Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Elmer Allen and Lorene Weeks Harris Son of Walter Churchill and Sarah Elizabeth Harris Submitted by: Galaine Harris Lane

Elmer Allen Harris was born to Walter Churchill and Sarah Elizabeth Harris on October 10, 1905 in Pleasant Hill, Indian Territory. He was registered on the Choctaw roll. Elmer grew to be a very fast runner and a good athlete. It was said that he made such spectacular plays in baseball that they were almost unbelievable. The old-timers still say, “I don’t know how he made that play, but he did.” His main job as a young boy was to help with the livestock. When a cow or hog strayed, he was sent to locate it. Sometimes this meant traveling several miles into the wilderness and getting home after dark. He witnessed many interesting and sometimes frightening encounters on those journeys. As a young man in his twenties, he didn’t realize that the great depression was just around the corner. He bought a brand new Buick Roadster in which he and a few young men took a tour. When they were hundreds of miles away from home, he discovered that the roll of money his friends had flashed was one large bill on the outside and small bills on the inside. Therefore, he already spent most of his money when the car developed mechanical problems. He was forced to pawn his gold watch and chain, and finally he was left with no option except to abandon the car and hitch hike home, leaving the car until this day. Elmer first saw his future wife, Lorene Weeks, in 1933 while he and a crew of men were working on the road in front of her parents’ home. When Lorene was sent to the well to draw water, Elmer noticed that she was beautiful. After waiting for a couple of hours, he knocked on her door pretending he needed to know the exact time of day. To his disappointment Lorene did not answer the door. Instead, her baby sister told him the time and his plans were temporarily foiled. Elmer and Lorene were married February 10, 1934. They had planned to have a simple wedding in the home of his sister and brother-in-law, Sadie and Jim Storey, with whom the preacher, Leslie White, sometimes boarded. However, to the bride’s surprise and dismay, Walter Churchill Harris had decided to throw a gigantic wedding feast and hosted the wedding in his home. Both the bride and groom were nervous about the change of plans. As a result, the bride hardly ate a bite, and the groom mistakenly and generously sweetened the table beside his coffee cup. In order to support his growing family, which would eventually include five children, Elmer worked on road construction for as long as he could. He then worked as a carpenter and at other various jobs that were close to home because he was family oriented. Probably no husband or father loved his family more than Elmer loved his. He had a good sense of humor and liked being with his family. He also enjoyed the company of friends and neighbors and was very accommodating to people of all walks of life. Elmer was also a superb gardener and a skilled hunter. There were absolutely no weeds in that man’s garden. He could skin a squirrel in probably ninety seconds and never leave a hair on it. His rick of wood was a thing of beauty with every stick exactly the same length. The rick itself was exactly measured with a few extra sticks on top to ensure that whoever bought wood from him would get his money’s worth, because in all of Elmer’s dealings he was honest. These attributes and skills worked in harmony with those of his wife, Lorene. Among other things, she was excellent in cooking, sewing, and barbering, and was astute in etiquette, styles, and apparel. Elmer continually stressed the importance of education. He didn’t want his children to miss a day of school. He explained that although here was always hired help in the place, he had missed several weeks of school every spring so that the cold help get the spring crops growing. He would have been in school, he said, if his mother had lived, and she would also have seen that his broken nose received the attention it needed. This was just a matter of fact as far as Elmer was concerned, for it was evident that he held both his parents in high esteem. Elmer was also intelligent in both memory and logic, and had a keen aptitude for math. However, one of his greatest attributes was his innate honestly. Once when a politician asked him for who he as voting for in an upcoming election, he replied, “Well, I’d rather you would not have ask me. “ On September 8, 1969, he passed from this life. We still miss him. I especially remember two things he told me as a daughter. He said, “Always do what’s right and you’ll never regret it; and be as steady as a rock in holding on to your beliefs.” Then he grinned and his eyes twinkled. “You’re a good runner, too,” he said, “You’ve got Choctaw feet.” Elmer and Lorene had five children: Elmer Max, Sarah Nell, R. Galaine, Carolyn and Rita Jean.

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