Old West Catacombs

The Death of Ned Christie – Best of the Old West Shootouts

More firepower was used to kill the subject of today’s story that any other single man in any of the Old West shootouts. When you’re finished I think you’ll agree.

Ned Christie was a well-respected member of the Cherokee National Council. But he enjoyed his drink. And in May of 1887, after one such drinking spree, he was accused of killing Marshal Dan Maples. Ned protested his innocence. But, realizing he was getting nowhere, lit out on the run.

The Death of Ned Christie - Best of the Old West ShootoutsFor about 6 years Christie was on the lamb. With the exception of one close call, the law just couldn’t catch him.

During this time virtually every crime that took place in the Indian Territory was blamed on him. Dime novels built his reputation to that of the most vicious man to ever raise a gun in the Indian Territory. He was reputed to have engaged in everything from peddling whiskey, to horse thievery and banditry. In the process, he was reputed to have killed as many as 11 people.

With a reward of $1,000 on his head, it was only a matter of time until someone collected it. And it happened on November 3, 1892. Marshal Heck Thomas trailed Christie to a log fort that he had built. Realizing the place was almost impregnable, Thomas sent for reinforcements. As well as plenty of ammunition, the reinforcements also brought along a three-pound field cannon.

During the assault more than 2,000 small-arm rounds were fired. They also shot 38 cannon balls. But they just bounced off. A heaver charge was used. It only succeeded in blowing up the cannon. Finally a dozen sticks of dynamite were placed next to the house. This did the trick.

With black smoke enveloping the area, Ned Christie came out of the house firing his rifle. The deputies returned fire, riddling Christie’s body. It may have taken as much armament as used in a major battle, but the law got their man.

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