting insights. On the whole, the story line was that of the earlier Beyond the Law. The book came out in January 1931.
The Kingfisher Weekly Free Press, March 12, 1931: The following dispatch from Los Angeles, Calif., under the date of February 18, appeared in last Sunday’s Tulsa World: “Two thousand red-headed Texas Rangers is the only force needed to clean up Chicago with its racketeers and gangsters, in the opinion of Emmett Dalton, the youngest and only surviving member of the notorious ’Dalton boys,’ who roamed and ravaged the old Indian Territory.
“Yes sir,’ Dalton says, ’we’d sure tame that town. First thing I’d do would be to throw all ward heelers in mail and then with their backbones broken the gangsters and mob men would have to shift for themselves. The minute you take the official protection from those racketeers they’re through. They lose their ammunition.’ ’So you don’t think the present day crop of outlaws is a credit to the profession?’ he was asked. ’Outlaws, thunder!’ he indignantly corrected. ’Those fellows gunning around here now aren’t outlaws. We outlaws in the old days had some principle. We held up trains and banks that’s true, but we never shot anyone - unless he qualified, and it was absolutely necessary. But these gangsters today,’ he chuckled in derision. ’They even have bodyguards. Can you beat that? Imagine Jesse James or one of the Dalton boys with a bodyguard.’
“Despite his 60 years, 14 of which were spent in Lansing, Kan., prison for his part in the historic Coffeyville, Kan., robbery when eight people were killed, Dalton today is a splendid figure of a man. He is in real estate and building business and has written two books on outlaw life.”
In April 1931, Emmett and Julia set off in their automobile for a long tour of the country, which they called their second honeymoon. Emmett seems to have been in a fine form, full of chat, keen to quote stories from his book, and, of course, not forgetting to mention that crime is not really worthwhile. He was back in business!
The Wisconsin State Journal, April 18, 1931: FRESNO, Cal., - (U.P.) - There is no such thing as a successful outlaw.
Emmett Dalton, only survivor of the famous Dalton gang of the ’80s and ’90s, made that remark while on a visit here. Dalton, who paid for his part in the Dalton gang outlawry with 14 years in prison, today is a successful Los Angeles real estate man.
Dalton said he had made more out of a single real estate deal than was taken in all the robberies of the Dalton gang.
Abilene Daily Reporter, April 23, 1931: Crime doesn’t pay, no matter which way you look at it. A large part of the present crime situation is due to a faulty education given children by their parents and teachers.
This sounds like old stuff, but the man who said it makes it important. Emmett Dalton, last of the Dalton gang, ought to know.
Dalton, in Abilene today, went on to say:
“They taught us, and they still teach children, to look up to wealth and not the means by which it is obtained. A child forms the idea that it is the money that counts, and not the method of getting it.
“Teach them, instead, how by hard work and diligence one may obtain the better things of life. Teach them that character and honor are worth more than money.”
Dalton submitted his own life as the proof:
“I was born 60 years ago, May 3, 1871, and from the time I was big enough to carry a gun until they caught me at Coffeyville, Kansas, October 5, 1892, my career was one of wild outlawry. In all that time the most money I ever had was $3,500, and throughout the long career of the Dalton and Younger boys our gross loot was not more than $60,000.
“Within the last five years, as a middle-aged man, I have made more than that. In fact, two land deals in Hollywood, Cal., brought me more money than our whole bunch ever made in deviltry - and for the $60,000 we got we paid a fearful price. I now have the satisfaction of a clear conscience.”
Dalton’s book, “When the Daltons Rode,” came off Doubleday-Doran Company’s presses January 30, and already has a large sale.
Accompanied by his wife, Dalton drove into Abilene this morning, bound east, and stopped over several hours for car repairs. He and his wife were playmates in childhood, in a day before the Daltons rode, both reared in the Cherokee Nation of Indian Territory, now Washington County, Okla.
Two brothers, Bob and Grat, were killed in the gun battle of October 5, 1892, following the raid on two banks of Coffeyville. Emmet got two rifle balls, 18 buckshot - and a life sentence. He served in the Laning, Kansas, penitentiary 14 1-2 years, getting his pardon November 7, 1907. Since then he has been on the lecture platform, and quietly living in Hollywood.
Emmett Dalton actually is the last of two famous families, the Younger boys - John, Cole, Jim and Bob - being first cousins of the Daltons, although the Younger’s were in outlawry ten years ahead of the Daltons.
“Our people weren’t all bad,” Emmett said. “There were ten boys and five girls in our family, which originated in Cass County, Missouri, and only four got into crime. No better man ever lived than my father. He served under Zachary Taylor in Mexico and with Sterling Price in the Confederacy.
I still shudder when I look back on the Coffeyville fight and remember that in the space of five minutes eight men were killed and four wounded, of whom four dead were citizens and two were my brothers, Bob and Grat. If I have any philosophy in life it is that every man is entitled to his life. I am bitterly opposed to capital punishment, feeling that in taking a human life the state is just as guilty as a private citizen shooting out his feud. If they want to go to the Bible and debate it with me, I will give them Christ’s words ‘I come not to destroy, but to save,’ - and I lack hell of a lot of being a Christian.”
Dalton, 60 next May 3, is quiet, low spoken, slightly portly. His gray hair is thinning.
Dallas Morning News, April 25, 1931: Emmett Dalton, once the terror of bankers and railway express men, and the only survivor of the great Coffeyville, Kan., street fight of Oct. 5, 1892, Friday night sat on the mezzanine floor of the Hilton Hotel and talked of prospects of a revival in Los Angeles real estate, of whether book reviews in the Boston Transcript have more pulling power than those in the San Francisco Daily Chronicle, and of whether a double O in a man’s name such as in Hoover, Coolidge or Woodrow Wilson, is a sure sign that he’s headed for the White House.
Not that the last living hero out of the pages of the Wild West of forty years ago has gone soft. He still has memories of the days when the Younger brothers, the Dalton gang, and even Jesse James and Billy the Kid were current phenomena like Al Capone or Alfalfa Bill Murray today. His talk is filled with innumerable rattling good yarns of train robberies and bank holdups. And he also talks with sense and conviction about any present-day topic of public concern, from prison reform to prohibition. The only point is to show the amazing range of interests and knowledge he has acquired in one man’s lifetime.
Mr. Dalton’s interest in real estate is professional. He is a full-fledged realtor in the city of Hollywood, and during the last fifteen or twenty years has amassed a neat competence, so that he and Mrs. Dalton can make pleasant leisurely cross-country trips in their automobile such as the present one. He points out that he made more money a few years ago on two single lots in the movie capital than he and other members of the Dalton gang realized in all their depredations in the old Indian Territory. He recalls two definite holdups of express cars on the Katy Railroad and three on the Santa Fe.
But Mr. Dalton’s interest in book reviews is equally professional. He is the author of a current best seller, “When the Daltons Rode,” an excellently written, fast moving chronicle of his own youth. It was written in collaboration with Jack Jungmeyer, a well-known West coast feature writer, and is published by Doubleday, Doran. To judge from Mr. Dalton’s conversation, the language in the book is wholly his racy, colorful and precise.
Mr. Dalton has little appreciation of the “big shots” of the underworld in American cities. No real Robin Hood adventurer ought to ride around in armored cars, using machine guns and accompanied by press agents, in his opinion. He plans to continue to Oklahoma City Saturday afternoon and pay a visit to Governor Murray.
Kansas City Star, April 28, 1931: OKLAHOMA CITY, April 28. - Treasure seekers who believe fabulous amounts of gold and silver were buried in Oklahoma and Kansas by the Dalton gang may lay their picks and shovels aside.
Emmett Dalton, 60, last survivor of the band, who now is a prosperous real estate dealer in California, gave information to dispel the fortune hunters’ illusions last night.
“We never buried any treasure,” he said. “We needed all the money we collected for our own uses, or to lend to our supposed friends.”
Kansas City Star, April 29, 1931: Oklahoma City - Emmett Dalton, leader of the notorious Dalton gang that thirty-nine years ago was the terror of the Southwest, returned Sunday to revisit the scenes of his career as an outlaw.
The elderly man who arrived from California bore little resemblance to the “bad man” of Kansas and Oklahoma pioneer days. Prosperous from his earnings as a building contractor in California, Dalton is here to gather literary material and also to leave at the office of Governor Murray a plea against capital punishment.
Dalton will go to Coffeyville, Kansas, where his four companions in the Dalton gang were killed on an October afternoon in 1892 in an attempted bank robbery, in which Dalton himself was seriously wounded. After serving fifteen years of an original life sentence in Kansas penitentiary, he went to California and gave up his career as a robber.
San Antonio Express, April 30, 1931: COFFEYVILLE, Kan., April 29. One of the old Dalton outlaw gang came back to Coffeyville today, but with good will - not guns.
Eight persons were shot to death Oct. 5, 1892, when Emmett Dalton, his brothers and associates paid a visit. But they came to rob banks and there was a sanguinary battle in the streets.
Grat and Bob Dalton were killed. So were their associates, Bill Power and Bill Broadwell. Four citizens also met death.
Today Emmett came to repair the graves of his brothers and to look upon the battle scene. As he stood at the site of one of the victim banks, a man who was 11 years old at the time of the battle, recognized Dalton.
“How do you do, Emmett,” said the man [E. W. Morgan], now a prominent real estate dealer.
Charles T. Gump, 72, also greeted Dalton, extending a hand that was wounded during the fighting and assuring the former outlaw that no ill will remained.
Only a piece of gas pipe, driven into the ground, marks the burial site of Grat and Bob Dalton and Bill Power. Broadwell’s grave is in Western Kansas.
The following week, in the Sunday issue, the Kansas City Star, carried a lengthy article on Emmett’s visit to Coffeyville. Get ready to cringe!
Kansas City Star, May 10, 1931: Emmett Dalton came back to Coffeyville the other day “to go over the old trails,” to meet some old-time friends and to fix the graves of his two brothers, “Bob” and “Grat,” killed in the Dalton raid here thirty-nine years ago.
With his wife, Emmett drove from their home in Hollywood, Cal., and arrived in the evening at the home of John B. Tackett, in Coffeyville. I met them there the next morning.
Emmett was at breakfast. He rose, six feet tall, “thin as a rail” and as [illegible word] as he was when a youth, and he rose to meet me, with his hand out…
This man, advancing across the breakfast room to meet me, attired in a dark blue suit of clothes, his trousers creased and with the bearing of a successful business man, was the last of those wild-riding outlaws whose exploits filled the newspapers forty years ago. It was hard to realize that this quiet appearing man had been the swashbuckling hero of a hundred dime novels, but he was.
“Why, you look younger than I ought to find you,” I said.
“I am young,” he answered, and he laughed. “I am only 60.”
“How is your health?” I asked by a way of beginning a conversation.
“Good, fine, except,” and he put up his left hand and grasped the sleeve of his coat above the elbow, “that old wound bothers me a lot. You know, at the Coffeyville raid here thirty-nine years ago someone planted a bullet right there in my arm. It shattered the bone some. The doctors wanted to cut the arm off, but I was only a kid and hotheaded, and I told them that if I was going to die, as they said I was, I would be buried all together. It has never healed. It is an open sore yet and I have to bandage it every morning. Outside of that I’m all right.”
John B. Tackett, at whose home Dalton and his wife were staying, had told me that Dalton was rich, that he and his wife went to Hollywood twelve years ago, just in time to get in on the upward rise of the real estate boom there. They bought land and built houses and sold them and made a lot of money. I asked Dalton, “They say you’re rich. Are you?”
“Well,” he drawled, in his soft, quiet, even tone of voice, “it depends on what you call rich. If you mean a million, we haven’t got it. But we are comfortable. One thing you can say, I’ve made more money in two or three years of real estate deals than the Dalton gang ever made in all years of our deviltry.”
“I’ve been in his home in Hollywood, and it’s a dandy,” interrupted Tackett. “Great big house, wonderfully furnished. Emmett’s rich. You can put it down.”
“Just say that whatever I’ve got I owe to my wife, the most wonderful woman in the world. Come here, Julia,” he called, and she came in, a refined and charming woman with graying hair.
“Is this Julia, the sweetheart of your boyhood you tell so much about in your book?” I asked Emmett.
“This is she,” he answered. “This trip we are making now is our second honeymoon. After we leave here we are going to drive to her old house in Oklahoma.” Later, as we stood at the graves of his brothers he said: “Did you ever read Longfellow’s Evangeline, that wonderful story of how a woman followed after the man she loved, searching for him all her life, from girlhood to old age, and those beautiful words of the poem:
Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is patient,
Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman’s devotion,
List to this mournful tradition:
“Remember those lines? I committed them to memory when I was in the state prison. Well, all that Longfellow said of Evangeline’s love and devotion I can say about Julia’s. I owe all that I am to her.”
As Dalton and Tackett and I rode together toward the Coffeyville plaza, the scene of the robbery and street battle, I suggested that we go over the ground and review the events.
“…We all knew the danger of the job, to ride into a town in daylight, rob two banks and get away, but we joked and laughed as we rode in. A man is never scared at that point in the game. He has reasoned it all out before, made up his mind, and the closer he gets to the job the cooler he gets.
“We figured the chances were all in our favor. We would take the town by surprise, in two or three minutes we would have the money, and be on our horses and away before the town became aroused. …
“Charley Ball, the cashier, was a man of nerve and quick wit, and when Grat ordered him to open the money safe Bell answered it had a time lock, which would not open for ten minutes.
“ ‘All right,’ said Grat. ‘We can wait ten minutes.’
“The truth was, there was no time lock. The safe door could have been swung open easily and there was $18,000 in there, ready to hand. Had Grat tried the door of that safe he would have got that money and been out of that bank in a minute, and we would have got away before the town armed against us.
“In all my life I have never known an exhibition of chilled nerve such as Grat Dalton, Powers and Broadwell gave there, waiting, watching the minute hand of the big clock on the wall creep slowly around, counting the seconds, one minute, two minutes, three minutes, while the town armed itself and began bombarding the bank…
Considering they should have been out fast, it seems incredibly stupid to be prepared to wait for 10 minutes. In fact, according to the Coffeyville Journal of Oct. 7, 1892, the wait would have been three minutes. Some other versions of the story have it as ten minutes, or even twenty! Emmett uses the three-minute version in both of his books.
“As Bob and I came up Eighth street to the corner of Union a grocer over there shouted to us: ‘You’re killing innocent people!’ I raised my rifle to bear on him and called back: ‘Get in there or I’ll give you some of it,’ and he scattered boxes of apples all over as he scrambled back into his store. …”
…There was a square burial plot marked only by a small stone at each corner, and a rusty iron pipe bent into an arc, with each end stuck into the ground. That was the top rail of the hitching rack to which the bandits tied their horses the day of the raid.
“Poor Bob,” said Emmett. “He was the finest figure on horseback I have ever seen. He was the bravest, coolest man I have ever known, both as a United States deputy marshal and as an outlaw. Between Bob and me was a bond of wonderful affection; I would have died for him. There he lies.”
Emmett moved over a couple of feet to the head of another mound and said, musingly, as if no one was near: “Poor Grat. Here he sleeps, an aimless, discontented boy who grew into a fierce fighting man.”
“…I am the last survivor of the old-time frontier outlaw, and I, too, am doomed to die as all those others did, from a bullet, for this bullet wound in my arm will carry me off one of these days.” …
As we moved away Dalton said:
“I challenge the world to produce the history of an outlaw who ever got anything out of it except that,” and he pointed to the row of outlaw graves, “or else to be huddled in a prison cell. And that goes for the modern bandit of the skyscraper frontier of our big cities, too. The machine gun may help them get away with it a little better and the motor car may help them in making an escape better than to ride on horseback, as we did, but it all ends the same way. The biggest fool on earth is the one who thinks he can beat the law that crime can be made to pay. It never paid and it never will, and that’s the one big lesson of the Coffeyville raid.”
Right the way through this tour of Coffeyville, everything Emmett said, most of it quoted from his book, had a feel of an act about it. He had fitted himself into the role of an old-time, cool outlaw (with a romantic side to him), and there seemed to be no genuine feeling in anything he said. But it looks like he enjoyed himself.
San Antonio Express, May 4, 1931: FORT SMITH, Ark., May 3. - Emmett Dalton, last of the Dalton outlaw band that terrorized the Southwest nearly 40 years ago, returned to Fort Smith after an absence of more than 20 years, to find, instead of the roaring pioneer town he knew, a modern industrial city without even a pool hall open on Sunday.
Dalton came here to delve into records of the United States district court, to be used in a book he is writing. He is particularly interested in the period of the country’s history when “Hanging” Judge Parker and his “old soldier” jury administered stern justice to law-breakers. The frontier judge sentenced more than 20 men to hand on “maledon’s white mule” as the gallows that stood in the old Federal courtyard was called.
Dalton plans to leave for Kansas City late tomorrow.
The Harwarden Independent, May 21, 1931: Did you ever meet, face to face, a real, live bandit - that is to say, an ex-bandit? Can’t say that we exactly approve of bandits, but I can assure you that it surely gives you something of a thrill to sit and talk to a man the exploits of whose early life make the doings of Chicago’s gangsters look like a game of ring around the rosy.
Here in a hotel in Kansas City, where this letter is being written, one of the “bell-hops” asked me if I knew who occupied the room next door to mine. Confessing my ignorance, I was informed that the tenants were Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Dalton. …
I knocked at the door of Room No. 603. It was opened by an elderly, gray-haired gentleman who looked like a Presbyterian minister. I apologized, explaining that I was looking for a Mr. Dalton.
“I am Emmett Dalton,” he said, in a soft voice. “Come in, won’t you? Meet Mrs. Dalton.” And I bowed to a matronly, white-haired lady whom nobody would be ashamed to acknowledge as his mother.
We talked of robbing banks and killing people. The bandit of half a century ago sat with his arms around his wife, to whom he has been married and to whom he has been faithful for more than forty years. He has paid the full price demanded by the Government for the indiscretions of his youth. He asked me to say to American boys that crime doesn’t pay. If they want to know why, ask them to write him at his home in Hollywood, California, and he will tell them.
Before I said goodbye, Mr. Dalton said:
“I challenge the world to produce the history of an outlaw who ever got anything out of it except that,” referring to a picture of a row of outlaw graves, “or else to be huddled in a prison cell…”
He said the exact same words as at the cemetery in Coffeyville. Just goes to prove how much of an act it was.
San Antonio Express, May 10, 1931: KANSAS CITY, May 9. - Emmett Dalton, who once terrorized sections of Oklahoma and Kansas through robbery of banks and trains, began another journey to the Kansas State prison today, but only for a visit. He said he wanted to see some old friends made when he served 14 years of a life sentence in the Kansas penitentiary.
San Antonio Express, May 13, 1931: TOPEKA, Kan., May 12. - Emmett Dalton, only surviving member of the band of outlaws who 30 years ago staged the sensational Coffeyville, Kan., bank raid which cost eight lives, today visited the office of the governor of Kansas from which was issued 24 years ago the pardon which opened prison doors for him. …
Dalton, who now lives in Hollywood, visited the capitol today to express to Gov. Harry H. Woodring his appreciation of the executive’s veto of the bill, which would have re-established capital punishment in Kansas.
In Governor Woodring’s absence, the one time outlaw paid his respects to the executive through the latter’s secretary, Leslie Wallace.
No doubt his campaign against capital punishment was entirely sincere. I believe, when there was no need to be his public persona as the famous bandit, he was a sincere and genuine person.
The Tyrone Daily Herald, May 28, 1931: Wichita, Kansas, May 28. (INS) - Crime is in the big business now, but still it doesn’t pay.
That is the opinion of Emmett Dalton, youngest member of the hard-shooting, wild-riding Dalton brothers, outlaw band of the eighties. Visiting here, Dalton recalled the days when he and his brothers were regarded with the Jesse James gang as the most notorious outlaws of the Middle West. …
“Crime has gone into big business,” he observes, “but it doesn’t pay now any more than it did then.
“It pays less when you consider the modern gangster, who certainly must sacrifice every shred of his self-respect.
“In the old days the outlaw met his man face to face. He rode in the open, ready to meet all comers. He didn’t ride in an armored car behind a machine gun. He had no bodyguard.
“Today the criminal shoots in the back and forfeits every right to the world’s consideration. He kills first, robs afterwards, and never takes a chance. He’s a rat.
“Adventure played its part in luring young men to outlawry in the old days of the West. The dollar standard is the lure now. Booze, boodle and cheap politicians are behind present day crime.”
About the trip Emmett wrote to his old friend, Joe De Yong, from Dewey, near Bartlesville, who now lived at Santa Barbara, California:
MAY 21st , 1931.
WE JUST RETURNED FROM A 5.300 MILE TRIP,THRO ARIZ,NEW MWXICO,TEXAS, OKLA,ARK,MO AND KANS.WE HAD A VERY NICE TIME AND SAW MANY OF THE OLDTIMERS. AT DEWEY,MANY OF THE PEOPLE ASKED ABOUT YOU AND YOUR MOTHER.EARL WOODARD LOOKED FINE.JOE KNIGHT NOT SO GOOD,SEEMS TO BE CRIPPLED SOME WAY.MANY OTHERS I COULD MENTION SEEMED TO BE JUST DRYING UP.IF YOU OR YOUR MOTHER ARE DOWN TO LA, DROP IN AND SEE US,OR AT LEAST GIVE US A RING. IF I CAN DO ANYTHING FOR YOU,DOWN HERE,LET ME KNOW AND IT WILL BE A PLEASURE TO AT LEAST TRY IT.,
VERY TRULY YOURS
(From Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center)
Daily Capital News, July 30, 1931: Much romance and glamour has been woven about the lives of the Dalton boys, outlaws of the early nineties, whose name was synonymous with banditry and murder; but when Emmett Dalton, lone survivor of the outlaw family arrived in Jefferson City last week, he had all the appearance of a gentleman.
There was little glean from his countenance that might hint of spectacular raids, thundering horseman, night rides, holdups and other lawlessness that this man actually saw and had a part.
His hands, that once handled a Winchester with lightning swiftness and skill looked like the hands of any man who has reached the age of three score. His eye, which no doubt had sighted down a rifle barrel more than once with a human target at the opposite end, held a kindly twinkle. They seemed to understand a lot of things. They were mellow and sympathetic.
His face has a touch of sternness, however, the heritage possibly of sterner days. But ask him if the memorable battle at Coffeyville, Kans., in which three of his brothers were slain, was the bitterest battle of his life and see him smile. Battles that take the most courage, he will tell you, are not fought with guns.
Mr. Dalton, who now is connected with the Warsaw Development Company, a land promotion venture, probably will be in Jefferson City often in his course of business. He is a businessman, just like others we meet on the street daily…
Today Emmett Dalton is a man of affairs, successful in business and admired by thousands.
Oakland Tribune, Oct. 6, 1931: CAPTAIN THOMAS RYNNING, one time chief of the Arizona rangers which did much to exterminate outlaws of the Southwest frontier, and EMMETT DALTON, former member of the notorious Dalton gang of border desperadoes, shook hands at a Beverly Hills book review.
During 1931, Emmett was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, and in 1932 his health started to fail him. He retired from construction business and concentrated more on his writing stories for Western magazines. He met with a Californian writer and historian Frank F. Latta, and this resulted in a friendship that would last for the rest of his life.
A letter from Emmett to Latta:
DEAR MR LATTA:
I AM VERY SORRY IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO COME TO TULARE, OWING TO MY PHYSICAL CONDITION.
YESTERDAY I MADE A LITTLE TEST BY GOING ON A TWO-HUNDRED MILE TRIP WITH A FRIEND AND LAST NIGHT I WAS SO WEAK I COULD NOT HAVE GONE TEN MILES FURTHER.
I HAD INTENDED COMING UP NEXT THURSDAY BUT MY TRIAL YESTERDAY MAKES IT OUT OF QUESTION.
IF YOU COULD COME DOWN AND JUST BRING A FEW PHOTOS AND ANY WRITING YOU HAVE ON THE SUBJECTS WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT IT PERHAPS WOULD SUFFICE.
WRITING FOR BIG PROFITS SEEMS TO BE A PECULIAR PROCESS. FIRST ONE MUST PRODUCE GOOD MATERIAL. THEN IT SEEMS THAT ONE FIRST HAS TO HAVE A REPUTATION BEFORE HE CAN HAVE A SALE AND THEN HE CANNOT HAVE A SALE WITHOUT A REPUTATION.
BUT BY YOU AND I TIEING IN TOGETHER I FEEL SURE I CAN PUT YOUR NAME ON THE TONGUES OF HALF THE POPULATION OF THE COUNTRY, AND THAT IS WHAT IT TAKES TO BE ABLE TO DEMAND THE PRICE.
IF YOU CONTEMPLATE COMING DOWN SOON DROP ME A LINE SO I WILL BE AT HOME.
WITH KINDEST REGARDS I REMAIN
4350 PRICE ST
This excerpt from Emmett’s letter to Mr. Virgil Y. Russell of Casper, Wyoming, April 1, 1934, gives further insight into his health problems: “ DEAR PROFESSOR: IT HAS BEEN SELDOM I HAVE BEEN SO, IN YEARS,THAT I COULD NOT ANSWER MY LETTERS BUT NATURAL CONDITIONS SEEM TO HAVE GOTTEN THE BETTER OF ME. I HAVE BEEN ON THE ’BUM’ FOR FOUR OR FIVE YEARS. CAN’T DIE NOR GET WELL, BUT IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS I SEEM TO BE GETTING BETTER…”
San Mateo Times, July 16, 1932: Two studios are nibbling at the film rights to “When the Daltons Rode,” a story of the famous outlaw band, written by a surviving member, Emmett Dalton.
Los Angeles Times, July 5, 1934: Exploits that made news and history during the last few decades were retold yesterday at a gathering of men in the Mission Village at 5675 West Washington Boulevard. It was a strange sort of Fourth of July reunion of men both bold and bad in the days gone by. Some are now in motion pictures and some in public service.
The whole group was entertained by some fast-disappearing redskins of the west.
Among those present was Jim Thorpe, Chief Many Treaties of the Blackfoot tribe of Montana; Red Larkin, Emmett Dalton and Frank Murphy.
Emmett was still going over old ground, forever working on “his story”. In a letter written to an editor, C. W. Mowre, on November 26, 1934, he wrote: …“I WILL TRY AND DO AS YOU SUGGEST WHEN WRITING MY COFFEYVILLE STORY. ANY SUGGESTIONS YOU CARE TO MAKE WILL BE GLADLY RECEIVED…”
Evidently he was also now considered as a bit of a bore because of his boastful Dalton stories. With his poor health and inability to be active, he seemed to sink into his outlaw persona with near tragic consequences.
Emmett Dalton in his Hollywood years
On February 6, 1935, Emmett presented Chuck Martin, his friend and fellow writer, with his old single action Colt .44, which he had carried before the Coffeyville raid. This was done in a way of thanks, for earlier that day Martin had saved Emmett from a heap of trouble.
Martin, having arranged with a friend to create a casual meeting between Emmett and a man claiming to be Bill Stiles of Jesse James gang, tells what happened: ” ...I saw my friend turn the corner a block away with a little weaseled old man. Emmett glanced at the on comers casually. Then his eyes narrowed. He stiffened, recognized this other old outlaw, and Emmett went into action. I believe he was about sixty-three at the time. He clawed back the tail of his coat, reached for the back of his pants, and came out holding a cocked six-shooter. I caught him around the waist with both arms, pinned his arms to his sides, and yelled to beat hell. Emmett was struggling and pitching like a bucking bronco with a tree-cat on his back. Bill Stiles looked up and recognized his old enemy. Eighty years old, but he took off like a jack rabbit."
Why carry a gun when going for a short stroll in Hollywood? Was the line between reality and the outlaw days becoming so blurred that he had fitted himself into the legend he had become? This incident sobered him up some, and he got rid of the gun. (Photos taken by Julia)
The Oklahoman, Feb. 27, 1935: LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26. - (AP) - Emmett Dalton, of the old Dalton gang of train and bank robbers, sued the Columbia movie studio in federal court Tuesday, charging unfair competition in a recent Columbia film release “Beyond the Law.” He asks $50,000 damages.
Dalton, who reformed long ago and has been living quietly in Hollywood, asserts he wrote and copyrighted in 1918 an original story “Beyond the Law,” and has produced and copyrighted a motion picture of the same title. Since the release of the Columbia film, however, the public has become confused as to which picture is which, he contends.
Abilene Morning News, Sept. 20, 1935: LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19. - A deep hatred, born in 1892 was forgotten today when Emmett Dalton and Charles Gump met.
Maybe, the names don’t mean much to the present generation, but they were once in the news…
It was Charles Gump who sounded the death note for the Dalton gang. He witnessed their arrival, sounded the alarm and mobilized the townsmen.
They met last night - both gray-haired and not so quick on the trigger finger anymore - and shook hands.
“Time is a great healer,” they said.
They plan reunion again on Oct. 5, the anniversary of one of the bloodiest street battles of the west.
San Antonio Express, Oct. 8, 1935: HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Oct. 7. - Charles Gump, one of the citizens of Coffeyville, Kan., who battled the Dalton brothers when they raided the town 43 years ago, described them here today as “courageous men.”
“They were not like these little city ‘rats’ that shoot you in the back when you aren’t looking,” said Gump.
He had met Emmett Dalton, who lives in a modest bungalow here, and they talked over old times. Gump, now a retired citizen of Coffeyville, encountered Emmett and Bob Dalton as they sought to escape from the holdup of the Coffeyville First National Bank. He was shot through the right hand and carries the bullet scar today…
“The Dalton boys were very popular previous to their Coffeyville raid,” said Gump. “They had been deputy United States marshals and their word was 100 per cent. Their name has been growing in popularity ever since.
“After Emmett Dalton wrote his book ‘When the Daltons Rode,’ he became known all over the world. What makes him stand out above others is that he took his punishment, almost 15 years in prison, like a man and when he came out he never went back to outlawry. I think he is now one of our best citizens.
“The Daltons were courageous men. Bob Dalton, their leader, was an expert shot. I do not think he wanted to kill me when he shot at me 43 years ago. I think he just meant to disable me by shooting me through the hand.”
The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 1, 1935: Emmett Dalton, only survivor of the Dalton gang of bank robbers after their pitched battle forty-three years ago this month with an embattled citizenry at Coffeyville, Kan., yesterday appeared in court on the side of the law.
Dalton, now 64 years of age, went to Municipal Judge Taplin’s court to appear as a witness for the State in its prosecution of Dr. William D. Noland, 3944 Wilshire Boulevard, charged with violation of the California Chiropractic Act.
Dalton’s testimony was not necessary, however, as Judge Taplin found Noland guilty on two counts of using the abbreviation “Dr.” before his name without the chiropractic symbol following as required by law. Sentence was deferred until November 12 when a plea for probation will be heard.
Dalton was a patient of the defendant for nearly a year following a stroke and would have testified for the prosecution if necessary, Deputy City Prosecutor Louis Baboir said.
Noland had been charged in a third count with advertising himself as a bloodless surgeon but this count was dismissed.
Emmett Dalton has been living a quiet life, making his living largely by writing fiction, scenarios and articles. He is the author of two books. He lives at 4350 Price Street.
The Los Angeles, May 2, 1936: Efforts of Emmett Dalton to win damages from Columbia Pictures Corporation for asserted infringement of his story and motion picture “Beyond the Law” by a talking photoplay released about a year ago, failed yesterday by decision of United States District Judge McCormick.
In ruling in the defendant’s favor, Judge McCormick held that the producing corporation had not copied or pirated any part of Dalton’s story or picture, which dealt with the exploits of the Dalton outlaws.
Emmett and Julia with Ray Corrigan
Oakland Tribune, Oct. 5, 1936: LOS ANGELES, Oct. 4. - (AP) - Hymns and prayer will mark an anniversary tonight for a frail white-haired man of 65 who looks like a minister.
He is Emmett Dalton, once a scourge of the middle border.
At Aimee Semple McPherson’s Angelus Temple, where he is a regular worshiper Dalton will attend the usual Monday night services, 44 years to the day since the Dalton band fought a pitched battle with officers and citizens in the town square of Coffeyville, Kan.
Emmett, youngest of the raiders survived. Eight men died.
“Since then I have never committed the slightest infraction of the laws of either God or man,” he said.
Buckshot wounds at Coffeyville and 15 years in the Kansas penitentiary before he was pardoned have broken Dalton’s health. But he has accumulated a large store of screen scenarios and stories based on the Dalton history.
From the sale of these, he said he hoped to provide for his and his wife’s future years.
The Angelus Temple was located next to Echo Park in Los Angeles. Aimee Semple McPherson was a controversial evangelist. She used theater and music to illustrate her sermons and Bible stories. This obviously was more attractive to Emmett than the traditional services that might have reminded him of "boring" church of his boyhood. It was only during this year that he started attending church services, first at a Pentecostal church on San Fernando Boulevard. Emmett was baptized at the Temple on August 27, 1936.
Emmett’s health deteriorated further the following year. When Frank Latta visited him not long before his death, Emmett had been sitting propped up in a chair, clad only in his pajamas, his body shrunken and shaking. On July 4,1937, Emmett suffered another stroke. He passed away quietly on July 13, with Julia by his side. Julia told the newspapers that Emmett would be buried in Coffeyville next to Bob, but in fact his ashes were sent to Kingfisher, Oklahoma, where his sister Leona and the undertaker buried his remains after dark in the family plot. Leona also had requested that no marker would be put on the grave before her own death.
Julia died of cardiac failure at a Fresno, Cal., hospital on May 20, 1943, after suffering a ruptured appendix. She was cremated and buried in the Johnson family plot at Dewey, Oklahoma.
El Paso Herald-Post, July 15, 1937: …And now, at 66. Emmett Dalton is dead in Los Angeles - one of the last of the outlaw horsemen whose exploits have so large a part in our western legendry. Probably it is only an illusion of time that makes the Dalton gang seem somehow more heroic figures than the Dillinger’s and Baby-Face Nelsons of recent years. The old-time bad men were about as bad as men could be - and Emmett Dalton, who reformed and died respectable and respected, was one of the rare exceptions to prove the rule.
In going through the papers and other material I found nobody, who knew or had met Emmett, saying anything but good things about him. He comes across as a caring, considerate man with a determined and stubborn streak in him. His downfall was, like with so many young people, his wish to fit in with his crowd. Frank Latta, who knew him in his later years, wrote: "There was much to admire in Emmett. It has been the opinion of all persons interviewed that he was largely a victim of circumstances. …He was an attractive, likeable sort of fellow. One could not help but regret he had been denied the chance of success that might have been his if he never had run with the Dalton Gang." And Chuck Martin wrote: “ … and many of the old peace officers liked and respected Emmett Dalton, who, in those later years, I was proud to call my - Friend.” Both knew him possibly at his worst.
C. M. Condon Bank
Coffeyville, Kansas - 1900