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 horses.
         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 ...(click here for more chapter previews)


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