Matilda Jacobs Daugherty
|Daugherty, Matilda Jacobs
Field Worker: John F. Daugherty
Date: April 19, 1937
My parents were Samuel L. Jacobs and Celey Belvin Jacobs. They came with their parents to the Indian Territory from Mississippi in 1838. My parents were both Choctaw Indians and they had five daughters and two sons.
I was born November 9, 1854, near Scullyville in LeFlore County.
One night when I was about a year old, a man came and asked my father to come with him and help round up and butcher a fat yearling. Everybody butchered their own yearlings and hogs at that time. There were no butcher shops. Father gladly mounted his horse and rode away, never to return.
The Bushwhackers were in our settlement. They were men who belonged to neither army but who robbed and killed as they went through the country. The Civil War was in progress at this time. Father little suspected that it was a call from a Bushwhacker. They killed Father and took his clothes and tried to catch his horse, but were unable to do so as the horse returned home the next morning. The women of the neighborhood made a coffin of pine lumber in which they were going to bury Father, but his body was never found. The Confederate Army moved in on the Bushwhackers and a young man who was killed during this skirmish was buried in the coffin which had been made for Father. The women and children were all moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where they lived for a year or more, and then moved back to their homes.
Mother died when I was about three years old, and I went to live with a married sister, Mrs. Charles Fargo. We lived near PawPaw, in Sequoyah County, Cherokee Nation. This was my home until I was married.
When I was five years old, I started to school at the Putton School near PawPaw.
The school house was built of logs with a hewed log floor. We sat on hewed log seats in which holes were bored and wooden pins inserted for legs. The house was covered with three foot clapboards made of oak timber. It had one door. The two windows were just holes sawed through the logs and covered with boards in winter, but left open when the weather was favorable. It was heated by a fireplace in which wood was burned. My first teacher was William Putton. I attended this school for two years.
Then I went to board with John Lee near Muldrow and attended the Lee School for two years. My teacher's name at this school was Miss Emma Vore. This school was a frame building covered with clapboards and had one door and four glass windows. It was heated with a wood stove. My sister moved to a place near Camp Creek, an old stage stand no longer in existence, on the mail line from Fort Smith to Muskogee. I went back to live with her and did not go to school any more.
One of my pleasant pastimes was watching for the old stage coach. The driver sat on top and drove four horses. They changed horses every ten miles and Camp Creek was where they changed first after leaving Fort Smith. The horses were driven in a gallop all the time. The harness consisted of collars, hames, tugs and the lines. The driver carried an ox whip that he could hit the lead horses with. The old stage was swung on springs and rocked from side to side as it whirled past. It had a luggage carrier on the back and a door on each side. The seats faced each other in the stage and the passengers sat face to face. It was at Camp Creek that I met Robert Brown Daugherty, whom I married.
I have many pleasant memories of going to Choctaw Cries and Camp Meetings. When an Indian died, they would bury him and a few months afterward would have a Cry. This was really the funeral service. An Indian preacher would preach and all during the sermon the relatives would sit around the grave and cry. They made a mournful sound, but shed no tears. Then after the services there would be a dinner, which was paid for by the relatives of the deceased.
The main dish was Canuchi, which was made as follows: The Indian had a block of wood with a hole hewed in the top. Into this hole corn was poured and beaten with a pestle or maul until all the husk came off. Then the corn was put into a pot and cooked for several hours. It was seasoned with fresh pork and nuts. We all thought this was a mighty fine dish.
Another pleasant memory is of the fish fries. The men would beat buckeye bushes and drag them through the water. The buckeye bushes would make the fish drunk and they would come to the top. They would catch the larger fish and the women would fry them.
I was married to Robert Brown Daugherty, September 13, 1874, at the Putton school house, where I first attended school.
I am the mother of four children, two sons and two daughters. My husband and one daughter are dead. My older son, John F., resides near Sulphur, the other son lives in Boynton and the daughter in Stigler.
When the Dawes Commission made the Indian Rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes, they mad a ruling that each Indian must be enrolled in the tribe to which his or her mother belonged.
I was enrolled as a Choctaw, and moved from the Cherokee Nation to the Choctaw Nation near Quinton in 1897. I lived there three years and moved to the Chickasaw Nation, Murray County, in 1900 and have resided here since. (Ed. note: The son John F. Daugherty is the writer of these interviews)
Transcribed by Brenda Choate & Dennis Muncrief, March 2001.