Eliza Ann “Dain” White Steelman
Eliza Ann “Dain” White daughter of Livingston “Buck” White and Angeline Mitchell white, was born in Sugarloaf County Choctaw Nation (Now Leflor County, Okla.) on March 30, 1892.
Dain was one half Choctaw and an original enrollee in the Choctaw Tribe (#6988). Her father Buck White was full blood Choctaw and the son of Jerry White and Rebecca Bacon. Jerry and his father Louis White both came to Oklahoma Territory on the Trail of Tears, arriving in the spring of 1832 when Jerry was one year old.
Dain was raised in the White Community located between Reichert and Summerfield. The family home was a very large, white, two-story with porches in front and on the first and second stories, running the length of the house. Their home housed the White Community post office from 1906 to 1921 and a telephone switchboard believed by some to be the first telephone company in the LeFlore County area. It is said that Dain and her sisters as young girls would have to “ride the line” on horseback to check on interrupted connections.
Dain never learned the Choctaw language as her father forbid any of his children to speak it (a fact regretted by his grandchildren.) This particularly interesting considering that Buck taught the language to others and acted as an interpreter for the first district judge or LeFlore county.
The lives of the White family were greatly affected by the burning of the family home in January 1912. Dain and her sister were on their way to an Indian boarding school when the house burned. They were then forced to return home because their help was needed and possibly beause of a lack of funds. It is believed that the family lost a substantial amount of money in the fire as Buck did not use banks.
On Nov 3, 1912 Dain married John Richard “Rich” Steelman (b. 7 Jul 1892 d. 18 Feb 1935), son of John Wesley Steelman (1854-1929) and Polly Ann Wilkerson (1865-1928). He was born in the Number Ten Community just north of Heavener. They were married in LeFlore County where they lived until 1928 when they moved to Honey Grove, Texas. They remained in Texas until Rich became ill with tuberculosis. They returned to LeFlore Co. in Dec 1934, shortly before his death. Dain worked hard all of her life. The family continued to raise their own food and farm after Rich’s death. Dain made most of her children’s clothes and sewed for many others in the community. Dain had leaned midwifing from her mother and delivered many babies through the years. She also would often “sit with the sick,” sometimes for days at a time.
Upon Rich’s death their oldest son, Hershal assumed the fathers’ role for the younger children and was a great support to his mother. The children were taught to look out for each other and the importance of hard work and responsibility.
The things I remembered about Dain most by her grandchildren are her love for fishing – “she could fish all day, not catching a thing” and her love for playing dominos and Uncle Wiggly with her grandkids.
Rich and Dain Steelman had 11 children:
1.Baby Boy – b. 18 Nov 1913 Died at birth
2.Hershal Raymon – 18 Oct 1914 d. 19 Jun 1994
m. Ruby Bernice McLaughlin 16 Dec 1939
-9 Children: McCoy, Charlotte, Larry, Lonnie, Mackie, Gary, Curtis, Racine, and Robin
-15 great grandchildren
3.Merrel – b. 18 May 1917 d. 11 Jan 1983
m. Faye Curtis 10 Oct 1937
-2 Children: Harvey Steelman and Odessa Haynes
-15 great grandchildren
4.Pauline Idalee b. 18 May 1919 d. 12 Aug 1940
m. Albert Rex 10 Aug 1936
-2 Children: Marvetta Taylor and Daphna Bekman
-15 great grandchildren
5.Delbert Arvil b. 17 Jul 1921 d. 17 Dec 1987
m. Lille Jannette McLaughlin 10 Oct. 1944
-6 children: Connie May, Phyllis “Cheryl” Braziel, Phillip “Pete:, JD, Randy and Kim Phillips
-8 great grandchildren
6.Camilia Onia b. 28 May 1923
m. Estes Luman 18 Dec. 1940
-3 children: Estes “Leon”, Billy Arvil and Allen “Ray”
-2 great gransons
7.Esther May b. 27 Jan 1925
m. (1.) 18 June 1939 John Dedman
-5 children: Eugene, Barbara Kannady, Leona Qualls, Linda Olive and Hilda Oliver
-23 great grandchildren
m. (2.) Daily Ryburn
8.Ida Belle b. 9 Jan 1927
m. Harrel Moody 5 Oct 1946
-3 children: Eldon D., Harrel Richard “Rick” and Vicky Ann Cardona
9.Clifford Olive “Chief” b. 15 Mar 1929
m. Dorothy Brown 4 Dec 1948
-7 children: Roger, Clifford, Joyce Alstatt, Jan west, Gail Hudson, Melba Hall and Gwenda Taylor
-2 great grandchildren
10.Finis Richard b. 1 May 1931
m. Margie Flemings 23 Dec 1950
-3 Children: Ronald, Judy Rushing and Audra Cole
11.J.L. B 15 Apr 1934 D. as an infant (5 mo.)
Dain White steelman died on June 15, 1974 at the age of 82. She died of heart failure at the hospital in Poteau, Oklahoma.
Dain’s 100th descendant (Grandson Mark Taylor) was born March 1974 just before Dain’s death in June.
The descendants of dain White Steelman now consist of 11 children, 40 grandchildren, 102 Great grandchildren and 80 great great grandchildren.
By: Sherry A. Fowler Steelman
P.O. Box 443
Heavener, Oklahoma 74937
December 31, 1996