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    U.S. Deputy Marshal Grat Dalton, two years before turning to crime, submits expenses incurred in arresting legendary Creek Nation leader Billie Bruner

    Grattan Dalton (Dalton Gang) Signed Expense Bill. Partly Printed Document Signed "G Dalton" as Deputy United States Marshal, one page, 8.5" x 13.75". Fort Smith, Arkansas, March 26, 1889. In the case of United States versus William Bruner and William Berryhill "in the Western District of Arkansas before United States District Court Commissioner Jas Brizzolan Esq Charge Murder In the Indian Country," Dalton requests reimbursement for expenses. In part "Warrant Dated March 15 1889 served by Deputy Marshal G Dalton By arresting Defts at Tulsa I.T. March 15 1889 - 4.00. Actual Expenses 4 day's feeding 2 prisoners from Mar 15 to Mar 18 - 6.00 Mileage returning 2 prisoners 160 miles each 320 miles at 10 cents per mile from Place of arrest to Fort Smith, Ark., 32.00 Service of Warrant of Final Commitment and Committing 2 prisoners to Jail Mar 20 1889 3.00" Dalton added $1.50 for issuing subpoenas for the plaintiff's witnesses, deputy marshals J. B. Heady, William Burgess, and Robert Cox, and $2.00 for his attendance "during examination Mar 20 1889 before Commissioner" for a total of $48.50 plus $131.24 brought forward for a grand total of $179.74. The document is chipped at the edges, not affecting any text. It is in fine condition.

    William "Billie" Bruner, a Creek Indian about 27 years old, frequently helped U.S. Deputy Marshall W. A. Moody in his work as a law officer. Early in 1889, Moody and four other deputies, Grat Dalton, J. B. Heady, William Burgess, and Robert Cox, sought the arrest of Jeff Berryhill, a young Creek, for larceny. Without warning, they attacked the Berryhill home. Bruner happened to be there at the time. In the ensuing gunfight, Moody was killed and Dalton was shot in the arm. On March 15, 1889, a warrant was obtained for the arrest of Bruner and "one Berry" for the murder of "W. A. Moody, a white man and not an Indian." On March 20th, Bruner and William Berryhill, Jeff Berryhill's father, appeared before Judge Isaac B. Parker. Deputy U.S. Marshal Grat Dalton testified that, as the posse ran towards the house, Cox circled around back, and, as Dalton got off his horse, he saw Moody shot in the chest. On October 1, 1889, Bruner was sentenced on a manslaughter charge to serve 10 years in the Ohio State Penitentiary and fined $1000. Bruner later said that the manner in which the posse rushed the house caused the occupants to think they were cattle rustlers known to be in the area. As Judge Parker, known as the "hanging judge," didn't sentence Bruner to the gallows, he likely believed Bruner was not altogether to blame. While in prison, Bruner, who never denied killing Moody, met with Ohio Governor William McKinley. Upon becoming President in 1897, McKinley, convinced the shooting had been accidental, pardoned Bruner. Upon returning home, William Bruner was elected Town King, and represented Lutchapoga Town, his tribal town, in the House of Kings, the upper house in the National Council of the Creek Nation. He died in 1952 at the age of 90.

    Grattan Dalton had become U.S. Deputy Marshal in 1887, succeeding his brother Frank who was killed in a gun battle. Two years after he signed this document, Grat Dalton and his brothers turned to crime. For the next 18 months, the Dalton Gang robbed banks and trains throughout Indian Territory. On October 5, 1892, attempting to rob a bank in Coffeyville, Kansas, 31-year-old Grat Dalton and brother Bob, also a former Deputy Marshal, were killed; brother Emmett was wounded and spent 14 years in prison. The signature of Grat Dalton is rare in any form. With Charles Hamilton certification of authenticity. Handsomely displayed with a portrait of Grat Dalton in a 9" x 14.75" marbleized presentation folder with inside flaps, titled in gilt lettering on the spine: "3-26-1889 Gratton Dalton Document Signed." This document, associating the gunman with legendary Creek leader Billie Bruner, would be an exceptional addition to any Western Americana collection.


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    January, 2009
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