Friday, December 18, 2009

Amazon Women Spotted in Ozark County - Part 2

According to the story we are working through, two women, Mrs. Frank Graham & Mrs. James Crabtree, pummeled each other with stones, and then they apparently brought out Bowie knives to finish the job. In all of the articles I found, the first name of each woman was not given. Therefore, I had to find the name of each husband in the southern part of Ozark County, Missouri.

Enter the U.S. Census.


 
Mr. Frank Graham
According to the 1900 U.S. Census, I found only one Frank Graham lived in the western part in the Bayou District in Ozark County. Therefore, I must assume this is the Frank Graham referenced in the articles.

In 1900, Mr. Graham was 32 years old, single, listed as a boarder, and working as a farm laborer. Therefore, he’s got 8 years to find his wife and begin a family.

His neighbors listed in the 1900 U. S. Census were: Cowart, Hamilton, and Luna; all three are Ozark County families.



In the 1910 Census, Frank Graham is married to a Lottie Graham.  Let’s assume that’s her by our best estimation.

According to the story, James & Mariah Graham had a daughter that saw the duel who was either 3 or 10 years old. There was only one reference stating the child was only 3 years old. They have no children listed on the 1910 Census two years after the duel.  So, I checked the 1920 Census records for this daughter.


She's not there.

There are also 567 references stating the daughter was 10 years old.  Something’s wrong here.

Wait.  Did I say 567?

Yes, I did.

This wild story was published in 568 newspapers across the United States.

It’s amazing what gets published.

Now, let us get back to our sleuthing.


Mr. James Crabtree
According to the 1900 U.S. Census, we do find a Mr. Crabtree; he was living nearby in the Bridges District in Ozark County, Missouri.

He was 67 years old in 1900; this would make James 75 years old at the time of the feud…tough old knot.

James’ wife was listed as Mariah Crabtree.

James & Mariah were married in 1875


This would make James about 43 years old and Mariah 21 years old at the time of their nuptials.
Their age difference may seem a little unusual, but it’s not uncommon.

In addition, Mariah was listed as 45 years old in 1900; therefore, this would make Mariah about 53 years old at the time of the feud.



Shooting From the Hip
By best estimation, Mariah was probable one of the women participating in the fight.

Conflicting Evidence
Not everything is smooth and clean in this story. For example, some columns stated a three-year-old daughter was at the scene of the carnage. Yet, another claim stated the adolescent was a ten-year-old girl. Plus, I could not find her.

I had also surmised Mr. James Crabtree was Mariah Crabtree from the census. If she was killed, surely I could find her grave in southern Ozark County. That’s what I attempted to do. I went to the Mammoth Cemetery because I thought I remembered seeing a Crabtree gravestone there. A Crabtree was listed, but she’s not there.

How about the Isabella Cemetery? No good.

Then I happened to look in the Pontiac Cemetery. Lo and behold…there was Mariah Crabtree, but her date of death is not in 1908.

She was born April 2, 1855, and died March 11, 1931.

Conclusion
It’s got to be two things.

Either we have the wrong Mrs. Frank Crabtree, or the newspapers were wrong in stating the facts of this vicious crime.

I’m picking…the newspapers have a windbag of a story, and it’s the right Mrs. Frank Crabtree.

The Light Comes On
After working through some of these discrepancies, I started looking for newspaper retractions for further developments on this story.

This was allegedly to be an unbelievable felony.

A trial should quickly ensue.

We have motherless children, and a grieving 75 year old man. - This is not good in 1908.  An old man with children needs a wife to survive.

Nevertheless, I had zilch to show on the contrary. No results. Nothing I had nothing for four weeks.

What really happened?

I was at a standstill.

Until…




Ta-Dah !!!
Hallelujah!   Hello Nebraska.    So, there it is.

The answer had eluded me; there was only one retraction.

Only one newspaper said, “Oops.” “The duel was grossly exaggerated.” I examined and reread later newspaper editions for an apology for this editorial gaffe and blunder to no avail. This story had grown to unknown proportions; it was a grand read in the imaginations of the masses.

Is the truth still out there?

Yes.

Do I know it all?  No, but I’m getting there. 

Did sister-in-laws fight. Probably.

Was it bad?  Probably.

To the death?  No.

Even so, the consequences are rarely weighed when one profits at the expense of another. That is the bitter root in our hearts when wealth is placed over the welfare of our neighbor, rumors and gossip entangle our affairs, and the facts are glossed over in the printed page.  That is the bitter root in our hearts when wealth is placed over the welfare of our neighbor, rumors and gossip entangle our affairs, and the facts are glossed over in the printed page. 

Through the reflection of our past, let us embrace our flaws and triumphs, and give full evidence of our heritage.
May we all look at each other…
         knowing we all need redemption from our Father in Heaven…
                        giving allegiance to the Truth, even to our hurt…
                                 and chronicle new chapters of our Ozarks’ History.

Works Cited
“A Woman Duelist.” Lowell Sun 61.72 (23 Nov. 1908): 16. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Nov. 2009 http://access.newspaperarchive.com/.

“A Woman Duelist.” Quincy Daily Journal 26.64 (24 Nov. 1908): 2. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Nov. 2009 http://access.newspaperarchive.com/.

“Amazons Fight a Bloody Duel.” Logansport Reporter (25 Nov. 1908): 3. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Nov. 2009 http://access.newspaperarchive.com/.

“Farmers’ Wives Fight Duel With Bowie Knives.” San Francisco Call 104.176 (23 Nov. 1908): 4. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Nov. 2009 http://access.newspaperarchive.com/.

“Fight Was Not Fatal.” Nebraska State Journal 29 (23 Nov. 1908). Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Nov. 2009 http://access.newspaperarchive.com/.

Luna, Stella; Beulah Martin, Pearlie Poe. Headstone Inscriptions from 25 Ozark County Cemeteries. Gainesville: Ozark County Times, 1985.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Bayou, Ozark, Missouri; Roll T623_880; Page: 5B; Enumeration District 91.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Bridges, Ozark, Missouri; Roll T623_880; Page: 18A; Enumeration District 92.


Year: 1910; Census Place: Jasper, Ozark, Missouri; Roll T624_804 Page: 4B; Enumeration District 135; Image 468.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Bayou, Ozark, Missouri; Roll T624_804 Page: 16A; Enumeration District 132; Image 397.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Bridges, Ozark, Missouri; Roll T625_936; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 148; Image: 1002.

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