Dalton Gang

Lewis and Adeline Dalton, had fifteen children including Bob Dalton, William Dalton, Grattan Dalton and Emmett Dalton. Adeline Dalton's brother was the father of Bob Younger, Cole Younger, and James Younger.

Grattan's brother, Frank Dalton, became a deputy marshal. He worked with Heck Thomas but was killed while attempting to arrest a horse thief in November, 1887. Grattan and his brothers Bob and Emmett also served briefly as lawman. It was later claimed that the men were forced to leave the service after becoming involved in rustling.

In 1891 Emmett Dalton, Bob Dalton, Bill Dalton and Grattan Dalton robbed a train just outside of Los Angeles. George Radcliffe was killed during the raid and Grattan was captured. He received a 20 year sentence but later escaped. Over the next 18 months the Dalton gang robbed banks and trains throughout Oklahoma. Bob Dalton was considered the leader and other members included Bill Doolin, George Newcomb, Charlie Bryant, Bill Powers, Charlie Pierce, Dick Broadwell, William McElhanie.

After the gang stole $17,000 robbed a train at Pryor Creek on 14th July, 1892, a prize of $5,000 a head on the Daltons. Emmett later wrote: "Posting a 'Dead or Alive' reward for a man performs some dark alchemy in his spirit... He becomes fair game for every pot-shooting hunter... In quite a real sense he belongs thereafter to the living dead."

On 5th October, 1892, the gang decided to rob two banks in their home town of Coffeyville. Emmett and Bob went into the First National Bank while Grattan Dalton, Bill Powers and Dick Bradwell dealt with the Condon Bank. The men were spotted by a passerby, Aleck McKenna, who quickly alerted other members of the town.

The men of Coffeyville armed themselves with rifles and waited for the Dalton gang to leave the banks. In the shoot-out that followed, four members of the gang, Grattan Dalton, Bob Dalton, Bill Powers and Dick Broadwell were killed. Four local men, Lucius Baldwin, George Cubine, Charles Connelly and Charles Brown, also died.

Emmett Dalton was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Bill Dalton escaped and later joined the Bill Doolin gang. Bill Dalton was killed by lawman Loss Hart at Elk on 8th June, 1894.

Emmett Dalton was released after fourteen years and in 1931 published When the Dalton's Rode.

The bodies of Bill Powers, Bob Dalton, Grattan Dalton and Dick Broadwell.
The bodies of Bill Powers, Bob Dalton, Grattan Dalton and Dick Broadwell.

Primary Sources

(1) David Elliott was editor of the local newspaper and published a detailed account soon after the gun battle (1892)

After crossing the pavement the men quickened their pace, and the three in the front file went into C.M. Condon & Co.'s bank at the southwest door, while the two in the rear ran directly across the street to the First National Bank and entered the front door of that institution. The gentleman [the observer] was almost transfixed with horror. He had an uninterrupted view of the inside of Condon and Co.'s bank, and the first thing that greeted his vision was a Winchester in the hands of one of the men, pointed towards the cashier's counter in the bank. He quickly recovered his lost wits, and realizing the truth of the situation, he called out to the men in the store that 'The bank is being robbed!' Persons at different points on the Plaza heard the cry and it was taken up and quickly passed around the square.

At the same time several gentlemen saw the two men enter the First National Bank, suspecting their motive, followed close at their heels and witnessed them 'holding up' the men in this institution. They gave the alarm on the east side of the Plaza. A 'call to arms' came simultaneously with the alarm and in less time than it takes to relate the fact a dozen men with Winchesters and revolvers in their hands were ready to resist the escape of the unwelcome visitors.

Just at this critical juncture the citizens opened fire from the outside (of the Condon Bank) and the shots from their Winchesters and shot-guns pierced the plate-glass windows and rattled around the bank. Bill Powers and Dick Broadwell replied from the inside, and each fired from four to six shots at citizens on the outside. The battle then began in earnest. Evidently recognizing that the fight was on, Grat Dalton asked whether there was a back door through which they could get to the street. He was told that there was none. He then ordered Mr. Ball and Mr. Carpenter [two bank employees] to carry the sack of money to the front door. Reaching the hall on the outside of the counter, the firing of the citizens through the windows became so terrific and the bullets whistled so close around their heads that the robbers and both bankers retreated to the back room again. Just then one at the southwest door was heard to exclaim: 'I am shot; I can't use my arm; it is no use, I can't shoot any more.'

He (Bob Dalton) then ordered the three bankers to walk out from behind the counter in front of him, and they put the whole party out at the front door. Before they reached the door, Emmett called to Bob to 'Look out there at the left.' Just as the bankers and their customers had reached the pavement, and as Bob and Emmett appeared at the door, two shots were fired at them from the doorway of the drug store… Neither one of them was hit. They were driven back into the bank… Bob stepped to the door a second time, and raising his Winchester to his shoulder, took deliberate aim and fired in a southerly direction. Emmett held his Winchester under his arm while he tied a string around the mouth of the sack containing the money. They then ordered the young men to open the back door and let them out. Mr. Shepard complied and went with them to the rear of the building, when they passed out into the alley. It was then that the bloody work of the dread desperadoes began."