Leo Earl Merryman Submitted by Leo’s daughter, Pairlee Merryman Treat
I’m writing this about my father Leo Earl Merryman, who is an original enrollee on the Choctaw Indian Dawes Commission Enrollment. My father, Leo, was born March 29, 1891, in the Indian Territory in a small Indian Village, called “Kully Chaha” near Poteau, Oklahoma. I hope some one out there will know about this village. Father was eight years old at the time of the enrollment, and sadly he was listed as a female on the enrollment. But I can assure you that Leo Merryman as a real man. He was respected by all who knew him and loved very deeply by his family. He loved the outdoors, enjoyed sitting around campfires talking about the days of his childhood and the life of the old west. He loved to hunt game, always enjoyed prospecting for gold and hidden treasure. He enjoyed picking huckleberries. He was hurt by the fact he was required to quit speaking the Choctaw language at an early age. He would often greet we children in the Choctaw language, and if I knew how to spell the words I would relate the greeting here. Our father never met a stranger and was always friendly and out going. In 1911 he married Oda Naomi Reynolds in Fort Smith, Arkansas and they raised nine children. He made each one of us feel so very special and greatly loved. His children were: Leon Lee Merryman, who died in 1977; Lonzo David Merryman, Beatrice Beatty Merryman Clayton, Pairlee Minnie Merryman Treat, Rudeen Rose Merryman Johnson, Lurahee Willowby Merryman Beliveau, Leroy Bennett Merryman, Lavaughn Arthur Merryman, Lenton Roger Merryman. There are so many grandchildren and great grandchildren, too many to enumerate. Our dearly beloved father Leo, passed away in 1981, near the age of 91. Leo’s wife Oda passed away in 1991 and we sorely miss them both so much. We were raised to be very proud of our Choctaw Indian blood, and it was a desire of our father to have his children to become members of the tribe, however, he didn’t know how to proceed with it, and now several of us are members due to the interest and research done by my grandson Michael Cotton. Our parents lived in Oklahoma for a while and in 1912 moved to Arkansas, and then to Arizona in 1929. In 1948 they moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Grandview, Washington. Grandview, Washington is where they are buried. This past summer we had a family reunion and there were 75 of us gathered up in the beautiful Mount Adams forest, where we gathered huckleberries and enjoyed our Choctaw Indian Pow Wow with lots of feast and singing and visiting. At this time we had a memorial service in honor of our parents, Leo and Oda Merryman and placed a beautiful engraved bronzed plaque on a large rock in their favorite huckleberry campground. We gave lots of speeches; spoke many accolades in their honor. We children are in our late seventies and sixties so it was a joyous happy occasion to have our family together and in love and agreement. One more important thing about our mother and father, they raised us also firstly to love God and to serve him. At the reunion everyone expressed a desire to become a member in our Choctaw Indian tribe, even the youngest children were eager to join and to learn about their ancestors. I wish to acknowledge my daughter Wanda Cotton and my sister Beatrice Clayton for their encouraging me to write this article. Thank you. Pairlee Minnie Merryman Treat.