Posts Tagged ‘NED CHRISTIE’


June 10, 2008


 When I left off last time I had taken the tale to the point Judge Parker Quotewhere Ned had fled to the remote area of the territory in an effort to give the Fort Smith crowd a time to cool of in their fervor to capture him.  At this time I belive I should give cause as to the U. S. Marshall’s office and the Hanging Judge Parker’s belief in his guilt.  First, Ned’s jacket he Painting Of Hanging Judge Parkerhad on the night of his drunken stupor was found near where he had passed out.  In the pocket was found the broken neck of the whiskey bottle from the night before.  Also found was the strip of cloth torn from Nancy “Old Lady” Shell’s apron, used to stopper the drink.  Near the scene of the shooting were the broken remains of the whiskey bottle.  This was enough to convince the investigating officers of Ned’s guilt.  So the warrant and order for arrest was issued.

     After Ned fled the area, John Parris and a second drinking parner of the night, Charlie Bobtail,  were confined to jail in Fort Smith.  They were both charged in the murder of Maples along with Christie and Bub Trainor.  However Trainor claimed that he was eating supper at Nancy Shell’s and well before the shooting, so he was released on bail.  He continued to raise hell, and appeared in court on various other charges.  Judge Parker ruled that the case could not go forward without the apprehension of Christie.

Image of Deputy Marshall Dan Maples On May 18, 1889,  Jacob Yates took over the duties of marshal.  A man of strong principles, he started to clean up the back log of cases before him.   The thing that most bothered him was the unsolved case of the killing of Deputy Marshal Dan Maples (image of maples in B&W, at left).  He called upon his most trusted Deputy Marshall – Heck Thomas, reminding him there was a $500 reward for Ned Christie.

    Heck Thomas was one of the most active officers ever to join the U. S. Marshals office.  In November of 1887 he is Deputy Marshall Heck Thomasreputed to have brought in a record 41 fugitives on one trip.

   Thomas enlisted the skill of a well known tracker one L. P. Isbell, also a marshal ,and started his usual circuit of the territory.  At Muskogee, they turned over 13 prisoners under guard, and met Bub Trainor.  Trainor knew Ned Christie and also knew his habits and haunts quite well.  Trainor claimed he wanted Christie captured to clear his own name.

   In late September of 1889, Heck Thomas with a posse of 13 men located Ned Christie at his home in Rabbit Trap.  In the early dawn of the 26th, they surrounded and crept near the house.  Suddenly the large pack of dogs Christie kept began to bark and give the alarm.  Thomas gave the order to rush the cabin.  They could hear Ned scramble into the loft.

    Deputy Thomas shouted for Christie to surrender.  The outlaw kicked a plank off the end of the loft and opened fire with his deadly Winchester.  Thomas then shouted that” if he was going to fight to first send out his women and children”.  Christie continued to fire.  The next move of the posse was to set fire to a small out-building near the house, hoping the smoke might flush out the occupants of the house. The desired effect was achieved – Nancy Christie soon ran out of the house.  Young James remained behind, scrambling into the loft to reload his fathers guns. (more…)



June 7, 2008


     If you believe the dime novels of the time NED CHRISTIE  was reportedly one of the most vicious men ever to  raise a gun in Indian Territory.  It was claimed that he was a born killer, cold blooded and ruthless.  It was claimed he had a maniacal hatred of the whites.  Rumors had it that he had killed 11 or more people, though he was only charged with one murder.

     Let’s meet this intriguing individual, who grew to be a legend among his people, The Cherokee.  Edward (Ned) Christie was born on December 14, 1852.  Ned’s father Watt, was a respected elected member of the Cherokee National Council.  The Christie family got their family name from Ned’s grandmother, an Irish woman, who died along with thousands of others on the disgraceful “Trail Of Tears” – when the Cherokee people were forcefully removed from their eastern homes to the Indian teritory in 1838.  This was a story that Ned and his brothers heard about growing up in their father’s blacksmith shop.

     Young Ned learned the blacksmith trade along with gunsmithing, and became quite skilled at both crafts.  Ned’s father and his uncle’s sided with the union during the Civil War (many Cherokee fought for one side or the other in the civil War, but that is a diffrent story).  Watt Christie said he was forced from his North Carolina home in 1838, and declared he would not be driven out again.  Ned remained home to help defend the rest of the family.

     Following the war, several of Ned’s brothers and father served in the Cherokee Legislature for the Growing Snake district.  In 1885, Ned was also elected to his first term in the National Concil – His hot tempered speeches on the legislative floor in defence of Cherokee Sovereignty became widely known and admired.  A movement was underway to open up a two million tract of land known as The Unassigned Lands, in the heart of Indian Territory, for white settlement.  The Indians were being pressured to to take their lands in individual allotments, thus eleminating the tribes as seperate nations.  Christie knew that if this happened, the white man would soon – legally or illegally – be in charge of those allotments.  At this same time intruders and illegal whiskey was plaguing the Cherokee Nation.

    On Easter morning, April 10,1887, the Cherokee Female Seminary burned.  The Executive concil, including Christie, were called into session in Tahlequah, the Cherokee Nation’s capital, to see what could be done about rebuilding.

    Christie lived in Rabbit Trap community with his third wife, Nancy (Ned would eventually marry four times), and a son from a previous marriage, 13 year old James.  When the council was in session, Christe customarily stayed in town at the home of Senator Ned Grease, a relative of Nancy’s.  After a busy day, Ned, like many of his friends liked to go town and find a drink of whiskey.  And like many of his friends Ned often drank too much.  In 1884 Ned had been tried for the killing of young cherokee man, William Palone, in a liquor-related incident.  Christie was tried and found not guilty.

     Just a long  word here about the names found on these pages.  In an article I found on the Cherokee newspaper website, it is stated that the Cherokee used to have only one name.  When the white man came along and started to keep track of them, there were so many using the same name it was impossible to keep records.  Therefore, to simplify things, they made the Cherokee take second names –  Which is probably why the Christie family took the Grandmothers Irish name, as the Cherokee was a matrical society.  Many Cherokee thought this was a white mans joke and chose silly names like “Billy Possium Eater” and such.  I am supposed to have Cherokee blood on both sides but can not pin it down.  On one side I tried and found that Hicks (a family name on my grandmothers side) is a very common name for Cherokees, but lost the line trying to track it down to us.  ‘Nuff about this, needless to say we will find many white sounding names in this story.   (more…)