by Betsy Wood

 Dalton Gang

"When The Dalton's Rode" was a book written by Emmett Dalton, the youngest member of the Dalton Gang.  Members of the gang were Henry Coleman Dalton; Gratton "Grat" Dalton; Robert "Bob" Dalton; William "Bill" Dalton and Emmett. 

They were cousins to the "Younger Gang" as their mother was Adeline Lee Younger. Her nephews had formed the Younger Gang in Missouri.  Adeline was born in Missouri and died in 1925 in Kingfisher OK and is buried there. She was married to James Lewis Dalton in Missouri and 14 of their 15 children were born there, Grat was born in Kansas.  Their sons started out as deputy marshals on the Missouri and Kansas border and in Arkansas and Oklahoma known at that time as Indian Territory.  Somewhere along the line they crossed over from.  Adeline and James had 10 boys and 5 girls.  Their son Frank was shot and killed in Ft. Smith Indian Territory (Arkansas) while performing his duty as deputy marshal.  Sometime after this the Dalton Gang was formed.

Bill Dalton was supposed to have a ranch or hide-out in Cholame.  He married Jane Bliven, daughter of Cyrus Bliven, in Merced County and was suppose to also hide out at her father's ranch in Merced. Bill was considered very good looking and the life of the party.  He could play the piano and sing and liked being the center of attention. Bill was shot and killed in Ardmore OK, and his wife had him buried in Merced CA.

Grat and Bob were shot in an attempt to rob a bank in Coffeyville KS, and Emmett was wounded in the same gun fight.  Emmett was sent to the Kansas State Pen, where he served 14 yrs. He was given a full pardon in 1907 and went to Los Angeles where he is listed on the census as a producer of motion pictures.  It was here that he wrote the above mentioned book.  It was not made into a movie until after his death in 1937. The movie starred Broderick Crawford and Randolph Scott.   

In the article below it says that "Cole Dalton" was arrested in Estrella, 12 miles from Paso Robles for the Alila Train robbery but I have not been able to find out if he was found guilty and sent to prison in CA.  I did find him on the 1900 census in Glenn Co. CA and his brother Littleton "Lit" Dalton is on the 1900 census for Tehama Co. Red Bluff CA.  I can't find either of these boys in any more gang activity. Lit never was part of the gang and neither was the oldest boy, Charles Benjamin Dalton or the youngest boy, Simeon. Another brother, Louis, died as a child.  Four of the boys came to California before 1880 as they are on the 1880 census for Colusa Co. CA working for a Mr. Hoag - C.B.Dalton-28; F.P. Dalton-20; A Lit Dalton-22; G. Dalton-19.


Newspaper excerpts from the Salinas Weekly Index

Salinas Weekly Index -March 5, 1891 Salinas, Monterey, California

**The Alila Train Robbers -- An officer passed north on Tuesday’s train with Cole DALTON, arrested on the Estrella, about 12 miles from Paso Robles, as one of the Alila train robbers. His brother, Grat DALTON, was taken up last week, having been arrested as an accessory after the fact, he being in Fresno on the night of the robbery. It is stated that the DALTON’s are cousins of the notorious YOUNGER brother. After the attempted robbery of the train at Alila, it is reported that the robbers were traced to Cholame, where all track of them was lost. They were provided with nippers with which they cut the wire fences when they found  it necessary to go through fields in making their escape. Alila is east of the southern end of Tulare lake, and about 75 miles from Cholame by road through the Paledonia pass. The officers claim to have evidence that will convict.


Salinas Weekly Index - April 2 1891

**The Train Robbers -- Grattan DALTON and William DALTON, an account of whose arrest and transportation to Tulare county was published not long ago, have been indicted by the grand jury of Tulare county on 2 charges of murder and robbery, and it is fair to presume that the jury had sufficient evidence to find true bills against them.   The range of these noted outlaws, who are said to be cousins of the YOUNGER brothers, has been along the borders of this county, and some account of their depredations and the history of their capture cannot fail to be of local interest. 

June 27, 1889, the Pixley robbery occurred about 8pm. The robbers, a large and a small man, stopped the train just as it had moved out from the station, making the train men march through the car with them. They got about $500 and 15 or 20 watches, and killed a United States Marshal who was on the train, and a boy 16 years old. On Feb. 22nd, 2 men, believed to be the same, stopped the train near Goshen,  got about $6000 from the express car, and murdered an unfortunate tramp who was riding the brake bars. On the 6th of last February 2 men, not believed to be the same as perpetrated the former robberies, appeared at Alila and marched the engineer and fireman, as in former instances, up to the express car, but, instead of opening the door, the messenger opened fire for about 25 minutes.  Unfortunately the fireman was killed, it is generally supposed by a shot from the messenger’s rifle. The robbers were beaten off, rode to the westward, and a hot pursuit followed. They were tracked as far as Cholame, where they vanished utterly.

Sheriff O’NEAL of San Luis Obispo county and Will SMITH, a Wells-Fargo detective, went to work on the case. Starting with the assumption that since the robbers took refuge in the neighborhood of Cholame, and probably started from there, they first scoured all the passes of the mountains to find out who had traveled them eastward during the week or so prior to the robbery. They presently learned of a party of 3 horsemen who closely answered the required description. They secured a minute description of them, found out who they were, tracked them from point to point, up to the very telegraph post to which the horses of 2 of them were tied at the time of the robbery, and finally landed 2 of the number within the clutches of the law.

Goshen is a station on the Southern Pacific, where the branch road to Visalia leaves the main line. Pixley is 27 miles south of Goshen, and Alila 6 miles south of Pixley. These places are all of them not far from Cholame by a road leading through Templar Polonia pass. It is believed that the officers have the right parties, and that hemp in this instance will not be cheated of robbing the State of 2 desperate and dangerous outlaws.


Salinas Weekly Index - April 16, 1891 Salinas, Monterey, California

**The Whole Gang Arrested -- The arrest of the entire band of the Alila train robbers was completed on the 8th inst by the arrest of Robert and Emmet DALTON. This robbery occurred on Feb. 6th, and officers and detectives have been on their trail ever since. On March 2nd the 2 men last arrested purchased horses in San Luis Obispo. Their trail was soon struck, and the pursuit was so lively that they were obliged to take to the mountains. The description of themselves and horses was sent to all parts of the State. On March 8th they sold their horses at Ludlow, a station on the Atlantic & Pacific about 100 miles east of Mojave. One day last week the agent at Indio was somewhat taken by surprise upon beholding Bob and Emmet DALTON, the 2 men wanted, climbing into a refrigerator car of an out-going train. Not being armed the agent did not care about tackling the men single handed, but immediately telegraphed the conductor at the next station. The conductor upon receiving the message said nothing, but when his train stopped at a water tank he very quietly secured the door, and then telegraphed to the Sheriff at Yuma to be on hand with sufficient force of men to capture the outlaws.


Salinas Weekly Index - April 30, 1891 Salinas, Monterey, California

The DALTON brothers will be tried in the Superior Court of Tulare on May 18th on the Alila train robbery charge. Attorney [illegible -- might be AHREN] of Bakersfield, and LARKINS of Visalia, will defend them.


Sept. 18, 1891 CA

Grat escaped from jail and returned to OK to join up with his brothers.


Salinas Weekly Index - October 22 1891

**One of the DALTONS -- Will DALTON, who has been under arrest at Visalia as an accessory  to the Alila train robbery, and who was recently acquitted, passed through Salinas Tuesday on his way to his home in Cholame, east of Paso Robles. He is under indictment  for burglary and is out on bail. He left the train as it stopped here to greet 2 or 3 acquaintances on the platform, and stood talking until the train had got under pretty good motion, and then swung himself on to the rear steps with all the ease of an old  railroader. In appearance DALTON is a well dressed and rather good-looking man,  apparently above the average in intelligence. He is said to be a good political  manipulator and a successful sporting man.