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Going Snake Massacre

The Going Snake Massacre was an incident that occurred on April 15, 1872, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, then the capital of the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory.  Though called a massacre, it was actually more of a gunfight.

What do you know about the Going Snake Massacre?  Try this Alan's Old West Trivia quiz.  You'll find the answers at the bottom of the page.

1) During the Civil War, Zeke Proctor, a Cherokee, fought for the Union Army, while all of the Beck family, also Cherokee, fought for the Confederate Army.Old West History Made Easy

  • True or False?

2) Zeke Proctor confronted Polly Beck and Jim Kesterson at Polly's dead husband's mill in the Oklahoma Territory, near Siloam Springs, Arkansas. What was the date?

  • February 7, 1872
  • February 17, 1872
  • February 27, 1872

3) The incident developed into an argument; Zeke Proctor produced a rifle and shot Kesterson in the head, slightly wounding him. Proctor then turned to Polly and fired, killing her. Zeke maintained his killing of Polly was accidental.

  • True or False?

4) Proctor was arrested by US Marshals working the territory. However, at the time, American Indian courts handled all cases involving American Indians.

  • True or False?

5) Kesterson, believing Proctor would not be convicted in a Cherokee court, appealed to the local federal court, asking that an arrest warrant be issued to ensure that Proctor received an unbiased trial in a non-Cherokee court.

  • True or False?

6) The federal court dispatched US Marshals to secure the arrest of Proctor at the court house in Tahlequah. How many US marshals were sent?

  • Five
  • Ten
  • Twenty

7) Prior to the US Marshals arriving, where had the trial been moved to?

  • Local Cherokee school house
  • Local Cherokee church
  • Tulsa court house

8) How Deputy US Marshals were Polly Beck kin?

  • One
  • Three
  • Five

9) The Marshals entered town and went straight to the school house. As they approached, a large band of Cherokee men ambushed them. The Marshals, caught in the open, had no cover. They immediately fired and began retreating from the open school yard. The Marshals killed three Cherokee men and wounded six others before being overwhelmed by around thirty men. Seven US Marshals were killed on the spot; three escaped. All Becks were slain. Deputy Marshal Owens died several hours later from wounds he received. In the end, at least fourteen Cherokee men were wounded, eleven of them dying within days.

  • True or False?

10) Zeke Proctor served as a Deputy US Marshal from 1891 to 1894, under "Hanging Judge" Parker.

  • True or False?

 

Going Snake Massacre
[Answers]

  1. True
  2. February 27, 1872
  3. True
  4. True
  5. True
  6. Ten
  7. Local Cherokee school house
  8. Three
  9. True
  10. True

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