David Taylor Nowlin
Article and Obit
|MEMORIES OF THE
PAST IN MY OFFICIAL LIFE OF 41 YEARS OF SERVICE FOR
On a bright Monday morning February 14, 1910, I was
Chief of Police of the City of Wilburton, Oklahoma,
my old home town. An old farmer friend J. E. Holly
who lived four miles from Wilburton came to town and
advised me there were two outlaws camped in the
bluff near his place. Mr. Holly came to me because I
was the oldest officer there and the sheriff was a
new man. He had only been in office 4 months. So I
talked to Fred Lawrence the sheriff and he took two
deputies and went with Mr. Holly to investigate.
After Mr. Holly left to go into town these men had
moved into a better hiding place, back in the cliff.
Mr. Lawance being a new man on the job sent me to
assist him. Mr. Boss Mahan the under sheriff came
for me and when we arrived these two men had been
out to secure something to eat and feed for their
horses and had their horses saddled and was watching
the main outlet on the north of the cliff of about
twenty feet of solid rock behind them on three sides
they felt pretty safe.
After my arrival Mr. Lawence ask me to take charge
of the raid so I placed Mr. Lawance, Charley Newsom,
his deputy and Mr. Holly, father of Derewood Holly
in a good spot and then Derewood Holly had gone to
the north east and stationed himself. So I took Boss
Mahan the under sheriff, with me and we clombed the
twenty feet of solid rock, with our rifles in our
hands. When we topped the cliff we were in about
thirty five or forty feet of the men. one was
cleaning his pistol and they both were sitting on
the rocks talking, with their rifles across their
laps. We could only see their shoulders and heads,
as the bluff and horses had them partly hid. After
looking the situation over I called to them to
surrender but they did not and the battle was on.
The one that was cleaning his pistol threw it down
and turned with his rifle and the other one dropped
behind the rocks, and after five or six shots being
fired by Mr. Mahan and myself, one of the men was
found dead. I was shot down on the bluff and the
other man escaped. In cleaning up the place, we
found they had two 351 automatic rifles and to 38
colt automatic pistols all new, and three hundred
shells for their guns, one can of nitro glycerin,
one Ratchet drill for safe blowing, some hack saws,
two stolen horses, two stolen saddles, the guns was
also stolen. This later was all identified as having
been stolen from people at Cushing, Oklahoma. The
horses were stolen from the mail carrier, the
saddles stolen from a hardware store and the guns
were stolen from the Wells Fargo Express Co. on
I was hauled home and was laid up for five or six
weeks and had to pay my own doctor bills. I learned
some time later that this man that escaped was
killed in the Cherokee county in another gun battle
with officers. After five weeks we received
information that this one we got was wanted at
Russellville, Arkansas, for killing Dr. Linly in
July 1907, and throwing his body in the Arkansas
River. From our information these two men were
brothers and their names was Johnson. This one that
was killed had married at Dardenell, Arkansas under
the name of Ed Smith. The scars and bullet wounds in
his body showed of past battles he had been in.
David T. Nowlin Wilburton, Oklahoma.
Source: Latimer County News Tribune May 17, 1952
Funeral services for David T. Nowlin, veteran peace officer
for Wilburton and Latimer County since 1903, were held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Mr. Nowlin died here on Saturday at the age of 84.
Rev. J. T. Lucas and Rev. Herbert M. Pierce, assisted by Rrev. Hershel
Mason, conducted the services and burial was in the Wilburton Cemetery under
the direction of the Burke-Pirtle Funeral Home.
Born in Chismville, Ark., on January 14, 1878, Mr. Nowlin spent most of
his life as city police chief, deputy sheriff, special agent for the Rock
Island railroad and as a bank guard.
It was in 1903 that he became City Marshal of Wilburton and two years
later was appointed Deputy U.S. Marshal holding the position until November
1907. He again was named city marshal following statehood and served until
1910 when he was named police chief.
He was appointed deputy sheriff in 1911 and served until 1914 when he
joined the railroad working as a special agent until 1924. During World War
I, he was made captain of police over the Oklahoma division of railroads. He
began work for the First National Bank in Seminole as a guard and messenger
in 1929. Following his resignation in July, 1944, he moved to the Kamahi
Assembly Grounds. He came back to Wilburton to live in December 1947.
An ardent churchman, Mr. Nowlin joined the First Baptist Church here in
1906 and was ordained as deacon in 1909. He also was a member of the Odd
Fellows Lodge, Knights of Pythias, and the sheriffs' and peace officers
One sister, Mrs. Lillie Istok, of Lower Lake, California, and two
brothers, George A. Nowlin of Napa, California and Charles G. Nowlin, of
Active pallbearers were Ab Dear, Joe Griffin, Frank Jordan, Bill
Livingston, John Turner and James Elliott. Honorary pallbearers were: Ernest
Moore, Elmer Wallace, Olan Morgan, Horace Chronister, Earl Roberts, and