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Old West Outlaws - V-Z

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William E. Walters, outlawWilliam E. Walters, a/k/a: Bill Anderson, Billy Brown, Bronco Billy - Born at Fort Sill, Indian Territory (Oklahoma in 1869, Walters worked first as a cowboy and later as a section hand on the Santa Fe Railroad. However, as he neared his thirties, he turned gunman and bandit in Arizona, at one point joining the Black Jack Ketchum Gang. After leaving Ketchum's gang, he was known to have shot several men and committed a number of robberies with his own gang. However, Walter's luck was about to run out when he and his gang attempted to rob a train at Grants Station, New MexicoLawmen drove them off with heavy gunfire and Walters was soon tracked down by a posse led by Jeff Milton, who shot and injured the outlaw. Walters was convicted of train robbery and sent to prison for life. However, he was released in 1917 and moved to Hachita, New Mexico where he worked as a wrangler for the Diamond A Cattle Company. Walters died when he fell from a windmill tower he was working on.


Richard "Little Dick” West (18??-1898) – Though to have been born in Texas, West was working as a cowboy on the Halsell ranch in Oklahoma when he met Bill Doolin and joined up with the Oklahombres in 1892. He was with the gang when they robbed the bank in Southwest City, Missouri and was wounded in a gunfight that ensued. He continued to ride with Doolin until he was killed in 1896. The next year, West helped to form the Jennings Gang, who made a number of bungled train robbery attempts. After failing miserably, the gang broke up and though the other four member were caught and sentenced to jail in 1897, West remained on the lam until the next year. Pursued by the "Three Guardsmen” –Bill Tilghman, Heck Thomas and Chris Madsen, the lawmen finally tracked him down near Guthrie, Oklahoma. On April 8, 1898, when he was approached by Thomas and Tilgman, he refused to surrender and in the ultimate gunfight that took place, as killed. He is buried in the Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie, Oklahoma near Bill Doolin.


William Henry WhitleyWilliam Henry Whitley, aka: Bill, Will (1864-1888) - The co-leader of a gang sometimes referred to as the Bill Whitley Gang, and at other times, the Brack Cornett Gang, Whitley was a bank and train robber in Texas during the late 1880's. Born on September 7, 1864, in Itawamba County, Missisippi, the youngest child of William Taylor Whitley and Elizabeth Henry Whitley. His older brothers served as Confederate soldiers in the Civil War and William grew up in the wild and violent lawlessness that swirled throughout the south when the war was over. When his older brother was killed by a lawman in 1884, "Bill" launched his own career of violence, during which he would allegedly kill eight men. Though history tells us that some of Whitley's descendants say that his exploits were greatly exaggerated and that he was a good man, most legends claim that he participated in some eight bank robberies and one train robbery.


Somewhere along the line he married a woman named Lucinda "Cord" Cox Whitley of Lampasas, Texas. His marriage to Lucinda soon began to create problems for her relatives, when some were arrested for harboring a criminal and others charged with being his confederates. The couple had two children, Minnie Margaret Whitley, born in November, 1884 and Temperance Alice Whitley born in March, 1886. The "heat" was getting so bad that Whitley fled to England for a time, leaving his wife and children in the care of her brother, who moved them to Coryell County, Texas. When he returned, he took up with Brack Cornett, and a gang of outlaws who began to actively rob trains and banks.


In September, 1888, the Bill Whitley Gang planned to rob a a Southern Pacific train out of Harwood, Texas. However, their plans were foisted when U.S. Marshal John Rankin somehow found out about the scheme. On the day of the planned robbery, Rankin, along with Deputy U.S. Marshal, Duval West, and several Texas Rangers hid on board the train. Just three miles outside of Harwood, the gang predictably stopped the train but were effectively driven off by the lawmen. Though followed, the would-be robbers were able to escape. Pursued more than ever by numerous posses, the gang were finally run to ground by U.S. Deputy Marshals just a few days later on September 25, 1888 in Floresville, Texas. When the law caught up with them, the inevitable gunfight occurred, in which Bill Whitley was killed and another gang member taken prisoner. Bill Whitley was just 24 years-old. Brack Cornett was able to escape and fled to Arizona. However, one Texas Ranger, Alfred Allee, doggedly pursued Cornett to Frio, Arizona, where he caught up with him. Gunplay erupted once again and when the smoke cleared, Cornett was dead.




Oliver "Ol" Yantis (18??-1892) - Born in Kentucky, Oliver made his way to Oklahoma somewhere along the line where he was a cotton farmer near Orlando. Unfortunately, he made the acquaintance of George "Bitter Creek" Newcomb, who soon recruited him into the Doolin-Dalton Gang. He was with the gang when they robbed a train in Caney, Oklahoma on October 14, 1892 and again participated in the Spearville, Kansas bank robbery just a few weeks later on November 1st. After the bank robbery, the gang split up as many of them had bounties of their head for as high as $5,000 "dead or alive." With the law hot on their trail, Yantis was first trailed to the McGinn farm near Dodge City, Kansas by Ford County, Kansas Sheriff Chalkey Beeson and U.S. Deputy Marshal Thomas Hueston, but by the time the officers arrived, Yantis was already gone. The fugitive then headed to hissister's ranch south of Orlando, Oklahoma. Still trailed by  U.S. Deputy Marshal Thomas Hueston , along with fellow Deputy Marshals Heck Thomas and Chris Madsen, the lawmen caught up with him on November 29th. Announcing themselves and demanding his surrender, Yantis walked out as if he were going to comply. However, he then pulled out a pistol and began to fire on the officers who returned the shots, hitting Yantis in the leg and stomach. Though the lawmen nursed his wounds, Yantis died the next day. He was buried in the Rose Lawn Cemetery south of Mulhall, Oklahoma.


Cole Young/EstesCole (or Code) Young, aka: Bob Harris, Tom Harris, Cole Estes (1872-1896) - Hailing from Texas, Young was working as a cowboy near Roswell, New Mexico when he hooked up with the likes of George Musgrave. The pair then joined Will "Black Jack" Christian's High Fives Gang, and began to rustle cattle, and rob banks, trains, and post offices. However, on the night of October 2, 1896, the gang attempted a train robbery in Rio Puerco, New Mexico, luck would run out for Young. After the Atlantic and Pacific train made a brief stop, a shot was fired, striking the brakeman's lantern. By happenstance, U.S. Deputy Marshal Will Loomis, just happened to be on the train, and upon hearing the shot, went to investigate. As an engineer was trying to uncouple the Express Car at gunpoint, Loomis arrived and fired at the outlaws, leaving Young dead. The other bandits quickly fled. Young was buried in Albuquerque, New Mexico.






© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated March, 2017.


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