Elam Gregory's Family

In 1908, Elam Gregoryís family posed for a picture on the porch and in the yard of their home in Ketchum. From left are: Bert Gregory, Milt Gregory, C.W. Lynch, Elam Gregory, Minnie Gregory, Deedy Gregory, Pole Gregory, Ben Lynch, and Luther Gregory Sr. In 1934, Elam Gregory and his son, Luther, were involved in a gunfight with bank bandits, with Elam Gregory shot to death. The story of the robbery of Ketchum State Bank.


The Dissolving Story of George Goldsby

At least three of the various history books about Vinita contain fascinating references to a man named George Goldsby. According to these historical accounts, Mr. Goldsby lived in Vinita during the 1880ís.

As with all historical narratives, there will be differing viewpoints and occasional conflicting versions of an event or character. The chronicle of George Goldsby is a fine example of contradictions in written history.

In one book, he was married to a Negro woman who worked as a cook In the home of the Tom Knight family. In another book, It is Mr. Goldsby himself who was the Negro working in the Knight home.

Another book states that George Goldsby was a mixed-race gentle men, of Indian, Mexican, and Negro blood, but does not mention his employment at all.

Two of the accounts tell us that Mr. Goldsbyís son, Luther worked at the Cobb Hotel.

The one thing that all the books clearly stated: Mr. George Goldsby was actually the famous Mexican rebel outlaw, Pancho Villa.

He was in the Vinita area in order to escape the lawmen who sought to capture him. One story claimed that local bankers and ranchers had unwittingly helped this murderous bandit by buying the cattle that Pancho herded up from Mexico.

After reading these accounts of Pancho Villa living and hiding out in Vinita, I became intrigued with the whole romantic idea of this infamous outlaw. The conflicting details also made me curious.

I thought it would make a nice column: a local version of "The Rest of the Story." How the mild-mannered Vinitan George Goldsby, whose wife cooked for the Knight family and whose son worked at the Cobb Hotel, was really the rebellious bandit... Pancho Villa!

The only trouble is that if Pancho Villa did actually live in Vinita during the 1880ís when all the local history books and news paper say he did, then he would have been between the ages of 2 and 12 years old.

Pancho Villa was born in 1878 and died at age 45 in the year 1923. It Is unlikely that he had time in all his murderous rampaging to come live In Vinita with his wife and have a son who was old enough to work at the Cobb Hotel, especially if he was such a tender age himself.

It is a disappointing discovery. But now Iím wondering who was George Goldsby? He had a story; a life of love and hurt and hard work. Maybe his son Luther be came a successful hotel manager or owner. Maybe his wife became the chef at the White House. But George? I guess he will always be remembered around here for being someone he was not.

By Kathleen Duchamp, Vinita Daily Journal, Oct 2002


dat 2003

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