KANSAS COLLECTION ARTICLES
|San Diego Union||Sunday, November 15, 1936|
|You can have Pat Garrett, who killed Billy the Kid and the vigilantes
of the Barbary Coast, but nobody did a better job of cleaning up the gang
of desperadoes than the citizens of Coffeyville.
If you don't believe it, just ask Dr. W. W. McEwen. Ask him about the time he was mayor of Mound Valley, Kansas when he traveled 20 miles to save Emmett Dalton, leader of the famous gang of Mid-Western desperadoes, after the citizens of Coffeyville had shot him up.
I guess it was early in the 1890's. Every day we heard tales of the Dalton gang. Why Dilinger didn't hold a candle to them. They robbed, they killed and they were plenty slick.
One morning in Mound Valley where I was mayor we heard (rest of the paragraph is not legible from copy of newspaper).
You know it was a smart clerk that was responsible for the killin's. He told the gang that they couldn't get into the vault of the Condon Bank until 9 o'clock. The bank was sort of a flat iron building. The gang waited outside.
Somehow word got out that the Dalton gang was inside. People came out by the hundreds. They got on each side of that bank and stared firin'. They plugged windows. Four citizens were killed and four of the gang.
There they were, eight dead, lyin' in a livery stable when I arrived. The sheriff came over to me and said: "Doctor McEwen, there's another one of the gang that's still alive. Come over and see if he's goin die. No doctor in town will treat him."
Well, I went over all right. But the doctor already had treated him. Somebody had plugged his bullet wounds with cotton, keeping the blood inside, and he was dyin'. I said, "Sheriff we gotta get him out of here. Where can we take him?" "Why to Lonnie's cafe," he said.
So we got some men to carry him away. When the crowd heard we was takin' him away, and he was still alvie they began to grow wild. "Lynch him-beat him." they shouted. We finally got him over to the cafe and I dressed his wounds. He's still livin', up in Hollywood, I think. He was accused of second degree murder, sentenced to life imprisonment, but he was paroled after 20 years of good behavior.
This was what my great grandfather told a newspaper reporter about his role in the Dalton story. He was 83 years old when this was written. I have researched this and find no records in Coffeyville in the museum of him treating Emmett Dalton. But my grandfather told us of this story and told us it is true. The story is that he was summonded to come to Coffeyville because at first they didn't think they could get the doctor there to treat Emmett Dalton. My great grandfather did go and he did assist in the treatment. I don't know how big of a role he played in this. It has been proven that he was mayor of Mound Valley and that he was a physician there. He operated a private hospital there. I have visited both Coffeyville and Mound Valley. I have found newspaper clippings in the museum of Mound Valley reporting on the mayor, Dr. William W. McEwen. My grandfather, James Close McEwen was born in Mound Valley and he talked about the place. Charles McEwen, a brother to Dr. William W. McEwen was postmaster at Mound Valley for a short time. Charles is buried there along with his small son and his parents, James Cochran McEwen and Olive Wright McEwen. Fannie McEwen, sister of Dr. William W. McEwen is buried there too. Dr. William W. McEwen spent 21 years in Mound Valley and contributed much to the county. I have deeds on the land that he owned. I also found something in the court house about a gas and oil company he had started. I know nothing else of the gas and oil company. Dr. McEwen moved on to CO and became Mayor of Durango and opened a medical practice too. He was also elected a state representative. He developed heart problems in his later years and move to San Diego, CA with his daughter Ida (also born at Mound Valley). He died in San Diego in 1941. He was born 15 Oct 1853 in Plumville, Indiana Co., PA. He was raised in IL. --Janelle Osborne.