Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Davis Benton Folsom, ¾ Choctaw
Annie Maude Jackson Folsom, 4/4 Choctaw

Davis B. Folsom and Annie M. Folsom were united in marriage in 1916 in Stigler, Oklahoma. They enjoyed 55 years of marriage.

Davis was the eldest son of Jerry and Amanda Williams Folsom, his fifth wife. Davis was born March 29, 1898 at Wister, Indian Territory, and died January 10, 1972, Talihina, Oklahoma. His younger brother, Eugene Jackson Folsom, preceded him in death also brother and sister who died in infancy. He had numerous older half-brothers and half-sisters.

The Folsom family moved to Panther Community near McCurtain, Indian Territory. Davis attended neighborhood day school traveling many miles on horseback over mountain trails. The school dismissed early so that the students may return home before dark for fear of attack by panthers. He was placed at Jones Academy upon his father’s death and later attended Oklahoma School of Mines and Metallurgy, now Eastern Oklahoma State College, Wilburton, Oklahoma.

Annie was the youngest daughter of Joe and Carolina Jackson. They lived at Whitefield, Indian Territory where she went to school, before leaving for Chilocco Indian School. She spoke of daily marching and the bitter cold in the winter did not excuse them. She suffered punishments for speaking her native tongue. She learned to speak, read and write the English language, but she spoke only Choctaw at home. This experience led her to keep her children away from white neighbors and they were not allowed to play with them. Annie came from a family of full-bloods who were active in the Methodist Church. She was a hard worker tilling the soil for three vegetable gardens and canning enough to last until the next gardening time. She also looked to the land to supplement the family’s food supply, including blackberries, wild onions, poke salad, plums, and possum grapes. She dug and crushed salts for seasoning and preserving. Raising chickens, hogs, and cattle was a family effort.

Davis came from a family of mixed marriages. The Folsoms were long prominent in Choctaw history. His great, great grandmother, Aaiahnichi Ohoyo, married Nathaniel Folsom, ancestral national not known, but believed to be Irish. Great grandfather, Peter Folsom, son of Edmund Folsom, was born in Mississippi and died in Skullyville County, Indian Territory. He was District Chief in Moshulatubbe County and founder of a number of Baptist Churches. Davis’ father, Jerry Folsom, served in the Lower House. Davis served as one of the campaign manager for William G. Stigler, U.S. Congressman for 2nd District, specifically assigned in winning Indian votes. He was also active in County and State politics.

During the depression years when jobs were scarce, Davis worked at numerous jobs including work at reservations in Wilburton and McCurtain, Oklahoma. As a carpenter, he worked for the Indian Department of Muskogee Agency, to repair Indian homes, particularly in Haskell County. Hearing of an opportunity for steady employment, he moved his family to Tuskahoma in 1940 and worked under the supervision of Chief William E. Durant, Principal Chief of Choctaw Nation, at the Choctaw Council House ground. In 1944, he moved his family to Talihina and was employed at Talihina Indian Hospital as a carpenter until his retirement in 1970.

They had two children. A son, Cooper Folsom married Lucille Allen, full-blood Miss Choctaw, both deceased. Cooper and Lucille had two sons: Harry Dale Folsom, deceased; and Cooper Eugene Folsom married Victoria Frazier, Choctaw. They have three children: Jacqueline, Candice, and Robert Folsom. A daughter, Juanita Folsom married Norman Jefferson, full-blood Choctaw, now deceased. They had two daughters: Linda Jefferson married Gene Bigpond. Linda, an LPN, has four daughters; Lily Bigpond Geesling and she has two children: Jacob and Cassandra Geesling; Amy, Jennifer and Norma. The younger daughter, Nancy Jefferson, is an RN, EMT-P.

Davis kept abreast of new inventions and bought the first model in radio marketed while living at Whitefield in early 1920’s. Friends and neighbors came by wagons, horseback or foot to listen to Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights. Children were placed on pallets on the front porch while the mothers and dads listened to music “from a box”. In early 1940’s, Davis ordered a television from a catalog as soon as it appeared on the market. He put up one of the tallest antenna in Kiamichi Valley. A local newspaperman came to view the wonderment of television.

Davis and Annie were one of the pioneers in home schooling. The daughter suffered bouts of illnesses and was not able to attend more than one or two days a week. The principal of Whitefield School brought home work during absences. Annie taught reading, writing, and spelling. Davis taught arithmetic, history, and added “shukanumpa” or storytelling for good measure. English was not taught as it was their second language.

Their method of discipline was not physical, yet very effective. They had family rules and practices. They stressed self discipline and in closing, they would tell the children they trusted them and was confident that they would not violate their trust.

They were active members of James-Folsom United Methodist Church, a Choctaw speaking congregation, located near Lenox, Oklahoma. Thy are buried at James-Folsom Cemetery.

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