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Heck Thomas, Deputy U. S. Marshal


Heck Thomas Succumbs at Lawton After a Long Illness 

August 16, 1912—Lawton, Okla.—Heck Thomas, for many years one of the most noted United States deputy marshals in the southwest, died Thursday morning here of a complication of Bright’s disease and heart failure, after an illness extending over a period of two years.  He was 62 years of age.

            With Chief of Police William Tilghman of Oklahoma City and Chris Madsen of Guthrie, Thomas, for many years, was known as the Oklahoma guardsmen. The three practically rid the southwest of the Bill Boss, Dalton, Doolin and Casey outlaw gangs.

            Thomas was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1850 and at the age of 12 years was made a courier in the troop of his uncle, Brigadier General Thomas, of the Confederate army.  At 19, he was appointed a member of the Atlanta police force and went to Texas two years later.  There, while a messenger for the Texas Express Company, he saved $22,000 for the company when a train was held up.

            He was appointed a United States deputy marshal in Indian Territory during the first administration of President Cleveland and served for many years.  He was the first chief o police of Lawton, serving for six years and after that he served for three years as deputy marshal again