Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: February 24,
Post Office: Bennington,
Date of Birth: May 16, 1854
Birth: near Fort Towson
Information on Father:
Field Worker: Lule Austin
I was born near Fort Towson, May 16, 1854, and
attended my first school at Old Bennington Church. Our old home which was
built in 1840 by Preacher COPELAND, a northern man, was used as a missionary
stand for Presbyterians. The house is built of hewed logs with an upstairs.
Father hauled lumber from across Boggy Creek and put weatherboard over the
logs after he bought the place which was about 1844. I was about ten years old
when the Civil War broke out. I remember we had plenty of meat to eat but very
little bread. Father would go to a place in the vicinity of Lake West and
bring home corn and my mother would beat it in a mortar.
The soldiers would come to our house and go into the kitchen and
eat our food, but would never bother us or our stock.
Father owned eight slaves. After they were freed, he had them
finish up the work and stand in line and he picked out two men and a woman
(Dan, Ben, and Menervia) and told them he would hire them and the others would
have to go out and make their own living and the five negroes left joining a
colony of negroes who had settled near Bennington and seemed very glad to be
free. Houses were ten miles apart and the Indians were off in a settlement to
The Honorable Wilburn W. HAMPTON, lawyer, had been asked by Coleman
COLE, who was judge of the court of claims, to copy these claims and Mr.
Hampton asked me to help him, so when I had finished I went to Atoka and asked
for Cole. Mr. McBRIDE told me where he lived but said, "It is late and you had
better stay all night with me as he can't accommodate you". I told him what
was good enough for the Chief was good enough for me and that I could put up
with anything that the Chief could. When I arrived at Mr. Cole's home, which
was a one room log house with dirt floor, I asked for Cole and the man whom I
addressed said, "Old Man, I am Principal Chief, hobble your horse, bell him and
turn him loose and come in: we eat soon".
Submitted by Rusty Lange and
transcribed by Geraldine King, December 2000.