Charlie M (a horse)
of Navarro County, Texas
|Remembering a Rich History
The legend of Charlie M lives on in 2006
By Deanna Plemons
Becky Atkeisson recently perused her mother’s bookcase in search of
something to read, and located a book by Ed Syers called “Off the Beaten
Trail,” copyright 1964. The book is a series of short stories about
places in Texas. One particular story, “The Honest Monument to Charlie M
— Horse” caught her attention — because it took place in Corsicana.
“I couldn’t believe I had never heard of this monument, and I’ve lived
here 30 years,” Atkeisson said. “I asked a couple of other people, and
they hadn’t heard of it, either.”
According to the story in the book, the author “found the marker out
East Fifth, where it rickety-bridges Post Oak Creek. It is in the small
front yard of Coralee Thomas, beside the reedy banks where her nine
youngsters have snared crawdads, growing up.”
As the story goes, a Jockey Club was established April 22, 1882,
according to the Navarro County History, compiled by Wyvonne Putman for
the Navarro County Historical Society. Near where Carroll Elementary is
now, a racetrack was built, along with fairgrounds and showgrounds, and
races were held every Sunday. People came from miles around to watch the
horses and place bets on their favorites.
A Mr. Mitten owned the best wagon yard in Corsicana, as well as a livery
and stable. Mr. Mitten had purchased Charlie M from a Charlie Huskie,
after Mitten observed he and another horse run away with a trash wagon.
According to the history, “Charlie M trotted faster than other horses
could gallop,” and Mitten decided to race Charlie M against any horse
owned by Mr. Hays, Bill Petty, Mr. Whiteselle, or Mr. Morton, “big wigs”
in the local racetrack scene. When Charlie M set the record time, Mitten
was very proud of the horse he first spied hauling wood, “trying to show
his piston-legged stuff,” Syars wrote.
According to the history books and legend, Mitten was so proud of this
horse, when Charlie M died in 1902, he had a beautiful tombstone made
and placed on his grave, which was “across the creek on East Fifth.”
These days, don’t look for the monument on East Fifth. The beautiful old
marker now has a new home, where it is well-cared for.
“When they widened that street, they moved the monument to Pioneer
Village, because it was in jeopardy,” said Bobbie Young, curator of
The Mitten Stable and Livery, once located at 419 N. Beaton, is no more,
but the lasting legacy of Charlie M, Horse lives on.
Corsicana Daily Sun - July 8, 2006
Navarro County TXGenWeb
Edward L. Williams & Barbara