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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 18, No. 1
March, 1940
HISTORICAL NOTES

Page 82

The original manuscript of The Raven, a biography of Sam Houston by Marquis James, which won the Pulitzer prize in 1930, was among the gifts received by Mrs. Mary C. Lee on her hundredth birthday for the Enid Carnegie library. A letter from James, who attended high school in Enid and worked there as a newspaper reporter, accompanied the manuscript which is a prized possession at the library. Mrs. Lee's only wish on her birthday was for books for the Enid Carnegie library in which she had been interested since she helped in the founding of it in the early days. That wish was granted. Her immediate family gave the library a check for the purchase of new books. Miss Laura Crews added a codicil to her will providing $100 for library books in Mrs. Lee's honor. Many books and cash gifts for books came to her. Don Blanding, formerly of Enid and a well known poet and writer, gave the library the manuscript of one of his books in Mrs. Lee's honor. Other gifts in her honor included five oil paintings by Albert Von Strode, Enid painter.1

The fifth annual meeting of the Southern Historical Association was held at Lexington, Kentucky, November 2-4, 1939. One of the sessions was devoted to the consideration of "Southern Indians," with the Secretary of the Oklahoma Historical Society presiding. Peter A. Brannon of the Alabama Department of Archives and History discussed "The Contribution of the American Indian to the Culture of the South." As outstanding among such contributions, Mr. Brannon listed tobacco, maize and other important food products of the South, America's original artificial fertilizer, and a number of chemical alkaloidal medicines. Other products attributable to the Indian include cornpone, the hoecake, hominy, roasting ears, sweet potatoes, baked and roasted, and that practically universal and characteristically southern article, barbecued meat. The art of the American Indian was identified with the typical shapes, textures, and colors of present-day ceramics. Recent archaeological investigations were cited by him as demonstrating that the primitive home life of the Indian influenced southern pioneer life and modern rural life to a considerable extent. The thatched interwoven fences of the rural South, the former stockaded mound post of military defense, the stick-and-dirt chimney, the puncheon floors of early houses, smoked meat, dried fish, and many other Indian customs have been accepted and continue to be a part of our economic life, according to Brannon.



Page 83

In a paper on "Sequoyah's Contribution to Cherokee Culture," Professor Morris L. Wardell of the University of Oklahoma described the educational and literary developments that took place among the Cherokee in consequence of the invention of Sequoyah's alphabet. By 1828, seven years after his discovery, virtually all the Cherokee could read and write. Many young men and a few young women attended mission schools and, upon becoming teachers, aided in the spread of both white and Cherokee culture. A newspaper, the Phoenix, and translations of parts of the Bible appeared in Cherokee homes. Following the removal to Indian Territory, hundreds of young men and women, after attending the Cherokee public schools, were given a classical education in the seminaries established by the missionaries. The Mission Press at Park Hill printed in Cherokee millions of pages of books, primers, hymns, the Bible, an almanac, and whatever else was educational or literary. In 1844 a second newspaper, the Cherokee Advocate, was established as a successor to the Phoenix. It was printed partly in English and partly in Cherokee, and its editor asserted, soon after its beginning, that he could count on the fingers of his two hands all adult Cherokee who could not read either Cherokee or English. All of this, said Doctor Wardell, was largely the result of Sequoyah's invention of the Cherokee alphabet.

With the aid of moving pictures, Professor T. M. N. Lewis of the University of Tennessee described recent "Archaeological Discoveries in the Tennessee Valley." During the past three years the University of Tennessee Division of Anthropology, in co-operation with several federal agencies and national scientific societies, has excavated a number of prehistoric village sites and earthworks on the Tennessee, Hiwassee, Ocoee, and Little Tennessee rivers. The remains and artifacts uncovered by this work indicate that the first inhabitants of the Tennessee area were prehistoric migrants from the Great Lakes region. These people were semisedentary, nomadic groups, who were chiefly dependent upon game, fish, and shellfish for subsistence, and their huts can best be described as temporary brush arbors of crude construction. Burial of the dead followed a pattern practiced by many of the ancient peoples of the earth, as far back as Neolithic times. In the course of time another wave of people suddenly inundated this area from the west and proceeded to exterminate and absorb these earlier inhabitants. The newcomers were a highly sedentary people who lived in rather large villages, fortified with stockades, and their huts were of comparatively permanent construction. These people apparently possessed a well-organized political system. Design elements embodied in their arts suggest an affiliation with the pre-Mayan Middle American cultures of approximately 300 A. D., implying the probability that these people, or their ancestors, migrated from Middle America, or at least that a strong stream of cultural influence from that area affected their mode of living. Pre-Mayan religious beliefs also ap-

Page 84

pear to have been assimilated. The bone and shell industries were exceptionally well developed, and some of the pottery designs have come down into historic times in the practices of the Cherokee.2

The Okemah Chapter of the Oklahoma Society Daughters of the American Revolution visited Bacone College at Muskogee, on December 8, 1939, with Mrs. Emma Kennedy, hostess. Dr. B. D. Weeks escorted the party over the campus relating interesting things about the college. Two fireplaces built of rocks from all around the world and every state in the Union as well as every Indian Mission, church and school represented by a stone, were pointed out. Of special interest is the new chapel of native stone under construction by Indians, with windows representing the chiefs of all Oklahoma tribes as well as other famous Indians. The group had lunch at the Thunderbird Tea room in Muskogee where many of Acee Blue Eagle's paintings were displayed. They had as their guests Mrs. B. D. Weeks, National Vice-chairman of American Indians, Mrs. Howard Searcy, state historian, Mrs. C. A. Hunt, former member of the Okemah chapter, and Mrs. W. N. Barry. They visited Fort Gibson, where Mrs. Searcy reviewed the history of the famous fort. At Sequoyah Indian School the group saw the students weaving cloth and rugs as well as making pottery. They were guests at a tea given by the Art Club of Muskogee where many excellent paintings were on display. Among those present were Mrs. E. E. Parsons, Mrs. Harry Featherston, Mrs. James W. McMahan, Mrs. Dorcey Abshier, Mrs. J. E. McKinney, Mrs. Emma B. Kennedy, Mrs. Ralph Price, Mrs. Lillian Powell, Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. O. L. Neal of Wetumka, and Mrs. Lynn Terhune, of Holdenville.

The newly-organized Tahlequah chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution received its official state confirmation January 22, 1940, at a meeting at Cherokee Hills, east of Tahlequah. A buffet luncheon was held prior to the general meeting. The Tahlequah chapter was organized on December 29, 1939. Mrs. Kate Fite Smullen was appointed regent of the local organization by the national board.

The following state officers were present: Mrs. James J. McNeil, state regent, Norman; Mrs. N. R. Patterson, state treasurer, Tulsa; and Mrs. Howard Searcy, state historian, Wagoner. Other members who attended were: Mrs. L. E. Tomm, past state regent and past national librarian, Tulsa; Mrs. B. D. Weeks from Muskogee's Indian Territory chapter, National vice-chairman, American Indians; Mrs. R. L. Fite, Tahlequah; Mrs. C. E. Kerns, Mrs. G. W. Leopold, Mrs. Hayden Morton, Mrs. C. A. Popkin, Mrs. Lake Moore, Jr., Mrs. E. Halsell Fite, Muskogee. Mrs. McNeil, the State Regent, addressed the group.



Page 85

Officers in the newly organized chapter are Mrs. Kate Fite Smullen, regent; Mrs. J. W. Reid, vice regent; Miss Ova Powell, chaplain; Mrs. R. L. Parker, treasurer; Mrs. Felecia Paden, recording secretary; Mrs. J. T. Attebery, corresponding secretary; Miss Sue Thornton, registrar; Miss Francis Belcher, historian; Miss Mary Lawson, librarian and parliamentarian. Other members of the local chapter are Mrs. T. M. McCullough, Mrs. Patricia Hammond of Westville and Mrs. Alice Reid Callahan of Muskogee.3

The annual meeting of the Oklahoma Society of the Sons of the American Revolution was held at the Oklahoma City Club in Oklahoma City on February 22. Harold B. Downing, the State President, presided, the annual address being made by Judge Edgar S. Vaught. His splendid address concerned the services of Washington during the preliminary as well as the actual days of the formation and adoption of our constitution.

The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: Charles W. Grimes, President; John R. Whitney, First Vice-President; Thomas R. Corr, Second Vice-President; Charles W. Gilmore, Third Vice-President; W. A. Jennings, Registrar; John S. Davenport, Chaplain; A. N. Leecraft, Historian; Harold B. Downing, Trustee; J. Garfield Buell and Ed F. McKay, delegates to the National meeting in Washington in May. This patriotic organization enrolls among its membership some of the outstanding men in the State. The next annual meeting will be held at Tulsa on February 22, 1941.

The Index to the 1939 volume of The Chronicles of Oklahoma will be sent free upon request. Address the Oklahoma Historical Society, Historical Building, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The program committee of the Oklahoma Historical Society consisting of Judge Harry Campbell, Tulsa, Chairman; Hon. John Bartlett Meserve, Tulsa; Mrs. Roberta Campbell Lawson, Tulsa; Mr. James H. Gardner, Tulsa; Dr. Grant Foreman, Muskogee; and Hon. W. J. Peterson, Okmulgee, announce the following program:



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