John Arnett, Anna's father moved into the Canadian District of the Cherokee Indian Nation in 1886 when Anna was ten years old and Alma was twelve. The area may not have had reputation of being a crime center at that time, but the area certainly had its share of infamous outlaws visiting and hanging out in the area for many years. William Keith and James McClure his grandfather and cousins knew most of them William Keith was probably one of the few young men living in the area, he may have even had a reputation as a dashing young man and a desirable catch.
When the Arnett family moved into the area, the Arnett's had four cute girls living at home with them, Lillie 16, Rosa 14, Alma 12 and Annie 10. They all attended the one room log school house on Ruth Starr's place. Pearl Starr, 18 was the only other white girl attending school at the time, but she may have been absent most of the time. William, who was 15 at the and just reaching puberty noticed and liked the Arnett girls. The two older Arnett girls stayed home from school a lot as they seemed to be needed at home. Actually William never saw much of them as they seemed too old and sophisticated for William.
Alma and Annie
William liked Alma and Annie and they liked being around him. He had always liked the services that the Indian pastors that held at the school every Sunday. The girls did too, so he would take both of them with him to watch and hear the Indian pastors every Sunday. The pastors had no Interpreters, so William would interpret for the girls.
They liked to get to the service early because the Indians came to church in different dress. Some with Indian costumes, especially the men. The woman wore large shawls and no head dress. The Arnett girls liked watching the Indians arrive. Annie was always excited, noticing the differences in each Indian and asking William to explain every detail.
Just before time for services to begin you could see the Indians coming from all directions. The men with bows and arrows, some with single barrel rifles, some with knifes in their belts, some with blow guns made from large canes through which arrows were blown by the mouth. Their songs in the Indian language were beautiful, the Indians singing in perfect harmony. After the services were over they went home quietly.