Crawford Goldsby

Crawford Goldsby, alias Cherokee Bill, led the notorious Cook gang as it terrorized the Cherokee Nation and surrounding areas in 1894 and 1895.

Their crimes included train robbery in Red Fork, robberies in Okmulgee and Wetumpka, and the murder of storekeeper Ernest E. Melton in Lenapah on November 9, 1894.

Goldsby was arrested on January 25, 1895, and taken to Fort Smith to be held for trial. Bill Cook was arrested separately and held for trial.

At trial, the men were convicted on multiple robbery charges before Goldsby was tried for Melton’s murder. He was convicted of that murder on February 26, 1892, and sentenced to death on April 13.

While awaiting execution, Goldsby killed jail guard, Lawrence Keating on July 26, 1895. He was convicted of that murder on August 8, 1895, and sentenced to death on August 10.

With appeals in the Keating case still pending, Crawford Goldsby was hanged at Fort Smith on March 17, 1896, for the murder of Ernest Melton.

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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