Killers of the Flower Moon
David Grann
Contributed by Shemika Thormahlen
Chapter 25

Grann visits the Osage Nation in June 2015, and he finds windmills erected on the land. Residents consider them a threat although they are meant to supply homes in Oklahoma with power. The government has filed a case on the tribe’s behalf since the company required permission before erecting the windmills.

Grann is having trouble due to the lack of relevant files. One day, he notices a manuscript on the murder of Mary Denoya-Bellieu-Lewis. She was a member of the tribe and had disappeared in 1918 while on a trip to Texas. Lewis was in the company of her adopted daughter, a man named Thomas Middleton (a friend to Lewis) — and another man claiming to be his friend. Middleton had pretended to be Lewis’ adopted son; but after her body was found in 1919, he admitted that he had killed her with the help of his friend, and his motive was to inherit her headright. He was sentenced to life in prison but released after having only served six years. This case makes Grann realize that the Osage Reign of Terror period was longer than most people realized, considering how it began before Anna’s death and continued on after Hale’s conviction.


The Osage now understand their rights, and they can question the wrong actions of individuals or organizations who may seek to exploit them. This explains the concerns they have on the windmills being erected in the region. The case of Mary Lewis points at a period before the 1920s when the murders may have begun. Lewis’ death was driven by greed for wealth by Middleton, an aspect seen in various cases of the 1920s. The manuscript shows people’s desire for the truth, especially towards the people they relate to even if they do not know them physically or have never met them prior.

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