GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – KETK News is visiting Gregg County on Wednesday for Small Town Salute Live. This is a segment where we highlight small towns in East Texas.
The county is celebrating its 150th anniversary and hosting Dalton Days on April 1. This is a special community event that features a reenactment of a 19th century bank robbery.
On May 23, 1894, Bill Dalton, a well-known thief, and three gang members, Jim Wallace, Jim Nite and Judd Nite tried to rob the First National Bank in Longview near Fredonia and Bank Streets, according to the Gregg County Historical Museum.
One of the biggest shootouts happened that day, and approximately 200 shots were fired by the criminals and local residents. At least two residents died and several were injured, the museum said.
Lindsey Loy, the Executive Director for the Gregg County Historical Museum, said they opened in 1984. She also shared more details about Dalton Days and gave KETK News a look inside a bank vault that has information about the historic event.
The museum also has several exhibits for everyone to visit, including one about the Kilgore Rangerettes.
Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said the county is celebrating their 150th anniversary on April 12.
There will be fun runs and historian Bill O’Neal is going to visit Longview and go over the county’s history.
“We’re just excited about our sesquicentennial. We’ll be doing different things around the county,” Stoudt said.
KETK’s Neal Barton also visited the Longview Museum of Fine Arts.
Tiffany Jehorek, the executive director of the location, said they opened their doors in 1958.
The museum has paintings of Texas landscapes, and they have a Stories from the Vault exhibition for people to checkout. They also have art work about the Buffalo Soldiers and are hoping to renovate their building.
William O’Bryant is part of the Outlaws Gunfighting Group. He is going to be one of the reenactors in Dalton Days. He showed off his costume that he will be wearing during the event.
During the 1894 robbery, Wallace died in the shootout, and Dalton and the Nite brothers fled the area with $2,000 in bank notes and coins.
Dalton was reportedly killed by a group in Oklahoma two weeks after the robbery. Judd also lost his life in a Texas shootout, and Jim was later arrested and booked into prison for the Longview robbery, authorities said.
The first Dalton Days event happened in 1994. Now, it remembers the bravery of the residents and law enforcement that day as well as “our western heritage.” The event includes games, food, music and more for families to enjoy.