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Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star
Contributed by Gigimo

Description: Missouri Rich in Legend. A Story of a White Deer Which No One Would Shoot.

Date: July 16 1919

Newspaper published in: Kansas City, MO

Page/Column: 3

"Uncle Dick" SMITH, one of the pioneers of Howell County, Missouri, will erect a monument on the spot where his great-grandfather, one of the first party of settlers in the Ozarks, was killed by Indians in 1815. The great-grandfather was W. R. SMITH, 102 years old, a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

W. R. SMITH, with half a dozen other Kentuckians, went to the Ozark region in 1814. They were the first white men in that section, unless it be that the Spaniards reached there, as legends assert. The Indians killed the aged hunter and scalped him. More than a hundred years after his grave was found by his great-grandson.

Mary stories of the Ozark region are related by "Uncle Dick" SMITH, to whom they have been handed down by the old settlers. One is that in the early days there was an entirely white deer in the woods in the vicinity of Thomasville. The settlers regarded it superstitiously and nobody ever would shoot at it. As a result the deer lived many years and finally died of old age.

Another story concerns Bill CHEHAIN, the first man hanged in the Ozarks. CHEHAIN slew John MERRILL, a supposedly rich man, but obtained only ten cents. CHEHAIN sold his body to a doctor for a gallon of whisky and the authorities let him go on one final big spree before he was hanged.

The region abut Caruthersville, Mo., is rich in lore about hidden gold and silver and mounds rich with pottery. Too, there are great, strange caves to be found thereabouts, never ending subjects for speculation and wonderment.

A few years ago an Indian went to Caruthersville with several skin maps and dug up pottery that was worth several thousand dollars. He offered $1,500 to be allowed to dig into one mound near the town. However, the owner decided that if the mound was worth so much money for exploration purposes he would do the exploring. He did and found nothing.

Some time later the Indian returned to that section, hired a man with a wagon and team and drove out into the country to a spot where three pecan trees grew in a triangle. He dug down and unearthed two boxes, so heavy that a man could not lift one end of either. He had them shipped away and to this day their contents is a much discussed mystery of that locality.



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Submitted: 06/13/18

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