Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation
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My father was Wiley Stewart, a Choctaw Indian, born in Ray County, East Tennessee in 1824. My mother was Nancy Folsom, born March 17th, 1830, in Mayhew, Mississippi. She moved with her parents to the Indian Territory when she was three years old. She was a granddaughter of Nathaniel Folsom and Peter Pitchlynn of the Hayah-pah-tuk-kalo clan of the Choctaw Tribe, which made her of royal blood. Father located at Eagle Town, Indian Territory, in the Choctaw Nation, in 1833. In 1859 he ran a tan yard east of Boggy Creek. In 1861, he settled o­n what is now the old Stewart place near Armstrong Academy, and it was here that I was born about 1865. In 1863, Father entered the Choctaw Militia in Jack Folsom’s company and remained with them until the end of the Civil War, when the militia surrendered at Fort Smith. Mother taught school at the Philadelphia school near Armstrong during the early years of her married life. She planned to build a two story home near the Armstrong Academy and had her lumber o­n the ground and foundation built when the Civil War began. All of the lumber was used in making of coffins and her home was never built. I married John Walner in 1883, and came to his father’s ranch near old Cherokee Town in the Chickasaw Nation to live. This was originally owned by Mrs. Shirley. The ranch house was a large seven room log house with a hall and a large porch. The chimneys were of white stone and it was surrounded by a picket fence, painted white. John was in the mercantile business at Cherokee Town. He freighted his good from Caddo. I often went with him o­n these trips. We went from Caddo to Tishomingo, thence to Mill Creek and Cherokee Town via the old stage line. There was a stage stand at Cherokee Town and the Government barns were there. It was very interesting to watch the changing of horses. The stage came in at two-thirty each morning. There were small kerosene lamps o­n each side of the front of the stage. There was a toll bridge near Cherokee Town across the Wichita River which washed away. John secured a charter from the Chickasaw Government to operate a ferry boat. He did this for a year or so and then we moved to Wynnewood in 1887, where he again entered the mercantile business. This time his store was in a tent. The first passenger train from the South came through o­n the Sunday after we moved here. John was United States Deputy Marshal, serving under Commissioner Dr. Leo Bennett of Muskogee and he also served as an Indian Policeman for the Chickasaw Government in Pontotoc County. We are parents of four children. I have lived here continuously since 1887.

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