Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation
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Brittenburg, Mrs. Lou

“My parents were Byrd and Lorena Martin. The places and dates of their birth are unknown. I was born in Georgia March 20, 1849. My first husband and I came to Ardmore January 25, 1887, from Atlanta, Georgia. It was sleeting and snowing the night we came to Ardmore. When we got off the train we had no place to go. There was o­nly o­ne hotel. This was operated by an old man by the name of Buckles. The building was built of cottonwood lumber, and this cottonwood had warped and shrunk until there were large cracks in the wall. We had to stay somewhere until daylight, so we walked over to this hotel. There was o­nly a cook stove to warm by downstairs, and it gave very little warmth in such an open building. We were sent upstairs to sleep. There was no heat in the room they had. These had o­nly two sheets and a “spider web” quilt. I said, “I’ll not stay in such a place, we’ll all freeze to death before morning”. Two men sleeping in a bed back in the corner said, “Lady, you’re right. We are almost frozen”. We went back downstairs and out into the cold to the depot. The agent gave us some old quilts and plenty of coal to keep the fire going. We made a bed down o­n the floor of the depot, and I never slept better in my life. When daylight came my husband went in search of a place to eat breakfast. He found a tent-hotel called “Dad’s Place” and we ate there. While we were eating some officers came in and looked around for whiskey. They found two gallons and carried it away with them. After breakfast my husband went in search of a place to live. He happened to meet Alva Roff and asked him about a farm. Alva said, “You can move o­n to my ranch if you care to”. Arrangements were made, and we started for the ranch, eight miles from Ardmore. We were driving a ranch team and it was so cold that ice hung all over my husbands whiskers. We had to walk part of the distance to keep from freezing. When we arrived at the ranch, there were twenty-eight of us to live in three dug-outs. We stayed there for six weeks. We slept late every morning, and had a late breakfast. About four o’clock dinner was served, and about ten o’clock we ate a snack for supper and went to bed. Each dugout had a chimney.. We cooked with a skillet and lid o­n these fireplaces. We later moved to a log cabin o­n the ranch. There were some boys by the name of Lee, who were cattle thieves. They had killed a brother of Mr. Roff, and were stealing his cattle. He told Heck Thomas and Jim Taylor if they would kill these boys he would give each of them a thousand headed of cattle. The Lee boys had lived in a small log hut without any doors. They crawled n through a window, and had post holes through which they shot at anybody approaching their cabin. They finally moved out of this log hut and stayed in a ravine. o­ne morning Heck and Jim, who was a deputy under Heck, rode up to our house for breakfast. Heck and I had been sweethearts in Georgia twenty years prior to this . We hadn’t seen each other during this time, and neither of us knew the other was here. Heck had been gone from Georgia, and we didn’t know where he was until he rode up and asked for breakfast. He told us he was expecting to find the Lee boys soon. That day Heck and Jim were hiding near the ravine where the Lee boys were concealing themselves and they saw a man cautiously making his way toward the ravine, and as the Lee boys were eating their lung, Heck shot o­ne and Jim shot the other. The lunch carrier disappeared in the shrubbery and they didn’t find him. Mr. Roff drove up two thousand head of cattle and gave these cattle to these two officers. My husband died during our stay o­n the ranch, and I moved o­n to a farm owned by Sam Brown. I later married Mr. Brittenburg and we moved near Fort Arbuckle. We lived there for thirteen years. My husband furnished beef for the soldiers stationed at this fort, and ran a store, a mill and a blacksmith shop. We moved to Davis thirteen years ago, where Mr. Brittenburg later died. I have lied in Murray County for twenty-six years.”

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