Field Worker: Warren D. Morse
Date: March 2, 1937
Name: Mr. Henry Tussey
Residence: Tussey, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1856
Place of Birth: Kentucky
I came into this country in 1874 when few white men were here. There
were no settlements then. We were all cowboys driving cattle over the Chisholm
About the first that I saw go over the trail was a bunch of mules and
horses. An old cattle man in Decatur sent these through here to Caldwell, Kansas.
We white men tried to settle here but everything was owned by Indians and
the federal militia would not let us think of settling. They called us
"Nesters". The militia cut the wires and drive our cattle back across Red
River. We came back and finally some of us married Indians so we could stay here.
There is talk of the Chisholm Trail as a freight trail. All I ever
saw or knew to go over this trail was cattle and horses. It must have been made in
the 60's because they were using the trail when I came here.
Mr. John Daily built the first house in this country. It was made of
raw hide cotton wood logs, about one mile east and one-half mile north Velma. Jim
Doak came in here and built a house and store combined on Wildhorse Creek and that started
We had to watch our stock very close because there were many thieves then.
The Arbuckle stage ran pretty close to Velma. They had a stop there
called Ft. Worth, Indian Territory. That trail and the Chisholm trail crossed about
100 yards north of the base line near Cow Creek.
Jim Fitspatrick started a ranch just east of what is now Duncan. The
Suggs ran cattle through here and it was a big outfit.
Indians had an encampment four miles south and two west of where I live
now. It was only their hunting camp. They came a certain time of the year and
stayed about three months.
We never had much trouble with the Indians. Oh, they might steal a
horse or beef now and then but no battles.
Story of settling of Stephens County (General History)
Told by Henry Tussey
Early settlers in and around Velma received their mail from Old Healdton
at Fort Worth, Indian Territory and it was run by Mr. Weldon from Fort Worth, Texas.
The mail was carried by stage which stopped tow miles east of the present site of
Mr. Henry Tussey came into the country in 1874, settling near Tussey,
Oklahoma, a village named after him. He had to marry an Indian in order that he
might file a claim. The Indians held an encampment four miles south and two miles
west of Mr. Tussey's place,
The Government built a house in 1894 on Jim Fitspatrick Creek near
Duncan store. Later was torn down. This creek was named after
Fitspatrick, who had a ranch on this creek. One old ranch building is still standing
just north of the Duncan Lake.
The Indians would steal cattle and horses from this ranch and run them
to Anadarko. One Indian, Caddo Jo, stole John Bob Frenselev's favorite horse in the
group. He trailed them to Fort Sill and asked permission to go after the horses but
was refused. He decided to go after them anyway so he started to Anadarko and
overtook Caddo Jo, riding his own pony. He pulled the Indian off the horse and
brought the group of horses back.
The Indian militia gave warning that all stock had to be Indian owned
and a white man could not work for an Indian.
A number of so called "Nesters" fenced some land for grazing,
but the Indian militia came and cut the fence and ran the people back across Red River.
H.B. Tussy, Tussy, Oklahoma. Born July 8, 1856 in Kentucky.
Parents - Jacob and Mary Allen Tussy. White but married an Indian woman
Mr. Tussy's Story:
Came to Indian Territory in 1869 from Kansas, having come there from
Tennessee. We lived in Kansas when the war started then came to the Cherokee
Nation in 1870.
The town of Tussy is named in his honor.
In 1889 married Lila Colbert, daughter of James Colbert.
During a long residence in this part of the country Mr. Tussy and Family
share in warm regard of many friends.