On The Bricks

April 3, 2021

We will soon be celebrating our pioneer heritage here in the Panhandle. Here’s a little Oklahoma pioneer trivia.

Anna Emmaline McDoulet, known as Cattle Annie, was a young American outlaw, associated with Jennie Stevens, or Little Britches. Cattle Annie and Little Britches were crack shots with both pistol and rifle. They were once among the most recognized names among outlaws in the Oklahoma and Indian Territories.

Cattle Annie was born on Nov. 29, 1882, in eastern Kansas. When she was 12, the family moved to the Osage Reservation near Skiatook in northern Oklahoma Territory, where she turned outlaw. Annie and Little Britches followed tales of the Bill Doolin gang from reading dime novels.

For two years, Cattle Annie and Little Britches roamed Indian Territory. They stole horses, sold alcohol to the Osage and Pawnee Indians, and warned outlaw gangs whenever the law was nearby. They wore men’s clothing and packed pistols on their hips. Their adventures netted headlines from Guthrie, capital of the former Oklahoma Territory, to Coffeyville, Kan.

U.S. Marshal Steve Burke captured 13 – year – old Cattle Annie climbing from a window in 1895. Marshal Bill Tilghman had a more difficult task apprehending Little Britches, who engaged in a physical confrontation with the famous lawman before he took her into custody. Annie was sentenced to one year in the Massachusetts Correctional Institution. Because of health issues, she was soon paroled. She remained in Framingham for some time, having informed corrections officers that, if she returned to Oklahoma, she would likely have fallen back into her criminal ways. In 1898, she was working as a housekeeper near Framingham. A few months later, she may have moved to New York City, where she seems to have died of tuberculosis.

Another legitimate report claims that Annie left Framingham to return to Oklahoma where she wed Earl Frost of Perry on March 13, 1901. The couple had two sons, Robert C. Frost (1903-1993) of Oklahoma City and Carlos D. Frost, later of Malibu, Calif. After the divorce from Frost, Annie married Whitmore R. Roach (1879-1947), a Texas native, veteran of World War I, and painting contractor in Oklahoma City, where they lived after 1912. This “Emma McDoulet Roach” is interred at Rose Hill Burial Park in Oklahoma City. She died in 1978, just short of her 96th birthday. Her newspaper obituary makes no mention of her early days or even the first name “Anna” but instead refers to “Emma”, the shortened form of “Emmaline”. The obituary indicates that she had been a bookkeeper in her later working career. Her services were held in her home church, Olivet Baptist in Oklahoma City.

Meanwhile, Little Britches also served a short sentence at the reformatory in Framingham, but her whereabouts thereafter are unknown. Some reports indicate that Little Britches returned to Tulsa, where she was married, had a family, and led an exemplary life.

Johnson’s 1981 film, Cattle Annie and Little Britches, features Burt Lancaster as an historically inaccurate and much older Bill Doolin, Amanda Plummer as Cattle Annie, Rod Steiger as Marshal William Tilghman, Scott Glenn as Bill Dalton, and Buck Taylor, particularly known to audiences as the blacksmith-turned-deputy Newly O’Brien on CBS‘s Gunsmoke, as the outlaw Dynamite Dick, presumably Dan Clifton, called “Dynamite Dan.”

Novelist Robert Ward, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, penned Cattle Annie and Little Britches (1977), his personal interpretation of the romantic legends of the Doolin – Dalton gang.

Oklahoma Trivia: Robert Stemmons, born and raised in Tulsa, Okla., is one of very few internationally known highly skilled whistlers. He started whistling at the age of five and after hearing the famous whistler Fred Lowery at a live concert in 1969, Stemmons decided to perfect his own whistling skills. For almost a decade Stemmons displayed his unique talent in Cirque du Soleil’s traveling production of Corteo.

Keep up with New Years resolutions: Be kind on social media.

Good advice: What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing, is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain. ~Maya Angelou

See you on the bricks soon!