Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ned Christie

Born and reared at Rabbit Trap in the Going Snake District of Indian Territory near the present-day community of Stilwell in Adair County, Oklahoma, Ned Christie was a Cherokee statesman who served on the executive council of the Cherokee Nation senate. However, he is mainly remembered for his noted, five-year standoff with U.S. law enforcement after being accused of killing U.S. Marshal Daniel Maples in 1887 at Tahlequah when Christie was about 35 years old.
Accused of the crime by an acquaintance named Parris who had been drinking with him on the night of the incident, Christie declared that he was innocent and refused to give himself up to federal authorities, fearing that he could not get a fair trial before "hanging judge" Isaac Parker at Fort Smith, Arkansas. Christie, who had been acquitted of killing a Cherokee man a year or so earlier, became a fugitive from federal justice, fortifying his home near Rabbit Trap against attack and developing a network of Cherokee allies who would alert him any time a U.S. law officer was in the area. To federal authorities he was now a wanted outlaw, but to many Cherokees he became a hero.
In September 1889, Christie had a shootout with a posse under legendary U.S. marshal Heck Thomas at his cabin. The marshals set fire to the cabin, and the combination of smoke and gunfire drove Christie's wife and son out of the cabin and wounded both Christie and the son. Believing that Christie was dead, the marshals left, but he was rescued from the burning building after they left, and he later recovered.
Christie built a new home, called "Christie's fort" because of its strong construction, not far from the burned out one, and in 1892 a different party of lawmen came back and surrounded the home. Finding that gunfire and even cannon fire was ineffective against the fortified building, they finally blew a hole in it with dynamite and ended up killing Christie with a hail of bullets.
In 1918, a man came forward who had witnessed the murder of Marshal Maples, and he said that Christie did not do it. Instead, he implicated another acquaintance of Christie named Trainor, who, along with Parris, had been wanted for illegal whiskey operations at the time of Maples's killing. Trainor had apparently killed Maples to avoid arrest, and he and Parris had framed Christie for the crime.

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