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.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lane Britton

Another chapter in my upcoming Desperadoes of the Ozarks concerns the Alsups of Douglas County, Mo., especially the gunfight between sheriff Hardin Vickery and ex-sheriff Shelt Alsup in March of 1879 that left both men dead. However, since I've already discussed the Alsups in a previous post less than a year ago, I'm going to skip over this chapter and go to the next chapter, which deals with a desperado named Lane Britton, who hailed from Neosho, Mo.
The younger brother of Wiley Britton (who later gained fame as a Civil War author), Lane Britton first gained notoriety in 1875 when he was just a lad of 17 years. A night or two before Christmas, he was lounging at a "disreputable house" near the tracks in Neosho kept by Lizzie Sanford when a gentleman caller named Huffaker rapped on the door and demanded admittance. Both Lizzie and Britton told the man to leave, and when he kept banging on the door, Britton shot him through the door, killing him almost instantly.
The killing was eventually ruled justifiable homicide, and Britton settled in the booming mining town of Blende City (near present-day Carl Junction) in the early 1880s. He somehow got himself appointed city marshal but got in trouble in early 1883 for supposedly terrorizing the town instead of upholding the law. Soon afterwards, he killed two deputies who tried to arrest him on a warrant from Newton County on a felonious assault charge resulting from an incident a couple of years earlier. He fled west and turned up in Phoenix in the summer of 1885. He was captured but broke jail, eluded an intensive manhunt, and was never heard from again.


Blogger irishoma said...

Hi Larry,
I'm glad I found your blog. I enjoyed reading your post and will be back.
Donna Volkenannt

September 23, 2011 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

Thanks, Donna. I've been doing this for about three years now. At first, I was writing mainly to myself, but I'm gradually getting a few readers.

September 24, 2011 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger N Mir said...

As a distance family members, I found your reference to a desperado named Lane Britton interesting However I have not found any reference to Lane infamy through the family documentation and books.
“Lane Britton, 1858-1914 Married Mary Ellen Rawles, in 1884”
“George Britton, father of Lane, and three of his sons served in the Civil War for the Union cause. Due to his conviction on slavery, he was in a predicament most of the time, …..”
“In 1862, George Britton was held citizen prisoner by the Robert Colonel Coffey, and was condemned to be shot; George borrowed a hat and a coat from another man and escaped, in disguise.”
The son, Wiley Britton, in his writing stated, “ The family lived in the midst of the storm and whirlpool of human passions, death and destruction; their home was torn with cannon shot and shell and rifle bullets, and on e of the two sons who fell in the war and brought home with his uniform pierced and stained and saturated with blood that flowed from his wounds while his youthful life ebbed away on his twentieth birthday.
You have a very interesting blog and I look forward learning more about your books and articles.

Marie Moody Foster and Erma Melton Smith, THE JAMES F. MOODY FAMILY HISTORY
Page 246-249

June 20, 2015 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

I can understand that the family history might not mention Lane's notorious past, but he definitely had such a past. There's a lot more to the story than my brief outline in my original blog post, but I covered most of the main highlights. And we're definitely talking about the same Lane Britton, although I think the 1884 date you have for his marriage to Mary Ellen Rawles might be off by a year or so. I think they were already married in 1883, when Lane was city marshal of Blende City and when he killed the two deputy lawmen sent out to arrest him. If you have a Bible record or marriage license that shows the marriage date as 1884, then, of course, I'm wrong, but lacking such primary documentation, the evidence points to a slightly earlier date than 1884.

July 10, 2015 at 8:05 PM  

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