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Another rascally gringo Mexican hero

14 February 2007

As Waylon Jennings sang “She’s a good-hearted woman in love with a good-timin’ man…”

Retired bank robber Oscar Creighton, prized for his expertise with dynamite, joined the Revolution for love. Not of Villa, but for a good woman. The story is that Creighton’s girlfriend wouldn’t marry him unless he proved he could perform good, and selfless, deeds. The Mexican Revolution (and Pancho Villa) gave him a chance to put his particular skills to use for the betterment of humanity. He died heroically in battle, and after the Revolution was buried in the United States with full military honors.

That’s all I had to say on Oscar Creighton in my book . It’s a good story… a great story… but, apparently it isn’t history.  I’d run across mention of Creighton in a few books on the Pancho Villa, I think my source must have been enamoured by the story and not fact-checked this minor player in the Revolution as carefully as he should have.  

The “real story” (or, the one I found with better documentations anyway) still would make a great movie.  Creighton was a run-away husband… and bank embezzler… and Mexican hero.  His military burial was much against the wishes of the U.S. government, but coming from a good old New England family, Oscar’s story made it into a very nice geneological site, and will mean a little bit of rewriting for me.  Of well…I’ve finally got most of the draft of that book I kept putting off out to readers (thanks Mom, and your comadres whose ample time I’m taking up) and sample chapters out for review.  

So, thanks to Biography of Oscar Merrit Wheelock[alias Oscar G. Creighton] maybe I’ll have to add another paragraph or two. 

Oscar Merritt Wheelock, alias Oscar G. Creighton “the dynamite devil”, is noted for his short life of intrigue and bank robbery in the United States, followed by a burst of heroism during his short but highly publicized participation in the Mexican Revolution. His feats of courage and bravery were publicized internationally, and his efforts contributed directly to the success of the revolt. Wheelock lost his life in the Mexican Revolution, having died a hero. In 1951 he was awarded the Legion Of Honor by the Mexican government; but in the United States his acts of embezzlement and bank robbery cast him as a common criminal. The facts of this man’s life can be found in archives, newspapers, and vital records of the time; but the motives that led him to abandon a middle class life for a life of crime and war will remain a mystery forever.

So… who do you think should play Oscar in the movie?

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