My father and mother left
Texas when I was three weeks old. They came from Texas to the Indian Territory
and settled in Burneyville. Mother told me after I was six or seven years
old that they forded Red River in a wagon, working two horses. Father had
to tie the wagon bed down. The wagon got stuck about the middle of the river and the water
was running into the wagon bed. So Father undid the traces and the horses swam out. My
mother swam to the bank with me. She caught hold of my dress with her teeth and swam on
her back about fifty yards to the bank. Father finally got the wagon out but lost most of
our things. My grandfather, George Nail, came to Burneyville
in 1858 and settled on Governor Parker's place, and that was where Father
and Mother were going. I don't know much about their hardships then, except a few things
that I remember Mother told me before she died, when I was ten years old.
I have stayed at Governor Parker's home many times. I believe that he
was the Governor of the Chickasaw Nation. I know he said he was a
Chickasaw Indian. My grandfather, George Nail, was a half-Chocaw Indian.
I remember that when I was about seven years old, my aunt, Sallie Nail,
married a man named Emmett Owens, and they had lived together about a
year when one day two men rode up to our house. They asked my father where Emmett
Owens lived. He told them and they rode off. Father said to Mother when they had
gone, "Those men are up to something". He hitched the horses to the wagon and we
started over to Uncle Emmett's house, but we were too late. Those men had taken Uncle
Emmett about fifty yards away from his house and hanged him to the limb of a tree. I can
remember seeing him swinging on the end of the rope. My father and mother and we children
were sitting in the wagon. The men rode up to the wagon and told my father why they hung Uncle
They said that Emmett Owens had married their sister in Texas
and after living with her about two years, had run off and left her with a young baby. She
was in bed, sick, and had this young baby to take care of. They said that when they came
to the house, the baby was dead and she died a few days later. They promised her that they
would find Emmett Owens and square the debt. They finally found out where
he was and had come here to settle the debt with him. The one who did the talking asked my
father if he had anything to say about it. My father shook his head. The man had a gun in
his hand. He turned and fired three shots into Uncle Emmett's body. After the men were
gone, my father, mother and aunt buried him. Father made a coffin out of some lumber
around the barn.
I have seen deer in large herds and wild turkeys by the hundreds. In the small creeks
around Burneyville, there were plenty of fish.
In 1890, I was married to Ben Waller at Tishomingo.
He got the marriage license at Ardmore. My husband and I farmed around Burneyville
and in later years moved to Healdton, where he died.
I now live in Pauls Valley and draw the old-age pension check.