BLANCHE, OSBORNE LEONIDAS
Osborne Leonidas Blanche – The experiences of Osborne Leonidas Blanche have been many, varied, and replete of useful incidents which have made his career of more than usual interest. These experiences have centered in Oklahoma, where he has pursued his principal activities to the present time (1928), save for three years, 1904-07, when he traveled in Mexico.
Mr. Blanche was born on a farm near the site of Hugo, Oklahoma, November 17, 1876, son of Lyman and Kizzie (Tontulibi) Blanche. Lyman Blanche was born in 1800, in Mississippi, of Choctaw descent. He gave the major portion of his active years to stock-raising, and as stockman was chiefly known in Oklahoma. During the Civil War his sympathies were with the South; he fought valiantly in the cause that was lost, as captain under Confederate colors. Kizzie Tontulibi was a full-blooded Choctaw. Both parents gave to their son the best of trainings in the home, and early inculcated in him those right principles of thought and conduct that have remained with him through manhood, making his career the fuller and richer.
After graduation from high school, at Dennison, Texas, Mr. Blanche took charge of land twenty miles southeast of Durant, in what is now Bryan County. For six years he was engaged as farmer and merchant, from 1898 to 1904; then, as noted, he traveled for three years in Mexico, and in 1908 became interpreter for the United States Indian Service among the Choctaws, with headquarters at Hugo, Oklahoma. He retained this important post two years, in 1910 becoming clerk in the employ of the Choctaw Lumber Company, at Idabel, McCurtain County, where he now resides. At Idabel as clerk he continued until 1914, then resumed farming, which he carried on for four years with considerable success. A Republican, loyal in support of the party principles, a worker in its interests since early manhood, in 1920 he began a term as court clerk at Pushmataha. The term endured until 1922, and through it Mr. Blanche made a number of valuable contacts which have since served him well. From 1923 to 1926, by appointment, he was active field clerk for the United States Indian Service, at Idabel; and in 1926, for a term to end in 1928, was appointed to appraiser’s work for the service.
While farming in Indian Territory, it was Mr. Blanche who advanced the idea of producing high-grade seed corn, in order to build up the quality and quantity of grains produced. He also worked to improve the quality and quantity of sweet potatoes grown, and has never ceased to take a great interest in matters pertaining to agriculture. In Durant, 1898, he became a director in two banks, the Choctaw and Chickasaw, and Farmers’ State. During the period of America’s participation in the World War, although somewhat above the age for active service in the military, he did serve the country’s cause, and tirelessly, to full effect, on boards and committees of war work, and was a valuable assistant in the several campaigns of the Liberty Loan. He is a communicant of the Presbyterian church.
On June 10, 1907, at Eaglestown, Choctaw Nation, in McCurtain County, Mr. Blanche was united in marriage with Mrs. Minnie (Moore) Gardner, daughter of Auguste and Ellen (Pinkerd) Moore. Auguste Moore was born in Germany, 1860; Ellen (Pinkerd) Moore, in Arkansas, 1868. Mr. and Mrs. Blanche are the parents of seven children: Hermann Gladstone, Osborne Leonidas, Jr., Alton Parker, Opal D., McLuke, Paul, and Charles Laverne.
(Source: Oklahoma, A History of the State and its People, by Joseph P. Thoburn and Muriel H. Wright, Volume IV; Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York 1929; transcribed by Glenda Stevens)
BUCHANAN, ROBERT J.
Robert J. Buchanan was born in 1847, died in 1919. He was a solider in the Confederate army but unfortunately, none of his children have any record of his enlistment, service or discharge. He came to Indian Territory in 1899, and settled south of Millerton, this county, where he lived until his death. Mr. Buchanan raised a large family-four girls and four boys-most of whom are residents of McCurtain at present. "Uncle Bob," as he was called by all who knew him, was a splendid citizen, a good neighbor and served his district one term as commissioner. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Page 150 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
Colonel Carter, Negro, born a Choctaw slave in Indian Territory. The Colonel doesn't know his age, niether does anyone else, but he is well over 80. When served recently with summons in a suit on account, he remarked to the constable, "Well, all dey can do is to git jedgment agin me, and I got lots o' dem." He is an inveterate smoker. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Page 151 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
William A. Coleman was born in Red River County, Texas, in 1862, raised on a farm and had only the advantages of the common schools. In 1880, when he was 18 years of age, he came to the Indian Territory and settled at what is now Pleasant Hill, in this county, and for many years pursued his occupation of farming. Later, he married Lou Anna Morris, who was of Indian blood, and became a citizen of the Choctaw Nation. To his farming operations he very soon added the mercantile business and was considered successful in both lines of business. Mr. Coleman was the father of a large family of children, kind and indulgent, clever in business, loyal to his friends, and a progressive citizen. Prior to his death, in December, 1915, he had accumulated considerable property, and was one of the most prominent men in McCurtain County's financial world. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Pages 149-150 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
CRANE, JOHN REV.
Rev. John Crane is a native of Texas, having been born near Paris in 1856. His education was limited to the common schcols of Texas and one year of theological training in an eastern college, with a short time at Waco. He is a missionary Baptist, and has probably organized more churches of that denomination in southeast Oklahoma than any other Baptist preacher. He carries his 66 years well, and is still active in his chosen work. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Page 154 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
DAVIS, W. SAM
W. Sam Davis, born at Atkins, Arkansas, October 8th, 1882. Had the common schools and two years in high school, supplemented by a business course, came to Indian Territory in 1895 and worked a year at Eagletown. In 1895, went back to Sevier County, and in 1906 moved to Valliant and with Duncan Nash started the Valliant News, then again moved to Eagletown where he taught school for several years. In 1912, he was elected to the State Legislature on the Democratic ticket, and served for two years, and in 1914 was the county's delegate to the State Democratic convention. Mr. Davis has been in public service in some capacity nearly ever since statehood, and his services have always been satisfactory. At present, and for the past several years, he has been engaged in the mercantile business at Eagletown, and is well liked and respected by all who know him. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Pages 151-152 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
FOWLER, DAVID A.
David A. Fowler was born in Montgomery County, Ala., in 1867, came to Indian Territory with his father's family in 1879 and settled near Wheelock, where he has lived ever since, and in what was then known as Towson County. He later married into the Choctaw tribe and became a citizen of that nation, filling several public positions up until statehood. Shortly after the county organization he was elected justice of the peace of his township on the Democratic ticket and served in that capacity for ten consecutive years, until his health began to fail, when he moved west, but soon returned to his old home, where he says he intends to spend the remainder of his life. Mr. Fowler has given 20 years of his life to the public service, and is held in high esteem as a citizen and public officer. He is a member of the Baptist Church and in his later days is giving religious matters much of his time. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Pages 149-150 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
GARDNER, EDMOND J.
Edmond J. Gardner was born at the old Gardner home near Wheelock, in 1877, and is a descendent of a family of five brothers who came over from Mississippi in 1832 and settled in different parts of the county. He is a half-blood Choctaw. His boyhood was surrounded by conditions and circumstances that were not conducive to morality and good citizenship, for when he was 13 his family moved from the old home to a farm on Red River, and just across the river was lots of bad whisky and no lack of characters to peddle it along the border. His schooling consisted of a few months in the common schools of that period, in which he reached the third grade. After coming to manhood he realized that an education was essential to his success in life, and he adopted as his slogan, "Knowledge, and not money, shall be my aim and on this precept he has shaped his life. No opportunity to improve his mind has ever been neglected. He mastered the principles of arithmetic and English grammar alone, and by a persistent course of reading good books, magazines and newspapers became versed in current knowledge and events. His first appointment to public office was that of postmaster at Clear Creek, which was followed by his appointment as clerk and treasurer of Towson County under Choctaw government. In 1901, he moved to the town of Valliant where he began business as a photographer, and while his business was scarcely sufficient to support a growing family, he clung to his slogan and put away 10 per cent of his earnings for books and magazines, which he called his "Instruction Fund." In 1906, he was elected mayor of the town, but prior to his election a.s mayor had served as town clerk and had also been reappointed as county clerk of Towson County. During this period he began the study of law and soon opened an office under the firm name of Gardner & Cochran, the last named being Judge E. E. Cochran of Idabel. In a short while he abandoned the practice of law, giving as his reason therefor, that it would not harmonize with his conscience. In 1910, he was appointed assistant postmaster at Valliant and served for four years. During his leisure hours while serving as assistant postmaster he worked out a new system of shorthand, a complete phonetic alphabet consisting of 67 characters, with a name for each, and invented a writing machine operated with 5 keys used for the phonetic alphabet. In 1915 he opened a watchmaker's and jeweler's shop in his home town, and is probably the only Choctaw who ever learned that trade.
Mr. Gardner is the present postmaster of Valliant, having been appointed by President Harding upon the recommendation of both Democrats and Republicans. In politics he is a Republican, a member of the Methodist Church, and of the Masonic and Odd Fellow orders. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Page 150 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
Hleohtambbi, aged Choctaw, born in Mississippi and came over with his tribe in 1837. Said to have been about 18 years old at that time. Hleohtambbi (pronounced as Leahtombee) lives about three miles northwest of Broken Bow and walks to town when he feels like it. While he, nor anyone else knows his correct age, he is well past the century mark, as his appearance indicates. His skin resembles parchment, his voice quavers, has lost his surplus flesh peculiar to Choctaws after passing middle age, and his hair is very white, which never occurs with Indians until well advanced in age. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Page 150 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
HOSEY, HENRY P.
It was during the administration of Henry P. Hosey as city attorney of Idabel that a spirit of humanitarianism with respect to Indians was injected into the current of municipal affairs. In other words, he ended that practice whereby the city treasury was enriched weekly by the payment of fines from Indians who, being intoxicated, disturbed the peace and dignity of the community. His was the advice of a brother rather than that of the lawyer. One Indian, in particular, had for months been paying regularly a fine of $10 each week. Mr. Hosey found that the man's family was in need of the money, and felt that morally the city should not continue extracting fines from him. His plain advice, given to the Indian in a way that he could understand, was to leave off drinking, but if he failed in that resolve, to go to some place removed from the public highway and thus keep himself inconspicuous and avoid arrest. The former course was beyond the red man, but he acted upon the latter clause of the advice, with the result that the peace of the town for a long time remained undisturbed by him. This incident is related to show Mr. Hosey's acquaintance with the frailties and nature of the Indian, a knowledge that led him to pursue a course that gave the Indian as much of the protection of society as possible. He had come from a section of Mississippi where the Choctaws lived before the migration to Indian Territory, and in which many live yet. His uncle, S. P. Wade, long after the Civil war, had thirty Choctaw families as tenants on his extensive plantation.
Henry P. Hosey was born in Jasper County, Mississippi, June 10, 1871, and is a son of William T. and Lucy (Atwood) Hosey. His father, a native of Mississippi, followed planting throughout his life, and served as a soldier of the Confederacy during the war between the states. His paternal great-grandfather was the first tax assessor and collector of Jasper County, Mississippi, and a man of influence and prominence in his community, and his great-grandfather's mother was a Terrell who lived in Georgia and a member of a family from which have sprung many men of prominence in public affairs in Georgia, Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma. A. W. Terrell, for many years prominent in Texaanhistory, is a member of this family, as is also Joseph Terrell, of Hobart, Oklahoma, who has been a member of the Oklahoma Legislature and a prosecuting attorney of his county, a leading lawyer and a man of influence and wealth. The father of Joseph Terrell was for a number of years a member of the Supreme Court of Mississippi and a jurist who lent dignity and strength to the bench. The activities of Isaac Hosey, an uncle of Henry P. Hosey, are found prominent in the annals of the Creek Nation, in which he served as a deputy United States marshal under one of the administrations of President Cleveland. Isaac Hosey married a woman of Creek blood, and in recent years has made his home at Paden, Okfuskee County. William T. and Lucy (Atwood) Hosey were the parents of four children: Henry P.; Isaac, who is a stockman and farmer of Bay Springs, Mississippi; Mrs. J. W. McNeece, who is the wife of a farmer at Enloe, Texas; and Mrs. M. T. Windham, who is the wife of a farmer-stockman at Taylorville, Mississippi.
Henry P. Hosey secured his education in the public and high schools of Mississippi, this being supplemented by much home study, and with this preparation began teaching in the public schools of his native state. During the several years that were thus employed, he devoted himself closely to the study of law, and, being admitted to practice, engaged in his profession in 1905, at Seminary, Mississippi. In 1909 Mr. Hosey came to Oklahoma and took up his residence and opened an office at Idabel, and here he has since continued in practice. Not long after coming to this place, he formed a partnership with James M. Leggett, an association which continued for two years, and in August, 1914, the present professional combination of Gore, Hosey & Jones was formed. This concern appears in all the courts, carries on a general practice of an important character, and has on its books some of the foremost firms and individuals in this part of the state. Mr. Hosey's ability was given recognition when he was elected city attorney of Idabel, but at the expiration of his term of office he retired from public life, preferring to give his entire time to his pressing and constantly-growing professional duties, He is an ardent and consistent democrat, and while still a resident of Mississippi served one term as state election commissioner under Governor James K. Vardeman.
Mr. Hosey was married at Vossburg, Mississippi, in 1892, to Miss Laura Ariington, and they have four children, as follows: Mrs. Winnie Croft, who is the wife of a business man at Idabel; Mrs. Fannie Leggett, who is the wife of a well known attorney of Idabel; Miss Edna, who is a student in the State College for Young Women, at Chickasha, Oklahoma; and William Henry, six years of age, who resides at home. Mr. and Mrs. Hosey are members of the Baptist Church. He is fraternally affiliated with the Masons and the Woodmen of the World, and professionally with the McCurtain County Bar Association and the Oklahoma Bar Association.
[Source: A Standard History of Oklahoma Volume 4 By Joseph Bradfield Thoburn - Submitted by Barb Z]
Ellen Kanitobe, Choctaw, born in Mississippi 98 years ago. Lives three miles east of Tdabel, and walks into town without the aid of a stick and picks up flying sarmoles of cotton on the streets. Stooped and small, but very active for one of her age. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Page 151 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
KNIGHT, JAMES R.
A farmer, real estate dealer and citizen of McCurtain County, who lives on his farm near the mountain village of Ida, is a man the details of whose life experiences, especially the latter part, would alone, present a fair picture of the historical development of Southeast Oklahoma. Clerk, cowboy, merchant, stockman, editor and office holder, are a few of his various occupations during his residence in Oklahoma and the Indian Territory. In the early days of statehood, Southeast Oklahoma, particularly the mountainous regions, was a rendezvous for all kinds of lawless characters, and it is largely due to the efforts of such men as Jim Knight, Tom Graham, Cliff McDonald and other pioneer citizens of that region, that they were driven from the country.
After the county was cleared of these objectionable characters the northern and western parts began a rapid improvement and settlement. The towns of Smithville, Sherwood, Bethel and Ida, while they were old settlements, put on new life and growth. Mr. Knight established himself on a farm near Ida, that had been the home of his wife's family for generations, and it was here that he received his commission as deputy sheriff. During his service as deputy he was repeatedly threatened with death by thieves and robbers, and more than once narrowly escaped the assassin's bullet.
Mr. Knight likes to relate in detail the encounters between the officers of the law and the outlaws of the early days of the county's history. Of one period he says, "Conditions became unbearable. Posses were organized by the sheriffs of four counties consisting of fifty men, hurried into the mountains and mobilized. They searched the recesses of the mountains and the country surrounding the principal ranches and towns. It was an arduous, exciting and dangerous campaign. Every day a few suspects were arrested until about thirty were held. One pitched battle occurred in which a robber was killed, and another battle was fought in a storm on the mountain in which a posse man was killed by mistake. Two posses, blinded by the storm, mistook each other for outlaws. At another time the officers came upon the robbers in a rock fort in a canyon and the robbers shot and killed four horses belonging to the officers. They were entrenched in an impregnable position, but the officers captured six horses in the encounter. The expedition lasted four weeks, bringing to a summary end the robbing of stores and post offices, the stealing of horses and cattle and other features of outlawry. There was not sufficient evidence to convict any of the suspects under arrest, but their arrest and detention served a good purpose. After this, while lawlessness was not entirely suppressed, it was no longer conducted on an organized basis. The cattlemen became members of the Texas Cattle Raisers Association which furnished the Kiamichi region a line of detectives whose activities brought about many arrests and several convictions."
From the foregoing as an incident in the career of J. R. Knight, and the further fact of his excellent citizenship, public career, qualifications as a writer and loyalty to the principles of democracy, it may be seen, as stated at the beginning of this article, that he is closely linked up with the history of his county and State.
J. R. Knight was born at Rienzi, Miss., in 1868, a son of R. K. and Violet (Aughey) Knight. His father was a teacher for forty-seven years, the last few years of which was spent in the schools of Caddo, Indian Territory. Among his pupils at this place were boys who are now among the foremost men of the State. R. K. Knight died at Caddo in 1895, and his wife in 1915. Up until his 16th year, J. R. Knight attended the common schools of Mississippi and the male Classical Institute of Corinth, of that State, then with his father's family, moved to Indian Territory, and began his career as a clerk in a general store in Attoka. This store at that time was one of only three brick buildings in the Indian Territory. Associated with him as clerk, was J. D. Lankford, who for several years has been Bank Commissioner of Oklahoma, and at that time the M. K., & T. Railroad was the only railroad through the whole country. Eighteen years ago he located at Valliant and a little later bought the Beacon-Times, a newspaper published at Idabel, one of the first papers of the county.
Soon after statehood he was elected a member of the State Legislature, where his knowledge of the conditions in his county and the mountainous regions of the State secured for him the appointment as chairman of the House Committee on Protection of Birds, Fish and Game. As chairman of this committee he sought the enactment of laws placing the enforcement of the game laws in the hands of the sheriffs, thus abolishing the long-range feature of government in the appointment of deputy game wardens from different parts of the State. In this he failed, but subsequent conditions proved the correctness of his position.
In 1905, at Wheelock Academy, Mr. Knight married Miss Agnes Beatrice Battiste, an Indian girl of French descent, whose father was for a number of years judge of Neshoba County in the Choctaw Nation. Mrs. Knight died January 5th, 1911, leaving one child, Violetta, who is at present in Randolph-Macon College, Lynchburg, Va.
Two of his sisters, Miss K. K. Knight and Miss Elizabeth, have been identified with the educational interests of the State since girlhood.
Mr. Knight is a member of the I. 0. 0. F., the M. W. A. and other fraternal orders. He is always active and alive in the development of his country, and through his great love for his wife and daughter, is a true friend of the Indians, and an advocate of the brotherhood of man and the milk of human kindness. It is his greatest desire that the old mountain farm in the bend of west Glover near Ida, will be the most picturesque, remunerative and independent place in the world, for it is the home of four generations of his wife's family. The place is an ideal quarter-section with some hill land, but mostly creek bottom, threaded by the silvery Glover Creek, skirted by high pine-fringed bluffs on one side and fringed by oak, holly, cedar and walnut on the other, with many springs and natural parks surrounding it. Aside from the residence, there are the necessary barns and other buildings, fruit trees from three to forty years old, English and Japanese walnut trees, and a spacious garden fringed with mint, sage, asparagus and rhubarb, all of which give the place an air of beauty and comfort almost beyond comparison.
It is the wish of Mr. Knight that his only daughter, Mary Violetta, shall keep and continue to improve this place and hand it down from generation to generation, holding it as an oasis in the desert of human trials and troubles, so that the wayfaring man may find cheer and comfort on his way, and depart again, with a greater faith in all that is good.
But while J. R. Knight came to the Indian Territory in the early days, he also made adventures into other lands. These adventures include working through a "Sugar Rolling," cutting out roads in the swamps of Louisiana, making a winter garden on the Texas coast and serving as acting vice-consul under Wm. C. Burchard for the Islands of Ruatan, Bonaca and Artila, off the coast of Spanish Honduras, and holding down a pre-emption claim in Colorado. But the work of which he seems proudest is that of aiding in securing the best class of citizenship for his locality, and in this work, the efficiency, morale and loyalty of the citizens of northwest McCurtain attest the success of his efforts. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Pages 143-148 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
Robert Love, an early and much respected citizen of the Choctaw Nation, was born at Philadelphia, Penn., in 1860. He was a descendant of the Choctaw tribe, and soon after the Civil War came to his people and settled in what is now McCurtain County. As one of the heirs of Col. Jones, a very wealthy Indian, he inherited what is known as the Shawneetown farm on Red River, in this county, and proved himself a successful planter and merchant. He later married Miss Kate D. Devor, from which marriage there are several children now residents of the county. He died at Clarksville, Texas, in 1904, leaving a vacancy in the business field of McCurtain County that was seriously felt and only filled by the subsequent rush of settlement and development of the country. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Pages 151-152 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
MCDONALD, H. C. (CLIFF)
(By J. R. Knight.)
Cliff McDonald discovered America in Alabama on the top side of a half century ago. After attaining his majority, he roamed around over the central west, digging coal, running cattle, mauling rails and working in the harvests. Later, he re-joined his father's family in Polk County, Arkansas, and settled down to farming. In 1905, he came to LeFlore County, Choctaw Nation, and in 1907 was appointed deputy sheriff, under Sheriff Noble of that county and assisted in running down the robbers and thieves that infested LeFlore, Pushmataha and McCurtain Counties just after statehood. In 1908, he came to McCurtain County and was at once appointed deputy sheriff by Sheriff Graham, and has held the office under Burk, Holman, Felker and Jones, successfully. MT. McDonald has made a fearless but kind and considerate officer, often settling cases between neighbors out of court by fiendly arbitration. He is a member of the Baptist Church, of the Odd Fellows Order, of the anti-horsethief association, a live wire in the Democratic party, and was a member of the legal advisory board during the late war. He is also the father of a large family and husband of one of the best women in McCurtain County, a fine neighbor and a good citizen. Men like McDonald should have a few flowers handed to them while alive as a mark of appreciation of their value as a citizen. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Pages 155-156 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
TOM G. TAYLOR.
In the vital little City of Idabel, judicial center of McCurtain County, Tom G. Taylor is editor and publisher of the Democrat-Record, one of the vigorous newspapers of the state and one which he has made an effective exponent of local interests as well as of the cause of the democratic party. That he is a liberal and progressive citizen, popular and influential, needs no further voucher than the statement that he figured as representative of McCurtain County in the lower House of the Oklahoma Legislature in its Fifth General Assembly, that of 1914-15, his re-election for this session having come after he had impressed a distinct influence upon state governmental affairs during his previous term as a member of the Fourth Legislature. His high civic ideals and broad views of economic and governmental policies have been definitely vitalized and matured through his long and active association with the newspaper business, and he is well equipped for leadership in popular sentiment and action. Successful in private business activities, he proved loyal and successful as a legislator, and his record in the later connection redounds to his credit and reflects honor on the county and state of his adoption.
The fine old Empire State of the South has given a due quota of valuable citizens to the new commonwealth of Oklahoma, and Mr. Taylor takes due pride in claiming that state as the place of his nativity, besides which he is a scion of one of the fine old families whose name has long and worthily identified with the annals of the South. Mr. Taylor was born in Cobb County, Georgia, in the year 1875, and is a son of Alfred P. and Alice (Hales) Taylor, the other surviving children being: Arthur P., who is a prosperous fruit grower at DeQueen, Sevier County, Arkansas; W. H. Taylor, with his brother Arthur; Charles E., who is identified with railway service at Shreveport, Louisiana; Alfred W., who is attending school at DeQueen, Arkansas; Mrs. William W. Robinson, whose husband is in the United State mail service at DeQueen; and Miss Jessie, who is a successful teacher in the public schools at DeQueen.
The father of Mr. Taylor was born in South Carolina, and became a successful farmer, horticulturist and contractor, his operations having been successively in the states of Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas. He was a boyhood friend of the late Hon. Henry W. Grady, the distinguished Georgia statesman and orator, was himself a man of fine intellectuality and was influential in public affairs. He served two terms in the Legislature of Alabama, during a period of stormy conflict between the old-line democrats and the political organization of the Farmers’ Alliance, of which latter he was a prominent representative.
The career of Tom G. Taylor has signally shown the consistency of the statement that the discipline of a newspaper office is equivalent to a liberal education, and he attributes quite as much to such discipline as to that received in the public schools for the broad scope of his concrete information as well as for the reinforcement of his opinions concerning business affairs and public policies. By attending school a portion of the time in his boyhood and youth and in the interim finding employment in newspaper and printing offices he completed what may well be termed a liberal and practical education. At the age of eleven years he entered the office of the Edwardsville Standard at Edwardsville, Alabama, and when but seventeen years of age he established at Cullman, that state, a paper to which he gave the title of the People’s Protest, the same being made an organ and mouthpiece for the Farmers’ Alliance. In the meanwhile his father had purchased the plant of a paper known as the Plowboy, in Cleburne County, Alabama, and after remaining a year at Cullman the subject of this review assumed the practical charge of the paper of which his father had become the owner. In 1905 the family removed to Sevier County, Arkansas, and there Mr. Taylor became associated with his father in the manufacturing of lumber, in farming and fruit-growing and in the general merchandise business. They were pioneers in the development of the fruit industry in that section of the state and produced fine varieties of pears, plums and peaches, on their exhibition of which they received premiums at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, in the City of St. Louis. Through their efforts and pronounced success great interest in horticulture was aroused in Sevier County, and within its borders is now to be found probably the largest peach orchard in the world, the same comprising 4,700 acres.
In 1907 Mr. Taylor purchased the DeQueen Democrat, a weekly paper published at DeQueen, Sevier County, and in 1910 he removed the plant to Idabel, Oklahoma, and utilized the same in the founding of the Idabel Democrat-Record, of which he has since continued publisher and editor. With his original plant he later consolidated that of the McCurtain County Record, which had been published at Valliant, and still later assimilated in a similar way the plant and business of the Idabel Beacon-Times, with the result that, with his policy of keeping his printing and newspaper office up to high standard in all departments, he now has one of the largest and most modern printing plants in the southeastern part of the state.
In 1912 Mr. Taylor was elected a representative of McCurtain County in the Fourth General Assembly of the Oklahoma State Legislature, after having made a somewhat vigorous campaign against the socialist party contingent in his county, and that without assistance on the part of other democratic candidates. In the Fourth Legislature Mr. Taylor was the joint author of a bill for the granting of pensions to former soldiers in the Confederate armies, but though this bill passed the house it was defeated by remaining on the calendar of the senate until the close of the session. He was the author also of a bill revising the fish and game laws of the state, and after its enactment this measure was vetoed by Governor Cruce, though most of its important features were embodied in measures enacted by the Fifth Legislature. The estimate placed upon the services of Mr. Taylor was significantly shown in 1914, when he was re-elected to the Legislature by the largest majority ever given to a candidate for that office in McCurtain County. In the Fifth Legislature Mr. Taylor was made chairman of the committee on public printing, and assigned to membership also on the following named committees of the House: State and school lands, public buildings, state militia, relations to the Five Civilized Tribes and other Indians, fish and game, retrenchment and reform, and capitol building. At this session Mr. Taylor was the author of a bill establishing the landlord’s lien, of a bill creating a poll tax, and of a bill segregating the funds derived from taxes received from white and negro tax-payers and prorating them according to the respective white and black elements of population, this measure being in harmony with law now in effect in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas. Representative Taylor also gave special attention to the championship of a bill requiring all boards handling public money to publish monthly statements of their receipts and disbursements as well as of a bill requiring persons applying for articles of incorporation to publish a statement of the objects of the proposed corporation in newspapers in the county where it was to transact business. He also supported vigorously a bill providing that all state printing shall be done in the state and authorizing the State Board of Public Affairs to fix the prices for printing.
During the period of his residence in Oklahoma Mr. Taylor has been an ardent worker in behalf of the cause of the democratic party and has attended as a delegate each of its successive state conventions in Oklahoma during this period. He had previously been active in political affairs in Arkansas, and he is well fortified in his convictions as to economic and governmental policies. He is the very incarnation of the spirit of progress and takes a lively and liberal interest in all that tends to advance the civic and material welfare of his home city, county and state. Mr. Taylor is a member of the Idabel Retailers’ Association and the Southeastern Oklahoma Press Association. He is affiliated with both the lodge and encampment bodies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in the latter of which he has served as high priest, and he holds membership also in the Woodmen of the World, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Improved Order of Red Men, and the Woodmen’s Circle.
[Source: A Standard History of Oklahoma Volume 4 By Joseph Bradfield Thoburn - Transcribed by Sandra Stutzman]
VICTOR, GEORGE T.
George T. Victor, the subect of this sketch, was born in Choctaw Nation in 1880. Attended the local schools of his tribe and later had three years at Armstrong Acedemy. After leaving school, he served as deputy clerk under W. J. Fisher, who was then County Clerk of Bokhoma County. When about 21 he married Louisa Lawataya (La-wa-ta-ya), by whom was born Frank J. After the death of his first wife, he married Nancy Forbes, by whom he had three children, Georgie, Deb. Jones and Wilma. Since the organization of the county he has served as court interpreter a great deal of the time. His first notary commission is signed by Gov. Haskell, and he has been commissioned by every succeeding governor since statehood. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Pages 154-155 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
WHITE, JOHN R.
John R. White, late of this county, was born in Red River County, Texas, in November, 1858. He was raised on a farm just across the river from his adopted county and State, attended the neighborhood schools until he was large enough to ride to Clarksville, a distance of ten miles to school, which he did all the time he could be spared from the farm. After reaching his majority, he married Miss Lena Simpson, a native of the Indian Territory, and moved to Idabel in 1903, where he entered the mercantile business and proved himself one of the successful merchants of the new country. In 1911 and 1912, his health began to fail and he went west with the hope of regaining it, but soon lost hope and returned to his home in Idabel, where he died in August, 1914. The same vim and determination to succeed that made Mr. White, when a boy, ride ten miles to school every day, characterized his after life and brought success to his efforts as a successful business man. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Page 154 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
WHITEMAN, W. J.
W. J. Whiteman of Goodwater, this county, was born at Clarksville, Texas, in November, 1869, where he was educated and lived until 1893, when he came to the Indian Territory and settled at Goodwater, where he has lived ever since. Mr. Whiteman was one of the many young men who cast their lot with the fortunes of the new country with nothing to fight the battle of life but energy, integrity and determination, but he has signally succeeded. It is very rarely that a genial, hospitable and liberal man, such as Mr. Whiteman, succeeds financially, but he has proven an exception to the rule. Three years after coming to Indian Territory, he married Miss Mattie J. Harris, from which union there are eight children.
Mr. Whiteman is a member of the Methodist Protestant Church, member of the Goodwater Lodge A. F. & A. M., No. 148, Royal Arch, Idabel Indian Consistory No. 2, McAlester, Bedouin Templar, Shriner. Besides his well-equipped farm, he does a splendid merchandise business at Goodwater, and is a stockholder in most of the banks of the county. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Page 150 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
WILLIAMS, REV. A. S.
Rev. A. S. Williams, born near Bethel, this county, in December, 1868, educated at Spencer Academy, with one term at Roanoke College, Virginia. He was licensed to preach in 1888, and he began active service as a Methodist minister in 1894. Was appointed Presiding Elder of the Choctaw M. E. Church in 1921 and re-appointed in 1922. His district comprises practically all of the Choctaw and Chickasaw countries. In connection with his ministerial duties, he acts as agent for the American Bible Society. (McCurtain County & Southeast Oklahoma, Idabel, Okla. author unknown, 1923, Page 154 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
REV. ALEXANDER S. WILLIAMS
The law of the Methodist Church provides not only a course of study for its accredited itinerant ministers, but a scheme of promotion that may inspire the humblest preacher in the ranks to aspire to the office of bishop. The office of presiding elder is one of responsibility and requires more than ordinary intelligence and tact tor the successful performance of the duties it entails. The fact, therefore, that a full-blood Choctaw Indian has reached that exalted station is a fulfillment of the prophecy of early missionaries that the Indians could be made useful as Christians and a patent compliment to the United States Government which for several generations has been doing its level best through education to make them helpful citizens.
In 1894, during a session of the Indian Mission Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, presided over by Bishop Hargrove, Alexander S. Williams, who had been converted under the ministry of some preacher sent into the wild woods of the Choctaw Nation, was ordained to preach the gospel, and for more than twenty years he has been devotedly faithful to his trust. His endeavors have been among his own people exclusively and he has filled many stations, reaching the high mark of his usefulness a few years ago when he was made presiding elder of the Chickasaw-Choctaw District. In that work he visited practically all the charges of his church in the old Chickasaw and Choctaw nations, and his recommendations relating to the assignment of preachers, missionary appropriations, building of churches, etc., served as guides to the bishop and the church board in furthering church activities.
For several years also Mr. Williams was interpreter for presiding elders of districts in the Indian country where local church memberships were of both white and Indian races. He traveled in this capacity with Rev. Orlando Shay, Rev. J. W. White, Rev. J. A. Kenney and Key. A. C. Pickens. Both before and since that period he has been one of the most used and useful interpreters for the conference in various capacities. It is probable that no other Indian of the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes has distributed as many Bibles among the Indian people. For some years Mr. Williams was agent among the Five Tribes for the American Bible Society and while traveling and preaching distributed Bibles among thousands of Indians.
Mr. Williams was born near the present post office of Bethel, in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, December 2, 1868. His father, Sylvester Williams, also was a Methodist preacher, a soldier in the Confederate army during the war between the states under General Cooper, and for several years a representative of Nashoba County in the Choctaw Legislature. Sylvester Williams was born in the Choctaw Nation, was educated at Spencer Academy, and died in 1879. In his ministry he was associated with such pioneer Methodist preachers as E. R. Shepard and Willis Folsom, the latter of whom was a Choctaw.
The first school attended by Alexander S. Williams was taught by his father, and was a neighborhood school situated in the vicinity of Bethel. He entered Spencer Academy in 1883, and during the three years he was a student there was under O. P. Stark and H. R. Schemmerhorn. He next spent one year at Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia, and on returning to Indian Territory began teaching English to his own people in the neighborhood schools. Later he served four years in the Choctaw Legislature, and upon retiring was elected by the Legislature as national school trustee for the Second Judicial District. Silas Bacon and Mitchell Harrison, with Mr. Williams, composed the board of education for the Nation. The examiners of teachers appointed by Mr. Williams in the Second District were William McKinney, of Smithville, and Thomas Hunter, of Hugo. Ben Watkins, an intermarried white-citizen, who was one of the leading educators of the Choctaw Nation, also served for a time on the board of examiners.
Probably Mr. Williams' most important work for the Choctaw Nation was as a member of the Indian delegation that made a treaty with the United States Government through the Dawes Commission. He and D. C. Garland represented the Second District of the Choctaw Nation, and their deliberations lasted for a month, finally resulting, at Fort Smith, in the Atoka Agreement, in 1892.
Mr. Williams was married in 1888 to Miss Sillis Johnson, a full-blood Choctaw, and they became the parents of one daughter, who is now Mrs. Florence Nelson, the wife of a farmer at Golden, Oklahoma. Mrs. Williams died January 26, 1915, and June 2, 1915, Mr. Williams was married to Miss Clarissa Caldwell, also of Indian blood, who for four years was a student at Wheelock Academy. The Williams family home is situated at Golden, Oklahoma, where Mr. Williams is the owner of a valuable and highly-cultivated tract of farming land.
[A Standard History of Oklahoma , by Joseph B. Thoburn , 1916 -- Transcribed by Cathy Ritter]
REV. ALLEN WRIGHT, D. D.
And Governor of the Choctaws, was born in Mississippi in November, 1826. Both of his parents were of Indian blood and belonged to the Choctaw iksa, or clan, called Hayi-pa-tuk-lah. With his parents he migrated to the Indian Territory about the year 1833. His mother died before reaching the Indian Territory, and his father on arriving in the Indian Territory with his two children settled near Lukfata, in the present McCurtain County, Oklahoma, where he died soon afterward, leaving the son, whose Choctaw name was Killihote, and a daughter. The orphan boy was taken in charge by the Rev. Cyrus Kingsbury, a Presbyterian missionary among the Choctaws, and lived with him until he entered Spencer Academy. He was then given the name of Allen Wright, the family name being that of Rev. Allen Wright, a much-beloved and honored missionary to the Choctaws.
After being fitted for college, he entered Delaware College in 1848, but by his own request the next year he was transferred to Union College, Schenectady, New York, where he graduated in the class of 1852. He then entered Union Theological Seminary, New York City, graduating in 1855. Returning to the Choctaw Nation, he was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian church, by the Indian Presbytery. in 1856, he entered public life and filled various positions under the Choctaw government, although actively engaged as a mission worker all the while. In 1857 he was married to Miss Harriett Newell Mitchell, of Dayton, Ohio, who was a missionary in one of the Indian schools of the Choctaw Nation. The Choctaws having joined the Confederate States, he served in the Confederate Army as chaplain during the Civil War and, at its conclusion, was selected as one of the Choctaw Commissioners to negotiate a new treaty with the Federal Government. During the negotiations with the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Creeks and Seminoles, which resulted in the treaties of 1866 with these different nations, a scheme was formulated for a Territorial form of government to be composed of, and participated in by, the above-named five tribes. While the matter was being discussed the Commissioner on the part of the United States suggested that the proposed territory should bear a distinctive Indian name. Thereupon Allen Wright proposed the name Oklahoma, derived from two Choctaw words, "okla" meaning people, and "homa" meaning red; freely translated, as the home or land of the Red People. The territorial form of government as provided for in the treaties was never established as originally planned, but when, by act of Congress, Oklahoma Territory was carved out of the Indian Territory and opened for settlement in 1889, the name Oklahoma, selected in 1866, was given the new Territory and adopted as the State name, when in 1907 the two Territories were admitted into the Union. While in Washington in 1866, Allen Wright was unanimously elected as Principal Chief of the Choctaws for a term of two years and thereafter reelected for another term of two years.
His later years were largely devoted to literary pursuits, translating all of the Choctaw and Chickasaw laws into the tribal vernacular for publication. He wrote and published a Choctaw-English lexicon or definer and was the author or translator of a number of hymns in the Choctaw language. He died at his home in Boggy Depot, Choctaw Nation (now Boggy Depot, Atoka County, Oklahoma), on December 2, 1885.
(Source: Oklahoma, A History of the State and Its People, by Joseph B. Thoburn and Muriel H. Wright, Volume IV; Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc. New York, 1929; transcribed by Susan Geist)