"Bitter Creek" Newcomb

"Bitter Creek" Newcomb sometimes known as the Slaughter Kid, was a member of the outlaw band known as the Doolin/Dalton gang. He is described by author Paul I. Wellman as "a handsome, devil-may-care cowboy with an eye for a pretty girl, the son of a respected family which lived near Fort Scott Kansas". He worked for noted Cattleman C.C. Slaughter and was known for a time as the Slaughter Kid. The name "Bitter Creek" is from an old cowboy song he liked to sing. "I'm a wild wolf from Bitter Creek and its my night to howl", according to author Don Cusic in his book, "Cowboys and the Wild West". Bitter Creek's mistress (some say wife) was known as "the Rose of Cimarron" and may have been Rose Dunn. During the infamous gunfight at Ingalls Rose risked her life to supply George with a gun and bullets and help him escape after he was wounded in the gun battle. Another writer, Richard Patterson in his "Historical Atlas of the Outlaw West" says: He was shot to death along with Charlie Pierce at the Dunn ranch, Norman, Oklahoma on May 2, 1895. (or May 1st?) Several versions of his death exist, but most agree he died on the Dunn ranch.

Some accounts have his father James Newcomb claiming the body and burying Bitter Creek on the family farm near Nine Mile flats, southwest of Norman, Cleveland County, Oklahoma, on the north bank of the Canadian river.

However a George W. Newcomb living in Perry Oklahoma died in the same year and many believe he was Bitter Creek Newcomb.


So who was "Bitter Creek" Newcomb and which family did he belong to?

The genealogy "Andrew Newcomb and his Descendants", by Bethuel Merritt Newcomb published in 1923 does not mention the name Bitter Creek anywhere. However it is interesting to note that a George W Newcomb was included under the ADDENDA chapter MISCELLANEOUS NEWCOMBS WHOSE GENEALOGICAL CONNECTION WITH ANY FAMILY HAS NOT BEEN ASCERTAINED (pg. 807, 808). This family had a George W. NEWCOMB who died in the same area of Oklahoma in the same year as "Bitter Creek" Newcomb. Could there be a connection? This chapter has only two pages of lineage. This information states;

Extract from (pg 807 & 808) of BM Newcomb's book.

Lemuel(1 ?)
George (1 ?) Newcomb, b early in 1800, probably around 1812, d1847. Tennessee (some say Virginia), supposedly at Bristol or Knoxville; m Becky (Rebecca) _____?; they both died of yellow fever when the youngest child was three weeks of age. Their children were adopted by neighbors.
Tradition says that George Newcomb had a brother Lemuel, of Tennessee who died in the revolutionary war. This can hardly be recognized, as calculating that the head of the family was married about 1836, at the age of 21 years, he would be born about 1815. There is a record of a Lemuel Newcomb who married 15 Nov 1810, Rutherford Co., N.C., Elizabeth Fleming, b1785; he served under James Landon or Landreth, in 4th Regt. East Tennessee Militia, War of 1812, from Bloutville Tenn.; he died in Hawkins County, Tenn., 10 July 1844. Bloutville is County seat of Sullivan County. Is it possible that Lemuel Newcomb may have been the father of George(1 ?). Lemuel m1810, may have had a son b1812 to 1815, just about the age of George(1). Louisa (Flowers) Newcomb, widow of George W. Newcomb believes that her husbands father was Lemuel Newcomb, wife Priscilla and brother William.
(i.) John ,b_____1838. x (ii.) Nancy,b_____1840; m______, William McCully, b_____about 1911; res Ashley, Ill. Children: 1 Maggie McCully, b ____, 2 Robert, b_____. (iii.) Susan, b 31 May 1846; m_____1870, Andrew (Sam) Persinger, b17 Dec 1840; Susan Newcomb was brought up by a family named Thornton or Kinsburg, Tenn.; res. Courtland, Kansas. Children: Delia A. Persinger, b 23 July 1883, d 15 Nov 1903. 2 Charles D., b 1 May 1886. 3 Samuel P., 14 June 1892. (iv.) George W., b_____1847. x   George W. Newcomb (George?1) b1847, d Oct 1895, Perry, Oklahoma; m1868, Louisa Flowers, b1847; George W. Newcomb was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Rolla (Roland) Chase, of Kendrick's Creek, Sullivan County, now Fordstown, Tennessee; he ran away when 16 or 18 years of age; Mrs. Chase's maiden name was said to be Bowser, and she was said to be an aunt to George W. ; residence of Mrs. Newcomb, Fromberg, Montana

Another possibility

Extract from (pg. 90 & 91) of BM Newcomb's book.

Bayes Newcomb b1780 at Philadelphia legally adopted his second wife Mary Anell (Browne) Darley's, two children by her first husband, Alfred Darley. The older child was James (Darley) Newcomb born 18 Dec 1845 at Grubbs landing Delaware.

"Rev. James Darley Newcomb was employed at one time in the far west as a rider for Wells Fargo express Company; also as a driver, later, for Barlow and Sanderson's Overland Mail Company; then he bought a ranch on the Arkansa River trail, where his son, Alfred H Newcomb was born. The name of his place was Bluff Ranch, between the Anderson and Cimarron fords of the Arkansas River. He was a soldier during the civil war; served in Co's D and B ---10th Kansas Vol. Inf. and 10th Kansas Vet.Vol. Inf.; "credit of four years and over and honorable discharge, Dec 1864; wounded in left hand at Prairie Grove Arkansas and also wounded in right leg at Nashville Tenn."; under pension certificate 464,601, draws a pension of $19.00 per month a member of the Gospel since 1897, receiving appointment from the United Brethren in Christ.

Children by Mary A. (Campbell) Newcomb

(1) Alfred H.D. Newcomb, b 10 Nov. 1867, at Bluff Ranch, Kansas, d 1 May 1895, at Paine County, Oklahoma, unmarried." The rest of the passage lists the children by James second wife.

It is interesting to note that Alfred died in the same year as George and in the same area if BM Newcomb is correct. A remarkable coincidence?

Many of the Wild West books feature Bitter Creek but his origins are seldom mentioned and what information there is often contradictory. Does anyone have any genealogical information on "Bitter Creek" Newcomb?

Update April 2008
After receiving  emails for the last ten years from several descendants of George W Newcomb and sifting through what records are available to me I have still not been able to piece together which family Bitter Creek came from for certain, or which Newcomb, Alfred or George was the "Bitter Creek".  Some claim George  was known by the family to be Bitter Creek but other descendants (the minority) claim they never heard this. I have decided to post what little information I have gleaned from hard records and passed down accounts that have come my way. If you have anything to contribute please contact me.

Be aware that much of the information extracted from email correspondence is subject to transcription errors and has been handed down from two or more generations.

        Descendants of George W. Newcomb  who have contacted me

Johnny Bernard (deceased)
Don Bernard
Raymond (Tony) Newcomb
Goldie Newcomb Gordon
Julie Bernard
Larry Newcomb
George P. Newcomb

Land records
The table below shows members of the Doolin-Dalton Gang and what land they had applied for in Antelope Twp, Logan County, Oklahoma.  It suggests that Alfred G. D. (or H.D.) Newcomb was "Bitter Creek" as he was living amongst or at least applied for land adjacent to the gang.  I have not seen the original document and would like to know if there is a signature for Alfred G.D. Newcomb on it and if the initials are correct. Can anyone look this up and send me a copy?

Sections measure one mile square. Thus 1\4 section is 1\4 of a square mile per side.

Family information from descendants of the family of George W. Newcomb and Louisa Flowers
- George W. Newcomb was part Indian and could not grow sideburns though he has a Goatee in family photos
- Emmett Dalton said in his book that Bitter Creek wore a Goatee and would leave camp at night and stay gone till morning
- George's daughter Lena said her father would visit them in the middle of the night
- George's daughter Lena as well as Louisa said her father died at home
- Louisa Flowers was a Cherokee Indian
- They lived in a dug out on their land claim and Louisa obtained the patent just before selling the land in 1910 and moving to Montana.
- George's daughter Delia married Charles Dalton
- George's son Andrew was a marshall in Perkins Ok, in the 1920s and talked about George
- The names captions on the photos of the dead Bitter Creek and Charlie Pierce are switched around
- George's farm is used to pasture cattle today and little or nothing remains of the original homestead
- Louisa Flowers said her husband George died in October 1895 and was buried on the homestead The accounts of Bitter Creeks death from newspapers at the time has him killed May 2,1895
        Seemingly factual info from descendants emails to me
- State Capitol Newspaper (Guthrie) circa 1895: "Outlaw blood. Bitter Creek and Dynamite Kid (sic - Charlie Pierce ) killed in Osage county by deputies"  (T)
- Strode funeral home records from 1887- . no  Newcomb records from that period(T)
- Headstone: "Charlie Pierce Desperado was killed May 5, 1895 by Officers" (T)
- Bitter Creek was said to have been claimed by his dad. A local newspaper clipping possibly the Stillwater or Guthrie paper stated this: 1895 May 5, Father recognizes him. George Newcomb "Alias Slaughter Kid" Taken home for burial. The cut on this page (Picture not shown) is that of George Newcomb alias  Slaughter kid and Charlie Pierce, alias "Dynamite Dick" taken from a photograph after they were embalmed. The father of slaughter kid came up from Nine Mile Flats near Oklahoma City, and will take the body home for burial tonight on the 11 o'clock train. (T)
- A copy of warrant issued in Ft. Smith (Kansas?) exists for George Newcomb and Bill Doolin

                          Police docket Guthrie Ok: 1895, 96 and 98 (Newcombs only)   Does anyone know who this Newcomb was?
                                   1/21/1895  Newcomb, Mrs.  disturb the peace  11.65  594  31  P.J.4
                                    1/25/1895  Newcomb, Mrs.  disturb the peace,, bad language  16.65  634  31  P.J.4
                                    2/15/1895  Newcomb, Minnie  become inmate of bawdy house  10.15  30  31  P.J.5
                                    3/15/1895  Newcomb, Minnie  reside in bawdy house  10.50  108  31  P.J.5
                                    4/1/1895   Newcomb, Minnie  disturb the peace  7l65  148  31  P.J.5

                                     2/19/1896  Newcomb, Minnie  keep and maintain house of prostitution  10.15  18  32  P.J.6
                                     2/26/1896  Newcomb, Minnie  disturb peace, profane language  9.65  33  32  P.J.6
                                     3/23/1896  Newcomb, Minnie  keep and maintain house of prostitution  10.15  52  32  P.J.6
                                     8/28/1896  Newcomb, Minnie  disturb peace  9.65  248  32  P.J.6

    3/5//1898  Newcomb, Myrtle May  cohabiting w/o being husband and wife  10.00  322
Most of the entries for others are for disturbing the peace or residing in a bawdy house. One is for failing to close a saloon at 12:00. K.N.

- Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory 1890 Oklahoma Territory Directory  http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ok/county/logan/dir/1890guthrie.htm#N
        Newcomb, C W, clerk A J Spengle, r cor Noble and 7th  Does anyone know who this C.W. or C.M. Newcomb was? I note that the telephone directory of 1894 for Guthrie lists: "SPENGEL, A J, Furniture & Undertaking". This explains why the body of Bitter Creek was taken to the furniture store.

- 1892 Business and Resident Directory Guthrie, Logan County, Oklahoma http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ok/county/logan/dir/1892ok.htm#N
    NEWCOMB C M, clk Spengel's (I note that Bitter Creek's body was taken to Spengels after he was killed according to newspaper accounts K.N.)
    NEWCOMB J J, (Newcomb & Hynd), bds O K Rest
    NEWCOMB & HYNDS, Band Boy Cigar Manufactory 109 s 2nd

 family of George W. Newcomb and Louisa Flowers (Does anyone know who this Charles Dalton who married Delia Newcomb was? K,N.)
 census info
Ambrose  b abt 1874  West Virginia, living Fromberg Montana in 1910 census
James       b abt 1885  West Virginia, living White Rock, Republic,  Kansa in 1910 census
Flossie     b abt 1882   West Virginia, living Washington State 1910 census
Lemuel Preston b 1869   West Virginia, living San Joquin, Cal., 1900 census

1880 census  Union, Wayne, West Virginia

Index to the 1890 Oklahoma Territorial Census
Newcomb records from the Oklahoma Territorial Census -  which contain records from the unassigned lands in central and select records from the Panhandle region.

NEWCOM  ADAM H.     KS          Logan   107
NEWCOMB  ALBERT   CAN       Cleveland  586
NEWCOMB  CHARLES C.  OH  Logan   207
NEWCOMB  GEORGE W.  NB   Logan   270  (Looking at the actual census image shows this as "Geo W Newcomb"  female, age 6?, born New B. living East Guthrie)
NEWCOMB  HOYT A.  NY          Kingfisher  999
NEWCOMB  WILLIAM H.  NY     Kingfisher  999

"Bitter Creek" Newcomb newspaper death notice

Pleasant Valley Once Home of Early Badmen

Dalton-Doolin Gang This page also links to a Gun fight at Ingalls page which features "BitterCreek" Newcomb.

1894 Telephone directory for Guthrie Ok

Dunn ranch killing, Frank Cantons version  partial book review contains a chapter on the killing of Bitter Creek at the Dunn ranch - page 171

Information on the family of James D. (Darley)  Newcomb

Marrige Index from Allen County Kansas: Newcomb  James D  36  Grubbs  Eliza  20  1877-02-10  A238  W G Allison  ALCOKS
1867 -- Cimarron Ranch: "a short distance west of Cimeron Crossing on Nine Mile Ridge," Junction City Union in Kansas Historical Quarterly (1973), page 362.

1880 US Census Place   2nd Ward, Fort Scott, Bourbon, Kansas
James D. NEWCOMB   head of household

   Other Information:
    Birth Year  <1842>
    Birthplace  MD
    Age  38
    Occupation  Grocers Clerk
    Marital Status  M <Married>
    Race W <White>
    Head of Household  James D. NEWCOMB
    Relation Self
    Father's Birthplace DE
    Mother's Birthplace PA

To sum up:

We have George W. Newcomb who some family descendants but not all claim was Bitter Creek based on family stories, his daughter married a Dalton though this Dalton was not one of the gang or a close relation, he died in 1895 according to his wife but several months after Bitter Creek was supposed to die. He would have been in his late 40s in 1895, rather old to be an outlaw, most were killed within a few years of turning outlaw. There is no sign that his family had any money which he likely would have given to them from his robberies. He lived most of his life in West Virginia and was a farmer before coming to Oklahoma.

Alfred H.D or G.D. Newcomb was in his late twenties in 1895, no wife and land records have him obtaining land on the same section as several Doolin-Dalton gang outlaws. Some accounts have his father James(?) taking the body back to the family farm near nine mile flats for burial.

I have no firm opinion either way as to which person was Bitter Creek. Does anyone have any factual information on "Bitter Creek" Newcomb to contribute?

1 - Does anyone have a record of Charles Dalton  married to Delia Newcomb daughter of George W. Newcomb? update: (I did find them in Texas 1900, Delia and a CP Dalton, who was he?)
2 - Does anyone have a newspaper account of who claimed Bitter Creeks body in the first week of May of 1895? One account has an J L Newcomb, father claiming the body.
3 - George W. Newcomb is reputed to have died in 1894 or 1895 there is supposed to be an obit or death notice but I have not seen one.

Return to Newcomb or Newcombe Genealogy Page

Send Comments or information to: kennewcombe@cogeco.ca

Revised August 16, 2008