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Indian Pioneer Papers

Pushmataha County

Indian Pioneer Papers

An interview with
Thompson Eyechahubbe
Post office: Snow, Oklahoma

Investigator Field Worker's name: Johnson H. Hampton
Date of Interview: August 9, 1937
Transcribed & Submitted by Teresa Young

I was born near what is now Snow, Oklahoma, Pushmataha County, on the 16th day of October, 1881. My fatherís name was William Eyechahubbee and my motherís name was Jancy Eyechahubbee and they lived near Snow during their life and they both died there. They were not from Mississippi but were raised near Snow, Oklahoma.

My grandfatherís name was Eyechahubbee. I have forgotten his first name, and my grandmotherís name was Tommila Eyechahubbee. I have been told that they came from Mississippi and located near what is now Snow. My grandfather was not in the Civil War. He was a Methodist Preacher. He lived near a church, where he lived during his life time. This church house has been torn down and there is no church house there he used to preach at the time he was preaching, and while he was living. There used to be a good many Indians around this church house, but they are now all gone. They have all died out and the church went with them.

My father did not hold any office, only in the county; he was a Deputy Sheriff of Cedar County for several years. That was about the only office he ever held that I know of. They used to say that he made a good officer. Of course, there was not much for an officer to do in those days for the Choctaw Indians did not violate the laws very much. They were peaceable and there was not much of any thing going on. They knew that they would get a whipping on their bare backs if they violated the law, so they did not do anything that they would have to be arrested for. There was not very much whipping done; very few got whippings at the court ground. Our court ground was at Alikchi, out near Smithville. They would hold court once every year. Some time in the summer they would hold court for thirty days.

We had a farm of about 25 acres. We raised corn, beans, potatoes and some oats for food, and we raised a little wheat for our bread, and we had a few cattle, hogs and some ponies. We did not have many, but enough to get along with, and we raised some vegetables in our garden. The Indians did not work very much. They did not have to work much to make what they wanted to eat, and the only thing they had to have was corn for their bread. We would gather the beans and peas from the field and put them away for winter use. The potatoes were dug before the first frost and put up in hills, in the field, until it get cold enough to put them away. They would hill him up and when they went through the sweat, then they would put them in the potato house built for that purpose. They would keep all the winter; they would open it up and get the seed out, and eat the bigger ones.

The cattle would run out on the range. The country was wild and people did not live very close together. The grass was good in the valleys and there was plenty of cane on the creeks, where the stock lived, and they did not have to be fed very much during the winter seasons. The creek we lived on was named Chowahla Boke (Cedar Creek). It is not a big creek, that is, not a river, but it is a pretty good sized creek, which runs between the mountains, which are called Kiamichi Mountains. These mountains are very high in places and they are so rough that it is almost impossible to ride to the top horseback. The grass on this mountain was good then, so the stock ran on these mountains during the summer; then, they would go to the bottoms during the winter season.

There used to be lots of wild game up in the mountains; deer, turkeys and plenty of fish in the creeks; some bears on the mountain and some panthers, too. We did not have to go camping to kill any thing at that time, for the country was full of wild game. The Indians would just go out in the morning with his gun on his shoulder and bring back a deer or a turkey in time for breakfast. I donít know of any Indian who went on a camp hunt, for there were lots of game right around his house, so he didnít have to camp-hunt. We used to have lots of fun fishing. We would go down to the creek with our bows and arrows, and kill all the fish we wanted in a little while. Some times we would have a big fish fry. They would get together with a bundles of devils or shoe-strings, which we used in the water. We would beat the roots in the water, and pretty soon, the fish would get drunk and come to the top of the water where we could use our bows and arrows. We would kill enough of them to have plenty of fish to eat, and have enough left to take home. It used to be lots of fun for us at that time.

I was enrolled and allotted land when the Dawes Commission was located at Atoka; that is where the land office was. We had to go there to file on our land. The Choctaws from every where had to go there to file on their land. It was very hard to get there for some of them, for they had to come a long way to get there and would have to wait their turn to get to the office, for they had to let one or two get in the office at a time to file on their land. I did not know of any agency at that time, but after the land office opened and we had filed on our land, then I learned that we had an agency located at Muskogee. I learned that this agency was called at that time Union Agency. The agency covered all the Five Civilized Tribes and it is there yet. My fatherís trading point at that time was at Fort Smith. He would go with a bunch of Indians. They would all go together. It would take them some times a month to get back. Most of them drove oxen to their wagons; some of them would have horse teams. It was long ways to Fort Smith when they had to drive a yoke of oxen. After the Frisco railroad went through, my father traded at a little place called Kosoma. It was a sawmill town on the Frisco. It was a lumber town where they shipped lumber. After that he traded at Antlers, another small town on the Frisco. It was a small town then and it is not a big town now.

My mother used to beat corn to make corn meal, just as other Indians were doing, until a gristmill was put up at Antlers, then we would go there to get our corn ground. That was the first gristmill I ever saw in my life.

Mother had a spinning wheel. She would run it and make threads out of cotton, then she would make us socks and mittens. I donít think that she ever made any clothes; if she did, I did not know anything about that, but she would make us socks and mittens during the winter, and she would sell some of them to neighbors in our community. I donít know what she did with her spinning wheel. She hung it up on the wall at home, but it was gone, so I donít know what went with it.

I never played the Indian ball game and never saw one, but I have heard of them playing the game. I attended the camp meetings and we used to camp and help feed the people that came to the meeting. My father was a very religious man and of course, he would not let me go to the ball games nor to any dances they had in the community. My grandfather was a preacher. The whole family were all Christian people. All of my kinfolks were Christian people.

I never did hear of any cow trails nor cow towns in this part of the country, nor ghost towns nor ceremonial grounds. I donít think that the Choctaws had anything like that in this country.

I never did attend school of any kind, so I am not able to speak English nor read nor write in English, and I am not very good in reading and writing in my own language. I am a full blood Choctaw Indian. All of my people were full-blood Choctaws, and have lived among the Choctaws until they all died out. I am now living about two miles from Snow and about twenty-five miles northeast of Antlers.

Transcribed & Submitted by Teresa Young
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