October 29, 2022

David Cherry “Doc” Middleton, 1849-1913 [RG2248.AM]

NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID



RG2248.AM:  David Cherry “Doc” Middleton, 1849-1913



Correspondence (on microfilm):  1867-1879

Size:  1 reel of microfilm containing 15 items



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE



David Cherry “Doc” Middleton came to Nebraska in the early 1870s from Arizona. Formerly known as Henry Shepherd, alias Riley, was an early-day horse thief and well known outlaw of Nebraska who became known when he organized the Hoodoo gang to get rid of vigilantes. In the middle of the 1870s he was running off livestock from the ranges of the Niobrara. He is said to have farmed with his brother Joe (or John T.) in Brown County and to have had a ranch near Mariaville, there and near Rushville, Nebraska, in the early 1880s.



His second wife, Mary Richardson, who later married again, was from Holt County, and in June of 1884 he eloped from Stuart, Nebraska, with his former wife’s sister, Irene Richardson, to Neligh where they were married and later returned to O’Neill, Nebraska. He was also a saloon keeper at Gordon, Rushville, Brewster and Valentine, Nebraska. He also spent three weeks with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show in the 1890s.



Irene, his last wife was born on September 19, 1868, the daughter of Henry Richardson of Carns, Keya Paha County, Nebraska, and died at Hot Springs, South Dakota, November 13, 1911. She was buried in the Crawford, Nebraska, cemetery. She was survived by her husband; three sons, D.W. and J.W. (Wes and William) of Alliance, Henry, born in 1900; and one daughter, Ruth of Ardmore, born in 1894; and one brother, Thomas of Custer, South Dakota. Doc ran a saloon at Orin Junction, Wyoming, before his death at 69 in the Douglas, Wyoming jail of erysipelas with pneumonia complications on December 27, 1913. His two older sons were with him only the week before. He was to be buried in Crawford beside his wife but because of difficulty in performing the transfer was buried “temporarily” at Douglas and was to be moved the following Decoration Day.



SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE



This collection consists of letters written by Doc Middleton or his family from 1867-1879. Also included are transcriptions. The letters from J.D. Riley (alias Shepherd, older brother or half-brother) concern the wintering of a cattle drive near Fort Zarah in 1871-1872. The letters from Middleton mention a previous marriage. Fort Zarah, Kansas was established on September 6, 1864 and located on the east bank of Walnut Creek, a half mile from its confluence with the Arkansas River in Barton County. It was abandoned in December of 1869. This collection is on microfilm only. The original letters are not held by the Nebraska State Historical Society.



Note:  See the photo component [RG2248.PH] for related images. Various NSHS collections contain materials relating to Doc Middleton, including:



RG0001.PR, SG12: Albinus Nance (Governor’s papers)

RG0949.AM: Paul Davis Riley

RG5000.AM: Vertical Files



See the NSHS Library catalog and the Nebraska History index for articles and publications about Doc Middleton.



DESCRIPTION



Reel 1



7 letters by Doc Middleton, 1872-1873 from Coreil & Grayson County, Texas



6 letters from J.D. Riley, 1871-1872 from Fort Zarah, Kansas



1 letter from Mary Middleton (Richardson) (second wife of Doc Middleton), 1879 from Atkinson, Holt County, Nebraska



1 letter from H. Lochte, 1867, from Fredericksburg, Texas



 



ADDED ENTRIES:



Cattle industry & trade — Nebraska

Cowboys

Fort Zarah (Kan.) — History

Holt County (Neb.) — History

Middleton, David Cherry “Doc”, 1849-1913



 



Revised TMM   07-10-2009

Encoded TMM   11-02-2010

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Marker Monday: Easter Blizzard of 1873

Marker Monday: Easter Blizzard of 1873

She Didn’t Know She Was a Statue

She Didn’t Know She Was a Statue

Neligh Mill at 150

Neligh Mill at 150

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.