The Archivist: Indian sisters were early Oklahoma law enforcement officers

Mary Phillips digs through the archives of The Oklahoman to find interesting stories from the past such as this story of the Dewey Indian Girls, 18 and 20 years old, who had, in the early 1900s, the distinction of being the only women in the state who held office as deputy enforcement officers.
BY Mary Phillips Staff Writer mphillips@opubco.com Published: October 7, 2013
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On Sept. 7, 1913, The Oklahoman published an article that showcased two Dewey sisters, Lula and Blanche Rogers.

It tells of two young girls who, for a short time, pursued a law enforcement career and were quite successful.

Blanche and Lula received their commissions in 1913, but they had ridden often before that time with their father, William Grant Rogers, a deputy law enforcement officer.

The Oklahoman wrote: “These Dewey Indian Girls, 18 and 20 years old, have the distinction of being the only women in the state who have held office as deputy enforcement officers. That they have performed their duties with bravery and valor has been demonstrated on many occasions and it is probable that the two have captured and arrested more than fifty violators of the Oklahoma liquor laws in the year's time.

“The question often asked since the Rogers girls were appointed is whether or not it would be proper to allow girls to risk their lives against an element of this kind. ‘Well, if we're are not afraid, why should they worry?' one of the girls is quoted as saying.

“From the time they were little girls the Rogers sisters have accompanied their father on many trips, wherein he intended to intercept the movements of ‘stock hauler.' Once near the Kansas line the father and oldest daughter, Blanche, (Lula was actually the oldest), were driving along a road heading in the direction of Caney. This has long been known as the ‘booze trail' for it is on this road that many an officer lost his life in encounter with bad men during the territorial days.”

As Rogers and his daughter rode along in a wagon, they encountered two bootleggers. Her father carried two guns, one in a scabbard, and the other on the seat of the wagon. Blanche grabbed the gun and “got the drop on him,” and the father and daughter captured the bootleggers and their cargo and sent them to jail.