Crawford ''Cherokee Bill'' Goldsby

  • American West
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Known to history as "Cherokee Bill", Crawford Goldsby was born in Oklahoma in 1876. His Father was a Black Soldier with the 10th US Cavalry ("The Buffalo Soldiers"). His Mother was a Cherokee Indian. "Legend" states that Crawford's Father interceded on behalf of another Black Soldier about to be beaten by local Towns People. Knowing that The Army would not take his side, he deserted - leaving his Wife, Crawford and his brothers and sisters destitute.

Crawford's Mother sent him to The Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania and remarried. When Crawford finally returned home, he and his Step-Father developed an immediate dislike for each other. He was an alcoholic who beat his Mother.
Crawford's Outlaw life began when his Step-Brother was at a local Dance. Beaten by local Men (possibly for trying to dance with a non-Indian), Crawford took "offense". Returning the next day with a pistol, he shot the Man who hit his Brother dead. He was now an Outlaw.

Heading to Indian Territory (under Federal jurisdiction), he met several other "like minded" Felons, and formed a Gang. Crawford adopted the nickname "Cherokee Bill". He began a reign of terror -robbing small Banks, Stores, People - literally anyone who crossed their path. Always, Bill and his Gang escaped to Indian Territory (mindful of local Law Enforcement lack of pursuit due to Federal Law).

Bill was credited with 10 Robberies and 8 murders. He was finally caught in 1895 and jailed, pending Trial. Even in this, his "legend" grew. Bribing Officials, Bill almost escaped from custody. However, his Plot was uncovered. Cherokee Bill came under the Rule of Judge Charles Parker, known to Western History as "The Hanging Judge" for his uncompromising judgments and well known "final solution" to many Western criminal. It took 12 minutes to hear, deliberate and deliver a verdict....death by hanging! Executed in 1896, Bill's Sister claimed his body and returned it to Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma - for burial in The Cherokee Cemetery.