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Denison, Susanne MacBeth Oakes
Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: November 23, 1937
Name: Susanne MacBeth Oakes Denison
Post Office: Idabel, OK
Residence Address: Idabel, OK
Date of Birth: 1878
Place of Birth: Near Ervin, in Choctaw County Oklahoma, a mile south and a mile west of Ervin, they called it about 10 miles from present Hugo.
Father: Charles D. Oakes
Information on Father: Old Goodwater
Other Information on Father: One-eighth Choctaw. His father was Thomas Oakes, and his mother Harriet Oakes.
Mother: Judith Belvin
Information on Mother: Bennington. One-half Choctaw and one-half Chickasaw Father and mother buried at the Oakes family cemetery at Goodwater.
Field Worker: Hazel B. Greene
Interview # 12246
My mother was orphaned when a baby and we were never quite sure how much Indian she was but always thought she was one-half Choctaw and one-half Chickasaw. Benny Hunter, father of Judge Thomas W. Hunter, raised her and gave her a fine education. I was given the entire name of one of her first missionary teachers, Miss Susanne MacBeth.
There was a large family of us, so Father built us a little school house all our own in the yard and Mother taught us until I was nine when she died. I attended Oak Cliff College in Dallas and Paris Female College in Paris, Texas. I was attending that college in Paris when it burned. Then I began attending summer Normals in the Indian Territory and was licensed to teach school. I taught five years. I had taught my second term at Wheelock Academy when I was married to Dr. Ben L. Denison, in 1902. He was the physician for the Academy. I met him there.
When we teachers would leave the Academy for the summer, we would try to find summer homes for nearly all of the orphans there. If we could not find homes for them we would take them to our own homes for the summer and one summer I left one at my fatherís home and took two to Jones Academy with me. That was where a summer Normal was being held. Board, room and tuition for a four weeks term was only $12.00 so it was not so expensive to take a little girl along and it made her happy. We never liked to leave the children at Wheelock for the summer, it was so lonely for them with all the teachers gone.
I am the mother of 6 children, four of whom are living. Harry L. Denison would be 32 years old if living. He was drowned two years ago. Roy died when he was a baby. Hilliard is a Civil Engineer in New Mexico. My daughter, Mrs. Juanita Jenkins, lives in Ohio. Wyota Sue, another daughter, is now visiting in New Mexico. My baby eighteen years old is attending high school at Bozier City, Louisiana.
My husband, Dr. Ben L. Denison died a couple of years ago and is buried in the Denison cemetery which was donated to the city of Idabel by his brother, John Denison.
My father was Charles D. Oakes, the oldest of the children of Thomas Oakes and Harriet Everidge Oakes. There was a large family of my motherís children, then she died when I was nine and Father remarried and raised another family. He died about 1914 and was buried in the family graveyard at the old home place at Goodwater.
Another thing I had almost forgotten was that my mother taught Sunday School in our little private school house just as regularly as Sunday came around.
Submitterís comments: Transcribed by April (Wharton) Makerney
Sue says that her mother was orphaned as a baby, but both of her parents, Jackson & Felicia T. Belvin died in 1858 when Judith was 12 years old. This information came from Bennington Church records where Jackson was an Elder. There are several references to Judith and her parents and siblings in these records. Also, I have the probate records for Jackson Belvin, some of it is in English and some in Choctaw. I do not know what the Choctaw part says yet. These records are at the Bryan County Heritage Association in Calera, OK.
Please contact me, April Makerney, to get or share information on this family at firstname.lastname@example.org
email your County Coordinator Ron Henson
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