Susan Hampton Locke Interview
Locke, Susan Hampton
Field Workerís name: Hazel B. Greene
This report made on (date) January 28, 1938
Hazel B. Green
January 28, 1938
with Mrs. Susan Hampton-Locke
610 South K. Street, Hugo, Oklahoma
My motherís mother was Selina Yakhombi before she was married to my grandfather. He was called ďCaptainĒ Barney Davenport. He was not quite a full blood Chickasaw Indian and grandmother was not quite a full blood Choctaw Indian. She came from Mississippi when she was sixteen years old, with her fatherís family and their slaves. They settled at Doaksville, where she resumed her education which had been interrupted when the left Mississippi. She attended Pine Ridge Academy. My mother was born in Doaksville, and I donít know how old she was when they moved up on Big Cedar Creek, above where Finley is now. I have seen some of the old Yakhombi slaves and they talked like my grandmotherís folks were quite well off and said that they had a very nice home at Doaksville.
When my mother was about ten years old my grandfather was building a new house right where Finley is now, and two or more miles from the cabin they had lived in on Big Cedar Creek. He had a left Grandmother and a little baby she was raising and my mother and a Choctaw woman by the name of Mary, all there together, while he and his son George worked on the new house. Grandmother and the rest of us were to take care of the chickens, pigs, cows, and everything. Grandmotherís sister had died and left a little baby girl and Grandmother was raising it. That Choctaw woman named Mary had a little baby too. They awoke one morning and looked out the door. There was a perfect flood. Big Cedar was around the house and just about in the door. Being women folks alone and afraid, when night came they had brought the axe in the house, so when they saw that the water was coming in the house they took some cold food, which was left from supper the night before, some quilts, and the axe and climbed up through the scuttle hole and into the attic. Then they got afraid up in there so they cut a hole and climbed out on the roof. They saw chickens, cows, pigs and six of their calves floating down stream. Soon after they got on the roof they could tell that the house was floating. A big tree stood at one corner of the house. The Choctaw woman, Mary had her baby tied onto her back with a shawl: she decided to get into that tree, so she reached for a limb, and when she did that her baby fell into the water. It just gave one cry and floated away; they never saw it again. I never heard of anybody ever looking for it. They didnít know anything about Mary, who she was or where she came from. Grandmother said they reckoned she came from over the mountain somewhere. They just didnít ask her and she didnít tell them anything about herself but she just came to Grandmotherís house seeking shelter, and stayed to help with the chores. After Mary got in the tree the house floated away with my mother. her mother and the baby on it. About two miles down stream the cabin lodged against a big tree. They could feel it rocking from side to side; then when the water began going down they could fell the house settling. They sat on it all day and far into the night, before the water receded enough for them to get down. Finally they could and did climb down. Grandma decided to go back to the home place. It was a pretty moonlit night in august and they were not chilled and could see their way well. They got there and looked in the tree for Mary. She was not there. They thought she had followed the baby and she, too, had drowned, but days later they learned that Mary had gone to another Indian cabin about two miles away across the creek and they never knew how she crossed that creek. There was one old cow left at the old home place and she was just a-bawling, her calf was gone and the other cows too, and she was frightened nearly to death. Grandma got a tine can or bucket of some sort and had a hard time getting to that cow to get a little milk for the baby. After a long time, hours, they heard the sounds of horsesí hoofs and they were afraid, but there was nowhere to hide, so they just waited. It was George Davenports, my motherís half brother who had come looking for them.
George was riding an extra big old pied horse, George said that no horse but ďOld Pied ď could have swum old Big Cedar, as high as it was. He had come to see about them just as soon as he could get across. He put Mamma and the baby on the horse and he and Grandma walked to the crossing on the creek, then he got in the saddle and swum across again with Mamma and the baby, then returned for Grandma. It was two miles or more to another house; they all went there and spent the balance of the night and then went on to Grandfatherís house next day. Then they returned to the cabin and took everything out of it and left the cabin there. It was just a one room cabin and Grandfather was building a bigger house and a store and blacksmith shop. They said that he made a lot of money and kept lots of it buried. He had a store and lots of stock I know. That flood came in about 1876. Twenty years later, my mother, stepfather and I went to see if that cabin was still lodged against that tree. It was all grown over with vines and briars. One could hardly see the door. There were no windows. It was funny that there was never another rise on that creek big enough to dislodge that cabin. Old timers remember that as the Big Flood.
My mother was sent to Rock Academy at or near Wapanucka. While there she met Julius Hampton. I am not sure whether he was Chickasaw or Choctaw. I know I am enrolled as a Choctaw Indian just because I lived down here in the Choctaw Nation. My mother had to leave school and go home on account of trouble with her eyes. Then Grandmother sent her up to Caddo to see an old doctor woman and get treatment for her eyes. Mother again met Julius Hampton and he came down to her home and married her.
My parents moved to Caddo to live, but Mamma was never satisfied away from her fatherís home and would return every chance she got and stay as long as she could. I was the second child and when she was expecting me, she came to her motherís home for the event and said that she would never return to Caddo. When I was about six years old, Mamma was married to Elisha Locke, a white man, and old bachelor from Tennessee. He was a brother to V.M.Locke Sr. and Dr. Frank Locke, my husbandís father.
When my grandfather built a house at Finley there was nothing there but an old log church house called Cedar County Church. My grandmother was teaching school there when I was born. She taught some more, than I remember she brought a camping outfit down at the Long Creek school and camped in one of the camp houses there and taught school a couple of terms. My husband went to school to her. She taught at the Old Long Creek School building that was at the old long Creek Cemetery. I donít know whether the old building is still standing.
When I was about eight years old my stepfather and my uncles had a shooting scrape; they shot all into our house. It was peppered with bullets. I was in a rocking chair holding the baby when the shooting begun. I crawled under the chair, and a bullet entered the wall just behind the place where my head had been. At the first opportunity I slipped out to the kitchen and hid. Then we moved away down by where the village of Ethal is now, about five miles east of Antlers. Then I was sent to Antlers to the convent to school. Sometimes I would get to stay for two or three months, then they would send for me to come home because some of the children would be sick or something and they would be a long time sending me back; consequently I never go to go to school for very long at the time. Itís a wonder they didnít send me all of the time. All in the world that the Indians had to furnish was transportation to school. I should have had a good education.
My mother and Elisha Locke had five children, three of whom are living here in Hugo, Miss Birdie Locke, and Jeff and Archie Locke. None of us could ever get to go to school for long at a time, our parents kept moving around so much. They moved to Goodland about three times, then would move back to Cedar County. My stepfather and Mammaís folks could not get along. When they had that shooting scrape that I mentioned before, a horse was shot from under my uncle George Davenport, and he suffered injuries from which he died months later. I kept wishing we could move to Texas, because they said they didnít have such shooting scrapes over in Texas. I saw a man killed at a camp meeting. He was a full blood Indian, perhaps Choctaw, named Camp Battiest and he was an officer too. He was standing in the door of one of the camp cabins when Isaac Reubens, another full blood Indian, maybe Choctaw, rode up and began shooting him. He fell, Reubens kept shooting down at the man on the ground, whose clothing was in flames from the bullets, and everybody else but poor silly me, hiding, scared to death. I didnít have sense enough to be afraid. I wanted to see it. Reubens rode off, and folks came out and poured water on Battiestís burning clothing, but he was already dead. Reubens was sent to the penitentiary and died there. Now that was at church. They would let me go to church but to no parties, they were afraid somebody might get rough. In the summer they made brush arbors under which they had church.
My grandfather Hampton was a white man. Grandmother Hampton was born Phoebe Anderson. I believe she was a Chickasaw Indian. She has a brother, Wesley Anderson at Tuskahoma, unless he has died recently. My father has a brother Ben Hampton at Chickasha. He is about eighty-five years old. He was one of the twelve Chickasaws who met with the Dawes Commission in 1898 to allot the lands of the Choctaws and Chickasaws. He is the only one of the twelve who are living. He lived on the small farm at the edge of Chickasha, which is a part of the tract that he received by terms of the Atoka Treaty in the making of which he had such an important part. I had a letter form him just before Christmas in which he said that he was born near what is now Tuskahoma on the Kiamichi River in 1853 and that he is coming to Hugo to visit us.
My mother used to tell us a story of a woman who was left alone with her little baby in her Indian cabin, one night, who heard a panther screaming as it came down the mountain. This woman heard the panther mount on the roof, and advance to the big wide chimney; the fireplace was also big. Her fire was low and she had burned all of her wood. She thought of the hay bed she was sleeping upon, so ripped it open and threw some of the hay on the live coals. It made a tremendous smoke and soon flamed and the panther ran off of the house, then it would get brae and return. This woman kept throwing handfuls of hay on the fire every time the panther returned until daylight, then it ran away for good. Next night the panther returned but the womanís husband was there with his gun and he killed it. This woman said they had some fresh meat in the cabin, which was no doubt, what the panther was after, but it probably would have killed the woman and baby had it gotten into the cabin. At Finley is the cemetery that was started first by the Davenport family burying there; it is called the Davenport Cemetery but everybody buries there. I never knew why my grandfather was called ďCaptainĒ Davenport.
Editorís Note: While the date of Julius Hamptonís death is not given in this manuscript written by his daughter, it is presumed that it occurred prior to the marriage of Janie Davenport Hampton to Elisha Locke. [i]