Killed in the Line of Duty at 71…

1924 – This should make you Oklahoma proud. Law enforcement proud. THIS is what its all about: On this day, William Tilghman is murdered by a corrupt prohibition agent who resented Tilghman’s refusal to ignore local bootlegging operations. Tilghman, one of the famous marshals who brought law and order to the Wild West, was 71 years old.

Known to both friends and enemies as “Uncle Billy,” Tilghman was one of the most honest and effective lawmen of his day. Born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1854, Tilghman moved west when he was only 16 years old. Once there, he flirted with a life of crime after falling in with a crowd of disreputable young men who stole horses from Indians. After several narrow escapes with angry Indians, Tilghman decided that rustling was too dangerous and settled in Dodge City, Kansas, where he briefly served as a deputy marshal before opening a saloon. He was arrested twice for alleged train robbery and rustling, but the charges did not stick.

Despite this shaky start, Tilghman gradually built a reputation as an honest and respectable young man in Dodge City. He became the deputy sheriff of Ford County, Kansas, and later, the marshal of Dodge City. Tilghman was one of the first men into the territory when Oklahoma opened to settlement in 1889, and he became a deputy U.S. marshal for the region in 1891. In the late 19th century, lawlessness still plagued Oklahoma, and Tilghman helped restore order by capturing some of the most notorious bandits of the day.

Over the years, Tilghman earned a well-deserved reputation for treating even the worst criminals fairly and protecting the rights of the unjustly accused. Any man in Tilghman’s custody knew he was safe from angry vigilante mobs, because Tilghman had little tolerance for those who took the law into their own hands. In 1898, a wild mob lynched two young Indians who were falsely accused of raping and murdering a white woman. Tilghman arrested and secured prison terms for eight of the mob leaders and captured the real rapist-murderer.

In 1924, after serving a term as an Oklahoma state legislator, making a movie about his frontier days, and serving as the police chief of Oklahoma City, Tilghman might well have been expected to quietly retire. However, the old lawman was unable to hang up his gun, and he accepted a job as city marshal in Cromwell, Oklahoma. Tilghman was shot and killed while trying to arrest a drunken Prohibition agent.

Conviction

Today in History, June 2, 1997:

The individual responsible for the murder of 168 men, women and children at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 is convicted in Denver, Colorado.

He would be put to death 4 years later. We all know his name, but I won’t mention it here.

I for one believe in the ancient practice of obliterating the names of criminals and evil doers from all public records, and never mentioning their names again, denying them the notoriety they craved so much.

Instead, remember the names from the link below.

https://oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/people/

Innovation in Taxation 


Today in History, July 16: 1935 – The world’s first parking meter, Park-o-meter No. 1, is installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Newspaperman Carl McGee came up with the idea after local businessmen became concerned that an ever increasing number of automobiles were taking up parking spaces. The idea was that parkers (customers) would be encouraged to move along so that more parkers (customers) could fill their spots. The incidental new tax on citizens was a happy by product. The idea was popular amongst city governments and by 1940 there were 140,000 meters in operation in the country.

Early Warnings, the Beginning

Today in History, March 25: 1948 – Major Ernest J. Fawbush. Capt. Robert C. Miller. On March 20th, a devastating tornado struck Oklahoma City, and Tinker Air Force Base in particular, causing the most destruction in Oklahoma history to that point; the impact still stands as the second most damaging storm in OK history. Two meteorologists on the base, Fawbush and Miller, sought to provide warning regarding storms and began studying the dynamics of the storm that created the devastating tornado. Within 5 days they got their wish, and were the first to provide early warning against tornadoes. On the morning of March 25th they observed that conditions were amazingly similar to those of March 20th, and they issued warnings not only for the base, but for the surrounding populace. Another tornado struck that night, and while the damage was still severe, expensive resources on the base were secured and civilians sought shelter. How many lives have been saved in the years since?