John Nelson Curtis
U. S. Deputy Marshal
John Nelson Curtis was appointed U. S. Deputy Marshal
for the Western District of Arkansas and Indian
Territory in May of 1887. He was appointed to fill the
vacancy of Dan Maples who was killed while serving in
the line of duty.
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While researching my great great grandfather John N.
I found these references to him as a U.S. Deputy Marshal
after Dan Maples was killed.
Apparently he was appointed to fill Maples' position.
note from Luanne
"John Curtis was appointed to fill Dan Maples' position
after Maples was murdered. Curtis was pursuing the five
men charges with Maples murder. "
FORT SMITH ELEVATOR, May 13, 1887
"Deputy U.S. Marshal John Curtis arrived here with
Charley Bobtail. Bobtail says John Parish did the
shooting that killed Deputy Maples. Bobtail does not
deny being with the other parties charged with this
FORT SMITH ELEVATOR, May 20, 1887
"On the same day that Thomas Trainer was killed, Deputy
Marshal Curtis arrested on Hogshooter and one Bobtail
(the latter is the brother of Charley Bobtail, now in
jail at this place) for complicity in the murder of
Deputy Dan Maples. He also arrested Kate Terrell, Alice
Bell and Amanda Walker for introducing and selling
whiskey in Indian Country. It was a lively day for
FORT SMITH ELEVATOR, July 8, 1887
"Deputy John Curtis got in Monday with W.B. Bishop, who
is charged with introducing and selling whiskey. He gave
bond for his appearance at court and was released."
FORT SMITH ELEVATOR, December 2, 1887.
PARISH, John, Indian Bootlegger, Outlaw - One of the two
accused of the killing of U. S. Deputy Marshal Dan
Maples, arrested by Deputy JOHN CURTIS
"Deputy John Curtis was in charge of the preliminary
investigation into Maples' murder",
"Heck Thomas: Frontier Marshal", Glenn Shirley, author
"Deputy John Curtis brought Charley Bobtail in (to that
city) for the murder of Dan Maples"
Fayetteville Gazette, Fayetteville, Arkansas, May, 1887
"Charley Bobtail, who is accused of killing Marshal
Maples, at this place (Tahlequah) on the night of this
month, was arrested by Deputy Marshals last week, and
carried to Bentonville, Arkansas, from which place he
will be taken to Ft. Smith for trial."
Cherokee Advocate, Tahlequah, IT, May 18, 1887
References for information:
"The Killing of Ned Christie", Bonnie Speer
"Old West Magazine", Vol. 62, Page 16
"Heck Thomas: Frontier Marshal", Glenn Shirley
"Fayetteville Gazette", May 1887 Issue,
"Cherokee Advocate", May 18, 1887
"Lawmen and Outlaws - Oklahoma and Indian
Fort Smith National Historic Site:
"Payment to the U.S. Deputy Marshals"
"The Men Who Rode for Parker", Deputy U.S. Marshals
and the Federal Court Period in Fort Smith
Author: Eric Leonard,
"JUSTICE Judge Parker Style", by Dr. Joe D. Haines,
"Fort Smith Elevator", Fort Smith, Arkansas, May 13,
1887, May 20, 1887
July 8, 1887, December 2, 1887
John Curtis in the middle with two unidentified men.
Someone had suggested the man on the left might be Dan
Maples but that information is unsubstantiated.