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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Mrs. John H. Walner


Interview #8912
Field Worker: John F. Daugherty
Date: October 16, 1937
Name: Mrs. John H. Walner
Residence: Wynnewood, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: about 1865
Place of Birth: Near Armstrong Academy, Choctaw Nation
Father: Wiley Stewart, born in Tennessee
Mother: Nancy Folsom, born in Mississippi


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My father was Wiley Stewart, a Choctaw Indian, born in Ray County, East Tennessee, in 1824.  My mother was Nancy Folsom, born March 17, 1830 in Mayhew, Mississippi.   She moved with her parents to the Indian Territory when she was three years old.   She was a granddaughter of Nathaniel Folsom and Peter Pitchlyn of the Hayah-pak-tuk-kalo clan of the Choctaw Tribe, which made her royal blood.

Father located at Eagle Town, Indian Territory, in the Choctaw Nation in 1833.  In 1859 he ran a tan yard east of Boggy Creek.  In 1861 he settled on what is now the old Stewart place near Armstrong Academy, and it was here that I was born about 1865.

In 1863, Father entered the Choctaw Militia in Jack Folsom's company and remained with them until the end of the Civil war, when the militia surrendered at Fort Smith.

Mother taught school at the Philadelphia School near Armstrong during the early years of her married life.  She planned to build a two story home near the Armstrong Academy and had her lumber on the ground and foundation built when the Civil War began.   All of the lumber was used in the making of coffins and her home was never built.

I married John Walner in 1883 and came to his father's ranch near old Cherokee Town in the Chickasaw Nation to live.  This was originally owned by Mrs. Shirley.

The ranch house was a large seven room log house with a hall and a large porch.   The chimneys were of white stone and it was surrounded by a picket fence, painted white.

John was in the mercantile business at Cherokee Town.  He freighted his goods from Caddo.  I often went with him on these trips.  We went from Caddo to Tishomingo, thence to Mill Creek and Cherokee Town via the old stage line. 

There was a stage stand at Cherokee Town and the Governments were there.  It was very interesting to watch the changing of horses.  The stage came in at two-thirty each morning.  There were small kerosene lamps on each side of the front of the stage.

There was a toll bridge near Cherokee Town across the Washita River which washed away.   John secured a charter from the Chickasaw Government to operate a ferry boat.   He did this for a year or so and then we moved to Wynnewood in 1887, where he again entered the mercantile business.  This time his store was in a tent. 

The first passenger train from the South came through on the Sunday after we moved here.

John was United States Deputy Marshal, serving under Commissioner Dr. Leo Bennett of Muskogee and he also served as an Indian policeman for the Chickasaw Government in Pontotoc County.

We are the parents of four children.

I have lived here continuously since 1887.

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