Eaton ("Pistol Pete")
click picture to
enlarge |Artist: Harold
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Morgan
Size: 24" x 30"
Type: Oil on Canvas
Location: Senate Lounge
Frank Eaton was born October
26, 1860 in Hartford, CT. When Frank was eight, the Eaton
family moved to Kansas to homestead. Shortly after their
relocation, Eaton witnessed his father's murder. After
being challenged to avenge the death by a family friend,
Frank learned how to handle guns and could "shoot
a snake's head off with either hand." At 15, before
setting off on his mission to avenge his father's death,
he decided to visit Fort Gibson, a cavalry fort, to learn
more about handling a gun. There he competed with the cavalry's
best marksmen, beating them each time. After many competitions,
the fort's commanding officer, Colonel Copinger, gave Frank
a marksmanship badge and a new name. From that day forward,
Frank would be known as "Pistol Pete."
At 17, Frank became a Deputy
U.S. Marshal under Judge Isaac C. Parker, "the hanging
judge." At 29, he joined the land rush to Oklahoma
Territory. He settled near Perkins, Oklahoma, serving as
sheriff and later as a blacksmith.
Frank Eaton lived the life of
a true cowboy and was said to "pack the fastest guns
in the Indian Territory."
He usually carried a loaded forty-five and often said "I'd
rather have a pocket full of rocks than an empty gun." He
was also known to throw a coin in the air, draw and shoot it
before it hit the ground.
After seeing Eaton ride a horse
in the 1923 Armistice Day parade in Stillwater, a group of
Oklahoma A&M College students decided that Eaton's "Pistol
Pete" would be a suitable mascot for the school. They
felt "Pistol Pete" represented the old west and
the spirit of Oklahoma. However, it was not until 1958 that
"Pistol Pete" was adopted as the school's mascot.
The familiar caricature of "Pistol Pete" was officially
sanctioned in 1984 by the university as a licensed symbol.
Frank Eaton lived in Perkins until his death on April 8, 1958.
Images are copyright
of The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund,
Inc. and the artist. Please contact Sandra Shelton at 521-5663
or email@example.com for
further copyright information.