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October 05 / 2023
The ambitious plans of Bob Dalton
Bob Dalton always had ambitious plans. He claimed he would "beat anything Jesse James ever did - rob two banks at the same time in broad daylight." On October 5, 1892, the Dalton Gang put this daring plan into action. The goal was to rob C.M. Condon & Company's Bank and the First National Bank in Coffeyville, Kansas.
Bob was one of 12 siblings and led the Dalton Gang since 1891. Together with three of his brothers, he robbed banks, stagecoaches and trains, preferably in Kansas and Oklahoma, from that time on.
This ride, however, became his last.
The heated discussion between Bob and Emmett
Bob had planned the whole robbery, but Emmett was against it. He had attended school near Coffeyville in Robbins Corners and knew many people there. He feared that some of his friends might get hurt. Bob assured him, however, that there would be no shooting.
Everything should be over before anyone would notice what had happened.
The unexpected difficulties
Bob's plan was to have the gang tie their horses to a post behind the Condon Bank that was protected by brick walls. However, they had not visited the town in several years, and the hitching post had been removed during road work. Bob did not allow Emmett to check out the town in advance out of fear that he would be recognized. When they arrived, Bob had to act quickly and instead decided to hitch the horses in an alley across from the bank to the west, near the town jail. This alley is known today as Dalton Alley.
The tragic bank robbery
On the morning of October 5, the gang emerged from the alley on the Coffeyville square. A storekeeper cleaning the sidewalk noticed Bob, Emmett, and even Grat, who was wearing a fake mustache, and ran into his store. In closed formation, the five crossed Walnut Street from the alley to Condon Bank, holding Winchester rifles close to their legs. Meanwhile, news of the robbery spread quickly through the town:
Also, road work was being done at the time. One of the workers at the site recognized the gang and began shouting, "The Daltons are robbing the bank!"
While Emmett and Bob entered the First National Bank and forced teller Thomas Ayres to open the safe containing gold and cash, an American Express agent opened fire with his revolver. Bob and Emmett returned fire. They went out the back door, taking both guns and sack bags with them, while grabbing two bank employees with them for protection.
The end of the Dalton Gang
While the Daltons were approaching the horses, Town Marshal Charles T. Connelly came through the livery stable into the alley and ran toward the square without the bandits behind him. Grat then shot him dead. John Kloehr, who was still in the barn, shot Grat shortly after he had spotted him. In the midst of the gunfire, Bob was hit in the head and heart and killed instantly. Powers attempted to get on his horse, but was also hit and killed by gunfire from the store as he tried to hoist Bob onto his horse.
The fate of the survivors
Emmett Dalton suffered 23 gunshot wounds but survived. Bill Dalton and Bill Doolin, who had stayed several miles away with extra horses to help the gang escape, later learned of their fate.
For a time, Bill Doolin and his associates worked under outlaw Henry Starr and hid about 75 miles northeast of Kingfisher, from where they made several raids. Doolin, Newcomb, and Pierce visited the Daltons' mother in Kingfisher to comfort her after the death of her sons.
Brothers Lit and Bill Dalton were also visiting their mother, and Doolin suggested they join his group to avenge their brothers.
Bill Dalton agreed and participated in several robberies, but Lit, declined. Henry Starr was arrested in 1893 and tried at Fort Smith.
Emmett Dalton was sentenced to life in prison at the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas. After 14 years, he was pardoned and moved to Hollywood, California, where he spent his life as a real estate agent, author and actor.
He married Julia Johnson in 1908 and devoted himself to writing, among other things.
In 1931 he published the book "When the Daltons Rode" , which he wrote together with Jack Jungmeyer Sr. a journalist from Los Angeles. It was filmed in 1940 as a movie of the same name with Randolph Scott, Kay Francis and Brian Donlevy - Emmett Dalton was portrayed by Frank Albertson.
Dalton died in July 1937 at the age of 66. His widow died in 1943 at the age of 73. They are both buried in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.
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