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Old West Catacombs

Cherokee Bill – “I Came Here To Die”

In the Old West it seemed necessary to have the appropriate name before a person could make a reputation.  That sure was true with a man named Crawford Goldsby, and is why he became Cherokee BillCherokee Bill.

If someone came into a bank in the Old West and announced, “I’m Crawford Goldsby, and this is a hold-up,” the teller would probably have laughed.  That’s why you’ve never heard of outlaw Crawford Goldsby.

Crawford was born in 1876.  His mother was a combination of black, Cherokee and white.  His father was white, Mexican and Sioux.  At the age of 16 Crawford had a dispute with a man who proceeded to whip him.  He got a gun and shot him.  Although it wasn’t fatal, Crawford hightailed it to the Indian Territory.

Next, Crawford came up with a name with a little more pizzazz.  He became Cherokee Bill.  Now he could build a reputation.  And he wasted no time doing it.

On June 26, 1894 Cherokee Bill killed his first man…a posse member that was chasing him.  His sister’s husband had beaten her.  Shortly afterward, the brother-in-law was dead.  Next a railroad agent was killed in a holdup.  A railroad conductor was killed when he tried to throw Cherokee off a train.  And then a bystander was shot during another holdup.

Cherokee Bill was finally arrested, brought before Hanging Judge Parker, convicted, and sentenced to hang.

Cherokee Bill walked up the 12 steps to the hangman’s noose.  When he got to the top he looked at the crowd, smiled and said, “Look at the people.  Something must be going to happen.”  When asked if he had anything to say, he replied, “I came here to die, not to make a speech.”

He died at the age of 20, after killing almost 13 people in just two years…An obvious result of changing his name from Crawford Goldsby to Cherokee Bill.

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