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LAWMEN and OUTLAWS

David Taylor Nowlin
Article and Obit

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Submitted by: Terry Bingham
MEMORIES OF THE PAST IN MY OFFICIAL LIFE OF 41 YEARS OF SERVICE FOR MY COUNTRY.

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 Frisco Railroad.

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.

Signed
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 associations.
One sister, Mrs. Lillie Istok, of Lower Lake, California, and two brothers, George A. Nowlin of Napa, California and Charles G. Nowlin, of McAlester, survive.
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 Emmitt Stivers.

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