Christian “Chris” Madsen – One of the Three Guardsmen

Chris Madsen

Chris Madsen

Christian “Chris” Madsen was a soldier and U.S. Deputy Marshal in Oklahoma.

He was born Christen Madsen Rormose in Denmark on February 25, 1851, and grew up to serve as a soldier in the Danish Army. In 1876, he immigrated to the United States and dropped his last name.

Immediately, he enlisted in the U.S. Cavalry, which soon put him amid the various Indian Wars on the plains. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, he joined Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. After some 15 years in the military, Madsen left the army and went to work as a U.S. Deputy Marshal in Oklahoma in 1891. Working with Heck Thomas and Bill Tilghman, the three became known as the Three Guardsmen and were largely responsible for wiping out the lawlessness in Indian Territory.

Earning a reputation as a fighter who would never surrender, he was instrumental in hunting down Bill Doolin and the rest of his gang. He was personally responsible for the killings of Doolin gang members Dan “Dynamite Dick” Clifton, George “Red Buck” Waightman, and Richard “Little Dick” West.

In 1911 he was appointed U.S. Marshal for the entire state of Oklahoma. While in his sixties, he was appointed Chief of Police for Oklahoma City. During the First World War, Madsen tried to enlist, once again, in the United States Army but was rejected as being too old. From 1918 to 1922, he served as a special investigator for the governor of Oklahoma.

Christian Madsen died peacefully at the age of 93 in Guthrie, Oklahoma, on January 9, 1944. He is buried in the Frisco Cemetery in Yukon, Oklahoma.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated November 2022.

Also See:

Adventures in the American West

Gunfighters of the Old West

Lawmen & Gunfighters Photo Gallery

U.S. Marshals – Two Centuries of Bravery