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James Callow Folklore Archive

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THIS IS THE STORY OF A MAN NAMED WILLIAM SHIRLEY WILLIAMS.
HE LIVED IN TENNESSEE UNTIL, AS A YOUNG MAN, HE DECIDED TO
VENTURE WEST. HE ENDED UP SETTLING AMONGST SOME INDIANS
IN WYOMING AND BECAME WELL KNOWN AND RESPECTED BY THEM.
HE WAS GIVEN AN INDIAN NAME BY THEM WHICH SPOKE OF HIS
MOST DISTINGUISHING PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTIC: HIS FLAMING
RED HAIR. EVENTUALLY, BECAUSE HE HAD BECOME SO ADEPT IN
THE WESTERN WILDERNESS, HE WAS SOUGHT AFTER AS A GUIDE BY
OTHER WHITE MEN AND MOVED TO DAKOTA TERRITORIES. HE WAS
EVEN SAID TO HAVE AIDED THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION OF
1804-1806. ONE DAY, WHILE LEADING A GROUP OF WHITE
EXPLORERS, AN INDIAN ATTACK LED TO HIS DEATH. WHEN THE
INDIANS CAME UPON THE DEAD MEN TO SCALP THEM, ONE OF THEM
RECOGNIZED THE FACE OF THEIR OLD FRIEND, WILLIAM SHIRLEY
WILLIAMS. BY THIS TIME HIS HAIR HAD TURNED GRAY, SO HE
WAS NOT EASILY RECOGNIZABLE AT A DISTANCE. THE INDIANS
FELT SO SORRY TO HAVE KILLED THE MAN WHOM THEY HAD KNOWN
AND LIVED WITH THAT THEY GAVE HIM A CHIEFTAIN'S BURIAL.

Submitter comment: THIS STORY WAS DISCOVERED BY A RELATIVE OF MINE WHO WAS
RESEARCHING OUR FAMILY HISTORY. IT WAS TOLD TO HIM BY
PEOPLE IN A TOWN HE WAS VISITING THAT HAS A STATUE OF
WILLIAM SHIRLEY WILLIAMS STANDING IN THE MAIN PART OF
TOWN. THE LEGEND IS COMMONLY TOLD IN THE TOWN. WILLIAM
SHIRLEY WILLIAMS IS BELIEVED TO BE A RELATIVE OF THE
ROGER WILLIAMS WHO CAME TO AMERICA ON THE MAYFLOWER AND
EMIGRATED FROM WALES WITH HIS BROTHERS IN THE 18TH
CENTURY. HE IS A DISTANT RELATIVE OF MINE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CLAWSON

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero
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