The Day Coffeyville Bled - The Dalton Johnson Gang
Chapter II - Emmett
Emmett Dalton was born into an economically poor farm family
environment in Cass County, Missouri, on May 3, 1871. His parents were
James Louis Dalton, Jr. and Adeline Lee Younger Dalton.
Emmett had little to brag about being the tenth child in a family that
would soon grow in number to fifteen children, seventeen members total.
Of the children born, a set of twins would die in infancy, but the remaining
children would grow into adulthood.
Being shuffled from the care of one sibling to another during his early
years seemed to be the way of life for him as it was with the other children.
There was always something for the children to do on the farm. Childhood
mischief was just around the corner at every turn. Like the average family
of that time period, the Dalton children, as a whole, were no different from
any of their neighbors.
James Louis Dalton, Jr., known to those closely associated with the
family as Louis Dalton, provided very little for his growing family, with
the exception of another brother or sister for his already thriving brood.
Primarily his attention was directed to that of the horse-racing industry.
If he was not involved in a horse-trading operation, then most likely he
could be found traveling a horse-racing circuit through the country. He
often would leave his family alone as he scratched out a meager living for
himself. By the time he had returned home, most of the money had been
spent. He would remain at the farmhouse long enough for the seasons to
change and to see to it that Adeline was left in a state of pregnancy. This
was the early image Emmett had of his father.
Another of Louis Daltonís habits that reflected upon his children was
his taste for liquor. Emmett considered it a blessing to find his father sober
enough to stand and walk under his own power before climbing onto a
horse and riding to a fair or a carnival in a distant county to wager on the
Louis Daltonís passion for horses has been detailed in a variety of
accounts, and noted records reflect that he was on the horse-racing circuit
in Fresno, California, as early as 1885. At the time Louis Dalton was in
Fresno, the city had a population of only three thousand and a police force
of three. It is also known that Louis Dalton had a horse stable and breeding
farm based in California for a short time.
The Dalton children had long heard the tales of the Jesse James Gang
and the adventures of Cole, Jim, and Bob Younger. Each time they read
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Mark S. Pannill
P. O. Box 372
Waxahachie, Texas 75168
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