An interview with
Worker, Johnson H. Hampton
August 5th, 1937
I was born near what is now Finley, Oklahoma, it was then Cedar County,
Choctaw Nation, on September 25,1892. My fatherís name was GILBERT
FELIHKATUBBE and my motherís name was SALIAN FELIHKATUBBE. They lived near
Finley. I donít think they came from Mississippi for I never heard them say
anything about it. I think they were raised in this country, they lived near
Finley until their death.
I did not know the name of my grandfather nor my grandmother. They both died
before I was born so I donít know anything about them. I donít know whether
they came from Mississippi or not; if they did I never heard of it. From
what I heard of them they were located near the place where my father lived,
and I donít know if my grandfather was in the Civil War or not.
My father was in the Civil War and served all during the war. He joined the
Southern Army like all other Choctaws. He said they had a battle with some
Indian soldiers somewhere. He didnít know who they were but he thought that
it must have been Cherokees for they had joined the Northern Army during the
Civil War. They fought a good fight he said. Donít know what command he was
nor under what officers. All the soldiers he was with were Choctaw Indians.
He said they had a hard time while in the army. They had to ride without
anything to eat nor any water to drink. They would find water in a puddle
hole and drink that on the road. Some of the Indians froze to death in the
winter, and some would get sick and die for want of attention. They were not
fixed to take care of the sick so if one got sick he just died. Smallpox got
among the soldiers and killed a good many of them; others came home and
spread the smallpox among the Choctaws at home and a good many of them died.
They did not know what to do with the disease when it spread among them so
the only thing to do was to die, and of course they were afraid of the
smallpox as they would not help with those that were sick as the family had
to do all the work. After one would die, they rolled him up in a sheet and
put him in the grave without a ceremony of any kind.
We had a little farm. It was about five or six acres. The Choctaws did not
have large farms. They did not work much either so the five or six acres was
about all they needed; just enough to raise their corn for their cornbread.
They raised corn, beans and potatoes to eat, but not much of anything else.
They did not much flour to eat for they did not have the money with which to
buy their flour, coffee and sugar. On Sundays they would have flour, bread
and coffee and sugar. They parched corn for coffee during the weekdays to
save the coffee and the flour too. They beat their corn to make the meal for
use in the weekdays, they would beat this corn in a mortar to make the meal.
They made hominy the same way, all the Indians made meal the same way.
We had a few cattle, hogs but we only had work ponies which we farmed with
and used to pull the wagon when we went to meetings.
There were some Choctaws that had lots of wild ponies and cattle in our
community. The country was open so it did not cost them anything to raise
the stock and they did not have to feed them during the winter for the grass
was green all through the winter, and lots of cane on the creeks for them to
eat. They would go down into the bottoms during the winter and in the spring
they would come out on the hills for the summer. They were wild. We had some
wild cattle on the mountains. We did not know who they belonged to so we
would go out and kill one and then distribute it the meat among the Indians.
There were lots of wild ponies in the mountains. After the Whites began to
settle they country they disappeared; I think they were all killed out.
I donít know of any Ghost Town nor cow trails nor ceremonial ground in this
country. They might have had these things in the western part of the state
but in this part, we had one trail through this country and that was the
Military Trail which ran from Ft. Smith to Ft. Towsen, on to Doakesville.
The Choctaw Indians I donít think knew of the Indian Agency at all until the
Dawes Commissioners came down and made an agreement with the Choctaws to
take their land in severalty, which they did. After the land was taken up in
severalty then the commissioners were located at Muskogee, and they might
have had an agency but I did not know of it.
Some time in 1893 the Choctaws got a payment. I have been told but I donít
know of it myself for I did not get it but I guess some of the folks got it
for me and spent it. It was several years after that they began to get
payments and they got several; then the last payment they got was the ten
dollar one. They have not gotten any more payments since then.
I know of only one ferry boat that was in this part of the country. It was
run by V.M. Locke on the Kiamichi river. He ran it until the state built a
bridge across the river. He ran this boat for a long time. Whether he had a
charter or not I donít know. It was the only one to cross the river that I
I donít know anything about spinning wheels. I never saw one run. I did see
one hanging up against the wall at the neighbors house; what they did with
it I donít know. And I never played an Indian ball game. I saw a game played
by the neighbor boys but it was too rough for me to attempt to play.
I have been to the Indian camp meetings and I have been to the Cries as the
white people call them. They would announce the Cry several days ahead of
time; then they would camp at the place the night before. The next day about
eleven oíclock, the preacher would preach the memorial and then they would
get around the grave and all cry, and after the cry was over they would eat
dinner. After dinner they would all go home.
I went to school at Goodland for two terms. This school I attended was run
by the Presbyterian church, I am sorry that I did not get to go any longer,
for I am not able to read or write in English at all, nor can I speak
English at all.
I am a full blood Choctaw Indian and all my parents were fullblood. I have
lived among them all my life, and will live among them as long as I live, I
am now living about fifteen miles north of Antlers, Oklahoma.
submitted by Troy Splawn