William Jasper Simpson
Submitted by: Paula Byerly
On July 17, 1989, William Jasper Simpson was involved in a fight in Jenson, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, under a brush arbor at a church meeting. Two lawmen had come to arrest Simpson's son, Floyd, for supposedly "egging" a young man and accidentally soiling the dresses of several ladies' sitting nearby. A fight broke out, and Deputy Marshal J. Boley Grady began pistol whipping Floyd. Simpson came to Floyd's aid, shots were fired in the confusion, and somehow both Grady and U.S. Deputy Marshal L. S. (Bud) Hill were killed.
Different newspapers and sources published different accounts of the fight. The Fort Smith Elevator admitted that the facts were only "about near as correct as they could get them, " but reported that Simpson shot Grady as Grady was pistol whipping the 16-year old boy on the ground. It said Simpson then turned and shot Hill, who had been standing some distance away but who was becoming involved.
The Daily Capital on December 7, 1904 claimed that Simpson shot Grady to keep him from killing the boy and then turned, removed Hill's weapon, and shot him with his own weapon. The defense, also in the Daily Capital, reported that although Simpson did shoot Grady, when he turned toward Hill, another boy ran up and took the gun, and another shot was fired. Simpson's own
weapon hadn't been fired as many times as the defense claimed, and Simpson never touched Hill's weapon. Other reports said that Hill, trying to stop Simpson, accidentally shot Grady as Simpson was running toward Grady. Mr. Simpson always claimed that he shot only Grady, in defending his son. Simpson, by the way, was armed at the time in his capacity as a minor lawman, a constable. Simpson said that he would be acquitted when all the facts were made know in court.
Simpson fled for several years and reportedly hid out in Omaha, Wyoming, and Montana. He returned to Jenson, where he was arrested for the two murders in 1904.
The Evening News reported that during the trial of December 1904, the jury could find no positive proof as to who shot Hill, so they acquitted Simpson of that
murder, and if he stood trial for the shooting of Boley Grady, no records can be found of this second trial. Mrs. Simpson said she attended only one trial.
Later Floyd told his stepmother, Tillie Dora Handley Simpson, that he had nothing to do with the eggings, but that someone had a grudge against him and blamed him for the incident.
After Simpson's acquittal in December of 1904, he became the "law" in the town of Marlow, OK.
**The full account of Simpson's experience is recorded by Dr. David Allen Doss in a paper entitled "Always Classed a Gambler," written on April 21, 1969. The original paper is 19 pages long, with 4 pages of footnotes, sources, and references.
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