to enlarge |Artist: Harold
Sponsor: Sen. Brad Henry
Dedication: February 6, 2002
Size: 24" x 30"
Type: Oil on Canvas
Bill Tilghman was born at Fort
Dodge, Iowa on July 4, 1856. His career spans the Wild
West era, but goes well into the twentieth century. He
was a frontier scout, buffalo hunter, peace officer, movie
maker, and state senator. He spent a total of 51 years
in law enforcement and was the last of the old time sheriffs.
In 1875, he became deputy sheriff in Dodge City, Kansas.
Lawman and gunfighter Bat Masterson called Bill Tilghman "the
greatest of us all."
Bill was not a flamboyant man and was not noted for his fast
draw or marksmanship; however, he was celebrated for his
Tilghman came to Oklahoma during
the land run of April 1889 and established his first home
at Guthrie. In 1891, he was appointed a deputy United States
Marshal and served continuously for 19 years, being re-appointed
by every United States Marshal in Oklahoma until 1910.
In 1893, he was known as one of the "Three Guardsmen"
who brought law to the town of Perry, and tracked down members
of the Doolin gang, including the arrest of outlaw Bill Doolin
at a bath house in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
In 1900, Tilghman was elected
sheriff of Lincoln County, Oklahoma, where he mastered the
art of politicking through the use of the expanding newsprint
media. He was later elected as a member of the Oklahoma State
Senate. In 1911, he resigned from the Senate to become chief
of police in Oklahoma City. In 1915, Mr. Tilghman was instrumental
in bringing out a moving picture series entitled "The
Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws," scenes of which were
re-enacted under his direction by many of those who were
actually engaged in the original work of hunting down the
outlaws. Tilghman was persuaded to come out of retirement
in 1924 to clean up the town of Cromwell, Oklahoma. Early
on this job, a drunk prohibition officer, Wiley Lynn, shot
and killed Tilghman as he led Lynn to jail.
Images are copyright
of The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund,
Inc. and the artist. Please contact Sandra Shelton at 521-5663
or firstname.lastname@example.org for
further copyright information.