Susan (Stanton) Lewis-Bustin
Submitted by: Patty (Hill) Gambill
Dr. James Morrison of Southeastern State University once said that farming was the most dangerous occupation in the Choctaw Nation during the Civil War. There were renegades roaming, bands made up of deserters from both armies, bandits and just plain mean men, all called “bushwhackers.” One summer day, it must have been midsummer because the corn was tall, a group of bushwhackers rode into the front yard of my great grandmother, Susan Ann Stanton, then a small child, near Old Bogy Depot. Susie Ann’s father came out the front door and down the steps to meet the men, and was shot. Susie’s mother ran out to her husband, and as she knelt beside him, one of the bushwhackers drove her big ivory comb into her skull with a rifle butt. Susie’s young brother ran to his mother’s side and was hot in the head, but was able to run away down the road. At that point the Negro Mammy grabbed Susan and Susan’s sibling and ran into the cornfield and hid among the tall cornrows. From there, they watched as the bushwhackers looted the house, dragged the mattresses from the second floor, piled them in the center hallway downstairs, and set fire to the house. After waiting to be sure the bushwhackers were gone, the Mammy took the children to her house and hid them under the bed. When it was safe to travel, the children were taken in a wagon to the home of a relative who was a doctor in Boggy Depot. In the 1855 Choctaw Annuities list of Atoka County were listed #3 A.L. Stanton and Thomas J. Stanton., and #5 were Dr. Thomas J. Bond and George Walker. Walkers mother was Rachel Durant who married first to Samuel Brashear, married second a Walker, and married third Zadock Brashear, brother of Samuel. Susan said her mother was a Brashear, so possible Rachel was her grandmother, but that has not been proved. After the war was over, Susan lived with her brother, Andrew Jackson Stanton, who was a Methodist missionary near Hackett, Arkansas and his wife Elizabeth George Mickle. Sometime between 1868 and before the 1875 annuities, A.J. Stanton died from tuberculosis contracted in the army during that last cold winter of the war. In the 1867-8 Choctaw list. A.J. Stanton had in his household, besides his won children, a male age under 10, and one make age 10-18 and one extra female, Susan Ann Stanton. In 1875, Elizabeth Stanton had only her own children, one male under 10 and four females, listed with her. They were Ophelia Pocahontas and William Starns Folsom;, Annie and S.G. Trout; Lillie V. and T.L. Carpenter; Rodolph J. and Francis “Fannie” Witcher. Elizabeth married second Ward Folsom and had Peter Ward Folsom and Mintia, who married Joseph D. Tannehill. Susan Stanton, after the death of her brother, went to live with her relatives, James J. and Rebecca (Burney) McAlester in McAlester, C.N. The McAlesters treated her as one of their own family members; and Susan told my grandmother many stories of her life there, including how she would sit on the stairs and watch the guest in their beautiful clothes at the Governor’s mansion, and of her first ride on a train to Denison, Texas. The stories she told her daughter, my grandmother, were told to me time and time again as my bedtime stories. At the McAlester’s home, Susan met William Andrew “Scott” Lewis, who worked at he McAlester store. Susan and Scott were married at the McAlester’s home by Rev. J.Y. Bryant. Lewis took wagon trains to Texas for supplies for the store, and fought bandits and renegade Indians who tried to rob him along the way. This was a dangerous occupation, so the newlyweds moved to a (now LeFlore County) farm. Five weeks before my grandmother Elizabeth Andrew “Lizzie Ann” Lewis was born on May 17, 1877, her father William Lewis died of pneumonia. Elizabeth Andrew Lewis was named for her father, and for Andrew and Elizabeth Stanton. William “Scott” Lewis’ first wife was Lucinda Nail, who died of TB circa 1873-4 near Atoka or Caddo, probably at her parents home. They had three children; (1) Josephine Lewis m/1 William Riechert, and m/2 Dr. Walker of Oklahoma City; (2) Howard Eugene Lewis, who married Alice Kincaid, and (3) William. These three children, I have heard, went to live with an “Aunt Tillie” who reared a number of orphan children. So that she could attend a nearby school, Lizzie Ann Lewis lived with her half-sister, Josephine Reichert, for a while. Susan Stanton was married second to George W. Bustin on February 23, 1881, in Sebastian County, Arkansas and lived near Rock Island, Indian Territory. Her daughter, Lizzie Ann Lewis, later attended Tuskahoma Female Academy and in 1895 her roommate was Lockie R. Hickman, daughter of Franklin P. and Serena H. (Folsom) Hickman and granddaughter of Rev. Willis Folsom, and Ladson Frazier and Rebecca Josephine (Ross) Hickman. Both Frank and Serena Hickman died young, so Frank’s younger brother, Lawrence Quinton Hickman went to Tuskahoma to bring his niece home for the summer in 1895. There he met my grandmother, Lizzie Ann Lewis, and they were married the next year after she finished school. Their children were Hugh Ross Hickman married to Etna Elmore, my mother, Josephine Hickman married to Allen Hill and second husband Cecil M. Terrell, Lawrence Quinton Hickman, who died young, and Edith Hickman married Landless Shannon.