When Crawford Goldsby was born on February 8, 1876, in San Angelo, Texas, his father, George, was 32 and his mother, Ellen, was 16. He had five brothers and two sisters. He died on March 17, 1896, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, at the age of 20, and was buried in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.
Goldsby’s life as an outlaw began when he was 18. At a dance in Fort Gibson, Jake Lewis and he had a confrontation over a dispute that Lewis had with one of Goldsby’s brothers. A few days later, Goldsby took a six-shooter and shot Lewis. Thinking Lewis was dead, Goldsby went on the run, leaving Fort Gibson and heading for the Creek and Seminole Nations, where he met up with outlaws Jim and Bill Cook, who were mixed-blood Cherokees During the summer of 1894, the United States government purchased rights to a strip of Cherokee land and agreed to pay out $265.70 to each person who had a legal claim. Since Goldsby and the Cook brothers were part Cherokee, they headed out to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, capitol of the Cherokee Nation, to get their money. At this time, Goldsby was wanted for shooting Lewis, while Jim Cook was wanted on larceny charges. The men did not want to be seen by the authorities, so they stopped at a hotel and restaurant run by an acquaintance, Effie Crittenden. They coaxed her go to Tahlequah to get their money. On her way back, she was followed by Sheriff Ellis Rattling Gourd, who hoped to capture Goldsby and the Cooks. On June 17, 1894, Sheriff Rattling Gourd and his posse got into a gunfight with Goldsby and the Cook brothers. One of Gourd’s men, Deputy Sequoyah Houston, was killed, and Jim Cook was injured. The authorities fled, but later on, when Effie Crittenden was asked if Goldsby had been involved, she stated that it was not Goldsby, but it was Cherokee Bill. After her statement, Crawford Goldsby got the nickname "Cherokee Bill" and became known as one of the most dangerous men of the Indian Territory. After this, the Cooks and Goldsby formed the Cook Gang and began to terrorize Oklahoma. The gang quickly began robbing banks, stagecoaches, and stores, and were willing to shoot anyone who got in their way. Between August and October, Goldsby and the Cooks went on a crime spree, robbing and mercilessly killing those who stood in their way. During this time, Goldsby's hair started to fall out due to a disease inherited from his grandfather. The disease left him with so little hair on his head, he decided to shave the remainder off.
Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.