M.J. Watts & Belle Starr

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M.J. Watts & Belle Starr - HERITAGE TRAIL It was an early summer morning...
HERITAGE TRAIL It was an early summer morning in the year 1886 when the buggy, with the old. man and^the young boy on the seat. seat. turned the corner of S. 6th Street and wheeled westward into the dusty width of Garri•son Garri•son Avenue. As the buggy horse turned the corner a woman's voice called out loudly: "Well, Marian, how are you betting on the election today?" The young boy was slightly startled at the abruptness ot the query t and also by the.sight Of the riders on the street. "It was the first time in my life I had ever seen a woman riding a horse without a sidesaddle," sidesaddle," U. D. Cherry said. "She was sitting her -horse straight-tip. a cartridge-studded gunbelt strapped about her . waist and two sixrshooters shin^ ing in the", sunlight. Pushed down inta a regulation saddle boot was a rifle; its poljshed stock also shining in the sun." ON EITHER SIDE oK her Were two men riders, also arm T ed almost to the teeth, he said. When the young boy heard his Uncle M. J. Watts answer the be-pistoled woman* he said he wasn't surprised at all. "Why, Belle, -I'm betting on William Henry Fan-ison," Uncle Uncle Marion Watts said. "Who is it you're betting on?" 'Til bet you a good $5 hat that Grover <21eveland-gets elected elected President of the United States," answered Belle. Starr, the so-called frontier outlaw queen. It was young U."D. Cherry's first and last sight of Belle Starr, he said.. She was known to have ridden into and out of Fort Smith several times after that, but Cherry never saw her. - In 1889, just three years later, Belle Starr was dead. U. D. Cherry of near Mul- drow.has many memories of old Indian Territory - , most of them fond ones, but that sight of Belle Starr is still one of the strongest in his mind! he said. PIONEER RIVER MAN - U. D. Cherry, an old timer who remembers more than 8ft years of life along the Arkansas and in Fort Smith, vfews the amazing changes at historic historic old Wilson's Rock since the time of bis youth. "I MET HENRY STARR, the robber man, and wc were hon^ ored once by having Judge Isaac Parker lunch with* us, but. in spite of my liking for Judge Parker, the meeting with the famous Belle Starr was the most Impressive," Cherry said. - SERVICES HELD FOR MRr SHACKELFORD Funeral Services for Raymond Lester Shackelford, Shackelford, 70,' of Risco, Missouri, .who died: Monday, September: 9, at a Poplar Bluffs /Mis. s °uri hospital were held Wednesday, 'September 'September 11, at the Rlsco Assembly of God Church, in Rlsco. Burial was at Maiden Memorial Cemetery. --••:•••> Another memorable incident in the life "of U. D, Cherry was 'he time he met Belle's rather infamous son, Ed Reed. "That was at Tahlequah, Indian Indian Territory, where I, had gone to investigate land rights for my wife," Cherry said. "I had met Ed Reed, and knew him when -J got first sight of him on the Tahlequah street. He was standing beside his horse, 6ne hand kind of fiddling , with some leather thongs on his saddle, but his eyes never stopped stopped cutting around him. I watched watched him fooling with those saddle saddle strings, but he didn't fool me. I could tell he was wary as a buck." U. D. Cherry was born at- Mansfield, Ark., but«aw Indian Territory for the first time about the year 1880, when the Territory Territory was' just about at its wildest. wildest. The family's first place of re£ idence was .near Paw Paw, a river bottom town, and the -center of cotton trade near the bank of the Arkansas. "During my life at Paw Paw, : I owned the Arkansas River ferry ferry boat five different times;" Cherry-said,^ "And, I've joined with other farmers and shipped potatoes on Cap*. Blakely's steamboat a-matty a:time. The* potatoes would go to Fort Smith where the main market was, then we'd Iiave staple goods, and hardware and other' items His former^ wife, Hallie Lee, daughter of Mr. and M r 9« F rankle Lee of Muldrow, preceded preceded him in death in ... 1956^ and was buried in Maiden Cemetery^ He leaves his wife, Agnes, four sons,- R.L. or Columbia, Missouri; Pat of Cahokio, ill.j Maxie and Herry of St.- Louis ; one daughter Lillie May- Dunn of Cahokio,. jli,; two brothers, brothers, Ivan Shackelford of Muldrow'. and Collins, of Wasco, California; and. one Bister, Vola Biay- lock of Muldrow. He also leaves 15 grandchildren,.- shipped back up the river on Capt. Blakely's boat." ONE EARLY INCIDENT, or celebration U. D. .Cherry remembers remembers is when a group of Indian Indian Territory citizens chartered, chartered, Capt Blakely's boa^ for a trip from Fort Smith up 'the river to Wilson's Rock. "They all called it a May- Day celebration," Cherry said "It was just about an all-da} • affair, and everyone "had i grand time, with the picnic lunch on..the bluff and all." In speaking of the changes in Fort Smith over the years, Cherry recalled when the corner on 6th and Garrison on the west side was a big saloon. "And the First National Bank was only two stories high, headed headed by a man we all called Uncle George Sparks," Cherry said. "I was just a small boy 1 when I met him the first time, but Uncle Wat^ used to go' to and see him, and he would always always offer his hand and say for me, to come around his desk and talk to him. Later I borrowed borrowed money from him lots of *times. Mr. Sparks would never ignore a friend or customer on the streets, no matter if that person, happened to be hauling hogs or cotton into town.'' U. D. Cherry said when he was a young man there Were no : .bridges across the Arkansas River from Moffett to the Fort Smith side. "We always usect to ride the Morgan BrotherevSerry," he said. "One time there was a/ mighty rough customer aboard/ and a lot of trouble erupted on the sandbar where the ferry halted on the western. shore/* LATER IN HIS LIFE, Cherry said, he and. his family moved to Fort Smith and lived on Lexington Avenue, • • "Those were the days of the horse-drawn streetcars," fie." -said. "And, people would load those Hftle cars to the brim, -riding out on N. nth Street to what we called ihe old Dutch Park. I got to see Buffalo Bill Cody Cody put on his" big pistol and rifle acts, out mere. The best I recajl, Buffalo Bill wouldiake a rifle and bust tiny glass balls.".--

Clipped from
  1. Big Basin Herald,
  2. 19 Sep 1974, Thu,
  3. Page 2

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  • M.J. Watts & Belle Starr

    janicew – 10 Feb 2013

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