This is an ongoing post about how the book "Buckskin Bessie - Her Lost Letters" came about. It is posted every Monday and the original was posted in Jan. 2008
No part of this information may be reproduced in anyway.
Unfortunately I have misplaced my notes as to the exact timeline of how all of the different things happened so I am trying to just go by recall and trust me, that isn't always good but it's the best I can do for now.
While waiting to make the trip to Ponca City, Okla. and meet with Mr. Keathly I began searching the web for any information I could get on the 101 Wild West Show and/or Buckskin Bessie. I found the 101 web site here. On this web site there is a link called "Queries" and when I looked under (B) for Buckskin Bessie a post came up from a woman named, Melissa Ragan asking for any info on Bessie Blackwell born Bessie Herberg in Minn. She went on to say that she wanted to publish a story about her and that it would be some truth but also speculation. This post is still on this site if you are interested.
Now I had another name "Blackwell" and I then searched for any info on Bessie Blackwell. An article from the Ponca City news came up stating she had died in a fire in 1943 in Whiteagle, Okla. This article is found on page 168 of the book. Another article from the same newspaper appeared Sept. 7, 1943 giving the details about her funeral and that she was buried in the I.O.O.F. cemetery (found on page 172).Mental note: Go to the grave site when I visit Ponca City.
How does one carry 58 letters and keep them organized and yet not hurt the old paper with a rubberband and etc. As I mentioned before, along with the old letters there were route cards. These were cards or booklets that gave the schedule for all the upcoming shows.
This is a partial one.
I speculated about this man Jack Keathly, maybe he knew Bessie personally or maybe he was related to her since he had items of clothing and etc. Maybe the letters would be of great encouragement to him and I was to give them to him......so many questions. One thing there was no doubt about........these letters were very special and needed to be handled carefully.
I carefully packed the letters in a attache case along with the pictures and route cards and carried them on the plane with me when the time came to go.