Monday, June 28, 2010

There’s Trouble Across the Line - Part 3

After Bill Naves' acquittal in Mountain Home, Arkansas, he was taken to West Plains, Missouri, and convicted of assault of Jerry Jenkins in Ozark County, Missouri. Why West Plains? He needed an impartial jury. It was pretty tough to find one in Ozark County. When the trail was held at West Plains, people assembled near the courthouse and camped through the end of the trial. The count was over 60 buckboards & wagons at the campsite.

In this next article, we find Bill Naves in the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri. He had time to think things over and wrote a letter to the citizens of Baxter County, Arkansas. The Baxter Bulletin ran it as a front page story. Is this the classic version of "Jailhouse Religion?"

You be the Judge.

October 2, 1903
Dear Boys and Girls – Will you please listen to the appeals of a prison friend. If I do not remember but too well my feelings at this time of my life I could not now believe that any poor wretched human being could carry his pride of heart and stubborn rebellion against God to such a pitch as I have. I have spent my whole time in society of wicked and thoughtless men, and turned a deaf ear to the remonstrances of my real friends. There are many who expressed the deepest sympathy with me in my sorrows and made many vain efforts to recall me to a sense of my duty, but I disregarded all their kind exhortations, and always answered, “What is the use of me trying to do right?” But such a state of things could not last long as you all know I was thrown in prison. The, indeed, my cup of sorrow was full. I cannot tell what I might have become while here in prison had I been left altogether to myself. For all men seemed to have forgotten me entirely, but God had not deserted me – he had pity on me in my troubles.

But still my heart was untouched. I had not shrunk from God’s providence for oppressing an innocent man as I call myself, cannot but feel that this new misfortune was the consequence of my own folly. I was now forced to listen to the gentle appeals of my Savior, and so one kind jailer, Wilson Hudson, gave me a New Testament, and persuaded me to meditate prayerfully upon the epistle to the Romans, and when he left me I thought to myself there could be very little good in my reading the book he had gave me, for I had read it and heard it preached so much until I thought I knew pretty well what it contained, and I did not expect to find anything in it that I did not know.

Accordingly I left it unopened for several days, and it was only to divert my melancholy thoughts that I at length for the want of anything else to read, opened the Testament and began to read the epistle to the Romans. “Is this the same epistle that I used to read?” was my first thought when I had read a few verses. It was the same, word for word, there was no alterations in the book, but since I last read it I myself had undergone a change. Since that time I had passed through the rough school of adversity and experience of some few years had shown me more than I knew of the corruptions of my own heart. When I read the words that “Every mouth may be stopped and all world may become guilty before God.” Rom. III, 19, I was filled with terror, and to this was added and overwhelming sense of the infinite majesty of God, whose goodness and justice I so had lately dared to question. Then came the passage “For God hath concluded them in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” Oh, the depth of the riches both of wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out. “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his councilors, or who hath first been given to him and it shall be recompensed unto him again, for of him and through him and to him are all things to whom be glory forever. Amen. Rom. xi., 32-36. Upon this ray of hope dawned upon my heart and I cried out with emotion: “O God, since thou hast mercy on all who come to thee, have mercy also on me.” Little by little my heart was softened and tears of true repentance streamed from my eyes. I then knelt down by my cot and prayed with much earnest that God would carry on the good work he had begun in me, and as prayed I was deeply affected, and at last I, too, called aloud to God for mercy. This cry was not in vain. The peace of God descended upon my heart and I was enabled to believe in the possibility of obtaining pardon for all my sins through faith in a crucified Savior.

After this I found myself in a much happier frame of mind. I acknowledged that I had been a miserable sinner and but for the infinite mercy of the Most High, I must have perished in my sins. I saw now that all my misfortunes had been really a token of the loving kindness and tender mercy of him who willeth not the death of the sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live. The word of God which for so many years had been a dead letter to me have now become a source of sweet and live-giving nourishment to my soul, and now I spend the greater part of my time while here in prison in reading and meditating upon the precious volume, and now I think I have a few friends who are interested in my behalfand I hope it won’t be long till I will be at liberty. I will be glad to be once more a free man, but I cannot regret imprisonment as it was in the prison that I had been led to acknowledge God and now I often read the fifth commandment: “Honor thy father and mother that thy days may be long in the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

He who honors and consequently obeys his parents has a promise here of a long and happy life, not indeed of eternal life, to gain which he must honor God and keep his commandments; that is he converted and have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, for this is his commandment, and if we neglect this we may lead a long and prosperous life here and yet lose our life hereafter. He who on the contrary disobeys his parents cannot be happy and successful in his earthly career, although he may by sincere repentance and faith obtain forgiveness of God for his Savior’s sake and everlasting happiness. I am now nearly 28 years of age and beginning to feel a wondering life, I now resolve to retire from my career and return to my dear mother who longs to see her disobedient son, and to devote my remaining years to preparation for life eternal and glory of God who has led me in such a wonderful manner to him. I have passed through so much during my 28 years, wandering about the world I have endured so many troubles and received so many undeserved blessings and although God has shown himself good and gracious.

Now I hope all the boys and girls who read this will think over the words of St. Paul, Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long on the earth. Ephs. vi., 1-3, and learn from this narrative that every act of willful disobedience to a parent’s command is a sin against God, which he is sure to punish. Ah! Just look what hangs over my head by my disobedience. I am guiltless of this charge, and may God discover the truth and bring to light my stainless integrity. Think what it is to die for a crime you never committed. To be cut off the bloom of youth and glow of love and glory of fame, to be forced violently from this dear life and warm sunshine and bright world of affections and aspiring hopes, and to be crowded down to the darksome grave to suffer a public and shameful death, and leave behind a dishonored name, who had just reached the acme of all his toils and hopes and aspirations to be suddenly struck down, down, down.
End of Article
Comments? My email address is:
There’s Trouble Across the Line - Part 4...Coming Soon.

Work Cited:
“Reflections of Will Naves.” Baxter Bulletin 2.41 (02 Oct. 1903) A1-1, 6, 7. Baxter County Microfilm Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009.

Monday, June 21, 2010

There’s Trouble Across the Line - Part 2

Court Time
Now, after our Father's Day Break, let’s take a look into the court proceedings of William “Bill” Naves.  In our There’s Trouble Across the Line - Part 1 post, we discovered  Bill Naves from Ozark County, Missouri, in a heap of trouble in being accused of murder. This first article is the first court proceedings Bill will face.

                    18 September, 1903
Baxter county circuit court convened Monday morning, Judge Meeks presiding.

The forenoon was spent charging the grand jurors, and on account of the speaking in the afternoon court was adjourned till Tuesday morning.

Wednesday Morning the case of State vs. Will Naves was called. The forenoon and the greater portion of the afternoon was consumed in securing a grand jury. At 3:05 the last one of the twelve men was secured and the attorney for the prosecution called their witnesses, and after they had taken their oath they were placed under rule and the state began its side of the case. The state has about 45 witnesses while the defense has about 35 or 40 witnesses.

At this time the Bulletin Boys will say nothing as to the innocence or guilt of the man on trial for his life, as we might say something that would be out of place at this time, but leave it with the 12 men who are sworn to give him a fair and impartial trial. The following is the jury: G. W. Brooks, R. S. Hurst, Isom Stinnett, J. O. Leonard, W. T. Talbert, J. C. Wheat, John W. Baker, N. A. Tucker, J. P. Wheat, L. S. Talbert, A. H. Hite, and F. L. Cole.

End of Article
The Next Week
100 Years Ago, the wheels of justice turned swiftly.

25 Sept. 1903
The grand jury of Baxter county in the name and by the authority of the state of Arkansas, accuse Will Naves of the crime of murder in the first degree, committed as follows to-wit: The said Will Naves in the county and state aforesaid, on the 23rd day of July, 1902, did unlawfully, feloniously, willfully maliciously, deliberately, of his malice aforethought, and with premeditation, make assault upon one Frank Lantz, being then and there living in the peace of the state, with a certain gun had and held in the hands of him, the said Will Naves, and said gun being then and there loaded with powder and leaded bullets, and shot, and him, the said Frank Lantz the said Will Naves did then and there unlawfully, feloniously, willfully maliciously, deliberately of his malice aforethought, and with premeditation, then and there, kill and murder by then and there shooting him with the gun loaded, had and held as aforesaid, inflicting on the Frank Lantz’s head, body, arms and legs, forty wounds and five mortal wounds, of which the said rank Lantz then and there did die, against the peace and dignity of the state of Arkansas.
P. H. Crenshaw,
Prosecuting Attorney

Such was the indictment against Will Naves as he entered the court room last week, there to learn his fate. The twelve men who were selected to give him a fair trial were closely questions by the shrewd lawyers for both the prosecution and defense, and every inch of the ground was closely contested from start to finish.

All through the process of the trial the courtroom was packed by people who listened with bated breath to every word of testimony. Many expressed sympathy for the man while others were eager to condemn.

Thursday afternoon the lawyers began their plea to the jury, and never before have we listened to such pleading, now eloquent now dramatic with pathos, following each other in such a masterful way that at times one could almost hear the pitiful sobs of the mother as she wept for her erring boy. But pity and sympathy must not find lodgment in the heart of the one sworn to try a case on the law and evidence. The prosecution closed their argument Friday night and the jury retired to find a verdict. After being out an hour they returned and were turned over to the sheriff until morning, when they again retired to the jury room. After deliberating all day Saturday until about 5:30 they finally reached a verdict – “We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty.”

Such was the verdict returned by the men selected for the purpose and Bill Naves stood before the world once more free.

When the verdict was read, many took Naves by the hand and congratulated him and that he had been saved from a death on the gallows, while some thought he should have hung.

Be that as it may the verdict has been rendered, the courts have pronounced him innocent and by that decision we must abide. Whether Bill Naves is guilty or innocent of the crime of murder only he and his Maker know, and so it will have to stand until he reaches that court where he shall receive the sentence of eternal damnation or peace forever at God’s right hand.

That Bill Naves has been saved from the gallows we are glad. Not that we want to see justice defeated should he have been guilty, but because we are opposed to taking human life to satisfy the law that the crime of murder might be avenged. While we do not oppose as Christians or critics, we fail to see how those who profess to be Christians can demand a man hang for murder. They hold up their hands in holy horror at lying, stealing, blaspheming, adultery, etc., yet they clamor for the life of a man who is charged with murder. Has not God lain down a commandment that far surpasses the Ten Commandments, when He said: “Take that not from him which ye cannot give.” You can take a man’s liberty and restore it, but you cannot restore life.

We do not wish to be taken a upholding murder; on the contrary we wish every murderer to receive the most severest punishment, but “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”

William Naves is a young man, scarcely 28 years of age; a bright, intelligent looking fellow, and does not look the hardened criminal or villain that some would prove him to be. He has served a term in the Missouri pen for cattle stealing and, of course, this speaks against him, but let us all hope that he may yet become a man among men, a credit to those with whom he may come in contact and be a blessing and help to his widowed mother in her declining years. “He was my friend and brother who had mercy on me.”
End of Article
Comments? My email address is:
There’s Trouble Across the Line - Part 3...Coming Soon
Works Cited:
“Baxter County Circuit Court September Term, 1903.” Baxter Bulletin 2.52 (25 Sept. 1903) A1-1. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009.
“Circuit Court.” Baxter Bulletin 2.52 (18 Sept. 1903) A1-1. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Dad

This is a tribute to my dad, J. R. Anderson.
In every kid’s mind, they want to believe their dad is better than anyone else’s. I realize prejudice and love is in the eye of the beholder. Yet, many times I never realized the treasure I have had in my father. I am blessed because he is still with me today...a confidant & friend.

I remember the times as a little kid my Dad would come home from building houses in Ozark County. He would walk up the driveway and ask me to open his lunchbox. Among the used sandwich wraps & coffee thermos bottle would be a nickel size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. To me…it was a priceless treasure and reminder that my dad was always thinking of me and loved me.

I will always remember our walks in the Ozark County woods, Lick Creek, Possum Walk Creek, T Highway, and Mammoth Cemetery. Dad taught me how hunt, trap, and fish. I love reminiscing about our evenings at Mearl Anderson’s General Store and pouring peanuts in our RC Cola for a sweet & salty snack. (If you’ve never tried this…give it a whirl.) I still treasure his stories of his days growing up in Mammoth and taking me as a kid to all of my living great uncles & aunts to hear their stories. He inspired me with his experiences of boot camp & infantry training so much I joined the Air Force.

I have seen him take some hard punches of life’s circumstances and still remain faithful to God and Mom. He has seen me at my best and in some of the woefully worst predicaments. Nevertheless, his love has been unchanging. As a child he taught me how to trust, love live, and die. It was always faith in Jesus.

Dad mentioned to me yesterday that he would be turning 70 next February, and Eternity is inching closer every day. In that moment, I realized how precious time is. I am a 44 year old guy, and my heart broke in realizing he will not always be here. I had the chance to hug my Daddy’s neck once more and tell him how much I love him...which I will never be ashamed to do.

I’m Blessed.

I Love You Dad.

Happy Father’s Day.

My little brother Tim, Dad, and Me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

There’s Trouble Across the Line - Part 1

We've Got Trouble
When trouble comes  knocking, the stink it raises easily follows this perpetrator in the Ozarks. This is the fiasco that transpired for William "Bill" Naves from Ozark County, Missouri. His doom traveled across the Missouri & Arkansas state-line including the counties of: Ozark, Howell, Baxter, and Marion respectively. To many residents at the time, it seemed as a debacle of justice due to the influence of money. Nevertheless, the pendulum of justice finally swung.

This will be a multiple post in order to get a better glimpse of the story. I will display newspaper articles that chronicled the events from accusation, trials, imprisonment, self justification, and pleas. I ask you, dear reader, to hold your judgment until the final installment...there are 5 in all. I have held on to this story for over two years, and I have vacillated finding Bill Naves from guilty, to falsely accused, to innocent, to my finial verdict. What’s my final verdict? I will withhold until that until the last post.

As a warning in reading these posts, some will be long and a bit arduous. Some of the spelling and grammar is not current with today’s standards. Some sentences are extremely…extremely long. I have endeavered to type everything word for word, even though I had the urge to change a comma, verb tense, spelling, and catipalization. Nevertheless, it all tells an interesting story of life in the Ozarks a little over 100 years ago.

We will first start with the news article from the 2nd of July, 1904, that first caught my attention. Then, we will go back a little further in time to 1902 in other posts to see what really transpired in bringing about this story in 1904. Later on, we will look at follow-up stories up till 1907.

Enjoy a Slice of Your History.

2 July, 1904 -
Rather than face an Arkansas jury and stand trial for shooting a neighbor farmer Bill Naves, one of the most desperate men the Ozark region ever produced, decided to serve a sentence of four years in the Missouri penitentiary.  Naves was convicted at the January term of the Howell county circuit court of felonious assault. He was sentenced to four years in the penitentiary and pending a hearing by the supreme court has been out on bond.  A few days ago, when the Arkansas authorities secured a requisition from Governor Dockery for Naves, the mountaineer chose the smaller of the two evils.

Scarcely twenty-eight years old, Naves has led a reckless life.  His home is near Pontiac, in Ozark county, where for a number of years he has resided with his invalid mother and two sisters.  When only twenty-one years old Naves was convicted of cattle stealing, an offense more serious in the Ozark region than any other crime.  For this breach of mountain law he served a term in the penitentiary and then returned home.

Naves has a number of well to do relatives in Ozark county.  One of these had several hundred head of cattle running on the range, and frequently a steer would be found with a horn missing or a tail cut off.  These acts of vandalism continued until the owner of the cattle remarked that "he was going to turn Bill Naves loose on the guilty parties."  On the evening of July 3, 1901, a man on a gray horse rode from the timber country on North Fork.  Within an hour two men fell at the doors of their homes and a boy lay dead on the ground. Bill Naves was accused of the crime.

The first person shot on the wild night raid was Ike Lantz, whose home is in Marion county, Ark.  He was called to his gate just at dusk and found Bill Naves on a gray horse.  As Lantz came to the gate Naves slowly turned the horse until the muzzle of a shotgun resting across the pommel of his saddle was opposite Lantz's body.  There was a sudden report, and Lantz fell to the ground badly wounded.  Naves then put spurs to his horse and rode away.

Lantz sent his son, Frank Lantz, twelve years old, to the home of his uncle, Samuel Hillhouse, a mile distant, just over the state line in Baxter county, Ark., to tell of the shooting.  The boy found Hillhouse and his wife in the barnyard milking.  Just as he began telling his story he saw a gray horse standing behind a cedar tree nearby.  Thinking it was Naves, all ran for the farmhouse.  The boy was in the rear.  Suddenly a shot rang out, and Frank Lantz fell dead at the door of the cabin.

It was scarcely dark when Jerry Jenkins, living in Ozark county, about two miles from the scene of the shooting of the Lantz boy, was called to his door.  As Jenkins stepped outside someone shot him in the breast with a load of bird shot.  Jenkins says it was Naves who did it, for he recognized his voice when he called and saw him shoot.

When the news of these tragedies became known, Naves was a much wanted man. He fled into Arkansas and hid among the caves and hills of North Fork.  Finally he gave himself up to the authorities of Baxter county.  For a year he was in the Baxter county jail at Mountain Home awaiting trial for killing the Lantz boy. His trial was a memorable one, and he was acquitted, "because no tangible evidence.”

Then came Marion county authorities, who wanted Naves for shooting Ike Lantz, father of the murdered boy.  Naves was taken to Yellville, but his wealthy relatives secured his release on bond.  Upon his return to Ozark county Naves was arrested by the authorities there for the shooting of Jerry Jenkins.  Again his relatives came to the rescue with their wealth and influence.

Public sentiment in Ozark County was against Naves.  His attorneys took the case to Howell county on a change of venue.  When it came up for trial in January more than 100 witnesses were in attendance.  All had made the journey of sixty miles in covered wagons, many bringing utensils and victuals, prepared to camp a week or longer.  The trial was the greatest known in history in southern Missouri. Naves was found guilty of felonious assault and sentenced four years in the penitentiary.  An appeal was granted to the supreme court, and pending the appeal Naves was released on bond. He returned to his Ozark county home.  When the Arkansas case against Naves was called at Yellville, he did not appear for the trial.  His bond was declared forfeited.  Then the Arkansas authorities secured from the governor Dockery a requisition and started after Naves.  The fear of facing a jury in Marion county mountaineers caused Naves to conclude that four years in the Missouri penitentiary was preferable to a term on the Arkansas convict farm or in a coal mine.


Comments? My email address is:
There’s Trouble Across the Line - Part 2...Coming Soon

Works Cited:

“His Record Desperate.” Logansport Pharos 29. (12 July, 1904) 7. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Nov. 2009.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ozark County Safe Cracking

 Cunning plans and swift crime in a flash gun powder leaves Ozark County in the search of 3 yeggmen. What are yeggmen? It’s a slang term for criminals who are a safecrackers or burglars.

Enjoy a Slice of History.

Daring Robbery in Ozark County, Mo, —
The County's Money and $700 of
Private Funds Made Away With.
ST. Louis, Mo., February 27.—Burglars did a very successful and profitable job of safe-blowing at Gainesville, county seat of Ozark county, just before daylight Friday morning. The place is remote from rail and wire communication, which accounts for the fact that the news of the crime was not given to the outside world until today, when a messenger brought the news to Springfield, whence it was telegraphed to your correspondent.

Gainesville is an exceedingly quiet town of 1500 inhabitants, and on the night in question, had it not been for the fact that John Gibson had the toothache, not a person in the place, except the robbers, would have been awake at the time of the robbery. Mr. Gibson was nursing his jaw at about 3:30 a. m., when he was startled by an explosion that shook the building he was in, and made him think an earthquake had occurred.

Frightened into complete, forgetfulness of his toothache, he hurried to the door to learn what had happened. From where he was standing he had a clear view of the rear door of Wood & Reed's store, and seeing a bright light there he surmised that there was the seat of trouble. He ran in that direction, and by the time he reached the place many others who had been awakened by the report joined him, and each was asking the other what had happened.

J. R. Reed of the firm of Wood & Reed is the county treasurer. He had his office in a rear room of the store building, and in the safe there kept the county funds. That this had been the object of attack by the robbers, and that they had made a good haul, was plainly to be seen. In the treasurer’s office was the safe, now a battered, broken mass of ruins. The burglars had pried or broken in the back door, which opens into the store, and had drilled a hole in the top of the safe, first removing a lot of books which were stacked on top. After drilling the hole they used, it seems, a large quantity of shut-gun powder.

The heavy door of the safe was blown ten feet against the wall, moving a studding back several inches, which broke the force some, then pitched down, cutting its way through a stout floor. The clock in the store stopped at 3:30 a. m. The tin box containing the county's money was blacked and burst asunder. In drilling, the drill passed through some deeds. The paper money belonging to the county was kept in a large pocket-book in the tin or iron box.

That pocketbook is gone, but a smaller one belonging to J. R. Reed was rifled of its contents and left. Scattered over the floor was some change in silver, which was powder-blackened. The burglars got hammers and hatchets at a blacksmith's shop nearby, and had also provided themselves with rocks, The robbers got something over $13,000 of the county's money, and $700 in cash belonging to the firm of Wood & Reed.

The sheriff, with a posse of men, started immediately in pursuit. Tracks of two men were found in a field west of the town, one being made by a No. 10 boot, the other by a No. 7 shoe with low heel. Last reports were that the sheriff was following in hot pursuit and was about half a mile behind them, near Mountain Home, Ark. They are supposed to be three in number, two on horseback, the other man walking, having made inquiries about a horse that got away from him.

Work Cited:
"Burglars Get $13,700." Boston Daily Globe 31.59 (28 Feb., 1887) 1. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 4 May 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bravery & Death

Working in a library, I am blessed to have the opportunity to review so many books. There are some books that should receive merit & credit even after their debut. One book that I would like to highlight is A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas : being an account of the early settlements, the Civil War, the Ku-Klux, and times of peace by William Monks. It is edited and has an introduction by John F. Bradbury, Jr. and Lou Wehmer.

This book gives a graphic glimpse of tough people in tough times.

For those who are not faint of heart, I encourage you to check out the book. Why do I say the phrase "faint of heart?" Well…there are Civil War photos that could mess with your mind, such as bushwhackers cutting out a man's heart after a raid in Ozark County, Missouri.

If you ever get confused on your loyalties of which side was on the right? This will add to the conundrum.

Nevertheless, I will let you read a small excerpt from this graphic book.  If you do not have access to a library, it can also be read on the Internet for free at Google Books at this link at:

One a slightly lighter side
The following article is a glimpse of Ozark life in Marion County, Arkansas. When the author refers to The Nation, please refer to my past blog of the Old Ozark Plateau Map...Here. He was talking about the Cherokee Nation in Baxter & Marion Counties in Arkansas.
Indians Chase a Sheriff Ten Miles.
Now the author will relate another incident that occurred in Marion county, Arkansas, in the early settling of this country. There was a large relation of the Coker family who lived in that county. One of the Cokers raised two families, one by a white woman and the other by an Indian woman. The Indian family, after they had grown up and become men, resided a part of the time in the Nation, where the mother lived, and a part of the time they remained in Marion county where their father and other relatives lived. They were very dangerous men when drinking, and the whole country feared them. They had been in different troubles, and had killed three or four men, and if the authorities attempted to arrest them, they defied them, and would go to the Nation and remain awhile. There was a deputy sheriff in the county by the name of Stinnett, who claimed to be very brave, who said he would arrest them if he found their whereabouts. The Cokers learned what Stinnett had said, and that the warrant for their arrest was in his possession, so they got some good tow strings and vowed that whenever they met him they would arrest him and take him to Yellville and put him in jail. A short time afterwards they met him in the public road. As soon as Stinnett recognized them, and having heard of the threats they had made, he wheeled his horse and put spurs to him. They drew their revolvers and put spurs to their horses in pursuit, commanding him to halt. But Stinnett spurred his horse the harder. They pursued him a distance of about ten miles; but Stinnett's horse proved to be the best, and he made his escape. They again returned to the Nation.

The good people, generally, of the county were terrorized and afraid to raise their voices against them, and it became a question as to whether they had a man in the county who had the courage to attempt their arrest. They made it a question in the next election, to elect a man that would make the arrest, if such a man could be found in the county. There was a man living in the county by the name of Brown, who was a cousin of the Cokers, and he told the people that if they would elect him, he would arrest them or they would kill him. He was elected by a large majority, and, after he had qualified, took charge of the office. The first time the Cokers came into the settlement, he summoned two men, thought to be brave, who pledged themselves that if it became necessary they would die for him. He then went to the house of one of the Coker family where the Cokers were staying, and on his arrival found the two Coker brothers sitting in chairs in the yard. He was within, some thirty feet of them before they saw him. Their guns were sitting near them, and they seized them; but before they could present them Brown had his revolver cocked and leveled at one of their heads, and told him not to attempt to raise his gun or he would kill him. Coker turned his back to him with his gun on his shoulder, secretly cocked it, and leveled it upon Brown as near as possible without taking it from his shoulder and fired, missing his aim. About the same time Brown discharged his revolver at Coker and made a slight scalp wound. The other Coker threw his gun upon Brown and fired, killing him instantly. The two men who were acting as a posse for the sheriff turned and fled, leaving Brown lying dead on the ground. After the shooting the Cokers fled to the Nation and remained there.

Works Cited:
Monks, William. A History of Southern Missouri and Sorthern Arkansas. Ed. John F. Bradbury Jr. and Lou Wehmer. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 2003.

Monks, William. A History of Southern Missouri and Sorthern Arkansas. West Plains, MO: West Plains Journal Company, 1907. Google Books. 12 Dec. 2009