Lawmen & Outlaws
 O. T. & I. T.

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Bandit Gangs "Beat Back" To Old Haunts
Submitted by: Mollie Stehno


The Oklahoma Leader
January 18, 1917

Bank robbers have not been operating in the central part of the state the past few years, but with the robbery of the Harrah bank would indicate that a bandit gang has started operations again. And there is not a more favorable section in the state for holding up banks than that section.
In the early days, before statehood, Al Jennings and his gang were given credit for much of the "rough stuff" pulled off in the southwest.
Then several years later an organized gang made life miserable for the country banks in that section of the state. Not many of the country banks escaped and during the time they were operating, bank robbers secured approximately $30,000. They were never captured. Asher, Maud, Wynette, McCloud, Harrah, Tecumseh, Earlsboro and banks in a dozen other town in Pottawatomie county alone were held up and robbed.
When banks were robbed in those days and even now, the robbers usually make their way to the swamps down in Seminole county, one of the loneliest sections in the state. When bank robbers or other criminals once reach the Seminole country it is almost impossible to capture them.

The Oklahoma Leader
January 25, 1917

Okmulgee, Jan 23 - Seven men are dead, the result of the bank robbery at Harrah a week ago. Four more are painfully wounded; two others are in jail. The robbers took $3,500 from the Harrah bank; more than $5000 was recovered from the men killed, sounded and captured. Charles Balock city marshal and John Garretson, a posseman of Delaware were killed also.

The Oklahoma Leader
January 25, 1917

Okemah, Jan. 18-One deputy sheriff and one alleged bank robber were killed and a second robber wounded and captured early today in a battle between Okfuskee County possemen and the robbers. The men are believed to be two of the four who held up and robbed the State Bank of Harrah, and since then have been pursued and engaged in several clashes with possemen.
The battle occurred near the McKerron ranch between Boley and Castle, several miles northwest of Okemah. Deputy Sheriff Boulware was killed by a single shot fired by one of the robbers. Clarence Arnott was the robber shot to death and Jess Little was captured after being wounded.
The fight lasted only four or five minutes. Berry Jones, sheriff of Okfuskee County headed the posse, which overtook the robbers. He said he believed the bandits are the same men who yesterday fought off the posse near Harrah. The fight took place near the home of a Negro, one mile east of Boley. The officers, who had been following the men during the night, suspected they had stopped at the Negro's house. When the officers appeared the men sent the Negro out to tell them they had gone. Shortly afterward one of the bandits ran out of the house and the posse fired killing him. A shot by the bandits killed Deputy Sheriff Boulware.

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