posted on September 5, 2012 and updated on September 5, 2012
Hello, I am researching the “Burkes” family tree. Below is the information I have been able to gather so far. If it is helpful in your quest I would love to hear from you. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org If you have info to share I would really appreciate it.
Burkes Family History
John Grief Burkes was born May 27, 1846 at Skullyville, Indian Territory. Skullyville, which means “Moneytown” in Choctaw, was the place where the Choctaws received their annuity payments. The town was established September 6, 1831 by Capt. Wm. McClellan at a point 15 miles up the Arkansas River from Ft. Smith. This is the place where the Choctaws began to arrive in numbers in 1832 from Mississippi. In January of that year 47 Choctaws were in the first group, 536 came in March and in December a group of 1000 men women and children arrived.
As the Indians prepared to leave their homes in Mississippi they gathered into groups led by a tribal leader or elder or in some cases, by guides hired by the government. Each group was supposed to have been issued supplies and a means of transportation, wagons and horses or mules. However, many times the transportation and supplies were not forthcoming and the groups of Indians had to make do with what supplies they could get together on their own. Often times the only transportation was their own two feet. Many became ill and some died along the way. Because of the hardships endured by many, this has been called the ‘Trail of Tears’. Those that survived the rigors of the trip arrived at Skullyville and were given some tools and supplies to help them establish a new life in the territory.
The probability is that John Grief Burkes’ mother, Elizabeth (Bettie ?) Morris, a half-blood Mississippi Choctaw, arrived in Skullyville, as a child, with her parents, Charles Morris and Betty Folsom Morris, sometime around 1832. Since John Grief Burkes was born at Skullyville in 1846 it is possible that his mother grew up in the area and met his father, Jim Burkes a white man, there. John Grief Burkes grew to manhood in the area around Skullyville.
These were tumultuous times in the Indian Territory and within the Choctaw Tribe. There was a division in the tribe. On one side were the full bloods, who were conservative and desired to follow the old ways and on the other side were the mixed bloods and inter-married members, who were more liberal in their thinking and tended, more or less, to follow the ways of the white man. The turmoil caused by these differences would have repercussions on every person of Indian blood in the territory right up until statehood.
With the advent of the Civil War, John Grief Burkes declared himself for the Confederacy. He was wounded in his thigh in battle by a mini ball which caused him to have a slight limp for the rest of his life. His slave who had followed him into battle rescued him and bandaged him up and secretly transported him via the Underground Railroad to safety in the Indian Territory.
Sometime in the early 1870’s John Grief Burkes married a girl by the name of Mollie, her last name is unknown. Together they had a son named William M. Burkes. Mollie died and John Grief Burkes married a girl named Vilaney Duke (m.1877, Texas). John Grief and Vilaney had a son they named John Grief Burkes, Jr. Vilaney also died leaving John Sr. with two young boys to raise.
Fortunately, he met Alice Echols Hall (b.December 27, 1861)(IW-1272), who also had two young boys, Marion Hall (b.January 14, 1879) and Edward Hall (b. 1880?). Alice’s husband, John Hall had been killed in a fight over a card game. Together, Alice and John Sr. had seven children, six girls and a boy. The family lived and farmed in various locations throughout the southern Choctaw and Chickasaw Nation. In 1893 John Grief Burkes and his family were living near the Fox Post Office, Pickens County, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory.
In the late 1880’s the conservative full bloods of the tribe had taken control of tribal affairs the many of the mixed blood and inter-married citizens were denied their share of the annual lease allotment and annuity monies. In preparation for statehood, the Dawes Commission was charged with the distribution of tribal land to the individual Choctaw citizens. Those citizens who had been denied recognition by the tribe were required to petition the Dawes Commission for reinstatement and John Grief Burkes was among them.
On August 26, 1896 John Grief Burkes petitioned the Dawes Commission for reinstatement and enrollment in the Choctaw tribe. His petition was successful. After the Dawes Commission recognized him, John Grief Burkes (14173) chose land in the area east of Marlow in the Chickasaw Nation for himself and his children. This was an area of good farmland and he chose well. He and Alice moved the family to their new home five miles east and two miles north of Marlow and started farming there about 1900. John Grief received 100 acres and Alice received 100 acres in Section 6, Township 2 North, Range 6 West. The children received the following, Ben 100.91 acres, Lelia 110 acres, Lillie 120 acres, Mary 110 acres, Maudie 110 acres, Myrtle 110 acres and Ella 100.27 acres. All of the allotments were in the same area.
The Dawes Commission had closed the Choctaw Roll after most of the citizens had been enrolled and a substantial portion of the land had been allotted. However, they reopened the Roll in 1906 and allowed the enrollment of ‘new born’ and inter-married citizens. By this time John Grief Burkes had eight grandchildren, they were enrolled and drew allotments.
John Grief Burkes died December 19, 1903 at his home near Marlow. He always said the mini ball he carried in his leg would be the death of him and in the end it may have been. He was buried in the cemetery at Bailey, Oklahoma. After his death Alice moved into Marlow where she lived until her death January 12, 1938, she is buried in the cemetery at Marlow, Oklahoma. John Grief Burkes had 26 grandchildren, a number of great-grand children and a number of great-great children.
The following is what is known of the children of John Grief Burkes.
William M. Burkes (b. 1874-75)(14210) married Maud Ella Davis(IW-1600) they had two daughters Ella Jewel Burkes(NB-83) Beulah Burkes(?) They settled in the area around Hartshorn, Oklahoma, possibly to be near his mother’s kinfolk. He served some time in prison for killing another man with an ax. William M. Burkes died in the late 1920’s under mysterious circumstances. It is possible that he is buried in the cemetery at Hartshorn.
John Grief Burkes, Jr. (b.October 16,1879)(14174) married (December 29,1901) Sarah Polixiny McDaniels (b. 5-10-1882)(IW-1572). They had three children, Charley McCleallan Burkes (b. September 20, 1902)(14182) Morine Burkes (b. December 10, 1905)(M-453) Boyd Burkes (b.July 9, 1908) John Grief Jr. farmed his allotment. He died December 28, 1914 and is buried in the cemetery at Bradley, Oklahoma.
Ella I. Burkes (b.December 31, 1883)(14175) became the wife of Boyd M. Lowe December 29, 1901. They built a house on Ella’s allotment about a mile east of where Alice and John Sr. lived. Boyd and Ella lived there and farmed the land for several years before selling out and moving to Marlow. They had four children, Alvin Homer Lowe (b.July 30, 1903)(NB-506), Leba L.Lowe (b.July 31, 1908), Elton M. Lowe (b.May 26, 1912), Clyde W. Lowe (b.November 19, 1914). Boyd died July 14, 1964 and Ella died February 8, 1968, they are buried in the cemetery at Marlow, Oklahoma.
Lillie Beulah Burkes (b.July 13, 1885)(14176) was the first of the girls to marry on October 6, 1901 when she wed Thomas Jefferson Trammell (b.February 20, 1879). They had 13 children.
John Edgar Trammell (b.June 29, 1903)(NB-633)
Stella Mae Trammell (b.August 6, 1904)(NB-634)
Ruby Lee Trammell (b.February 7, 1906)(M-226)
Clyde Lee Trammell (b.March 22, 1907)
Berta Lee Trammell (b. September 11, 1908)
Autie Thomas Trammell (b. November 5, 1910)
Elmer Charlie Trammell (b.March 17, 1912)
Edward Lee Trammell (b.January 24, 1914)
Betty Lou Trammell (b.ApriI 20, 1916)
Arbury Trammell (b.July 7, 1917)
Alice Joyce Trammell (b.October 10, 1919)
Hazel Augusta Trammell (b.January 8, 1921)
Finley Lucille Trammell (b.November 9, 1923)
Myrtle Jeanette Burkes (b.October 29, 1888)(14177) and Daniel Webster Goad (b. September 11, 1885) were married December 15, 1906. They had two daughters, Wynnie Beatrice Goad (b. September 24, 1908) and Eva Jeraldean Goad (b. December 24, 1913)
They built a house on Myrtle’s allotted land in Section 5, Township 2 North, Range 6 West and farmed there most of their lives. Myrtle died June 7, 1964 and Dan died September 12, 1970, they are buried in the cemetery at Marlow, Oklahoma.
Lelia Ann Burkes (b. April 27, 1891(14178) also known to her family as ‘Wasula’, left the area at age 18. She was an opera singer having sold her Indian allotment to attend the Boston Conservatory of Music. Later in her career she shared the stage with Bing Crosby.
Later, she was briefly married to a man, name unknown, and lived in Tulsa., Oklahoma. One morning she and her husband awoke to find a baby on their doorstep with a note stating the baby was the daughter of Lelia’s husband. Lelia left her husband but took the baby with her and raised it as her own daughter. Lelia moved to Detroit, Michigan. She performed on the stage as ‘The Indian Princes’. She met Thomas M. Albert there and they were married. They had no children of their own. The young girl that Lelia was raising died when she was 16 years old. She and Thomas made and lost their fortune in the 1920’s and 1930’s in Detroit. They retired to Reno, Nevada. She sold her allotment. Thomas preceded her in death, he died of cancer at the home of Lelia’s brother Ben in Sutter, California. She died in 1953 and is buried in the Marlow Cemetery.
Mary Ellis Burkes (b.July 23, 1893)(14179) was known to her family as ‘Billie’, also left the area. She married George Look, they had no children. She too sold her allotment. George preceded her in death. She died in a nursing home in in Monterey, California and was cremated. A marker for her was placed in the Burkes family plot in the Marlow Cemetery.
Ben Ager Burkes (b.August 7, 1895, d.March 23, 1969)(14180) remained in the area and married Jewell R. Horton, she had a daughter by a previous marriage named Claudine. Jewell and Ben had two children, Betty Jewell Burkes (b. ) and Johnny Albert Burkes (b.September 18, 1930)
Ben lived on his allotment after he returned from WW I. He later sold it and moved to Detroit to find work. After several years he moved to Yuba City, California and lived there until his death, March 23, 1969. He is buried in the Burkes family plot at Marlow, Oklahoma.
Maudie Vinita Burkes (b.June 19,1898)(14181) was the youngest of John and Alice’s children. She was briefly married to Roy Ross. She too sold her allotment and left the area. She was a physical therapist most of her life. She was known to her family as ‘Betty’. She died July 17, 1986 and shares a marker with her sister Mary Ellis Burkes Look.