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Bert Casey

 

(? - November 3, 1902)

 

Bert Casey's beginnings are hazy, but he was related to the Casey family who lived in Southwest Oklahoma. This clan robbed and killed a number of citizens in this newly formed territory. Bert was probably raised by his grandparents and the influence of his uncles would mold an Oklahoma outlaw.

 

As part owner of a bar southeast of Oklahoma City, Casey and the other owner noticed a patron flashing a wad of money. When this person decided to return home, Casey and his companion left the saloon. When a rider came along the trail, shots rang out from the woods and the victim fell from his horse. The two outlaws discovered they had shot the wrong man and had actually killed a friend.

 

Casey was now on the run and headed west to the Hughes Ranch along the Washita River in southwest Oklahoma. This ranch was a favorite hideout for many criminals on the run. In return for this sanctuary, the outlaws would perform various jobs at the ranch.

 

With the opening of more Oklahoma lands, settlers gathered in Lawton. A number of these claimers were lifted of their posessions by the newly formed Casey Gang. In one instance when the vicitim party hesitated throwing their hands into the air, a young boy was killed. Chris Madsen tracked and captured one of the gang members - George Moran.

 

While riding toward a town for a planned bank robbery, the Casey Gang hijacked a family traveling along the road. These victims reported the incident to the local lawman. The three man posse found the trail of the outlaws and happened upon a cabin. Hoping to surprise the gang due to the early morning hours, two of the officers approached the building. A number of shots thundered from the structure and the two officers fell dead. The third lawman jumped on his horse to alert the town. A gathering of lawmen in El Reno, OK two weeks later resulted in this group contributing added money to the capture of Bert Casey. The reward was increased by seven thousand dollars.

 

The hurrahing of a town prompted another posse in pursuit of the Casey Gang. This group of six officers discovered the Gang resting in a group of buildings. Three members of the Gang were captured, one killed and one escaped. The one who escaped was Bert Casey.

 

More small time robberies (stores and post offices), more dead lawmen and other citizens, pressure to get Bert Casey increased. In the Guthrie jail was a one time member of the Casey Gang - Fred Hudson. A deal was struck whereby Hudson would infiltrate the Gang and bring in Bert Casey - dead or alive. Hudson and another prisoner (Lockett), now deputy marshals, began their mission in August of 1902.

 

The Marshal became worried. It was November and he had not heard a word from his newly deputised men. On November 3, 1902 a telegram was received - Bert Casey was dead. The final moments were related by Fred Hudson in the Weekly Oklahoman:

 

"Then Hudson proposed this plan--"In the morning, after we have had a good night's rest, we will prepare breakfast and wash the dishes. Then you sit down across the camp fire from Sims and I will sit down across from Casey. We will take our guns from our belts, warm them over the fire to see that they are in good working order, do it leisurely so that they will not suspect, and when I nod my head, you throw down on Sims and tell him to put up his hands, for at the same time I will throw down on Casey. We will take them alive if possible, and if not we will have a fair, square out of it.

 

"The plan worked. The breakfast was prepared and the dishes washed, after both Lockett and Hudson had secured the good night's sleep both needed after weary marches. Both men took their positions at the fire, as prearranged and both warmed their guns over the fire, cocking and recocking the weapons to see that they were in good working order. Suddenly Hudson nodded his head toward Lockett and at the same moment threw down on Casey and told him to throw up his hands. Casey immediately went for his gun, but Hudson again warned him that to pull the gun would mean instant death.

 

"Casey had often declared that he would never be taken alive, so he pulled the gun. Both men shot at the same time, but fortunately for Hudson, the bullet from Casey's gun went wild, while his own took effect in the outlaw's body. Casey shot again as he fell backward and Hudson shot twice more, every bullet taking effect.

 

"In the meantime Lockett was having it out with Sims, who proved to be as brave as Casey. Both of the outlaws had pulled their guns at the same time, but Lockett who had Sims covered, did not shoot until he saw what Casey would do. This gave Sims an opportunity to kill Lockett, which he was not slow about attempting. He pulled the trigger of the weapon back, but it refused to fall again, and that saved Lockett's life. and probably Hudson's also. "Seeing that Sims would kill him, Lockett fired at the same time as Sims attempted to do, and killed the outlaw. The whole circumstance did not cover a minute's time, but it was sufficient to rid the country of two of the worst outlaws in the records of the territory.

 

Bert Casey is buried in the Summitt View Cemetery in Guthrie, OK. The death date (November 8, 1902) on his headstone is wrong. This is the date he was buried.

 

 

Gravesite Map

 

Information compiled by Steve Grimm

Books About Bert Casey

 

Oklahoma Renegades - Their Deeds and Misdeeds by Ken Butler

 

This book documents a number of fresh stories about little known incidents in southwest Oklahoma during the turn of the century. Though the book jumps from person to person, the writing flows well and provides a great view for the last days of the Old West in southwest Oklahoma.

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© Wild West History Association - a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation

http://www.WildWestHistory.org