The Rufus Buck Gang was a multiracial group of African American and Native American outlaws, notorious for a series of murders, robberies, and assaults. They were a brutal bunch, and they considered anyone fair game…men, women, and children. Headed up by Rufus Buck, the gang also consisted of Lucky Davis, Maoma July, Lewis Davis, and Sam Sampson. The men had no scruples and no respect for life. Their criminal activities took place in the Indian Territory of the Arkansas-Oklahoma area from July 30, 1895, through August 4, 1896.
Before they started their crime spree, the gang began while staying in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, by building up a small stockpile of weapons. Then, on July 30, 1895, they killed Deputy US Marshal John Garrett. With the lawman out of the way, they began holding up various stores and ranches in the Fort Smith area over the next two weeks. Then, the brutality began. During one robbery, a salesman named Callahan, after being robbed, was offered a chance to escape…if he could outrun the gang. Callahan was an elderly man, and they thought an easy mark, but he successfully escaped, which angered the men, so the gang killed his assistant in frustration. At least two female victims who were raped by the gang died of their injuries.
In all, the gang, Killed Deputy US Marshal John Garrett. Then on July 31, 1895, they came across a white man and his daughter in a wagon, the gang held the man at gunpoint and took the girl. They killed a black boy and beat Ben Callahan until they mistakenly believed he was dead, then took Callahan’s boots, money, and saddle. They robbed the country stores of West and J Norrberg at Orket, Oklahoma. They murdered two white women and a 14-year-old girl. Then, on August 4th, they raped a Mrs Hassen near Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Hassen and two of three other female victims of the gang…a Miss Ayres and an Indian girl near Sapulpa, all died; and a fourth victim, Mrs Wilson recovered from her injuries. Continuing attacks on both local settlers and Creek indiscriminately, the gang was finally captured outside Muskogee by a combined force of lawmen and Indian police of the Creek Light Horse, led by Marshal S Morton Rutherford, on August 10. While the Creek Light Horse forces wanted to hold the gang for trial, the men were brought before “Hanging” Judge Isaac Parker. The judge twice sentenced them to death, the first sentence not being carried out pending an ultimately unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court. They were hanged on July 1, 1896 at 1pm at Fort Smith.
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