Tag Archives: Osage County

KIllers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, a journalist for the New Yorker, is an amazing book. It is non-fiction and concerns the systematic murder of Osage Indians in the 1920’s in northeastern Oklahoma by white people for money. The money came from oil lands owned by the Osage Tribe. Revenue from the oil royalties and lease bonuses made the tribe very wealthy and the money was divvied up by “headrights” or shares in the revenue based on one’s ancestry. You couple that with a system whereby most Native Americans were deemed incompetent to manage their own affairs and had court appointed guardians to oversee their funds. This was a perfect storm for fraud, murder, and crime.

20170604-083730-1

The Indians were killed by poisoning, gunshots, and in one notable incident a house was blown up with dynamite. Not one murder was solved by the white people in power and some of those who tried to expose what was going on were murdered themselves. Law enforcement, doctors, undertakers, the judicial system were all involved in the scheme.

Triangle Building

Pawhuska, Oklahoma, county seat of Osage County where much of the events described in the book take place.

Enter J. Edgar Hoover and the brand new Federal Bureau of Investigation. Hoover sent a former Texas Ranger, Tom White to Osage County and told him to find the murderers and bring them to justice. White had a huge job at hand and brought in other agents in undercover roles and they were able to file charges, bring to trial, and convict in Federal Court the kingpin, William Hale, of the murders despite considerable local resistance. Grann calls Tom White one of the heroes of the situation but Hoover was jealous of the attention White was getting and made sure that he got all the credit for the conviction. Hale was implicated in about 27 of the murders.

Untitled

Bison at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve north of Pawhuska, in Osage County

Hoover then declared victory and left town. The tribe new that there were lots more murders than that and that there was more than one person responsible and for decades the stories and suspicions were handed down in the various families. Gann did a lot of research including days at the National Archives going through old custodial records and grand jury testimony from long ago. He thinks that there were hundreds of murders and many many killers who were never brought to justice. This is an amazing book. Grann calls the treatment of Native Americans, the country’s “Original Sin.” This was an important story to tell and Grann does a great job of it.

IMG_3652

The oil still flows in Osage County

I was able to attend an event in Tulsa, sponsored by Booksmart Tulsa, where David Grann talked about the book. It was in a university auditorium and the the venue was packed. Osage County borders Tulsa County and there were many Osage tribal members in attendance including several direct descendants of the murdered people and there were several descendants of the murderers there. It was very emotional to see how this book by exposing the crimes and sins of the past had an effect on people today.

20100521_43

Osage County is one of the prettiest places in Oklahoma

It made the question and answer part of the event very interesting. People would get up and thank Grann for writing the book and then they would say who they descended from. Grann already knew many of these folks from his research in writing the book. One could sense the mutual respect. One young man, a descendant of a victim, got up and made a good point about whether the book really did anything for the tribe or was it another example of a white man taking something from the tribe. Grann acknowledged the point without any defensiveness.

This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read.  I purchased my autographed copy at the event from Magic City Books.

Our World Tuesday – The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile Store in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

IMAG1776

In line at the cafe, Logan is checking out how many people are ahead of us in the line to get seated.

Heather and I are big fans of the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drumond, of the Drummond Ranch of northeast Oklahoma in beautiful Osage County. She has a television show, a blog, and is author of several books and is married to the Marlboro Man. She opened “The Mercantile” a store, restaurant, deli, and cafe about three months ago and it has been popular since the start. So we have been wanting to go and finally made it on Friday. Logan went with us and was not near as excited as we were. He was kind of hungry for one thing and as anybody with a teenager knows, if they are hunger it is hard for them to get excited about anything.

_DSC0048

The restaurant has an open airy feel to it.

We got in line to east first since we had a hungry teenager. The restaurant is wonderful and features many of PW’s recipes. Logan had the Marlboro Man sandwich, Heather had the Chicken Parmesan, and I had the Chipotle Salad with Steak. It was all great and the portions are huge!

_DSC0057

Outside the restaurant, it was a little cold to be eating outside but this will be perfect in a month or so.

_DSC0059

We migrated to the store. The store is perfect. They sell lots of home goods and you can tell that the goods were selected with care and are high quality and at a variety of price points. We didn’t buy anything but we sure enjoyed the merchandising and the displays.

_DSC0060

My favorite was the Charley section. Charley was PW’s beloved basset hound. He took ill and had to be put down recently. It was a really sad day.

_DSC0061

PW sometimes has a rather campy since of humor.

_DSC0063

More merchandise.

_DSC0064

And yet more, it was all so beautiful.

_DSC0062

More little touches.

_DSC0065

This cake saver is exquisite.

_DSC0066

The store from the landing on the way to the second floor. The displays cases are beautiful and the whole thing is done perfectly. It is like what you would see in a Neiman Maricus or other nice store.

_DSC0067

The upstairs is a surprise. They have a bakery but most of the space is airy and open with a multitude of seating options.

_DSC0068

I could hang out in these chairs by the big open windows a long time. The room was beautiful and inviting and just so perfect.

_DSC0069

We didn’t buy any merchandise but we got some bakery goods. I bought one of these fruit danishes. I’m not sure I can eat it, it is so beautiful. I’ll probably manage to choke it down.

_DSC0070

We all had a good time at the Mercantile. We’ll be back. My dream would be to come up on my birthday and have dinner at the restaurant and then drive up to the nearby Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and take some sunset photos. I could handle that. One step at a time though.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Twenty Four Hours in Osage County

_DSC0147

Those of you who know me, know that I’m a Geocacher. The Tulsa Area Geocachers have an annual event in the Fall that they have at various State Parks in Oklahoma and this year they went to one of my favorite spots in Oklahoma, Osage Hills State Park up in Osage County. It is a beautiful wooded, hilly location with lots of camping spots and a friendly accommodating staff.

Heather and Logan stayed home. They hate geocaching. Hate might be too mild a word for their feelings about it. So I went by myself.

_DSC0154

So it was fun finding the various temporary caches placed by the participants. Some of the people are diabolically clever.

_DSC0140

Osage Hills is known for having the remnants of a Civilian Conservation Commission camp built back in the 1930’s to house young men who helped build the facilities still used at the park.

_DSC0137

Here is a link to an interesting short blog post about the history of the CCC at Osage Hills. I learned that the camp was active from 1935 to 1941. Its amazing that so much remains 75 years after the camp ceased operation.

_DSC0170

Mainly I wandered the trails. I didn’t encounter many other geocachers as I started with the furthest removed caches and worked back and was more interested in taking pictures anyway.

_DSC0175

I found the camp dynamite hut. It looks solid enough still, except for the roof.

_DSC0188

I loved Lookout Lake. No geocachers here, just fishermen.

_DSC0197

Found me a little critter. He told me he wasn’t a geocache.

_DSC0205

The next day I got up early and went out to Sand Creek to take some photos. One of the prettist places in the state as far as I am concerned.

_DSC0220

And then I drove out to the nearby Nature Conservancy’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. I always love the wide open spaces with rolling hills and the bison.

_DSC0221

I’ve never been able to photograph the feeling of exapanse of this place. It is almost 40,000 acres.

_DSC0222

It is huge and goes on forever.

_DSC0240

And then I drove down to Woolaroc, Frank Phillips’ (of Phillips Petroleum) country place. Woolaroc is an acronym for “Woods, Lakes,and Rocks”. He has a first class western art museum, a buffalo herd, and all sorts of other stuff that an oil gazillionaire needs.

_DSC0244

And a barn for the the critters.  I love the barn.

_DSC0257

And the landscaping (rockscaping).

_DSC0262

And the Native American design motif. I know its cultural misappropriation but I still like it.

And then I went home.  But I had a great time.

The Bison and Deer of Woolaroc’s Wildlife Preserve

IMG_0664_3_5_Detail

My brother Bob drove all the way from Corpus Christi to Tulsa to have Thanksgiving with us. Logan and I decided to take him to the Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve about an hour from Tulsa in the Osage hills. It is Frank Phillips old ranch. You know the guy who started Phillips Petroleum. He is long gone but the company he founded and his ranch are still going. I love the museum, but that is for another day. Today I am posting about the bison and deer on the preserve.

IMG_0708_7_9_Detail

There are lots of bison there. I used an HDR technique to get halfway decent shots. I don’t know about you but bison shots are tough. They just soak up the light and end up being black blobs unless I overexpose the shot and then their surroundings look like they have been nuked.

IMG_0659

There was a calf there. This one is red. I am not sure but I think somebody told me that all bison calves are red. Anybody out there know for sure?

IMG_0717_6_8_Detail

Where does a bison lay down goes a variation on the old joke. You go make this guy move if you don’t like where he has planted himself.

IMG_0667_6_8_Detail

There were lots of deer out Saturday. They are very watchful but not as wary as they would be outside the preserve.

IMG_0672

I like how they lock their attention on you. I am not a deer expert mind you and the only thing I shoot them with is my camera but I think these are European fallow deer. There are also Japanese Sika deer and we saw some but they were far off. And hey readers, if I am mistaken let me know!

IMG_0671

 

Whoops, what is going on over there.

Woolaroc has lots of other animals roaming loose. Just as we were leaving the gate a herd of elk appeared and they have Scottish highland cattle, and Texas longhorns.

Linking with Camera Critters and Saturday’s Critters