James, Betsy

A full blood Choctaw Indian woman 2 Blocks north of Main St. Blanco, Oklahoma Sept. 3, 1937

I was born two miles east of Nashoba, in Pushmataha County, in the year of 1881. My parents were William and Susanna Garland; both were full blood Choctaw Indians and are buried near Nashoba. We did not belong to any special clan. Nashoba had, at this time, o ne store, a post office, church, and school. Our tribe were mostly Methodists in the district where I lived. I do not remember who operated the store or was postmaster and neither do I remember our school teacher. All the buildings and houses in our vicinity were lumber as there were several sawmills near by. In school we used what we called the green book and I am still in possession of it. We had wood benches that we set o n; we used slates and had a small black board and the children who attended the school were Choctaw Indian children; our teacher was also Choctaw. Father and Mother farmed. they raised lots of corn, cotton, hogs, cattle and sheep. We had no fenced pastures but there was lots of good tall grass and the stock ran o n the range. Father had four ponies. When father went hunting he would kill o ne deer and no more. He would skin it where he killed it and put it o n the horse and carry it home. We often cut our hams in thin slices and put it o n top of the house to dry; and used it as needed. It was very easy to cook. Our principal foods were pashofa, shuck bread, sour bread and dried corn. We had our tents, blankets and quilts. This was at our summer camp meetings where we stayed for two or three days at a time. The family cooked for themselves and had their own meals alone. No whites ever attended these meetings that I remember of. Father went to Fort Smith, Arkansas, to buy his guns and ammunition and would be gone a week. I never went o n these trips; however, I never went any place. I stayed very close at home and know very little of what the other people were doing or their ways of living. I don’t remember how we made our medicines but I do know we used lots of home remedies. I never attended the Pashofa dances but do know they had them as well as the three day cries. Our clothes were home made. My mother used to spin the thread and weave the cloth but never taught me how. The men wore their hair to their shoulders while the women wore it long, down each shoulder in a braid. My husband was a Baptist Missionary Minister, preaching in the Indian Territory. He died in 1925 and was buried at Brushy Church.