Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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William Labor Submitted by: Mary Faith Labor Matthews

My great great grandfather was William Labor. William as born in Mexico about 1800-1814. According to family legend, William’s wife was Preasy or Pricilla. She may have been Chickasaw, but claimed Cuba as her birthplace on the 1850 and 1860 Polk County, Arkansas census. It is possible that due to the prejudices of that time, William and Preasy may have chosen to deny their Indian blood. William and Preasy’s (or Pricilla’s) known children were Elisabeth, Bethenia (or Bethena), Mary A., Houston (my great grandfather), William M. and Martha J. There was also a son John, born after 1860. William joined the Arkansas 4th Infantry, C. 1 of the Confederate States of America from Polk County, Arkansas. I believe he may have been killed in the war since I cannot find him or his wife in 1870. My great grandfather Houston Labor was born in Polk County, Arkansas in the early 1850’s. Houston and brother William moved to the Choctaw nation by the 1870’s. I do not know if all of the family moved, but I have not found any of them in Arkansas in 1870. Houston married Permelia Watson about 1874, probably in Octavia, Nashoba County, Indian Territory. Permelia was the daughter of William and Betsy Watson. Betsy was Choctaw, born in Alabama in 1840. William Watson died before the 1896 Indian census/tribal enrollment. He and Betsy are both listed as enrolled in Nashoba County. Houston and Permelia Labor and their children were also enrolled in Nashoba County and were living in Octavia in 1896. Their children were Emma, Alexander, Elliston (my grandfather), Sarah J. (Janie), Ida May, Phoebe Ann, Ellen, and Willie. Houston and Permelia are both buried in the Labor Cemetery in Bryon County, Oklahoma. Permelia died about 1902 and Houston died January 24, 1914. I never knew my grandparents and can only relate what I have been told about Elliston. He was born April 29, 1883 and had a twin who died at birth. Elliston was a stern, hardworking man. He was a farmer and enjoyed hunting and fishing. He passed his love of the outdoors life to his grandson, Altie Ray Labor. Elliston spoke the Choctaw Language fluently, but to my knowledge, none of his children learned to speak it. Elliston married Mayme Kirksey in 1904 in Fannin County, Texas. They farmed and raised their children in Antlers, Oklahoma. Their children were Thornton (my father), Ethel, Raymond, Willie, Leona, Lueda, and Olen. Most of their children graduated from college. Their only surviving child, Lueda Labor Roberson still lives in Antlers. Elliston passed away in 1955 and his wife Mayme died in 1967. Both are buried in Antlers. My father, Thornton Labor, was also an original enrollee. He was the only one of Elliston and Mayme’s children to be on the Indian rolls before they were closed. Thornton was born in 1905 in Antlers, Oklahoma. He married Argenta Floyd in Collins County, Texas in

  1. They had three children, Joe Eron, Altie Ray and myself. My parents moved to Arizona about 1936. They were separated by the time I was born in 1939 and divorced a few years later. Because of that, I did not grow up knowing my father’s family. My mother, Argenta and my brother, Altie taught me to take pride in my Choctaw heritage and I continue that tradition with my children and grandchildren.

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