Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation
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Jeneva Clara Hall
Submitted by: Her son’s wife, Mrs. Frank Satterfield

Jeneva Clara Hall was born October 5, 1894 at Whitefield, San Bois County, Indian Territory, married on June 2, 1912 to Joseph Columbus Satterfield, who was born December 9, 1891, at Chickalah Yell County, Arkansas. To this union were born seven sons, and one daughter who died in infancy. They spent their entire married life farming and raising livestock on their farm, which included several hundred acres. Jeneva was the daughter of William Solomon Hall and Margaret Louisa Surratt. They were married on January 20, 1889 at the Choctaw Nation, San Bois County. Margaret Louisa was the daughter of Henri Surratt, a Frenchman, who came up river from New Orleans, Louisiana, and Lucinda Emachaya of the Choctaw Nation. She was born on January 20, 1865 under a pecan tree across the Red River in Texas, as her mother was forced to leave her home because of the Civil War. The influence of the Emachaya (Machire) family in Choctaw affairs is attested to by the fact that a judge of the Supreme Court of the Choctaw Nation officiated at the wedding; also by the fact that after Oklahoma became a state, the municipal township in which the Emachaya (Machire) family had their home and the nearby creek were given the family’s name. The Emachaya’s came from Mississippi, the Trail of Tears, when the government moved the Indian Tribes to Indian Territory. Jeneva’s father, William S. Hall, was born in Dyersburg, Tennessee, April 11, 1855, on this father’s farm. During childhood and early teenage years, he regularly attended neighborhood schools and I believe, lastly, one or two terms at Yorkville Academy, receiving, all told, about the equivalent of an eighth grade education. However he was an ardent reader and a special admirer of Webster’s Blue Black Speller and McGuffy’s Readers. All in all, he was pretty well self-educated. When his father died, he was 21 years old, and in the will he received 60 acres of land a horse and also an equal share in personal property. Shortly after, he married his first wife, Mrs. Clara Jane Shelton. They lived on the family farm a few years. It was from proceeds realized from the sale of his inheritance that enabled him to leave Tennessee and establish a small business in western Arkansas. Leaving their Tennessee home in late autumn of 1880, William S. and his little family probably traveled by stage or wagon to the nearest steam boat landing on the Mississippi River, then came down stream to the Arkansas River, and up that stream to Fort Smith, Arkansas. Located on the border of Indian Territory, Ft. Smith, then as now, served as an important manufacturing and distribution center for a large part of Arkansas and the Indian Country to the west. Here, too, was the seat of the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. It was established during the administration of President Grant to include the 17 western counties of Arkansas and all of Indian Territory; including “No Man’s Land” – now Oklahoma. On the morning of their arrival, the U.S. District Court was in session and the main street was filled with townsmen and strangers. Frontier men in fringed buck skins, and coon skin caps, plains Indians in colorful blankets, hair hanging in braids down the front, a single feather thrust in the crown. Soldiers in uniform, several Indians from the Five Civilized Tribes, indistinguishable from the townspeople except for their black eyes and straight black hair and coppery skin. U.S. Deputy Marshal’s sporting brightly polished ledgers, Winchester rifles, and six-shooter. Practically all the men, except townspeople, wore six-shooters and bowie knives as part of the daily dress. What a fearful sight that must have been for William S. and Wife from the peaceful country of Western Tennessee. After a brief tour, they boarded a mail hack and rode 20 miles south of the village of Witcherville, where he established a general mercantile business. For the first three years, the business prospered and steadily expanded, but, alas, the merchants and farmers of that locality were dependent on a single cash crop-cotton. When prices were good and cotton produced, all was well. Then in 1884, the price of cotton fell and farmers could not pay the merchant and the merchant could not pay the retailers, so it was a chain reaction. Thus, William S. paid off his debts, but was left flat broke; His wife had died in 1882, leaving him with a small son to care for. After his misfortune, he left his son in the care of a responsible couple and struck out on foot to Fort Smith. His only possession, a carpetbag of personal belongings, $10 in cash, and the clothing and shoes he wore. On the way, he was lucky enough to find a ride with a friendly farmer and didn’t have to walk the full 20 miles to Fort Smith. Arriving at dusk, he located the cheapest lodging in town, and then started a tour of those business houses that hadn’t closed yet for the night. Four days he looked in vain for work. Late on the fifth day, he wandered into a Jewish wholesale house with which he had formerly done business. There he was told they had no work for him, but fortunately, a trader from the Indian Territory had just arrived and was looking for a man of his physique and reputation to aid his brother in operating a trading post in the Choctaw Nation. William S. immediately expressed interest and was introduced to a Mr. Herman Turk. In introducing William S. recommended him most highly for industry and integrity. Mr. Turk then explained that he and his brother, Sam and Simon Turk, owned and operated a trading post at Oklahoma, a small community located on the south bank of the Canadian River in San Bois County Choctaw Nation, about 50 miles west of Fort Smith. Mr. Turk said that William S. was the type man they were looking for. At the time, William S. was about 30 years of age, 6 feet tall, and weighed 200 pounds. He had experience in the retail business, and if he wanted the job, it was his. Since his immediate prospects were so poor, he accepted the job and Turk gave him a letter of introduction for his brother. Upon inquiring as to how the best way was to reach Oklahoma, he was told that a small steamship was due to leave at daybreak for Tomaha Landing (Tomaha means “town” in the Choctaw language.) It was first named Pleasant Bluff, from whence he could walk overland to Oklahoma. Fearing that if he stayed in the lodging house he might oversleep and miss the boat, he picked up his carpetbag and hastene to the steamboat landing. In route to the landing, he bought a bag of cheese and crackers. After paying for passage, he found that he could not afford a stateroom, so he went down to the boiler deck and found a spot among the bales of merchandise where he could nap in reasonable comfort. Promptly at daybreak, the little steamer pulled away. The river had risen slightly during the night, barely covering the more dangerous snags and sand bars. The current had increased considerably. The little boat, with full steam, could scarcely move, it was ten hours later and nearly sundown when they reached Tomaha Landing. Stepping quickly off the boat, William S. asked an idler standing nearby the way to Oklahoma and was directed to a dim, two-wheel track leading southwesterly. Lugging his carpetbag, he walked perhaps a couple of miles onto the prairie when he passed a large two-story house. The house was closed, no smoke emitted from the chimney, and it had every appearance of being deserted. When he had walked a hundred feet or so past the house, he was suddenly chilled by the low tones of a human voice. Turning around he saw the faint outline of a man standing on the front porch and beckoning him to return. On going back to the house, he found the man was a full-blooded Choctaw Indian. When William stopped in front of him, the Indian inquired as to his destination and when William told him, the Indian pointed to the low hanging clouds and said a big blue northern is coming. “You will breeze to death on the trail. “Introducing himself, he followed his host into the house. It was the home of Smedley Forrest. Lighting the oil lamp after they entered the living room, Mr. Forrest walked into the kitchen and soon called William S. to a supper served by the lady of the house, also a full-blooded Choctaw. The meal consisted of fried home-cured ham, Indian hominy (later known to white people as Tom Fuller – why, I don’t know), squash, beans, cornbread, and coffee. Although Mrs. Forrest was as well educated in the English language as her husband, supper was eaten in silence, as was the Indian custom. In recounting it, however, William S. said it was the most satisfying meal of his experience, as he had only eaten cheese and crackers since noon the day before. Soon after supper, a half-dozen full-blooded Choctaw’s galloped into the yard. Dismounting and tethering their half-wild ponies to the front porch, the new arrivals trouped inside, all gabbing Choctaw and completely ignoring William S. Each wore a wide bullet-studded belt with a holstered six-shooter on the right hip, and a large bowie knife suspended from the belt on the left front, high-heeled cowboy boots and spurs, and a black broad-brimmed hat adorned with a red eagle feather thrust upright in the hat band. Immediately once they were inside, his host spread a blanket on the floor in front of the fireplace, produced a jug of whiskey, and a pack of cards. After a few drinks around, a poker game was started with William S. the only spectator. As the game progressed and the jug passed around, the Indians grew noisier and noisier. With a sharp glance now and then to warn him, who was by now feeling quite uncomfortable, about an hour later he thought it advisable to pretend to be asleep. He closed his eyes to mere slits and produced a gentle snore. As his host saw him nodding, he pointed to a bed in the corner and he crawled in fully dressed. Late in the night, the game suddenly ended and the visitors walked out as unceremoniously as they had come. William S. awoke the next morning to the clatter of stove lids.Looking out, it was a cold, bleak world punctuated by a shrill north wind and occasional flakes of snow. After a hearty breakfast, his host presented William S. with a package of fried ham and biscuits for his noon meal, and William S. bade him good-bye. No pay was offered for the food and lodging, and none was expected. As he walked away, his host stood watching from the doorway as though he had half a mind to call him back, for by now it was snowing steadily. A few miles down the trail, however, he entered a corpse of woodland and the snow soon let up, but the sun remained hidden behind leaden, gray clouds. As he trudged along the dim traces, it seemed he was walking through an empty world for the only signs of civilization were the days-old wheel tracks and a few scattered bands of wild cattle. Every few hundred yards, he was startled by a whirring covey of quail, and occasional flocks of wild turkey were seen. Now and then, he caught glimpses of white-tailed deer as they bounded away. Shortly before sundown and just as he arrived a little creek, the sun broke through the clouds. Looking downstream he spied a foot log and walked across. When he climbed out of the creek valley, he could see smoke rising out of a few chimneys ahead. As the pink afterglow of sundown was fading in the southwest, he reached the front entrance of the Turk Brothers Trading post only to find it locked and closed for the night. After much yelling and pounding on the front door, he heard the heavy wooden bar being raised inside and the toe lock clicked. One of the heavy doors swung open just enough to permit a small bearded face to appear. William S. instantly thrust his letter of introduction forward and although the light by now was quite dim, the man, after one quick glance at the signature of the letter happily ushered him inside. Within a few days, William S. was to learn why his brawn was so welcome there. William S Hall was introduced to Oklahoma Indian Territory. He worked at the trading post a few months and being a friendly, well-disposed sort of person, head no trouble making friends with the leading Indian and white citizens of Oklahoma and the surrounding country side. It was while attending the store shortly after his arrival that Williams S. met Belle Starr, the notorious “Bandit Queen” of Indian Territory. Her home was located in Younger Bend across the Canadian River about five miles northwest of Oklahoma in the Cherokee Nation. She always traveled by horseback – usually astride a horse like a man – wore a six-shooter and cartridge belt around her waist, and carried a rifle in a boot attached to her saddle. On very special occasions, she would don a riding habit and ride sidesaddle in the approved lady fashion of the day. Although it necessitated fording or ferrying the Canadian River, she made regular trips to the Oklahoma post office for her mail, usually stopping by the Turk Brothers store and attending the frontier-like gatherings of the community. In this way, William S. became well acquainted with Belle during the last four years of her life. After working for the Turk Brothers store for sometime, William S. found out they were cheating the unlearned Indians. He spoke to Herman Turk about it and Herman told William S. that he was not hired to supervise his employers’ methods. At this, he blew his top and walked out. So it was when he quit the Turk Brothers store, he once more found himself jobless, with little money, and faced with the prospect of having to leave the Choctaw Nation. The next day, however, when the reasons why he had quit the store became known three of the most highly respected Choctaws in the community endorsed his application to remain in the country. They were Wilson Forrest, Jeff Surratt, and James King. A committee called on him and offered to provide a building and the seats if he would start a prescription school on Rock Branch, about two airline miles west of Oklahoma. They also promised he would be paid 50 cents for each child enrolled each week in attendance. Although he had no previous teaching experience, he was young and full of confidence, so he accepted. About the time his school term ended, the Turk Brothers decided to sell their store. Jim King offered to serve as emissary if he wanted to buy the store. He also suggested he find a Choctaw partner and mentioned Jeff Surratt. When Jeff was approached, he readily agreed. Thus, William S. found himself in business again, a little more than a year and a half after arriving in Indian Territory. Since both were on friendly terms with Choctaw Nation officials, the partnership of Surratt and Hall were soon doing a thriving business. Soon William S. Began visiting the widow Emachaya’s home and became interested in the comely sister of Jeff. After a courtship, they were married and to this union five children were born. The eldest, a son named William Jefferson,Ludy Annie Mae, Jeneva Clara, Clara Louisa, and Cecil Cooper. In 1889, there was a typhoid and malaria epidemic in the Canadian River Valley. William Jefferson died July 29, 1899. On September 12, 1899, Clara Louisa, scarcely six months old, died. The shock of losing her baby, and her unending grief over the loss of William Jefferson, coupled with her weakened condition, seems to have destroyed Margaret Louisa’s will to live, and on October 3, 1899 she sank into eternal sleep. Jeneva Clara Hall Satterfield was five years old when her mother died. About a year after Margaret Louisa’s death, her father married Mrs. Daisy Caroline Hendrix Harrison. Jeneva was reared in this household until her marriage. Jeneva’s heirs still own and use most of her allotted land. Her living descendants include one Frank W. Satterfield, twelve grandchildren, two stop grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren, and several great great grandchildren. They are scattered, but some reside in and around Whitefield, Oklahoma. Whitefield Indian Territory was named; prior to William S. and Margaret Louisa’s marriage. In 1879, E.C. Boudinot, a Cherokee lawyer, announced through newspapers that he had discovered about two million acres of land that was public land of the U.S. and subject to homesteaders. Pursuant to the treaties of 1866, the Santa Fe Railroad Company began construction of a branch road from Arkansas City, Kansas to Texas. In the autumn of 1886, a large railroad construction camp was established which was called Seymour, later changed to Verbeck. In 1887, a post office was established called Oklahoma Station. Thus, the mail became mixed up between Oklahoma Indian Territory and Oklahoma Station and the government ordered a change. Since Oklahoma Station was destined to be the largest, Oklahoma Indian Territory had to change its name. Thus, it became Whitefield Indian Territory. Jeneva is buried in Whitefield Cemetery along with her mother and grandmother. Other Emachaya relatives and numerous Satterfield’s are buried there as well.