here as a girl, almost a child, shows some sign of pressure and
depression. Her mother divorced Harry Big Eagle, and remarried, leaving
her the oldest girl being responsible for younger, step-sisters and
half-sisters which meant she had her share of early problems.
Dennis and Bertha grew up
together as children and were well acquainted. After her death Dennis
would speak of her in kind ways. He never remarried, saying he could never
find anyone to treat him as well as she did. He said, "I remember
when we were children, she played with her dolls, dressing them and
combing their hair, and that is the way she treated me." This is the
way of the Osage woman.
Lee, Dennis's younger
brother, Bertha indulged from his youth onward. He never wanted for
anything while she lived. He was her favorite. In return, Lee worked and
built the ranch. The Jones's were naturally workers. It was their joy.
Money was only good for buying more tools in order to work. These facts
are historical records as to their accomplishments. Today, the Jones men
joke among themselves as to the real pleasure of their businesses is
getting into the labor, the work. Consequently, Bertha and Dennis did not
have to deal with the running of the place. Lee had a natural ability with
people and Bertha was never bothered with having to deal with hired hands,
planning, food storage for the animals, or any details. Lee gave them
freedom from these things.
As Dennis would remember
Bertha, Lee never, ever spoke of her. It was as if there was too much pain
The deep respect payed to
Bertha for over fifty five years tell of her as a person. There was just
no discussion or gossip about the tragedy. The lack of loose talk on an
issue is rare in these small towns. Only until recently have some
questions been raised, one being, "a woman, almost never commits
suicide with a gun." It is true hired hands worked over the grounds.
The ranch house is built to allow quiet, unobserved entry. Dennis and his
son Warren were in the kitchen, toward the back of the house, planning the
evening meal with the cook. Bertha was in the front bedroom. Dennis said
he truly never heard the gunshot, only her fall. There was no motive for
Dennis to kill her because with her death the oil money stopped and he
knew this. True, he did inherit a headright, but this was really nothing
compared to her holdings.
The cook, Mrs, Buddy
Buckius Warren, a boy of eight years, and Dennis all ran together to help
Bertha. They all three came upon the tragic scene at the same moment,
Warren, who was a child, was first into the door. Dennis said it was
Warren's unshakable testimony that saved him. Things were different then;
they did question the boy alone, and at the scene.
Lee and Velma were in town
with Bell at her home, and Ura May was in school. Dennis had built a
telephone system to the remote location at great expense and this is how
he called the family to notify them of Bertha's death.
Ura May was fourteen and
Warren was eight when their mother died. After years of sifting through
records and since the investigation is sealed one comes no closer to what
really happened. Many of the deaths during these times were calld suicides
and then later declared questionable. The only real thing is the
consequences this had on that family and it was sad beyond what one can
express creating a shadow of despair and hopelessness to touch each member
in one way or another.
Bertha's roll number is
2143. Her case number was 2212 listed as SG protected guardianship.
C.L. Ellis was the
superintendant of The Osage Agency April 1, 1939.
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