BY MINTA ROSS FOREMAN
Educated College of Richmond, Va. and Princeton Theological Seminary.
Licensed to preach Sept. 23rd, 1835, by Union Presbytery, Tennessee.
Served "Old Nation" as associate editor of the Cherokee Phoenix. Translated into Cherokee the New Testament and part of the Old, also many tracts and hymns. Worked with the missionaries at Brainerd, and preached for forty-six years among his people. Had charge of a train of wagons at the removal of the Cherokees, 1838. Organized Cherokee National Public School system and was first superintendent of education west of the Mississippi River.
Elected to the Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation Oct. 11, 1844, Executive Councillor, 1847-1855, and held many places of trust and honor.
Established first Presbyterian Church at Tahlequah.
In memory of the great Cherokee who did so much for his people along lines of religion, education and good fellowship, this tablet is lovingly dedicated by his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The old Brainerd Mission Cemetery near Chattanooga, Tennessee, was the scene of the dedication of the above tablet to the Rev.
Stephen Foreman an the morning of September 21, 1938.1 The Chattanooga Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution had had the almost forgotten and neglected cemetery restored during the year and it sponsored the simple but beautiful exercises honoring the memory not only of Stephen Foreman but of other native ministers, who more than a hundred years ago carried Christ's message of "peace on earth goodwill to men" to the Cherokee and neighboring Indian tribes.
Stephen Foreman was the son of John Anthony Foreman, a Revolutionary soldier of Scotch nationality, who came among the Cherokees as a trader at the close of the war. He married Wattie or Elizabeth a Cherokee (Ka-ta-yah).2 This was the second marriage for each of them and of it were born six children and Stephen was the fourth. Little is known of his early boyhood. He first went to school in 1815 and in later life he said of this experience, "Just how long the school was kept, or how much I learned, I do not now recollect. Webster's Spelling Book and Reader were my first books and Burgess Witt was my teacher."3
His father died in 1817 when Stephen was ten years old. It is probable that he afterward lived with his older brothers about five miles from the present town of Cleveland, Tenn. When Candy's Creek Mission was established in 1824 and a school was started, he attended as a day pupil. A letter written by him at Park Hill, C. N., on August 21, 1881, to Mrs. E. H. Coltrin, daughter of William Holland, tells of this period in his life.
My very dear Friend,
Your letter has just been received, and the reading of it brings up many pleasant and sad recollections, that I am really so full I know not what to say.
Candy's Creek, that old loved spot where many of my earliest days were spent.
It was the spring of 1826 that I left my home and became a member of your father's family. It consisted of your mother, father and brother, William H. Holland, then about eighteen months or two years old.
I had attended school before this coming from home, a distance of three miles.
1Three generations of his descendents attended the ceremonies: Minta Ross Foreman, Millerton, Okla., daughter and only living child; Mrs. Susan McClellan Wear, Springfield, Mo. and Mrs. Jen Foreman Faulkner, Claremore, Okla., granddaughters; James Edward Rider, Oklahoma City, grandson; Mrs. R. P. Shelton, Atlanta, Ga., and Miss Susan Comer, Dallas, Texas, great granddaughters. The worn leather covered Bible, presented by fellow students when he left Princeton, and which he used and carried over "The Trail of Tears", had been brought over for the occasion and from it was read the 121st Psalm, his favorite. Mrs. Wear unveiled the bronze tablet and read the inscription and his daughter gave a brief sketch of his life.
3Rev. A. N. Chamberlain. History of the Presbyterian Church in the Cherokee Nation. In Library of the State Historical Society.
I attended also a Sabbath School conducted by your father and mother. Although your father was not a gifted speaker, yet his words found a place in many hearts. My attention was awakened on the subject of religion before I attended your father's school, yet I was in the dark and knew not whither to go...until he said to me, "This is the way, walk ye in it"....After attending school two years at Candy's Creek and completing all the studies taught there, it was thought best that I go to Mr. Worcester who was then at New Echota, Cherokee Nation, and pursue studies preparatory to preaching. This I did during the winter of twenty-eight, but progress was slow on account of the temptations to engage in worldly business. (Letter is incomplete).
Next he studied under Dr. Rice in the Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. After the death of Dr. Rice in 1830, his friends advised him to go to Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. He entered there in 1831, remained two years, completed the course in theology and returned to Tennessee in 1833. The same year he was licensed to preach by the Union Presbytery of Tennessee.4 From 1834 to 1838 he was connected with the Candy's Creek mission. From his home nearby he carried on his work, preaching at the Mission and at other places in the vicinity. He was also assigned to the more distant missions, Haweis, Carmel, and New Echota in Georgia; Creek Path, Willstown, Raccoontown in Alabama, some of them being more than a hundred miles from his home. He preached at Brainerd and assisted at the Communion season there and at Carmel. He visited the Valley Towns near the North Canadian border where he was welcomed by the Rev. Evan Jones, a prominent Baptist missionary among the Cherokees.5
The Missionary Herald of this period contains reports of his work made by the missionaries in charge of the different stations where he preached. They tell that he devoted himself principally to the ministry but established Cherokee schools, taught in them, trained native teachers for them, and spent some time in translating tracts and hymns into the Cherokee language. He continued this work up to the time of the Cherokee removal in 1838. His true worth was recognized and acknowledged by the missionaries and those whom he served. Early in his ministerial career Mr. Wm. Holland said of him, "He preaches with fluency and animation in the Cherokee language and promises to be highly successful as an evangelist among his people. "Mr. Butrick, missionary at Carmel, in September, 1838, wrote, "At a meeting of the Union Presbytery in eastern Tennessee held on the twenty-third of September, Mr. Stephen Foreman and Mr. Wm. E. Holley were ordained to the work of the ministry, Mr. Foreman is a well-educated Cherokee of mixed descent, and has labored for a year or two as a licensed preacher under the direction of the Board, and has been an acceptable and useful preacher to his countrymen in their own language." At another time in
a letter dated at Carmel, Mr. Butrick told of the desire for Christian instruction manifested by the people, "that Cherokees from 20 to 50 miles distant crowded in the house; three new members were received. Stephen Foreman, a Cherokee preacher, preached. The eclipse of the sun which was nearly total at the time of administering the Lord's Supper, added to the solemnity of the scene."6
On March 4, 1834, he was married to Miss Sarah Watkins Riley at the Creek Path Mission in Alabama. She was the daughter of John Riley of Double Springs (now Guntersville) Alabama.7 They called their home Pleasant Hill and it was situated near Candy's Creek Mission. Their first child, a son, was born there in 1835. He was named Austin Worcester for Samuel Austin Worcester, the well-known missionary; was educated in Massachusetts; and when a young man met his death accidentally while hunting one January night in 1855, near his home at Park Hill, Cherokee Nation. Their second child, a daughter, was born in March, 1837, at Pleasant Hill, also. A letter to Miss Ermina Nash, which tells of the birth, is quoted in part:
"My dear Miss Nash...you will now, I suppose, be glad to hear something more about us, if not for my sake, for the sake of one whom you love more than me. And I think it will afford you pleasure to learn that she (Sarah) had a fine daughter a week ago last Sabbath (the 15th instant)....We call our little daughter, Ermina Nash, after yourself, if you have no objection to a Cherokee namesake."8
The political affairs of the Cherokee Nation reached a crisis during this period. No important changes had occurred in the Nation since the ratification of the Removal Treaty of 1835. President Jackson maintained that it was valid and had it officially proclaimed May 23, 1836. By its terms the Cherokees were given two years in which to remove to the West. The end of the stipulated time was drawing near and the people were much upset and becoming very restless. They had rejected the terms of the treaty, saying, "If it to be enforced upon us, it will be your superior strength." Those living in Georgia were being driven from the state and their property confiscated. The missions were being closed and some of them were reopening in Tennessee, and large numbers of the people were taking refuge in that state and in North Carolina.
The Cherokees, reluctant to leave their homes, were taken to concentration camps established for the purpose. Rev. Evan Jones wrote from Camp Hetzel near Cleveland, Tennessee, June 16, 1838:
"The Cherokees are nearly all prisoners...Our Bro. Bushyhead and his family, Rev. Stephen Foreman, native missionary of the American
7Necrological Report, Princeton Theo. Sem, April 25, 1882, pp. 27-28. Historical Foundation of the Presbyterian & Reformed Churches, Montreat, N. C.
8Miss Ermina Nash was a missionary teacher at Creek Path Mission and came west with the Cherokees. Several years later she became the wife of Rev. S. A. Worcester.
Board, the speaker of the National Council, and several men of character and respectability, with their families, are here prisoners...They are prisoners, without a crime to justify the fact...The principal Cherokees have sent a petition to Gen. Scott begging that they may not be sent off to the west till the sickly season is over." On June 19th the General agreed to do this on condition that they would all start by September 1. But a severe drought prevailed throughout the summer and autumn and removal was postponed another month. In the meantime the people were kept under military guard in the concentration camps.
Stephen Foreman and Jesse Bushyhead were among the number chosen to assist with the transportation of the last thirteen thousand Cherokees under Ross's leadership. Capt. Old Field and Fly Smith, late a member of the Cherokee Council, were with the detachment to which Mr. Foreman had been assigned. This company was made up largely of Cherokees of religious attachments, doubtless, members of his different churches. They left Rattlesnake Springs October 20, 1838, with 983 persons at the start. Enroute there were 57 deaths, nineteen births, a few desertions and accessions, and upon arrival in the west February 27, 1839, numbered 921 persons.
They were more than four months on the trail. Their progress was slow, due to sickness, rainy weather and resulting bad roads. The route for all the companies under the Ross leadership passed through Nashville, and it was November 11th that this particular group passed through the town. Chief Ross had arranged for the contractors at this place to furnish the emigrants needed clothing, and many of them were made more comfortable for winter travel. The Nashville Union (issue of Nov. 13) described Stephen Foreman's party as being well provided with teams, horses, ponies, and mules; some had private carriages; most of them were furnished with good cloaks, bearskin or blanket overcoats, thick boots, shoes and stockings.9 In Hopkinsville, Kentucky, the aged Fly Smith became very ill and was unable to resume the journey. The company was compelled to proceed without him, but Mr. Foreman and his wife remained to take care of him. He died a few days later. While they were still in the camp another detachment came along in charge of the aged chief, White Path, and Rev. Jesse Bushyhead. White Path was very ill and died the next morning. These two old Cherokees, broken in spirit and exausted by the hardships of the trail, were buried by the roadside the same day and markers were placed on their last resting place. Mr. James F. Buckner who lived in Hopkinsville at the time, wrote for one of the Louisville papers an account of what transpired. In it he said, "Funeral addresses were delivered in the church by both Bushyhead and Foreman to crowded audiences, in which sketches were given of the lives of these distinguished chiefs, with occasional allusions to the history and trials of the Cherokee, and while I have since heard many eloquent funeral sermons, yet none more impressive or eloquent than these spoken by these two Indian ministers over the graves of Fly Smith and White Path."10
"The company did not travel on the Sabbath. Religious services were held regularly by Mr. Foreman and he also preached in villages through which they passed. In many places large congregations of white people came to listen. When he preached in Nashville he was given a contribution of forty or fifty dollars in money for the benefit of his detachment. The weather was cold and freezing as they advanced and traveling was
10By courtesy of Geo. W. Smith, Dept. of History, Southern Illinois State Normal University, Carbondale, Ill. from his manuscript, "The Trail of Tears."
very uncomfortable especially for the women and children. They endured much suffering before the journey was over."11
Clear Creek Camp, four miles from the Mississippi river, in Illinois, was one of the camps best remembered for it was here that several detachments were encamped at the same time. Rev. Evan Jones wrote on December 30, 1838, to the Baptist Missionary Magazine, (Vol. 19,) as follows:
"We were stopped from crossing by ice running so that boats could not pass for several days. Here Brother Bushyhead's detachment came up with us and we had the pleasure of having our tents in the same encampment; and before our detachment was all over, Rev. Stephen Foreman came up and encamped along side of us. I am sorry, however, that both their detachments have not been able to cross."
The Foreman and Bushyhead detachments were delayed about a month, and many deaths were said to have occurred while the congestion in the camp lasted. (One report gives more than two thousand persons encamped there at one time.) It was while in this camp that Archibald, an older brother of Stephen died. Also while there the third child, a son, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Foreman, on December 3, 1838. He was named Jeremiah Evarts for a treasurer of the American Board who twice visited the old Brainerd Mission. Evarts, as he was called, grew to manhood at Park Hill and was educated at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.
Arriving at his destination February 27, 1839, Mr. Foreman settled at Park Hill Mission, which was well established at that time. Rev. Samuel Newton, a missionary to the Cherokees since 1821, had been placed in charge of a branch mission of old Dwight called "The Forks of the Illinois" in 1830. It proved to be an unhealthful location, several deaths having occurred there at short intervals, and it was removed to a more elevated spot about three miles to the west and renamed Park Hill. This was in 1835 and Rev. Newton remained in charge of the school till 1838, when he was made post master at Park Hill.12 The natural beauty of the locality with low wooded hills, clear streams and virgin forests, made the name, Park Hill, most appropriate for the new mission site, and soon others were attracted to it. Rev. Samuel A. Worcester came with his printing press in 1837, and when the last of the Cherokees arrived in the spring of 1839, several families had already settled in the community. Chief John Ross and his brother, Lewis, purchased houses and improvements made by earlier settlers; Stephen Foreman built his house near that of Rev. Worcester; and the George M. Murrell house, one of the finest in the Nation at the time, was built on the north bank of Park Hill Creek.
12Foreman. Advancing the Frontier. p. 314 & S. W. Ross "Park Hill Observes Centennial of Missionary Activity." Tulsa World, Dec. 8, 1935.
At a later period the National Female Seminary became a part of the community. Truly, it could be said that Park Hill was the cultural center of the Nation.
Rev. Samuel A. Worcester, under whom Stephen Foreman had studied as a young man in the old Nation, came to Indian Territory in 1835. He had had a printing establishment at New Echota, Georgia, and when the Cherokees were driven from that state, the Board advised him to go to the Western Cherokee country and find a site for the new press in order to print tracts and books for the Indians in that section. After stopping at Dwight and Union Missions for several months, he felt he should be more centrally located and decided to move to Park Hill. Here he started his press in 1837 and it continued until 1861. Mr. Worcester's assistants at first were two men who had been active in the publication of the Cherokee Phoenix in Georgia, Elias Boudinot and John F. Wheeler.13 Boudinot was one of the minority group that executed the Removal Treaty of 1835 and was so unpopular in the Nation that it was with difficulty Mr. Worcester retained his services as translator. Feeling against him became so bitter that he was assassinated June 23, 1839, supposedly by members of the opposite faction. He was a highly educated man and was almost indispensable to Rev. Worcester as his translator, but Stephen Foreman, living near by and having worked with Mr. Worcester in the old Nation, became his interpreter and translator. In July of the same year he said of Mr. Foreman that he gave promise of the same seriousness and effort as a translator that Elias Boudinot had possessed.14 He was engaged in this work up to the time of Mr. Worcester's death, April 20, 1859. Together they completed the translation of the New Testament and portions of the Old into the Cherokee language from the original Greek, and he helped with the other work that was turned out by the Indian Press.
Besides devoting much of his time to his ministerial duties and assisting Worcester, he filled many offices in the Nation and served as Clerk of the Court; as Judge of the Supreme Court; as Executive Councillor; as Interpreter for the Council; and at the time of his death was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Insane Asylum.15 He was always active in the educational field, serving at different times as Supt. of Schools; Director, Board Member, Examiner, et cetera. He did everything he could for the advancement of his people and for the preservation of their nationality. In 1839 he served as secretary of the Committee of the "National Convention of Cherokees" in session at the "Camp Grounds on the Illinois River", to straighten out affairs between the two factions after the Ridge
murders. He signed all reports and petitions appertaining to clearing up the situation, and on September 5, signed a letter of protest to Western Cherokees about not getting together after the Ridge murders at a meeting of the National Council at Tahlequah. He was one of the signers of the Constitution, which he assisted in drawing up, and afterward translated into the Cherokee language together with most of the Cherokee laws. At this important meeting the two factions agreed to forget their differences and were united as one nation under the name of Cherokee Nation.
In 1846 when gross misrepresentations and interference in the affairs of the government brought a recurrence of the old troubles, he and other influential members of the tribe were sent as delegates to Washington to join the delegation already there, for the purpose of protecting the integrity of the Cherokee Nation in its negotiations with the Federal Government. Again he was one of the signers of the treaty that reunited the Cherokees, settling all differences between the two factions, and between them and the Federal Government.16
Being a highly educated man and having a deep interest in the education of his people, he was eminently fitted for the work of creating a common school system for the Nation. Missionary Herald, (Vol. 38, 1848,) has this record: Rev. Stephen Foreman, a well-educated Preacher, connected with the American Board, has been appointed by the Cherokee Government, Superintendent of Schools, to hold office two years, and in connection with three directors for each school, to be appointed by him, and to hold office during good behavior, is to appoint the teachers, furnish the books and have control of the schools. It states further that the books had been selected from the best in use in New England and sent forward; that the teachers were to be intelligent, discreet and pious young men, well qualified to teach good district schools and were to receive $500 a year as compensation.
A report by P. M. Butler, Indian Agent, the year following the creation of the school system said that 11 common schools had been opened under the superintendency of the Rev. Stephen Foreman, a Native Cherokee, that in them were taught reading, writing, arithmetic, bookkeeping, English grammar, geography and history. And further along he expressed his appreciation of what had been accomplished during the year by saying, "It gives the undersigned pleasure to bear testimony of the excellent character of the present Superintendent of Schools, the Rev. Stephen Foreman, who is a native Cherokee and both teacher and preacher. He may truly be said to be a good and useful man."17
A fund for orphans attending the schools was set apart by the National Council and provided for their board, clothing and schooling. Several years later an Asylum was built at Salina on Grand River near the town of Pryor, for a home for the orphan children in the nation. By 1848 there were 500 children in attendance in all the public schools.
Interest in education had increased so rapidly and the demands for schools was so great that the mission, neighborhood, and tribal schools could not accommodate the children, and numbers of private schools were opened by individuals on their own responsibility. Chief Ross believed the time had come for schools offering more advanced courses of study, and recommended that legislation be enacted by the National Council to provide for two such institutions. In 1846 the Council passed such a bill providing for a Male and a Female Seminary. The site selected for the young men's school was about one mile from Tahlequah, the capital of the Nation, and the one for the young women was near Park Hill. Construction was begun in 1847, but due to unavoidable delays they were not completed until 1851. They were dedicated in May 1851, the Male Seminary on the 6th and the Female Seminary on the 7th. May 7th has a very definite place in the hearts of the Cherokees, and a Home Coming celebration is still held each year, in Tahlequah, commemorating the opening of the school for young Cherokee women.
Augustus W. Loomis, a missionary, visited Park Hill in the fifties after the seminaries were opened and wrote:
"We visited the Female Academy, a large, handsome, well-finished brick building. One almost wonders what such a noble edifice is doing away out here... Near the residence of the missionary (Rev. S. A. Worcester) lives the translator (Stephen Foreman) who assists him in translating into the Cherokee language, books, tracts, etc....He employs his preaching talent for the benefit of his countrymen. His house resembled some parsonage in a quiet eastern village. The yard, flower beds, the orchard and gardens were refreshing to the eye."18
When Stephen Foreman and his family arrived at Park Hill in the spring of 1839 there were three children, Austin Worcester, Ermina Nash, and Jeremiah Evarts. In the following years seven others were born to them: Susie Elizabeth, Jan. 26, 1842; John Anthony, June 10, 1844; Sarah Ann, Oct. 10, 1846 (died in infancy); Stephen Taylor, Sept. 24, 1848; Jennie Lind, Oct. 8, 1850; Archibald Alexander, Aug. 9, 1853; Austin Worcester, Aug. 11, 1855.19
Ermina Nash, the eldest daughter, was educated in the Cherokee schools and at Mt. Holyoke, South Hadley, Massachusetts where
19Mr. Foreman named this son Austin Worcester for the eldest who had died a few months before his birth because of his love and admiration for Samuel Austin Worcester and his desire to have a living son bear his name.
she finished in 1854. An old Autograph Album she kept during the years, 1852-54, reveals many interesting facts, among them that she had many real friends and was greatly loved and admired by them. In 1855, Worcester in a report said, "Miss Ermina Nash Foreman is teaching a school of twenty scholars." But soon she was stricken with the dread disease, consumption, during the course of which her mother took her to Texas, hoping the change of climate might benefit her. Mr. Foreman was called away from his work to see her about the time Mr. Worcester was so ill, but he returned in time to do some more translations as Rev. Worcester's failing strength would permit, and they were both gratified to know they would have manuscripts ready to print when more funds were available. But before they finished the work they had planned, Rev. Worcester died. In June of the same year, 1859, Ermina Nash Foreman passed away, at the age of twenty-two. Miss Alice Robertson's letter telling of her recollections of Park Hill, said, "I particularly remember the occasion of a double funeral, two (members) of my grandfather's church, a young Ross and a daughter of the Rev. Stephen Foreman (a Cherokee minister and grandfather's assistant) died at the same time and the family services were conducted at the same time, but they were buried at different places." Ermina was buried in the family graveyard near the house and in which two children already rested. In August, 1860, the mother was laid to rest beside them. This sacred spot was close by the garden he loved and tended so carefully—and flowers in season were always blooming there. Today a plowed field covers the spot where they lie.
During the period that closed in 1860, the churches, missions and schools had made great progress and much had been done toward christianizing and educating the Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes, and when the Civil War broke over the country, practically the entire system stopped functioning. The American Board had withdrawn a short time before and never returned to the Territory. The Southern Presbyterian Church then entered the field and, beginning in 1861, the mission work was carried on under the supervision of the Executive Committee of Foreign Missions until 1889, when it was by act of the General Assembly transferred to the Executive Committee of Home Missions which still has supervision of it. It was while he was in the South that Mr. Foreman united with the Southern Branch of the Old School Presbyterian Church and was appointed a member of the Cherokee Mission.20
At the beginning, the Cherokees as a nation were for neutrality, but outside pressure and internal dissension forced them into the war. However, the sympathies of the majority were with the South and this group made a treaty with the Confederacy and soon had
a regiment in the field. Many of the other group fled to the Union army for protection. Mr. Foreman was opposed to war and fighting and left Park Hill September 15, 1862, with his family and crossed the Arkansas into the Creek Nation. Two of his sons were in the Cherokee regiment and took part in the fighting around Fort Gibson, the Creek Agency, Webbers Falls and farther south. During 1863 in order to be near them he was in the vicinity of Elk Creek and North Fork Town (Eufaula today). After the Battle of Honey Springs, July 1, 1863, he kept in advance of the retreating army and went into the Choctaw Nation. He stayed several weeks at Boggy Depot where he met some of his old friends and neighbors, and many other Cherokees who had taken refuge among the Choctaws. In the retreat from North Fork Town he had to leave behind the greater part of the property he had carried with him from Park Hill, and while at Boggy Depot he lived in a little log cabin among others who were likewise homeless and without property and friends. Besides the two sons in the army he had with him five younger children, two girls and three boys, and in addition to caring for them, he preached and taught his people as usual, ministered to the sick and dying, and comforted them with words of encouragement and prayer. The next year, 1864, he was in Texas near Sulphur Springs, where he stayed for the duration of the war.
Excerpts from his journal written in January, 1864 tell of his sojourn in Texas.
"Last year we could go into our Nation, at least into parts of it, and feel that we were at home, or had some faint hope that we might get back during the spring or summer and save what little property we left behind. But now there seems but little hope that we shall ever get back home, and less hope that we shall ever recover any of our property. If we live long enough I have not despaired of seeing home again, but how soon, I cannot say...Besides our losses, I have been wounded with a gun ball, thus rendering me unable to labor at present, at least, in a way for our support."
He also wrote that it was the coldest winter in Texas in ten years, that snow lay on the ground for two weeks, and that many cattle and sheep were lost. He stayed in Texas two years waiting till he felt it was safe to return to the Nation, and in May, 1866, began his homeward trek. His route again took him through the Choctaw Nation and he told of stopping in the vicinity of Armstrong Academy, a Choctaw school, for several days being delayed by heavy rains, bad roads, and having some smith work done. While he was there he attended a meeting of the Cherokees called by Gen'l Watie, to give them information with regard to what a Washington delegation had done in effecting a new treaty and settling their differences with the Pins. He did not like the arrangement for he had always been opposed to a division of the Cherokee country.
He alone of the Presbyterian ministers returned to the Nation at the close of the war. His home, the Robert Meigs and Murrell homes, the Female Seminary and the Sehon Chapel were a few of the places in the community not utterly destroyed during the war. The old mission was in ruins; the brick church built by Worcester in 1854 was damaged beyond repair; his widely scattered neighbors, now impoverished, slowly returned to find their homes gone, and some did not return at all. It was to this desolated country he returned in the summer of 1866, but not with the family he had taken away four years before, for he left behind in Texas the graves of two of his children in a cemetery in the vicinity of Sulphur Springs.21
He was needed as never before and immediately began preaching to the people in his own community. Needing a meeting house, he used the large frame house that stood in the woods a few rods east of his home, and at his own expense, repaired and renovated it, put in hand-made benches, and built a belfry in which he placed the old mission bell, cast in 1847. Here in the "Church in the Woods" he preached many years. Not only here but in the outlying communities—at Caney, White Oak Springs, Pleasant Valley, and to more distant places as, Coody's Bluff on the Verdigris river and Webbers Fall to the south, he went to preach and to baptize the children.22 When the seminaries were reopened after the war, he held monthly afternoon services in them and in the church at Tahlequah.
In 1873, at the age of sixty-five, he married the second time. His wife was Ruth Riley Candy, daughter of Lewis Riley and the widow of Reece Candy. They were married by the pastor of the neighboring Moravian church, the Rev. T. M. Rights, February 23rd. Four children were born to them. One child, a daughter died in infancy. His son Charles Hodge died while attending the Male Seminary in 1889, at the age of fifteen. His second daughter, Flora Elizabeth, married Austin Rider and lived in Talala, Oklahoma, until the time of her death in July, 1916. She left one son, James Edward Rider, who is living in Oklahoma. His youngest daughter, the writer of this sketch, is his only living child. Ruth Riley Foreman died December 29, 1885, a few days before the old church, being used as a school house at the time, was burned to the ground. His old home was destroyed by fire July 19, 1910. His old book case with many valuable books and papers was stored in the attic and all were consumed. Among the things were diaries he had kept through the years from day to day, in which were recorded all
21His two children who died in Texas were Susie Elizabeth, the second daughter, Aug. 26, 1864, and Jeremiah Evarts, Dec. 1864. He died from illness resulting from exposure during the war.
happenings, and his record of the journey from the old Nation was thus lost. Other valuable papers were destroyed when a son's home burned many years after his death.
A few persons are still living who knew him and they remember him as a leader, peacemaker, and adviser to his people; as a kindly, benevolent man and as a true and loyal friend; as not having an enemy and not having anything against his good name.
He loved his home and worked about the place keeping it in repair, making it more comfortable, and beautifying yard and gardens with shrubs and flowers. He had a large orchard in which were apple, peach, and pear trees. Just inside the picket fence and around three sides of the garden berry vines of different sorts were planted. A picket fence separated the garden from a small peach orchard and in each was a grape arbor. In his last years he spent much time in his garden and he could be found sitting in the shade of the grape arbor, in contemplation, reading or greeting his friends and neighbors. He was loved and respected by all and was lovingly called "Uncle Stephen" by most of the community. He was a familiar figure to all as he rode about the countryside on his white horse, keeping his various appointments. He always carried his saddle bags on his right arm when he dismounted.
His duty, whatever its nature, was discharged with faithfulness and impartiality. With regard to the various government offices he filled, he said that he was known as a religious and not a political man, that he had never taken time to promulgate his sentiments on political matters, neither had he taken pains to conceal them; and that so, far as a course or act was concerned he would "hew up exactly to the line" as he had always done as a private citizen.
It is an interesting fact to note and one that emphasizes the stress he always placed on education, that his own children received the best he could give them. They grew up in the new Indian Territory in the west and travel facilities were limited, yet he sent four of them to eastern colleges; one took a medical course in Louisville, Ky., and four were sent to colleges in Cane Hill and Fayetteville, Arkansas. He often said to his children, "Get a good education. That is one thing that cannot be taken from you."
He was strict in his observance of the Sabbath. He said it was always a delightful day to him whether attending worship in the House of God or at home engaged in reading and meditation. That to him it was a day of rest—not to be spent in eating and sleeping, but in contemplation and in drawing the thoughts off from the world and in holding communion with his Maker.
There were other missions in the Nation, Northern Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and Moravian, but he felt that his own church
should send other missionaries to help in the large missionary field in which he worked alone, not only in the churches where he preached but in other parts of the Nation. As he advanced in years and was confronted with failing health, he was more and more distressed by not having some assistance in his work. In January, 1876, he wrote to the Committee and said,
"I feel sad...as I enter upon the New Year, and think how little has been done for this people compared with what remains to be done... But what can I do? I am now near seventy years old...but feel ready and willing to labor on for the good of my people in my humble way while life and health last. And if I could make my voice heard, I would raise in all earnestness the missionary cry, 'Come over and help us!' "23
The Executive Committee did not see that it could enlarge the mission work in the field at this time, and Reverend Foreman continued his work alone until 1878, when for lack of funds and owing to his advanced age, it decided to discontinue the mission among the Cherokees and to allow him an annual sum of $250 to go toward his support. In his seventy-first year he completed forty-six years of active service under the two Boards. And though not longer employed by either Board, he continued to preach in his chapel up to the time of his final illness. His sickness began October the 25th with paralysis in the hand and partial loss of speech, which gradually grew worse until the whole left side of his body became paralyzed. A second stroke followed on December 2nd, after which he continued to sink until the end came December 8, 1881, in his seventy-fourth year.24
Reverend Leonidas Dobson conducted the funeral services which were held in the church at Park Hill and he was buried in the Foreman Cemetery a short distance from his home. Thus closed the eventful life of one who passed from his labors on earth to his reward in Heaven. He left a wife and children to mourn their loss and a vast circle of friends who missed "The Old Man of the Mountains" now that he was gone.
Servant of God, well done;
24In his last illness, Rev. Foreman had made it known that if the Presbyterian Board at any time desired to reestablish the mission at Park Hill, a site for it should be given for the purpose from his own land holdings. In 1884 the Woman's Board decided to open a day school near the former mission of the American Board, and the Foreman chapel, taken over for the purpose, became the school house of the new mission. Miss Ada Bodine was the teacher and the school grew rapidly in interest and importance. Early in January, 1886, hardly two years from the date of opening, the building was totally destroyed by fire and the old mission bell was reduced to a shapeless mass of metal.
Because it was impossible to secure a title to the land on which it had stood, the new mission was located about a quarter of a mile north on Park Hill Creek.