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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 7, No. 1
March, 1929

Page 123


ROBERT HALL PARHAM, the subject of this sketch, was born in Norwood, Georgia. In 1896 Mr. Parham moved to Indian Territory, by way of Texas, settling in Pauls Valley, where he became connected with the Pauls Valley News. In 1901 he was sent by A. E. Baker, owner of the Pauls Valley News, to Ada, Oklahoma, to establish the Ada News. In 1905, Mr. Parham and T. N. Shaw bought the Pauls Valley Democrat, which they published for five years. In 1910, Mr. Parham purchaed the Purcell Register, 1918 he bought an interest in the Norman Transcript, which he held at the time of his death. His death was caused by an accident on the highway South of Norman.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters, Mrs. Carlos Ellzey and Miss Mary, both of Norman; two sons, R. H., Jr., and Melvin Lewis, also of Norman; two sisters, Mrs. W. E. McConnel of Vian, Oklahoma. Mrs. F. F. Wright, of Pauls Valley; four brothers survive him, A. H. of Norman, J. N. of Dodge City, Kansas, Nat. of Lawton, and B. L. of Maysville.

His untimely death is lamented by a large number of friends. He was a useful citizen, full of good works.


DOCTOR L. C. TENNENT, a pioneer of Indian Territory, died October 9th at the Albert Pike Hospital, in McAlester. Death followed a stroke of paralysis of several days duration.

The Doctor had nearly reached his eighty-second birthday.

The subject of this sketch was a native of South Carolina, but the Tennent family moved to Georgia while he was yet only a youth; and from that state he joined the Confederate army, serving throughout the Civil War. After the war he attended the medical school at Atlanta, from which he graduated, coming immediately to Indian Territory, locating in Eufaula, Creek Nation, where he did a lucrative practice.

He married Miss Emma Hicks McDuff, a native of the Choctaw tribe; immediately following their marriage they settled on the South Canadian River, on the Choctaw side where they put in quite a plantation. In 1882 the family moved to North McAlester, where they resided until the time of his death.

From his advent in to the Territory, the Doctor had been active in the medical fraternity, both in Oklahoma and Indian Territory, and was chairman of the first board of medical examiners of the Choctaw Nation. He was an ardent Southerner and assisted in the organization of the first Democratic club in McAlester, which was the old Jefferson Club. His wife died several months ago, and the children who survive are two sons, R. R. of McAlester and W. R. of Pittsburgh, Pa. Two daughters: Mrs. Clarence Brain, of Oklahoma City, and Mrs. A. F. Browder, of Point Isabel, Texas.

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Yesterday at noon death claimed one of the oldest citizens of Choctaw County, Judge Thos. E. Oakes. Death occurred at the family home at Atlas after an extended illness. Mr. Oakes was stricken with flu which developed into pneumonia. He recovered from the attack of pneumonia, but his age was against him and death finally relieved him of his suffering.

Funeral services were held at the Methodist church at Soper this afternoon at 2 o’clock, conducted by Rev. Hoskins, President of Oklahoma Presbyterian College at Durant, followed by interment in the Soper cemetery. At the grave the services were conducted by the Masonic fraternity, of which order he had been a member for nearly fifty years. He was a charter member of Soper lodge No. 345, having originally joined at Doaksville No. 2.

Thomas Everidge Oakes was born December 24th, 1846, at Goodwater, I. T., near what is now Frogville, Choctaw County, where he lived until 1888, when he moved to the Atlas community. He died January 16, 1929. He was twice married, his first wife dying shortly afterwards. He was married to Miss Margaret Ervin in 1870, who survives him, and to this union 12 children were born, five of whom survive, as follows: D. W. Oakes, Soper; Thos. J. Oakes, Wichita Falls, Texas; E. O. Oakes, Soper; Mrs. Howard Morris, Soper; and Mrs. Rosa Huff, Seminole. All of the children were at his bedside during his last illness.

Four brothers and two sisters also survive. They are L. W. Oakes, G. W. Oakes, J. E. Oakes, Mrs. J. B. Jeter and Mrs. Tom Hibben.

For many years before statehood he was county judge of what was then Kiamichi county which position he held until Judge Glenn was inaugurated county judge at statehood.

Prior to his becoming judge he was national auditor for the Choctaw nation which position he held for many years. At statehood he was chosen as county commissioner of Choctaw county which position he held for nearly five years.

Judge Oakes has been identified with most of the progressive moves of the Choctaw Nation, and stood out as a man among men. He had been a member of the Presbyterian church for 60 years and always lived up to the teachings of his church. Besides the immediate family he leaves many friends to mourn his loss.


Beaver, once the capital of No-Man’s Land, is mourning the loss of one of its most distinguished citizens, Thomas P. Braidwood, a resident of this vicinity for over forty-two years, and who has perhaps had more to do with the history of No-Man’s Land than any other person, died at Beaver, January 3rd, 1929, a victim of the flu epidemic.

With his wife, Mr. Braidwood moved to No-Man’s Land in 1877, coming from Leavenworth, Kansas, to make a home in the neutral strip that was given then without Government of any form. One of his first public spirited acts was to assist in having this county put under a lawful form of government. As a result of this effort, Cimarron Territory was organized, and Mr. Braidwood was elected Secretary of State. Besides this unique distinction, he was also Beaver’s first provisional mayor.

Upon the organization of the county in 1889 he was the first County Clerk and he has held several county offices since that time. He was a

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member of the Seventh Territorial Legislature and was instrumental in securing needed legislation for the Panhandle.

For twenty-five years, Mr. Braidwood has been United States Commissioner at Beaver and for a number of years he has held the position of City Treasurer. Along with his other duties, he has maintained an Abstract Office, at which business he was engaged at the time of his death.

It is interesting to note that Thomas P. Braidwood was active in the building of the Presbyterian Church, at Beaver, the oldest White Man’s church in Oklahoma Territory. Mr. Braidwood was a thirty-second degree Mason, and at the time of his death was Secretary of the local Masonic Lodge. He was a member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge for over fifty years and an officer of the Grand Lodge of that order when death claimed him. He was affilated with the Pythian Sisters and was an ardent member of the Eastern Star. Upon the organization of the Pioneer’s Club in Beaver County about a year ago, Mr. Braidwood was elected treasurer.

Mr. Braidwood was a typical Scot, being descended from an old line of Scotch Presbyterians. He enjoyed the best of health up until his recent illness and was very proud of the fact that he had never spent a day in bed from illness, nor been attended by a physician, since he was a boy.

He was but 73 years of age when he died.

He is survived by an only son Thomas C. Braidwood, who with his wife and small son Thomas P., named for his grandfather, reside near Beaver.

The untimly passing of "Uncle Tom Braidwood," is a loss indeed to the little community of which he has been an honored part for so long a time. His contribution to the development of No-Man’s Land, as well as to the State of Oklahoma, is no small consideration. He was steeped with the lore of early pioneer days and his wonderful memory and ready wit made him an interesting character with whom to converse. He has indeed been a man of the people and the history of No-Man’s hand will always be associated with Thomas P. Braidwood for the one is incomplete without the other.

Services for Mr. Braidwood were held at the historic old Presbyterian Church which he helped to build and interment made in the Beaver cemetery, January 4th, 1929.


Tuesday morning word was received here by Mrs. Belle Van Noy that Dr. W. W. Van Noy had died at Kiefer early Tuesday morning.

Dr. Van Noy lived in Tishomingo forty-five years.

November eighteenth, 1883, Dr. and Mrs. Van Noy moved to Tishomingo from Dodd City, Texas, bringing their household effects in a two-horse wagon. They located in the Old Capitol Hotel building, and lived there for some ten or twelve years where they engaged in the hotel business. Their home was always open to any and everyone whether they were pauper or prince. In the mean time Dr. Van Noy practiced medicine.

His mode of conveyance was by buggy and team, and many times during epidemics and when sickness was prevalent, the Doctor went night

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and day, sleeping while the driver was taking him to another sick patient. It has been said of him that if he had collected all the fees that he had earned in what is now Johnston County, he would have been wealthy.

Some five years ago Dr. and Mrs. Van Noy moved to Keifer, Oklahoma where he had established himself in the practice of medicine.

He is survived by his wife and five children; Mrs. Cornelius Hardy of Wewoka, two daughters, who reside in Louisiana; Oscar Van Noy of California, and Walter Van Noy of Muskogee.

This good man is held in the memory of a large number of Johnston County people in fatherly reverence, having been their family physician for many years.


CLARENCE HENRY COLBERT (generally known as Bud) was born Feb. 10th., 1863 at the old Colbert home on Red River, west of Colbert. His father Calvin Colbert was of the prominent Colbert family of the Chickasaw Nation, and came with his tribe from Mississippi in 1838. His mother Emma Nail of the pioneer family of Nails of the Choctaw tribe was well known as her parents came with her people from Mississippi in 1832.

When Clarence Colbert was a small boy his parents moved to Carriage Point northwest of Colbert. The place was a stage stand for many years before the M. K. and T. Railroad was built through Indian Territory. There were a few stores there at the time. A post Office had been established there in 1869.

At an early age Clarence Colbert was sent to school at Robinson Academy, near Tishomingo. It was the Male Academy for Chickasaw Boys. It was later named Harley Institute in honor of Professor Harley who was with the institution so many years.

On February 26th., 1888 he was married to Miss Rosabel Davis at Preston Bend, Texas. In 1889 they moved to the "Twelve Mile Prairie" twelve miles from Durant, near Nails crossing on Blue River.

When the Chickasaw lands were allotted he selected his land near the old home place. His entire family took their allotment adjoining their father’s. There he lived until his death January 14th., 1929. He is survived by his widow, and seven children: L. C. Colbert of Francis, Mrs. J. W. Kay of Baton Rouge, La., Mrs. H. H. Burris of Ada, C. Henry of Maud, and John C. of Ada.

Clarence Colbert had always been a successful stockman and farmer. His home was always a hospitable one, and seldom were they ever without company. A true friend and a substantial man of the Chickasaw Nation.


JOEL H. NAIL, pioneer of Bryan county was born at Doaksville Feb. 1st. 1850. Son of Jonathan and Kathrin Perry Nail. When he was one year old his mother and father moved to the old Nail home on Blue River, which was called the Nail Crossing, a few miles from Caddo. His mother had made the trip on horse back from Fort Towson, before the Civil War. His father Capt. Jonathan Nail, was a distinguished Confederate Officer of the Choctaws.

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During his life time Joel Nail was a great lover of horses. He brought many from Kentucky and in time raised a vast herd, perhaps of thousands, that roamed the blackland prairies west of Caddo and the Twelve Mile Prairies.

He had also a large ranch of cattle which included thousands of acres of grazing land and amassed quite a fortune. But with the allotment of lands of the Choctaws his holdings were broken up and his herds diminished, and scattered. In the later days of his life he resided at the old homestead and became more interested in his farming interests. He was a Mason and a member of the Presbyterian church.

When a small boy he attended the Choctaw neighborhood schools. Later was sent to Paris, Texas. In his latter teens he was sent to Lebanon, Tenn. In 1869 he returned home with his bride a charming southern girl, Miss Nettle Merrit, of Tennessee, a talented musician in voice and piano. To them were born five children, two of whom are living, Mrs. Viv is Locke of Oklahoma City, and D. O. Nail of Caddo. Mrs. Nail died twenty-eight years ago.

Joel Nail died Jan. 20th., 1929 leaving a wife he had been married to eleven years, who was Miss Jessie Gordon. They had one child a boy of ten. named J. H. Nail, Jr.

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