Jackson, Lamar

An interview with Lamar Jackson, aged fifty years, Choctaw Indian, born April 15, 1889, in Mississippi and who moved to Indian Territory the year 1889, with his father and mother and their large family of children.. Father Willis Jackson, Choctaw Indian, came to Indian Territory as a Missionary Baptist preacher. He established and built a home seven miles southeast of Atoka, Indian Territory, in Sec. 22, T. 3 S, R 11 E,. He built a double room log house with a hall between; cleared twenty acres and fenced same with rails; built barn and meat house from native timber logs; and planted o ne acre in orchard of apple, peach, plum, pear, and cherry trees and of berries, and grapes. His livestock consisted of cattle, hogs, ponies, chickens, turkeys and bees and the crops raised were corn, cotton, potatoes, beans, peas, peanuts. His market for all of this was Atoka. He built a brush arbor and held religious services every Sunday, preaching to the Choctaws in their language, then interpreting in English.

In June 1891, there was a cyclone about 8:00 O’clock in the evening swept across Atoka County, traveling northeast. Our home was the o nly house in its path. Father, seeing the storm approaching, called all the family in the west room of the house and all knelt in prayer. In a few minutes all the house was blown away except the floor and four rounds of logs of the west room where we were engaged in prayer. That same week Choctaw Indians and others from 20 miles around gathered and furnished labor and finance to rebuild our home. They also built Choctaw Bethany Church, located very near our home. This cyclone destroyed everything in its path from fifty to five hundred feet wide and taking its course northeast it destroyed nearly all the timber, killed livestock, fowls, and wild game; but not o ne human being was killed or crippled. The Indians named this storm path the Texas, Indian Territory and Arkansas storm path because it formed near Gainesville, Texas, traveled northeast through Indian Territory, just missing Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and played out near Van Buren, Arkansas. This storm did lots of damage. It was easy to recognize where it traveled for twenty-five years.

This peat bed is located in Atoka County, Atoka, Oklahoma. It was used by the Indians in an area of twenty miles for blacksmithing and welding of iron and steel, 1873 to 1899. Father died at the age of 66 in 1910. He would hold and give religious feast in August of each year from 1890 to 1910 at Bethany Church and from two hundred to five hundred people would attend these meetings and camp for a week. The Atoka-Matoy wagon road was established in 1878 by the Choctaw Indians. It was abandoned from 1910 to 1920