Writing a series about outlaws has opened my eyes a bit concerning the oddities I sometimes find hidden way back in history. It’s been fun and very interesting.
Sometimes teens in the old West, just as today, had some wild oats to sow. Yet, you never think about girls doing it back in the 1880s. Yet, this one became famous for it.
Rose Ella Dunn was born Sept. 5, 1878 in Indian Territory at Ingalls, Oklahoma. She was the only girl among five brothers. That was probably the problem right there. They taught her to ride, rope, and shoot. The boys had formed their own outlaw gang by the time she was just twelve years old. I’m not sure what their parents must’ve thought of that.
A few years passed and when she was fourteen or fifteen, her brothers introduced her to outlaw George “Bittercreek” Newcomb.
The striking beauty with a kind demeanor became very infatuated and Bittercreek called her his Rose of Cimarron. Bittercreek was a member of the Doolin/Dalton gang and they were extremely protective of her.
Rose would go into town for supplies and whatever the gang needed, plus bring back news. It was a good system.
For some reason, maybe they got religion or something, her brothers disbanded their gang and started bounty hunting. Knowing most of the gangs and how they operated, they had quite a bit of success. I’m sure the brothers switching horses mid-stream must’ve made everyone on the lawless side just a tad bit nervous.
On September 1, 1893, the gang was in the saloon in Ingalls, Oklahoma when they found themselves surrounded by a posse of U.S. marshals. A hail of bullets rained down on them. The outlaws exchanged fire and made a run for it.
Bittercreek was struck down in the street but managed to pull himself to cover. Rose watched it all from a nearby hotel, filled with horror. She ran to him with two belts of ammunition and a Winchester rifle and hunkered down next to him.
Rose fired the Winchester at the marshals while Bittercreek loaded his revolvers. Finally, he was able to escape.
Three deputy marshals lay dead. On the gang side, several were badly shot up. Rose hid out with them, nursing them back to health.
By 1895 Bittercreek had a $5,000 bounty on his head and was wanted DEAD OR ALIVE. That caught the attention of her brothers. Loyalty didn’t amount to much when that much money was involved.
The next time they came to visit at the house, the brothers were waiting. They shot Bittercreek and the outlaw with him as they dismounted, killing them both.
Rose was never prosecuted for her involvement with the gang and her life of crime ended. She married a local politician until her death at the age of 76. I could find no record of any children.
So, was she just a rebellious teenager innocently caught up in something over her head? Or was she truly an outlaw and in it all the way? Have you ever been caught up in something you really wanted no part of and then couldn’t figure a way out?
I’m giving away two $10 Amazon gift cards in a drawing on Sunday.