As Memorial Day images began to pop up on my timeline, I found one that was interesting enough to research but couldn't quite pull the name from its 1892 headstone.
With enthusiasm and interest but not much patience, I randomly went through my research procedures and cross referenced a few things here and there and found nothing but myself in a totally different place and time.
From a grave dug in 1892 to another one dug some ten years later, I found myself interested in preserving and sharing the memory of a young seventeen year old Native American who was murdered on Christmas Day in 1902.
Deep from within the darkness of my cyberspace cosmos, headlines in the Anadarko (Oklahoma) Daily Democrat were discovered and read as typeset and printed on December 29, 1902. "A Foul Murder – Seventeen Year Old Indian Boy Shot Through The Head."
The first feeling was a weird but new one-hundred and eighteen year old sadness. Following were questions in my mind of what, when, how and where with a deep desire to know why. Third was more fresh feelings of century aged sadness.
Two days after Christmas in 1902 a party of quail hunters found a coat near bouts two miles south of River Side School near Anadarko. The coat would have been located about one mile south of the Washita River as the school set one mile north of the river. This particular school was re-opened after the Civil War in the year of 1871 to serve as a transition boarding school for Native American children.
Upon finding the coat, the quail hunters noticed a trail that aroused their suspicions as it looked like something had been drug along the ground. After following the visible trail for about three fourths of a mile, the hunters shockingly discovered the dead body of a young Native American boy. A young boy that was shot through the head with his murder in cold blood being considered "a great mystery."
Talk from within the Anadarko community indicated the murder victim attended River Side School, performed with the brass band, and, did not have an enemy in the world.
The young boy was last seen in Anadarko on Christmas Day 1902 in the company of another Native American boy as they set out towards their homes located towards the north of town.
Apparently the two boys made it a few miles north before splitting up and heading to their separate homes. The hapless victim walked about 80 rods (440 yards) from the point of separation before being shot and dragged to where he lay dead for two days in a massive pool of blood.
Evidence suggests the victim was tied by lasso around his feet and drug about one mile before being tossed into a deep canyon where his body was found by the inquisitive quail hunters.
The hunting party quickly sent word to Caddo County Undersheriff David D. Hoag about their gruesome discovery. Sheriff Hoag immediately went out and took charge of the body. From there, Justice Of The Peace W.H. Starkweather held a Coroner's inquest and stated that "every effort will be put forth by our officials to locate the guilty party and bring them to justice."
Before the ink hit the press on Monday, December 29, 1902, Grimes Aikens, an indian boy of near twenty years of age admitted before the Coroner's Jury that he killed the younger indian boy. Aikens said it was about four o'clock on Christmas Day but made claim that the shooting was an accident and he became frightened and drug the body to the canyon and left it. From there, the Coroner's jury returned an unknown verdict that was referenced as "according to the above evidence."
Judge W. I. Matheny conducted the examination of witnesses before the Coroner's Jury. As Aikens took the witness stand, Judge Matheny went after him with some "red hot questions" causing Aikens to break down and confess to the killing.
Along with Aikens' confession before the Coroner's Jury, two other young indian boys were arraigned and held over for preliminary trial. Willie Ross and Horace Greely were allegedly present on Christmas Day when Aikens shot his victim in the head.
With no forensics and vague, time erased details of evidence and no acknowledged consequences with plenty of questionable conclusions wrapped around his death, seventeen year old Native American Paul Lorenz should not just be remembered for the hideous way he lost his life.
Paul Lorenz should also be remembered for his spirit filled soul that sought education, created beautiful sounds within the brass band at River Side School, and, for leading a life of seventeen years of abundant peace and harmony that was recognized as existing with no known enemies.
For those who've read Paul's story through to the end, a spiritual and visual tribute to his actuality is included in remembrance of a young existence on earth that has ultimately moved on to a higher realm.