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                             Volume 18, Issue 8 -- 2016-02-22                     

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Walking With Sweet Sadie Dawg


There was a news story printed in the Fort Worth Daily Gazetter, Fort Worth, Texas, dated 2 April 1896, Thursday, page 2, with the following headlines: "Kilgore's Hot Shot" with sub-headlines: "Fired at the People of Wichita Falls and the Gazette."

It was concerning their views touching the causes of the late bank robbery and subsequent lynching. It might have been considered "Gilded and flagrant falsehoods." Those were the polite terms applied by Judge Kilgore to the declarations of the Gazette. And it was scored for its defense of the lynching of the murderers of Frank Dorsey. Judge Kilgore asserted that the Indian Territory was more law abiding than Texas, and asserted that the motive of the people of Wichita Falls and the Gazette was a Sinister one.

Found on Newspapers.com

It was on the 25th day of February 1895, Foster Crawford and Kid Lewis, two outlaws residents of the Indian Territory, rode into the little city of Wichita Falls, and in an attempt to rob the City National bank murdered the cashier, Frank Dorsey. Because of the resistance encountered they secured but little booty; pursuit was instantly organized, they were speedily captured, and on the night succeeding the robbery and murder of Cashier Dorsey they were strung to telegraph poles by indignant citizens.

The Gazette declared the fate of Crawford and Lewis to have been a just one and suggested that it should serve as a warning to outlaws from the Indian Territory and elsewhere to abstain from murder and robbery in Texas. The people of Wichita Falls in mass meeting assembled appealed to congress to establish a civilized government in the Indian Territory, and to exterminate the lawlessness prevailing there. This appeal, which was the echo of an agitation which The Gazette has for many years been the mainstay received its hearty endorsement.

Judge Constantine Buckley Kilgore, lat congressman from the Third congressional district in Texas, was one of the Federal judges in the Indian Territory, appointed in 1895 by President Cleveland. In the following communication he excoriates The Gazette and the people of Wichita Falls for their utterances relative to the tragedy that lately occurred at the latter place, and defended the existing conditions in the Indian Territory.

Ardmore, I.T., March 30, 1896.
To the Fort Worth Gazette:
On the 25th day of February, 1896, two outlaws, one from Missouri, the other from Texas, rode into the town of Wichita Falls, Texas, and murdered the cashier of a bank and robbed the bank. On the 26th day of February, 1896, the people of that town turned out, with their Sunday clothes on, and proceeded, in almost quiet, orderly and businesslike manner, so the papers say, and executed the murderers. The homicide, in both instances, was deliberately and willfully planned and committed, and with all the preparation necessary to indicate express malice upon the part of those who participated in the killings. The motive in one case was plunder; in the other revenge; and the spirit of outlawry was as conspicuous in one case as the other.

All the authorities upon the subject concur in the declaration that a homicide committed under such circumstances is murder. It is murder just the same, though it be committed by one man or one hundred men. Yet the purpose of this communication can be accomplished without entering upon a discussion of the ethics of the double tragedy at Wichita Falls. Such a discussion would be without profit, for outside of the Fort Worth Gazette people and the perpetrators and abettors of the outrages, there is not any room for any more than one opinion on the subject.

From the time the announcement was made to the public of the outrages at Wichita Falls the Gazette particularly, and other great papers generally, and the mob at that town, have persistently, consistently, willfully and maliciously falsified and maligned the people of the Indian Territory, without any reason, except to inflame the public mind against the people and the courts here, and the officers of those courts, all of whom are zealously engaged in an effort to enforce the laws which prevail in this territory. In extended editorials, in paragraphs, in boxcar letter headlines, it has bee heralded to the world that the robbers were Indian Territory outlaws, and that the lawlessness of the people here was to sol cause of the horrible crimes committed at Wichita Falls. The papers have asserted that the conditions in the Indian Territory afforded ample justification for any crime the people of North Texas might choose to commit against criminals who violate the law in Texas, and these cruel, unjust and groundless attacks have been kept up so persistently that they now wear the semblance of truth; they have become widespread and the country is ready to charge all the criminal outbreaks in the surrounding country to Territory outlaws.

It is true when these occurrences first took place, the conduct of the mob of Wichita Falls was justified on the ground that the courts of Texas were inefficient and wholly powerless to enforce the laws, and that criminals went unwrapped of justice; and it was stated by the papers that the judge of that district was assailed by the mob with bitter and cruel taunts to the effect that the courts of that state could not be relied upon to enforce the law and punish criminals. A malicious and deliberate second thought formulated the conclusion that this was dangerous ground upon which to seek to justify mob violence in Texas, and the daily papers, especially the Fort Worth Gazette and the people of Wichita Falls, in their wisdom and malice undertook to shift the odium of these outrages and the responsibility for these crimes, on another, and almost defenseless people; so with the ineffable and coldblooded effrontery, characteristic of the lordly outlaw, the Gazette and the people of Wichita Falls insisted that the mob came out of that work whiter than snow, and that the people of the Indian Territory are the criminals who ought to be held to a account by the country for the killing of the cashier and the two robbers.

Now I hope to establish by the record all these assertions as I go along. On the 2nd day of March, 1896, there was a call session of the Wichita Falls mob, the purpose to which was to unload on the people of the Indian Territory the responsibility for the wrongs perpetrated by that community, for the inefficient courts and officials of Texas and the uselessness of the "rangers," who are paid by the state to aid in the enforcement of the law in that section. It notified the public that the real criminal had been discovered. That call session adopted a certain set of resolutions, and a portion the declarations given to the world at the call session of that mob, read as follows:

"Whereas, the brutal murder of Frank Dorsey, cashier of the city National bank, one of our best and most inoffensive citizens, by outlaws from the Indian Territory and the subsequent lynching of them by indignant citizens, demand that prompt and decisive action be taken by all the people of Texas, Arkansas,, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas, looking to the settlement and civilization of the Indian Territory that has so long been and stills the rendezvous of a lawless element of cut-throats and murderers that continually rob and kill the inoffensive citizens who inhabit the sites bordering on said territory; be it therefore Resolved, 1. That it is the sense of this citizens meeting that the federal government is responsible for the condition of affairs that exist in the Territory and along its borders and for the murders and the action of outraged citizens in resorting to lynch law in self-defense.

2. We call upon the state governments of the northwestern states to rise in their right and demand that the Territory be opened to settlement to the white man to the end that the headquarters of these murderers be broken up and the people along the borders be spared the crimes that are continually being perpetrated upon them."

On the 9th of March, the president to nth mob, and the secretary, promulgated an open letter to the people of Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, in which they charge the lawlessness and crime which prevail in Texas, by their own admissions, to the people of the Indian Territory, and say that the federal government is to blame for maintaining in that country a resort for fugitives from justice; and they call upon the people in the sections named to join with them in an effort to secure from congress protection from Indian Territory outlaws; and they shamelessly and impiously suggest that the ministry of the country preach the miserable slander they have originated, and requested that on Sunday, March 15, from their pulpits, flaunt the gilded and flagrant falsehoods which these people have given to the world. They express in this address their thanks to the papers of Texas and the sT. Luis press for placing the blame for the recent murders and robbery on the people of the Indian Territory.

Then again on the 14th of March there was another call session of the Wichita Falls mob, which in due from and with great unanimity, addressed to a weary public another set of resolutions, in which that people call upon "the Federal government, the state officials of Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma Territory and Texas, the press of the country at large, the county officials of said states and terrtiroyr, also the city officials of all cities within the said states and territory and all boards of trade and like organizations to thougughly investigate the present state of affairs in the Indian Territory, as has been outlined and published by the press of Wichita county, Tex."

You can read the whole story by clicking on the news image at the top of this article.

Woof! Woof! I have a dream! We need a "Future To Believe In .... And a Congress we can believe in, One that won't obstruct - obstruct - obstruct!"
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