Old West Deadly Gang Had Help From a Girl

The story begins with the discovery of town that had no churches.  Violet Springs sounds like it should have been a lovely and peaceful community. Instead it was a favored hideout and rest stop of outlaws on the run from the law or on the way to break a law. It was a wild and rowdy community with lots of saloons, probably some bawdy houses, a few farmers and shop keepers but no churches. That says a lot for the time when it was hopping (1880's- 1890's) in the land around modern Seminole, Oklahoma.  Mentioned briefly as a ghost of a ghost town where only a cemetery remains to tease the imagination.

Then a story in local papers about a 20 year old female desperado who had short hair and wore men's attire and help smuggle guns to the Christian Brothers (Bob and William), members of the notorious High Five Gang that frequently hid away in Violet Springs. In 1895 the brothers, with others, were in the Guthrie jail and escaped heading to New Mexico and then Arizona to seriously lead a life of crime as bank and train robbers.

She was one of some six people charged by Sheriff Deford with aiding the get away of the Christian and Carr. Early news writers said she "seems to be imbued with the reckless, foolhardy nerve common to the outlaw."  When leaving the area, others were hesitant about crossing the roiling and swollen South Canadian river but she charged across heedless of the danger.  Instrumental in supplies guns, she sat in the jail 'carefully guarded.' 

Only about 20 years old, she was known to wear male attire and, in fact, was changing back into her own clothes when captured. She wore her hair short to support her frequent disguise but newsmen noted, "if neatly attired would not be at all bad looking. Her wayward manner has been too short to show its effects upon her face to any extent."  Apparently, many had difficulty aligning this young, attractive woman with the claims of being a member of such a gang or associated with such wild men as the Christians.   "Jesse Finley endures her imprisonment with equanimity and is happy as a lark. Last night when an Oklahoma representative called at the jail she was playing the organ and singing like a bird. She is really a presupposing young lady and has a good voice."

Daily Times Journal (OKC), July 19, 1895
Weekly Oklahoma State Capitol (Guthrie), July 27, 1895, pg. 1, 3 and 7.

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