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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: March 17, 1938
Name: John H. Bright
Post Office: Westville, Oklahoma
Residence Address:
Date of Birth: November 8, 1873
Place of Birth: Goingsnake District, Cherokee Nation, I.T.
Father: William Bright
Place of Birth: Goingsnake District, Cherokee Nation, I.T.
Information on father:
Mother: Sallie Morton
Place of birth:
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Jesse S. Bell

I was born November 8, 1873, in Goingsnake District, Indian Territory, the youngest son of William BRIGHT, born in 1844 in Goingsnake District. My father served as guard and jury. Under the Cherokee law we did not put our prisoners in jail, we tied them to post or tree until trail when they were either freed by the court or sentenced, then they would turn the guards loose; they were paid by the Cherokee Nation. My father was one-half Cherokee and my mother, Sallie MORTON, was one-fourth Cherokee. My father was an Old Settler, my mother was an immigrant. They did not obtain any education.

When I became twenty-one, I voted for the first time at Goingsnake District Court House. I have lived on Ballard Creek ever since 1876, now Adair County.

My father was not quite old enough to join the army during the Civil War so he managed to hide around in the mountains. About the close of the War he and some other men stood off the attack of some bushwhackers who were marauding around the country from house to house, robbing the women.

People had a pretty hard time during the War; some dug in the smokehouse to get salt for their cooking and others barked the slippery elm to eat. Of course, some used it for medicinal purposes. There were a great many churches in Goingsnake District but schools were the chief attraction in those days. The Cherokee Baptist Mission was founded by missionaries. I attended this school. Aunt Carrie BUSHYHEAD, nee QUALLS, was our school teacher.* I saw and heard the first church bell ring. Our schoolhouse was built of hewed logs, it had been the printing office of the Cherokee Advocate, the first printing office in Indian Territory. After they took the partition out, it made a big schoolroom.

Cincinnati, Arkansas, was our trading post for this end of the Territory and Jim CATES was a wagonmaker. There were many wagons used and driven in Indian Territory by Cherokees and white freighters through the country to Fort Gibson Post.

The BECKS and United States Marshals caused the PROCTOR fight; they attempted to take Proctor away from the law and the guards of the Cherokee law. They were giving him a fair trial by the law for the murder of a Mrs. HILDEBRAND. The United States Marshals and the Becks armed themselves and went down to the court house and trouble started as soon as they rode up. There were eleven men killed at that time.

[Transcribers note - The teacher referred to was Caroline Elizabeth "Carrie" Bushyhead, the daughter of Rev. Jesse Bushyhead. Carrie's husband was William Robert Quarles.]

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Wanda Morris Elliott <jwdre@intellex.com> December 2000.