"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 21 February 2002

“Outlaws in Milam & Williamson County”

Recently, while researching the death of Milam County Deputy Sheriff Lee Pool who was killed by the outlaw, Will Jacobs in 1887, I found an article about another outlaw “Ben Robertson” who was from Rockdale. Outlaws! What fun!

Everyone has an idea about outlaws from western movies to television to Louis L'Amour books. Who were these men? And, who was Ben Robertson? The only clues were that he had left a wife and four children (unnamed) and a brother who was an agent in the Texas Land Office in Austin (unnamed).

Searching the Census records for Milam County or surrounding counties did not show any families with the surname Robertson who met these criteria. By 1884, Ben Robertson was a deputy in Caldwell, Sumner Co., KS and was using the name Ben Wheeler (his 2nd wife’s maiden name). He, the sheriff and two other deputies from Caldwell, decided to rob the bank in Medicine Lodge, Barber Co., KS, a neighboring town on April 30, 1884. During the hold-up, the bank president and clerk were killed. A posse caught the four men and they were hung.

My first effort to locate information on “Ben Robertson” was to place a query on the RootsWeb.com Message Boards for Sumner and Barber counties. Almost immediately, I received a response from Len Gratteri outlaw2@teleport.com of Oregon who had been researching Ben since 1988.

We haven’t identified Ben’s first wife and four children. More research needs to be done! Also, we are interested in locating any Robinson or Lesueur family Bibles. If you know any about Ben or information on these families, please contact me at the below address and e-mail.

Ric Gordon of Taylor fdg@flash.net is related to the Robinson and Lesueur families and would like to hear from anyone interested in the research of this family.

For a more detail history about Ben and his life and to see a photograph of him just before he was hung, visit http://www.geocities.com/milamco/milam-293.htm.

If you are interested in the Old West, Wyatt Earp, Butch Cassidy, Billy the Kid, the Lincoln County War, the Johnson County War, the Gunfight at the OK Corral, the Sundance Kid, Tom Horn, Kid Curry, and a host of other people, places, and events, you should visit the Western Outlaw-Lawman History Assn. website at: http://www.flash.net/~pggreen/WOLA/enter.htm.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 15 Mar 2002 and was last revised on __________

Copyright © 1999, 2001, 2002 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604