In my other life, I do some digitizing of historical Oklahoma publications for our digital collections at Oklahoma Crossroads. The last one I put up was a little annual report from the Anti-Horse Thief Association from their 1917 meeting in Shawnee. One of the staff at ODL (OK Dept of Libraries, thanks Colleen) transcribed the contents so all the names, places, etc. are fully searchable from Crossroads. You might find some relatives who prevented horse stealing in Oklahoma.
The first charter of AHTA in Oklahoma Territory was granted on July 27, 1894, with headquarters in Arapaho. The sub-chapter president’s would organize posses, to track down and apprehend individuals horse stealing, and vigilance committees to observe suspected thievery. I guess we could think of them as the first neighborhood watch associations except with firearms. In 1916 AHTA had over forty thousand members in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, lllinois, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, and South Dakota. As horses gave way to cars as the chief source of transportation the need for the A.H.T.A. diminished, and eventually developed into a social and fraternal association but in 1917 it was still very much in the law enforcement business.
Part of this information was excerpted from Patrick Keen’s article in the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture Online.
Picture taken from website, The Long Riders Guild Academic Foundation, http://www.lrgaf.org/articles/ahta.htm
With following commentary: “The organization was very effective. It is stated that from 1899 to 1909 the Oklahoma AHTA recovered stolen horses and other livestock valued at $83,000. Four hundred suspected thieves were caught and 272 of them were convicted. That was just in the state of Oklahoma. ”