Refer to posts on Jan. 14 and 17.
The Marlow brothers are loaded into wagons,ostensibly to be transferred to a safer jail to await trial. Their guards are mostly members of the mob who tried to lynch them on the 17th. When they reach Dry Creek, about two miles from Graham, Texas, the transfer party is attacked. The four Marlow brothers, who are leg-chained two and two, hobble out of their wagon, get guns from another guard wagon and in hand-to-hand combat, and make a desperate stand. For the next 30 minutes gunfire rips the cold night. When the fight ends, five lay dead, including two of the Marlow brothers, and at least five more are seriously wounded. George Marlow gets a knife from the body of a dead mob member and cuts off the ankles of his two dead brothers so that he and his brother Charley, who is seriously wounded by a shotgun blast to the chest, can escape.
They make their way to the rest of their family and surrender to the District US Marshal, who is not part of the Graham -area crowd.
Sound familiar? Yep - it's the basis for The Sons of Katie Elder - but as Paul Harvey says, here's the rest of the story.
Were the Marlows ruthless outlaws, or were they victims? Does the Leopard often change his spots? George and Charley were later acquitted of all charges against them and moved to southwest Colorado,near the little town of Ridgway (where I live). They lived in the area for many years, were never in trouble of any kind, and were beloved by all. They both served as Deputy US Marshals and Deputy Sheriffs, and Charley was Town Marshal. Charley served on the school board. They each had seven children who grew to adulthood, and descendants still live in the area.
They both lived to a ripe old age. Charley died in Los Angeles on January 19th, 1941 at the age of 83, 52 years to the day after the Dry Creek ambush. George died July 3, 1945, one month short of his 90th birthday.
A tale that tells the good will these men earned: George was known to old and young alike as Uncle George. During World War II,one of his young friends became a fighter pilot and wrote to George, "When I see them coming, I imagine you sitting beside me and I have no fear." George carried that letter in his hatband until he died.
Today their ranch is part of a State wildlife area called Billie Creek, about 10 miles from Ridgway. Their mother's gravestone (with the inscription the boys carved by hand) looks out on a peaceful view of the Uncompahgre Plateau. A peaceful end to a very violent story.