Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation
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Interviewed by Hazel B. Greene, at Hugo, Oklahoma, October 14, 1937

My grandfather, Christopher Spring, was a full blood German and came from Germany. He married my grandmother, Susan Bohannon, in Mississippi and came to the Indian Territory, Choctaw Nation, when some of the children were great big children. Grandmother Susan was a half-breed Choctaw Indian. They were the parents of ten children, eight boys and two girls. All lived to raise families of their own. Our home that grandpa built for my mother was a double log house, located in what is now just about the center of Spring Chapel Cemetery, right close to where Joel Spring’s grave is. I was born there June 3, 1865. Uncle Levi lived over o n the hill across the railroad from our place. o nly there was not any railroad then and upon that hill was a little o ne room, log school house. It was about half way between the place that was settled later by Uncle Tom Spring and by Uncle Levi. I went to school there o ne month when I four years old. Uncle Tom went also. He was a good big boy but he went to school. Our teacher was a Mr. Pole. Then I went another month to school when I was seven. Uncle Billy Spring had a big lot of land under fence north of his home and that tract of land covered about all of what is now the third ward of Hugo. It was some pasture and some cotton patches, and over about where Mount Olivet Cemetery is he had built a little school house for the children of his tenants and I got to go just a month there in that little log hut. When I was twelve years old, I visited a sister at Caddo, and I got to go to school another month. That was the total of my schooling but I learned to read and write and figure. Grandfather, Christopher Spring, decided to return to Germany and saddled up his horse, put a lot of gold money in his saddle bags and proceeded to a waterfront somewhere. We always thought it was maybe New Orleans, because o n his return journey he died and was buried at Shreveport, Louisiana. In the days when my grandfather died news did not travel very fast and it was several months before the family learned of his death. Then, Uncle Billy and Uncle Levi went down there. They went o n horseback and it took them a long time to get there, so by that time several more graves had been made around where he had been buried and nobody could tell which grave was Grandfather’s. It was said that they had buried his money with him, but the people at Shreveport did not know which grave to dig into or to mark. The proper authorities gave them permission to dig in and get the armory, but they did not have permission to dig into others and did not know which o ne to dig into so they just returned home with proof of his death and burial. Grandmother lived a good many years longer and died and was buried in Spring Chapel Cemetery. Uncle Levi’s first wife was buried there in 1874. She was Bailey Spring’s mother. Bailey was a prominent man and educator of Choctaw Nation. he was superintendent of Goodland Orphanage for several years prior to his death. Uncle Levi’s first wife was named Betsy. The next was Sophia Boatman. The first old tombstones were of sandstone and carved and hewn out by o n Chouteau, a Frenchman, who did lots of stone building and such work all over this part of the Choctaw Nation. Mr. Choteau hewed and carved out lots of chimneys and foundations for houses. About 1874, I was married to Edward Combs, a white man. In the Fall of 1880, when we had o ne child, we moved to the little o ne-room, log cabin that is now standing at the foot of what is now known as Terry Hill in Laurel Heights, Hugo. The cabin has just about fallen into decay. The chimney is down and it is being used for a store place for food. That cabin is at the base of the hill o n the southeast side of the hill, but the southwest side of it is more sloped and down that way was a spring where we got our water. The spring was so deep that we had to draw the water up n a bucket. There is a pool there now but it does not look like the location of the well. Perhaps it is though. I imagine that they have excavated that spring to make the pool because in tramping over the place the other day, we could not find the spring. It never went dry while we lived there, over a period of years. My husband was a hired hand of old Dr. George Scott, a practicing physician who was a white man and married to an Indian woman. He and his wife and two daughters are buried up o n top of that hill somewhere but in our search the other day, we could not locate the graves. We could not even locate the old home place. The patches that my husband tilled in corn and other food stuff is in the streets in the fourth ward of Hugo. He o nly tilled about six or eight acres. And there was a school house upon the hill. What is now a bare hill was timbered then. All the way down to my cabin was timber. I used to visit “Granny Roebuck” at Roebuck Lake, when I was a little girl, and there was not half as much water in the lake then as there is now and Granny Roebuck told me that when she was fifteen years old that there were holes of water here and yonder in what is now Roebuck Lake and they trickled along and converged with each other, but that there were plenty of places where o ne could wade across. The Roebucks lived over o n the “island” part and cultivated it. So they had to cross over to the main land all of the time.

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