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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Tales of the US Marshals: Sam Beck - Special Deputy Marshal - April 15, 1872

Sam Beck was one of 11 people killed, and as many as 19 wounded on April 15, 1872, at a schoolhouse east of Tahlequah, near the modern town of Christie in Adair County in the Going Snake District of the Cherokee Nation.

Zeke Proctor was being tried by the Cherokee Nation at the schoolhouse for accidentally killing a widow named Polly Beck Hildebrand.

The relatives of Polly convinced the federal court at Fort Smith to intervene in the case. The U S Commissioner issued an arrest warrant for Proctor on a charge of murder to Deputy U S Marshals Jacob G Owens and Joseph S Peavey.

The Deputies led a posse including friends and relatives of Polly to the schoolhouse. As the federal posse entered the schoolhouse a massive gun battle erupted.

Deputy Owens and possemen Black Sut Beck, Sam Beck, William Beck, William Hicks, George Selridge, James Ward and Riley Woods were killed.

Several Indians were arrested and charged with murder. The U.S. Government dropped all the charges due to a lack of evidence and witnesses refusing to testify.

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