Capt. Francis Marion “Dave” Pool After the War
By Nancy B. Samuelson
Dave Pool and his exploits during and immediately after the Civil War are familiar to most students of James-Younger gang history. However, little seems to be known about Dave and his life after the war. Some history states that he went to Texas and became a wealthy cattleman. He reportedly lost most of his money then moved on to Arizona and died there in 1899.
MISSOURI – MONTANA – TEXAS
More information is now coming to light about Dave Pool and his brothers Christopher Columbus (usually C. C. Pool) and John A. Pool. C.C. served in the war too, but mostly with a Texas Partisan Unit. Brother, John, served with Quantrill and went just about everywhere Dave did during the war. All three brothers returned to Lafayette County, Missouri after the war and remained there for a short time. Then eventually, all three brothers ended up as well- to-do cattlemen in Texas. Dave did move on to Arizona and may have spent some time in New Mexico, as well.
Dave stayed around the Lafayette County area for some time, but by 1873, he is in Montana. Brother C. C. Pool received a letter from Dave, who is said to be in Montana in the cattle trade. Dave reported he was doing well and that he was getting “fat and sassy” on grisly [sic] and antelope. He also promised to send his little nephew a juvenile grisly [sic] for a pet. (TWC March 29, 1873)
In August 1874, Dave is back in Lafayette County. He served on a committee for a public picnic in the area, and he signed a letter endorsing Alexander Graves, Esq. for County Attorney. (TWC August 1, 1874) Later in the year, Dave is visiting his brother and friends in Carroll County, Missouri. John Pool was now living in Carroll, County. (TWC December 26, 1874)
Dave was confined to his room in May of 1875, so he must have been ill. But by July, it was reported that Dave had left for the western border of Kansas, on the look-out for some good kine (cattle). The newspaper quipped, “Dave, are you going to start a dairy?” (TWC May 15, and July 17, 1875)
Later in 1875, Dave is back in the Lexington area and was en route for Waverly, Missouri. He was said to be a full-fledged partner in the metallic weather strip, lately patented by Hogman & Shomate. Capt. Pool was to depart for England in the spring to solicit orders for the weather stripping. (LWI November 20, 1875) No evidence has yet been found that Dave went to England.
Early in 1878, Dave is back in Lexington, and it was reported that he now owned a cattle ranch in Texas. The paper also stated that Dave would take a wife back with him. (LT, February 15, 1878) The news of marriage was not accurate, as he did not marry until later. In March 1879 one A.W. Hilliard sent a lengthy letter to the Lexington Weekly Intelligencer from Taylor County, Texas. He discussed the finer points of settling in Texas and said many Missourians were now living there. He mentioned both Capt. Dave Pool and his brother Capt. C.C. Pool. He said that Dave had passed through his area on the way to Sweetwater. Dave had said that neither Comanche, Kiowa nor Yonkaway [sic] squaw could capture him. The only squaw to whom he would surrender alive lived in “Old Lafayette.” Dave was to leave soon for New Mexico, where he had a ranch and a fine herd of cattle. (LWI March 29, 1879) The following month a Texas newspaper reported that Dave Pool of Quantrill’s band flourishes at Coleman, Texas. (TWDS April 1879)
A TEXAS LONG-HORN
In 1881, Dave was again visiting in his home state. Both Dave and C.C. Pool visited the newspaper office, and the editor said he had received a regular “long-horn” visit. The paper also mentioned that C.C. Pool had moved to Texas several years ago. C.C. had grown to immense physical proportions and had a thriving cattle business. C.C. was back with his wife and was visiting friends and family. Both of the Pool brothers returned to Texas within the next few days. (LWI February 5 & 12, 1881) The following month Sam Redd, who had been absent from Lexington for seven years, also visited the newspaper. He was accompanied by J. L Peacock, another ranchman. These men discussed recent cattle deals that concerned Dave Pool. Pool & Redd and W. A. Redd and Peacock & Bros. had sold ranches, horses and 5,730 head of cattle for the sum of $95,500. They had sold because they were about to overstock their ranges. They have now organized a company J. M. Peacock & Co. with capital of $150,000 and will establish a ranch in northwestern Texas. These gentlemen were to leave the next day to join J. H. Peacock and Capt. Dave Pool. The newspaper staff wished the men success. (LWI March 12, 1881)
In the summer of 1881, Dave Pool attended a reunion of ex-confederates in Dallas, Texas. Dave served as an assistant marshal for the event, and his residence was said to be in Tom Green County, Texas. Other well-known Missouri Confederates also attended including Gen. Francis Marion “F.M.” Cockrell, Col. Jeremiah Vardeman “J. V.” Cockrell and Col. Sidney D. “S.D.” Jackman. Col. Jackman now lived in San Marcos, Texas. (TDWH August 11, 1881) In December Capt. Dave Pool was back in Lexington. The paper said he likes “long horn” in summer, but when winter arrives he prefers to come to old Lafayette and spend the evenings among God’s people. (LWI December 10, 1881)
MARRIAGE TO LORA M. KIRTLEY
In January 1882, it becomes clear why Dave is back in Lafayette this time. Mr. and Mrs. William & Elizabeth Shelby Kirtley announced the marriage of their daughter Lora M. to F.M. Poole on January 24, 1882. The editor thought friends might not recognize Dave under his proper initials and added that the gentleman concerned was Capt. Dave Poole. The bride is described as one of the fairest and best of Lafayette County’s women. (LWI January 21, 1882) A week later the newspaper devoted almost a full column to a lavish description of the wedding. Many guests are named, dresses are described, and many of the gifts are listed and described. One gift of note was the paw of a bear that was killed by Capt. Matt Ham in Texas two weeks before. General Jo Shelby and some other notables attended the wedding. The happy couple would remain in the Lexington area for four or five weeks and then return to their home in Colorado City, Texas. (LWI January 28, 1882)
VISIT WITH FRANK JAMES
In December 1882 Dave Pool is back in Lexington and in January 1883 he makes a visit to Frank James in the Independence jail; he spent an hour or two visiting with Frank. Dave is now said to be a resident of Texas and worth a million dollars. He is described as of commanding appearance and wearing a beard reaching to his knees. (RD December 28, 1882, and TBWT January 31, 1883)
In February 1883, J. A. Peacock and Capt. Redd are again visiting in the Lexington area. Again their cattle companies are mentioned as J. A. and J.C. Peacock, Capt. David Pool, S. B. Redd and W. A. Redd. These men have now invested in a new bank that is to be open for business in a few days. The bank will have capital Stock of $15,000. W. A. Redd is the vice president of the new bank. Dave Pool is not listed as a member of the bank staff, but he is likely an investor in the firm. The location is said to be Colorado, Texas. (This is the Colorado National Bank of Colorado City, Texas.)(LWI February 3, 1883)
There are other developments in Dave Pool’s life at this time. The newspaper reminded readers that at Capt. F.M. Poole’s marriage they mentioned a unique gift of a bear’s foot sent by a friend. The paper now says that on St. Valentine’s Day, this week, the singular coincidence occurs that he has been presented with two bare feet, those of a hale and hearty little son. (LWI February 17, 1883) In March, the Pools and some of Mrs. Pool’s relatives returned to Colorado City, Texas. (LWI March 31, 1883) In August Capt. Pool and family were again visiting from Colorado, Texas. Dave is to attend the ex-confederate reunion at Jefferson City. Mrs. Pool is visiting her family. Dave has been called to Gallatin for the Frank James trial the previous week. (RD August 30, 1883) Several Texas newspapers also noted that Dave Pool had been called as a witness in Frank James trial in August 1883.
In May 1885, a Mr. Joseph B. Silver returned to the Lexington, Missouri area after a cattle buying trip to Texas. Dave Poole entertained Mr. Silver royally while Silver was in Colorado City, Texas. Silver said Pool was now banking at that place. The Pools had an elegant house and two splendid babies. Pool also treated Mr. Silver to an airing behind Pool’s spanking team of horses. (LWI May 30, 1885)
On September 30, 1897, the Mexico Weekly Ledger (Mexico, Missouri) had a long article about Quantrill and his men. The report states that Dave Pool was now living in Arizona. The Arizona Republican, July 13, 1898, said, “Captain Dave Poole, whose military experience was acquired more than a generation ago, was in town yesterday wanting to enlist for the war in the capacity of Troop A, Arizona Cavalry.”
In June of 1899 newspapers all around the country announced the death of Dave Pool in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Dave died on June 3, 1899 at age 61. One newspaper reported that Dave had become security for a large debt for friends and because of this he had lost the greater part of his fortune. He had been undaunted by this and began anew in Arizona and before his death had amassed a considerable fortune again. (OGB June 24, 1899) When Frank James learned of Dave Pool’s death, he said, “I can hardly believe it. I knew Dave Poole well, and I want to say that God never made a truer soul, and no man was a stauncher friend than he. When he was once your friend he was always your friend, and he didn’t go around feeling the pulse of the public to find out how you stood with other people. He stuck to you through thick and thin, good and evil report.” (TBWT June 8, 1899)
Dave’s family remained in Arizona and continued in the ranching and farming business. His wife married again but divorced her husband, Ernest A. Panknin, on grounds of desertion in 1920. (AR June 30, 1920) Dave’s daughter, Willie Elizabeth, married Claude Marlar in Phoenix in June 1906. The couple planned to make their home in California but soon returned to Arizona, and Claude was in the cattle business. (AR June 17, 1906) Claude died of heat prostration in August 1915. (AR August 21, 1915) For some time after that Willie appears to be living with her mother and brother, Francis Marion “Frank”, on the family ranch near Scottsdale, Arizona. The family is frequently mentioned in the Scottsdale news items in the Arizona Republican. Willie Elizabeth later married Frank L. Criswell. Frank Criswell died in 1928; Lora M. Kirtley Pool Panknin died in 1934; Francis Marion “Frank” Pool died in 1940, and Willie Elizabeth died in 1977. The entire family is buried at the Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery in Phoenix. Dave Pool was first buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Phoenix. However, he now rests beside his family in the Greenwood Cemetery.
TWC The weekly Caucasian (Lexington, Missouri)
LWI Lexington Weekly Intelligencer (Lexington, Missouri)
LT Liberty Tribune (Liberty, Missouri)
TWDS The Weekly Democratic Statesman ( Austin, Texas)
TDWH The Dallas Weekly Herald (Dallas, Texas)
RD Richmond Democrat (Richmond, Missouri)
TBWT The Butler Weekly Times (Butler, Missouri)
OGB Oak Grove Banner (Oak Grove, Missouri)
AR Arizona Republican (Phoenix, Arizona)
This article is published simultaneously in the James-Younger Gang Journal, Volume 23, Issue 1, March 2016