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Name Middleton, David Cherry "Doc", 185?-1913
Othernames Shepherd, Henry
Riley, Henry
Middleton, David Cherry
Born 185?
Notes David Cherry "Doc" Middleton came to Nebraska in the early 1870s from Arizona. Formerly known as Henry Shepherd, alias Riley, was an early-day horse thief and well known outlaw of Nebraska who became known when he organized the Hoodoo gang to get rid of vigilantes. In the middle of the 1870s he was running off livestock from the ranges of the Niobrara. He is said to have farmed with his brother Joe (or John T.) in Brown County and to have had a ranch near Mariaville, there and near Rushville, Nebraska, in the early 1880s.

His second wife, Mary Richardson, who later married again, was from Holt County, and in June of 1884 he eloped from Stuart, Nebraska, with his former wife's sister, Irene Richardson, to Neligh where they were married and later returned to O'Neill, Nebraska. He was also a saloon keeper at Gordon, Rushville, Brewster and Valentine, Nebraska. He also spent three weeks with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show in the 1890s.

Irene, his last wife was born on September 19, 1868, the daughter of Henry Richardson of Carns, Keya Paha County, Nebraska, and died at Hot Springs, South Dakota, November 13, 1911. She was buried in the Crawford, Nebraska, cemetery. She was survived by her husband; three sons, D.W. and J.W. (Wes and William) of Alliance, Henry, born in 1900; and one daughter, Ruth of Ardmore, born in 1894; and one brother, Thomas of Custer, South Dakota. Doc ran a saloon at Orin Junction, Wyoming, before his death at 69 in the Douglas, Wyoming jail of erysipelas with pneumonia complications on December 27, 1913. He was to be buried in Crawford beside his wife but because of difficulty in performing the transfer was buried "temporarily" at Douglas and moved the following Decoration Day. This never happened and he is still interred at Douglas Cemetery.
Occupation Saloon Keeper
Horse Thief
Spouse Richardson, Mary, Richardson, Irene
Children Middleton, William
Middleton, Wesley
Middleton, Ruth
Middleton, Henry
Deceased 12/27/1913

Associated Records

Image of RG0949.AM - RG0949 Riley, Paul Davis, 1936-1981

RG0949.AM - RG0949 Riley, Paul Davis, 1936-1981

The Riley collection contains large amounts of material related to the history of Nebraska and its people. There are four series: 1) Research Materials; 2) Correspondence, 1973-1975; 3) Vertical File Materials; and 4) Miscellaneous Materials. Series 1, Research Materials, encompasses over half of the entire collection. Included here are mainly transcriptions of newspaper clippings organized by subject. Substantial material can be found specifically relating to Webster County history, Willa Cather, cattle ranching, various forts, the Pawnee tribe, and the genealogy of many pioneering families. Series 2, Correspondence, 1973-75, is a small series of Rileyís letters to and from individuals

Image of RG1599.PH000011-000002 - Print, Photographic

RG1599.PH000011-000002 - Print, Photographic

Competitors in the Great Cowboy Race, including Doc Middleton. The race ran from Chadron, NE to Chicago, IL. In the background is the Blaine Hotel, in front of which the race began.

Image of RG2248.PH0-000005 - Print, Photographic

RG2248.PH0-000005 - Print, Photographic

This is a staged photo showing David "Doc" Middleton and his horse at the finish of the 1000 mile race from Chadron, Nebraska, to Chicago, Illinois. He stands next to the horse with his left hand on the saddle. In the background can be seen an artificial wooden structure with a Native American man seated on top. The "landscape" in the background is a sectionalized painted canvas showing wilderness and a sign indicating the 1000 Mile Tree.

Image of RG2248.PH0-000006 - Print, Photographic

RG2248.PH0-000006 - Print, Photographic

This image comes from a print source, and shows David "Doc" Middleton, ranch owner Chippy Lampson and a roundup cook. Middleton is on the right, while Lampson drinks coffee in the center. The image is taken at the cook site, with a fire and several dutch ovens in the foreground. In the background can be seen a chuckwagon and stage coach.

Image of RG2248.PH0-000007 - Negative, Sheet Film

RG2248.PH0-000007 - Negative, Sheet Film

This is a portrait of David "Doc" Middleton. In this image he wears a vest with a pencil sticking out of a pocket, and a large-brimmed hat. His beard is long, extending to the bottom of the photograph. His hair appears to be cropped under the hat.

Image of RG2248.PH0-000008 - Print, Photographic

RG2248.PH0-000008 - Print, Photographic

This is a portrait of David "Doc" Middleton. He is bare-headed and shows cropped hair. His beard is long and extends halfway down his chest. He is wearing a suit, but nothing about it is standing out to the viewer.

Image of RG2248.PH0-000010 - Negative, Sheet Film

RG2248.PH0-000010 - Negative, Sheet Film

This is a group studio portrait of three men. Seated are David "Doc" Middleton and Tom Moody. The third man is standing, and identified as John W. Bauer. All three are wearing hats, and the two in front have suits with vests and ties. Bauer is dressed nicely, but not wearing a suit. They are on a studio prop seat shaped like a European ruin. On the floor is a thick rug, like buffalo, but light colored. The background is a painted canvas made to look like curtains and a window.

Image of RG2248.PH0-000011 - Print, Photographic

RG2248.PH0-000011 - Print, Photographic

This is a portrait of David "Doc" Middleton. In this image he is a young man with short, cropped hair and moustache. He is looking to the left, and is wearing a very nice suit, complete with vest and tie. A tie tack is displayed below the collar. He also wears a heavy coat.

Image of RG2248.PH0-000022 - Print, Photographic

RG2248.PH0-000022 - Print, Photographic

This is a portrait of David "Doc" Middleton. In this image he is a young man aged about 20. He is wearing a suit with jacket, vest and button-up shirt without tie or cravat. A Masonic pin is visible on his vest. Doc is clean shaven and wears his hair longer than cropped, but not shoulder length.

Image of RG2248.PH0-000026 - Print, Photographic

RG2248.PH0-000026 - Print, Photographic

This is a wedding portrait showing David "Doc" Middleton and Rene Richardson, the younger sister of Mary Richardson. Doc is seated while Rene stands next to him with her right hand on his shoulder. Both are dressed nicely, and he is seated on a fancy stool. The background appears to be a plain canvas.

Image of RG2248.PH0-000027 - Print, Photographic

RG2248.PH0-000027 - Print, Photographic

This is a group studio portrait of the family of David "Doc" Middleton. The two adults are seated, and the three children are standing. Seated are: David and Rene. Standing are: William, ruth and Wesley. All are dressed in nice clothing and situated on a thick haired rug, like buffalo. The backdrop appears to be a painted canvas leaning against a wall.

RG2989.PH - Collection, Photograph

8 photographs; This collection relates to Native Americans and frontier life. This collection consists of photographic prints dating from the 1870s and 1890s and undated prints. Included are a photograph of a Native American burial ground with coffins placed on poles and a photograph of the Janis livestock herd in a valley below Camp Sheridan. There are also prints of the scout Baptiste (Big Bat) Pourier and his wife.