White Hair, pt. 2


Some background before going any further…

On the first page of Chapter 1, “The Vanishing,” in Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, author David Gann explains the story behind the title of the book:

“In April, millions of tiny flowers spread over the blackjack hills and vast prairies in the Osage territory of Oklahoma. There are Johnny-jump-ups and spring beauties and little bluets.”

“The Osage writer John Joseph Mathews observed that the galaxy of petals makes it look as if the “gods had left confetti.” In May, when coyotes howl beneath an unnervingly large moon, taller plants, such as spiderworts and black-eyed Susans, begin to creep over the tinier blooms, stealing their light and water.”

“The necks of the smaller flowers break and their petals flutter away, and before long they are buried underground. This is why the Osage Indians refer to May as the time of the flower-killing moon.”

As for Pawhuska, it is the county seat of Osage County, Oklahoma. It was named after the 19th-century Osage chief, Paw-Hiu-Skah, which means “White Hair” in English.

The town, originally known as Deep Ford, was established in 1872. The Osage Indian Agency was located along Bird Creek. 

Traders followed, building stores during 1872 and 1873. The Midland Valley Railroad reached the town in September 1905. 

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