Sunday, July 13, 2008

Zip Wyatt, an Oklahoma Outlaw

As far as Oklahoma outlaws go Zip Wyatt was considered to be one of the most notorious. Zip Wyatt who was given the name of Nathaniel Ellsworth Wyatt at birth was also known as Dick Yeager and Wild Charlie. He practiced his trade in Oklahoma and Kansas and was said to have killed eleven people, including a deputy sheriff, during his career. He died in a jail cell at the ripe old age of 31 from several gunshot wounds he received while trading bullets with a posse. Zip apparently came by his mean streak legitimately as his father was known as “Six-Shooter Bill” and he had a brother known as “Six-Shooter Jack”. With names like that the family reunions must have been hard on the surroundings!

Before dying Zip and another outlaw named Ike Black robbed their way across the state, apparently favoring post offices and stores as their targets of choice. At one time both of these outlaws rode with the Doolin-Dalton Gang and were part of a robbery at Dover, Oklahoma that was attributed to the Doolin-Dalton Gang.

Zip Wyatt and Ike Black were known to hide out in the Gypsum Hills and the Glass Mountains, both of which are in the northwest part of Oklahoma. Zip Wyatt had talked about leaving behind some hidden money in the Glass Mountains before he died. In 1903 a cave that was thought to be an old outlaw hideout was located and some moldy greenbacks were found under a rock inside the cave. This cave was located at the head of Barney Creek and the man who found the greenbacks refused to tell anyone else where the cave was. This could be a good spot to run a metal detector if you could re-locate the cave.

On June 3rd 1895 Wyatt and Black robbed a post office in Fairview, Oklahoma and headed for a cave near the county line where they hid out. The following day U.S. Marshals and the Wood County Sheriff surprised them at the cave, apparently the secret hideout wasn’t very secret. A gunfight ensued and the robbers were able to escape, but not before both sustained gunshot wounds. Wyatt was hit in the left shoulder and Black was shot in the foot.

Finding this cave could also be very lucrative because the outlaws didn’t have time to take anything they may have hidden with them.

At the time of his demise, Zip Wyatt had a bounty on his head of $5,000. He died on September 7th, 1895 and was buried in a pine coffin in an unmarked grave. Several years later most of the bodies in the cemetery were moved however Zip Wyatt’s body remained in the cemetery because they couldn’t find it. Today, Zip is resting in peace in, I guess I should say under, a residential neighborhood in Enid, Oklahoma.

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