Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pawhuska - 2

The Osage were forcibly moved to the reservation before the oil was discovered, but once it was, the enterprising whites wasted no time in sucking the black ooze right out from under the feet of the tribe, with no thought of sharing with the Indians what was rightfully theirs. James Bigheart was then Osage Chief. He ran a trading post in the town of Bigheart, which was what later became Barnsdall. He not only wrote the constitution for the Osage nation, but went before Congress to win back the mineral rights belonging to his people, which he accomplished in 1906.

Chief James Bigheart's grave on the northeast edge of Barnsdall.
Another point of pride for this small town was it being the site of the “first” Boy Scout troop in America, or that is at least the claim. There are a few other troops that also make the claim to be the first, as in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. A couple of those claim to have been Boy Scout troops even before scouting was officially organized. While there are no official records to settle the disagreement, a few things we do know. Robert Baden-Powell officially organized Boy Scouts in England in August, 1907. The Pawhuska troop was chartered in May, 1909. The Rev. John F. Mitchell had worked with Lord Baden-Powell to establish the Boy Scouts organization under English charter. Rev. Mitchell was then sent by the Church of England to serve as a missionary priest in the Indian Territories, where he established a scouting troop. If the “first” claim can’t be proven, it is nonetheless amazing for a dot of a town on an Indian reservation to be on the leading edge of a youth movement that would sweep around the world.

I thought this was really neat.  The rancher had found an iron
bed headboard and incorporated it in a gate he was building.
It took a few miles on the narrow, shoulderless road to find a
place to turn the RV around, but I had to go back and get a shot
of this.  Then, it was another few miles before I could find a place
to turn around again.  I probably went ten miles out of my way
for this one picture, but I appreciated the rancher's cleverness
and artistic eye.
Pawhuska is now a very unassuming town. After the rich oil boom of the 1920’s, it went bust during the Depression. The population statistics have been in a steady decline ever since. However, it boasts a rich history with its role in the Wild West. The surrounding hills were strongholds of such people as Jesse James, Belle Star, and Bill Doolin. Bob Dalton was at one time Osage Chief of Police in Pawhuska before turning to crime when he was unable to collect past-due wages as sheriff. He joined with his three brothers to form the eight-member Dalton Gang as bank and train robbers. They also worked with their cousins, Cole, Jim, John and Bob Younger, who also worked with Frank and Jesse James. Besides being the home town of Clark Gable and Anita Bryant, cowboy star Tom Mix spent a lot of time in the area, and future president Herbert Hoover spent a couple summers in his youth staying with an uncle and aunt on the Osage reservation.  His uncle, Major Laban Miles, was then Indian agent on the reservation.

As you drive the short distance from Pawhuska to Barnsdall, you pass another page from the history of the Wild West, the site of the Battle of Wooster Mound. The Martin Gang, mainly brothers Sam and Will Martin, were wanted for murder and robbery over a five-state area. On Aug. 8, 1903, they were overtaken at Wooster Mound by U.S. Deputy Marshall Wiley G. Haines, Osage Chief of Police Warren Bennett, and Constable Henry Majors. A fierce gun battle ensued. Of the principal combatants, the Martin brothers were killed, and Marshall Haines was seriously wounded, but recovered. According to Judge Horace Speed, “No better stroke for law and order in the territory was ever struck than in wiping out the vicious Martin Gang.”


No comments:

Post a Comment