Elijah E. Meggs of Fort Towson, Oklahoma Submitted by: James E. Meggs
My father, Elijah E. Meggs was born the 18th day of August, 1898 in the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. His parents were Williams M. Meggs and Nancy Idella Ashford. Elijah was born at Meggs Ferry on Red River, which is located five miles south of Fort Towson, Oklahoma. He grew up on the banks of Red River and when he reached school age, he and his older brother Jesse went to the Fort Towson public schools, boarding at Mrs. Thompson’s. Mrs. Thompson was a fine Christian lady and when the author was in Sunday school in the 1920’s at the First Baptist Church in Fort Towson, she again taught a son of a Meggs. Elijah graduated from Fort Towson High School in 1916, working at several jobs including the Palace Drug Store, while attending high school. Since he had been allotted 160 acres of Indian land, he took farming as his vocation. The record of his allotment, dated September 17, 1903 read as follows: Homestead: E/2 of SW/4 of Section 7, T7S, R20 E Land allotted exclusive of Homestead: Lots 3 and 4, Section 7, T7S, R20 E. Lois Marina Jane Robinson and Elijah E. Meggs were married December 22, 1917 at Fort Towson, Oklahoma. Elijah and Lois lived for one year at the old Meggs home place on Lime Kill Hill where their oldest child, Doris was born September 16, 1918. James was born on January 7, 1920 on the farm that his parents had purchased from the Campbell’s. This farm is located about one and one-half miles southeast of Fort Towson and it contained 60 acres. Edna Earle, the youngest child was born on the farm on December 13,
- In the fall of 1925, Elijah bought a home from a Mr. Downs inside the city limits of Fort Towson, located one and one half blocks south of the public school. Since there were no school buses in 1925 in this area, this eased the problem of getting the Meggs children to school. The farming operation of the Meggs family progressed, with plenty of work for the entire family. We farmed the 60 acres southeast of Fort Towson as well as part of the 160 acres, of Indian allotment, located 5 miles south of town on the Kiamichi River about one-half mile north of where it empties into Red River. Crops were alfalfa, corn, and cotton, with emphasis on the cotton as this was our “cash crop”. We always maintained a large garden with a large potato patch. Red potatoes were our choice, along with a good planting of cabbage for the making of sour kraut. We had an orchard on the farm where peaches and other fruit were grown. In July, after the crops were laid by and blackberries were ripe, we could take off to the sand hills north of Fort Towson and for one week to pick wild blackberries. My mother would can these berries in a heavy sugar syrup in one-half gallon jars for use in the winter in making Black berry Cobbler and other desserts. Our main source of meat was pork, usually killing ten to twelve fat hogs per year. My father, Elijah, was good at curing hams and bacon, as we had our own “smokehouse”. At “hog killing” time, my mother, Lois, would have my father to rip out the tender loin of one of two hogs and we had our annual specialty, “Fried Tender Loin”. While living in “town” we kept at least two milk cows in a lot adjoining our home along with a good barn for hay and fattening pens for our hogs. This was during the depression years of the thirties, but will say that we never wanted for food. Elijah was a deacon in the First Baptist Church at Fort Towson, Oklahoma and we children were raised “in church”. James and Doris graduated from high school at Fort Towson in 1936 and all of them went on to college. Edna Earle graduated from high school two years later. Lois Robinson Meggs passed away at Paris, Texas on May 31, 1936. On May 22, she became ill with appendicitis and Dr. Boyer admitted her to the hospital. Neither she nor my father attended our high school graduation because of her illness. Elijah became the Postmaster at Fort Towson in the late 1930’s and served until his death in 1959. He was very civic minded, belonging to the Lions Club, Lake Raymond Gary Rod & Gun Club, National Association of Postmasters, as well as being a staunch Democrat. He was voted “Postmaster of the Year” twice in Oklahoma during his tenure at Fort Towson. He always would “thank you” when you purchased stamps at his post office and expected you to thank him if he bought merchandise in your store. On December 24, 1943 Elijah’s friends were O.B. Medford, druggist, J.M May, grocer, Sam McDonald, merchant, R.W. Harkey, school superintendent, Chief Key, circus (knife throwing act), Howard Wynn, postmaster and cotton ginner, Emmitt Henderson, filling station owner, Judge Raulston, farmer, Dr. Boyer, family doctor, Clarence Wilson. The Flick S, rancher, Clarence Adams, rancher, Mutt Ingram, mechanic, Brownie Orton, grocer, Bill and George Hall, ranchers, Earl Slade, pump station operator, Coy Roden, and a host of others too numerous to mention. Elijah passed away on the 7th day of September, 1959 at Batesville, Arkansas at the home of his daughter, Doris Meggs Mabry and is buried along side his first wife, Lois Robinson I the cemetery at Fort Towson, Oklahoma.