Wagoner Honors One Of City's Wild West Heroes
WAGONER, Oklahoma - The town of Wagoner on Saturday traveled back to the late 1800s.
The Wagoner historical society helped put together a memorial service that was 80 years in the making.
It was all part of a tribute for a former Texas Ranger and U.S. Marshal, who never got the send-off he deserved.
From the modern-day era to the frontier, he was a Texas lawman that outlaws sure did love to hate.
Kirk Turnbo was notorious in his time.
A pioneer for law enforcement in the late 1800s, holding the honorable titles of Texas Ranger, sheriff and Deputy US Marshal.
He found himself in Wagoner in 1894.
"He was instrumental in law enforcement before we had a town marshall, before we had local law enforcement, he was the marshall in this area," Terry Presley said.
So why now, some 80 years after his death, is the town coming together to honor Turnbo's name?
Turnbo had no family, and when he died, his story died with him.
"We found that he was buried over here in an unmarked grave," Shirle Williams said.
That is until now.
"We will never forget what [Turnbo] did, even though it may take us a long, long time to figure it out," Liz McMahan said.
A tombstone, decorated with a Texas Ranger badge, marks the final resting place of man who served the city of Wagoner when it was still the Wild West.
It's because of this sweet lady, Williams, that we are finally hearing Turnbo's story.
She just finished a book, telling the story of Wagoner.
She discovered his name on a petition that would make Wagoner the first incorporated city in Indian Territory.
"This was my purpose in writing the book to give a cross section of what life was like on the frontier," Willams said.
And Sunday's re-enactment did just that, while honoring a man who did so much.
"We're proud of him," Presley said. "I never met him, but I'm proud of the guy and I'm proud to be a part of this today."
A fitting tribute to a man who has now, officially, gone down history.
Turnbo died in 1935. The historical society wanted a re-enactment to reflect the era when Turnbo was most popular and prominent in Wagoner.