Submitted by: Bessie Wall
Allie Potts was born at Yanush, I.T. in 1886. At the time of her birth, Yanush was known as ‘Ole Green Hill Community’. Allie married Thomas Henry Wall and there were 13 children born to this union. Napolean, born March-1903, deceased. Bertha Ann, born September 1904. Evelyn, born October 1907, deceased. Agnes, no date available, deceased. Henry, born August 1908, died in service World War II. Bessie Wall, born March 11-1910. Christine, born May 1912, deceased. Lois, born August 1917, deceased. David & twin, born September 1919, twin died before named. Zorabelle born April 1921. Ada Belle, born October 1923, deceased. Delora, born December 1925. I, Bessie wall, am single because I’ve been too busy working. I enjoy reading, writing family memorabilia, stamp collecting and reading the Bible. In the late forties and fifties, I was an employee of the Indian Hospital and the State TB Hospital in Talihina, Okla. Where I was promoted into nursing service by the Medical Director of the hospital. In 1955, I went to Dallas where I was an employee of the Baylor Medical Center for 17 years. So here I am-all tracks lead to the mountains, living on the Choctaw Nation Compound.
Our family lived in the county always. In my early days, I remember walking one and one half to two miles to school. My brother Henry was a brother first, a friend, a protector and a boss. We always talked, laughed and cried together sometimes. My two older sisters attended FHA and my oldest brother was away at school. So, Papa talked to Henry and I about helping with chores, like going for the cows before milking time. We carried wood for the cook stove and helped Mama with the cooking. Being left handed, I kept my distance from work so I wouldn’t hinder the smallest detail. Mama taught us well in sewing, cooking and keeping house. I learned a lot in 4-H, also. I learned to hem flour sacks into tea towels among many other things. I attended schools at Wheelock, Tuskahoma and Chiloco Academies in Oklahoma. I remember al three schools with admiration and respect for the teachers.
I remember the Tuskahoma Female Academy well. It was a beautiful brick; native stone and wood trim three-story building. It housed employees, student, classrooms, music room, kitchen, dining room, bathrooms and a small candy store. The Home Economics building was only a few steps away. The dairy barn was a large building and there were hay barns. O.A. Wright was school superintendent while I was there which was 1923-1926. His family lived there and they had a son, Maxwell, who attended school with us. I was there when the Academy burned. It was a sad time for young girls but no one was hurt. Ethel Jackson and I was in charge of the smaller girls and we slept on the fourth floor with them. The night the Academy burned, we had our charges in bed when we were alerted about the fire. Ethel and I quickly helped the little ones dress. Ethel stood just outside of the side door in protection of the children as they came out onto the fire escape. I was inside, looking under beds and in closets to make sure they were all out. Finally, Ethel and I followed the little students down the fire escape. I jumped to the ground; the escape ladder came tumbling down. I kept running to help Ethel wrap the children in blankets and stayed with them.
Every time, I think of Tuskahoma burning on that cold night in December, I think of Frank Ishawood who was driving by and noticed the blaze around the chimney flue. He drove back to Tuskahoma and alerted the people. We were taken into the homes of the people in and around Tuskahoma. Two days later, the eight grade students were transferred to Wheelock Academy near Millerton, Ok. That was where about eight of us from the eight grade went. I remember Supt. O.A. Wright saying, “not one young lady in here who cannot achieve what you want to be.” There is so much more to be said for each of eh schools that helped so many of the Choctaw children in getting their education plus learning so many more things. I am not an original enrollee but several in my family was so I felt that I could give an insight to the lifetime of my family plus some other things that affected many other original enrollees. Chief Hollis Roberts, you have thrown yourself in many paths for the Choctaw people and may the lord ever guide you to better programs. Thanks to your family for sharing a husband, father and grandfather with a whole tribe.