With the release of our July anthology called GIVE ME A TEXAS OUTLAW my thoughts have been firmly anchored on history’s bad boys. And Kansas had its share of them. Last month on a publicity tour to kick off the release Phyliss Miranda and I traveled up to Liberal, Kansas. From there, a dear man by the name of Tom St. Aubyn showed us the sights. We can never thank you enough, Tom!
One place that tickled our fancy was the small town of Meade. It’s home to the Dalton Gang Hideout.
Seems Grat, Bob, and Emmett Dalton’s sister, Eva married J.N. Whipple and settled down on Pearlette Street. The house perched on sort of a bluff and had a barn down below.
The Dalton Boys, being quick to spy an opportunity, constructed a 95 foot tunnel from the barn up to the basement of Eva’s residence. They placed wooden beams across an old rain wash and piled dirt over the top of it. It suited their needs to a tee. They could come and go undetected while also protecting their sister’s identity. No one in Meade knew the Daltons were related to Eva Whipple and they wanted to keep it that way.
Like so many other outlaws at the time, the Daltons, who were related to the Younger brothers, started out in law enforcement before they began robbing banks and trains. They must’ve loved the outlaw life because they kept at it until 1892 when the gang faced a hail of bullets while robbing a bank in Coffeyville, Kansas. Grat and Bob along with two other gang members were killed. Emmett Dalton received 23 bullet wounds but survived. He was given a life sentence in a Kansas penitentiary. He served 14 years before being pardoned.
In the meanwhile, the bank in Meade foreclosed on Eva and J.N.’s house and they were forced to vacate. Several new owners occupied the Whipple house and eventually the escape tunnel was found.
In the early 1940’s the WPA reinforced the tunnel with stone quarried from the Clark Ranch east of Meade and the hideout was turned into a tourist attraction.
Today the hideout is owned and operated by the Meade County Historical Society. A wonderful man by the name of Marc Ferguson is the curator in addition to being one of their historical reenactors.
Eva’s home is now a museum and is furnished much as it was in her day.
If you’re ever in Meade, stop by and say hello. Walk the tunnel and browse in the really nice gift shop. And if you’re lucky and get a chance to catch Marc playing the role of Doc Holliday you’re in for a real treat.
You can find out more about the hideout HERE .
Phyliss and I enjoyed our trip and can’t wait to go back. We’ll not soon forget all the warm friendly people we met.
Have you ever visited a historical site that stayed with you long after you left?
If you haven’t already gotten your copy of our new anthology, it’s available online and in bookstores everywhere.