Rufus Buck Gang
|Founded||July 28, 1895|
|Founding location||Indian Territory|
|Years active||1895 to 1896|
|Ethnicity||African American/Creek Indian|
|Membership||Rufus Buck, Lewis Davis, Sam Sampson, Maoma July, Lucky Davis|
|Criminal activities||Armed robbery, murder, rape|
The Rufus Buck Gang was an outlaw multi-racial gang of members who were part African American and part Creek Indian. They operated in the Indian Territory of the Arkansas-Oklahoma area from 1895 to 1896.
Formed by Rufus Buck, the gang consisted of Lewis Davis, Sam Sampson, Maoma July, and Lucky Davis. The gang began building up a small stockpile of weapons while staying in Okmulgee, Oklahoma until killing U.S. deputy marshal John Garrett on July 28, 1895 the gang began holding up various stores and ranches in the Fort Smith area during the next two weeks. In one incident a salesman named Callahan – after being robbed – was offered a chance to escape if he could outrun the gang. When the elderly Callahan successfully escaped the gang killed his assistant in frustration. At least two women victims who were raped by the gang died of their injuries.
Continuing attacks on both local settlers and Creek indiscriminately, the gang was captured outside Muskogee by a combined force of lawman and Indian police of the Creek Light Horse, led by Marshal S. Morton Rutherford, on August 10. While the Creek wanted to hold the gang for trial the men were brought before "Hanging" Judge Isaac Parker. He twice sentenced them to death, the first sentence not being carried out due to an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court. They were hanged on July 1, 1896 at 1 pm at Fort Smith.
Following Rufus Buck's death a picture of Buck's mother was found in his cell along with a poem written on the back.
i, dremP'T i, wAs, in, HeAven,
A slightly modified account of the Buck gang's crimes is the basis for the novel, Winding Stair, by Douglas C. Jones.
- *Sifakis, Carl. Encyclopedia of American Crime, New York, Facts on File Inc., 1982
- Annual report of the Department of the Interior, Volume 2 1896 .p.158
- [<http://www.nps.gov/fosm/historyculture/rufus-buck-gang-a-time-to-die.htm>= Rufus Buck Gang: A Time to Die]