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Bill Posey


Arkansas City Traveler, July 4, 1877.
Bill Posey, who had up to that time led a decent life in Limestone County, Texas, three years ago began the career of an outlaw. Lack of money could not have incited him to such a course, for he was doing well as a herder, and simple love of deviltry must have been the cause. He became a horse thief, and his crimes were so numerous that twenty-nine indictments accumu­lated against him.
He recently escaped from a prison to which he had been sentenced for ten years, and a Sheriff’s party, hoping to get the reward of $500 that was offered for him “dead or alive,” pursued him into the Indian Territory.
Bill Posey was armed with a rifle and two revolvers when overtaken, but a shot broke his right arm before he could fire. He tried to use a revolver with his left hand, but a bullet in his shoulder completely disabled him. Still he persevered, and, spurring his horse into a run, overturned one of his assailants by a violent collision. Then more bullets were fired into his body, and killed him.
Arkansas City Traveler, July 11, 1877.
                                      TAKE BILL POSEY, ALIVE OR DEAD.
                                           The Last Stubborn Fight and Death
                                         Of the Terror of the Indian Territory.
                                                   [From the Chicago Times.]
Eufaula, Indian Territory, June 22. “Killed while resisting arrest,” is the return to be made by Sun thiar pee, of Utechee Town, Captain of the Creek light horse, in the chase of Bill Posey, one of the most notorious and reckless daredevils of the gang of Texas, Indian Territory, and Kansas desperadoes, horse and cattle thieves, that have invested this country for years.
With headquarters in Kansas and Texas, their trail has led through the Indian Territory from Coffeyville south through the wilderness of the Osage reservation, crossing the Arkansas River near Childers’s ferry, through Creek and Chickasaw nations to Denison or Fort Worth, Texas.
Tens of thousands of dollars worth of stock have been stolen from Texas, driven north through the Territory, always under charge of some outlaw along the route, driven by hidden and unused trails through a country so sparsely settled that often days elapsed without a human being in sight to identify either the stock or the thieves. Picking up cattle feeding on the range belonging to Indians, their droves were always increasing, until the loss to the citizens of the Creek nation became unbearable.

Among this band Bill Posey, an escaped convict from the Texas penitentiary, was a skilled, daring, and influential leader. A Spanish-Mexican, with a claim to Indian blood in his veins, Posey has made his headquarters on Cane Creek, Polecat, and Arkansas rivers, drifting back and forth as occasion re­quired, always armed to the teeth. With a long Spanish knife and three six-shooting revolvers in his belt, and a double barreled shot gun loaded with buckshot, he was the terror of the road.
For several years he had been a member of the gang in Texas. He had wealthy and influential friends in Limestone and other counties, who had managed to screen him until four years ago, when he was arrested, tried, and sentenced to five years in the penitentiary. He had served out twenty months of his sentence, but so turbulent had he been that he had inspired a feeling of terror even among the prison officials. Bucking, gagging, flog­ging, or showering failed to subdue him, and he was put in the chain gang and set to work on the streets under charge of guards.
While working one day with a twelve pound ball attached to his leg, he struck down one of the guards with a stone, snatched his gun, and “stood off” four of the guards. He called on the prison authorities, with oaths, to come out and rearrest him, and he would kill them all. Holding all the officers at bay, he slowly retreated toward some horses feeding nearby. Getting one of the horses between himself and the guard, he coolly picked up the ball, slung it over the horse, mounted and rode off to his father’s house, where he secured his own gun, revolver, and a good horse, and crossed the line into the Indian Territory.
While at his temporary home on Cane Creek, two Deputy United States Marshals attempted his arrest. He assented, and asked them into the house for dinner before starting for Fort Smith. With four revolvers pointed at his head, he coolly walked into the house with them, placed chairs, and ordered dinner quick for three, and made preparations for the start. Suddenly he reached under his low couch, brought out his six shooter, and sent one ball through the thigh of one of the deputies and another ball through the eye of the other. He then drove them from the house. He ordered them to throw up their hands, down their arms, and then coolly asked for the writ. This he destroyed. Then he compelled the officers to go back into the house and partake of the meal prepared for them, after which he let them go back to report their failure.
Between Muskogee and Okmulgee, Bill Posey built a block-house, surrounded himself with a set of desperadoes, and bade defiance to all the marshals of Texas or the Territory. Here for fifteen months he had been on the scout. During the day he never for a moment laid down his arms. He slept always with his belt of arms on the bed before him and the sixteen shooting Henry rifle in his hands. A fresh horse was always saddled near the door, and no man was ever permitted to approach him unless he was covered with the inevitable rifle. His reckless bravado led him, out of pure cussedness, to mingle with crowds of men, visiting stores, whenever supplies were needed, or taking a seat in church among the worshipers, armed, and taking care to keep the saints always to the front.
Recently the Governor of Texas made a requisition on the Chief of the Creek nation for Bill Posey’s arrest and return to the Texas officials. Chief Ward Coachman placed the necessary papers at once in the hands of Capt. Sun thiar pee, of Utechee town, with orders to “bring in Bill Posey, alive or dead.”

On Friday last the captain learned that Posey had visited Okmulgee that day and had a wounded finger amputated, and had gone toward the Arkansas River. All that night, with a posse of two picked men, the Captain followed on Posey’s trail, and on Saturday evening they came up with him near Concharte town, on Polecat Creek, driving some stray horses. He was well mounted, as usual, and disdained to run from three Indians. The Captain ordered him to surrender and throw up his hands.
Posey reached for his ever present rifle, but his lost finger was in the way, and before he could bring it to bear, a load of buckshot went through his right arm, breaking it above the elbow. As it dropped limp at his side, he dropped his rifle, drew his revolver with his left, and emptied two of the chambers, and then another mass of buckshot broke his left arm. Spurring his well trained horse, he charged full speed at the Captain, knocking him and his horse over the bluff to the creek below.
Posey then wheeled upon the posse, who stood their ground, firing at him with their revolvers. The orders to take him dead or alive must be obeyed. The fight was now at close quarters. Riddled with bullets and shot, the flesh torn from his hips, both arms broken, he continued to fight, trying to ride down the officers.
Capt. Sun thiar pee had again joined his posse, this time on foot. A well aimed shot from his revolver tore off Posey’s nose. It seemed impossible to kill him. Still he refused to surrender. Then the last bullet from the Captain’s revolver struck Posey in the chin, breaking his jaw, and went crashing up through his brain. Bill Posey fell dead from his horse.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum