Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Story of Storm Disaster in 1926 near Caney, Oklahoma

I was born in August, 1879, in what is now Atoka, County, Oklahoma, near Bethany Indian Baptist Church about eight miles southeast of Atoka, Oklahoma. My father’s name was Austin Jacob. I do not know the date of his birth but he died in 1910 and was buried in a family grave near Wilson Jacob’s place. He was about eighty years of age at the time of his death. There is no mark or headstone to show where he was buried. My mother was Seely Ann Anderson. She died in 1908 in Atoka, County. I do not know the year of their marriage but unto this marriage there were five children born, but three living. From 1895 to 1896 I attended Marrow Orphans Home which was located in Atoka, Oklahoma, at that time. And from 1896 to maturity I attended school at Coalgate, and the Oklahoma High School and studied music. My father was a Methodist Pastor. He was Pastor of six churches, known as the Boggy Circuit at that time. He resided near Caney Hill. He left Mississippi when he was ten years of age. Mother is a native born of Oklahoma. I married November 10, 1907, Agnes Lewis. She died November 11, 1934, when we were living in Caney, Oklahoma. We had five children and all are living. When I first married I lived near Atoka, Oklahoma, about o ne mile east of where my father lived. I lived in a box house with side room annexed, our furniture consisted of o ne bed, cooking outfit, and an old organ. I farmed o nly truck garden for home use. Raised hogs, and cattle - the country was an open range and it took less feed to keep them fat through the year. o n April 23, 1936, I was living o n the allotment of Alexander Peter’s wife, in a frame three room house, when we first noticed a black threatening cloud in the southwest, and in less than thirty minutes a storm came, sweeping everything in its pathway, and struck the house. Everything went black at that instant until the next thing I remember when I came to, I did not know where I was as everything looked gray. This was a wooded country where I lived but after the storm, a stretch about o ne hundred fifty years was a barren prairie. The entire path of the wind was about o ne mile wide. The last thing I remember just before the wind struck the house, I heard my wife with a small child about two years old o n her lap, singing “Never Alone”. The words are as follows: I’ve seen the lightening flashing and heard the thunder roll. I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing trying to conquer my soul. I’ve heard the voice of Jesus telling me still to fight o n, He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. The world’s fierce winds are blowing Temptations sharp and keen I feel a peace in knowing My Savior stands between, He stands to shield me from danger, when dearly friends are gone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave, never to leave me alone. There are four verses to this song but whether she sang all of the verses or not I do not know, as the next thing I remember I picked myself up when my wife ran to me in a hazy condition and called for o ne of the children, I replied, “I guess he is dead.” There was nothing left of the house and the place where the house stood was o nly a bare ground. Through some mysterious way which I have never been able to solve, there were eight of us still living but the house had disappeared and the results of the storm was that each o ne of us received a scratch but nothing serious. o ne of the boys was found about fifteen steps from the place where I had three wagons; all there wagons were gone and that was where the boy had lain all during the storm. We were scattered all over the yard after the storm passed. The storm traveled in the easterly direction and went about two miles when it arose and changed directions and no damage was done beyond this limit. It hit west of Fillmore and traveled about fifteen to twenty miles and cleared everything in its way when it struck the house. While o n the way it killed o nly three persons through not member of my family and lightly bruised eight of us. This was o ne of the worst storms that I have ever experienced in my life. Nothing now can be seen of the pathway of the storm as sprouts have grown up and hid all the marks of the storm. There was a Bois D arc block foundation for the house that was built but nothing was left after the rage, and lumber was scattered all over the country for two miles. Unlike the other Indians of my tribe I am not a hunter. I have not killed ten squirrels in my life and have killed o nly a few turkeys and other wild game. I am a Methodist and joined that church in 1892 and have been a member of that church since.

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