Going Snake Massacre
The Going Snake Massacre was an incident that occurred on April 15,
1872, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma,
then the capital of the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory. Though
called a massacre, it was actually more of a gunfight.
What do you know about the Going Snake Massacre? Try this Alan's Old West Trivia quiz. You'll find the answers at the
bottom of the page.
1) During the Civil War, Zeke Proctor, a Cherokee, fought for the
Union Army, while all of the Beck family, also Cherokee, fought for the
2) Zeke Proctor confronted Polly Beck and Jim Kesterson at Polly's
dead husband's mill in the Oklahoma Territory, near Siloam Springs,
Arkansas. What was the date?
- February 7, 1872
- February 17, 1872
- February 27, 1872
3) The incident developed into an argument; Zeke Proctor produced a
rifle and shot Kesterson in the head, slightly wounding him. Proctor
then turned to Polly and fired, killing her. Zeke maintained his killing
of Polly was accidental.
4) Proctor was arrested by US Marshals working the territory.
However, at the time, American Indian courts handled all cases involving
5) Kesterson, believing Proctor would not be convicted in a Cherokee
court, appealed to the local federal court, asking that an arrest
warrant be issued to ensure that Proctor received an unbiased trial in a
6) The federal court dispatched US Marshals to secure the arrest of
Proctor at the court house in Tahlequah. How many US marshals were sent?
7) Prior to the US Marshals arriving, where had the trial been moved
- Local Cherokee school house
- Local Cherokee church
- Tulsa court house
8) How Deputy US Marshals were Polly Beck kin?
9) The Marshals entered town and went straight to the school house.
As they approached, a large band of Cherokee men ambushed them. The
Marshals, caught in the open, had no cover. They immediately fired and
began retreating from the open school yard. The Marshals killed three
Cherokee men and wounded six others before being overwhelmed by around
thirty men. Seven US Marshals were killed on the spot; three escaped.
All Becks were slain. Deputy Marshal Owens died several hours later from
wounds he received. In the end, at least fourteen Cherokee men were
wounded, eleven of them dying within days.
10) Zeke Proctor served as a Deputy US Marshal from 1891 to 1894,
under "Hanging Judge" Parker.