William Ballard was born at Whiteoak, 18 miles South of Tahlequah, in 1876.
He is a Ĺ blood Cherokee Indian.
His fatherís people came from Tennessee, his motherís people from North
Carolina. They came by wagon train drawn by oxen and horses. His grandmother
died on the way and a grave was dug a few yards from the road. Where she was
buried, the grave marked by a stone with no inscription.
None of his people took part in the run of 1889. His ancestors were farmers
and hunters, also fishermen.
William Ballard is a farmer and Deputy Marshal at present commissioned
under Tom JORDON, present sheriff of Muskogee County. He was once a deputy
Sheriff under George CROFFORD and U.S. Marshall appointed by Leo E. BENNETT
before statehood and was deputy Sheriff under R.B. RAMSEY. He was U.S.
Marshal during the early outlaw reign of Mose MILLER, Bill NAIL, Bill DOOLIN,
James MILLER and John Miller. They were sons of Calvin Miller. He was in the
searching party the night Mose Miller was captured. He and Bill Nail killed
Jack TAYLOR, (supposed to be Zack) a merchant, at Hulbert. Previously he had
shot and killed Tom MADDEN on Sunday morning at Braggs. Calvin Miller, Mose,
James and John Millerís father was a good moral man and held office of
Deputy Sheriff during Territory days. He belonged to the Keetoowah society.
James and John Miller, his sons were killed. Jim was killed by Ross BENGE.
John was killed near Porum by Tom JORDON Sr. Mose was killed later, he was
decoyed into robbing the Vian bank and waylaid about 3 miles north of Vian. He
was shot by a Marshall at Vian. Bill Nail, Mose Millerís pardner in crime
was an outlaw of short duration. He hung around Greenleaf Mountain in the
Cookson Hills. He killed only one man. He and Mose killed Zack Taylor, then
robbed his store. Bill Nail was killed about 7 miles Northeast of Braggs by
Tom BEAVERS. He was head of posse at the time. Bill Dollin was a white man
wanted by the U.S. authorities. A large government reward was offered for him
dead or alive. His hideout was around Enid, mostly. Calvin Miller led the
They captured him East of Braggs. He started to resist arrest, but being
covered by so many, he gave up. After Calvin Miller, deputy Sheriff questioned
him, he turned him loose, believing his, Doolinís lies. However rumor said
he was later killed by a posse and U.S. Marshals. It was not true, he died of
tuberculosis. His body was turned over to marshals who tied it to a post and
riddled it with bullets. This was done to collect the reward.
Ned CHRISTY was an outlaw who lived east of Tahlequah for years. He had
terrorized the people of Cookson Hills and vicinity. He wounded John FIELDS
(not fatal) when a posse led by Charley BOWDEN, U.S. Marshal, tried to capture
or kill him. Failing to capture of kill him, Charley Bowden led a posse
composed of fighting men. One youth, John WATERS, 18 years of age (son of
George Waters, one of the most prominent cattlemen of Vian) crawled up to the
house and placed the dynamite under the floor. This was set off by fuse, but
Christy, ever watchful, heard a slight noise and peering about decided to
leave his cabin. He sprang out the door as the house blew up and was shot down
by Kale STARR, Marshal.
Creek PANOSKI was another bad man. He lived in the Cookson Hills. He was
charged with killing 3 men. His first murder was a Creek Indian, brother to
Bill BUSTER, then Jack CANDY and Medley HAIR. He was captured by John L. BROWN
and posse and tried at Illinois Court House and sentenced to hang. He was
placed in the jail at Tahlequah. When he later escaped jail and went back to
Cookson Hills, Dydimus SANDERS led the posse that later trapped him at his
house. He stepped outside his cabin and was shot down by Hunter BUSTER.
John FIELDS, another outlaw killed George REDBIRD, Cherokee prosecuting
attorney of Illinois District. He was caught by William BALLARD, posse tried,
convicted at Greenleaf Court, sentenced to hang and placed in jail at
Tahlequah. He escaped, went back into the Cookson Hills, was hunted by a posse
for 4 or 5 months, but was finally surrounded and killed by a posse led by Ed
LUNSFORD, who was deputized by Sheriff Johnson MANNING.
The old Military Ford crossed the Illinois River near the old McKey Salt
Ball games were played by the indians, however it was a novel game because
of the sticks used for bats. They were about 3 feet long with a basket on one
end woven of squirrel skins. This basket held the ball, a pole several feet
high, with a wooden fish on top was the goal to be won. The ball was pitched
by the hand stick from the basket, at the fish end, caught in the basket on
the hand stick by the other players.
One ceremonial ground was 4 miles North of where old Military Trail crossed
the Illinois River. This ground was known as the Coleman Dick Stomp Ground.
Another ceremonial ground is at Chief Redbird Smithís old homeplace,
Northwest of Vian.
The Greenleaf Court House was the site for Illinois District. They were
very superstitious. They believed in witchcraft, dreams, omen, signs form the
stars, wailing of the wind and lowing of cattle at midnight portended either
evil or good luck. The Cherokees didnít move about much. There were several
payments from the government. The Strip payment, the Old Settlers payment and
Bread money payments. There were secret societies. The nost noted in our
district was the Keetoowahs, Nighthawks. Tribal costumes were worn at the
council or ceremonies of Keetoowahs, She-Wa-Gun-Sti, Redbird SMITH was chief
of the Keetoowahs.
Garfield was first, the post office for Braggs and near Greenleaf Court
House. The post master was Mr. MCAFEE.
The Chisholm Trail was the old cattle trail leading from North to South
across the state. The old mail coach route ran from Kansas through Oklahoma
Territory on into Texas. Stage stops were Fort Gibson, two miles Southeast of
Braggs at Daniel ROACHís, at Gore, Illinois Station, overnight at George
Waters, at Vian, then on into Fort Smith, Arkansas.
The Squatters were the Watts Delegation. They were around Muldrow. They
tried to be influential and keep the lands they unlawfully held.
The best timber was walnut.
Trading posts were Fort Smith, Fort Gibson, Webbers Falls and Tahlequah in
Mules, horses and oxen were used in farming.
Weapons used in those days were knives, cap and ball pistols, single rifles
and brass band muskets.
Political parties in the Cherokee Nation were the National and Downing.
Submitted to OKGenWeb by Betty Sanders Spencer email@example.com Aug 2000.