Edited by Anna Lewis1
Miss Sue McBeth came to the Choctaw Nation as a missionary in the Spring of 1860. She was sent to the Goodwater mission and here she worked almost a year and a half until the Civil War forced her to leave the Indian territory.2 She never lost interest in the Choctaws. While she was in Goodwater she kept a diary or a journal as she called it. Parts of her journal have survived.
The following letters are from various missionaries who were either workers in the Choctaw Nation with Miss McBeth or who had labored in the Nation before they came. They were written as answers to her questions. She decided to write a history of the Choctaw missions and missionaries. To do this she started gathering material from various sources: letters, manuscripts and pictures. Some of the letters and a few manuscripts have been kept all these years and were sent recently by Miss McBeth's niece, Miss Mary Crawford of Lapawai, Idaho, to the Presbyterian Synodical of Oklahoma and it was through the interest of Mrs. Thomas B. Losey of Chickasha that they were brought to my attention.3
Vinita Cherokee Nation
Miss S. L. McBeth
In 1850—I think in January, Mr. James S. Allen and his wife, Mrs. June Allen reached Wapanucka, and were very quietly received by the quiet prairie, the quiet teacher and the quiet rocks. They came directly from Pontiac, Michigan. Mr. A. (llen) a Scotchman and Mrs. A. (llen) of English birth and one of the most energetic persons I ever knew. Their
2This mission was located six or seven miles from the mouth of the Kiamichi River near the present town of Ervin.
3Miss Crawford is a retired missionary, having worked for forty-three years among the Nez Perce. After Miss McBeth left the Choctaw Mission she went to the north-west and worked with the Nez Perce Indians until her death. There is still in existence the McBeth Mission among these Indians. Miss Crawford says of herself and her work: "I am a retired Missionary, having succeeded my Aunt Sue and Kate McBeth in their work. . . They, with my younger sister are all buried in a little Indian cemetery just back of the First Church of Kamish."
special mission was the erection of the buildings, under the direction of the Presbyterian Board. The work was begun at once and prosecuted with energy, including some toil; but such was the state of the country then that everything went on slowly. I think it was January 1852 when Rev. A. M. Watson from S. C. was sent out to put in operation and superintend the school. With him and wife came Mr. McCarter and Mr. Davis—the latter remained until about 1856 or 7.
Br. (other) Watson, after some time decided to decline the school, and give his time to preaching, and accordingly obtained a house and removed to Boggy Depot. The two young men above mentioned at once joined Mr. Allen in the work of putting up the buildings. The funds in Mr. Allen's hands came directly from the Presbyterian Board; but a part came indirectly from the Chickasaw School fund, and was paid to the Board on Mr. Allen's vouchers—After one or two changes in the agreement it was settled that the Chickasaws should pay $12000, towards the erection of the buildings. This was all paid to the Board by the Department in Washington. Before the buildings were fit for use $10,000 more had been expended. Mr. Allen had hoped that the Chickasaws would pay this ten thousand also and made several efforts to get them to do so but failed and others afterwards failed in similar attempts to get this ten thousand dollars. In May 1852 Hon. Walter Lourice visited our missions in the territory; and while at Wapanucka wrote back to me, at Spencer where I bad met him, to prepare to go up to W. (apanucka) as soon as the term closed; and get things ready to open the school in October following. It was August before we got up to Wapanucka, having both (wife and self) been quite sick in the meantime. Miss Hannah M. Green had just arrived from the Creek Mission as a teacher for the new school. Miss K. F. Thompson (afterward, Mrs. Reid and now with the Saviour) came up from Spencer where she had taught the previous term.
In October we four began school with forty scholars. We really had but little to begin with—not one bedstead for the girls, no tables in the dining room, clothing and food of a plain kind in abundance. I drew all funds from the Board though a part was paid the Board by the Department at Washington on my vouchus Viz. $75. per scholar annually—this was the agreement. What ever we expended more the Board had to furnish. Before spring we increased the number of pupils to fifty. During the next two years that we remained at Wapanucka we had one hundred girls. During the most of the time I had the valuable assistance of my friend McCarter. In the meantime these had joined the mission, Messes Mary J. Burns, Marie Shelleeburger, Anna T. Turner, and Clara M. Eddy. In July 1855 we left and Br. (other) and Sister Wilson took the places—Miss Bachon from New York came with them. They being both from S. C. Brs. (others) Wilson remained until 1859 when at his urgent request we went back from the Creek country to supply his place for one year. Mrs. Wilson was then at home and Br. (other) W. (ilson) left July 1859. He had not been back long when you saw him in the spring of 1860. During that stay he endeavored to get the Chickasaws to carry into effect a new contract which he had made with them and which included the payment of that "old" ten thousand dollars which dated back to Mr. Allen's times. This had been agreed to by a committee of Indians on condition that he should put a piazza in front of the main building, and finish the house with Belfry. But he found that they had declined to appropriate the money as agreed by their committee, and after conferences with the Board he notified the Chickasaws, through the agent, that the school would be discontinued. Bro. (ther) W. (ilson) left that spring and I closed the school at the regular time: and in accordance with instructions from the Board proceeded to sell off the property and to turn over the proceeds to the treasurers of the Chickasaws Mission. After we closed the school the Chickasaws in Council, voted the buildings under my care until they
should need them for school purposes; and we remained in the large house until the Chickasaw army needed. After that the refugees from the other nations during the war occupied the building. During the last part of the war time it was used as a hospital, and after the war it was again used by refugees who could not get back home. Putting together all the use and abuse of the house it was in a pretty bad condition when I saw it last but it was then in 1868 and I believe is now used as a school house for a day school; and one or two families of Chickasaws lived in it. The Chickasaws have now no Mission Schools; but a system of day schools.
Brother Wilson died in 1864 in Richmond while engaged as a chaplain in the Southern Army. Mr. McCarter has entirely escaped me. They went home to S. C. in 1860 to live with Mrs. McCarter's father. They were lovely people who feared and loved God. I should have mentioned the Mr. Mc C. (arter) went home for his wife during the second years they were together at Wapanucka. Mr. and Mrs. Allen left in the spring of 1855. The young ladies who were at W. (apanucka) during the last years you know—Miss Culbertson married and went to China—Miss Downing with her in China. Miss McLeod has been in the Choctaw Nation as a teacher since the war. I know not how long she remained. Miss Eddy came back in 1866 and has at times since that time taught a school at Boggy Depot. I know not that I have come near your expectations now that you can read what I have written; but I have done what little I have done, with the greatest cheerfulness.
In regard to the use of my name in a book, I need say but little. The real connection I have had with the humble work of Mission among the Indians will never raise me very high nor sink me very low whoever may know thereof.
In October 1862 Father Kingsbury was married to Miss Child a former teacher of his school (married at Boggy Depot, by Rev. H. Balentine). That fall Bro. (ther) Hotchkin died in the East where he had gone in pursuit of health. The letter telling of this reached his daughter Mrs. John Kingsbury at Boggy Depot about the last of November. She left her feeble husband in my care and went to comfort her mother—found her on her death bed. Stayed to see her die and followed her to her grave and then returned in time to spend a few days with her husband and to see him die also and go to the house appointed for all. Mrs. Father Kingsbury died before he died—These are all now in the Promised Land.
Itibapishi holitopa fehma ma
I have not the date of my return to Goodwater. I left home the 4th of March—the day after Lincoln's innauguration, and reached Goodwater the second Monday afterwards—probably the 17:
Taking Goodwater as the center, describe a circle embrassing all that probably belonged to the Parrish, I do not remember the number of Communicates. There were not over 40 outside the school.
There were really no towns or villages, belonging to the Choctaws. Doaksville was the only approach to a village, and that you know was not Indian. Their law gave every man a title to one square mile of land, of which his house was the middle point. This induced them to locate widely apart from each other. They were strictly farmers and stock raisers. Capt. Jones branded over 600 calfs every summer, making his stock of cattle, perhaps over 3000, and bringing in an annual income of more than 8000. There are however many Indian merchants, blacksmith and carpenters. Cotton was the chief article of barter. Merchants took their unclean cotton to exchange for goods.
Missionaries repeatedly applied to the Texas Governor to redress the Red River evils but the Governor made feeble efforts to enforce the law, and the only result was the deep hatred and ill will of these Red River devils.
To me Goodwater is a pitiful place to describe. It is so utterly destitute of remenant parts.
It was situated on the not very elevated water shed dividing the Red River from the Kiamish, and equidistant from the two streams, and nine mile from their confluence. The scenery around it is exceedingly dull and uninteresting. Being wholly thin forest of not heavy growth, composed chiefly of the varieties of the oak, common to that region. The place is a misnomer, for the water supplied by well is slightly brackish, though not unwholesome, and becomes palitable by continued use..
The buildings were: 1. The Mission house—a long low tin roofed frame building with capacious rear projection, or ell, for kitchen, dining rooms, pantry, etc. The main dining room would accommodate over fifty at meals. Under this was a good large cellar with brick walls. The main building had a large veranda in front, a hall through the middle opened to this veranda, and on each side a good size room, one a reception room and the other the home of the superintendent. Over these and under the tin roof were sleeping rooms, mostly used for strangers. A little South of the Mission house was a log building. The lower part divided into two rooms. One a teachers room, the other a girls sitting room. The attic was used for scholars sleeping. Some rods further south stood the Seminary, a two story frame building. The first floor contained two large schools rooms. The second floor was divided into three rooms a teachers room and work room for the scholars. The one rear room was used as a dormitory for scholars. Back of this building was another log building containing two rooms for teachers. This is the only building now standing—all the rest were destroyed by fire. The whole station with ample wooded play ground was enclosed with a strong picket fence. And to the North separate enclosures, for garden and orchards, afording ampple supplies of apples, peaches, plums, pears and apricots in their seasons.
Outside this enclosure to the west on a gentle rise of ground stood the church of plain frame structure, 30 by 40 not plastered but nicely lined with boards and whitewash. Near this is the Mission Cemetery where lies the precious dust of some who left home and friends to toil for the red man. This sacred place is no doubt now, desolate, and the graves trodden under foot.. But God watches the sleeping dust and will keep it safe:
Yours, George Ainslie
so Mr. Wright comes in and says we had better not send them without copying, for fear of their getting lost. So I resorted to the last remedy of getting my little son 13 years old the 7 of next May to undertake and I send you today the 19 pages of foolscap of his copying. I think you can read it. He has done this much in 10 days, out of school hours, and if he continues diligently he will copy the rest in about three weeks if he does not get sick. I also send you this day in another envelope 12 pages of the revival history of the Mission—Before the removal, which is between that which I have sent and which Cyrus has written.
I send you a sermon prepared by Mr. Byington, 2 months after the death of the second Mrs. Kingsbury, of which you might take a few extras, leaving out some of the trials. And a sermon preached by Mr. Kingsbury at Jonathan Dwight's funeral. And also an address delivered by him which is quite interesting. You will see that it is written in a simple child-like style. One reason for that is that it might be easily understood, and interpreted, as they call it in Choctaw idiom. In think you lived here long enough to understand why it was written so; as you see more of the manuscript there will more be said about Jonathan Dwight; just as fast as Syrus can copy it I will send it to you. You asked me to forgive you for being so troublesome. I have needed to be forgiven by you, for my delinquency. But while I cannot very well help on account of being unwell, truly God has been good to us in prospering our labors, thus far. And I hope and pray that he will continue, and crown our labors with success. And that this work may yet prove a rich blessing to the church, and to the world. And there may yet be a remnant saved among the Choctaw people. I send you with this letter, a front view of Mrs. Wright. Some day when my head does not pain me I will look over your letters, and see what questions to answer, but for the present this must do,
Yours with much love,
Bristol, Kenosha Co., Wisc.
Dear Miss Mc Beth
Kingsbury was slightly lame, having one club foot,4 and used a cane. A kind hearted well preserved elderly gentleman. With benignant countenance and manners; hair dark, I think black, intermingled with gray at 78 years of age, he seemed to be in full possession of all his faculties, and used to ride on horseback unattended from Pine Ridge to Goodwater a distance of 14 miles, once in four weeks, to spend the Sabbath and to preach for us. This he kept up during the war, failing in his appointment only once, when he was sick. I saw him last the Sabbath before we left the Choctaws. He was then rather feeble and he had been sick . . . . .
I am sorry the information that I have to give is so meager. I would gladly help you. In his last letter, Rev. Reid writes, "have you heard from Miss McBeth. I mean to help her all I can." I wish you much success with your book. Rev. Stark of Paris, Texas might help you. If I can be of any service to you let me know,
J. F. Jones
There were three; Allen, Hawes, and Kingsbury were companions. On Sab. Allen, on way to church would first call for Hawes and they two for Kingsbury. (H. (awes) was a Universalist, and K. (ingsbury) even then an earnest Christian. Every Sab. these two had warm disputes from their special standpoints. It happened on a day that Father K. (ingsbury) was in the hay field. A rabbit started before, the mowers, who threw down their sythes and gave chase. K. (ingsbury) joined in the chase but accidentally stepped on a sythe receiving a terrible wound. A surgeon was called who took up the severed arteries, but had no hope of recovery. Hawes, as soon as he heard of the accident, came to see his dying friend. When he saw the calmness and confidence of one so near eternity he became convinced that there was a reality in religion and became himself a Christian. K. (ingsbury) as we know, did not die, but being lame now for life left the work he had been pursuing i. e. Cabinent Making and began studying which prepared him for his life's work. Hawes became the celebrated Joel Hawes D. D.
Now so in the wonderful leading of Providence. So small in matter as the running of that rabbit changed the destinies of these two wonderful men.
Also I never knew before the origin of Father K.'s (ingsbury) lameness.
I am here on invitation of Jay Cooke resting for awhile. Will, if no providence calls me away, be here all of the next week. I will then make a hurried visit to N. Y. and return home. This opportunity to rest is very opportune, for I have since last writing to you had another severe attack of congestion of the lungs. I left my family well.
I am not sure of the spelling of "Hawes."
write even as brief a history as that, if sickness had not laid me aside from duty. So, being well, I wait in vain for time to revise or correct. You can however learn from it some information. You will bear in mind that it was written from memory—going back eight busy and eventful years. I think however that all the statements are correct. I wrote it thinking that my children might some day take interest in reading the narrative for this reason I will trouble you to return it when you no longer need it.
Your first two questions—I think you did not enter the Cherokee Ter. (ritory) after leaving Ft. Smith. The Canadian R. (iver) is the N. (orth) boundary of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Ter. (ritory) which you would not likely cross on your way. "Skullyville" is a Choctaw name. It may however be a Chickasaw town for I think most of your road from Ft. S. (mith) was through Chickasaw Ter. (ritory).
2. Goodland was not any farther from evil influences than Goodwater or other stations. If any difference—it was perhaps the most exposed of all, as the mouth of Boggy—not very far away, was a stronghold of the most wicked of the Texan ill-doers. Bennington6 was very slightly if any better off. My impression is that they had more drunkenness and ruffianism in that vicinity than in any other place. Lenox was the only station far enough from the Red R. (iver) to be free from those vile influences. Spencer was also measurably free. Goodland and Bennington had only day schools.
Wapanucka was first occupied by Rev. H. Balentine in 1852, although I think, not opened as a school until 1853. Miss F. K. Thompson was the first teacher sent and was in 1853 joined by Miss May J. Burns and Miss Schelerboyer. (I am not sure of spelling) Mr. Turner was also one of the first corps of teachers. Wapanucka was the most beautiful of all the stations of the Indian Missions. It stood on an elevated wooded plateau, one side sloping down on the open prairie—the other side terminating in an abrupt precipice of nearly 100 ft. perpendicular—its base washed by a beautiful stream; beyond which the country was broken into woodland and prairie, hill and valley, diversified and mixed in endless variety and beauty. On one hill side was a spring wonderful for the volume, purity, and coolness of its water. On another hill side not far distant a very strong white sulphur spring bubbled from the rock and from the same rock only a few feet distant a small spring of pure sweet water—like Mary and Martha, of the same Mother but of different tempers.
I do not remember size of building. It was built of a soft white stone technically known as Eurrinital marble. The rocks all around were exceedingly ruff in Fossils. Bennington was formerly Mt. Pleasant which was however a few miles N. (orth) of B. (ennington) and was for many years Mr. Copeland's station. Mt. P. (leasant) was near Boggy bottom and was not considered healthy—one reason for the change. B. (ennington) was also more directly the center of the field. It was built in 1853 and first occupied by Rev. A. G. Lansing, now in Iowa (Reformed Ch.) My first visit to it was in company with Br. (other) L. (ansing) and our wives. The building had just been laid up of logs with no door or window yet cut. Our only way of entrance was crawling under the sill to accomplish which we had to lie down full length on the ground and make ourselves thin as possible. Mr. L. (ansing) being somewhat stout was in danger of being permanent underpinning. Once in, we arranged to spend the night. The only chance of a bed was a few boards in a corner on the upper joints affording barely room for the four. This place of rest we reached by a rude ladder and arranged ourselves quite modestly by placing the ladies in the middle and Bro. (ther) L. (ansing) and myself at each outside. As we had only one blanket under us we were, you can guess,
doing severe penance before morning. Br. (other) Lansing left the Mission in 1855. Mt. P. (leasant) then became deserted and B. (ennington) occupied by Br. (other) C. C. Copeland. It is now occupied by Rev. Mr. Lloyd under the Southern Board.
Of the early history of Goodland I know but little. It was about 12 miles S. W. of Goodwater and 18 miles from Doaksville. Its Church was a colony from Goodwater Ch. (urch). When I first saw it in '52 it was a pretty and pleasant station composed of the Mission house and church which last answered also for school. It was surrounded by forest with no prairie near. Miss Arms who was teacher there in '52-4 said a pretty thing of it and the first Mrs. Stark, "When I first saw it, it seemed as if it must have dropped from "the clouds into the heart of the forest and that Mrs. S. (tark) had dropped down with it"—she was a heavenly woman (Mrs. Stark) Of the early history of our dear Goodwater my memory retains nothing reliable. It was a small, girls boarding school under care of Rev. (Ebenezer) Hotchkins up to 1853. At that time Bro. (ther) H. (otchkins) had the station enlarged and with consent of Choctaw Council arranged to make it a High School or "Young Ladies Seminary." His dreams you know were never fully realized. When in 54—I think or 55, it was with the other schools transferred from the A. B. C. F. M. to our B. F. M. Rev. James Eells was appointed superintendent—First teachers Miss Harriet Mitchell (now Mrs. Wright) Miss Jennie Hollingsworth, Miss Clara Stanislaus and Miss M. E. Denny. Bro. (ther) Eells was succeeded by Mr. Balentine and he in the Spring of 1858 by me.
You are wise to seek relief in toil. Hard earnest work for the Master will help us to forget our griefs without making us hard hearted. Peters, "I go a fishing" has a deeper significance than most readers perceive. In that way, too he most surely found the Saviour and received from his lips those beautiful lessons of love and faith. I am glad that like Peter you took your net and went a "fishing" in the dark pools of a wicked city. Did not Jesus show himself to you and say "Lovest thou me more than these." In the Morning may you find your net full of great fishes.
If I can render you any farther help be assured that I shall give it willingly.
Very truly yours
Miss S. L. McBeth,
We live in one of the richest parts of the state ie. richest in its capacities, but isolated. Till the present month, we have had 160 miles of staging to reach the rest of the world. Now it is reduced to 115, and we hope before the summer is through to hear the locomotive whistle among us. Well developed, our valley, can support millions. But the church, like almost everything else, is in its infancy here. It is as completely missionary ground as was the Choctaw country, if not more so. I have preached in several settlements where no one else had ever preached.
But to your letter. We have by no means forgotten you. The journey northward, the camping places on our way to Fort Smith, as well as our trip thence by steamboat and rail are vividly in our recollection. Mrs. E. (dwards) has often told of her visit with you on Friday night before we reached Fort Smith, and the scene under the stars and stripes in Louisville as you and she were out shopping. We herd again of you from Rev. W. Compton, now of Watsonville, Ga. I have somewhere seen your book, and read with interest some of its sketches, but have as yet failed to possess a copy.
I am pleased with the idea of your preparing a history of the Choctaw Mission. I will most cheerfully help you as far as time, and circumstances, and my native inert disposition will permit. You must not expect very much, but I would gladly render such assistance as I can. I will endeavor soon to prepare a brief history of Wheelock Station, though probably I will be deficient in dates. So also in regard to the life of Mr. Wright. I lack the materials necessary to enable me to enter into particulars. Perhaps, however, I can put you in the way of getting such materials as may be very useful to you. Mrs. Wright had gathered much material for a life of Mr. Wright, and, in connection with that, I think, a history of the Mission. She is dead. She spent her last days at Manetta, Georgia. Rev. John F. Sanneau was pastor there—a nephew of Mrs. W. (right). Miss Sarah Ker, who had for many years the care of the girls out of school at Wheelock was Mrs. W's. (right) most devoted friend. She may be at Manetta or at Charleston, if still living. I have an indefinite impression that she is dead, though Mrs. E. (dwards) thinks we have had no such information. Rev. Dr. Palmer of New Orleans is a nephew of Mrs. W. (right) You might possibly, reach the manuscripts through him. The old Panoplist. (I believe that is the name) and after that the successive volumes of the Missionary Herald will furnish you with much matter.
Mr. Wright was the principal translator of the Mission. I succeeded him, and spent a considerable part of the eight years I lived at Wheelock, in the study of the language and in translating, though alas; I accomplished very little of the latter. Mr. Byington and I assisted each other particularly in the study of the language. He had prepared the Acts, and perhaps some other portions of the New Testament. During, and since the war, he prepared the Pentateuch. I prepared and printed II Kings, and have worked some on the Psalms. I hope yet to complete the latter. Mr. Wright did the rest. I know more of Father Byington's life than of Father Kingsbury's or Hotchkin's. I will give you some facts in regard to him. Mr. Copeland and Mr. Fisk I know something of, particularly the latter. I will try to do something for you in reference to him. I know but little of Wheelock since I left it.
You are welcome to use my full name—As I have intimated, the material for the history of the mission in the old Nation can be found in the old periodicals, and documents. Some of them might have been useful to you. We will be glad to hear from you again. Mrs. E. (dwards) sends much love—Yours truly,
Dear Daughter "Sue"
our Stockbridge home.7 It has seemed to me that history was being made every day by Mr. Byington labors among these people, where our lot was cast. You can know that my husband's missionary labors commenced among the Choctaws in 1820 while they were living in Miss. After he had acquired the language and prepared some books in the spring of '27, he came to Cincinnatti to have them printed. While on a visit to Marietta in Oct. my home place, we became acquainted and were married Dec. 17, 1827. We soon left for his Missionary field in Miss. where we labored until the country was sold, and the Choctaws had migrated. In the spring of 1832 we came to Ohio with the children. Soon Mr. Byington left me to visit some of the tribe west of the Miss. Mr. Kingsbury went with him. In the fall he went to find his old people at their new home west of the Ark. (ansas) He was absent a year and when he returned, we prepared to go and commence our labors over again among our dear people. At that time there was no steamboat on the Ark. (ansas) and to avoid the Miss. swamps we were obliged to travel in wagons 500 miles over terrible roads, and in cold storms, camping out every night. That was a terrible journey, but the Blessed Lord carried us safely through. He had a cabin prepared for us and there we lived until my oldest son died and a sister of Mr. Byington's. We felt the place was sickly one and in '34 we moved a mile and a half north and there was the Stockbridge where you found us. That year Iyanabi Seminary was built under Mr. Byington's supervision.8 In the winter a Steward and two teachers were sent out by the Ed Board and the school commenced Mr. B. (yington) had the superintendence of it until fifty two when Mr. Chamberlain came. In '60 the Presbyterian Board had charge of it and Miss Downing and Miss Culbertson were sent there as teachers. You must have known too well how we missionaries had to suffer at that time. Iyanabi has never been reopened. Col. Pitchlynn moved his family into the buildings as soon as they were vacated. He is now living in Washington City and his daughter, Rhodia is living there still. In the spring of '67 Mr. B. (yington) was sick, nigh until death. The physician thought he could not live many days, but he said if the Lord had anything more for him to do he would raise him up. He was raised up and was thought best for him to leave for he was so feeble and his labors so ardious. He came to Ohio in July and stayed at the dear home until the spring . . . . In Sept. I went with him to New York. The Bible Society were willing to print the pentateuchs in Choctaw. After the arrangement was made we went to Stockbridge. Manuscripts and the proof sheets were sent to him there. He also printed the book, "Come to Jesus." We returned to this place the last of May and early in Sept. he was taken sick. His book was done, and the Saviour took him home.— The last day of the year in '67 . . . . I fear I shall not answer all your questions satisfactorily. Mr. Byington never labored among any other tribe. The New Testament was printed 26 years ago. The Pentateuts were printed in '48 and '69. The first took of the Kings were printed and some translations that are not printed. Rev. Alfred Wright and Mr. Byington gave the written language to the people. Mr. Wright had feeble health and was not able to ride among the people as much as Mr. Byington, so he devoted more time translating the Bible with the help of a very able interpreter... One of Mr. Byington's elders occupied our house. The Church still stands, but they have little preaching. . . The dwelling house at Goodwater burned several years ago, that was to have been reopened. The Spencer School with 50 scholars has been in operation since last summer. But for the want of teachers, it has not been doing well. Rev. A. Reid of Spencer memory is now in Princeton, N. J. His son John is in the college there. You can get much information about the Choctaws
through the Southern Board—Dr. Hobbs, you know. He would have returned to them if the Southern Board of Foreign Missions had not objected, on the grounds that we did not remain with them through the war. I don't like that,—they need just such missionaries as he.
I shall not be able to write any more. I have a lame hand . . . I will send some papers from which you may gather more facts how Mr. Byington had to close his pioneer history before he extended his missionary work.9
Your wilderness mother,
9Only a few personal details have been eliminated, otherwise the letters are as they were written, in answer to Miss McBeth's questions, concerning the mission work among the Choctaws.