Saturday, December 13, 2008

Charles G. Bratton Officer Of The Law 1871.

When I started researching about ten years ago, I did a lot on the Marshals in the Kansas towns, this is where I ran across a man by the name of Charles G. Bratton, who was a law man, but not a famous one to say the lest. But there was something about him and his short life, that I could not get off my mind. I don’t know if it was the town he came from ( Burlingame ) Kansas which I know quite well as I visited the town many times in my youth, as my family was from the same county. Then it my have been the way he died. But no matter what the reason I couldn’t get him off my mind, so I thought it was time to look more into him and give his story to you.

There is no record on how Charles G. Bratton got from Burlingame, Kansas, to Wichita, Kansas and how he became a policeman in 1871, in Wichita under Marshal Michael Meagher, only that he became one. There is little information on Charles as a policeman in the Wichita papers, he did have at lest one encounter that got his name in the papers.

On November15, 1871, Emil Werner a local saloon keeper filed a letter with the city council protesting the treatment he had received at the hands of the Wichita police force.
The following is his letter:

To his Honor the Mayor & Councilmen of the City of Wichita.

I Emil Werner your petitioner would respectfully beg leave to represent to your Honorable body that on the 25th day of October A. D. 1871, Michael Meagher City Marshal, S. K. Ohmert, Deputy Marshal & Charles Bratton, policemen, Entered my saloon situated on Main Street, No. 17, Wichita, Kansas, and arrested and took from thence a Soldier who was sleeping at one of my tables. In short time they returned and Charles Bratton entered the saloon the other two, Viz: Meagher & Ohment remaining at the door. Bratton spoke to me, telling me, that I would get myself into trouble, selling liquor to men and getting them drunk. I replied that I paid license for selling liquor, and that what I paid to the city helped to pay his salary. He ( Bratton ) without any further provocation struck me with a revolver and knocked me down and before I could get up the others ( Meagher & Ohment ) rushed in, and all three of them struck me with revolvers and sling shots and took me off to the Calaboose, without coat or hat, tearing my shirt off of my back, locking my door and taking possession on my keys.

I was finally released upon the payment of the sum of $5.00 into the City Treasury, together with the costs of suit. Amounting in all to eight dollars. Now therefore I would respectfully request your Honorable Body to examine into these Statements that I have here made, and if you fins them correct & true, to remit & repay the fine & costs imposed upon me, Otherwise to act as in your judgment deem best, and this your Petitioner humbly prays.
Emil Werner.

Charles G. Bratton served four days as a special policeman on the Wichita police force, in February, of 1872. For his work he was paid $8.00 on February 21.

On December 22, 1874, while assisting the city marshal Burlingame to take a drunken butcher to jail, Bratton was stabbed and killed. The following article appeared in the Wichita Eagle, January 7, 1875.

Charley Bratton, a former policeman of Wichita, under Mayor Alien, was brutally murdered at Burlingame last week, by a butcher named Dan Wortz. Wortz was drunk and abusing his wife, Bratton, who was a city officer, interfered, when he was stabbed twice, both wounds being severe enough to produce death. The weapon used was a butcher knife. One stab severed a rib and sank deep into the kidney. Young Bratton was a quiet boy. He came with his parents, when quite a small boy. The murderer is in custody and will go up for life.

Charles G. Bratton was born on September 16, 1848, place unknown, it is belived they came from some where in Pennsylvania, family unknown. Charles died at the age of 25, and is now resting in the Burlingame City Cemetery.

Note. I went through the 1880 census and only found three family’s that were old enough to have been his family. His family may have still been living in Burlingame as it was only six years later and with a little research one may be able to find out. The following family’s were:

John & Cathren Bratton, He was 59, and a farmer.
Geo. & Rebecca Jane Bratton, He was 64, and a Hotel Keeper.
Rev. George Bratton, He was also 64, and could be the same men as above?

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