Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
History Project for Oklahoma
Date: June 17, 1937
Sarah Eldora Cruce Bousman (Mrs.)
Post Office: Waurika,
Date of Birth: December
Place of Birth: Choctaw
Father: Tom Cruce
Place of Birth: Virginia
Information on father:
Mother: Katherine Rutledge
Place of birth: Choctaw
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Ethel V.
Volume XVI, Pages 38-43
I was born December 25,
1859 in the Choctaw Nation.
I am one quarter Choctaw
Indian. My fatherís name was Tom CRUCE; he was born in Virginia.
My motherís name was Katherine RUTLEDGE; she was born in the Choctaw Nation.
She died March 1915 and is buried at Jacks. My mother was a Choctaw
Indian. About fifty-six years ago I was married to Louis Phillip
BOUSMAN at Taxcosa, Texas. We came to Oklahoma in the early days
and settled close to a little town called Fleetwood. We had four
children born to us and two of the girls are married, one living close
to us and the other living in the house with me.
My husband was Deputy
United States Marshal and Ranger, when we came to Oklahoma. We did
some farming and cattle raising, but not very much as he was away from
home a great deal of the time.
We raised lots of watermelons,
peas, hogs, some cattle, corn for our own use, geese, chickens, and some
turkeys, collards, cabbage and white potatoes.
Then we gathered the potato
crop they were gathered like we gather peanuts today; all were left on
the bush until we were ready to use them.
We made all our moccasins
out of very soft leather; we beaded them and all the work was done by hand.
All our clothes were made
out of deer hides and for thread after the deer was shot we would rip the
legs open and take the sinews out and rip them into threads and after they
were dried and seasoned, they were ready for use. We could not tear
them apart after they were made as this thread is so very strong.
We used the bark and leaves
from different kinds of trees for various ailments, also the berries from
the sumach tree and all kinds of wild roots.
DYES AND PAINTS
Our dyes and paints were
made from the different kinds of clay and some were made from the wild
berries and some of the leaves were used sometimes.
BASKETS AND POTTERY
There was a certain kind
of weeds and a certain kind of clay that we would make all our baskets
and pottery out of; it would take it a long time to dry so that we could
use it without cracking.
We also would make our
pots, to cook in over the fireplace out of clay.
BUCKETS AND CHURNS
Our buckets and churns
were made out of hickory; we used the best part of the large cedar trees;
after a very large hickory tree was cut down, we cut our churns and buckets
and worked hard to get them very smooth and then when they were seasoned
just right, we put them together with brass hoops and they would last a
WASH TUBS AND BOARDS
Our tubs were made out
of hickory, too, and we would have the largest trees cut down to make the
wash tubs out of; we would hollow the trees out as deep as we wanted them
and then cut them down as smooth as we could, sometimes we made two tubs
out of the same log with just a division between.
When we wanted to use
an iron, we called it a sad iron. We would put what we called a trivet
over the coals in the fire place to heat the irons and it would keep the
irons from getting smutty.
When the Indians began
to live in the houses they would not have the rooms joined together; they
had the rooms with the beds in them all off away from the cook shack and
after everybody was up in the morning the rooms were cleaned and the beds
were all made up and then the rooms were closed until time to go back to
bed at night and if anybody wanted to lie down he would get his blanket
and go out under a tree or in the shade of the house.
The cook shack was used
all day to cook in; we could eat and stay there all day if we wanted to
and this room was away from the rest of the rooms quite a distance.
We did all our cooking over the fireplace with clay pots and kettles made
from clay and weeds, or mud and weeds. The Indians never used salt
on anything they eat. Sometimes they would want to cook their meats
differently so they would get a long stick and sharpen the end and hold
the meat over the fire and cook it that way until it was about done then
they would have a feast.
CHURCH AND SCHOOLS
We would go to church
once a month when the preacher came around to hold services; we called
him the Circuit riding preacher. If any couple wanted to get married
they always had to wait until he came around.
Then in the week time
we would have school and the white children would go half day and the Indian
children would go half day. When the teacher would call on any of
the Indian children to answer a question, she never could get them to say
one word, not even make a grunt, they always looked like they were scared
to move, so the teacher never did know whether they were learning anything
Oxen were used to do all
the plowing and heavy work and hauling up the large logs when we wanted
to make any thing; if we wanted to go any great distance we would ride
in the ox cart or wagon, whichever was hitched up.
Our houses had dirt floors
mostly; we had to keep them swept clean all the time. If we wanted
a floor in any room they would cut down a pine or cypress tree, cut the
logs the length needed and then saw them half in two long ways and turn
the sawed side up and then use flint rock to smooth the logs off or make
up a sand mixture of some kind and work hard until the floors were white
and smooth; we called them puncheon floors.
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