Monday, July 30, 2012

The Cherokee Connection

Meet Marcus Wright: a graduate of Harvard Business School, whose dream was to be a part of the mining boom in the West United States.

Marcus was born of meager means to a Cherokee mother and white father, and lived on the reservation in Tahlequah. His was loved, nurtured, well cared for, and had a dream. And he followed that dream to perfection.

His best childhood friend was a boy named Reggie. Reggie and Marcus were joined at the hip; they did everything together. Marcus knew things in Reggie's adoptive home were not happy. Reggie was born on the reservation as well, but adopted out at birth to an Irish family...O'Keefe was their name...and when he was able, Reggie became a workhorse for the family and a whipping post to his father.

Marcus's mother loved Reginald. Something about him reminded her of someone in her distant past. But Marcus didn't mind the attention she paid to his friend. Marcus knew Reggie needed someone to love him. The two boys were like brothers. Could have been brothers. The two forged a friendship that withstood the test of time.

They made a vow to grow up, go to University, and head out for the mines...and work at wherever they were given a position first. Reggie went to the University of Oklahoma in Norman; Marcus to Harvard Business.

At the end of their college years, Marcus married his sweetheart in a small family ceremony in Boston. Then they set out for Colorado...Ouray, Colorado...where they would meet up with Reggie. Marcus had been given a position in the business end of mining on Red Mountain and had convinced them to take Reggie as well.

But things were different now. Marcus, half Cherokee, knew the cards were stacked against him and he had a lot to prove. He worked hard; he loved his wife; he was successful. But he worried about his friend.

Reggie seemed to be slipping in to a dark abyss. Reginald met and married a beautiful young girl, Augusta, and bought her a monstrosity of a house...a house only the very wealthy could afford. He hired a house full of servants. And he treated Augusta and everyone in the house like so much dirt on his boots.

Marcus, out on a stroll, caught Reggie roaming the streets of Second Avenue...the Red-Light District. He also knew Reggie had gathered together a group of men who were high-grading inside the mines...filling their pockets, boots, hats, shirts full of ore. No wonder he could buy a house like that.

But all good things to come an end. And Marcus would drop the ax.

*****Read more about Marcus and Reginald in "The Disappearance of Simon Archer" to be released soon.

(PHOTO: Red Mountain Town, 1891)

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