U.S. Marshal Evett Nix – Bringing Down the Doolin-Dalton Gang


Evett Dumas "E.D." Nix

Evett Dumas “E.D.” Nix

Evett Nix took the oath of office as U.S. Marshal for the Oklahoma Territory on July 1, 1893, and served until 1896. He led the posse that fought in the Ingalls, Oklahoma Shoot-out and was primarily responsible for the capture and killing of the members of the Doolin-Dalton Gang.

Evett Dumas “E.D.” Nix was born in Kentucky on September 19, 1861, he would come by his lawman experience honestly, as his father served as a deputy sheriff and his uncle, a county sheriff.  As a young man, he worked in his father’s factory and later operated a grocery, hardware, and furniture business in Coldwater, Kentucky. He became a traveling sales representative and moved to Paducah, Kentucky and in 1885, where he married Ellen Felts.

He and his wife moved to Guthrie, Oklahoma in October 1889, where he became a prosperous businessman and formed a number of influential friendships.

At the age of 32, he was appointed as U.S. Marshal of Oklahoma Territory on July 1, 1893, the youngest man assigned to such a position. At the time of his appointment the Guthrie Daily News said of him:

Guthrie, Oklahoma in 1889

Guthrie, Oklahoma in 1889

“He has, right now, all the sturdy characteristics of a veteran.  A forceful independence, a clear, cool head, a quiet, unostentatious confidence in himself that is the best equipment it is possible for a man to have who would fill successfully the high office to which his merits, and his merits alone, were the signal cause of his call.”

During these last years of Judge Isaac Parker’s tenure,  the territory was still a lawless frontier, filled with desperadoes. Recognizing the tough job ahead, he quickly appointed a formidable force of deputies, including Henry Andrew “Heck” Thomas, William Matthew “Bill” Tilghman, Chris Madsen, Frank M. Canton, Charles Colcord, John Hixon, and others, most of whom were already veteran peace officers.

At the time he took office, the Doolin-Dalton Gang was terrorizing the territory and Nix made it one of his first responsibilities, to take them down. Just a few months later, on September 1, 1893, he led a posse of some 27 deputy marshals and Indian Police and headed towards Ingalls, Oklahoma, a known hideout of the gang. In what would become known as the Battle of Ingalls, three of his deputy marshals — Thomas Hueston, Richard Speed, and Lafeyette Shadley were killed and Doolin-Dalton Gang members, “Bittercreek” Newcomb, Charley Pierce, and “Dynamite Dan” Clifton were wounded but escaped. Only gang member “Arkansas Tom” Jones was captured. Though the battle was won by the outlaws, the “war” was not yet over. Nix then organized an elite group of about 100 U.S. Deputy Marshals to bring down the infamous Doolin-Dalton Gang. By 1898, the entire gang had either been captured or killed.

Ingalls, Oklahoma

Ingalls, Oklahoma

He was dismissed from his position on January 24, 1896, when an audit alleged that he had misused funds. However, it was later found that the “misuse” was probably the result of an inadequate fee system used at that time for payment of U.S. Marshals Service officers.

Nix returned to life as a Guthrie businessman and in 1929 co-authored a book titled “Oklahombres: Particularly the Wilder Ones” with Gordon Hines, which detailed the demise of the Doolin-Dalton Gang.

Nix died on February 4, 1946, in Riverside, California and was buried in Paducah, Kentucky.

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated November 2019

Also See:

Ingalls Gunfight With the Doolin Gang

Lawmen of the Old West

Old West Legends

Outlaws Across America