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Marshal Thomas Radford

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Marshal Thomas Radford was a popular figure in Enid in 1906. He had been elected City Marshal on the democratic ticket in May, 1905, and in December, the Chairman of the Police Committee declared, in an open Council meeting, that Radford was the best Marshal Enid ever had. He had the support and confidence of the city administration and the people of Enid.

In his strict adherence to the laws and ordinances of the City of Enid, he had naturally made some enemies. A local man, John Cannon, had been threatening Radford. Cannon had told several people, including that Mayor and Police Judge, that he intended to kill Marshal Radford.

The trouble with Cannon arose over the attempt of Marshal Radford to close a rooming house which Cannon was running on East Broadway. Cannon had previously been the county jailer and had fallen in love with and married a local prostitute who spent considerable time in the jail cells. He and his wife opened the rooming house, which had a reputation as a “house of ill fame”, and was continually under police surveillance. Radford was determined to close it and had succeeded in forcing the occupants to move. Cannon then tried to rent the rooms above the Coney Island Saloon, almost directly across the street from his other establishment, and thought he had completed the deal until Marshal Radford warned the owner of the building not to rent the rooms to Cannon. Cannon was furious when he found out he wouldn’t be able to complete the deal, and he set out to do what he had threatened.

In the late afternoon, Marshal Radford walked into the Tony Faust Saloon, located in the Anheuser Busch building at the corner of Broadway and Grand.

It was a cold day, and Marshal Radford, wearing a heavy overcoat and gloves, went in to warm himself at the radiator, where he stood talking to George Mullikin. Radford and Mullikin were discussing the weather and the recent snowfall, and the Marshal was oblivious to the others in the bar.

The back door opened, and John Cannon entered the bar. He walked the full length of the building without speaking to anyone and approached the Marshal. He said, “Bad day isn’t it?” then pushed a .38 caliber revolver against Marshal Radford’s left chest and fired. The bullet passed close to his heart, through both lungs, and lodged in the right side, near his back. *Enid Daily Wave, January 11, 1906.

The Marshal gasped for breath and turned to run. He had no chance to draw his gun, which was under his overcoat. As Radford turned, Cannon fired a second time, this time from behind. The gun was almost against Radford’s body again, and the bullet, which entered near the waist line passed clear through his body. He continued to run through the front door, with Cannon close behind. As he reached the sidewalk on Grand, he staggered forward and while falling, was shot in the head midway between the left eye and ear. He fell to the ground, groaning and unconscious.

Cannon bent over the fallen Marshal with the intent of firing another shot. At that moment, Officer Loving, who had been in the barber shop two doors south of the saloon, appeared on the scene and drew his pistol, commanding Cannon not to shoot again. Loving attempted to arrest Cannon, but Cannon told him, “you can’t arrest me” and walked back into the Saloon. *Enid Daily Wave, January 11, 1906.

Inside the saloon, Cannon himself called the Sheriff. While in the act of calling, with Loving standing beside him, Sheriff Sam Campbell and Charles Campbell, Deputy Sheriff, ran into the saloon and took Cannon prisoner. He was placed in the county jail, but fearing an outbreak of public indignation over the shooting, he was transferred to the Grant County jail in Pond Creek. Marshal Radford, who was amazingly still alive was taken to Dr. J. W. Baker’s office. Several physicians examined his wounds and agreed that nothing could be done. The Marshal never regained consciousness after the last bullet hit him, and he died thirty minutes later.

The City Council held a meeting the night of Marshal Radford’s death, and considered arrangements for the funeral ceremonies. A resolution was unanimously passed that all expenses of burial would be borne by the city. Arrangements were made for floral decorations and carriages to carry the mourners to the cemetery. It was ordered that all city officers attend the ceremony.

Services for Marshal Radford were held in the Christian Church in Enid, which held approximately 1,000 people. It was the largest attended funeral ever held in this part of Oklahoma, if not in the entire territory. Many people came to attend the funeral, but stood outside or returned home when they could not be seated in the Church.

The city police rode mounted in the procession to the cemetery. One hundred and fifteen carriages followed the hearse to the Enid Cemetery. The procession reached all the way from what is now Randolph Street to Chestnut, nearly a mile. By the time the last carriage reached the cemetery, the services were over.

Cannon was convicted of Marshal Radford’s murder and sentenced to serve 25 years in prison.

(Enid, Ok.-March 15, 1907, Judge Garber Gives Long Term to Slayer of Enid Marshall)

John Cannon who shot and killed Marshal Tom Radford of Enid last Spring, today sentenced by Judge Garber at Watonga to 40 years in the penitentiary. Bail was fixed at $20,000 pending approval.


Thomas A. Radford was the son of Robert Radford of Yancey Co. NC. and Elizabeth Victoria “Vicky” Long Radford of Franklin Co. Tn.

Thomas was born 31 Jan 1859 Franklin Co. Tn. and died 10 Jan 1906 Enid Garfield Co., Ok., married: Sarah “Sallie” E. Ray, b. 10 Mar 1866, d. 12 May 1957 Enid, Ok. Both buried in the Enid Cemtery.

Thomas was City Marshal from 1905 to 1-10-1906 for Enid, Ok. Was shot by John Cannon.

He left a wife and 8 children:

1. George Frank Radford, b. 16 Dec 1881 NC. - d. 11 Jun 1904-Buried at Enid Cemetery.

2. William Pulaski Radford, b. August 1883 NC. - d. 6 Oct 1932-Buried at Enid Cemetery.

3. Hugh Cleveland Radford, b. 13 May 1885 - d. 12 Jan 1949-Buried at Enid Cemetery.

4. Samuel J. Radford, b. 14 Sep 1887, near Jonesboro, Washington Co. Tn.-d. 16 May 1977, married Emma Ethel Hardgrave on 13 April 1915. Had a son, Roy Radford.

5. Michael K. Radford, b. 29 Oct 1889 Washington Co. Tn.- d. 3 Jul 1947-Buried at Enid Cemetery.

6. Nora Radford, b. Feb. 1892, Washington Co. Tn. – d. 21 Jun 1961 – Buried at Enid Cemetery, married F. Young(s).

7. Mabel V. Radford, b. 1894, Washington Co. Tn., - d. 23 Apr 1970-Buried at Enid Cemetery, married John Andrew Hyatt, who died 8 Nov 1969.

8. F. J. Radford ???

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