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Richard Fields
Historical Figure
Nationality: Cherokee
Date of Birth: 18th century
Date of Death: 1827
Cause of Death: Execution by hanging
Occupation: Diplomat
Parents: Richard Fields Sr. and Susannah (Emory) Martin
Spouse: Five
Children: Five
Fictional Appearances:
"Hail! Hail!"
POD: December 15, 1826
Type of Appearance: Direct

Richard Fields (17??[1]-1827) was the diplomatic chief of the Cherokee people residing in what is now Texas while it was still under Mexican rule. Fields was only one-eighth Cherokee; his father was English and his mother was quarter Cherokee. However, his ties to both the white world and the Cherokee world made him a logical choice to act as his peoples' chief diplomat.

Fields first appears in the historical record in 1801 as an emissary to the United States. He participated in the War of 1812, serving as an interpreter and an auxiliary under Andrew Jackson in 1814.

He is first recorded residing in Texas in 1820, where he attempted to secure a land grant for the Cherokee. However, his arrival coincided with Mexico's final victory in its revolution against Spain, and so his efforts were thwarted as the government of Mexico changed three times in the 1820s. By 1826, Fields and his ally, John Dunn Hunter, joined with the Fredonian Rebellion led by American Empresario Haden Edwards. While the rebellion began in Nacogdoches, Texas in December 1826, the Mexican government sent agent Peter Ellis Bean to convince the Cherokee to break the alliance. Bean succeeded. In an effort to demonstrate the Cherokees' loyalty to Mexico, the Cherokee council ordered the deaths of Fields and Dunn. While both fled, they were each captured and hanged in February, 1827.

Richard Fields in "Hail! Hail!"Edit

Chief Richard Fields, John Dunn Hunter, and the Cherokee had already agreed to help Haden Edwards and the Republic of Fredonia when the Marx Brothers arrived from 1934.[2] However, Julius Marx convinced the Cherokee to stay in the alliance, thereby changing history.

After the Marx Brothers convinced first Adolphus Sterne and Haden Edwards of their identity, Sterne took them to the Cherokee.[3] At this point, the Marx Brothers' only real plan was to make the Cherokee like them better than the Mexicans.[4]Fields greeted them when they arrived, and Sterne explained who the Marx Brothers were and why they were there to meet. Fields agreed to listen and summoned Hunter.[5]

The group ate a supper of grits and armadillo before talks began. Once again, Julius explained that he and his brothers were from 1934 and offered coins to prove it. A full-blooded Cherokee named Eightkiller also looked at the coins. All saw dates from the 1920s, and Eightkiller observed the "clock" on Julius' wrist as being far more advanced than anything he'd ever seen. Based on this, the Cherokee were tentatively convinced the Marx Brothers were telling the truth. Julius then explained that in the Marx Brother's historical record, the Mexicans convinced the Cherokee not to back Fredonia, and the rebellion failed. He further explained that, despite the Cherokees' change of heart, the Mexican government still mistrusted them, and that Fields and Hunter were hanged in the spring of 1827 as a result. Julius withheld the fact that the Cherokee people themselves did the hanging. Fields reasoned that if they threw in with Fredonia, they had to go all the way. Eightkiller pointed out that they could also just flat out refuse to help now, as well. The Cherokee began discussing in their own language their next course of action.[6]

In order to sway the Cherokee, Sterne explained the white and red strips of the Fredonia flag symbolized whites and Indians working together. In response, the Marx Brothers sang the Freedonia anthem from Duck Soup. The Cherokee weren't wholly receptive to these idealistic exclamations, although the faux anthem didn't hurt. When Eightkiller asked what the best course of action was, Julius simply stated that sitting back as they had in the original timeline didn't work, but he made no guarantees as to what would happen if they backed Fredonia all the way. While the Cherokee had reservations about trusting Haden Edwards, the realized that the didn't really trust the Mexicans either, and so opted to back Fredonia, even chanting "Hail! Hail! Fredonia!" in a show of solidarity.[7]

The group stayed with the Cherokee for the next several days. Warriors started joining the band. On Christmas Day word came that the Mexican envoy, Peter Ellis Bean was on his way to convince the Cherokee to stay away from Fredonia. Fields reiterated his resolve to ignore Bean given his and Hunter's fate.[8]

Bean arrived on December 27. He'd received information about the Marx brothers, and was immediately dismissive of them. Julius Marx began goading Bean in response, reciting the playground song "Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit". While it didn't exist in 1826 yet, every English-speaker quickly understood the gist. For good measure, the Cherokee warrior Eightkiller even translated for some of the other Cherokee warriors present. One made a fart-noise with his mouth. Bean also understood Cherokee, and this act made him even angrier. Marx continued to taunt Bean, but took things too far by slapping Bean in the face. Bean immediately declared that Marx had challenged him to a duel. As the challenged, Bean selected pistols, and declared the duel would be at sunup the next day.[9] Sterne agreed to be Marx' second, and even provided him a pistol.[10]

The next morning, Bean and Julius Marx met for their duel. Marx had a pistol that had been loaded by Sterne. Bean and Marx agreed to the final rules of ten paces, and one shot only. Bean also made it clear that only this duel could repair his honor. As the sun came up, the duel commenced.[11] After ten paces, Bean turned and aimed faster, but his gun misfired. Marx took aim at Bean's chest and fired. His gun discharged, hitting Bean in the chest. The wound was not immediately fatal, and Bean took an hour and a half to die.[12] Bean's death insured that the Cherokee would stay in the Fredonian camp, as the Mexican government would not believe that the Cherokee were blameless. Cherokee Chief Richard Fields announced that the warriors would head to Nacogdoches after they buried Bean.[13].

Fields spoke with a noticeable English accent, rather than a North American one, a fact that rather amused Julius Marx.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Sources cite 1763,1765, 1771, and 1780 as possible dates of birth
  2. "Hail! Hail!", loc. 393-444
  3. Ibid., loc. 523-583.
  4. Ibid., loc. 393-444
  5. Ibid., loc. 523-583.
  6. Ibid., loc. 583-666.
  7. Ibid., loc. 666-696.
  8. Ibid., loc. 689-739.
  9. Ibid., loc. 739-782.
  10. Ibid., loc. 782.
  11. Ibid., loc. 803-847.
  12. Ibid., loc 847-867.
  13. Ibid., loc. 867-877.
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