Priscilla “Dinksey” Pitchlynn Lowry
Submitted by Loren K. Butterbaugh My great-grandmother, Priscilla “Dinksey” Pitchlynn Lowry was the daughter of Judge William Boykin Pitchlynn and his third wife, Mrs. Hannah (Kriger) Schweitzer. This union was blessed with the following children, William Jr., born October 21, 1881; Priscilla, born January 10, 1884; Ida, born April 26, 1886, and Leona, born April 19, 1889. These children were all born at Frink Switch, Tobucksy County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. I am not exactly sure of the origin of great-grandmother’s nickname, Dinksey. My grandmother and mother were born and raised in Oklahoma. My father was born and raised in Ohio. My grandmother passed away when I was six years of age. I remember her, but must acknowledge I have more memories of my great-grandma. Since my family has always resided in Trotwood, Ohio near Dayton, I was able to see my great-grandmother only occasionally. This would be during family visits to McAlester, Oklahoma, although she did travel to Ohio twice to visit. I remember she would tell the young people many stories about her childhood to entertain us. She would enlighten us as how she, her brother, and sister would climb into the wagon and accompany her father (the judge) and mother (with Leona in her arms) on his circuit rounds to hold court. They traveled southeastern Oklahoma, areas of Arkansas, and northern Texas, sleeping in the wagon and sometimes staying with friends or acquaintances. Another story great-grandma would tell us is how a young Choctaw man who had a grievance against the judge gave notice he would soon be coming to take her father’s life. When the young man did show up at their home, he dismounted his horse and leaned his rifle against he fence. Thinking quickly, the judge began talking to the man while maneuvering himself between the man and his rifle. They talked for a spell and since the man was unable to reach his gun, he angrily mounted his horse to leave. Great-grandma knew her father would not be harmed, because as custom dictates, the young man would make only one attempt on her father’s life. The judge then handed the man’s rifle to him and the young man rode off. William Boykin Pitchlynn entered into rest in October of 1889. Unfortunately he would not see his children by this marriage reach maturity. I have many cherished memories of great-grandma’s storytelling. Priscilla married Samuel W. Lowry on October 11, 1902 at South McAlester, Tobucksy County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. Samuel, born December 5, 1873 in Mississippi, was the son of John W. Lowry and Narcissus Elizabeth Reeves. He was at this time a widower from Coalgate, Tobucksy County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory with a five-year-old daughter named Jemima whom Priscilla loved and raised as her own. This union was blessed with eleven children, John, born July 26, 1903 and died in infancy; Agnes, born November 26, 1905; Thomas, born February 2, 1907; Iva, born May 25, 1909; Lena, born May 13, 1911 (my grandmother); George, born December 23, 1913; Alex, born October 28, 1915, Leona, born May 28, 1916; Woodrow, born November 29, 1918; Velma, born January 16, 1921, and Wanda, born May 5, 1923. Samuel was a barber by profession, operating a shop in Savanna, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, where he and Priscilla also resided. He came home for his noon meal and died suddenly of a heart attack. Samuel entered into rest on September 28, 1922, leaving Priscilla to raise their 10 children on her own. Wanda, their last child, was born seven months after his death. Presently, only Leona residing in Yuma, Arizona and Velma residing in McAlester survive. I just can’t imagine how my grandma Lowry single-handedly managed to raise all of her children, but she did. We must remember only seven years after Samuel passed, America fell into the Great Depression. This was yet another burden for Priscilla and her children to endure. Her house was near the railroad tracks and many men would “ride the rails” searching for work. These strangers would knock on her door asking for a handout. My mother has told me that even though food was sometimes very scarce, great-grandma would never turn a hungry person from her door. I believe this tells much about her character. She was a kind and generous person, always ready to give of herself. Priscilla, who was one-quarter Choctaw and having knowledge of tribal customs, would be summoned at the death of a tribal member to help prepare the body for burial. I do not know what all this involved, but I have always heard she placed pennies on the eyelids of the deceased. Grandma Lowry knew many Choctaw remedies, recipes and beliefs that were lost with her passing, I’m very sorry to say. I will always remember my Grandma Lowry as being very soft spoken, possessing a very soothing voice, having an exceptionally pleasant and loving attitude, just a pure delight to be around. She was a lifelong Methodist and taught primary Sunday school for many years. Never was a meal begun until she “turned grace.” Now that I am middle-aged and researching my family history, there are so many questions I wish I had asked her. I was only 16 years of age when she passed. My grandma Lowry entered into rest on November 15, 1969 and was interred next to her husband’s grave in Savanna Cemetery, Savanna, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma.
Information Published in “Life and Times of the Choctaw Original Enrollees” Compiled By Wesley and Charleen Samuels