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 Eli Hickman “Heck” Bruner

Eli Hickman “Heck” Bruner

Siloam Springs, Benton County, Arkansas, USA
Death 21 Jun 1899 (aged 40)
Vinita, Craig County, Oklahoma, USA
Burial Pryor, Mayes County, Oklahoma, USA
Memorial ID 97348016 · View Source
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Death date from Oklahoma U.S. Marshal site.

He was drowned in Grand River, Indian Territory while attempting to swim it in order to serve official papers on parties living on the other side.

Spouse: Sarah Ann Laura Bradley

Article from the Adair County News, Columbia, Ky, July 17, 1901.

Obituary & death notices appeared in "The Indian Chieftain", Vinita, Indian Territory on June 22, 23, 24, & 29, 1899. On June 29, 1899, the following notice (partial):
Heck Bruner's Funeral held last Saturday - Business All Suspended

The funeral of Heck Bruner, whose body was found Friday about one mile below the point where Mr. Bruner was drowned, at the mouth of Little Spavinaw, was held at Pryor Creek (modern-day Prior, OK) on Saturday at 9 a.m.

The procession was headed by about thirty brother Masons, and followed by more than two hundred friends. At the grave there was held a brief ceremony, reading the Masonic Rites, and a short prayer by the Reverend Thomas Toney (Tovey?) of Pryor Creek.

The Springdale News
Springdale, AR
June 23, 1899

{Note: This is NOT the correct account of Eli's death, but it does briefly highlight the endeavors of this brave man.}
Heck Bruner, the fearless deputy U.S. Marshal who did so much to stamp out lawlessness in the Indian Territory, is reported to have been killed recently near Bowling Ferry by a whiskey peddler. He formerly resided at Siloam Springs but has been making his home at Vinita, I.T. where he leaves a family. One of Bruner's most daring deeds was in connection with the destruction of the notorious desperado, Ned Christy. Christy had been surrounded in a cabin in the Territory but refused to surrender, holding the officers at bay with a Winchester. Breastworks were constructed of logs and placed on the hind wheels of a wagon. Pushing this crude affair before him Bruner went to the house and placed under the corner a stick of dynamite. He had barely time to retreat when an awful explosion followed, blowing the house to atoms and killing Christy. It doesn't seem in accordance with the eternal fitness of things for a brave man like Bruner to meet death at the hands of a sneaking whisky peddler.

The Springdale News
Springdale, AR
June 30, 1899

The reported killing a few weeks ago of deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Bruner by a whisky peddler was a mistake but Mr. Bruner is dead nevertheless. From the Pryor Creek Clipper we learn he was drowned on Wednesday afternoon of last week while attempting to swim Grand River at West's Ferry. The body was carried two miles and not recovered until Friday morning. His home was at Pryor Creek.

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  • Created by: Judy Lynn
  • Added: 18 Sep 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 97348016
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Eli Hickman “Heck” Bruner (13 Feb 1859–21 Jun 1899), Find A Grave Memorial no. 97348016, citing Bruner's Graveyard, Pryor, Mayes County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Judy Lynn (contributor 47402250) .