The Day Coffeyville Bled - The Dalton Johnson Gang

Chapter IV - Jennie

         Jennie Mae Johnson was born on November 17, 1889. She was thrust into an outlaw environment, even as that element of society was on its way out of existence. She was to have no control over the first few years of her life and was to suffer under the cruel upbringing that lay in store for her. Throughout it all, she would survive and eventually raise a family. She was to lead as checkered a life as her mother, yet she would fare much better. Before she was able to recognize the faces of her parents, they were to adopt her out to another family. Jennie, as a small child, inevitably proved to be a burden to Julia Gilstrap and was subsequently farmed out to other members of the Johnson family.
         The only family she grew to know for many years was that of Julia Johnson’s. By then, Julia was married to one Robert Gilstrap. Jennie was given that last name, though it was not her own, and she would wear it until she was given a new one in 1902.
         Julia Gilstrap was, now widowed as the result of the December 24, 1889, gunfight near the Jacob “Jake” Bartles store, at the future site of Bartlesville, Indian Territory. Robert Gilstrap had gotten into an argument about money with a man named Frank Lenno. According to Lenno, Gilstrap refused to repay a loan. Lenno shot and killed Gilstrap with one bullet. Jennie’s first encounter with her relatives was when she was but a few months old. She was given to Westley and Martha Johnson, her grandparents. Almost from the time of her birth until the deaths of the elder Johnsons in 1891, Jennie lived with them and was loved and cared for on the Johnson farm. This farm was the same one where Julia had spent her last years as a teenager. It is located approximately four miles west of Dewey, Oklahoma. The house where Julia and her family lived at one time still stands today. Currently, it is being used as a barn for cattle and other farm stock.
         After Julia’s parents had both died, Jennie was again transferred to another group of relatives, this time the Whiteturkey clan. Jennie remained with the Whiteturkeys for about three years. There, as before with her Johnson grandparents, Jennie was taken care of quiet well.
         By 1894, Julia could foresee an opportunity to make a cash settlement in the not-too-distant future. She could see a reason for change, so Jennie was moved once more. She would be living with her aunt and uncle from the Gilstrap side of her lineage. Robert Gilstrap’s brother, Dempsey, had married Artelia French. Together, these Gilstraps were able to provide a ...(click here for more chapter previews)

Mark S. Pannill
P. O. Box 372
Waxahachie, Texas 75168

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