Thursday, August 29, 2013

Friday Flash 55 "Old Scyene"

 Col. Nichols was shot by John Younger in this store in Scyene, TX December 25, 1869
Old Scyene of 1903

Between Dallas & Mesquite
rests Scyene,
her peeling paint a backdrop

for mockingbirds, wildflowers
and a lone church upon the hill -
all belying rambunctious days

when whiskey was water
and raising hell
made grave-diggers rich

and a law-man dead
for disturbing a Younger
man's breakfast.

Railroads and "respectability"
doomed this six-shooter's town
to faded folklore & history.

by Margaret Bednar, August 29, 2013

This is for Friday Flash 55.   (If one counts the hyphenated words as one and excuses the "&'s" it is 55 words....

The town of Scyene, TX was a true old-west lawless town from 1863-1873.  The above poem is inspired by the Dallas Daily Times Herald, June 21, 1903, pg. 17, col. 1-4.  If you click over, be sure to scan down to read the article "A Frightful Tragedy in the History of Old Scyene".

The article above mentions a woman by the name of Bell Starr (Myra Shirley) and I did a bit of investigating about her.  She had three out-law husbands, and depending upon who you believe, a love child with notorious outlaw Cole Younger.  She was a woman with a gun on her hip and a love for fast horses.    HERE is a link to where she lived and was murdered (shot in the back while riding a horse).

There are two  "highly romanticized" movies out there about Belle Starr, one stars Gene Tierney, another stars Elizabeth Montgomery (Remember the sitcom Be-witch?).

Another fascinating link I have not had a chance to thoroughly read yet is a book written by "outlaw" Cole Younger himself in 1903!  (He rode with Jessie James and his outlaw brother, John Younger, is the man I reference in the poem above).  It is an E-Book (click link) and is fun to look through if not for the old photos themselves.

(Thanks "Run-A-Round Ranch" for the idea for this post)

Below is a google map image of what is left to reference the old town:  Scyene Rd, Dallas, Texas.

Scyene, Texas, truly lost to history - swallowed up by Dallas, Texas

copied from Texas State Historical Association:

SCYENE, TEXAS. Scyene, now surrounded by Dallas, was at St. Augustine and Scyene roads in east central Dallas County. The community, originally called Prairie Creek and Thorpville, acquired its present name in 1854 when it established a post office. An early resident, James Beeman, originally proposed the name White Rock, but the state rejected this suggestion because several existing towns used the name. He then suggested Seine, as unlikely to be duplicated by other towns. His neighbors, however, did not trust his spelling and instead submitted their version, Sceyne, which somehow was altered to the present spelling. Scyene was the haunt of Kansas-Missouri border ruffians such as Myra Shirley (Belle) Starrqv, who moved there in 1864, Cole and Bob Younger, and Jessie and Frank James. Before the Texas and Pacific Railway bypassed the town in 1873, Scyene had a population of nearly 300, six saloons, a school, a church, a Masonic Lodge, and twenty-six businesses, which included a wagon factory. It had fifty residents and two businesses in 1940. From 1950 through 1980 Scyene was reported to have a population of 155 and two businesses.


Brian Miller said...

why did we all have to go get respectable and tamed you know...smiles...def some interesting history in how the west was won...

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Scyene's fate is pretty common around here, too. I went to school in what used to be a little town surrounded by cornfields and was swallowed by suburbia during the Texas oil boom of the '70s.

TALON said...

3 outlaw husbands??? I would think one would be enough...but, of course, they wouldn't last long, would they? Loved your 55, Margaret!

Alice Audrey said...

Wow, reduced to a road. What a strange ghost town.

Angela Sullivan said...

I enjoyed your writings. It made me want to know more.

Anonymous said...

The poem is wonderful! It certainly proves that real life is more dramatic than anything fiction.

TexWisGirl said...

really awesome bit of history i had never heard before - all because you looked up 'old scyene' from my post. :)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post - great pic and history - personally, I think there are some benefits to respectability! (i.e. longer life spans!) However, I understand the romance and enjoyed your poem which really recreates the dusty scene - thanks, Margaret -- I really like your posts about the different places you visit or take an interest in. K.

G-Man said...

It must have been GREAT to be an outlaw back in the day.
No forensic science to convict you.
Leaving the "Territory" wiped your record clean. You were glamorized in Dime Novels.
Wonderfully written little story.
Loved your Bandito 55
Thanks for playing, thanks for your loyal support, and have a Kick Ass Week-End

Celestial Dreamz said...

hey this is so interesting! :-)

hedgewitch said...

Yes, when you read about those days one of the first things that strikes you is how 'whiskey was water'--heavy, abusive drinking was completely accepted (tho found regrettable when it interfered with things) and terribly widespread among the poorer people, and plenty of the more well off ones as well. Maybe it explains some of the atrocities that came out of the western expansion.

Anyway, the romance of the wide open spaces, the horses, and even the outlaws, which I love, is also well conveyed here, Margaret, and I've always been surprised there weren't more figures like Belle Starr, considering how absolutely subservient and repressed woman's role was back then. Thanks for the fascinating trip back in time.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I always love to read your historical pieces, Margaret. You have such an empathy with the past which translates into amazing poetry.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed your clever & interesting historical write in 55 !! This packed a killer western style wallop !!

Anonymous said...

I've watched both bittersweet films and was hitched to a star by the history and wilderness of this period. Wonderful poetic style ! Blessings friend ~Debbie

Mary said...

Ah, you so well captured life in that wild west town. I had heard of Bell Starr, and your additional information makes me want to find out more....

Visiting from G-Man tonight.