When he was killed in a confrontation with the owner of the notorious, "Turf Club" in Oklahoma City on July 4, 1903, an interesting and colorful of the Land Run of 1889 passed into history.
At noon on Monday, April 22, 1889, the Land Run commenced with an estimated 10,000 rushing into the area of the "Oklahoma Station", meager the collection of shacks, railroad station and post office, that would be the foundation for Oklahoma City. Mid-afternoon, however, already saw the gaming tent of one "Kid" Bannister, a well-dressed gentlemen gambler, up and running and a handmade sign outside announced the opening of the first bank in Oklahoma City. Of course it was a Faro Bank and was soon eclipsed by a real bank but for a brief time the honor stood. Bannister had set up his tent directly across from the Santa Fe RR station on the west side of what would become Front Street between California and Sheridan, or Grand as it was known then.
A Kansas tavern keeper named John Burgess was at the corner just to Kid's north. An empty space was between the two establishments until the afternoon arrival of the train and Madame Annie Wynn arrived to claim the spot.
Over the next fourteen years, Kid Bannister would make a nuisance of himself up and down the streets, in the saloons and gaming rooms of "Hell's Half Acre" (approximately where today's Cox Center and part of the Myriad Gardens is now).
Until that July 4, 1903 when he seemed to be looking to start a fight and found a ready opponent in Mr. Cook of the Turf Club. So with a flash and bark of a gun, the life and legend of Joseph "Kid" Bannister came to an abrupt halt. His first name seems to only appear as he looses his life and their seems little details in local papers about the man, his origins, or even where he might have been buried. Who was Kid Bannister and how did he come to make the Land Run and start the first ....Faro bank...in Oklahoma City?