Marie Edwards Boudreau
On November 5th 1901 little Mary Lee (Marie) Edwards an original enrollee was born in her home in Antlers, Oklahoma. Her father, Thomas Benjamin (T.B.) Edwards, already had Emma, 7 years old. T.B. came from Texarkana, Texas where his father, Henry Clay Edwards, a full blood Choctaw, owned a sawmill. Outlaws once held a gun on Henry Clay, as T.B. watched, while he made a coffin for their buddy who was shot in a robbery. Henry Clay later stepped on a rusty nail and subsequently died. When Marie was about 2 1/2 years old, her mother was expecting a baby and became ill with “uremic poisoning.” Her papa hitched up a wagon put his sick wife in the back and his young daughters in the seat and drove 3 days to the hospital at Byers where Minnie and the newborn later died. After being cared for by relatives for 4 years, Marie was placed in a boarding school, at first, at St. Elizabeth’s in Antlers, then at St. Agnes convent in Ardmore where she lived until she was 14 years old. She remembers “I was only 6 years old, but it wasn’t so bad since my sister was there to help me get dressed in the morning. We wore white blouses, dark blue skirts, bloomers and high lace up boots with garters”. When home on holidays Marie remembers her father singing to her in the Choctaw language. T.B. remarried and Nora proved to be a loving stepmother. “She shopped with me for the best flour sacks to make my underpants, (I was 14 years old before I got a store bought pair) and she taught me how to sew.” Around 1915 Marie and her parents moved to New Mexico for 2 1/2 years where she was treated for Tuberculosis. When she and the family returned to Purcell she attended school where she met her future husband, Albert Frances Boudreau. Albert tormented her by putting her braids in the inkwell. This led to an exchange of letters from Antlers to Purcell and marriage in 1919. French Canadian, Albert came to Oklahoma from Canada in a covered wagon. He later worked for baggage claim for the Santa Fe railroad. Marie enjoyed riding the train to see her sister Emma in Arkansas City. Emma was the 1st woman to own a car in Purcell, Oklahoma. Before Alberts death in 1955, they liked to square dance and play cards. Marie says “I remember washing on washboards, using bluing, hanging our clothes on the live, jumping rope, playing ball outside. In my lifetime I’ve seen the first electric lights, cars, airplanes, T.V.’s, space ships, and computers. I think the T.V. is the biggest invention there was. It’s wonderful.” Marie, mamaw to the family that loves her, has always been the matriarch of the family. Her daughter, Betty Sue, married Earl Pitzer of Oklahoma City. They had two children Al Pitzer and Carole Pitzer Ayers. Marie has had 2 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren. She’s sewn countless clothes, cooked many meals, listened to lots of children and prayed multitudes of prayers for the family she loves. Her mind is clear and her humor is sharp. She is truly a strong amazing woman.
Information Published in “Life and Times of the Choctaw Original Enrollees”
Compiled By Wesley and Charleen Samuels