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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 5, No. 2
June, 1927
EDITORIAL

JOSEPH B. THOBURN.

Page 113

By an overwhelming large vote of its members, it was decided that the State Historical and Natural History Society of Colorado should thenceforth confine its activities to the fields of history and archaeology and that the field of natural history should be abandoned or left to the attention of some other organization. The legislature of Colorado thereupon took action authorizing the institution to change its name to "The State Historical Society of Colorado." Thus reorganized, the society will take steps to have its biological, geological and mineralogical collections transferred to the care and custody of the museum of some other institution. This action brings the Colorado Society to the adoption of a line of purposes and policies which have long prevailed in most of the other states west of the Alleghenies.

JOSEPH B. THOBURN.

To-day and the Yesterdays

To an observant mind the activities of the present day suggest general progress in all things material; whether for the better or otherwise, we will not venture to say. But our limited observation leads us to say that we are very well satisfied with the advance of civilization in her multitudinous accomplishments. Our religious, social and commercial successes have never been surpassed by any generation; and while we admit that a two thousand year test of Christianity has not changed this world into a sinless, snakeless garden of Eden, that it once was, yet it has gone to the depths of human needs and met the demands made for better things.

The religious life of the world to-day is more in accord with man’s needs, hopes, and aspirations than on yesterday. In like manner our social, commercial and political life of today is better, because we have been, in a sense at least, responsive to a stimulous that determined the degree of life or death as it has to do with the successes or failures of the individual or national life.

Page 114

If some of our illustrious fathers of the yesterdays were suddenly to appear amid the present day activities they would be overwhelmed with wonder and amazement. We marvel at the successes and adjustments of our ancestors amid the conditions and environments of their day, and wonder how they managed to do it with their crude implements and limited resources. We can only judge the possibilities of the future by the successes of the past; and while our predecessors made such wonderful advances in spite of their limitations, if we observe the injunction "subdue the world" what might we not expect? We will always be confronted with obstacles, there will always be tornadoes, droughts, floods, earth quakes, hissing serpents and deceiving devils, and our worthwhileness will only be determined by our ability to overcome them. Our response to stimulus is the determining elements in the task assigned us.

J. Y. BRYCE.

A paper, entitled "The Washington Elm Tradition," by Samuel F. Batchelder, occupies thirty pages in the "Proceedings of the Cambridge Historical Society," for 1925, in a laborious effort to prove that the popular tradition concerning the proximity of General Washington and his army to the noted old tree at the time of his assumption of command, in July, 1775, is without foundation in fact. Numerous authorities are cited, not because any of them throw any real light upon the subject but, seemingly, because none of them even mention it. It would seem that, if there is a reasonable doubt as to the authenticity of the popular story concerning the Washington Elm, it should be possible to state the same in a few paragraphs. Exploding commonly accepted "traditions" and resolving popular "myths" into their elemental gases seems to be a favorite pastime of some historical writers, who manifest as much zeal, display as much erudition and use as much space in print as if engaged on some really constructive historical composition.

J. B. T.

Information Wanted

In the March number of Chronicles, page 79, appears a report from the Board of Indian Commissioners, Appendix

Page 115

37. In that report on page 87, appears this statement, initialed, J. Y. B. (This is a mistake, as the Chickasaws never had a governor by the name of Brown.)

This statement has been questioned as to fact, first by Honorable Charles D. Carter, whom we acknowledge as authority on Indian affairs; and secondly, by Mrs. M. A. White, who is herself well versed in matters pertaining to Indian history. These two, however, are the only ones we have found, who make this assertion, and we have made diligent research trying to establish the truth regarding the matter.

We are submitting to the readers of Chronicles letters received from the parties above referred to as proof of their contention, which is not sufficient to convince us yet as to any error, so called. This may appear to some as a small matter, yet we should be able to unquestionably give names of all men who have served in so distinctive positions in our country. Can any one furnish this office with absolute proof concerning the matter? If so please let us have it.

J. Y. B.

Wynnewood, Oklahoma,
April 22, 1927.

Oklahoma Historical Society:

In reply to your letter about Governor Brown, will say his name as William Brown, I knew him well as his daughters married my brothers. He was elected in 1870. I do not remember how long he served, but he resigned and Overton took his place. He was elected by the people.

Respectfully,

MRS. M. A. WHITE.

March 31st, 1927.
Mr. G. Y. Bryce, Sec.,
State Historical Society,
BUILDING.

My dear Mr. Bryce:

I am a regular reader and take an intense interest in your Chronicles of Oklahoma and have a natural anxiety to see that they are historically correct.

I wish now to draw your attention to a slight error in a note made by you on Page No. 87 of the appendix in your March issue, which is as follows: "(But this is a mistake as

Page 116

the Chickasaw Nation never had a governor by the name of Brown)." The Chickasaws did have a governor by the name of Brown at about the date set forth in the commissioners’ report. I am not quite sure, but if my memory serves me right his first name was William. I knew his son, Douglas Brown, and his daughter Tennessee Brown quite well, having attended school with both of them in my early childhood.

Douglas Brown died with tuberculosis and Tennessee Brown was married to James Guy Harris, a son of Governor Cyrus Harris. James Harris was National Treasurer of Chickasaw Nation for several years.

Trusting that you may have this mistake corrected, I am

Sincerely yours,

CHAS. D. CARTER.

CDC:EE

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