Missouri1890, courtesy Kansas
brothers were part of a large family headed by parents Adaline Younger
James Lewis Dalton. Lewis Dalton came west from Kentucky to
during the late 1840’s and in the 1850’s he was trading horses and running
a saloon in Westport,
(now Kansas City) when he married Adeline. Adeline’s brother was the father of
Cole Younger and
of their fifteen children were born in Missouri before the family migrated to Indian
Territory (now Oklahoma)
In 1886, they moved again to a place near Coffeyville,
In this rough and wild area, the
brothers inherited a tradition of violence on the bloody ground of the
Quantrill’s raiders and other guerilla bands operated during and
Territory opened for settlement in 1889, the family headed south
again. However, Lewis
died along the way leaving Adaline to raise the younger children
alone. Adaline continued
on, placing a claim on the banks of Kingfisher Creek in
where initially she and the family lived in a dugout. By this time the older
brothers were on their own.
For a short
time the brothers served on the side of the law, working as
U.S. Deputy Marshals. Their older brother,
Frank Dalton, was commissioned a
Deputy Marshal for the federal court in
Bob Dalton served on several of his posses. On November 27, 1887 in a gun battle with the Smith-Dixon Gang,
Frank Dalton was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Grat Dalton followed in
Frank's footsteps, first taking his place as a
Deputy Marshal in
Fort Smith, Arkansas and two years later as a
for the Muskogee court in
in 1889. That same year
he received a bullet in his arm while attempting to arrest a suspect.
Bob Dalton was also commissioned as a
for the federal court in Wichita,
working in the Osage Nation, in 1889.
Bob Dalton, who would later become the leader of the
Dalton Gang, was the wildest of the bunch.
When he was just 19, he killed a man, claiming it was in the
line of duty. Nevertheless, some suspected that the victim had tried to
Emmett Dalton worked as member of some of his brothers’ posses, he made his living
working as a
cowboy on the Bar X Bar Ranch near the Pawnee Agency. While working at the ranch,
met two men who would later become members of the gang --
Bill Doolin and
William St. Power, alias
also known as Tom Evans, had drifted into the area from
with a trail herd from the Pecos.
Emmett also made the acquaintance of several other
cowboys working on nearby ranches who would later become part of the gang. These included Bill Power, Charlie Pierce,
George "Bitter Creek" Newcomb,
Charlie Bryant, and
Richard (Dick) Broadwell, alias
alias John Moore.