Coal County, Oklahoma Genealogy Trails


Fatal Fight at Coalgate

In a general fight Friday night of last week at Coalgate, George Smedley slashed Ol Addison with a knife and Smedley was afterwards shot and killed by John Thomas. Thomas is under arrest. (The Tahlequah Arrow, Saturday, September 24, 1904, page 3)

City Marshal at Coalgate Killed

Park Thompson Surrenders After Shooting Five Effective Balls

Coalgate, Okla., Sept. 30 - George W. England, city marshal of Coalgate and democratic nominee for sheriff of Coal county, was killed in the street at 6 o'clock this morning by Park Thompson, a half brother of James Thompson, whom England killed here seven years ago. Thompson fired five shots with a 44-calibre revolver, three entering England's right breast, one his right side and one his head after he had fallen on his face.

The shooting was in the presence of witnesses and Thompson surrendered to Richard Nelson and was placed in the county jail.

While returning from a dance England encountered Thompson in front of a restaurant. No words were spoken before Thompson began firing.

England was born in St. Parkers county, Missouri in 1875. His father lives at Centrahoma. Thompson is 25 years old. (Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK., Saturday, October 1, 1910, page 11)

Girl's Head is Severed

Nude Body Found Floating in Boggy Creek, Near Coalgate - Murder is Theory - No Clew Either Identity or Perpetrators of the Crime

Coalgate, Okla., Oct. 12 - Floating near the surface of deep water in Boggy creek, four miles north of Coalgate, the headless and nude body of a white girl was found by John Robinson and Andrew Mcclusky, who were hunting along the steam today.

The head had been smoothly severed at the base of the neck and one foot had been cut off. Physicians, who examined the body, hold that the girl has been dead two weeks at least and that she was between 14 and 20 years old.

Sheriff Pat Murphy and the coroner made as complete an investigation as possible today, but no clew was found as to the girl's identity or to the crime. The body was only partially decomposed and bore imprints of an outrage. It was brought to Coalgate by an undertaker and has been viewed by hundreds of curious people.

Sheriff Murphy holds that the murder was committed some distance from where the body was found but not a trace of the head or a shred of clothes has been found.

The body was found near the spot where David Bohannan, an Indian, was killed several years ago as the result of a feud that had previously caused the loss of other lives. (Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK., Thursday, October 13, 1910, page 1)

Headless Body of Girl Identified?

Robert Dunlap of Coalgate Believes His Daughter was Murdered

Coalgate, Okla., Oct. 18 - Robert Dunlap of Coalgate, has informed the authorities that he is convinced that the headless body of a girl recently found floating in a stream near here was that of his daughter who disappeared from her home September 27, in company with a man whose name is not given. A search is being made for the man.

She was 27 years old and went away under peculiar circumstances. The family never has had any word of her whereabouts. (Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK., Wednesday, October 19, 1910, page 9)

Escaped Convicts Caught at Tupelo

Coalgate, Okla., Feb. 6 - Town Marshal Henry Oats and others at Tupelo, Sunday night captured W. C. Tidwell and China Reed, who escaped from the penitentiary at McAlester two weeks ago. Tidwell was serving a seven year sentence from Coal county for cattle larceny and Reed was serving a like sentence from Grant County for burglary. The fugitives, were at Tupelo trying to get something to eat when captured. They had with them two horses they had stolen at TI. Officers with them passed through this city Sunday night bound for McAlester. There was a reward of $10 for the two men. (Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK, Tuesday, February 7, 1911, page 4)

Body of Victim Sent Back East (Fisher)

Tupelo, Okla., July 6 - The body of J. H. Fisher, killed here Monday by C. M. Witter, was sent to Martha, Tenn., Wednesday for interment. Most of the business houses closed. Attorney Moman Pruiett of Oklahoma City has been employed by the citizens and the widow to prosecute the case. (Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK., Thursday, July 6, 1911, page 3)

Banker Free on Bond of $10,000 (Witter)

Coalgate, Okla., July 6 - C. M. Witter, the Tupelo banker who slew J. H. Fisher, superintendent of schools there, was arraigned for preliminary hearing Thursday and held to await action of the grand jury. His bond was fixed at $10,000 and he made it readily

Witter was represented at the hearing by W. I. Gilbert of Oklahoma City while the prosecution had the assistance of Moman Pruiett, also of Oklahoma City. (Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK., Friday, July 7, 1911, page 4)

Witter Admitted to $20,000 Bond

Tupelo, Okla., Banker Indicted for Murder, Tells Story of Killing

C. M. Witter, a prominent banker of Tupelo, Coal County, Oklahoma, who is charged with having killed J. H. Fisher, a school teacher of that city on July 5, 1911 was admitted to bail in the sum of $20,000 by District Judge F. M. Balley of Chickasha, Tuesday evening. The hearing of the application consumed the greater part of two days and was held in the county court rooms in Oklahoma City. A number of Tupelo citizens were here to attend the hearing, including both the widow of the dead school teacher and Mrs. Witter, wife of the defendant.

The defendant, himself, took the witness stand Tuesday and related his version of the killing. It did not differ materially from the story as brought out by the depositions and witnesses Monday, although he went into further details. He said that Fisher had become embittered against him on account of not being retained in the Tupelo schools, that Fisher had threatened to kill him time and time again and had done all to his power to arouse public sentiment against him. As he was walking down the street one day, he stated that Fisher stepped up to him without warning and struck him, knocking him down and rendering him unconscious.

Continuing, he said that he had been warned that Fisher meant to kill him and that he was in great fear that would do so. On the day of the killing, he saw Fisher coming across the street with his hand on his breast, where he had been told Fisher carried his revolver. Stepping to the door of the bank, Witter testified that he fired twice. Afterwards he gave himself up, was admitted to tell and at once left home. When the grand jury met he was indicted on a charge of murder, and had to go before Judge Balley to secure bond.   (Daily Oklahoman, Wed. August 30, 1911, page 12)

Witter is Charged with Embezzlement

Coalgate, Okla., Dec. 23 - The grand jury here returned four indictments against C. M. Witter, banker of Tupelo, three charging embezzlement and one charging the destruction of records. Witter was arrested here Saturday afternoon and made a bond of $5,000 covering the four charges. Witter was tried and acquitted here at the last term of court of the alleged murder of J. C. Fisher of Tupelo. (Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK., Tuesday, December 24, 1912, page 1)

Coalgate Man is Killed at Ardmore

Ardmore, Okla., Jan. 9 - Carlos C. Stevenson of Coalgate was shot and killed here Thursday morning. The ball entered the side of the face and passed through the neck breaking it. Jack Hall was placed in jail. Both men have families. Whisky and gambling paraphernaila were found in the room where the killing occurred. The men had quarreled several days before the tragedy. (Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK., Friday, January 10, 1913, page 6)

Atrocious Crime Laid to Woman

Mother is Accused of Burning Her New Born Child – Is Lodged in Jail – Family Returning Home Finds Charred Remains in Heating Stove

Centrahoma, Okla., Jan. 21 – This town was Tuesday stirred from center to circumference by the details of what appears to be the most atrocious crime committed in the history of this section. Mrs. Ila England, a well known resident of Centrahoma, was placed under arrest Tuesday afternoon charged with burning her infant child and following the arrest came the details of the crime charged against her.

On Saturday, January 11, Mrs. England disappeared from the place at which she was engaged    here, and no one could learn anything of her whereabouts until the following Monday afternoon, when she appeared at the home of a friend, Mrs. Rease. It was known before her disappearance that she would soon give birth to a child and the birth had taken place during her disappearance. She would give those who questioned her about the new born babe no satisfactory information, hence suspicion was directed towards her. An investigation was begun, but no trace of the missing infant was found until Monday morning.

After an absence of two weeks, James Bunch and family returned to their home here, Monday morning. They discovered immediately their home had been broken into during their absence and the bed occupied. From the general appearance of the bedclothes it was apparent a child had been given birth in the house during the family’s absence.

This somewhat disturbed the members of the Bunch family, but their horror was increased when, upon starting to build a fire in the heating stove, the charred remains of an infant were found contained in the stove. All that was left of the remains were the skull, a few charred bones and a portion of the intestines burned to a crisp.

Sheriff Jess Phillips of Coalgate, was at once notified of the gruesome find and was prompt in beginning the investigation which resulted in the arrest of Mrs. England Tuesday afternoon. The woman was taken to Coalgate Tuesday night and confined in the jail there.

From statements the woman made, the officials are of the opinion she had accomplices in the crime charged against her, and sensational developments are expected to occur Wednesday. (The Daily Oklahoman, Wednesday, January 22, 1913, page 10)

Looks Like Work of the Kiefer Bandits

Tupelo Bank Victim of an Early Morning Hold-up

Robbers Used Same Method That was Used at Kiefer Last Week

Allen, Okla., Oct. 6 - A posse of four men, headed by Will Kegg, president of a local bank, tonight captured two youthful bandits who robbed the Farmers & Merchants bank of Tupelo this morning.

All of $3,000 which the robbers secured was recovered. They refused to give their names

Tupelo, Okla., Oct. 6 - Two masked robbers looted the Farmers and Merchants National bank here at 9:30 o'clock this morning, a few minutes after the bank had opened for business. They entered the front door, drew their revolvers and help up R. M. Armstrong, president of the bank and P. Statler, the cashier.

The robbers worked deliberately and secured all the available cash that was in the bank at the time, a sum amounting to $2,437.40. A part of this was in silver, which they dumped into sacks and carried away with them.

President Armstrong and Cashier Stetler were caught unawares and were compelled to stand with their hands above their heads while the robbers went through the bank and searched for more money. After completing their work the robbers backed out through the door and mounted their horses which they had tied a short distance from the bank.

Threatened to Shoot

"Don't say a word," one of the robbers said and they backed through the door, "or you'll get a bullet through you."

Few people were on the street at the time and when Armstrong and Stetler gave the alarm the bandits were then riding toward the woods a short distance away. They made their escape without a shot being fired at them.

Immediately after the alarm was given a posse was formed and went in pursuit. There is little hope of overtaking or finding them as the country hereabouts is covered with timber and there are many hiding places in the hills. The bank was insured and the loss will not affect it, but the people here are indignant because no effort has been previously made to capture the robbers, supposed to have been the same who robbed the bank at Kiefer last week where they obtained $5,000.

While there is nothing to indicate that these are the same men, they committed the crime in the same way. (Tulsa World, Tulsa, OK., Wednesday, October 7, 1914, page 1)

Reward Money Distributed

Walter C. Long and James Armstrong Convicted to Tupelo Robbery

Tupelo, Okla., April 26 - Final distribution of the reward offered for the capture and conviction of the men who robbed the Farmers' National  bank of this place was made today. A check for $200 from the Ocean Accident & Guaranty Co. of Kansas City, the reward offered, was sent here, but pending claims of four men who thought they were entitled to the reward, it was not settled. One of the contestants for the reward finally withdrew his claim and the money was divided equally between Henry Oats, John Hall and Jesse Hayes, Walter C. Long and James Armstrong have been arrested and convicted of the robbery. (Tulsa World, Tulsa, OK., Tuesday, April 27, 1915, page 2)

Stiff Sentence for Taking Car

Pleas of Guilty Cause Judge Linebaugh to Soak Prisoners - Term is Concurrent - After Stealing Ford, Men Held Up Boys to Give Up Their Money

Coalgate, Sept. 18 - The heaviest sentence ever given automobile thieves in this state was that imposed on Alva "Shorty" Barnett and Chick Rogers in district court here today. Each was sentenced to 20 years in the penitentiary for stealing a Ford automobile from Grover Phillips in Coalgate last Thursday night.

They were captured near Boswell Saturday, together with the stolen car, and Sunday were brought to Coalgate by County Attorney E. N. Holland, Jesse Phippips, sheriff at Atoka county and Frank Thompson a special deputy.

After stealing the car from the garage of Phillips Thursday night the men left the city going out by the fair grounds, which is a short distance from Coalgate, and there held up Alex Estes and Jim Wheeler, two young men, whom they met in another car. Barnett drew his pistol and compelled the two young men to hold up their hands and he and Rogers went through their pockets, taking a gold watch, and about $5 in money. They then proceeded on their way until captured by Deputy Sheriff Hullen and other officers near Boswell.

Both defendants made a confession to the attorney and informations were filed against them charging theft of the car and conjoint robbery. After waiving preliminary they were taken before District Judge Linebaugh in district court, which is in session, where they entered pleas of guilty in both cases. County Attorney Holland urged the judge sentence each of them to 20 years in each of the cases, the sentences to run concurrently. Barnett claims his home is at Oklahoma City and Roger's at Ada. Both are single. (Tulsa World, Tulsa, OK., Tuesday, September 19, 1922, page 7)


Negro Convicted of Attacking Girl to Die in Chair

Coalgate, Okla., Sept. 15 – Charles Dumas, 28 year old Bridgeport negro, probably would have walked away from McAlester penitentiary a free man next May had he not fled from the convict road camp near here.

But today, he had only two more months to live. Only the determined efforts of quick thinking officers saved him from a quicker and more violent death.

On Nov. 18, according to District Judge P. L. Gassoway’s decree, the negro will walk to the electric chair. He was condemned late yesterday shortly after he confessed to a charge of criminally attacking Edna Boardman, young Coalgate girl last Sunday.

He was taken to death row.

Dumas was about to complete his second term of two years imposed at Atoka. Previously, he had served a three year grand larceny charge from Kingfisher county. He was allowed a “walking pass,” extending privileges about the road camp on U. S. Highway 75. He slipped off and according to his confession became intoxicated and attacked the girl.

Violence threats were heard. A mob formed. Superintendent Terry of the road camp and Sheriff Will Cummings tracked the fugitive down, then dashed to the state penitentiary to elude the mobs. (Wichita Daily Times, Wichita Falls, Texas, Thursday, September 15, 193, page 8

Judge Walden Tried Dumas

Imposed Death Sentence, Which was Executed at Penitentiary

Charles Dumas, 26 year old Negro who paid with his life in the electric chair last night for criminally attacking a white girl, drew his sentence from Asa E. Walden, district judge of Marietta. Judge Walden was sent to Coalgate to try Dumas by the state supreme court. The jury convicted dumas and it was Juge Walden’s task to pronounce sentence of death.

“It was a heinous case,” Judge Walden commented this morning. “Dumas was charged with criminally attacking the daughter of a prominent Coalgate resident and then with having threatened her life with a razor. The offense was committed on the steps of Presbyterian church.

“The state sent several armed guards with Dumas to the courtroom – evidently anticipating mob trouble – but for some strange reason there was not the least disturbance. Apparently the people of the community were convinced that justice would be meted out to the offender and there were only a half a dozen or so spectators in the courtroom at the trial.” (The Daily Ardmoreite, October 20, 1933, Friday, page 10)

Two Die in Chair

McAlester, Okla., Oct. 20 – Ted Patton, stocky slayer of his boyhood chum, and Charles Dumas, Negro attacker of a white girl, died in the electric chair at state’s prison here early today. (Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska, Saturday, October 21, 1933, page 12)

Two Men Die in Electric Chair

Sallisaw Slayer and Negro Attacker Pay Penalty For Crimes

McAlester, Oct. 20 (AP) – A young slayer from the hill country, Ted Patton, paid the extreme penalty with a negro attacker at state’s prison here early today.

Patton, who killed his 19 year old boyhood chum, Robert Wall, died in the electric chair five minutes after the shouting negro, Charles Dumas, had been pronounced dead.

“There’s the chair,” he said, half to himself, half to Warden Sam Brown. “If the same thing was to do over again, I’d have to do just what I did.”

The 25 year old Sallisaw youth claimed he killed Wall in self defense in a fight after Wall had made improper advances toward a girl. But the state said young Wall was shot to death for his car and money and his body hidden at the foot of Wildhorse mountain in April of 1932.

Dumas, condemned for attacking a young white girl near Atoka, shouted to more than 100 officers and witnesses: “I feel fine; I’m ready to go. I got nothing against nobody.”

“Where I’m a-goin’, there’s no white side and no black side,” he added, shaking hands all around.

Petitions containing more than 2,100 names were presented to Gov. William H. Murry on behalf of Patton but the Governor took no clemency action. (The Ada Weekly News, Thursday, October 26, 1933, page 4)