Bernice Jefferson and Israel Fisher
There are not many ways to tell a family story when the family contains as many original enrollees as mine does. So I decided to make it very personal to me and briefly describe both my mother’s family and then my father’s family.
Thomas Jefferson and Nicholas Jefferson were brothers and the children of Enlomontubbee, who was Choctaw and Hotiakey, who was Chickasaw. Both brothers originally enrolled with the Dawes Commission as Chickasaws after their mother and both were changed by the Dawes Commission to the Choctaw Rolls. However, Nicholas died at the age of 54 before being enrolled as a tribal member. He is listed on field care #5510 although no roll number was assigned to him. Nicholas had several children who were adults at the time and are enrolled with their families on the Choctaw Roll. It is one of those quirks of the degree of Indian blood process that both were enrolled as ½ Choctaw even though they were full-blood Indians.
Thomas Jefferson was 64 years old when he was enrolled. He lived in the Red Oak area of Latimer County and was married to Charlotte Henry who was the mother of his children but was deceased by the time of the Dawes enrollment. Thomas’ children were enrolled at the same time as their stepmother, Elizabeth James. Calvin Jefferson who was my grandfather along with his sister, Sillen Jefferson, and brother, Douglas Jefferson enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a Medic in World War I, during the Meine Argonne Offensive in France. He returned to the Red Oak area after being discharged and died on July 4, 1937. Douglas had one son, Lester Jefferson, who is also deceased and did not have any children. Calvin Jefferson was 20 when he enrolled with the Dawes Commission and first married Betsy Alberson, who already had two children at the time. Together they had one child, Ida Jefferson. Ida Jefferson was the mother of six children including Victor Jefferson, Robert Prock, Doris Grayham, Calvin Dean Prock, Mattie Jones and Anna Lou Wade. Not much is known about Betsy’s family and it is believed she was an orphan raised by relatives. Calvin’s second wife was Eve Pickens and they had three children together: Arthur Jefferson, Who died as a teenager, Bernice Jefferson Fisher, who was my other and Evelyn Jefferson Erickson, my aunt. Calvin was a farmer and lived in the Red Oak area most of his life but was something of a rowdy fellow who liked to drink. He was stabbed in a fight and later died from his wounds on May 21, 1927. Eve eventually sold her land and moved to McAlester where she died March 27, 1964 at the age of 73. My father was named Israel Fisher after his grandfather, Israel Fisher, who came from the Stigler area. The first Israel was married first to Mary (Missy) Martin. They had one child together, Mary Fisher before Missy died. Mary was living in the home of her grandmother, Anna Martin when she was enrolled. After Missy died, Israel married Sillin Coley and they had one child, George Fisher. Israel then passed away also before being enrolled. Family legend says Israel had gone into town to receive some kind of payment and was robbed and killed near Coal Creek Bridge in Pittsburg County. No one ever found the person responsible for his death. Sillin lived in the Tannehill area for the rest of her life and in later life she married Wilkin Taylor who was a well-known preacher of his day in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Baptist Association. Sillin passed away at home on March 4, 1961. George Fisher married Otis Marris, who was a Mississippi Choctaw and the daughter of Bobo Marris. Bobo’s parents were Dibbin Marris and Betsy Marris. Dibbin’s Choctaw name was Nomahtubbe. Betsy had died by the time of Bobo’s enrollment. Bobo had a full brother, Sanderson Marris who also lived in the Stigler area. Dibbin was remarried and had several other children, most of whom lived I the Ardmore area. Otis was born in Mississippi and was the child of Bobo Marris and Margaret Frazier, who was deceased by the time of enrollment. Bobo had remarried in Mississippi to Elizabeth Dixon and their children were Ida Marris, Otter Marris, died in childhood, Mart Marris, and John Marris. Otter and Ida were twins but otter died before being enrolled and John Marris was born too late to be enrolled. George Fisher and Otis Marris married young and had 8 children. Their children are Phoebe Fisher Allrunner, Israel Fisher, David Fisher, Ruth Fisher Bacon, Alice Fisher, Jobe Fisher, and Susie Fisher Marris and Robert Noah Fisher. Alice Fisher was 19 years old when she died on 07-28-1941 of Tuberculosis. George Fisher died January 24, 1944 of heart failure. Ottis Marris Fisher was 34 on July 5, 1933, when she also died. Mary Fisher, George Fisher’s half-sister, had several marriages during her lifetime but the branch I am most familiar with was her marriage to Mullen Gibson’s who was also a Mississippi Choctaw. According to a family source, Mullen Gibson’s sister, Lena Gibson was married to Sanderson Marris. Bobo’s brother. Mary and Mullen Gibson had tow sons: Dan Gibson who married Lucille Johnson and were the parents of Donald Gibson before Dan’s death. Lucille then married Dan’s brother, Bill Gibson, and they had three daughters: Rose Gibson LeFlore, Ella Gibson Buck, and Edna Gibson Taylor.
The Jefferson’s have a family reunion every year at Robbers Cave near Wilburton so that everyone can know who their relatives are and keep in touch. Several members of the family have moved off and this is a good way to see the area where they grew up and that our ancestors helped to settle. We do feel fortunate to be able to know many of our relatives who live both near and far.
Chi pisa la chi ke