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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 4, No. 1
June, 1926
A VANISHING RACE.

By G. A. CROSSETT, Editor Caddo Herald.

Page 100

One of the largest and most intelligent tribes of original American Indians in the United States today is the Choctaws, who inhabit the southeastern portion of Oklahoma.

The Choctaws formerly occupied the central and northern portions of Mississippi. At the time of the war of the American Independence they numbered about twelve thousand. They early made friends with the white settlers, and rarely gave serious trouble to their white neighbors. They were loyal to the United States Government.

AIDED JACKSON

In the War of 1812, the Choctaws furnished a large regiment of soldiers to the American army, commanded by Andrew Jackson. Their outstanding leader was a young man named Apushmataha. He was unlettered, but a brilliant leader of men; strong and wise in council, eloquent and convincing in speech. He made a journey to the neighboring tribes of Cherokees, Creeks and Chickasaws, and won them over to the cause of the Americans in this campaign. It was during this campaign that he and Andrew Jackson became fast friends—a friendship that continued as long as both men lived. He was with Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, and his men gave a good account of themselves, being expert marksmen with their popular weapons, the rifle.

Later years saw Apushmataha the spokesman of his people in Washington, before the Interior Department and Congress. His intimacy and friendship with Jackson was renewed when that warrior became president. It was during this period that agitation for removal of the Indian tribes from the southeastern states began. The white settlers had found the soil good, and wanted it all for themselves.

REMOVAL

Apushmataha was appointed by his people to survey the proposed lands offered in exchange for their ancestral domain. He made the trip horseback across Arkansas with

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a party of tribesmen. Such were his wonderful gifts that he was able to survey, with his eye only, the new country, marking the course and number of streams, the woods, the prairies, and look into the potentialities of the territory as a habitation for his people. It was due in the main to the report that he brought back that his tribesmen were willing to move.

While he was in Washington much was made of this chieftain, lofty and noble in bearing, eloquent in speech, brave in battle. One day President Jackson asked him of his ancestry.

"Apushmataha has neither father nor mother nor kinsmen upon the earth."

"How then, came you into being?"

In the gutteral, musical language of his people, accompanied by majestic gesture, he replied:

"I will tell you, my friend, though to no other man have I revealed this secret. Once in the great Choctaw Nation there came a storm, in violence; such as no man ever before had seen or heard. The lightning played across the sky like squirrels in the trees; thunders roared like cannon in battle; rains descended like rivers swollen; the winds howled like wolves in the forest. It seemed as if the force of the storm would destroy everything. Mothers huddled their children to them in the huts to protect them against the ravages of the hurricane. Trees became as tall reeds before the force of the winds. It was bedlam. A lull came, intense quiet was upon the earth for a moment. Suddenly there came a flash of lightning more vivid than any other. It leapt across the sky and struck with unerring aim a giant oak that reared its head above any other and split it in equal twain. From within this riven oak there leapt a warrior, in stature perfect, in wisdom profound. It was Apushmataha."

A cenotaph is erected in Arlington Cemetery to Apushmataha.

By the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the Choctaws were to remove to their new hunting grounds, the Indian Territory. Similar treaties were made with the Creeks, the Cherokees, the Seminoles and the Chickasaws. The treaty began in the year 1823. Five years elapsed before all the

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tribes were removed. They were given the new country in exchange for their lands in the Southeast.

The trip was made by land and by river. Flatboats were used to transport the women, children and baggage down the Mississippi, up the Red and Arkansas rivers. Part of them landed at Slate Shoals near Paris, Texas, and part of them landed at Fort Smith, Arkansas. From these places they spread over the new nation. Many hardships were endured on the journey; numbers died from exposure and want. The remnant composed about twelve thousand people.

The treaties provided that the tribes were to hold and possess these new lands "as long as the grass grows and water runs." They also provided a form of self government. The constitution was patterned after that of the United States, and governments within their own borders. Except in matters affecting the United States, their laws were supreme. The tribes could not make treaties with foreign governments, coin money, or establish post offices. Otherwise they were independent and free states within the Union, though with no vote in Congress.

PRIMITIVE LIFE

At that early date their mode of living was extremely primitive. They had led a nomadic and wild life in Mississippi. The Choctaws were accustomed to exposure and want. Rude log huts formed the habitations. Indian corn was their only cereal. From it they made various forms of bread. Wild game was plentiful, fish abounded in the streams; deer and bear fell readily to their rifles; prairie chickens and quail were so numerous as to become pests at times, destroying growing crops. Springs and fast flowing streams were numerous, and it was near these that the huts were built. Rude structures they were of pine logs and split board roofs, rarely more than one room, with nothing but the earth for floors. With the passing of years the Choctaws developed greater skill in the builder’s art, and as wealth and prosperity increased there arose now and then a mansion of true southern colonial pretensions.

By building near the streams and springs the Choctaws acted upon the philosophy of one who reasoned: "White man build house on hill; have to carry water to it. Indian build house near spring—save work."

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TRADING POSTS

Trading posts soon were established. Then came the white man, who looked with longing eyes upon this new Eden. He came with his accursed "Firewater," with which he corrupted the natives, who were more susceptible to its baneful influences than any other people. Those who became addicted to its use lost much of the original purity of character for which they long had been noted, and became worthless. wrecks, useless to themselves or to their nation. At the same time came the Christian Missionaries, bringing the Bible and medicine, bringing the story of the Cross, and remedies for bodily ills. Their influence was marvelous. The Christ was accepted, and his teachings prevailed to a very large extent.

LIQUOR VIOLATIONS

The United States Congress passed very strict prohibition laws with reference to furnishing liquor to Indians anywhere. The courts were constantly occupied with cases of such law violations. Up to the time of statehood, however, the national government made every effort to protect its charges against this baneful foe.

The efforts of the liquor dealers were ingenious and numerous to get past the vigilance of the officers. Some had been known to bring liquor into the forbidden territory in gun barrels, in coffins, in vinegar bottles, in padded clothing. The United States jails were constantly filled with persons who had sought to overrun this law.

Towns soon sprang up, houses of flimsy board construction. Costly houses were out of the question because no permanent titles could then be secured by non-citizens. Communication was slow—by wagon, water and horseback. Yet the traders prospered because they were, hardy and enterprising.

Doaksville, in the southeastern part of the nation, was the capital for many years. It was eighty miles from a railroad. There were no railroads in the Territory before 1870.

The Choctaw council was composed of a house and senate. It passed laws needful for the growing interests of the nation. Its laws applied only to citizens of the nation. United States citizens were tried for law violations in the U. S. courts.

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TOWNS AND VILLAGES

Choctaw laws related to individual conduct, marriage, occupancy of land and taxation. All land was owned in common. Each Choctaw citizen was privileged to use all the land he could fence. Unfenced land was used by any who had need of it. One provision of the law was that one farm fence could not come closer than a "hog call" to another farm. This term meant one-fourth of a smile. It insured at all times in all places plenty of outside land for grazing purposes—a necessary provision, as much of the wealth of the Nation consisted of cattle and horses. These roamed the woods and prairies at will.

MARRIAGES

Marriages were largely common law. A man and woman agreed before witnesses to become man and wife, and this was legal. Later, license to marry became necessary. The ceremony was performed either by ministers of the gospel or county judges. There were many native preachers. It is related of one who liked his ease as well as the next, that one day he was called upon to marry a young couple, who had come to his home, which was near a creek. The couple was on the other side of the creek, and this creek had swollen from recent rains until they could neither cross to him, nor he to them. He solved the puzzle by saying

"Throw me two silver dollars across the creek."

This being done, he said: "You take this woman to be your wife?"

"Okeh."

"You take this man for your husband?"

"Okeh."

"Then, I say you man and wife. Goodbye."

And they lived happily ever afterward.

TAXES

No direct taxes were levied upon the people. Owning no land there could be no land tax. Improvements were scant, so little revenue was to be expected from that source; so other means of securing money to run their government must be found. The white man became a fruitful source of revenue. If he brought cattle into Indian country he was required to pay 50¢ per head per year for the privilege of his

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cattle grazing on the bountiful grass. To cut hay he must pay 50¢ per ton. If he was a trader or merchant he must pay one and one-half per cent on the amount of goods introduced as royalty. A lawyer must pay $10 a year, so also a doctor and an editor; a royalty of 25¢ per ton must be paid for each ton of coal mined in the territory. If a citizen owned a farm, he must pay $5 per year for each tenant farmer. Each laborer must pay $2.50 per year. Some Choctaw citizens in time acquired numerous farms, so this permit tax, which fell upon them, became somewhat burdensome.

The penalty for non-payment of permits by citizens was a fine or whipping, adjudged by district courts. The penalty for non-payments of fees by non-citizens was deportation by Indian policemen under orders of the district court. Many subterfuges were resorted to in order to evade the full payment of taxes. As the towns grew the payment of the merchandise tax was quite burdensome. Quite a few merchants would exhibit false invoices to the collector, and pay upon a mere fraction of the goods introduced. Sometimes the collectors were in collusion with the, merchant in this evasion.

One incident is recalled of a young lawyer of McAlester who refused to pay the tax of $10 a year. His deportation was ordered. He was taken by a policeman to Denison, 90 miles away, it being the nearest point outside the Nation. He came back to McAlester on the same train as did the policeman. The next day he was taken back to Denison. Likewise he came back. This happened six successive days. The policeman got tired of paying his two railway fares each day for himself and prisoner, so he and the court concluded it would be cheaper to let the lawyer stay than to be out $8 every day for railway fare. There happened to be no way of preventing the return of a man thus deported. Finally this law came into little use. Timid ones paid, but the bolder spirits stayed without paying.

HAD NO JAILS

The Choctaws were noted for being true to a pledged word. Bonds were never required in criminal cases. The word of the accused was sufficient assurance that he would appear at the court though it might mean death. Concrete cases are of record where the condemned man appeared on

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the exact hour to receive the bullet from the firing squad Only 30 days’ interval was allowed between the finding of then one guilty and the infliction of punishment. This gave the accused time to make an effort to secure pardon from the governor, or to put his worldly affairs in shape. Jails were not known among the Choctaws. If a convicted man refused to give his word he was chained to a tree to await the time, a guard being set over him. The rifle was the usual method of meeting death penalty. A firing squad of ten men were appointed, only two guns being loaded with bullets, so that no one might know whose bullet caused the death.

CLOTHING

Early in the century the Choctaws adopted to a large extent the white man’s clothing, though some few remained dressed in skins and blankets. Some of the younger bloods compared favorably with their white brothers in looks and dress. The young women were beautiful, retiring in disposition, and pure in character. Married life brought terrible hardships upon them, however, and the toll thus taken left them uncomely. The drudgery of their primitive lives is almost unbelievable. The larger part of the farm work, the household work and the care of the children was shifted to them, while the men occupied themselves with hunting, fishing and politics. Among the more wealthy and better conditioned Choctaws, this drudgery was taken from the women and given to negro slaves or servants. These women retained their good looks until past middle age.

NATIVE FOODS

The Choctaw women were adept at preparing foods from the articles at hand. Schooled to forest life, used to a plentiful lack, they worked wonders with corn and meat. A kind of hominy was made of rudely cracked corn, called "to falla." Dry corn was beaten in a wooden mortar until the husks were loose. Reed fans were operated by hand during this process to blow away the husks. After all the husks were blown away the meal was put in iron pots and cooked about four hours. It was eaten either fresh, or stale, hot or cold, and was very nourishing. Some liked "tom fuller" sour; so it was set by a fire overnight, with fresh water poured over it.

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PASHOFA

Pashofa was another popular form of food. A large quantity of dried Indian corn, a bushel or more, was cracked in a mortar until of the fineness of meal. This was cooked with sufficient water in a rude pot until about half done. A shoat or calf was killed and all the meat cut very fine with knives—sausage mills were unknown. The meal was taken cut and dried, then thoroughly pounded into the meat, there being equal quantities of meal and meat. This mixture was put in a pot, salt and water sufficient were added, and cooked until done. This was usually made in very large quantifies, and was served cold in horn spoons or wooden dishes. Its keeping qualities were good, being good a month after cooking. This meat was an almost regular dish in every home, and it was used as an inducement to get folks to attend the "Pashofa dance."

Remembering that the Choctaw women had no access to the usual condiments of the present day housewife, we marvel at their ingenuity in preparing foods from nature’s gifts. They had little salt, little sugar, no pepper, no cinnamon, no endives, no cheese, none of the thousand and one things our mothers now have with which to make our foods palatable.

WALUSHA

Walusha was the principal dessert. Wild grapes were gathered and boiled in a pot to get the juice. The juice was strained through a cloth and mixed with a dumpling made of corn meal. Sugar, or cane syrup was added. It was cooked until done, then served in horn spoons. This was a delicious savory dish, much prized by all who were privileged to eat it. Sometimes this walusha would ferment, and need for other stimulant was eliminated for the time. It had a "kick."

BAHAR

Bahar was a delectable condiment. It was made by beating hickory nuts and walnuts to a pulp in a stone or wooden mortar. To this was added cracked parched corn. This was sifted to take away the husks, sugar was added, and the ingredients stirred until thoroughly mixed. Cold water was added until the mass became the consistency of

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thick dough. It was served in horn or shell spoons, and was consdired the "piece de resistance" of a meal.

ABUNAHA

Abunaha was the hard tack of the Nation. It was used to take on long hunts, and was a reserve food against the arrival of unexpected company. It was made by the quantity of corn desired being soaked over night in just enough water to cover it, to loosen the husks. Ashes of dried bean hulls were sifted, and the ashes with dried beans were boiled until the beans were done. A stiff dough was made of the corn after it had been thoroughly beaten. The beans remained whole. These were mixed in about equal quantities of meal and beans and wrapped in corn shucks, tied with hickory withes and put in a pot of water and boiled about an hour. This bread remained in the husks until ready to be eaten. It kept indefinitely, being as good a year after being made as it was the day it was cooked.

INFIDELITY

Not much ceremony was made over marriage. The rite was simply: "You take her? "You take him?" Both answered affirmatively formed a knot that rarely was broken save by death. Divorce was little known.

Little infidelity ever was known among the Choctaws. On the rare occasion if a girl went wrong, upon the establishment of her guilt her punishment was administered by her own father, who would severely beat her, shave her head bare, and turn her out of house and home. Thenceforward her name was never mentioned by anyone.

BURIAL CUSTOMS

Upon the death of a member of the family no religious rites were performed. The men had food, guns and knives buried with them; the women their personal adornments of beads and trinkets. The grave was dug under the house in which the family lived. Later their custom was changed by reason of board floors, and the grave was dug in the yard, near the house, and a small house built over it. The idea was that rain should never fall upon a grave. The families continued to live in the houses the same as before. No haunting spectres bothered.

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INDIAN CRY

The "Indian Cry" was a ceremony performed in each community once each year. At a specified time the whole neighborhood would assemble under a rude arbor. The names of all in that community who had died during the time were announced. A short sketch was given by the native preacher of each. Both his good and bad qualities were mentioned with equal truth, and the preacher had no hesitancy in telling the people where he thought the deceased had gone hence. After his sermon relatives would break out crying, mourning for their dead. Sometimes the mourning lasted four or five hours, depending upon the physical endurance of the bereaved. After it was over; after this "cry" was finished, there was no more mourning for these dead.

PASHOFA DANCE

The Pashofa Dance was a ceremony used when a member of the tribe was sick. It was done to invoke the departure of the Spirit of Disease called Shulop. Upon invitation the people of a neighborhood assembled at the home of the sick person. This person was isolated in a room, where none were allowed but the Medicine Man. Striped pole of black and white was erected in the yard, and none were allowed past this pole. The Medicine Man would indulge in various incantations, while the crowd outside would imitate him, dancing around in numberless and fatiguing gyrations. At noon the Pashofa would be served to the hungry guests. This was made in a large pot in the yard and, when the horn spoons were passed, the crowd did not wait for the pashofa to cool, but plunged in with their spoons, eating until the food was gone or they were gorged. Only water was served. After eating, the dance would be resumed until physical exhaustion compelled them to quit.

The Medicine Man, as a last rite, would fill his mouth several times with a mixture he brought with him, then spew it upon the form of the sick person. If any person during the dance went inside the prohibited territory the Spirit of Shulop was supposed to enter him.

CHRISTIAN RELIGION

The Choctaws took a keen interest in the religion brought to them by the Missionaries. Their own preachers soon be-

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came a great aid to the Missionaries, so that camp meetings, were frequent. Church houses were few, only rude huts being erected. The principal services were conducted in the homes and under arbors made of brush. The Indian was stoical and undemonstrative, but there is no doubt that the power affected them greatly. Mourners were called for at each service, and those who "hit the sawdust trail" seemed to be sincere in it. The negro slaves were allowed to attend many of these meetings, and their nature being entirely different, they made up in shouting what their Indian masters lacked.

SINGING

To teach a song to the Choctaw it was necessary for the missionary or his assistant to sing it over time after time, perhaps a dozen. Not a sound out of the congregation. But later if he called upon the congregation to sing, they would do it perfectly, each voice taking his true tone from the organ. A remarkable thing was that none but the men sang. The women throughout were silent. About the home or elsewhere when the men were present the women were silent.

DEBT-PAYING

The Choctaws were punctilious about paying a debt. They might be a long time about it, but if ever the money was in hand, the debt was paid. A doctor had loaned a young fellow $60. From time to time he had asked the youth about paying, but could get nothing but a grunt in response. Finally the doctor gave the debt up as lost. One morning, twenty years later, upon opening his door, he saw this young man, now middle aged, upon his doorstep. "Here’s your $60." No greeting, no interest, no thanks.

This doctor was called to see a Choctaw one day in winter who had pneumonia. After examination, he instructed his brother who was waiting on him, to keep the patient. warm, but to keep plenty of air in the room. It was a cold day, and there was not much cover in the house, and the fireplace had more than it could do to keep out all the cold with the door open. Upon coming back later in the day the doctor discovered the patient almost naked upon the bed; the well brother had appropriated all the covering. Upon

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being remonstrated with, he said: "Him going to die anyway—why me freeze?"

COURT-COUNTY

Court was held in each county each first Monday. These courts attracted almost every citizen in the county whether they had any business with them or not. The principal business was selling stray animals, and settling estates of deceased members. It was a time that bootleggers also came and plied their trade. If the bootlegger had no whiskey he did not scruple to sell tea or coffee for the genuine article. One was one day known to sell 40 quarts of tea in fruit jars at $2 per quart. Had he been caught he might not have lived to gloat over his ill gotten gains.

Going to court, going to the Pashofa dance, going to camp meeting, going to an "Indian cry" were the principal "amusements" of the people.

HANDWORK SKILL

By doing the greatest part of the work the Choctaw women soon acquired great skill in fashioning articles from leather, clay, wood and horn. They became expert cloth makers. The men fashioned weapons of steel and flint. The arrival of traders with their manufactured goods put an end to much of this art. Thus today much of the original ingenuity of the Indian is lost because of disuse and lack of necessity. He has succumbed to the lure of letting someone else make his goods.

Sometimes a Choctaw man would marry an energetic woman of Irish or Swedish extraction. Then he went to work. His wife saw to that. He took less interest in politics and fishing, and more in the development of his farm. And soon he became prosperous, for the soil was rich and responded bountifully with its yields. Other families profited by such examples, and in later years, the Choctaws became good farmers, raised good stock, and acquired competencies equal to the white man.

CADDO INDIANS

About the year 1840 a roving band of Caddo Indians came from western Plains unbidden to the Choctaw Eden; came to hunt and to fish and to stay as long as pleased them.

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They were unwelcome. The country belonged to the Choctaws. Had not their Great White Father given it to them? The Choctaws proposed to keep it and to defend their homes against intruders. In the Caddo band were perhaps 500 people; some women and children. It looked as if they intended to make quite a stay of it. No other way proving successful, the Choctaws invoked the aid of their Lighthorsemen to get rid of their unwelcome visitors. For about a year a guerrilla warfare ensued, until in a pitched battle the Caddos were exterminated. Not one lived to carry back the news of their disaster.

LANGUAGE

The Choctaw language is gutteral. It sounds good to the ear. Missionaries translated the Bible into this language, using the English letters. With schools established the natives learned to read both in their own and the English language. The language contains no curse words. The strongest epithet one could call an enemy in Choctaw would be "A long eared mule." The Choctaw soon learned, however, the art of swearing fluently in English and so never troubled himself to get the words in his own dialect. The English was sufficiently expressive. This he often mixed with his native tongue.

He had a habit of using the word "it" where it did not belong, such as "he went it to town." It is related of one Choctaw who had been to a county fair who, upon arriving home, gave this succinct account of his experience: "I went it to fair; paid it four bits to see it farmer boy ride it calf."

The Choctaw language abounds in the use of the letter "k" and almost every sentence ends in "shke" or "oke." Meaning is added to or taken from sentences by the tone in which uttered. It is a difficult language to express properly in writing or printing. A few words and their English meaning might be of interest

Ishkulle is money, tanch is corn, panola is cotton, nippe is meat, nashoba is wolf, bok is creek, chito is large or big, sketana is little or small, sabunna is I want, oka is red, homa is man, okeh is yes, kayo is no.

The Choctaw was parsimonious in the use of words. His comments always were short. He did not use many words

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in buying and selling. The laws and newspapers were printed in both languages in the early days. Now the Choctaw is seldom used. It is a beautiful language about to go the way of all the earth.

MODERN INVENTIONS

The Choctaw exhibited a great interest in the new inventions of the white man. The first bicycle brought to this country was used by a doctor in making his calls. A native was heard to observe upon seeing him: "Huh! White Medicine Man heap big lazy; him sit down to walk." Later the automobile took his eye. It was wonderful. He liked the sensation of riding swiftly. Many sold their farms to get one. One young fellow, having secured a large payment for an oil lease, bought a big car. He came back to the car agency next day battered and bandaged, but still in the ring. Holding out a roll of bills, he said: "Me buy big car, get it quart of cat whiskey, go it down road like hell, see it bridge, move it out of road to let it bridge pass. Bam ! Car gone. Gimme ’nother one."

The Choctaw was a philosopher in his way. He rarely gathered corn into his crib, except in small lots, his idea being expressed by one who said: "Thief can’t steal much corn in field. In crib he get it all."

SLAVE HOLDERS

At the outbreak of the war between states, Choctaws were slave holders, hence their sympathies were with the Confederacy. They made a treaty with Confederate commissioners which confirmed them in the holding of their slaves and the new country. In return they supplied a large contingent of soldiers for the Southern army, also much supplies, wagons, clothing, shot and cartridges. They were familiar with firearms, and the army life suited them. After the war was over and the Confederacy collapsed, new treaties had to be made with the United States Government, by which much of their original freedom was lost. The slaves were freed and these became members of the tribe, though not on equal footing. Later upon allotting the lands, the slaves got about one-fourth as much as their Indian masters.

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VIGILANTES

In the years following the Civil War there was much unrest, much thieving, much law breaking, so much so that the law abiding people to protect themselves were compelled to take strong measures. Vigilantes were organized among the better citizens. These vigilantes held secret meetings, their membership was secret, but when they operated there was much less cattle thieving, property became safe. The vigilantes were very careful to find the right man before meting punishment, but many individuals of shady reputations made themselves scarce during the time. They ceased to frequent the haunts of men. Nobody knows where they are buried. One instance is recalled wherein a certain man was condemned by the vigilante council to death for thievery. The lot to kill him fell to a young man who believed in his innocence. He asked the council for thirty days’ time to investigate further. This was granted. In two weeks the young man went before the secret council with evidence that established beyond doubt the innocence of the condemned man. He was spared. He never knew that he was on trial. As the need for the vigilantes vanished so did the vigilantes. No instances are known of where any injustices were committed by them in the Choctaw Nation.

FIRST RAILROAD

A railroad was built through the Choctaw country in 1870. A few towns sprang up; Caddo became the terminal of the road, and from this place wagon trains transported supplies to the western forts and to north Texas. It was no strange sight to see these trains, miles and miles in extent, come into town, load and depart. Lively times then.

On one occasion a carload of barrelled whiskey was stored in the station house for several days, awaiting arrival of trains to take it to Bonham and Paris. The storehouse was about three feet off the ground. Somebody, hearing of this stored happiness, spread the news. One night unknown parties entered under this house and with augers bored holes through the floor and several barrels, emptying the liquor into tubs. Nobody ever knew who did it, but suspicion pointed to quite a number who suddenly had become quite happy and prosperous.

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WORLD WAR

With the coming of the World War, the Choctaws had become much more civilized; had become educated in the schools, had taken their places with their white brothers as citizens on an equal footing. Their tribal government had dissolved, and they were all equal citizens of Oklahoma and the United States. In every line of business they were to be found. Eloquent preachers, shrewd lawyers, keen business men, trained school teachers, all professions found them occupying places of usefulness and honor. One had become a United States senator and prominently mentioned as the democratic nominee for President in 1920;1 two others were Congressmen; another had been speaker of the house of representatives in Oklahoma.

Many Choctaws by volunteering and by selection became soldiers in the World War. The records are full of valiant deeds. War crosses without number were issued to them. But the duties of camp life proved irksome to them. The Indian liked action; he did not like drill and camp duties. He could never get used to the constant saluting. One was arrested charged with not saluting an officer. His defense was: "I tell it captain howdy once today. That’s nuff."

A VANISHING RACE

By nature the Choctaws were roving, loved the field and forest, the great outdoors. He liked the dew, the big wide places; he built his houses far apart. He communed with his God, Chiowa, he called Him, in His vaulted dome; he felt the pull of the Great Spirit in the outdoors. Not many fullbloods are left. He had mixed his blood with the white, until they truly are a, vanishing race. He has taken on white man’s ways; he has accepted his God; he has taken his language; he has built homes like his white brothers. He is no longer pure American in his blood. Now he lives like the white man. He has as many characteristics as there are people. He has take on the good and the bad. He is simply now like the average American white man.



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