Tuesday, July 6, 2010

B D Langley and the Anti Horse Thief Association

When you are laid up with fever and not feeling well, sometimes the only thing to amuse yourself with is absurd Google searches.  My ancestor known as B D Langley was dirt poor...Not a huge farm owner.  When I did the search I knew Find a Grave would come up, but I was not expecting The Anti Horse Thief Association Convention 1907.

When you look at B D Langley ( he did not like Benedict) he does not look like a member of a secret society.  (He is the one on the right)

He was, here he is as a member allowed to stay for the meeting.

His son Charles D. doesn't look like a secretive fellow either.

But he was, here he is on the roll also.

 The youngest daughter Bessie's second husband Lowery Bowen was kind and gentle, but somewhat lazy. Bessie could not work to work in the morning.  She complained to her family and , late one night a group of men in hoods on horse back came and drug him out of the house and threatened to ride him out of town on a rail if he did not get out to work like a man and care for his family.  After that night, Bessie never had to get him up; he was up and out before dawn. Bessie thought that one of the men was her brother Walter, but was never told for sure.
Now that I know about the Anti Thief Association, and their documented membership,  Bessie's story is crystal clear as to who at least one of the masked men was.  These guys did more that just recover horses.  If you want to read more about them click here to see the Oklahoma History site.  

This was in the opening comments of the convention:  "Our association is one of the best secret organizations in the United States. I do not know of any other equal to it in the scope of its real usefulness. While we are strictly non-political and non-partisan we do not
disclaim the moral influence that we have for good in the great coming new state."

My dad always said his grandfather was an Indian agent.  Never could find any evidence of that, but I think this may be what it was and was translated by the family into an Indian agent.  There were many from the Indian tribes associated with this Society.

I am so grateful to the Oklahoma University for digitalizing and publishing the manuscript.  If you have an Indian Territory ancestor you might want to check it out.  There is a eulogy of sorts for A.P. McKellog, a leader.  who had died that year.  Click here to view the PDF file.


  1. I'll have to check this out for my Brinlees. But, if what my Grandma said was true, they're more likely to be the horse thieves....

  2. Greta, That is what I had gotten myself ready for. Mercy, surprises do await us as we search right.

  3. That's awesome! To be in a secret do gooder club!

  4. What a great find and story!

  5. Hummer, this is so interesting! I never heard of them before. Definitely something to check out for my husband's IL & MO ancestors.