As a token of friendship resulting from associations extending over a period of some forty years, between the Indian and the white races in the vicinity of Perkins, last Thursday, April 17, was witnessed one of the most impressive examples of brotherly love and genuine friendship ever seen in this country's history.
Gathered at the home of Mrs. Charles To-hee, widow of the late lamented Chief, were assembled the entire Iowa tribe to participate in the customary memorial feast in honor of the departed. But these fine first Americans, generous-hearted to a fault, felt they could not engage in such feasting without the attendance and help of their good paleface neighbors, so they invited the old-timers to come and feast with them.
Hon. Frank C. Orner and wife, Bert Frame and wife, Wm. A. Knipe and wife, C. W. Kenworthy and wife, Frank Eaton were the guests of honor, the editor of The Perkins Journal being also a member of the party.
Robert Small, chairman, Jake Dole, Robert Roubadoux and Frank Kent who refused to sign the treaty in May, 1890, at Bear Creek, all spoke in review of the fortunes of the Iowa tribe, so inseparably linked with those of their white neighbors. These noble pioneers sat side by side and discussed the hardships and vicissitudes of early days. Robert Small related how he had once saved the life of a white man.
Hon. Frank C. Orner, who has been a close neighbor and friend of the Iowa tribe since 1886 read a poem which we are printing herewith. This is a true story of the Iowa tribe by a man who has enjoyed their confidence and esteem from the days when as a young cowboy he first rode the prairies, until the present day.
Hon. Wm. A. Knipe spoke also in behalf of the whiteface people and their appreciation of the Iowa tribe as an integral part of our community. He said the Iowas have ever been a law-abiding, peace loving tribe.
Dr. H. Page of Lawton, Oklahoma, who married a daughter of the late Chief Quanah Parker, was present and spoke of his work for the government among the Indians of Arizona and other western states.
The dinner itself was a remarkable one. Every good thing to eat was spread in abundance, nothing overlooked that might tempt the appetite of anyone present. The menu was so varied and replete that we cannot enumerate everything it included.
Before leaving the guests shook hands with all members of the tribe and departed with best wishes of the latter. It was an inspiring occasion, never to be forgotten.
And in the meantime over the lowly mound that marks the grave of Chief Charles To-hee floats a small white flag. When this flag ceases to be caressed by the breezes there will be a last supper—but that is another story. It is the tribal custom.
Never in the history of Perkins vicinity has there been racial conflict, which speaks well for brotherly love and tolerance. The dove of peace rests over us while we smoke the pipe of peace.
CHIEF CHARLES TO-HEE of the Iowa tribe of Indians died at his allotment home, southeast of Perkins, Sunday, March 2, 1930, and was buried with tribal and Christian ceremony Tuesday the 4th. Charles To-hee was born in Kansas in the year 1870, and in the early '70s came with his tribe to Indian territory on a reserve known as the Iowa, and villaged on Bear creek, near the present town of Fillis. In May, 1890, he signed the treaty selling to the government his tribal rights and received his 80-acre allotment. Married Maggie Lincoln, and was as successful at farming as he was a chief of his people. Having grown to manhood without schooling or the environment of civilization, he was among the first to adopt the white man's way. Ever faithful to the treaty, To-hee in 1870, to be the true friend of the white man, also stipulated that as long as he so conducted himself all white men would so respect him. The coming of the whites in 1889 in old Oklahoma adjacent on the north of Cimarron river, was an inspiration to Charlie, as he knew that soon his own country would be settled; the hunting-ground of his youth, and the chase, village and scattered tepees, council fires and range cattle, the only industry, would become homes of the paleface; the cowboy, the plowboy, council fire smoke, plants of industry, the war-whoop an echo; a home and a friend with his white brother, and all will be hoa-hia.
His dream came true, his allotments home was typical of his white neighbor; neat, sufficient out buildings, kept painted; fruit, garden and livestock; the home interior is neat and convenient; the walls adorned with primitive and modern pictures of relatives and friends. He loved to converse of the old and new way, and many pleasant meetings I have had with him since I first knew him at the old Iowa village in 1886, when he and his people lived on game, and the rations they drew from Uncle Sam at the Sac-Fox agency. His grandfather To-hee was the second chief in Nebraska in 1870. Upon the death of his father, Billie To-hee, the blind chief, in the early '90s. Charlie became chief; now at his death, his brother, Dave To-hee, believed in God, united with the church in 1922, and was made an elder. He had a presentment, as he told his grandson he was going to live with Jesus, and leave him and the people to fight the devil. True to his Indian belief, he was buried facing the south. A portion of his belongings were placed in his grave; some money, his pony, blankets and trappings were given to his friends, the writer being remembered as one of them, of his hat, lariat, cane and blanket. To the north at his head floated a white truce flag, with a square cross pointing east, west, north and south, denoting peace, and hoa-hoa, good-good. Soloment Kent talked in his native tongue, eulogizing his chief and friend. Rev. Carl Stone conducted the funeral services, the Misses England, sisters, sang "Safe in the Arms of Jesus." The Old Settlers' Association of Oklahoma, of which Chief To-hee was a member, expresses this sentiment: "Has not our comrade achieved, as son, husband and father, leading from primitive footpaths unto modern home, civilization and God. Could more be. In our Father's house are many mansions, and one prepared for you."
FRANK C. ORNER.
"All of wealth, the beauty, the culture, the possibilities that are now
Oklahoma are the heritage not of the stalwart pioneer man alone, but equally, if not more so, are they the heritage of the Pioneer Woman."
W. J. HOLLOWAY, Governor of Oklahoma.
"The pioneer Indian mother gave much to the spiritual civilization of the West, and those who knew her hold her memory in respect and love. The fortitude, stoicism and loyalty of the Indian mother are unsurpassed by any womanhood in history."
PATRICK J. HURLEY, Secretary of War.
MRS. ATHENIUS M. FOLSOM COLBERT was born at Eagletown, in the old Choctaw Nation, August 11, 1835, where her family located on their arrival from Mississippi with their people, the Choctaws, in 1832.
Her father, Rev. Israel Folsom, a Presbyterian minister, was of one fourth Choctaw Indian blood and her mother, Mrs. Lovica Nail Folsom, was of the same degree of Indian blood. Rev. Mr. Folsom, having received his last educational advantages at Cornwall, Connecticut, was destined to be a leader of his people and one of the first things he did after he returned to Mississippi from school was to translate the Lord's Prayer into his native tongue and to assist the missionaries in translating school books for use of Indian pupils, and some of the books of the Bible, into the Choctaw language. Rev. Mr. Folsom spent many years in Washington as a representative of his people, having assisted in making many of the treaties between the United States and the Choctaw Nation and signed the treaties of 1856 and 1866.
Mrs. Colbert was a member of the Presbyterian Church and was baptized by Dr. Alfred Wright, the noted Presbyterian preacher, doctor and teacher, who came with the Choctaws from Mississippi and established Wheelock Academy, which school is still operating in McCurtain County where many prominent Choctaw women have been educated.
In 1853, Mrs. Colbert was married to James Allen Colbert, a one-fourth Chickasaw Indian and one of the prominent families of that Nation. He was a grandson of Levi Colbert, famous in the history of the Chickasaw Nation and standard bearer for the Chickasaw Division who fought under General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, in 1815. James Allen Colbert was an outstanding man of his generation. Always interested in the welfare of his people, he served in the Chickasaw Legislature and held other important offices in the Government of the Chickasaws. He also served with distinction as a captain in the Confederate Army under General Cooper.
To James and Athenius Colbert were born eight children, David Wall, Albert Pike, Charlie, Walter, Ben, Mrs. Henrietta Jennings, Mrs. Lovica McBride and Mrs. Czarina C. Conlan.
Mrs. Colbert was left a widow in 1874. With her oldest sons she successfully carried on her husband's business affairs and reared her children to be useful citizens of the State of Oklahoma. She was a charter member of the first chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star organized at Atoka, in what is now the State of Oklahoma, and was an honored life member of the Daughters of the Confederacy. For the most of the time in the last thirty-six years she had made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Michael Conlan. Although she had been an invalid for the last two years she never lost interest in the outside world, and, after her Bible, her chief interest was the daily papers.
In the quiet of the late Sunday evening of January 19, 1930, she
fell asleep and her gentle, noble spirit, after ninety-four wonderful years, passed on.
Besides her five living children, she is survived by thirty grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; also a sister, Mrs. Christine Bates, of Durant, Oklahoma.
The beauty and influence of her life have been exemplified by her works, as can be truly attested by the many orphan children whom she has reared and educated to be splendid men and women, and who are monuments to her noble Christian virtues. Around the hearth of her home she wove the web of a life full of sacrifice and love for her children and friends. With all her cares she never lost interest in the welfare of the Choctaws, and, because of her high personal character and her activities in behalf of her people, she had achieved a high place in their affections and respect.
In her death the State has experienced the loss of a great Pioneer Mother, a woman whose fortitude and unselfish sacrifices have left to us all a heritage of sacred memories, of which, in this chapter of memoirs, I can only sketch a brief outline. She was possessed of a generous, noble spirit and was a brave, pure minded Christian gentlewoman, looking calmly and with faith into the undiscovered country, where she would meet her Pilot face to face.
As a splendid tribute to close the chapter of her, beautiful life, Governor W. J. Holloway issued a proclamation that the flag over the State Capitol of Oklahoma should fly at half mast while she was laid to rest, in honor of the oldest woman born in the State of Oklahoma, this being the first time in the history of the State a woman has been so honored.
"This did they—yea, those silent ones—
Ah, that word has come to mean more and more to us as each succeeding generation gets away from the hardships of settlement. And each new generation is more genuinely stirred to reverence, homage and love by even the thought of the pioneer woman who, while giving aid to her husband and family, sowed deep in territorial soil the seeds of culture, music and school.
Among these pioneers who perhaps had their share and more of this love and homage is Priscilla C. Wood. The death of Mrs. Wood August 9, 1929, took one of southeastern Oklahoma's bravest and most honored women.
Throughout her long and full life, Mrs. Wood, Aunty Wood as she was known to many of us, was ever a true patriot of her country, a defender of the rights of the Indians, a builder for education and culture, and a keen thinker on questions of state, home or farm. She left a singular imprint for good in Indian Territory.
Priscilla Harris was born at Rocky Comfort, Indian Territory,
near what is now Broken Bow, McCurtain county, in February 22, 1846. The daughter of Jean and Mary Harris who came to Indian Territory in 1842 from Mississippi. And the granddaughter of Peter Pitchlyn, a Choctaw statesman who fought at the battle of New Orleans with General Andrew Jackson in the war of 1812 and who was an outstanding man among his people until he passed away in Washington.
She was married at DeKalb, Texas, in 1866 to Amassa S. Kellogg who had been a major in the Confederate army. In 1868 Mr. Kellogg was appointed foreign correspondent in Paris, France, for the New York Herald and he and Mrs. Kellogg made that city their home for several years. After a brief residence in Italy they returned to Indian Territory and established a homestead five miles west of McAlester.
Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg, Rufus B. Kellogg who died at the age of six and Carlton B. Kellogg who now lives in Oklahoma City. Some years after Mr. Kellogg's death, Priscilla Harris Kellogg was married to Dr. T. W. Wood, who passed away in 1909.
Mrs. Wood was a member of the Episcopal church, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Stonewall Jackson Chapter No. 40, United Daughters of the Confederacy and of the Ohoyahoma club.
She is survived by her son, Carlton B. Kellogg, a granddaughter, Frances Kellogg Hamilton, and a great granddaughter, Judith Ann Hamilton, all of whom live in Oklahoma City.
And as we say good bye to Aunty Wood, there seems more of sweetness, more of perseverance and more of patience comes into our lives, meditating upon the richness of hers.