Note: The following
excerpts are from three chapters in What Really Happened
on October 5, 1892: An Attempt at an Accurate Account of
the Dalton Gang and Coffeyville, a comprehensive story
of the Dalton Raid written by Lue Diver Barndollar. The
book, illustrated with actual photos taken immediately
after the raid, was produced in 1992 as a joint effort
between the Coffeyville Historical Society and the
Dalton Centennial Committee. Other chapters included in
deal with the area, the family, the Daltons as lawmen,
their outlaw career before the Coffeyville raid, and the
aftermath of the raid. Annotated endnotes discuss the
sources for each chapter. Also included are an afterword
and an extensive bibliography.
Available in paperback - $24.95 including shipping and
handling. Send orders to Coffeyville Historical Society,
PO Box 843, Coffeyville KS 67337.
The Dalton Raid Story
The romance which surrounds the Old West – the romance
of the self-sufficient individual, the romance of the
cowboy and the Indian, the romance of the lawman and the
desperado – is perhaps nowhere else so evident as in the
story of the Dalton gang raid in Coffeyville, Kansas, on
October 5, 1892.
On the afternoon of October 4, 1892, a group of men cut
a barbed wire fence and rode their horses across a
plowed field, five abreast, to some timber near Onion
Creek on a farm located three miles southwest of
Coffeyville. They tied their horses to separate trees
and prepared to camp.
The men who made up this group from that day on would
always be called the Dalton gang. The actual Daltons
were Grat, Bob and Emmett. Their cohorts were Bill Power
(sometimes known as Tom Evans) and Richard L. (Dick)
Broadwell (sometimes known as John Moore or Texas Jack).
October 5 dawned a bright, clear Wednesday. When the men
left the timber, two of them looked different. Bob, the
leader, was wearing a heavy black moustache and goatee.
Grat sported a black moustache and side-whiskers. Emmett
had earlier grown a beard to wear as his disguise.
The five men followed their tracks back over the plowed
field to the bank of Onion Creek, where the bridge
crossed the stream, then headed north to the trail known
as Coffeyville’s Eighth Street. Here they turned east,
with the three Daltons in front and Power and Broadwell
in the rear. When they reached the corner of Eighth and
Maple, where the Episcopal Church was located, they
first turned south, passing the Long-Bell Lumber
Company’s office and then turned east into the alley
that runs through Coffeyville's block 50 from Maple to
The Dalton gang rode into the alley, dismounted and tied
their horses to the fence. The five then walked east
toward the plaza, three in front and two in back.
Before 8:00 a.m. that Wednesday, the streets around the
Plaza were filled with people bringing produce to the
community and with those on errands typical of a busy
town in a rural area.
Aleck McKenna was standing in front of McKenna &
Adamson’s dry-goods store when the Dalton gang came out
of the alley. He noticed their disguises and recognized
one of the Daltons. McKenna watched as the first three
men went into the C.M. Condon & Co. Bank’s southwest
door and as the other two ran across the street and
entered the First National Bank.
From where he was standing, McKenna had a clear view
into the front part of the Condon. To his amazement he
saw a Winchester pointed toward the cashier’s counter.
He quickly called out to the men in the dry goods store
that the bank was being robbed.
Citizens seeking to halt the robbery ran to the two
hardware stores on the plaza (A.P. Boswell & Co. and
Isham Brothers & Mansur) to arm themselves. Both stores,
which had firearm inventories, passed out guns and
ammunition to people who sought to stop the robbery.
A dozen citizens with rifles and shotguns quickly
erected a wagon barricade across the south end of the
plaza near Boswell's. Parker L. Williams climbed out on
the Barndollar Brothers Store awning so he would have a
good field of fire. (The Barndollar store was three
doors south of the First National Bank.)
While Coffeyville’s citizens were arming themselves, the
Daltons were unaware that the alarm had been given.
A customer, John D. Levan, came into the Condon through
the southwest door. The gunmen in the front of the bank
told him to lie down on the floor.
Charles T. Carpenter, a Condon officer, hadn’t seen the
Daltons as they had come in the southwest door, but
turned to see Grat’s Winchester pointed at him. Bill
Power went over to the southwest door, and Dick
Broadwell went to stand by the southeast door. The gang
had not yet seen Babb, the bookkeeper, who quietly moved
into the vault.
The cashier, Charles M. Ball, hearing the commotion,
came into the front of the bank and found Winchesters
covering him and Carpenter. Grat went through the
private office and entered the area behind the bank
counter. He gave Cashier Ball a two-bushel grain sack,
telling him to hold it open, and directed Carpenter to
put all the money on the counter and in the cash drawer
into the sack, which he did.
Once the Condon cash from the counter and the money
drawer was in the sack, Grat asked for any other
currency and the gold. He ordered Ball and Carpenter
into the vault and, as they turned to enter, he
discovered Babb. Grat cursed the young bookkeeper and
told him to come out from behind the bookrack with his
Grat then ordered Ball to open a burglarproof chest
standing in the vault, but Ball said that it was on a
time-lock setting and could not be opened until 9:30.
(Actually the time lock had been set for 8:00 a.m., and
it had gone off at that time). Grat asked, “What time is
it now?” Ball, glancing at his watch, said 9:20
(although it was 9:40.) Grat said – fateful statement –
“We can wait."
Ball had made up the time-setting ploy because the chest
contained over $40,000. When Grat asked how much cash
the bank’s books had shown the previous evening, Ball
replied $4,000, all of which was now in the sack. Ball
went on to say that there was nothing in the chest with
the time lock except small change; the bank had ordered
some currency, but it had not yet arrived.
While that was going on in the Condon, Bob and Emmett
Dalton in the First National Bank, were having better
luck, though they too had no idea that the alarm had
been given. When Bob and Emmett had entered, three
customers – J.H. Brewster, A.W. Knotts and C.L.
Hollingsworth – were in the bank. Jim E.S. Boothby,
another customer, had stepped into the bank a moment or
two after the robbers. Seeing what was going on, he
started to back out of the bank; one of the Daltons,
waving his rifle, motioned him inside.
Leaving Emmett on guard in the front area of the bank
with the customers, and with Cashier Thomas G. Ayres and
Teller W. H. Shepard, Bob went through a hall into the
private office in the rear of the bank where Bert S.
Ayres, the young bookkeeper, was at his desk. Bob
ordered Ayres to go to the front of the bank where the
vault was located and to hand over the money. When Ayres
didn’t move quickly enough, both Daltons swore at him
and threatened to shoot him. The bookkeeper handed over
the money on the counter and that in the cash drawer;
then Bob ordered him to get the money from the safe. The
bookkeeper said that he did not know the combination.
Cashier Ayres then went to the safe and returned with
some money, which he put in the grain sack the Daltons
had carried in with them. Bob asked if they now had all
the money. The Cashier said there was still some gold in
the vault and asked if they also wanted that. Bob said
yes, that they wanted every cent, so the Cashier
hurriedly got that for him.
Bob, obviously not convinced that he had all the gold,
entered the vault, opened the safe door and removed two
more packages of money, each containing $5,000. Angrily,
Bob threw the packages into the money sack, which now
contained about $21,000.
Making the three bank employees go out in front of the
counter, Bob and Emmett ordered the three bankers and
the four customers to leave by the front door.
Just as the bank personnel and the bank customers
reached the sidewalk, bootmaker George Cubine, with his
Winchester, and American Express agent C.S. Cox, with a
revolver, fired from the doorway of the drug store at
Bob and Emmett in the front door of the First National.
(Rammel Brothers Drug was immediately north of the First
National and across the street east from the Condon.)
Neither shot hit the Daltons, but they jumped back into
the bank. Two of the bank employees, Bert Ayres and
Shepard, also retreated into the comparative safety of
the bank building. Cashier Ayres ran on out the front
door of the bank and into Isham’s. There he grabbed a
rifle and moved to stand in the north door of the
At this point some of the citizen defenders opened fire
on the Condon, shattering the plate glass windows.
There, Power and Broadwell got busy, each firing from
four to six times at citizens outside the bank. The
bankers and the two customers stretched out on the floor
to avoid the bullets that flew everywhere as the
citizens in front of Boswell’s fired about 80 shots into
the bank. Power was heard to say that he’d been hit and
couldn’t use his arm, that he couldn’t shoot any longer.
Grat then ordered Ball to open the sack and give him
only the currency. Ball, emptying the sack on the floor,
heard a bullet from outside pass close to his head; he
hurriedly handed the currency over to Grat, who stuffed
it in his vest.
In the First National, Bob moved back to the bank front
door while Emmett, holding his Winchester under one arm,
tied a string around the opening of the money sack. Bob
took aim and fired, his shot hitting defender Charles
Gump on his gun hand. Friends helped the wounded man
back into Isham’s. Another Isham employee, T. Arthur
Reynolds, taking a rifle he had grabbed from inventory,
ran out onto the sidewalk and began shooting at the
southeast door of the Condon. A shot from the outlaws
then struck Reynolds on his right foot. Friends helped
him back into Isham’s too.
Bob and Emmett told Shepard to open the back door of the
First National for them, and they moved toward that
door. At about the same time, carrying a pistol, Lucius
M. Baldwin, a young employee of Read's store, went out
the back door of Isham’s into the alley running behind
Isham's and the bank. Both Bob and Emmett leveled their
rifles at him and ordered him to stop. However, Baldwin
continued to move forward. Bob raised his rifle and
fired. The bullet hit Baldwin in the left chest and
passed through his body. The Daltons ran to the north
entrance of the alley, where it entered Eighth Street.
Friends carried Baldwin into Isham’s. There were now
three wounded citizens in Isham’s, all bleeding
Emmett, carrying the money sack, ran in front of Bob,
who kept his rifle at the ready. When they reached
Eighth Street, they turned west toward Union. At the
corner of Union and Eighth, they glanced south and fired
two shots in that direction.
Bob and Emmett continued west on Eighth, reaching the
middle of the intersection of Eighth and Union. From
there they could see Cubine, with his Winchester ready,
standing in the doorway of Rammel’s Drug Store, looking
south toward the First National. Four shots were fired
from the intersection, about 40 or 50 yards away, and
Cubine fell dead, shot in the back. He had one bullet
through his heart, one in his thigh and a third in an
ankle. The fourth bullet went through the plate glass
window of the drug store.
At about the time Bob and Emmett reached Eighth Street,
Grat, in the Condon, finished stuffing the money into
his vest and ran out the Condon’s southwest door and
headed for the alley, his companions following. Outside
the Condon, Grat, Power and Broadwell found themselves
caught in a crossfire between the men at Isham’s and the
men on the south side of the plaza in front of
As their partners were leaving the Condon, Bob and
Emmett finished crossing Union at Eighth and began
mounting the steps to the raised sidewalk at the corner.
Seeing Thomas Ayres in the north door of Isham’s, Bob
took careful aim and, from about 75 yards away, fired.
The bullet entered below Ayres’s left eye and came out
at the base of his skull. George Picker quickly pressed
his thumb over Ayres' spouting blood, undoubtedly saving
Just as Ayres fell, Grat and his two companions from the
Condon reached the alley opening. Before Ayres could be
pulled to safety, the fleeing gang fired nine shots into
As Emmett and Bob turned left from Eighth into the
north/south alley, they ran into 14 year-old Robert L.
Wells Jr., who was holding a .22 pistol. One of the
outlaws tapped the lad with this rifle; the other cursed
at him and told him to run home or he was liable to get
hurt. David Stewart Elliott, the Journal editor, writing
soon after the raid, commented “The boy was not slow in
obeying the command."
When Grat, Broadwell and Power left the Condon, they ran
directly into the line of fire from both the men at
Isham’s and those at Boswell’s. Grat and Power received
serious wounds before they had retreated twenty steps.
Finally the outlaws from the Condon made it to the
east/west alley and were lost to the sight of the men at
Boswell’s. The men near Isham’s still had a relatively
good field of fire.
At about the time that the three outlaws from the Condon
reached the east/west alley, Bob and Emmett were running
south from Eighth Street through the alley that divided
the north half of block 50. Near the junction of the two
alleys, they saw F.D. Benson climbing through a rear
window of Slosson & Co.’s drug store. Bob fired at him,
but his bullet hit the window.
In the alley, wounded outlaw Power tried to take refuge
in the rear door of a store, but the door was locked.
Clinging to his rifle, he staggered west down the alley
to his horse. Then another shot hit him in the back, and
he fell dead beside his horse.
Grat, using the cover of an oil tank, reached the stable
west of the jail. Liveryman John Kloehr, Carey A. Seamen
– a barber – and Marshal Charles T. Connelly were on the
south side of the plaza when the gang reached the alley.
As the three defenders hurried west toward Kloehr's
livery establishment (which opened onto the alley),
Connelly said he needed to get a gun. The Marshal ran
into the Swisher Brothers Machine Shop, a short distance
west on Ninth, and borrowed a rifle. He then hurried
across Ninth to a vacant lot that opened on the alley.
When he entered the alley, his back was toward Grat, who
raised his rifle to his side and fired without taking
aim. Connelly fell forward, dying.
Grat then tried to reach his horse. He passed the
Marshal’s body and turned to face his attackers, trying
to use his rifle. Kloehr fired another shot, which hit
Grat in the throat and broke his neck.
Hit as he entered the east/west alley, Bob staggered
across it and sat down on a pile of curbstones stacked
near the jail. While sitting there, he fired several
times, but the bullets went wild.
A lull occurred after Grat and Power fell, so Broadwell
crawled out of hiding, mounted his horse and rode away.
A bullet from Kloehr’s rifle and a load of shot from
Seaman’s shotgun hit him. Bleeding and dying, he hung on
to his horse and managed to get away from the fight
scene, only to fall from his horse, dead, some blocks
Bob spotted John Kloehr inside the fence at the back of
his livery business. Bob tried to raise his rifle to his
shoulder but could not get it up to aim. His shot went
wide. Bob managed to stand and move to the stable west
of the jail where, leaning against the corner, he fired
two more shots. A shot from Kloehr’s rifle then struck
Bob in the chest, and he fell to the ground.
Emmett, still carrying the grain sack with approximately
$21,000 of the First National Bank’s money, had managed
to escape unhurt up to this time. The horses belonging
to Bob and Power had been between Emmett and the
defenders; both horses were killed by shots intended for
Emmett. Finally he reached his horse. A half-dozen shots
went in his direction as he attempted to mount. Wounded
in the right arm and in the left hip and groin, Emmett
managed to get in his saddle.
All accounts agree that Emmett, still clinging to the
sack containing the First National Bank money, chose not
to ride away. Instead, he rode back to where Bob was
lying, reached down his hand, and tried to lift his
dying or dead brother onto the horse with him. Elliott’s
account said Bob whispered, “It’s no use.” Then Seaman
fired both barrels of his shotgun at Emmett’s back, and
he fell from the horse.
At last came the cry: “They are all down!”
The aftermath of the raid may be found in the book.
Note: The above excerpts are used with written
permission from Lue Diver Barndollar, author of What
Really Happened on October 5, 1892: An Attempt at an
Accurate Account of the Dalton Gang and Coffeyville, a
comprehensive story of the Dalton Raid. The book,
illustrated with actual photos taken immediately after
the raid, was produced in 1992 as a joint effort between
the Coffeyville Historical Society and the Dalton
Centennial Committee. Other chapters included in
the book deal with the area, the family, the Daltons as
lawmen, their outlaw career before the Coffeyville raid,
and the aftermath of the raid. Annotated endnotes
discuss the sources for each chapter. Also included are
an afterword and an extensive bibliography.
Available in paperback - $24.95 including shipping and
handling. Send orders to Coffeyville Historical Society,
PO Box 843, Coffeyville KS 67337.