Intolubbe, Cepha Beryl

Cepha Beryl Intolubbe
Submitted by: Barbara Surprenant, daughter

Cepha Beryl Intolubbe was born 4-8-1903 in Pirtle, I.T. Her father was Colbert Preston Intolubbe, a full blood Choctaw. Her mother was Ada Cole Intolubbe who came to this country at age 10 from Brighton, England.

Colbert’s father was Peter Intolubbe, who was the overseer of a stock farm and later a farmer. In 1872, Peter was appointed deputy sheriff of Blue County, I.T. and in 1891; he was a candidate for the office of District Chief, against competitors. This Peter Intolubbe’s father was also named Peter and was a Captain of the Choctaw Light Horse. (See Leaders and Leading Men of the Indian Territory – Vol. 1—American Publishing Association 1891—Osborne.

On 4-10-1905, Cepha’s brother, Earl Colbert Intolubbe was born and about this time the young farmer moved to Durant. Colbert was educated at Jones Academy, became bookkeeper of the Cheap Jim Furniture Co., which is now known as Newman Furniture.

Colbert died in December of 1907, leaving the young widow with Cephus, age four and Earl, age two. Ada always said that Colbert urged that if anything happened to him, she should see the children go a good education. That was always a principle concern for her.

Cepha graduated form Durant High School that Cepha decided to become a teacher. She said that he principal influence her that direction came from her basketball coach and story teacher, Miss Winnie Lewis. Miss Lewis Was, accidentally a Choctaw Indian.

Cepha began teaching before she earned her degree attending summer school. Her first teaching job was Broken Bow, Oklahoma in McCurtain County. During that time, she met Charles Brent of Broken Bow and they were married in December pf 1923, at her home in Durant.

Cepha continued teaching high school English, Speech and Spanish, also coaching girl’s basketball in several communities in southeastern Oklahoma. Her husband owned an operated movie theaters in the area. They had one daughter, Nancy Barbara, who was born in Oklahoma City on 10-30-1930. The couple was divorced in 1936.

In 1938, Cepha went to teach in Wayne, Oklahoma and grandmother Ada Intolubba came to live with them to help take care of Barbara during the school year. During the summer, Ada went back to Durant to stay in her own home. Summer, Cepha did graduate work at the University of Oklahoma. It was in Wayne that Cepha met and subsequently married Thomas J. Jesse in 1940.

During the next few years, Cepha, Tom, Barbara and grandmother Intolubbe lived mostly in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Barbara graduated from Will Rogers High School and decided to attend the Kansas City Art Institute in 1948. With Barbara safely off to college, Cepha and Tom decided to join the Alaska Native Service for two years, from 1949 to 1951. Cepha’s brother, earl Intolubbe, was already in Alaska with his family. Cepha and Tom worked and taught among the Aleuts, first in Belkofski and the in Perryville—all native villages with no stores and no roads. They took a year’s supply of groceries with them.

Tom was a professional writer and photographer an upon their return from Alaska, he went to work for the Oklahoma Game and Fish Department. Cepha began teaching again in Oklahoma. Then Tom became a Federal Project Leader in the McCurtain County State Game Refuge. For two years, they enjoyed being in the middle of a 15,000-acre virgin wilderness, 37 miles from Broken Bow. Cepha did not teach but helped Tom with his biological studies. As avid Audubon Society members, they also identified and reported some unusual birds. When Tom Jesse was transferred back to Oklahoma City, Cephe resumed teaching by decided to work in elementary education.

In 1960, the Jesse Family moved to Rockport, Texas in the Arkansas County school system until her retirement at the age of 76.

Tom Jesse died in 1974 but Cepha remained in Rockport and in their home a month before her death in August 1994 at he age of 91