Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
History Project for Oklahoma
Date: October 26, 1937
William Harvey Adams
Residence address or
location: Nine miles southwest of Tahlequah, Oklahoma Oklahoma
Date of Birth: February
Place of Birth: Carlisle
Father: Robert Adams
Place of Birth: Virginia
Information on father:
Died on old homestead in Kentucky
Mother: Ruth Freeze
Place of birth: Louisville,
Information on mother:
Died on old homestead in Kentucky
Field Worker: Wylie Thornton
I was born on the 24th
day of February, 1875, in Carlisle County Kentucky, and when I was eighteen
years of age, I left there in company with three families all traveling
The heads of these families
were Jim HAYS, and a man named Clark, and Riley HELTON. There were
three grown girls and two grown boys in the Helton family.
Mr. Helton agreed to let
me ride with his family for $15.00 and I paid him that amount for my transportation.
We came through Arkansas
into the Territory and Mr. Helton lost a daughter in death in Arkansas
and I helped him bury her on a limestone hill in Arkansas.
We reached the Cherokee
Nation on the 2nd day of November, and we landed right here in old Tahlequah.
I started right out hunting
work and in a short time I was introduced by a man, who undertook to help
me, to a widow Mrs. Mollie BROWN; she was Mr. Bill MCKAY’s daughter and
lived out here near Park Hill, just across the road from the first Presbyterian
Mission that used to be out here.
I worked for the Widow
Brown for about 2 years at $15.00 per month and board and room. That
was good wages for those days, and I wore good clothes and had money all
the time, in fact I saved a little.
I went to church over
there at that Mission and right here I began to get acquainted with the
All the children attending
the schools then seemed to be Indians.
The man who had charge
of that Mission was a man named LAMB and he decided to do something for
the white people who wanted to learn, so he hired a man named HENSLEY to
teach a night school for white people, and it was for grown people too.
I attended this night
school until I learned how to read and write and that’s all the education
I ever got.
The regular teachers for
those Indian children were 2 women named Miss MCCARRELL (?) and Miss Stella
In four years after my
arrival here I was married to an Indian girl named Mary STEVENS, the daughter
of Lige Stevens and it so happened that my wife was a first cousin to Jim
French’s wife and Jim FRENCH was an outlaw of the early days.
That outlaw was a very
friendly young man when he came to visit us and you would never imagine
he would do such things as they said he did, and when he disappeared from
the neighborhood for weeks at a time, we of course did not know what he
was doing or where he was, but when he was about the home community he
was just as friendly and considerate as a man could be.
He was rather a small
man and weighed about a hundred and thirty-five pounds with keen piercing
black eyes, and was very quick in all his movements. He seemed to
be double-jointed or limber all over.
This Jim French was married
to a young Indian girl named Nan RIDER; she was a sister to Tom Rider
who was well known in later years as a State Representative, and was known
for his interest in the Cherokee people, and in good government.
Tom Rider later died in the city of Muskogee, and was buried in Adair County.
Wilson Rider the father
of Mrs. French was a great leader among these Indians in the Cookson Hills
country. He was known as a strong believer in the Christian religion,
and a great foe of that which was wrong and therefore he was respected
in all movements tending to uplift his people.
One thing I want to mention
about the Indians of those days is their honesty in keeping their promises.