Mrs. S. J. Carr
The subject of this brief sketch, John Harpole Carr, was the son of Thomas and Mary Carr and was born of Christian parents, in Lebanon in Wilson County, Tennessee. His father was a man of weight and influence in the neighborhood where he resided, and he was the worthy son of a worthy sire. The date of his birth was April 16, 1812. When he was seven, his parents with three other families emigrated to Arkansas Territory. They embarked on a keel-boat, on the Cumberland River, the 25th of December, 1819, and, on the 9th of April following, reached their destination which was the north bank of Red River, in Lafayette County, Arkansas. Later in the year, they settled in Hempstead County, where they took up government land and called their new settlement Temperanceville. On no account would they sell any of the land they had acquired to parties who were not theoretically and practically of strong temperance principles. There, in this new wilderness home, the boy grew to manhood with only such advantages as this primeval forest country afforded at that early date. A few families had preceded them and that by only two or three years. Supplies were dear and scarce. What little stock they owned must be saved for increase. nearly all the meat they had for several years was the game they killed from the woods. Corn bread was the only bread they had and scarce at that. He never saw flour bread until he was nearly fifteen years old or a glass window, and then rarely. The school houses and churches as well as the homes were all of logs, without even the bark being removed. These homes were covered with clapboards, four feet long, laid on rib-poles and held to their places by weight poles laid on top. The only light came from the broad low wood chimney, a few openings between the logs, and an open door, the shutters of which if it had any was made of the same material as the roof, the timber extended six instead of four feet long, and hung with wooden hinges. In his own home he conned his lessons by the light coming down from the sky through the chimney, and at night by the light of the blazing fire. What literature he had is not known, possibly a few books borrowed from the neighbors in the settlement except that we know that the "New York Christian Advocate" was a constant visitor in his home at a very early date. It was however very different from what that paper now is in regard to literature adapted to a youthful mind. The seats in the churches and school houses were made of split logs from ten to twelve inches in diameter, thus making two seats with made legs, let in with an inch and a half auger.
The clothing was of jeans, homespun and homedyed. They had a few sheep in the settlement. They tanned their own leather, made their own shoes, also their hats with the fur of the coon, fox, rabbit
and wild-cat, caught by the boys at night. Such were the surroundings of this youth.
He was the oldest of a family of six, four sisters and one brother younger than himself. He occupied a cabin in the yard at night, alone and being timid often retired at an early hour. It can readily be imagined that his nights were lonely. Had it not been for the pioneer preachers, men of education and refinement who always found a ready welcome in his father’s hospitable home, there would have been little for a young man to aspire to. The longing of his heart were ever for knowledge but his services were needed at home and there was no money to send him abroad. Who can tell whether he ever would have had those yearnings but for the inspiration afforded by the frequent visits of these men of God, the hope they instilled, the instruction they imparted.
As soon as he had the opportunity, he learned the carpenter’s and cabinet-maker’s trade, both of which were of great advantage to him in after years. It was a proud day to him when he bought his first suit of clothes at the store for which he paid fifty dollars of his own hard earned money. These things are mentioned that it may be known what difficulties he overcame in fitting himself for his life work.
In October, 1833, he embraced religion at a Cumberland Presbyterian camp meeting, and was licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1834 in Mt. Prairie Circiut, Missouri Conference, Martin Wills, presiding elder. The next year he traveled the Rolling Fork Circuit, C. F. Ramsey, presiding elder, and was received into the Missouri Conference. At the end of the second year he located. In 1836 he was married to Miss Harriet Newell Nail, and unto them were born six children, two of whom survive, Edwin Erastus Carr, living at Tiff City, Missouri, and John Emory Carr, of Wynnewood, Indian Territory.
In 1845 he was again received into the traveling connection, joining the "Indian Mission Conference," and travelled the Doaksville Circuit, six years in succession.
He kept up the frontier work, and is reckoned among the pioneer preachers of Arkansas, Indian Territory and Texas, having preached several times where the city of Paris, Texas now stands, when it was composed of only a few scattered dwellings. During these years of toil he forded rapid rivers, travelled through heat and cold and stormy weather, stopping for the night sometimes with a friendly Choctaw, or at one of the boarding schools under the "American Board," where he was always welcome, or if he found no better place, in some deserted cabin he made his own coffee and prepared his meal from provisions he always carried with him, and wrapping his blanket around him, was weary enough to lie down to refreshing sleep upon the cabin floor, he counted not his life dear unto him, if
so be that he might be counted worthy to tell the story of the cross to these children of the forest.
In 1847 his beloved wife died. He had taken her to his sister’s home in Arkansas and though feeble she would not detain him from his life work but said "Go." But ere he finished the round of his next circuit, the grim messenger claimed his victim. They sent for him, he rode all night, and reached her couch of suffering a few short hours before she breathed her last.
Later in the same year he was appointed to an "African Mission" within the Conference, but the toils and privations of the past had made such inroad upon his health that he was compelled again to resign his work. Not yet however was he to be laid aside as a useless vessel. In the fall of the same year the Conference appointed him to superintend the construction of buildings known afterward as "Bloomfield Academy," in the Choctaw Nation. He was afterward appointed superintendent of the school. In the spring of 1852, he, with others, selected the site and began the work, stretching his tent in the hitherto unbroken forest in the midst of a grove. The situation was afterwards much admired by passing travelers. It was surrounded by undulating prairies of verdant green and all in gay attire with wild flowers of all hues and kinds, so like a garden spot planted and cared for by nature’s own bountiful hand. There, with his own axe he strikes the first blow toward civilization in this new field, which, resounding, breaks the long silence of the ages, and began the establishment of the first missionary boarding school for girls among the Chickasaws. A year previously a manual labor school for boys was established near Tishomingo, superintended by the Rev. J. C. Robinson.
In June of this year Mr. Carr was again married to Miss Angelina Hosmer, of Bedford, Mass. She was a former pupil of Mt. Holyoke Seminary, Mass. Of this union five children were born one of whom survives, W. J. D. Carr of Sherwood, Texas. Immediately after their marriage, they went to New England in quest of teachers and secured Miss S. J. Johnson, of Lenox, Mass., also Mrs. Butterfield, who went at once to Chickasaw Manual Labor School and was never connected with Bloomfield. The school should have been named after General Washington, for every year it received a portion of the interest from the money donated by the first Congress of the United States to General Washington in acklowledgment of his revolutionary services. This he refused to accept personally but had it set apart for educational purposes and Bloomfield had $1,000 yearly of this money.
It may be asked, how then did it obtain its name? It was in this way. While Mr. Carr was living in his tent a warm friend of his among the Chickasaws, Mr. Jackson Kemp, an ex-chief who had previously visited him and returned to his home in Doaksville, wished to send him a message but did not know where to address him.
So he improvised this poetical name, which the profusion of flowers suggested to the Indian chieftain. All the boarding schools among the Choctaws and Chickasaws, and I recall thirteen, were supported by joint appropriations from the respective missionary boards having charge of the schools and the annuity fund of the Chickasaws and Choctaws.
In Bloomfield the $1,000 before mentioned was included in the money received on the part of the Nation. The Board contributed one third and the Nation two thirds of all the money used for the current expenses of the school. There never was any average attendance calculated for we always kept our number filled, whether it was twenty-five, thirty-five, forty-five or sixty. Whenever there was a vacancy through sickness or any other cause for any length of time, another was waiting to step in. The trustees were the superintendent of missions, the Rev. John Harrell on behalf of the Church, and two Chickasaws on behalf of the Nation. After the first appropriation for the building Mr. Carr received $66.66 yearly per pupil. His salary was $600 a year. His teachers salaries were raised gradually from $100 the first year to $250 at its close. All the salaries, all the hired help, all the school books and stationery with every other expenditure was paid out of the yearly appropriation. It required economy to do this, but expenditure was saved by Mr. Carr’s being able to do carpenter and cabinet work himself. He cultivated a farm on which he raised wheat, corn and potatoes, and in time two orchards which furnished peaches, plums and apples. So he managed to keep clear of debt. Reaching Bloomfield in December of 1852, we could not open the boarding school until the next September owing to the unfinished condition of the buildings. So a neighborhood school was opened for boys and girls and continued through the winter and spring. I recall the names of three of the boys, namely, Simon Kemp, Martin Allen and Levi Colbert. In the fall of 1853 we opened the boarding school, with twenty-five pupils which was all we could accomodate at the time. Mrs. Carr was matron and Miss S. J. Johnson was teacher. The girls were taught if necessary the English language and the alphabet; spelling, reading, writing and artihmetic, both mental and written, and, as they advanced, natural philosophy, grammar, "Watts on the Mind," botany and history of the United States during the regular school hours. The opening morning session was at half past eight and continued with a recess until half past twelve. The older pupils studied from five to six in the afternoon. Before this, in the afternoon they were taught to cut, make and mend their own clothes. They were also taught how to do all the ordinary house work, cooking excepted. The older pupils were taught each Saturday in the pastry department Instruction in all these domestic duties was required by the contract. The division of labor was after the plan adopted at Mt. Holyoke Seminary, and never seemed irksome to anyone. In the afternoon at stated hours they were taught needle, wax, worsted and coral work, also drawing, painting and vocal music. In each of these
departments they showed taste and made fair proficiency. The departments of fancy work and music was taught by Mrs. Carr.
At the opening exercises of the school in the morning instead of reading the Scripture, each girl who could committed to memory a verse, the same one. They began at the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John. Everyone was taught as far as possible to explain the meaning of the verse and give the definition of the most important words. They finished the Gospel some time before the school suspended.
Singing was an important factor in family worship and at evening they repeated the verse they learned in the morning thereby fixing it in the memory. Another exercise kept up through all the years was the voluntary selection of a Bible verse which they repeated at the breakfast table, each choosing their own and most of the girls participated as did the teachers and family.
In the Sabbath School, Mrs. Carr taught the advanced class by Bible topics and her pupils would compare well with any children of the same opportunities in their understanding of the Scriptures. The youngest pupils were taught the catachism and other lessons suited to the primary department, being advanced to the Bible class when they had memorized the catechism. Mr. Carr preached in the school house Sabbath mornings, once in two weeks, or, later on, in an arbor near the branch, in the summer time. They were nature’s children and much preferred to worship in God’s universal temple. At these services the whole school was always in attendance. On the intervening Sabbath he preached sometimes across the river, at Virginia Point and other places, or at the Eastman School house, in the neighborhood. Occasionally the Rev. John Harrell, superintendent of Indian missions, or the presiding elder preached in his stead.
In the fall of 1855 the services of Miss Eliza Martin from Collin County, Texas, were secured as matron for one year. She has been dead many years.
Not long after school opened in the fall of 1856, a man called and asked for Mr. Carr, introducing himself as Doctor Greene and requesting an interview with one of our pupils. Mr. Carr, who felt the responsibility of a parent toward all entrusted to his care refused his request without a written permit from her parents, who resided at Doaksville. It seems that she had met him clandestinely and had engaged herself to him unbeknown to her parents. She had never mentioned him to any of us and no one knew how she felt toward him. She had also received gifts from him. Her friends were not pleased with his attentions and one of her uncles was so incensed toward him that a shooting affair was the result and a black eye for the Doctor. He came often, was bold in his demands, determined and threatening in his attitude. Sometimes the interviews were long but however fierce and bitter he was at first, he always yielded to
Mr. Carr’s mild and gentle persuasions and went away subdued. During one of his visits it was thought best to interview the girl. She was only fourteen or fifteen years of age, so she was sent for from the school room. She knew his horse and when found in the sitting room she was behind the door hid under a bunch of shawls. She seemed frightened and said she did not wish to see Doctor Green. At one time the Doctor informed Mr. Carr that he had fulfilled the conditions and seen her parents but he did not have the document required. Then he changed his tactics and prevailed upon one of the neighbors to make a candy stew and through the unprincipled cook in the kitchen, who was bribed, a note was conveyed to the girl stating that there would be horses outside the enclosure sufficient to carry every girl to the candy party. Only two of the smallest girls went. At another time he offered the cook ten dollars to go to the dormitory after the girls had retired and bring her down. That night there seemed to be so much disturbance, dogs barking, etc., after the pupils had retired for the night that we locked their outside door, a thing which was not considered necessary in those days, and had never been done before nor since. But the Chickasaw Council convened at Tishomingo, had heard that Dr. Greene had threatened Mr. Carr’s life and they sent two armed men for his protection who rode all night reaching Bloomfield early in the morning. It is true that there had been spies all about seeking to decoy the teachers so they could get possession of the girl. But Mr. Carr dismissed the men assuring them that he had no need of a guard. At last the Doctor gave unto a Chickasaw, who had been known to be a desperate character, ten dollars to interview the girl personally and ask her if she wrote the letter he, the Doctor, had received some weeks before, without compulsion. In reply, she wrote the letter and it contained her true sentiments and after that we had no more serious trouble.
In December, 1856, a new worker was added to our list, Miss Ellen I. Downs, of Champlain, New York, who was matron of the school from that time until its close, in 1861. She stayed with the family one year after the war ended, then taught a private school in Paris, Texas, one year and was afterward engaged as teacher and matron in Lamar Female Seminary of that city, the principal of which was the Rev. O. T. Stark, formerly a missionary among the Choctaws at Goodland. She remained at the Seminary until her marriage to the Rev. J. C. Robinson, whom she survives, and resides at 504 Robinson St., Paris, Texas. She had filled many important positions in the Church with which she is connected, the W. C. T. U., the Sunday School and missionary work, and is at the time of writing this very feeble.
In the fall of 1859, a pupil, honored and beloved by all had charge of the primary department, keeping up with her classes at the same time, Serena Factor, had been with us from the very first. The girls all called her "cousin." She was gentle and sweet in her dis-
postion, a devout Christian and exercised a strong controling influence over the whole school. She only taught a part of the forenoon. The next year, Mr. Carr secured the services of Miss Rebecca Pritchett in the primary department. She lived with her mother at Virginia Point, Texas. Soon after the school was disbanded she was married to Doctor Henry, a widower who resided in the same neighborhood.
Following the firing on Fort Sumpter, the whole South was in arms, and many of the fathers of our girls enlisted. Their first act was to take their daughters home. So, in May of that scholastic year, Bloomfield Academy, as it had been, was no more.
Every year the school closed with a public examination. Many of the parents lived at a distance and those who had no relations in the neighborhood stayed all night with us the night before. All who attended the examination, whether living near or far away, were invited to dinner. Usually as many as three hundred dined with us on that day alone. Soon after school was dismissed, Mrs. Carr, who had always been frail was laid upon her bed with disease of the spine from which she never arose but continued to decline until September of 1864, when death brought her sweet release. Her remains lie buried with two little daughters of Mr. Carr’s in the cemetery north of the school house and within the enclosure as it then was.
Several improvements were inaugurated during our stay among the people. It is no easy task to persuade anyone that the way their ancestors did is not the very best way. After Mr. Carr had chosen the site for the school building, families began to move from Doaksville and other places and settled in the neighborhood. There was a law that no one could locate within a half a mile of another claim. Among the most prominent of those who settled near were two Indian chieftains, half brothers, Mr. Jackson and Joel Kemp, with their families. The latter owned the ferry known as Kemp’s ferry. Then there were four Colbert brothers, Adam, Lemuel, Morgan and Benjamin, and, several years later a Mr. Holmes Colbert, who showed us much friendship.
The first winter we were there, there was an unusual mortality among the people. Their cabins were open and though the winters were short they were severe and possibly owing to the season’s being short they did not think it essential to provide warm enough clothing. There was no carpenter in the neighborhood and consequently Mr. Carr had all the coffins to make. He always kept lumber on hand, and many a time answered to a call in the middle of the night and went out into his shop to work. The coffins had to be lined and covered on the outside with black cloth either cambric or woolen for there was no lumber but pine. He conducted all the funerals far and near and was obliged to make the coffin and perform the burial service for his own little daughter. There were eighteen funerals
in that thinly settled neighborhood during that first winter. It was their custom to bury in their cabins. They removed enough of the puncheon floor to enable them to dig a grave and after the interment laid back the boards, deserted the house for a few weeks then came back and lived on as before. The clay was hard and lumpy and decomposition was rapid. One house was literally filled with graves, so that the last one had to be buried outside.
The next summer the carpenter who had taken the contract to enlarge the building at Bloomfield, finding this house empty moved his family in. The son buried his daughter then moved into a tent for the rest of the summer. But long and persistent efforts, were at length rewarded and the first one to be laid away in the cemetery under the blue sky of heaven was Mrs. Allen, sister to the Colbert brothers. After this they never went back to their old customs.
It was during our residence in the Nation that polygamy was made unlawful. A law was also enacted compelling all who had not been lawfully joined together to have the ceremony performed. Many a couple, with children grown around them, stood up and made the solemn promise to cleave to each other "so long as ye both shall live" as though they had not been doing so through all the years. On one occasion after this ceremony had been performed and the couple had been told that the lawful fee was two dollars the husband presented a dollar to Mr. Carr and the wife took up the puncheon floor and put a dollar’s worth of potatoes in a sack and gave him for her share of the fee.
Another custom which was universal among the women was the wearing of a silk handkerchief in place of a bonnet, folded from corner to corner and tied under the chin, but we could only advance step by step and by persuading the girls to wear sunbonnets their mothers soon followed.
I will here give the names of some of the older girls who first entered the school.
Serena and Lorena Factor, twins, daughters of full blooded indians.
Rebecca Burney, daughter of a deacon of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Rebecca Colbert, sister of Frank Colbert who built the bridge across Red River.
Amelia and Lucy Kemp, daughters of Jackson Kemp.
Mary and Frances Kemp, daughters of Joel Kemp, who owned the ferry.
Mary Ann Colbert, daughter of Morgan Colbert, deacon in Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Alice Warner, daughter of Dr. Warner. She married Captain Welch, of the Confederate army.
Mary Reynolds, whose parents resided in the neighborhood.
Elvirn and Elzira Colbert, daughters of Lemuel Colbert and Carter Elzira Hoyt.
Others were: Emily Allen, Sallie Shecho and Mildred Fletcher.
During the Civil War a private school was kept three hours during the morning, free to all who chose to avail themselves of the opportunity. In the early part of the war the Chickasaw Battalion had orders to occupy the biuldings at Bloomfield in which case the family would have had to move out, but the buildings were not large enough to accommodate all so they main body of soldiers encamped in the prairie only making use of the small building in the yard, which we called "The travellers house," for the Doctor’s office and the girls’ sitting room form commissary stores. The school house was used for a hospital. Mr. Carr had the pleasure of distributing delicacies and medicines to the sick soldiers which they afterward remembered with gratitude.
In those times it was a common sound at night to hear the tramping of men and the clattering of the spurs of the troopers as they tramped through the verandas, thus assuring themselves that "All was quiet along the Potomac," no insurrectionary scheme was brewing and no foe lurking in our midst. Yet we never felt safe at night, for all northern Texas was infested by a band of robbers called "Bush Whackers.’ They belonged to neither army but in the night they entered homes wherever they suspected anyone of having any money secreted. They suspended the man and proceeded to draw out his toe nails if he refused to tell where it was, and not infrequently men suffered who had no money at all.
From the minutes of the Indian Mission Conference held at Eastman school house in September, 1864, we learn that three-fourths of the territory occupied by the Conference was laid waste by the ravages of war. There were only ten preachers to answer to the roll call. Lee’s surrender was in April of the ensuing year. While Mr. Carr was looking eagerly forward to the return of his oldest living son, Joel Henry, who was in the army all through the war and had been promoted to first lieutenant of his company, word came back that he and his captain had been decoyed into a house supposed to be friendly, betrayed and shot. This was a terrible blow to the fond father who was looking forward so anxiously for his return.
In August, 1865, he was married the third time to Miss S. J. Johnson. They had three children, two of whom survive, Bradford Marvin Carr, Denver, Colo., and Sallie Casandra Carr who resides with her widowed mother in Los Angeles, California.
In the spring of 1866, Mr. Carr was a delegate and attended the first General Conference of the M. E. Church, South, after the close of the war, at New Orleans. In September of the same year, the Indian Mission Annual Conference met at Bloomfield, with Bishop Marvin in the chair. This was his first Conference after he was appointed to the Episcopacy. The Bishop and all the members of the Conference were entertained at Bloomfield. Mr. Carr was appointed Presiding Elder of Choctaw and Chickasaw District which work he continued to do as long as he remained in the Nation. He started out in his buggy taking his saddle along and when it became necessary he left his buggy and proceeded on horseback. It took four weeks to make the round and he had his own provisions along as it was often necessary for him to prepare his own meals.
During all the years of the war no one received any compensation. We lived on what the farm produced and what supplies we had. There was no hope of Missionary operations being resumed for years to come, as the Board was already burdened with a heavy debt for our Missionaries in China had been supported by money advanced which must be paid first. Having three children to educate we were compelled to seek a desirable place for the accomplishment of that purpose and Paris, Texas, was selected.
Here let me state that after the war closed Captain Young of the Confederate Army opened a neighborhood school in the school house which was continued sometime after we left. He was an Englishman, had at one time belonged to the Queen’s Body Guard. He afterwards removed with his family to Texas.
So, in December of 1867, we bade farewell to the scenes of our toils and labors, hallowed by a thousand endearing associations, to the little spot of earth where the dead not only our own but of our neighbors reposed, stopping for dinner by invitation at the ever hospitable home of Mr. Jackson Kemp, and a sumptuous turkey dinner it was. He was a constant friend, a strong support ever rallying to cheer and encourage us in every time of need. He was a perfect gentleman, kind and tender-hearted as a child. We could never forget the many favors we received from him and his family.
Mr. Carr bought us a home in Paris and enlarged the building. When that was done he took work as a supply on the circuit whenever his services were needed until called home on account of sickness in the family. Afterward he worked in a furniture store until his last sickness. He had a severe attack of pneumonia and after two and a half days of suffering he "was not, for God took him." He died December 29, 1876. The testimony of the City Council of which he was a member at the time of his death was, "That the Council had been deprived of an able and conscientious member, his family a kind and devoted husband and father and the community at large a noble, useful and exemplary citizen."
The quarterly Conference at Paris Station M. E. Church, South, of which he was a member rendered this tribute to his memory, "It is with deep regret that we are called to give up from our Quarterly Conference one of its brightest ornaments, our beloved co-laborer. Having enjoyed the benefits of his judicious counsel and experience so often in our deliberations on the spiritual and temporal interests of our charge it is with humble submission to the will of Him who doeth all things well that we say, ’Thy will not ours, Oh Lord, be done.’ Yet we know it is well with those who, like the ripened sheaves, are gathered to their heavenly home. Life’s labor is done and the good man takes his rest. ’How blest the righteous when he dies.’ In the death of our brother, the Church has lost a tried and useful minister of Christ, and the community in which he resided a dignified and honored citizen."
This is the testimony of his presiding elder, "He has ended a well rounded life prompt in business, an exemplary father, an attentive and provident husband, an humble and devout Christian and an instructive preacher of erect person and solemn mien. But he has gone, a good man has fallen."
Mrs. S. J. Carr,
SUBSEQUENT HISTORY OF BLOOMFIELD
The story of Bloomfield, as told in the narrative of her husband’s life and career by the late Mrs. Susan Jane Carr, brings it only down to the time of its discontinuance at the outbreak of the Civil War. The story of its re-establishment and of its operations through the intervening years can only be told in brief form here. When the founder, Rev. John H. Carr, with his family, left Bloomfield, in 1867, the traditions which had gathered about this school had too strong a hold on the Chickasaw people to permit of its permanent abandonment. While the records are incomplete, it is known that the first school session after their departure was conducted by Captain Frederic Young. At that time, the school was conducted as a co-educational institution, boys as well as girls being admitted as pupils. It is worthy of remark that, among the boys thus enrolled, there was a lad by the name of Douglas H. Johnston, who was destined, many years later, to serve as superintendent of Bloomfield Seminary and, still later, to serve the people of the Chickasaw Nation as their chief executive or governor.
Captain Young was succeeded, in 1868, by Dr. and Mrs. H. F. Murray, who had charge of the school for two years. Mrs. Murray was a lady of culture and refinement, a native of Mississippi, a member of a prominent Chickasaw family, and she had been educated at Salem, North Carolina. Doctor Murray was a native of Tennessee, well educated and a physician by profession, having completed his medical studies in New Orleans. He continued his professional practice to some extent while in charge of the school at Bloomfield. Following Doctor and Mrs. Murray, Professor Robert Cole had charge of the school for five years, from 1870 to 1875. He, in turn, was succeeded by Professor J. E. Wharton.
Up to this time, the school had been conducted largely upon the personal responsibility and individual initiative of the superintendent. In 1876, however, the Chickasaw National Legislature enacted a law providing that Bloomfield Academy should be a girls’ school, of high school grade, and that it should thenceforth be known as Bloomfield Seminary. It was also provided that the superintendent should take a contract for conducting the school in all of its details, including the employment and payment of instructors and other workers, furnishing the necessary text-books, stationery and other means of instruction, together with boarding, lodging, laundry and medical attention for the pupils and everything necessary for a full and thorough schooling through the required course of study.
Professor Wharton continued in control until 1880, when he was succeeded by Robert Boyd, of Tishomingo, who was a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation by birth. Two years later, Mr. Boyd resigned and was succeeded by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas H. Johnston, who were to fill out the other three years of the five-year period. Mrs. Johnston died during the last year of this contract term. Mr. Johnston was given a new contract for another five-year period, in 1885. Three years later, he married Miss Betty Harper, one of the teachers in the Seminary and who was also one of its former pupils. Her mother, whose maiden name was Serena Factor, had likewise been educated at Bloomfield and was the first pupil of the institution to become one of its teachers. Mr. and Mrs. Johnston remained in active charge of Bloomfield Seminary for ten years after their marriage. Then, Mr. Johnston was elected as governor of the Chickasaw Nation,
thus terminating sixteen years of faithful and efficient service as superintendent.
Governor Johnston was succeeded by Professor Elihu B. Hinshaw, who had been actively associated with him as the principal of the Seminary, for eleven years. During those years, a modern frame building was erected, superceding the original log school building. Both the original building and the new one were destroyed by fire, however, and a third building was erected, more commodious than either of its predecessors. While Governor Johnston was superintendent, he was greatly interested in popularizing education among the Chickasaw people, especially those of full Indian blood. As the result of his efforts, the Chickasaw Legislature was induced to make a grant of ten dollars per month for the maintenance of each pupil, whether living at home or boarding at the Seminary. This action was the cause of many families moving and settling in the immediate vicinity of Bloomfield.
Professor Hinshaw worked out a course of study for Bloomfield Seminary which was submitted to the Chickasaw Legislature for approval. The Legislature not only approved the course of study but issued a charter to the Seminary, authorizing it to confer diplomas on those of its students who had completed the course for graduation. The Seminary was the only school in the Chickasaw Nation which was thus honored. Professor Hinshaw, who is a native of Indiana and a man of finished scholarship in the classics, also developed a summer school of normal training for teachers, which was largely patronized by teachers of the Chickasaw Nation for a number of years immediately prior to statehood. The stimulus supplied to the cause of education in the Chickasaw Nation from these several sources had a marked effect upon the people of the Chickasaw Nation generally and it is said that practically every child of school age in the Nation could read, write and speak English when the time came to organize the public school system under the state government.
The cultivation of the fine arts was especially stressed during the administration of Professor Hinshaw at Bloomfield Seminary. The work of the art department of the Seminary was well represented in the Indian Territory exhibit at the Louisiana
Purchase Exposition, at St. Louis, in 1904, where it received a high award. Many of the women of Oklahoma, who trace their lineage back to a Chickasaw ancestry, owe their education and a large measure of their inspiration for the better things of life to the training and the cultural influences of Bloomfield Seminary.
In 1899, the Federal Government assumed control of all tribal schools in the Indian Territory. Professor Hinshaw was continued in the superintendency of Bloomfield Seminary for seven years longer, however. In 1906, he was succeeded by Mr. J. R. Hendricks, who, in turn was succeeded by Mrs. Annie Ream Addington, a member of the well known Guy family of the Chickasaw Nation. She remained in charge until the school buildings were again destroyed by fire, January 24th, 1914. It was not again rebuilt but the school was moved to Ardmore, where the old Hargrove College property was purchased for its accomodation and where it has since been conducted.*
*The Oklahoma Historical Society is indebted to Miss Sally C. Carr, of Los Angeles, California; Professor Elihu B. Hinshaw, of Oklahoma City; Governor Douglas H. Johnston of the Chickasaw Nation, and Mrs. Michael Conlan, of the Society’s staff, for the information and data for the foregoing supplemental account.