Marriage and Movies

1908-1910

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Emmett Dalton went to Coffeyville for the first time since the raid and was well received. He married, moved to Bartlesville, Ok., and was nominated for a member of the city council. But trouble arose following his decision to get involved in the movie business.



Coffeyville Journal, June 19, 1908: A handsome man, smooth-shaven and wearing a light grey suit, stepped off the north bound Katy train from Bartlesville at 9.55 Saturday morning and leisurely walked up to town. He attracted no particular attention until it became whispered that he was Emmett Dalton and then everyone began to eye him curiously.

The man was Emmett Dalton and this was his first visit to Coffeyville since he was taken from here to the county jail at Independence and later to the state penitentiary at Lansing, following the Dalton bank raid in this city October 5, 1892.

Coffeyville has grown so much since those days that Mr. Dalton hardly knew the place until he reached the Plaza. There everything came back to him, for the buildings then occupied by the banks still stand and “Death Alley,” where his brothers were shot down, still stretches away to the west from the open space formed by the junction of Walnut and Union streets.


Coffeyville 1909

The Coffeyville Plaza, viewed from south

Emmett Dalton went no further up town than this until a crowd began to gather about him and he shook hands with hundreds of people. All were glad to see him and if there was any bitterness upon the part of the people of Coffeyville toward the young man, it was not apparent Saturday. He met some of the men who had shot at his brothers - probably some of the men who had killed them. But it all was far in the past, and the citizens shook hands with Dalton like the comrades on different sides after a battle.

Emmett visited “Death Alley” and looked over the old-time scene of carnage with interest. He had little to say and viewed the scenes for several moments in absolute silence.

“The town has changed,” he said, “but I recognize this place. There is the stairway where they carried me up to the doctor’s office,” he added, pointing to the stairs on the north side of the Slosson drug store. “I’ll never forget that day nor the long years in prison that followed it.”

Death Alley viewed from the Plaza

Dalton was soon surrounded by a crowd and wherever he went all day there were people gathered around him. He says he attracted attention everywhere but it was probably worse here than in any other town. This being the scene of the famous bank raid made him a character of great local interest. Among others he met while here was Dr. C. E. Griggsby, formerly a surgeon at the penitentiary. They had quite a visit, for Dr. Griggsby had treated Dalton’s arm at Lansing while surgeon. Another old friend met was Bob Laird, who spent Saturday afternoon with Dalton.

Mr. Dalton went east recently with the Tulsa boomers and he says the newspaper men everywhere there hunted him up for an interview. He is not seeking notoriety but treats newspaper men pleasantly.

“The boys have have always been good to me, especially at Topeka,” said Mr. Dalton, “and I always try to treat them nicely. I realize that they want good copy and if they think my story makes it they are of course welcome to use anything I can give them. I tried to sidestep them in New York and other eastern cities but even if I got away the first day they would land me by the second day.”

Mr. Dalton and “Scout” Younger are in the grocery and meat market business at Tulsa and are doing well. It has been reported here that they were running a tailor shop, for that was Dalton’s work at Lansing, but he says they are not. Younger is a distant relative of Cole Younger, once a member of the James gang. Dalton says people everywhere treat him kindly and he is exceedingly grateful to them for doing so. He is now nearly 37 years old and is practically just starting in life. He probably has many discouragements but if so he does not speak of them. He says he will try to make his future conduct so that Governor Hoch will never regret pardoning him and giving him another fair chance in life. Asked about his aged mother, who did so much to get him out of prison, he said she is at Stillwater and is enjoying good health. She is 77 years old and is living with another of her sons. Emmett has been there to see her several times.

Mr. Dalton lacks much of being a well man although one would not know it from a glance into his fine, ruddy face. His right arm is swollen and numb and while he has use of it there is no feeling in it at times. When he was shot in the arm here in 1892 the treatment given him was necessarily hasty and it seems that that the wound has never fully healed. Several operations have been made on the arm recently and in fact, the first parole given Dalton was made so he could go to Topeka and have the limb treated. Two long incisions were made in the arm near the wound made by the bullet and through these incisions the bones of the arm were scraped. This has not cured the arm however, and the wound still troubles him. He is now taking electrical treatment for it at Tulsa and is hopeful of getting it healed completely. Other than this Dalton is in perfect health and seems to be enjoying life after fifteen years of imprisonment at Lansing.

If you think Dalton is not well posted you are in error. He knows all about Kansas and Oklahoma politics and has the personal acquaintance of nearly every politician of this state. Many of these men were met while he was at Topeka clerking in the Copeland hotel while his arm was being treated. He has been in Tulsa long enough to get acquainted with the politicians of the new state and he knows them all. In fact few men have more influential friends than Dalton has. It was largely such influences as these men exerted that induced Gov. Hoch to take up Dalton’s case.

Speaking of the recent bank robberies Dalton says that it is reported at Tulsa that Henry Starr is getting an alibi ready and will try to prove himself innocent of the Tyro and other bank robberies. Starr’s headquarters were at Tulsa and he is apparently in communication with friends there now, according to common report there as expressed by Mr. Dalton.

Mr. Dalton will leave tomorrow evening for Independence and will return home by Caney early next week. Saturday afternoon he went out to the Natatorium and stopped at Elmwood cemetery to see the graves of his brothers who were killed here in the bank raid.

The Coffeyville “Natatorium”

Columbus Daily Enquirer, June 28, 1908: Coffeyville, Kan., June 27. - For the first time after he was taken from the city in handcuffs and guarded by twenty-five heavily armed men, Emmett Dalton visited Coffeyville a few days ago and met and talked with some of the same men who escorted him to the county jail in Independence and later to the state prison at Lansing, after the memorable Dalton raid here in 1892.

Dalton came here from Tulsa and had hardly alighted from the train before a crowd surrounded him. Coming up town he visited the scene of the bank robbery and later walked through Dalton alley where two of his brothers were killed in the fight that followed the raid on the banks. Then he walked up the stairway where he himself was carried to a doctor’s office to have the bullet taken from his right shoulder. He viewed most of these scenes in silence and had nothing to say afterward about his impressions, except that he would never forget that eventful day nor the long hours in prison afterward.

Dalton met relatives of the citizens killed in the raid, but if there was any bitterness on either side it was not apparent. He met, among others, the Chief of Police, John J. Kloeher, who is generally credited with having killed at least two of the gang, one of them being “Bob” Dalton. He and the Chief were together an hour or more.

Emmett went out to Elmwood cemetery to see the graves of his two brothers who were killed in the raid. Their graves were marked only by a bent piece of gas pipe, taken from the hitch rack to which the Daltons tied their horses before entering the banks. Dalton was considerably affected when he saw these graves.

Dalton is now living in Tulsa, where he and “Scout” Younger, a distant relative of Cole Younger, are running a meat market and grocery.

“I’m only flesh and blood, like other men,” said Dalton, “but I’ll try to so live that neither the people of Coffeyville nor Governor Hoch will ever regret my having been pardoned and given another chance in life.”

Dalton is still having treatment for his wounded arm, which has never healed, but which now shows signs of ultimate recovery.


Bartlesville Enterprise, June 19, 1908: …Among others who talked with Dalton was John J. Kloehr, who wears on his breast a gold medal presented him by the people of Coffeyville for having killed Bob and Grat Dalton when they made their raid. He is also credited with having wounded Emmett in the fight in “Death Alley.” It was the first time Dalton had seen the medal and he looked at it with a great deal of interest.

While he was here Dalton visited the graves of his brother who are buried in the cemetery here. This was the real purpose of his visit to the city.

It was actually the citizens of Chicago who presented Kloehr with the medal. It had the text “John Joseph Kloehr The Emergency Arose, The Man Appeared” inscribed on the front. I’d be interested to know if Thomas Ayres talked to Emmett, considering how much he had opposed Emmett being pardoned. Perhaps Emmett went to Caney to see his son, Bert Ayres, who had been a bookkeeper at the First National bank at the time of the raid and now an assistant cashier at the Caney Valley bank in Caney.


The Oklahoman, June 19, 1908: Emmet Dalton says the word outlaw is a thorn in his flesh to him, but nevertheless he keeps the press agent busy reviving ancient memories that he of all others should be desirous of forgetting.

As we have seen, it was not that he wanted to bring up the past, but was constantly asked to do so. Seemingly a no win situation. Although everyone must have known who Emmett Dalton was, the papers always called him the ex-outlaw and never failed to remind readers of his Coffeyville connection. There was no way he could shake off the past.


Emmett Dalton


At some point Emmett had gotten together with widowed Mrs. Julia Lewis. In his book When the Daltons Rode Emmett tells a wonderful, romantic story how he fell in love with Julia Johnson in the spring of 1887, how their love survived the years of outlawry and imprisonment. It is not true, though. One book review in 1931 had this to say: “…and while he neglects to mention the heroic efforts of his mother, who tried for years to get her son pardoned, he spends much time in praise of his sweetheart, who waited faithfully for his release - at least in the story. Recorded history is at variance with this part of the narrative, but novelist is entitled to some prerogatives, even in biographical or reminiscent essays.” All the same, this legend has endured and is often told as fact in biographies about the Daltons. Although Emmett never even mentioned Julia in his first book, this story was not something invented just for his new book. It first came out at the time of their marriage.

In 1887 Julia was married to Robert Gilstrap and expecting a baby. Not much chance of her gallivanting with Emmett on his pony across the prairies. It is perfectly possible Emmett did fall in love with “Blackie”, his “sprightly young gypsy of the plains”, but she was not Julia. Julia’s husband was killed on Christmas Eve 1889, in Bartlesville, in a gunfight. She did not marry again until about 1902, and then to a shady character called Ernest Lewis, suspected of train robberies (he was arrested for one at Wharton, the former hunting ground of the Daltons), murder, bootlegging… Surely he must have had something good or interesting about him for Julia to marry him. Lewis was killed in a gunfight at his bar in Bartlesville on November 16, 1907.

Julia’s granddaughter Hazel Chapman in the Coffeyville Journal, October 2, 1991, stated that Emmett and Julia met after Emmett had been released from prison. But then she also claimed that during the Coffeyville raid Emmett, truth be told, was not in either bank. She said: “He was just 19 years old. They (his brothers) wouldn’t let him in the banks. They made him stay with the horses. He later admitted he wasn’t in the bank.” Knowing Emmett, he may well have “admitted” that, but it is surprising Chapman would take it as fact. So what she claims is not necessarily the truth. It is by no means impossible that they would have met before. The Daltons were well known in and around Bartlesville.

It is not clear from the following articles who had given the reporters the story of their supposed romance. Emmett seems to have been somewhat reluctant to comment on it. However it started, it must have appealed to Emmett to have something nice in his past, not just the Coffeyville raid and the Dalton gang.

Coffeyville Journal, Sept. 4, 1908: Bartlesville, Ok., Sept. 2. - Of unusual interest throughout the Southwest was the wedding here last night of Emmett Dalton and Mrs. Julia Lewis. The principals are among the best known in their circles in the entire country.

Only a few months ago Dalton was pardoned from the Kansas penitentiary, where he was serving a life sentence for participating in the raid on the Coffeyville banks more than sixteen years ago.

His bride is the widow of Earnest Lewis, who died in a bloody fight with United States Marshals Keeler and Williams in this city last November. Lewis killed Williams during the battle, in which more than twenty shots were fired in a small room filled with smoke.

Lewis had served a term in the Colorado penitentiary for train robbery, and had woried the authorities of Kansas and Oklahoma by conducting a modern “Monte Carlo” on a narrow strip of ground which he declared was owned by neither state. It was discovered later that he had moved the state line marker six years before, preparatory to entering upon this sort of an enterprise.

The romance between Dalton and Julia Lewis began twenty years ago, when the latter was the pretty daughter of “Texas” Johnson and lived with her parents near the Kansas line, eighteen miles north of Bartlesville. She and Dalton were about the same age, and they rode races, practiced shooting with rifles and rode their ponies to all of the dances within thirty miles of the Johnson home.

While Dalton was hidden from the officers, it is said that the girl cooked his meals and kept him informed of the movements of the pursuers. It was at about this time Dalton was shot while robbing the Coffeyville banks with his brothers. He was sent to the penitentiary and never saw his former sweetheart until he was released last winter.

She wrote to him frequently and spent a great deal of her time working to gain him a pardon. She visited those who opposed the pardon and persuaded them to give Emmett another trial. She did more than all others to wear out the opposition to her former sweetheart’s pardon.

It does amaze me how these reporters always swallow everything they are told. It was not that long before, when the papers wrote about Adeline doing her best to win a pardon for Emmett; with no one ever mentioning Julia.

Dalton is in business in Tulsa, but expects to make his home in the future in Bartlesville, where his bride has a large amount of property. The wedding was a very quiet affair, before the justice of the peace. Dalton and his bride refused to accede to the request of some of their friends that it be in the nature of a public affair. The bride and groom have refused to accept a lucrative offer to go on the stage, made by a Chicago showman who came here yesterday.

“Yes, I am pretty happy,” laughed Mrs. Lewis when asked about the approaching wedding, “and I think Emmett is a mighty fine man.”

“We have known each other for a long time,” said the blushing groom when cornered and made to confess the details. “I have reached the age when it is time for me to marry and settle down. Any man, who from past experience, must be more or less in the public eye, has a great deal to contend with and when I found my boyhood sweetheart in Bartlesville and she was willing I thought it well to settle down.”


Kansas City Star, Sept. 2, 1908: BARTLESVILLE, OK., Sept. 1. - A romantic attachment, formed when they were boy and girl, has culminated in the marriage of Emmett Dalton and Mrs. Julia Lewis, of this city. The wedding took place here to-night. Mr. Dalton is engaged in business at Tulsa, but they are not decided whether to remove there or remain in Bartlesville, where Mrs. Dalton has property interests. It was over twenty years ago when Emmett Dalton first met his present bride, while he was working with his brothers, “Bob” and “Grat,” then deputy United States marshals for Indian territory. Along the Kansas line lived a man named “Texas” Johnson, famed as a great entertainer. The Dalton boys often stopped with Mr. Johnson, and Emmett, the younger, became very friendly with Miss Julia Johnson, a couple of months his junior.

He took advantage of every opportunity to visit the Johnson home after having once visited it. He and Miss Johnson soon became the best of friends, riding together, practicing marksmanship and attending dances for miles around. Many a time Emmett Dalton rode a day and a night that he might get to dance with the pretty Johnson girl.

Then came the famous Coffeyville raid, in which Emmett was captured because he went back to assist his mortally wounded brother. He was separated from his girl sweetheart, yet all the time he was at the penitentiary he kept in communication with Julia Johnson. She married twice because he was in prison supposedly for life.

Among those who worked for his pardon, however, none was more diligent and more earnest than his girl friend. She talked to those who opposed granting it and her effort had much to do with the cessation of the opposition.

“We have known each other for a long time,” said the blushing groom when cornered and made to confess the details. “I have reached the age when it is time for me to marry and settle down. Any man, who from past unpleasant experience, must be more or less in the public eye, has a great deal to contend with and when I found my boyhood sweetheart in Bartlesville and she was willing I thought it well to settle down.”

— That is a chivalrous and delicate compliment which Emmett Dalton pays to a woman in assigning as a reason for his marriage to his old sweetheart his need of the help that a good and faithful wife can give to her husband. Men are what they are, very often, by chance of circumstances. No one can tell what Emmett Dalton might have been under the influence of environments different from those that shaped his early career, and it is certain that many an exemplary citizen and “pillar of society” owes his standing to the absence of temptation and contact with the forces that Dalton encountered in his youth. There is much that is not bad in a man who holds woman at her true worth. Emmett Dalton, bridegroom, may understand much better than the average citizen how many men have been saved from becoming desperadoes through the sustaining help of good wives. So, here’s good luck to Emmett and his bride.


Bartlesville Enterprise, Sept. 4, 1908: …It was of Emmett Dalton, that Gov. Hoch once said to the Topeka newspapermen, “I regard him as one of the noblest young men of this state and a man who would be a credit to the citizenship of any state or community.”

— Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Dalton entertained a few friends last night in an informal reception at their home, Fifth and Cheyenne. Light luncheon was served assisting the participants to enjoy a very pleasant evening. Mr. and Mrs. Dalton proved themselves prime entertainers, while the reception gave the visitors opportunity to extend congratulations.

Julia Dalton
Julia Dalton

Emmett and Julia settled down to live at 421 South Cheyenne Avenue, Bartlesville.


Dalton house
The Dalton home at Bartlesville in 2003 (Courtesy of Jim Mitchell)

(More about the house can be be found in this video)



The Evening News (Ada, Ok.), Dec. 4, 1908: Bartlesville, Ok., Dec. 3. - Emmett Dalton, last of the American outlaws, is writing the story of his life. Dalton is a resident of this city where he has lived since he was recently pardoned by Governor Hoch of Kansas for participation in the famous Coffeyville raid fifteen years ago.

“I am going to tell frankly and freely the story of outlawry in the Southwest,” said Dalton tonight. “I know secrets of the trade that are unsuspected by the officers or the public. The old outlaws are all dead or in prison and no harm can come from a recital of the deeds of the daring men who terrorized Southwestern America for years. I also hope to teach the lesson that the business does not pay.”

So Emmett had already gotten the idea that stories of outlaws could be used as moral tales teaching the futility of crime. But he was not to write his book, yet. J. B. Tackett from Coffeyville, famed for the photographs he took after the raid, was to cause him to take a different direction in the way of his teachings.

Coffeyville Journal, Dec. 18, 1908: The Dalton raid, which occurred in Coffeyville October 5, 1892, is to be reproduced in moving picture film at the big Seattle exposition that opens in May, 1909.

The films for the raid are being prepared by John B. Tackett of the Auditorium, and the complete pictorial history of the raid is now about completed. With several more scenes it will be ready for the machines.

However, the local public need not expect to see this picture yet awhile as it will not be shown here, at least until after its initial production in Seattle, next May. It is to be as complete and accurate as a reproduction can be made.

Wednesday members of the Morgan Stock Company rode out to the park as was mentioned in Wednesday’s Journal; to rehearse one of the scenes. This was to show the life of the Dalton gang in camp and the practice yesterday was showing the Daltons at morning exercise. The most picturesque, was showing the members of the gang shooting at an egg target. It shows Bob Dalton missing with his rifle and then drawing a revolver and breaking the egg with the shot.

It was reported that Emmett Dalton would be shown in the picture but this is incorrect. He has no desire for further notoriety. He was out to the practice yesterday but took no part in it, save to tell the actors if they were wrong. He is not shown in any of the films. Of course one of the actors impersonates him, but Dalton himself has declined to go into the pictures.

His advice was sought as to details and this was only given when it was certain that the pictures were to be taken and on the theory that it was better to have the scenes accurate than faked up, so that these pictures will be as nearly accurate as it is possible to make them.

Tackett got the following letter from the Mayor of Coffeyville:

OFFICE OF MAYOR, COFFEYVILLE, KANSAS

Jan. 8 09
Mr J. B. Tackett,
Dear Sir,
Per your request I give you permission to use the streets and alleys, in which the Dalton raid was fought on Oct. 5 1892, for the purpose of reproducing the scenes of that battle.
Fred B. Skinner
Mayor



Bartlesville Enterprise, Jan. 15, 1909: The following dispatch was printed in the Kansas City Journal this morning:

Topeka, Jan. 13. - Former Governor E. W. Hoch threatens to prosecute any moving picture outfit that uses a representation of a “pardon scene” in the pictures of the Dalton raid at Coffeyville. He has served notice to that effect on Emmet Dalton.

Hoch feels outraged that Dalton should permit himself to be worked by a moving pictures outfit, and has earnestly advised him to abandon the project.

Last Sunday Dalton came to Topeka to see the governor. He wanted to explain. On his way here Dalton passed the letter that the governor had written him on Saturday. So the governor not only told him the contents of the letter, but added several things to it.

The explanation given by Dalton is that the whole proposition is a scheme of the Coffeyville Commercial Club to advertise that town. He says that the club wants to show what strides Coffeyville has made since the Dalton raid, and one picture is to represent the town at the time of the raid, together with a scene of the raid, and another the town today. His own interest, he said in the matter was simply to verify the historical points and scenes.

Still, the governor didn’t think this a sufficient excuse for Dalton to be tangled up with the affair, and said so. The governor also doubted if a picture of the Dalton raid would now be a very good advertisement for Coffeyville, even for comparison purposes, and he doubts the wisdom of the Coffeyville Commercial Club in backing such an enterprise. Dalton said he took no hand in it until strongly urged by some of the leading business men and ministers of Coffeyville.


The Emporia Gazette, Jan. 13, 1909: Emmet Dalton, who was pardoned out of the penitentiary by Governor Hoch, and who promised to behave himself and lead the simple life, has been persuaded by some oily-tongued strangers of Oklahoma to figure in moving pictures, representing the Coffeyville bank robbery in which he took a hand. They hypnotized him to such an extent that he went to Topeka to urge Governor Hoch to pose for a picture in the pardon scene. Mr. Hoch gave him a talking to that should have curled his hair, and the young man went back to Oklahoma sadder, and it may be hoped wiser. The ex-governor says that if he is made to figure in any moving pictures connected with Dalton, he will see what the law can do to protect him and bring the vile miscreants to justice.


Kansas City Star, Jan. 21, 1909: BARTLESVILLE, Ok., Jan. 20. - Emmet Dalton, in reply to a letter from ex-Governor Hoch remonstrating against Dalton’s connection with the moving pictures portraying the Coffeyville, Kas., bank robbery, has written to Mr. Hoch saying that his purpose was to see that the story was accurately told, and that the pictures will teach a moral lesson. C. F. Tackett, maker of the picture films, could not be induced to abandon his plans.


Bartlesville Enterprise, March 12, 1909 (from Monday’s Daily): Emmet Dalton, who has been suggested for member of the city council from the Fourth Ward, says he will not be a candidate unless everybody else declines to run. Dalton told the Enterprise today that the Fourth Ward wants its share of sidewalks and fire protection and that he will stand for the council to get these improvements.

“We need an alderman,” said Dalton, “who will get these things for us, and, if we can not get some good man to go in to win, I will run.”

Dalton was suggested for the council Saturday evening by a mass meeting of Fourth Warders held at Redmen Hall. Other candidates were suggested too, but Dalton got all of the twenty six votes cast.

Emmett was nominated with Mr. Schwartz as a democratic candidate from Ward 4. Schwartz was elected.


Bartlesville Enterprise, July 2, 1909: H. S. James, editor of the Independence Reporter, was in Bartlesville this week and wrote the following interesting story about Emmett Dalton:

“When the question was up for the pardon of Emmett Dalton, the Reporter wrote Governor Hoch that it believed Dalton would make an upright, useful citizen and that his conduct would be such that the governor would never have occasion to regret his action.

“Emmett Dalton is making good that prediction. Imediately after leaving Lansing Dalton located in Tulsa and at once engaged in business. He did not waste time beating around the country. He found a useful place in the world for himself. Later he sold his Tulsa place of business and moved to Bartlesville, where he married. Mrs. Dalton herself has some property. The two are fond of each other and both are ambitious.

“The time Emmett Dalton was in Lansing was not lost. He was a student. He read, read, read - always good literature. He strove even behind iron bars to better himself and he did so by learning well two or three trades. The result was when he came out he was equipped to grapple with the affairs of life.

One of the first experiences after locating in Bartlesville was defending his rights in a piece of property which was being purchased for a union station site. Dalton won in the courts and came out $4,000 to the good.

“Dalton is a likeable fellow and is popular at Bartlesville. His neighbors wanted him to be councilman for his ward. He is essentially a business man, and the indications are that he is going to make a success of his life in spite of the handicap of his youth and the late start. He has just purchased a tract of land at Copan and is preparing to drill for oil. The land is well located and there is every indication that he will get oil. He has purchased another tract of land and hopes to make money out of that. He has a good business head and is careful and conservative.

“For many months Dalton was fearful that he was going to lose his arm, which had been bothering him more or less for fifteen years from a gun wound. But apparently the last operation for the removal of diseased bone was successful. The wound has entirely healed and the arm is well and strong. Recently Dalton has grown a moustache and is now regarded as one of the handsomest men in Bartlesville.”


Bartlesville Enterprise, July 9, 1909: A good sized crowd braved the heat to attend the first race meeting at Bella Mead track yesterday afternoon. There were a number of other celebrations in the vicinity of Bartlesville and the crowd was larger than could reasonably have been expected under such conditions.

Those who attended saw some good races and saw Governor Hoch, the running horse recently purchased by Emmett Dalton, win his race twice. Miss Weber, the other horse in this race, fell down after the horses got away and Dalton kindly consented to give her another chance. The distance was a half mile and Governor Hoch ran it in 50 3-4 seconds.


Emmett Dalton

Bartlesville Enterprise, Aug. 13, 1909: Emmett Dalton has shaved his moustache and is again a pretty good looking young fellow.


Emmett Dalton


At some point Emmett decided to tour with moving pictures John Tackett had made of the Coffeyville raid and to lecture on the evils of crime. It is likely that Tackett wanted to go on the road with his movie and, by going along, Emmett could have some say how it was done.

Bartlesville Enterprise, Sept. 17, 1909 (From Wednesday’s Daily): Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Dalton left today to travel with the motion picture of “Daltons’ Last Raid.” They go from here to Tulsa and from there to Muskogee. Their route from there has not yet been decided upon.

Advertisement for Emmett's movie
Advertisement from Tulsa Daily World, Sept. 15, 1909

The Oklahoman, Sept. 30, 1909: Emmet Dalton, ex-bandit, pardoned from the Kansas state penitentiary, where he was imprisoned fourteen years for complicity in the Coffeyville bank robbery Oct. 5, 1892, is in Oklahoma City in the role of lecturer and moving picture owner. Dalton makes his living with his moving pictures, showing vividly the scenes which stirred Coffeyville to its depths with one of the most daring bandit feats in history. These pictures will be displayed at the Yale theater, near the Rock Island depot, for the next four days beginning today.

Emmet Dalton will take tickets and talk about his pictures. With the memory of Emmet’s pardon fresh in the minds of most people, his coming to Oklahoma City will revive the story of the Coffeyville raid which cost the lives of eight men, Emmet alone escaping.


The Oklahoman, Oct. 1, 1909: More than 3,500 paid admission to see Emmet Dalton, at the head of a company reproducing the exploits of the famous Dalton gang at the Yale theater. The performance started at 10 o’clock in the morning and was continuous until midnight. The house was packed throughout the day and many were turned away from time to time.


Bartlesville Enterprise, Oct. 22, 1909: Emmett Dalton spent Sunday here and is leaving tonight for Wichita where the Dalton raid pictures will be shown tonight. Emmett has been traveling with his pictures nearly a month and has been making money.

“In Bartlesville,” he said, “we showed to more people in a single day than we have in any other Oklahoma town - although we had an average of 2,000 a day for nine days in Oklahoma City.”

The Dalton pictures cost about $200 a week to oprate, carrying a regular troupe of assistants - an advance agent, a lecturer, and operator and Messrs. Dalton and Tackett, the owners. Several hundred feet of Bartlesville street scenes and a lot of prison life scenes have been added. The pictures have been shown in Tulsa, Muskogee, Sapulpa, Pawhuska, Arkansas City, El Reno, Oklahoma City, Lawton and Enid.


Bartlesville Enterprise, Oct. 29, 1909: WEAKER MANAGERS ARE KNOCKING EMMETT DALTON’S EFFORT - THEY HOPE TO INJURE HIM BY A CRY OF “MORAL EFFECT”

Emmett Dalton has been paying the penalty of being in the show business lately by the knocks he has been getting from the newspapers. The Enid Eagle took a fall out of him when he was there last week and the Kansas City Times of this week had a half column under an Enid date line taking him to task for the business he is following.

A funny feature of the times story, according to Dalton, is the fact that “Al” Jennings, who served a term in the penitentiary for train robbery, is quoted as denouncing Dalton’s show. The facts are that Jennings is also in the show business and opened his moving picture show in Oklahoma City a few weeks ago in a room adjoining that in which Dalton was showing his pictures. The Dalton show was too strong for Jennings and he moved after two disastrous days. The story in the Times is as follows:

Enid, Okla., Oct. 20. - Emmett Dalton, the paroled bandit, is exhibiting moving pictures of the Coffeyville, Kas., bank robbery. Dalton took part in this robbery and two of his brothers were killed in the fight that followed. Dalton was captured and sent to the Kansas penitentiary. His prison conduct was such that Governor Hoch paroled him. Dalton had many friends in Oklahoma who interceded for him with Governor Hoch, in the belief that Dalton would shun notoriety.

The moving pictures are crudely made, and portray the deeds of the Dalton gang in the spirit of the yellow back novel., though they are purported to be shown as a warning to young men to shun an evil life. Incidentally, Dalton displays as part of the scenic story photographs of the dead bodies of his two brothers and for this he accepts money.

“Al” Jennings, who served a term in the federal prison in Columbia, O., for train robbery, is quoted as saying there was no possible chance of his ever being guilty of trying to take money from the public by theexhibition of such scenes as are shown in the moving picture of the Coffeyville raid. Dalton is being criticized by Oklahoma newspapers for his conduct., the Enid Eagle saying:

“Emmett Dalton has made a woful mistake in going about the country exploiting the career of himself and associates as bandits. The spectacle presented in this city today of relics of the bloody raid being exhibited to attract the attention of the morbidly curious and pictures of the Coffeyville robbery being offered to the young to poison their minds, is one that may well call down censure from any civilized community. The power of suggestion in criminal records is too well established to admit of dispute. Emmett Dalton has many friends in Enid, who, when he was in sadder circumstances, wished and worked for his release and rejoiced when the day of that release came. He is still a young man and has plenty of opportunity before him. Paths of usefulness are open to him on every hand. Apparently he does not realize his responsibility as an example to the young.”

After wanting so much to forget the Coffeyville raid, why was he now going over and over it to all who wanted to see and hear? Never a man for a sedentary life, joining Tackett must have been attractive. Julia may have had her say, too. Realizing the power of the new media, he could turn the bad in his life to a useful lesson to others, although this point was obviously missed by some. And they disliked his making money from the raid, but then Coffeyville saw the dollar signs just about as soon as the smoke cleared after the fight. If you have something you can sell, then of course you will. But I’d like to think he explained himself to ex-governor Hoch.

Kansas City Times, Nov. 17, 1909: WICHITA, KAS., Nov. 16. - As of a result of a protest to Mayor C. L. Davidson by Emmett Dalton, ex-member of the famous Dalton gang of Coffeyville bank robbers, against the closing up of his moving picture show portraying the fight and escape of the Daltons from Coffeyville, the mayor called a special meeting of the city commissioners to take action this afternoon.

Late this afternoon the commissioners passed a special ordinance making it unlawful to depict crime by either stationary or moving pictures.


Bartlesville Enterprise, Nov. 19, 1909: Bartlesville Man Gets Good Advertising in Wichita.

Wichita, Kas., Nov. 17. - A special meeting of the city commisioners last evening passed an ordinance providing for censor of plays and moving picture shows, in order that they might legally stop the motion picture reproduction of the Coffeyville bank raid by the Dalton gang, being presented here by Emett Dalton, the sole survivor of the gang, and a pardoned convict.

Dalton closed the show when told to do so by the chief of police but will ask for an injunction against the commissioners.

In November 26 issue, the Bartlesville Enterprise further commented on all the free advertising Emmett was getting and quoted an article from the Kansas City Journal. The article called Emmett’s show “A Demoralizing Exhibition” and included comments such as: “…the pictures are of a kind to impair the morals of susceptible youths… To capitalize the malodorous ‘fame’ of the Dalton gang is a palpable offence against public morals… Hundreds of sympathizing people helped Dalton to gain the freedom which he is so deplorably abusing.”


Clipping, Sedalia, Missouri, Jan. 3, 1910: Emmett Dalton, the reformed bandit, here with a moving picture show, paid the Democrat-Sentinel a visit. His wife is with him and they are stopping at Hotel Huckins.


Bartlesville Enterprise, Jan. 21, 1910: Chanute, Kas., Jan. 9. - Mayor Abbott this afternoon stopped the Emmett Dalton picture show and lecture at the Electric Theater.

A conference between the Mayor and Mr. Dalton is in progress to determine whether the show will be put on tonight.

Dalton is insistent that he violates no ordinance or law and that the pictures he shows are no different from those in all picture theaters. The agitation against them comes from the fact that they are based on a real incident.

“I shall violate no law or ordinance. I shall go ahead doing the good that I can and preachers, mayors, governors or petty politicians cannot stop me. I know what I am doing and you will notice that I am not running. I am attending to my own business.”

Emmett Dalton, the famous survivor of the famous Dalton raid upon Coffeyville, came to town this afternoon. He came here from Pittsburg where he has been for two or three days.

At all the larger churches action was taken to protest against the appearance of Mr. Dalton in this city, and asking city officials to prohibit his show in case they had authority to do so.

Speaking of the city’s jurisdiction Mayor Abbott said: “The city attorney and myself have gone over the ordinances and found they contain nothing which will allow us to prohibit a public exhibition unless it is immoral, lewd or indecent.

“The ordinance governing public exhibitions was passed before moving pictures were invented. The police will be instructed to watch the performance and see that nothing which they consider a violation of the ordinance is done. They have the authority to stop the performance in case anything immoral, indecent or lewd is shown or said.”


The Oklahoman, Jan. 15, 1910: Topeka, Kan., Jan. 14. - Governor Stubbs today requested Attorney General Jackson to examine the pardon papers of Emmett Dalton, the only surviving member of the famous “Dalton gang,” to see if the pardon can be revoked.

Dalton was pardoned by former Governor E. W. Hoch Nov. 2, 1907. Since then he has started a “wild west” show and has exhibited moving pictures, showing a reproduction of the robbery of the Coffeyville bank on Oct. 5, 1893, at which the Dalton gang was broken up, and for which Emmett was sentenced to prison.

Governor Stubbs has received complaints from Pittsburg against Dalton’s moving picture show being given there and is highly displeased with Dalton’s actions since he was pardoned.

Emmett Dalton appeared with his show in Oklahoma City during the state fair, filling an engagement at a North Broadway moving picture theater. He did an immense business here, although there was some criticism of the class of pictures he was showing.


Kansas City Times, Jan. 15, 1910: TOPEKA, Jan. 14. - Governer Stubbs will revoke the pardon of Emmett Dalton, the Coffeyville bandit, if it is possible for him to do so. The governor sent to Fred B. Jackson, attorney general, today a request for an opinion as to whether the governor could revoke the pardon and return Dalton to the penitentiary.

Dalton was released by Governor Hoch two years ago November 2, under commutation of sentence. The governor at the time urged that Dalton should not make a show of himself or attempt to make money from a display of the exploits of himself or brothers in the Coffeyville or other robbery raids. This was not made a part of the pardon. Almost as soon as Dalton was released he set about to arrange a moving picture show of the Coffeyville raid. He posed as one of the bandits and had others made up as his brothers and other members of the gang and as officers and citizens. This show has been traveling about Kansas and Oklahoma for several months. Dalton gives lectures during the show. Governor Stubbs is disgusted with Dalton’s actions.


Iola Daily Register, Jan. 19, 1910: DALTON RELEASED AT PITTS. - Emmett Dalton was arrested last night by Chief of Police Skinner on the charge of violating the ordinance prohibiting the placing of show bills or advertising on the phone poles. He was allowed to go on his recognizance to put in an appearance this morning. He put in an appearance but there was nothing done with his case and he was allowed to go. — Pittsburg Headlight.


Kansas City Times, Jan. 19, 1910: IOLA, Kas., Jan. 19. - The city authorities stopped Emmett Dalton, the ex-bandit, from putting his moving picture show here yesterday afternoon. Dalton had advertised a matinee and an evening performance, but on his arrival in the city was informed by the chief of police that the show would not be permitted. Delegations of citizens called on Mayor H. F. Travis this morning and entered a protest against the pictures.

Dalton insisted that his show was clean and invited the officers in to see it before offering it to the public. When he was given a final answer that the performance could not be given, he said he would show any way, and test the matter in the courts, but later he changed his mind, and shipped his paraphernalia to St. Joseph.


Bartlesville Enterprise, Jan. 21, 1910: Pittsburg Kansas Jan. 17. - “It’s all politics,” declared Emmett Dalton Saturday evening, when informed Governor Stubbs had ordered Attorney General Jackson to examine the pardon papers of the only surviving member of the Dalton gang, to see if the pardon granted by Former Governor Hoch could be revoked.

“If that bunch starts anything with me they will find me meeting them half, yes, three quarters of the way. Governor Stubbs is a good man and has done good things for this state but like all other men holding similar offices, he is pestered by petty politicians. I am a politician myself and know what I am talking about. My pardon papers are all right. I would stake everything I posses on that. You see, I am the man most concerned and I know what I am talking about. I will give any person $1,000 who will prove that my pardon papers are not regular.”

Dalton said he never conducted a wild west show nor indulged in any other business except the enterprise he now heads.

“ The talk about my having a wild west show is all bosh,” said he “the people know what kind of a show I’ve got. I am lecturing on morals and what do I care what petty politicians are doing.”

Attorney General Jackson today wired ex-Governor Hoch if there were any conditions exacted when he pardoned Emmet Dalton.

“I remember the governor asked me about putting in some conditions at the time,” said Mr Jackson, “and I am under the impression they went into the pardon. The official records are silent in regard to the matter. The evidence of former Governor Hoch would be just as good as official records in the matter, and if there were any conditions, written or verbal, we may be able to lay our hands on Dalton.” The governor and attorney general are determined to drive Dalton out of the picture show business, in Kansas, at least.

— Report from Kansas, where Dalton pictures are now being shown, is that they are doing splendid business. It is nothing uncommon to take over $200 in a single night. Governor Stubbs’ intent to revoke Dalton’s pardon if possible, is acting as a big advertisement for the pictures.


Kansas City Times, Jan. 21, 1910: Emmett Dalton, one time bandit, and paroled convict From the Kansas penitentiary, is in Kansas City to place in a orphan’s home a boy, 7 years old, whom Dalton and his wife took charge of in Oklahoma. The ex-bandit proposes to pay for the support of the boy.

Dalton says he has been in Kansas for more than a week and that he has no fear that Governor Stubbs will send him back to prison. He insists that the moving pictures are perfectly legitimate and that they are not shown without the full consent of the mayor and the approval of the people of the towns visited.

He may buy a moving picture theater in Kansas City.


Iola Daily Register, Jan. 22, 1910: ...“I don't think I have done a thing to break my parole, even if I had been paroled,” said Dalton, “and if I have I would be willing to go back to prison. On November 2, 1907, Governor Hoch commuted my sentence to expire on that date. No conditions were imposed as to my release and they cannot legally reimprison me. There was nothing said about not appearing in public nor about conducting a show.

“Governor Hoch said to me, “Emmett, go out and be a man. Think and act for yourself and do right.”

“Since then I've blazed my own way and I am going to follow it up. My purpose is to uplight some fellow beneath me, and no one can scarce me out.

“I went into the show business for two purposes. One is to prove to young men that they cannot do wrong and escape the consequences - in other words, ‘he who sins must suffer.’ The other purpose was to make a living, and I'll not deny it, and I'll not deny that I have made some money.”


Barlesville Enterprise, Feb. 4, 1910: Emmett Dalton was the guest of Scout Younger in Tulsa Sunday, and the Tulsa Democrat printed a half column interview with him.


Advertisement, Kansas City, Feb. 20, 1910: The Feature Program in Kansas City, All This Week Beginning Monday, February 21, Emmett Dalton at The Olympic Theater 1123 Grand Ave., In a special feature program, moral lectures, short talks etc., Admission 10 Cents


Davis County Clipper, March 4, 1910: EX-BANDIT DEFIANT Emmett Dalton Hands Hot Talk to Governor

“Emmett Dalton has no business to be going around the country giving a bank robbery picture show. He has broken his parole, and if he is not careful I’ll send him back to the penitentiary.” - W. R. Stubbs, Governor of Kansas.

“I’m not here to be awed by any petty politician. Gov. Stubbs is a showman like myself and likes to keep in the public eye. It’s all bosh and I defy any man to imprison me for breaking my parole.” - Emmett Dalton, Ex-Bank Robber.

KANSAS CITY, Kan., - A lively controversy between the governor of Kansas and Emmett Dalton, the last of the famous Dalton gang, has resulted from the insistence of Dalton on giving moving picture exhibitions of a bank robbery, accompanied by a realistic lecture and advice to young men not to stray from the straight and narrow path.

Gov. Stubbs says Dalton ought to be in prison. Dalton virtually invites the governor to go to blazes.

Governor Stubbs

Governor Walter R. Stubbs


The man who smashed two political machines and outwrestled the Demon Rum found himself doffed by the one time outlaw.

Dalton and his wife, who, by the way, have adopted two orphan children to bring up, were touring Kansas towns with great success, crowds flocking to hear the former bank robber tell of such adventures as the raid on the Coffeyville bank, which led to Jim Dalton’s capture and the surrender of Emmett, who gave himself up rather than leave his wounded brother to captors who, for all he knew, would hang him on the spot.

Gov. Stubbs says Dalton is out on parole, and he will send him back to serve his time out. Dalton says the governor is “talking through his hat.”

No more “meek as a lamb” Dalton. Stubbs should have known better than to oppose Dalton when Dalton knew he was in the right and ready to fight.

As to these “orphaned children”; the Daltons had adopted a boy, Roy Reynolds. The 1910 census had him as eight years old, parents unknown. According to Nancy Samuelson in her book The Dalton Gang Story, Roy was several years later adopted by people named Johnson, who were not related to Julia. Another orphan had also been adopted, but in January 1910 placed in the Perry children's home at Kansas City, as the Daltons were unable look after this child, and for whose care Emmett paid the home $8 per month.


Bartlesville Enterprise, March 11, 1910: Emmett Dalton’s show is now in Kansas City and the sign over the door of the theater says, “Mr. Dalton is here in person.”


Bartlesville Enterprise, March 25, 1910 (From Tuesday’s Daily): Emmett Dalton returned last evening from Missouri where he has been with his moving pictures. The film which has been in use wore out and John Tackett of Coffeyville is making a duplicate film. The show will open in Kansas in about a week.

That week Emmett landed in some trouble. The Bartlesville Examiner told of an incident that occurred near the Oklah Theater between Emmett and the manager of the theater, John Flinn. Emmett was demanding some kind of settlement from Flinn and he was arrested for public drunkenness and fined $11.75, but appealed the sentence. Thursday’s daily ( March 31) Enterprise had a short report from police court that morning, including that Emmett had pleaded not guilty and would be tried later. Nothing further was mentioned about this incident.

In Oklahoma Today magazine, March-April 1986, I found this little bit: “…After filming a re-creation of how his brothers died robbing a Coffeyville, Kansas, bank, Emmett agreed to denounce the crooked life between shows. Unfortunately, speaking before the crowd at Bartlesville’s Oklan Theater made him cower. The cure? Red-eye whiskey. However, he required so many snorts of the stuff that he emptied the jug, demanded another and jumped for the manager’s throat when refused. After spending the night in jail, Dalton announced he was going west, landed in Hollywood and became a millionaire in real estate, again according to Sam Henderson.”

That is a good example how Dalton stories evolve into something far from the truth.

Oklah Theater, Bartlesville

The Oklah Theater



In spite of his tough man act, the criticism he had received might have been difficult to take. Especially in view of all the admiration he had attracted up to that point. Solace is often sought from the bottle.


Bartlesville Enterprise, April 1, 1910: “While lecturing in Missouri I noticed that an old white haired man in one of the front seats seemed to be enjoying the lecture immensely. Every time I made a point he would applaud loudly. I waxed eloquent and he applauded the louder. When the lecture was over, I met the old man in the lobby of the theater as he was leaving and asked him how he liked my lecture. He gazed at me in astonishment for a moment then pointed to his mouth and eyes and shook his head - he was deaf and dumb.” — Emmett Dalton


Bartlesville Enterprise, April 8, 1910: Mrs. Emmett Dalton was called to Kansas City last evening by the illness of her son, who is attending school there.


Bartlesville Enterprise, April 15, 1910: Salina, Kas., April 9. - Emmett Dalton is sick and will not be able to be in Salina the middle of this month with his celebrated moving picture show, showing the raid on the bank in Coffeyville 18 years ago. This fact was learned from Carl Thacher, manager of the National theater, who received a letter from Dalton’s advance man (J. B. Tackett).


The Oklahoman, Aug. 6, 1910: Emmett Dalton, once famous, is very friendly with the management of the Bartlesville Examiner. The other day he was sitting in the editorial chair when an irate reader entered seeking satisfaction. He refused to be convinced that Dalton was not the editor, and shook his fist in Dalton’s face. It’s something to wonder about - what he will say when he finds out who he insulted.


Bartlesville Enterprise, Aug. 12, 1910: The fact that Emmet Dalton was going to sell tickets to his moving picture show has drawn a crowd faster than the show itself.


Bartlesville Enterprise, Sept. 16, 1910: Jeff Younger, who has been the guest of Emmett Dalton returned to Arkansas last night.


Bartlesville Enterprise, Oct. 14, 1910 (From Monday’s Daily): Emmett Dalton returned this morning from Vinita, where he has been assisting in prosecuting a negro named Joe Flinn, who sold him a piece of land in Texas for $700 and which was not the negroe’s property at all.


Bartlesville, 1910

Bartlesville in 1910




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Last modified: 13 January 2016