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Re: Information about a Darnall/Watson Feud
Posted by: Richard Carrigan (ID *****6878) Date: December 31, 2011 at 19:49:46
In Reply to: Information about a Darnall/Watson Feud by Billy Darnell of 337

Mark Twain wrote of a long feud between Watsons and Darnells in the Madrid Bend area, but he either exaggerated or was misinformed. In 1859, there was a gunfight at Compromise Landing between A. F. Beckham (who was married to Mary Watson) and a man named Schultz, who was affiliated with the Darnells. The shootout ended in the death of Mr. Schultz, and appears to have been the basis for some of Twain's story in Life on the Mississippi.

However, at page 288 of Life on the Mississippi, Twain (or his source) misstates the later and very notorious 1869 murders of several men boarding the Belle of Memphis steamboat. Twain indicates that the last of the Darnells were gunned down by Watsons. That did not happen. The victims (named Lane and Edwards) seem to have been connected with the Darnells, but lurid newspaper accounts of the time clearly identify the shooters as Darnells.

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