Cherokee Connection Chapter 1 page 6
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Another Connection to Belle

There is another interesting connection with Belle Starr and the Titchenal family. In particular attorney, John B. Luce who married Katherine Mc Kinney the granddaughter of Mary Ellen (Titchenal) Falconer the oldest daughter of John and Rebecca Titchenal of Fort Smith. (See page 160 of chapter XII)

Watt Grayson an official of the Creek Nation had a large amount of cash, over $30,000 of the Creek Nation's money stolen from him in about November 20, 1873 by James Reed, W.D. Wilder, and Marion Dicksons alias Burns. James Reed was killed in a shoot out in August of 1874. Wilder and Burns were caught and convicted about November 1874, but very little of the money was recovered. Wat Grayson realized he had little chance of recovering the money, so on January 23, 1875 he employed John B. Luce, a Fort Smith attorney to take advantage of an Act of Congress passed in 1834 to regulate trade with Indian tribes, which provided that a person convicted of a crime against friendly Indians shall pay a sum equal to twice the value of the property taken. Whatever such payment shall fall short of the amount the same shall be paid out of the Treasury of the United States.

Attorney Luce filled the claim package with Commissioner of Indian Affairs Edward P. Smith on February 2, 1875. The case was considered by congress several times and dragged on for 13 years. In the mean time Watt Grayson died on August 1, 1878, but he bequeathed his money and property to wife and relatives and friends.

Attorney Luce continued to work on the case for the estate. Finally, $32,000 was includedin a deficiency appropriation bill approved by congress on March 30, 1888. During the proceedings of the case, John Luce obtained a deposition from Belle Starr) in Dallas December, 1875. It reads as noted.

The family and neighbors working on Freeman Keith's farm about 1914

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