Charlie M (a horse)
of Navarro County, Texas


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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 Pioneer Village.

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

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Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox