Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bill Doolin's Southwest City Bank Robbery

When I wrote about the Daltons' fiasco at Coffeyville last time, I remarked that Bill Doolin has been mentioned as possibly having been the gang's supposed "sixth rider." What is known for sure is that Doolin soon organized the remnants of the Dalton gang into the Wild Bunch (not to be confused with Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch) and almost reenacted the Dalton disaster when he and the gang held up a bank in Southwest City, Missouri, in May of 1894, a year and a half after the Coffeyville caper. The townspeople of Southwest City opened fire on the outlaws the same way the citizens of Coffeyville had done with the Daltons. The outlaws returned fire, and over a hundred bullets whirred through the air on Main Street in a gun battle that one observer described as akin to war times. The outcome, though, was very different from what happened at Coffeyville. When the shooting stopped, one townsperson lay mortally wounded and a couple of other had lesser injuries, while the robbers had run the gauntlet of the citizens' guns and escaped with about $3,500 in cash and only minor wounds. Bill Doolin was finally captured about a year and a half after the Southwest City robbery. He escaped about six months later but was tracked down and killed by a U. S. deputy marshal only a month or two after his escape.

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Blogger Wendell Smith said...

One of my family myths is that my great-grandfather, Hugh Sellers and his brother Will were in SW city the day of the robbery. Our story has two endings demonstrating how truth stretches about such things. In one Hugh is whittling in a chair on the banks steps taking pawn for rings that he kept pinned to his lapel. In the other Will takes a round through his Stetson while peeking over a feed sack in the general store across the street.

March 12, 2015 at 6:56 AM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

Interesting anecdote, Wendell. Often there is some truth to family legends, but the details many times get changed around after years of retelling. Your great grandfather was no doubt in SW City at the time, but exactly what his role was may never be known. Similarly, my great great grandfather was supposedly the first sheriff of Pulaski County, according to family lore, but my research showed he was an early sheriff but not the first.

March 18, 2015 at 1:49 PM  

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