At the Brooks Ranch the rain scattered some of the cattle and it prevented the men from working the farm. Because of this, Henry "Peg Leg" Brooks and his nephew, Earl, went out to roundup the livestock while Willis and two of his other sons, Clifton and John, mounted up to ride into town for the mail.
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Meanwhile, the McFarlands and the Riddles had anticipated their arrival, due to the rain. They came up with a plan to ambush the Brooks' in town, but in a way that made it appear as though it was self-defense. The McFarlands took up positions across the street from the post office and then sent George Riddle out to "take care of some errands. When Willis and his sons rode into town later that morning, they dismounted and tied their horses up in front of the post office.
Then, as the three were entering the building, Riddle came out of the door with his mail. The Brooks' immediately began making threats and Riddle said something to this effect: "Kill me if you want, I am unarmed and have but one time to die. According to Ken Butler, Rutherford, who was a United States Marshal, among his other professions, called out to Willis and demanded peace.
But before Rutherford could finish his sentence, Willis fired a shot at Riddle with his revolver. The bullet struck Riddle in the head and he fell to Rutherford's feet. George Herring, however, says that Jesse Hill was standing inside Rutherford's office and witnessed Sam McFarland fire the first shots. Though Herring does say that Sam's firing was wild and only intended to taunt the Brooks'.
Herring says that Sam's firing scared Riddle and it was at this time that he turned around and fled to Rutherford. No matter which version is true, after hitting George Riddle in the head, Willis "wasted precious time" by running up to him and shooting him twice more. Someone, possibly Rutherford, then fired on Willis and struck him in his right hip. Willis jumped up into the air and then fell face down into the mud.
He got back up a moment later and began firing, but was then hit in the chest and killed. Clifton Brooks was struck multiple times; once in the leg, once in the neck, and once more in the chest, but he was able to survive the initial volley and make a run for it. Alonzo Riddle and Jim McFarland then chased him down on horseback and killed him. John Brooks was shot "through and through" and found lying near the back door of the post office, having been struck by a steel-jacketed bullet.
The three men were placed in the Eufaula Jail and went before the county commissioner 's court two days later on September All three were charged with murder and released on bonds to await trial. John Brooks was also charged with murder, but he remained in Spokogee because of his critical condition. The town doctor expected John to die of blood poisoning , but he survived and lived into the s.
Willis and Clifton were buried in Checotah next to Thomas Brooks, who died in Less than three weeks after the gunfight at Spokogee, Jim McFarland was killed in an ambush. On October 10, , Jim and his wife were returning home from Weleetka in their buggy , and as they approached a river ford near Old Watsonville, someone opened fire on them with a rifle.
One steel-jacketed bullet struck Jim in the back and he died a few minutes later. According to Ken Butler, the first newspaper account of the incident says that Henry "Peg Leg" Brooks killed Jim near Weleetka, although this was later proven to be false. Henry and Sam Baker were the prime suspects, but there was no evidence and neither of them were arrested. Some local citizens believed that McFarland was killed by a member of his own faction, but in any event, nobody was ever charged for the crime.
According to Edward Herring: "Most believed he had gotten what he deserved. The death of Jim McFarland marked the end of the feud, although some newspaper accounts say that Henry Brooks was killed shortly after. Henry, however, lived until In , Henry was arrested for stealing horses again and sentenced to ten years in Fort Leavenworth , Kansas.
When he was paroled on January 10, , Henry went home to Lawrence County, Alabama, where he took care of his aging mother and became a bootlegger. On January 11, , Henry was surrounded at his still by a posse under the command of Sheriff John Robinson. Though he was completely outnumbered, Henry chose to resist and began firing his revolver. The posse then retaliated and struck Henry twelve times. He died about fifteen minutes later.
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Sam Baker also died violently. In , Sam became involved in a dispute with a Checotah merchant, who shot him in the back one day. Old "Jenny" Brooks outlived all of her sons. She died on March 29, , at the age of ninety-eight, and is said to have been proud that all of her sons had "died like men, with their boots on. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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