Two Dangerous Characters

By Stephen Riner

Oscar William Alexander was killed near Ardmore,Oklahoma in a shootout with bootleggers,and a group of "special officers" led by Dow Braziel in 1916. "The Ardmoreite reported the incident on page 6 of the September, 3rd, 1916 issue. The article is entitled "Officer is Victim Of Shooting." The following two paragraphs are taken from that article:

In a pitched battle with alleged bootleggers near Hoxbar south east of this city about ten o'clock Friday night special officer Oscar Alexander of this city was shot and almost instantly killed by one of the two Love brothers, who were driving the team in which was being transported nineteen cases of whiskey. Special officer Dow Braziel received a tip that a load of whiskey was being transported into this section and he with his assistants Alexander, Tom Adams, and George McLaughlin went to the vicinity of Hoxbar and laid in wait for the expected wagon.

Officer Braziel told his men that these were two dangerous characters and placed them in places where they would be in the least danger telling them to remain there. As soon as the wagon approached the driver was commanded to halt but instead began firing at Braziel with a shotgun. Alexander seeing the danger Braziel was in started toward the wagon and had his pistol raised to fire when a load from the shotgun penetrated his body under his right arm causing almost instant death. In the general fusillade which followed Mose Love was severely wounded through the shoulder and hip and fell from the wagon, the team with George Love still in the wagon ran away and in passing Braziel shot at one of the mules hoping to kill or cripple it in order to capture the other brother. The team succeeded in getting away and seeing one of his men dead and Love was so badly wounded he might die the officers returned to the city in their machine and Love was taken to the Hardy sanatarium for treatment.

George Love's perspective of this altercation differed from that reported by "The Ardmoreite". He stated that his brother Mose had gotten back into the wagon, after closing a gate, when gunshots from unidentified shooters rang out from the brush in front of them. "They shot the mules, and Mose fell from the wagon." George presumed his brother was dead,and grabbed his shotgun as he rolled from the wagon to the ground.

The shooting continued in the darkness. George, thinking it was rival bootleggers intent on getting rid of the competition, and stealing their whiskey, crawled toward the flash of one of the gunbarrels. Once close enough to deliver a fatal shot from his weapon, Love fired a load into the midsection of the unknown assailant. He later discovered the man he "almost blew in half" was special officer Alexander.

According to Love, once he shot the man he crawled some distance away from the shooting, and took refuge in some bushes. He laid there. Silently. Untill the shooting stopped,and "they loaded up and left." Afterwards, he picked up his brother Mose, surprised he was still alive, and carried him to their father William Love's farm nearby.

From that point on the story reported by Love, and that reported by "The Ardmoreite", coincide. A posse arrived the next mourning. George went to the county jail, suffering from only minor wounds. Mose was taken to the Hardy sanatarium for treatment of his wounds. The wagon, also found the next mourning, contained nineteen cases of whiskey. One mule was dead, and the other injured.

An adjacent article to the one describing the shooting reported that funeral services were being held that day in September of 1916 for Oscar William Alexander. The service was held "from the family residence, 116 C street, N.W. He was suvived by his mother Mrs. W.J. Alexander, three brothers", and three sisters.

"At the September 1916 turn of the District Court of Carter County,State of Oklahoma,begun and held at the City of Ardmore in said County on the fifth day of September Nineteen Hundred and Sixteen", begins the documents that indicted the Love brothers. Three indictments for "Assault to kill". One each for Tom Adams, George McLaughlin, and Dow Braziel. The fourth indictment was for the "Murder of Oscar Alexander." They were also indicted on the lesser crime of "Introducing Liquor" into the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

Mose Love's wounds healed,and after all was said and done, he served one year and one day in the "United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas". George was also convicted on the "Introducing Liquor" charges--he served two years and two days in Leavenworth.

After serving his time in federal prison, George Love once again stood trial. This trial--for the murder of special officer Alexander. On the 26th of March, 1919, about two months after Carter county's infamous oilfield deputy, Bud Ballew, killed Dow Braziel, George began an eight year prison sentence for that crime.

After serving a number of years in prison, he returned to his family and the Ardmore area. He never again strayed to far from the law, or Ardmore, and was an employee of Carter County untill his retirement. George Love died at the age of 92.

Both Love and Alexander are buried in Ardmore. The two markers there, baring their names, are the only testamonials to an outlaw and a lawman who will never again roam the hills of southern Oklahoma.

copyright 1998 Stephen W. Riner

THE LOVE KLAN circa 1900