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
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 <email@example.com> December 2000.