Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation
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Frank R. Hiarker (Hiaka-Hiahen) Submitted by: Dorotha Sue Birch; Great granddaughter of Frank R. Hiarker 5th Daughter of Ethel (Hiarker) Birch

Frank R. Hiarker. Enrolled children: Henry Hiarker and Jane Ethel Hiarker Birch. On June 4, 1888, my great grandfather, Henry Hiarker (Hiaka, Hiahen) signed his last will and testament as recorded by John Taylor. Being an uneducated man, unable to read or write, the will was attested by Joe Ward. D.W. Bell and Lyman Bohannon- no doubt, well known persons at that time. Although, we know nothing of his parents, we do know that at ten years of age he traveled the “Trail of Tears” with his parents to Indian territory, Oklahoma, from Mississippi. They settled in Skullyville County in or near Oak Lodge. Dates of births, marriages, death and degree of Indian blood have been lost to history past. He did marry Sarah (maiden name unknown). She bore three children that we know of: James, Frank, and Becky. James and Frank were jointly named in Henry’s will to share the property. He also left $10 to Becky, which must have been a goodly amount in those days. There was no mention of Sarah. The census of the Choctaw Nation did record Sarah as being 52 years of age in October 1896. Both Henry and Sarah died before the formal Indian rolls in

  1. Sarah must have received some education in her life for she taught her children to read and write. Our family history always remembered her as having red hair. Whatever became of James and Becky, we do not know, although James may have been listed on the Blue County list of Warriors in July 1861 as James Ibahika. But we really don’t know. Frank, however, was listed on the 1896 census but the year of his birth (1871) was not listed. The degree of Indian blood being ¾. His fate was sealed when he married in August 1896. Little did he know then that 40 years later he would become my grandfather, about three miles southeast of Oak Lodge, on his property. Frank married Sarah Willket (Willkett). She was 19 years of age, the daughter of Thomas and Nancy Ann of New City, Indian Territory. Sarah may have thought Frank a good catch, but our family called him wild for he would light cigars with $100 bills. When riding his black horse, if he fell down, the horse never left him till he stood up on his own and got back on the horse. In 20 years of marriage, five children were born, two being enrolled. They were Henry and Jane Ethel. Three were not enrolled and they were James, Estes, and Efleadia. The degree of Indian blood was listed as 3/8 for all the children. Sarah Willket Hiarker was enrolled as IW 257. As I’ve said, he was the man about town, buying and selling property for his children, Henry and Jane Ethel. He did farm and had numerous people work for him but as most often happens, drink did him in. Two years before Sarah died in November 1916, religion came to them. At Sarah’s death, Jane Ethel was 15 years old and was left to raise her sister for Sarah in the birth of Efleadia. Frank did marry again to Margaret but that is all we know of her history. In the 1930’s Frank left Spiro and moved to Sand Springs, Oklahoma where he took a job at the Commander Mills, working there for many years. About 1939, his daughter Jane Ethel, my mother, moved to Sand Springs and also worked at the mill. At that time, my grandfather Frank lived alone, coming daily to our house for his lunch. One or two times a year my mother would make his very favorite food, hog’s head cheese. Always a very quiet man, walking everywhere he went, helping family as he could. As I’ve said, our fate was sealed for when he took this child to church, more often than not, I’d see his black eyes flash when I would tend to wiggle during the service and if I was too restless, I would get a good hard thump on the top of my head but on our way home, he would reach into his pocket, give me a big smile and piece of bubble gum. Then, I knew he wasn’t too upset with my behavior. He became very religious in his later years, giving time and donations to his church where he was known as Chief Frank. Not many of the people at church were overly friendly toward him, for he was an Indian, don’t you know. As he got older, he came less and less to our house, preferring to read his Bible. Then someone would carry his lunch to his apartment. He passed on at Claremore Indian Hospital in 1951 at the age of 81 and is buried in Spiro, Oklahoma. Henry, his son, married and moved to Texas where he worked for a number of years on the construction of the Panama Canal. He passed away in 1949, leaving his wife, Hula and two children, Neal and June. His daughter, Jane Ethel, married at age 15, raised her sister as well as five children of her own. She worked hard all of her life on the farm, in the cotton fields and for the WPA in 1935-36. She moved to Sand Springs in 1939 to be near her father. After his death in the 1950’s, she moved to California to be near two of her children and in her later years she became a practical nurse, working in earlier years at the Ciesta Nursing Home in Ventura, California. She passed on in August 1965 at the age of 64 and is buried in Ventura. Her daughter, Efleadia married Hoshel Morris and seven children were born to them. They also resided in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Hoshel and three of her children preceded her in death and she passed on in May 1994 at age 77 and is buried in Spiro. When I started this, I asked myself what’s in the name Hiarker. Surely no one famous, but from what I can remember from my younger days, I think all the name means to me is “family” which includes the following: The Hiarkers, Birches, Wilkets, Goodners, Morrises, Evans, Fraziers, Priest, Maxfields, Johnsons, Shockleys, Kelleys, Woods, Matts, Wades and many more that I do not know.

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