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GARVIN COUNTY INDIAN PIONEER PAPERS

 

OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection

 

Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers





 

 

Shawnee Harper

 

Interview #6198 plus 2 unnumbered
Field Worker: Henry Day
Date: May 19, 1937, May 24, 1937, July 21, 1937
Name: Mr. Shawnee Harper
Residence:
Date of Birth: March 16, 1870
Place of Birth: Dustin, Oklahoma
Father: Ematha Yahola, born near Hanna, Oklahoma
Mother: Patsy

 

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May 19, 1837 Interview

Mr. Harper answered the questions as follows:

I was born March 16, 1870, eight miles south of Dustin, Oklahoma.   I am of Creek descent, Roll #8413.  This makes me 67 years old.

My father, Ematha Yahola, was born near Hanna, Oklahoma, on South Canadian River, date of birth unknown.  He died in 1914, west of Hanna, Oklahoma.  He was a Union Soldier.  They named him Little Creek during the Civil War.  He belonged to Company C but don't know what regiment.

My mother's name was Patsy.  Don't know her birth and do not remember the year she died.   She was of Creek descent.

Houses and church houses were built out of logs, daubed with red clay, mixed with crab grass and with a stick chimney.  The houses had dirt floors, no windows and roofs were made of clap-boards.

Most Creeks belonged to the Baptist Church.  They taught school in the church houses.  English was taught.

I attended school 4 years at Wetumka Mission, five miles east of Wetumka, Oklahoma.

All the Indians loved to hunt and fish.  There was lots of wild game, and the streams were full of fish.  Lots of nuts, berries and fruit grew wild.   We had blackberries, strawberries, plums and grapes.  There was plenty of wild honey.  Some Indians can locate bee gum easy while others can't.  I know one Indian who can locate bee gum when 3 or 400 hundred yards away.

Most of our cooking was done on the fireplace.  These fireplaces burned from 3 to 4 foot logs.

I know many of the old burial grounds but don't know the names.  No tombstones in those days.  Don't know of any bridges.

May 24, 1937 Interview

This story is about Indian marriages and their laws. 

Indian boy, if he is not thirty years old he was a boy, and a girl has to be twenty-five years old before she could talk to the boys, and the parents of the boy and girls parents they get together and talked about their boy and girl for them to get married, and if they agree on it the boy's parents bring him to where the girl lived.   They may never have seen one another before.  And whether he or she wants her or him, or not they get married without license.  Their parents be witness.   This is what they called common law wife and husbands.

This man starts to build a log house.  They won't help him, but they all go and sat around and watched him work.  When he finished the house, he take his gun and go hunting, sometimes he stay in a woods two or three days, till he killed a deer, that was the law.

This was not all.  Man takes the chopping axe and go to his wife's parents and cut wood for a week or ten days.

This is all about the law, the other man will tell.

Ed. Note: Shawnee Harper's construction of sentences has been reported and is being retained for its value to t his project.  Mr. Harper is a full-blood Creek Indian.  He lives at Dustin, Oklahoma.

July 21, 1937 Interview

I, Shawnee Harper, Creek Indian, was born March 16, 1870.   I am sixty-seven years old.  I used to go to school, when I was about ten years old at Weogufkee public school which was near the present town of Hanna, Oklahoma, in McIntosh County.  My teacher's name was Mrs. Mary Harrod.  She was one-half Indian and one-half white.   She taught in English.  She didn't allowed us to speak in Creek Language while we were in school.  In those days there were no white people.  All full blood Indians, so she had a hard time to make us talk English.  If she caught us talking in our language, we got fifteen licks on our bare legs.  I don't know how long she taught at this school, but when I quit I was at head of my class in spelling.

After I quit Weogufkee School I went to Wetumka Boarding   School, four miles east of the present Wetumka, Oklahoma.   This town of Wetumka was built in 1901, and that was when I went to this Wetumka School.  There was an inland store two miles west of the Wetumka School run by a man named T.H. Seales. This was an Indian Trading Post, from 1883 to 1901.  I was at this school for six years.

Colonel William Robinson, a Creek Indian, was our school superintendant.   He was a good old man who loved all the boys and girls.

Note:  Shawnee Harper is a full blood Creek and the Field Worker, also of Indian blood, has carefully given his Indian expression of ideas and facts.  We have made no change in the wording of the manuascript - Ed.

 

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