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Sweeter Than Elderberry Wine
Behold I Send You As Sheep in the Midst of Wolves

This morning early rising Wiley opened the cabin door to a blanket of fog over the low-lying, wooded area. The warm days of spring were going to give them relief from what had been a cold winter and he was thankful. The landscape and wooded place around his home and the beauty of it to greet him every day made up for anything else he had to manage.

“Mary, I’ve got to make a trip over to the Little Osage’s (Kaws) encampment. There are complaints to the agency that I haven’t delivered food to them which are, partially true. Our sons and I have been so busy fighting for the Osage here I haven’t been out that far on the prairie to get over to them. The other day it was “touch and go. While we were in their camp a wild and unruly bunch came in with no-good intentions. I had the means to protect the Osages or I’m afraid of what would have happened. The tribe isn’t allowed arms so it puts them at a great disadvantage. We have no laws as a state here and the federal government has ordered food delivered according to treaties made with them. It’s a rough job but it keeps an income for us. We were fighting through the Civil War. Seems like it’s been a hell of a fight for our whole life. After the war I thought we could come to Oklahoma and settle down with a new start, but, so far, it hasn’t happened.”

“How long will you be gone?” Mary asked.

“It will be a few days. We’ll have to go to Pawhuska first to pick up supplies, and then, on out to the Little Osage’s camp.”

“Take care! I worry about you.” Mary cautioned her husband.

“Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.” Wily quoted the scriptures and grinned. “Don’t worry about me. I’ve got the federal government behind us and that’s good enough. These rats running loose with greedy appetites are going to raise old Ned because they have their eyes on this rich land.” Wiley had taken a brother to the family cemetery in Valley View, Arkansas not that long ago. He lost the battle, too and Wiley’s anger was sealed deep within himself. These numbers of Jones men, brothers, nephews and cousins were the standards for building this new state. Their duties as lawmen and Indian agents put their whole families as well as their own lives at risk. There were numbers of them who gave up their life and then were returned to Arkansas or Alabama to be buried, that is if it was in the winter time. Wiley couldn’t get any farther than Arkansas with his brother, Seaborn Jack Jones, where he had to bury him in the family cemetery at Valley View out of Harrison.

“I’ll speak with Zona, after you’re gone.” Mary was thoughtful.

She knew civilization was being brought to Bartlesville, but under the apparently smooth surface was a turmoil of potentially explosive emotions within the populace. Wiley and his sons were working with the federal government to try to keep the peace between the Osage, ranchers, towns people and whoever might be just passing through. Their family was not in a safe place, not yet, and Zona had to know.

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