Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation
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was born at Skullyville in the year of 1878. My parents were Ward and Elizabeth Folsom. Father was known by all his friends as Uncle Watts. He is buried at Skullyville; mother is buried at Marlow. We lived at Skullyville until I was eight years of age. I recall very little of this territory town. I do remember that Skullyville was then located about six miles from the Arkansas line. Father built a hewed log house to live in, which burned o­nly a few years ago. I am in possession of a picture of this old place. The o­nly store I recall being there were two, operated by Jack Belt and o­n by a Mr. Harpers; both were general merchandise stores. When I was but nine years of age my two brothers, mother and I moved to Perryville, which was located about three miles north of Savanna; making the trip in wagon drawn by an ox team. We passed through what is now South McAlester; at that time it was nothing but a Tom Fuller patch. We were o­n the road eight days going a distance of ninety miles. We lived at this location five years then moved six miles from Perryville to a place called Deer Creek. My next move in the territory was to the Tannehill Prairie which was named for my husband, who was the first settler in that district. I received my higher education at Tuskahoma Indian school when I was fourteen years of age. I attended three years. It was while I was at Tannehill Prairie that I attended. My transportation was o­n the Rock Island to Wister and from there o­n the Frisco to Tuskahoma. I am in possession of a picture of the old school house which burned four years ago. o­ne of the girls who attended the school at the time, now owns the land where the school stood. I cannot recall her name. At the time I attended there P.J. Hudson was Superintendent and Nell Wakefield was Principal. The old darkie cook was known and called by all “Old Aunt Rose”. She occupied rooms near the school. The Superintendent and Principal occupied rooms in the school building. The school was located o­n the prairie and there were many Indians living all around. The council house was two and a half miles from the school. It seems that most of the Indian children who came to the Indian school and those which were full bloods always had “tubbie” o­n the last of their name, and this would be dropped. Since I am o­ne-quarter Choctaw my clothes were furnished while in school. After I returned to my home at Tannehill Prairie and was married to Mr. Tannehill I attended a few of the Choctaw Indian affairs. My marriage license was written in the Choctaw language. Besides being the first settler o­n Tannehill Prairie, Mr. Tannehill also had the first ranching that district. He handled about fifteen hundred head of cattle a year. At this time the grass was waist high and cattle ran out o­n the range. I could go to my front door in the morning and see from thirty to forty deer playing o­n the prairie. The prairie chickens were thick. The quail had nests in the yard. The wolves were plentiful and we were bothered with them catching the hogs. My husband traded with the full blood Choctaws; the way they traded was not unusual but o­nly in the usual custom. We had no school here at Tannehill until after statehood. We attended the church meetings called the Zion Church. I have attended the Choctaw Pashofa dances which were for the sick. their ceremony was performed by dancing around the patient’s bed. If the ceremony was held indoors there would be a big fire in the fireplace, and each time they would go around, they would stir the pot of pashofa that they would have boiling o­n the fire. No white person was allowed in the circle. I have also attended the Choctaw camp meetings which would be held weeks at a time. They would have a big fire which everyone would cook o­n and each day someone would donate a beef which would be distributed about the camp. We had no bridges, telephones or roads. The o­nly toll bridge I remember was across Perryville Creek, near the old Civil War battlefield.

Submitter’s Comments: Mr. Tannehill’s name was Joseph David Tannehill. Although this is not in my direct line, I have come across these names frequently.

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