Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: April 28, 1938
Residence Address: West Tulsa, Oklahoma
Name: Martha Ethel Hamilton Jacobson
Date of Birth : July 8 1893
Place of Birth: Arkansas
Father: John William Hamilton
Place of Birth:
Information on father:
Mother: Elizabeth Jane Bohannan
Place of Birth: Clifty, Madison Co, Arkansas
Information on mother:
Field Worker:W.T. Holland Investigator.
I was born in Madison County, Arkansas, July 8. 1872. My parents were
natives of Arkansas, my mother being a BOHANNAN before she married.
My father, William Hamilton, was a farmer and followed farming all his
life. His experiences in the Territory, and mine, begin in 1898, when we came
over into the "Nation", leasing land from the Indians near
Tahlequah. We lived ther and farmed for three years, until 1901, when we went
to the western part of the state, living among the Arapaho Indians.
Chief Little Bear was a neighbor and friend of ours. He came to our home
frequently, mostly to get something to eat, as he rarely ever came without
These Indians were primitive and followed their old customs and habits.
They lived in villages and when tired of one locality, they dismantled their
tepees, loaded up their things and moved on to other parts of the reservation.
I was afraid of them, however, without cause, as I never heard of them
molesting anyone. They had a burial ground about twelve miles west of Watonga
where a great number of the Arapaho Tribe were buried. They have peculiar
habits regarding burial: everything belonging to the deceased was either
buried with them or placed on the graves. I've seen baby carriages and rag
dolls upon the graves of babies. At regular intervals they placed food and
water on their graves for the deceased to eat. Of course, birds or animals
almost always got the food and water, still the Indians seemed to think, or
tried to leave the impression that the dead had returned and eaten the food.
Cotton and Kaffir corn were the principal crops and Kaffir corn a very
important one. Corn didn't do so well out around Kingfisher, not enough rain,
and often Kaffir corn was used for bread, but my parents parched it and made a
drink form it, a substitute for coffee, and a pretty good one too.
The Western part around Kingfisher, Watonga and Okeene was comparatively
level. I know for I used to watch the trains approach. If the engineer was
making smoke, you could see it for miles, so far away it looked like a toy
train coming along, and it seemed a long time getting to you.
Not pleasant to relate, but the Indians were glad to take charge of all
dead stock on the farm especially cattle. They would skin and cut up such
animals, then carry them away for food. Often I have seen them eat the meat
They were superstitious. Chief Little Bear told us that if they were
moving from one camp to another and heard an owl hoot in front of them, they
immediately turned and went the opposite direction. This was a warning that
something adverse would happen to them if the continued on that way.
We few white settlers got together occasionally for socials, pie
suppers, "play parties" and so on. We had preaching once a month by
a circuit rider who usually had four places to preach, making the rounds each
In school I reached the fifth grade.
I have been living in West Tulsa twenty-three years and when I came here
only a few houses had been built.
[Submitter's Comments: Louise Reeves, 4038 S. 65 W. Ave., Tulsa, Ok.
On Grandma Jacobson interview she stated her birth year as 1872. This either
typo error or she used the year of her mother's birth. I'm showing on one of
the census she was born July 8 1891, but the headstone shows 1893. She is
buried at Floral Haven Cemetery, Tulsa, Oklahoma died Dec. 30 1972.]
Martha Ethel Hamilton was married to Carl John Jacobson Dec. 19, 1908.
Of that marriage the following children was born, Lester Carl, Eva, Carrie
Meda, Leroy, Henry Elbert Clay (Harry), Roy George, Harold Frank, Bertha
Martha, Donald Everett, Jackie Raymond, Betty Lucille, and Robert Eugene