The Day Coffeyville Bled - The Dalton Johnson Gang


Chapter VI - Ralph

         Ralph J. Lamb entered the lives of the Dalton/Johnson Gang early in their criminal career. He was to become involved indirectly at first, but the joint association would last for several years. The most authentic and most detailed account of the life of Ralph Lamb comes from his daughter Agnes Lamb Hazeltine of Jackson Heights, New York. Agnes was the twin sister of Ralph J. Lamb, Jr. and the youngest daughter in the Lamb family. In 1963, Hazeltine was asked by her son to provide him with a true report of his grandfather’s life in the early days of the Indian Territory. He wished to share this information with fellow members of the Lions Club of New York City. The following is a reproduction of the Hazeltine story, reprinted here in its entirety for the first time since its original 1963 presentation:
         “The story I am going to tell you today is true, although it may seem at times to be stranger and less real than much fiction. Because it is not fiction, it may seem rough and uneven, but this is a factual account of life in the Indian Territory (later to become a part of the state of Oklahoma) just shortly before and after the turn of the century. I cannot hope to tell you an entire life story--I will give you the lines and you can fill in the spaces.
         My story has its beginnings in the slums of London in about 1883. Two young people, Ralph and Matilda, meet as social workers. He was born in the northern part of England but was serving as a social worker as part of his training for the ministry. She has her birthplace in the city of London and was planning a career as a social worker. They fell in love and married despite their very low income. Parents could not and did not feel expected to subsidize marriages in those days, so the early years were really rugged. Little did these two young people realize that their early struggles were merely a foretaste of years to come. In due course of time, a son was born and two years later a second child was expected. In the meantime, however, Ralph was afflicted with a lung condition aggravated by the damp climate and was being urged by doctors and fellow-workers to seek health in the new country. It was finally decided that he would go first and try to get established and she would follow after the baby was born.
         Ralph was able to find employment as an assistant to the Pastor of a Toronto, Canada, church, and Matilda with her son and baby daughter joined him within the year. Her trip was a rough arduous one of about 15 ...(click here for more chapter previews)


Mark S. Pannill
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