Marlow Brothers

Born along the Chisholm Trail and on the banks of Wild Horse Creek the legend of the Marlow family and the five Marlow brothers has been proven to be more fact than fiction.

Dr. Williamson Marlow and his wife, Martha Jane, a relative of Daniel Boone, first established a homestead in this area during the early 1880's. The site of the original Marlow family home is reported to have been located just north of Redbud Park.

Somewhat of a nomad by nature, Dr. Marlow provided medical treatment to the many settlers in this portion of Indian Territory and to many cowboys driving cattle up the Chisholm Trail. He also farmed while his sons reportedly herded horses, selling many of the animals to the U.S. Army located at neighboring Ft. Sill. Dr. Marlow died in 1885.

In 1888 his five sons were accused of horse-stealing, a charge which was later proven to be unfounded. Four of the brothers (Charlie, Alfred, Boone and Lewellyn) were arrested and transported by a U.S. Deputy Marshall to the Federal Court in Graham, Texas, for trial.

Hearing of this brother's arrest, George Marlow took the entire family to Graham to clear his brothers but soon found himself behind bars.

Boone Marlow ultimately escaped and returned to the Marlow area in Indian Territory, while his four brothers were scheduled to be transported to a safer (?) jail in Weatherford, Texas.

Several attempts were made by Graham citizens and law enforcement officials to lynch the Marlows. On the night of January 19, 1889, the brothers were shackled in pairs -- George to Lewellyn and Charlie to Alfred -- for the trip to Weatherford.

When the group reached Dry Creek outside of Graham, a signal was given and a hidden mob opened fire on the seemingly defenseless Marlows.

The guards ran to join the mob while the brothers leaped from the wagon and armed themselves with guns take from guards. In the vicious gunfight that followed, Lewellyn and Alfred were killed. Both George and Charlie were seriously wounded.

Retrieving a dead mob member's knife, George Marlow unjointed his dead brother' ankles. He and Charlie used a wagon to escape the ambush site.

Three members of the mob were also killed and a number of others wounded. Several members of the mob were later prosecuted and convicted for the assault upon the brothers.

Boone was later poisoned near Hell Creek west of Marlow. His corpse was then shot in an attempt to obtain a $1,500 reward, but his killers, too, were brought to trial.

Alfred Boon, and Lewellyn are buried in a small cemetery at what was once Finis, Texas outside of Graham.

George and Charlie Marlow survived the attack, eventually moving their families to Colorado where they became outstanding citizens, serving as law enforcement officers.

In 1891, after sentencing mob member for their part in the attack, Federal Judge A. P. McCormick was quoted as saying: "This is the first time in the annals of history where unarmed prisoners, shackled together, ever repelled a mob. Such cool courage that preferred to fight against such great odds and die, if at all, in glorious battle rather than die ignominiously by a frenzied mob, deserves to be commemorated in song and story."
Redbud Park, 4 blocks E of Main St stoplight, Marlow, OK
Exploring Oklahoma History

The Marlow Brothers
George, Boone, Alfred, Lewllyn, Charlie

  • Redbud Park
    Encompassing 10 city blocks, this city park includes the Creekwalk, a 1/2 mile walking trail with historical exhibits and structures about the outlaw history of Marlow, and a 13,000 square foot western-themed children's playground called the Hideout. Redbud Chapel is also on site, one of the first built in the area during the early 1900s and relocated to the park in 1997.
  • Wildcatter Ranch: Marlow Brothers
    The saga of the Marlow Brothers is a complex and very involved story. It's so involved that several books have been written about the incident, which happened in and around Graham, Texas in 1888 to 1891. The movie "The Sons of Katie Elder" (starring John Wayne) was based on the events of this story. We will give you a very brief overview of the events here and hope you'll read one of the many books about the incident and draw your own conclusions as to what really happened. ...
  • Marlow Chamber of Commerce: History of Marlow
    In the mid 1880's, Dr. and Mrs. Williamson Marlow came to Indian Territory and settled near the Chisholm Trail about one and one-half miles east of the division between the two territories. They brought with them five of their sons, Alfred, George, Charlie, Lewellyn (Ellie or Ep), Boone, and daughter, Nancy. While in the area the brothers worked for a large cattle outfit, and were unjustly accused of stealing horses by a United States Deputy Marshal. The saga of the family is a colorful, separate tale which has been told in books, song, and film. ...