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Payne County

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Payne County, Oklahoma

The Ingalls Townsite

Photograph of Ash Street in Ingalls shwoing stone chimney.

Ash Street in Ingalls, site of the 1893 Doolin Gang gun battle with federal marshalls, photographed in the 1970's.

A few deserted buildings and stone foundations in eastern Payne County today mark the spot where Ingalls, Oklahoma, used to stand. Settled after the land rush of 1889 into the "Unassigned Lands" between the Chickasaw Nation to the south and the Cherokee Outlet to the north, Ingalls was a thriving community of 150 in the 1890's; however, by 1907 the Post Office was closed.

Like many small towns of the time, Ingalls might have faded into obscurity if not for an event on September 1, 1893 which marked the town with notoriety. Several small-time gangs of outlaws plagued the Oklahoma territory during the late 1800's. U.S. Marshall E.D. Nix was charged with bringing the criminals to justice. Nix received word that a gang, known as the Wild Bunch, were making frequent visits to the small town of Ingalls. Their leader, Bill Doolin, was a cowboy turned outlaw who rode with the Dalton gang before most of the Daltons were killed at a Coffeyville, Kansas bank robbery. The gang stayed at a local hotel when in town and, according to several reports by townspeople, were quiet and well-mannered. The gang also apparently camped in a bend of the Cimarron River for most of the summer of 1893.

Two deputy marshalls were sent, in disguise, to Ingalls to investigate the rumors about the Doolin gang. According to the story of a local physician, Dr. Pickering, the two deputies played cards and drank with the Doolin gang at a local saloon. Apparently, they reported back to Nix that the Doolin gang could, indeed, be found at Ingalls.

Nix then sent a dozen deputies headed by John Hixson to Ingalls to surprise the Wild Bunch. The deputies were loaded into two covered wagons. They approached Ingalls from the north at 10 a.m. on September 1. Doolin and gang members "Dynamite Dick" Clifton, "Tulsa Jack" Blake, "Bitter Creek" Newcomb and Bill Dalton were drinking in the local saloon. Another gang member "Arkansas Tom" Jones was in a second-floor hotel room.

In the gunbattle that followed, while most of the citizens of Ingalls hid in storm cellars, three deputies and two citizens of Ingalls were killed; all but one of the Wild Bunch escaped. "Arkansas Tom" was captured and sentenced to 50 years in prison. He was paroled for good behavior but later died in a shootout in Missouri in the 1920's.

The Doolin gang were all eventually captured or killed. Bill Doolin, leader of the gang, was killed by a posse in 1896 while visiting his wife and son in Pawnee County, Oklahoma.

Storm cellar in Ingalls

Storm cellar in old Ingalls



Number of Prehistoric Sites in Payne County Identified to Time Period

Paleo = ?-8,000 BP / Archaic = 8,000-2,000 BP / Woodland = 2,000-1,000 BP / Village 1000-500 BP
BP (before present)


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