Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Mystery of Zip Wyatt aka Dick Yeager

August of 1895 turning exciting in Oklahoma Territory with news that a posse had flushed out a long wanted and notorious outlaw known as Dick Yeager and Zip Wyatt and several other possible names.  A bad man who came to prominence with the bank robbery at Coffeeville, Kansas. Several sure deaths were pinned to him and dozens of others - one newspaper account charged nearly a hundred- were attached to him as well.

Shot three times with a .45, one of which lodged near his pelvis in his intestines, meant a month of agony for a shattered pelvis, infection and the certainty that death was hovering nearby in the sultry heat of late summer in Enid, Oklahoma.

He had been known to visit Oklahoma City's Hell, among other places, and kept the company of the worst of the bad men of the time. He rode with Dalton, Doolin and formed, for a short time, his own gang.

Researchers in Garfield County, where Enid is located, have identified him as Nathaniel Ellsworth Wyatt, alias Zip Watt, alias Dick Yeager, alias Wild Charlie.  He and his family arrived in 1889.  They cite that people viewed him as bad but not as bad as stories linked to him might imply.   He was a dashing and romantic figure certainly.  News papers did often use such figures to demonize certain behaviors, call for specific laws and otherwise manipulate public opinion.  The mystery may be where his grave is located as the original cemetery was relocated but they left his grave in place. Unmarked and alone. "The grave (out in what is now Kisner Addition) was dug by James McMillen. A spring wagon and driver, with Mr. Bass and Yeager's body made their way to the grave. George Rainey said that a little dog followed the wagon, and that was Yeager's funeral procession. The grave was unmarked, so the burial place is still out there in what is now a very fine residential development ... perhaps near an elementary school playground." (

Read more on him at
"Bandit at Bay" Enid Weekly Wave (Aug.8, 1895)pg. 5. Gives an overview of his capture, with a man named Black, his charged crimes of robbery, murder and theft, 15-20 murders alleged to him, including the murder of Kingfisher Post Master Townsend for which a man named Shoemaker was in jail. Also notes (pg.4) that Marshal Nix and the people of Guthrie were alarmed by stories Wyatt had heard his 'sweet heart' was in federal jail in that city and set out large numbers of armed guards should the bandit show up to rescue her.
'Zip's Capture' Weekly Oklahoma State Capital   (Aug 17, 1895) pg.7.
'Zip Wyatt Sinking Fast" Langston City Herald (August 17, 1895) 7.  Story out of "South Enid" says his father was William Wyatt, 'Six Shooting Bill', who lives near Guthrie. See the Garfield Country genealogy site (above) for more details on his heritage

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