Another story about Oen Edgar Noland
It was 1909, and life was easier for Oen. He had retired from operating a trading post. His business interests were confined largely to Mancos, where he owned the Mancos Trading Co. Also, he and O. S. Crenshaw had purchased the Bauer Mercantile Co.
Oen was upstairs in a building clustered with the other buildings of downtown. He had come because two of his older sons had been skinned alive in a card game. They had been enticed into the card game by a stranger who had come to town earlier that day.
As a door was wildly pushed open behind Oen, he and his startled sons whirled around. The stranger was taller than most and became an overpowering figure outlined in the doorway. Like a cobra poised to strike, he weaved from side to side. His gun was out of its holster and his finger moved toward the trigger. He was the same breed as Jesse and Frank James. The same breed as William Clark Quantrill, the great guerrilla leader of the terror-ridden days of the Missouri/Kansas border warfare.
Nothing could stop him. He was a dangerous killing machine. His mouth moved. The words came slowly - cleaved from each other with an awful separation of finality. The sound was blood curdling.
"Stand up, you SOB, and get out of town before sundown or ..."
With lightning speed, Oen extended his arms and hurled his body over the table, reaching for the throat of his adversary.
Oen was too late. Five shots rang out. One tore an eye out. Another creased the face near the other eye, dimming it irreparably. The remaining three ripped through Oen's neck.
It appeared Oen would not live, but he was quickly taken by buggy to the train station in time for the afternoon train to Durango. Doctor J. R. Trotter and two nurses also made it to the train and accompanied Oen to the hospital in Durango.
During the months ahead, the suffering would gradually diminish but would never cease altogether.
As he slowly healed, he thought about his childhood in Independence, Mo. He smiled at how at the age of 23 he headed for Colorado to make his fortune.
His thoughts also turned to his family and friends. There was a special part of Oen that belonged to the closest friends of all, the Navajos and the Utes.
Oen Edgar Noland was born in Jackson County, Mo., in 1852.
He lived a colorful life. He married Callie Mitchell, and after her death, he married Lolla Kootz in 1902.
He passed away in Mancos in 1935 at the age of 83.
Darrel Ellis is a long-time historian of the Mancos Valley. Email him at email@example.com.