Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
History Project for Oklahoma
Date: February 18, 1938
Name: Raphael L. Wilson
Post Office: Hugo ,
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Information on father:
Place of birth:
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Hazel B. Greene
Interview #: 12976
History of the Wilson family, as written by R. F. Wilson, of Valliant, a good long while before his death in 1925. Possibly it was written in 1915. It was written in long hand and has never been published. It is in the possession of his son, “young Rafe”, or Raphael L. Wilson of Hugo. He prizes this manuscript so highly that he would not permit it out of his possession. It was copied in the office of the United States, Indian Service Field Clerk, where Mr. Wilson works. “Young Rafe” Wilson was born in 1901, and is very much Choctaw, probably one half. Mrs. Ada Billingslea-Wilson, widow of J. D. Wilson, lives in Paris, Texas. Marion Locke, Field Clerk in the Indian Agent’s office in Hugo, said today, February 17, 1938, that he was positive that his grandmother, Jane James Wilson, was Chickasaw Indian. Mr. Locke says, too, that the water mill was a grist mill and a gin. The three children of Willie Wilson and his wife Nannie, Rufus, Cleopatra and Oscar, are all dead. Willie, Ed, Johnnie, and Rafe Wilson are all dead now.
In the year 1835, John Wilson, a boy of ten years, moved with the Choctaws from Mississippi to the eastern portion of the Indian Territory into what was known as the Choctaw Nation, where all the Choctaws settled and established their own form of government. After residing on the new hunting ground about ten years, John was married to Jane James, a daughter of Dace James, a Choctaw Indian, who, with his daughter Jane, emigrated to the Indian Territory at the same time the Wilson's came. They all settled near Wheelock, a mission established by the Presbyterian Church. From this union were born at the Wilson home a quarter of a mile east of Wheelock, Nannie E., Hattie, William, Louis, George and John. When the Civil War broke out John Sr. went into the war and served for four years, or until the close of the war, leaving his wife in care of the home and small children, with no one to help her but one Negro slave, named Ben, who was a blacksmith.
After the close of the war the family moved ten miles west to what is now known as Oak Hill, here they resided about three years and while residing here two more children were born to them, Edward H. and Raphael F. In the year 1870 they moved two miles southwest to Clear Creek, where the water mill now stands, and here John engaged in the mill business, together with light farming and stock raising, which pursuits he followed until his death in 1892.
During the last twenty years of his life John Wilson took an active part in Indian politics and served his people as County Judge for many terms. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge for a quarter of a century, but was never united with the church. His wife, Jane, led the quiet but busy life of a farmer’s wife. She united with the Presbyterian Church to which she remained loyal to the last. During the war she was compelled to weave cloth on a loom and make clothes for her small children. After the death of her husband she lived at the old home with the youngest son, until his moving in 1896, after which date she spent most of the time with visiting her children and grandchildren. The last few years of her life she was almost an invalid and she died May 2, 1909.
Nannie E. who was the oldest child; she was educated in Nashville, Tennessee, and married at the age of twenty to Frank Byrd, a Chickasaw Indian, on February 17, 1871. From this union was born one child, Nannie Byrd. She resided with her husband at what is now Stonewall. She died at the age of twenty-one in July 11, 1872.
Harriet, the next oldest child was educated at home and at the age of twenty years was married to Frank Locke, a white man, June 1, 1875. They lived on the old Wilson homestead at what is now known as Oak Hill for several years, then moved on Clear Creek near the Wilson home. There, Locke was a doctor, but this country being so thinly settled he had to resort to stock raising and farming for a livelihood. They had three children, all living now, Wilson, Marian and Mary. The Locke family moved to Goodland near the present site of Hugo. Here he engaged in selling merchandise and in stock raising. In the year 1896 Harriet died, leaving Frank and the three children.
William Wilson, the next oldest child, was educated at home and attended school at Spencer Academy. He was married to Rosana Williams, a Choctaw girl, July 24, 1879.
She lived but a few years and left no children, William came back home and lived with his parents for several years. Afterward he married Miss Nannie Carney, another Choctaw girl. They lived one mile north of the Wilson home on Clear Creek, at what is now known as the Wylie Fulbright spring where John Wilson had built a house during the lifetime of his first wife. William followed stock raising and finally went into the merchandise business with his next oldest brothers at Clear Creek, the Wilson home, and continued for several years then went exclusively into the stock business at which business he proved to be a success and from which he amassed a small fortune. They moved from their home on Clear Creek to old Doaksville on a farm, where they lived until the death of Nannie in 1905 after which time William lived on the farm and carried on the stock business.
After the Frisco Railroad built its line from Hope to Ardmore and new towns sprang up all along the road, the need of banks at those new towns appealed to him and Mr. Wilson helped to organize banks at Hugo, then at Idabel, Fort Towson, Valliant and Soper. On November 6, 1906, Mr. Wilson was again married, to Miss Ollie Biard, a white woman, and they moved to Fort Towson, where he took an active part in the management of the Farmer’s Exchange Bank, now the First National Bank. Early in the history of Fort Towson, William engaged in the merchandise business with his brothers, John and Ed. He also took quite an active part in the Indian politics and at one time represented his county in the legislature and was elected to the office of National Auditor and later National Treasurer. After Statehood he took his allotment of the Indian lands near Fort Towson. He united with the Christian Church and he and family are faithful Christians. William Ward Jr. took a very active part in the building of Fort Towson and built many of the best buildings there.
Louis L. is the next oldest and he, too, was educated at home and attended school at old Spencer Academy. He was married to Miss Josephine Williams, an Indian girl in 1893. They lived near the old Wilson home on Clear Creek, where Louis engaged in stock raising, farming and merchandise. They had two children, George and Louis Jr. Louis died November 3,
1885. [see note below]
John D., the next oldest, was born February 1864. He received his education at home and at Harley Institute, a school in the Chickasaw Nation. He engaged in the merchandise and livestock business in early life; was married to Miss Belle Turnbull, Choctaw girl, in the year 1891. John, Eugene, Hattie, Bessie, Curtis, Richard and Vivian are the children from this union. After this marriage, John moved onto his farm south of what is now Swink, where he engaged in the cattle business in which business, like his brother W. W., he proved to be a success and for miles around his beautiful home could be seen herds of fat steers in the “Rafter J.” brand. He took quite an interest in Indian politics and served his people as representative of his county in the legislature, was appointed Indian police under Robert L. Owens, served also as supreme Judge of the Choctaw Nation which position he held when Oklahoma was admitted to statehood. Since that time he has given his best interest to stock raising and is the largest cattle dealer in the county at this time. Belle, who was one of the most faithful wives, was always ready to assist him in all of his undertakings. She was a devout member of the M. E. Church and died November, 1912.
Since that time J. D. has continued in the stock business. He also has extensive land holdings near Swink. Before the death of his first wife he moved to Fort Towson. In 1913, J. D. was again married to Mrs. Ada Billingslea, a white woman. J. D united with the M. E. church S., August 13, 1910, to which he has ever since remained a loyal Christian. He has been one of the pioneer builders of Fort Towson and he owned much property.
Edward H., the next oldest, was born June 9, 1868, and was educated at home, but took business course in Paris, Texas. For a few years after reaching his majority he worked as a clerk in stores in different parts of the Nation.
His first aspiration for office was at an early date. He served as District Trustee, held the superintendency of Wheelock Academy, served as the last National Secretary of the Choctaw Nation. He has also taken a greater interest in the cattle business. He was married to Miss Emma Everidge, a Choctaw woman, in 1893. He has the distinction of growing the best bred cattle in the county. He also has the distinction of having the banner family of Wilsons. They are Edward, James, Alma, Joe, Bill, Roy, Susie, Mamie and Wilbor. They had healthy children and never lost one of their family. Edward H. moved onto his farm two miles west of Old Doaksville, after his marriage and has lived there ever since. with the exception of the time he was at Wheelock Academy. He has operated at one time a gin and dealt in merchandise, but has made a specialty of farming and stock raising. He has extensive land holdings near his beautiful home; also on Red river, about ten miles southeast of Valliant. In late years he has become interested in the banking business and is now Vice-President of the First National Bank of Fort Towson. He has taken no active part in politics since statehood, but is a Democrat. He and his wife united with the M. E. Church, South, August 20, 1910. E. H. also had been one of the believer in Fort Towson. He has built and helped to build some of the best buildings there but for real country happiness one has but to happen up at his place and to see those nine fine children sitting around the dining table with Father at one end and mother at the other.
R. F. Wilson, the youngest of the family was born June 9, 1870. educated at home and at New Spencer Academy. He had the usual boy’s imagination that success for the boy is away from home, and he spent ten years hunting pleasure. First went west and worked on the cow ranch for several years, and returned with fortune, which consisted of one black bronco cow pony, named “Byrd” in honor of the man for whom he had been at work.
After coming back he spent several years at work for his brothers on their stock farms and raising a few cattle and horses and hogs, and looking after his farm. January 16, 1896, he was married to one of the graduates of Wheelock Seminary, Miss Emma Bohanan. They at once settled on their farm near where Valliant now is. William C., Toru, Raphael, Eleanor, Green McCurtain and Waldo are their children. The oldest died when one and one half years old.
R. F. has been inclined to be a politician and has served the good people as District Clerk for two years. Then he was a member of the Legislature three years, and was Sheriff four years and was District Judge three years until Statehood. One of the first official acts of Governor Haskell was to appoint him a member of the state board of Agriculture, which position he held for four years. During the sixteen years he has held office he raised a few stock and farmed. In 1910 he sold out his entire farm lands and moved to Oklahoma City, where he lived less than twelve months, when, becoming weary of the busy life of the city, he returned to Valliant in 1911, an has been engaged in the banking and Real Estate business and stock business. R. F. Wilson has been a believer in Valliant.
[*Transcriber's note: Could the original read November 3, 1895?]
Submitted to OKGenWeb
by Doris Irons Greer firstname.lastname@example.org March 2003