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Stephen Richard Eng: Tennessee Wild West: Kit Dalton

Stephen Richard Eng: Tennessee Wild West: Kit Dalton

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Published by: stephen richard eng on Sep 02, 2011
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10/22/2012

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KITDALTON:READ"DON'T
---
INANBELIEVEALLOLDBOOK"
YOU"AsIlookbackoverthedaysofotheryears,thechangingscenesmovebeforemydreamingfancyinonemightypanorama•"--KitDalton,undertheBlackFlag(1914)TerroristsassassinatedtheAchdukeofSerbiainSara-jevoonJune28,1914.triggeringWorldWarI.ThatsamemonthinMemphis,Tennessee,old-timerKitDaltonwasoutautographingbooks.Hehadjustpublishedhisallegedautobiography,UndertheBlackFlag("historyandnetanovel"),recountingCivilWarservice.andseventeenyearsasabandit.TheCityDirectorycalledhimasalesman,livingat209N.MainStreetin1913,thenin1914onthesecondfloorof48N.SecondStreet--onefloorabovethehomeofJooephB.McCawley.Thiswasprobably"KitDaltonMcCawley,"anostensiblenephew,whousedtoappearwithhiminafringed"scoutsuit"tohelphimsellhisbooks.Daltongavelectures,andhissmall,erectfigurewasoftenseenaroundMemphisinaConfederateuniformHisbookfeaturedapictureofhimselfandreformedoutlawFrankJamesataJuly4thcelebrationin1910.Thenin1915hewasinterviewedinKansasCity,inthecompanyofsimilarlyrehabilitatedColeYounger.Nextyear,heattendedareunionthereofQuantrill'sraiders.SincetheJamesesandYoungershadriddenwiththosemostfearsomeofAmericanguerillas,KitDaltonwasproudofhisguilt-by-association.
 
KIT
I1IIill:N,
7-17-94,
p:g=
00
(ForFrankandCole'slateryears,seeCh..)Thenin1917,inasceneworthyofanend-of-the-Westmovie(likeTheBalladofCableHogue),KitDaltonwascutdownbyaMemphisstreetcar.Theself-confessedbushwhackerhobbledoncrutchestillhesuccumbedtoaheartattackatageseventy-eightin1920."SoleSuvivorofJesseJamesandQuantrell[sic]Raiders,"rantheNewYorkTimesheadline.Hiswidow,AmandaEllisonDalton,livedwiththeusualtrunkfuloflettersandoldphotographs,baskinginoccasionalpressinterviewsatherhousekeepingroomonPoplarAvenue.ShedieddestituteinthecountyhospitalonJuly1,1935.TheDaughtersoftheConfederacypubliclymustereddonationstopayherfuneralcosts,buryinghernexttoherhusbandatElmwoodCemetary.LittledidtheysuspectKitDaltonmayhavebeenadeserterfromregularforcesAmanda'smemorabiliahasnotsurfacedsince--butherhusband'sposthumousreputationprobablybenefitsfromthemystery.KitDalton'sUndertheBlackFlagisrepeatedlycitedasareliableCivilWarsource--atombstonewithanimprovedinscriptionwasplacedoverhisgravein1979--andinMemphishistory,heisrememberedrespectfully.ButDaltonganghistorianHaroldPreececalledhim"aweirdcharacterwhowentaroundtellingwhoppersabouthavingbeenaTexasRangerindisugiseafterhavingturnedoutlaw."RamonF.Adams,KingofWesternDebunkers,wrotealmost4,000wordson"Capt."kit,accusinghimof"fantastichallucinations..oneofthemostludicrouslyfalsebitsofwritingIhave
 
KITDAlTON,7-18-94,pagethreeread."AdamsstrugglesthroughKit'scontrivedrecollec-tionsoffemaleoutlawBellestarr,banditSamBass,theJamesBoys,andWildBillHickock--whomDaltonhasdieinTombstone,Arizona,insteadofDeadwood,SouthDakota.Throughouthisbook,heisprobablyplacinghimselfinthemidstofeventsheonlyheardabout,orreadabout.SowhowasKitDalton?HeclaimedhewasborninLoganCounty,Kentucky,onJanuary23,1843,.HisdeathcertifcatehashimborninKentucky,toCaswellandElizabethDalton.In1986,Ted
P.
YeatmandiscoveredaJohnW.Daltoninthe1850census,agedthree,sonofamannamedCaswellDalton.Wrongage,buttherightDalton.DefinitiveDaltonscholarNancy
B.
Samuelsonagrees.InUndertheBlackFlag,DaltonenlistedinComapnyG,7thTennesseeCavalry,underaCaptainuAiden."YeatmanfoundtwoDaltonsinthe7th--C.
F.
andJohn
w.,
thelatterhavingenlistedunderCaptainAden.SincebothdesertedinCallowayCountyin1864,Kitmayhavebeeneitherofthesemen.Nowdesertersdidn'tusuallydrawpensions.AndsinceDaltongrumbledaboutveteranswhodiddrawthem,maybehewasades-erterandhisbookadesperateploytojustifyapension.Asinmostsuchhackhistories,probablyonlytheearlymaterialistrue.HedescribeshisunclebeingslappedinthefacebyaaUnioncaptor,thenbeingblastedtodeathwithadouble-barreledshotgun.Kithunteddownhisuncle'skiller,andgleefullykilledhim("Revengewasmineandnooperabuffetvillaininadimemelodramaeverchuckledwith

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