1/25/10

My World - Outlaw Hideout

Last weekend we traveled into SW Kansas for some photography & geocaching, with a plan to visit the Dalton Gang Hideout in Meade.

The once infamous Dalton Gang comprised of three brothers, Emmett, Bob and Grat plus various other criminal types who occasionally joined them. They had a shortlived crime spree from 1891 through 1893, but during that time gleaned a fearsome reputation as outlaws mainly across Oklahoma and Kansas. Although they were also accused of robbing their first train in California in 1891. Their sister Eva married and settled in Meade, establishing her home and hat shop.

Her brothers went undetected from 1887 in the Meade area, but local residents were astounded by news of the gangs far-reaching crimes from horse rustling to train robberies as near as 40 miles away. Little did they know that Eva was sheltering her brothers in her tiny home on top of the hill in a rural area south of Meade.

After the family left Meade, a crude tunnel of dirt and beams was discovered leading from the house to the barn allowing her outlaw brothers to come and go undetected. It looked nothing like it does today after improvement for visitors, originally it was just a large crawl space.

In 1893 the Dalton Gang attempted to holdup two banks at the same time in Coffeyville, KS. But the town had warning and was ready for them, they fought back and all the gang members were killed, except Emmett who was badly injured.

They were laid out in plain sight, for what has become one of the most infamous photographs from the old Wild West days.

There is now a museum on the site of the barn at the end of escape tunnel. It has the history of the Dalton Gang and their crime spree, as well as other interesting local exhibits.

As soon as I started talking to Bridget who ran it, I detected an Irish lilt, proving yet again it's a small world. Despite moving here in the fifties, her accent is still strong and we enjoyed a nice chat about our respective lives here.

The exhibits include a particularly scary 8ft long Rattlesnake skin, just look at the width of the thing!

I was tickled by the description of the man who used this saddle. "A big man and he rode a big horse", what a great epitath!

There's a two-headed calf, which was stillborn but still infamous. The Hubster remembers hearing about it growing up and thinks it was owned by a distant relative.

On the way out, I thought about getting me a new hat for this winter weather! What d'ya think?

To see some great sights around the globe or join in the fun, go to My World Tuesday

11 comments:

Daryl said...

Oh I am loving your expression .. Davy Crockett could take some fashion tips from you!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

That, is cool. Son loves bank robbers. I'll have to take him one day.

Rob Inukshuk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Inukshuk said...

What an interesting post and just the sort of thing one expects from the "Wild West".

Love the new hat, but it seems someone else is already living in it, judging by their tail hanging out!

Sylvia K said...

This is such a fun post! Great shots and interesting history -- knew some of it, but not all! And, hey, love your hat, not to mention your expression! Priceless! Have a great week!

Sylvia

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

A very interesting place to visit, although the size of that snakeskin bothers me.

Love the hat!

Jenn said...

Interesting story and would love to see the house and tunnel some day. Oh and the hat suits you! :-)

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Pam said...

I love the history of this. Thanks for sharing it. DOn't you love finding those accents in the middle of nowhere? Amazing how people get around and even did back in wild west days. But, and hubster should have corrected you, the Davy Crocket tail goes in the back.

LadyFi said...

LOL to you in that hat!

Great photos and history - I especially like that tunnel shot.

Sherri said...

Sounds like an interesting place to visit!