Part 12 — A sensational holdup, continued
(Editor’s Note: The following is the twelfth and final installment from the Pawhuska Journal-Capital’s popular 1996 history book, “Cowboys, Outlaws and Peace Officers.” Portions of the book have been serialized each week for the last several weeks in the pages of the J-C. The original volume was compiled by former J-C General Manager Larry Lucas and writer Libby Meyer. Sharon Yates assembled the photo collection and JoAnn Gibson is credited with production duties on the original book.)
By Joe D. Haines Jr.
As Bennett, Haines, and Majors neared Wooster’s Mound, they spotted the campsite. They dismounted about 100 yards away.
The outlaws were in a strongly fortified camp on a wooded knoll, surrounded by deep ravines. One of their horses was tied to a tree on the knoll and the other two horses were in a nearby canyon.
With Bennett in the center, Haines on the right and Majors off to the left, the lawmen closed in. Suddenly, the outlaws saw the lawmen and fired.
Will Martin ran for his horse and rifle and was shot in the right leg. A second shot killed Will instantly. As Sam Martin returned fire, a bullet hit him in the right shoulder. Another shot shattered his left wrist. Sam ran about twenty yards and fell.
Haines rushed forward and Sam triggered one last shot, which hit the marshal in the right shoulder. Bennett and Majors charged Sam and disarmed him while threatening to blow his head off. He surrendered. Clarence Simmons, third gang member, ran for the timber and escaped. Haines was bleeding profusely. Bennett cut the lead out of Haines’ back with a pocket knife to “ease the pain.”
This gun battle took less than a minute. Twenty-seven shots were fired, six from the outlaws, one of which hit Marshal Haines.
Sam Martin was given medical attention but died. Before his death, Sam regretted he’d done wrong, saying “I guess I have been on the wrong trail.”
He confessed to the Bartlesville holdup but gave no information regarding other crimes charged to the Martin Gang.
Marshal Haines remained in critical condition for some time. The Bartlesville Weekly Examiner said “he is known as one of the bravest and most successful officers in Oklahoma.”
After several months, Haines recovered and received a commendation from the U.S. Attorney. He continued working as a peace officer until his death in 1927.
So ended the career of the infamous Martin brothers. An intensive manhunt was conducted for Clarence Simmons, but no clues could be found as to his whereabouts.
Seventeen years later, Simmons was apprehended in Booneville, Missouri. Simmons had fled to Jacksonville, Florida, where he lived under an assumed name. Simmons was charged in Kingfisher County for the murder of Gus Cravatt on March 30, 1903; however, he was acquitted.
But the shoot-out at Wooster Mound signaled the end of an era of crime in the Osage. No longer could outlaws feel safe in the vast wilderness of the Osage Nation. And never again would the people of the Osage Nation be the victims of such a spectacular robbery.