Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
History Project for Oklahoma
Date: March 21, 1938
Post Office: Miller,
Date of Birth: June 17,
Place of Birth: Near
a part-blood Choctaw
Father: William Labor
Place of Birth: Smithville,
Information on father:
Mother: Pheba Labor
Place of birth: Smithville,
Information on mother:
full blood Choctaw Indian
Field Worker: Johnson
I was born June 17, 1891,
near where Smithville is now but at that time there was no Smithville.
My father was raised near this place and my mother was raised there too.
My fatherís name was William LABOR and Motherís name was Pheba Labor and
they were both raised near Smithville. Father was of Spanish descent
but my mother was a full blood Indian. Grandfather came from Louisiana
and to the nation and located in those mountains in the eastern part of
the Nation and there the whole Labor family lived at one time and they
then began to scatter out into other parts of the country. I was
born near Smithville; the family consisted of nine girls and one boy and
after I grew up to be a pretty good sized boy we then moved from Nashoba
County as it was called then and moved to Blue County, now Bryan County;
that is where I was raised to manhood and I lived there for several years
and then moved to Pushmataha County where I am now living.
When we left Nashoba County
and came to Blue County, we located on the prairie, as being Choctaws,
we had a right to locate anywhere we found the land suitable for location
and under the Choctaw law regarding the land it was against the law for
any one to locate within four hundred and forty yards of a house but if
you located at that distance or father away it was all right so we found
a place and located on this place; we did not bring any furniture with
us when we came but we soon bought enough for us to make out on.
We built a log house and
lived in it for several years before we built a lumber house; we then put
some land in cultivation where we raised corn and some wheat and the like.
The county was fine at that time; the grass was good and there were plenty
of other things besides grass for stock to eat and they roamed the range.
We did not have to feed the stock at all during the winter season.
Every Indian in that part of the country had cattle, hogs and ponies; we
had cattle and hogs but we did not raise any ponies. That whole country
was full of cattle at that time but there was no market for them so we
had to ship them to the market but we realized very little for them.
We made lots of corn on the place and raised good wheat; we sold our wheat
to people in Bonham, Texas, but at that time wheat did not being but very
little but we got the money for what we did sell. My father being
part Spanish had the advantage over the Choctaws in that country and as
he was a good worker and a good manager it did not take him very long to
accumulate right smart property around him.
My mother had a spinning
wheel but she did not have a loom nor a weaver; she would use a card and
card the cotton and wool; she then would get her knitting needles and knit
the cotton and wool into socks and mittens. She never made any clothes
that I know of but she would dye the threads before she knit them and after
she got the socks and mittens knitted they were just the same as store
bought stuff, heavy and thick and they were warm in the winter. Mother
used to sell them to the neighbors for about 50 cents for both socks and
mittens but she never did make any pottery that I know of and I donít remember
seeing anyone making pottery but I have seen it for Mother used to have
a piece of pottery. It was a five gallon jar but I donít remember
what became of it after she died.
I was enrolled with the
other Choctaws at the time the Dawes Commission was in this country enrolling
the Choctaws, and I was allotted land and also got the payments that the
Choctaws got. We got several payments about the time Woodrow Wilson
was president but we have not gotten any more payments for a long time.
I did not know that we had an Indian Agency until after we made our allotments
of land; I guess we had one but I never heard of it until then and I donít
think that many Choctaws knew about it until after the allotment when the
papers begin to come from the Union Agency from Muskogee. The shipping
point as I said was at Denison, Texas, and we used to ship from there because
from the place where we all lived it was closer than Durant, and we did
not have to wait long to get cars for our cattle to load and get them on
the way to the market.
I used to attend the
Indian Camp meetings at Chishoktak, this is the name of the place in Choctaw
but in English it would be Postoak Prairie; it was a Presbyterian Indian
Church. This church is still being used. This church was there
when I was a boy and it is still there and being used, but the Choctaws
are about all gone now who used to attend this church. I have been
to their cries; they used to have their cries at the Church and sometimes
they would have a cry at the grave of the person who had died several months
before that or maybe sometimes it would be about six months or a year after
a person died before they would have those cries.
I attended the Jones Academy
for about two years and I went to Armstrong Academy for some time.
I then went back to Jones Academy where I got my eighth grade diploma and
went to several neighborhood schools before I finally quit going to school.
I can read and write in the English language but I am unable to read or
write in the Choctaw language.
In the way of relics I
have a cupboard that Mother used to use and a high chair that my father
made for us children which is very old, and I have a handsaw that Father
got from Grandfather which is about a hundred years old.
I am part Spanish descent
and part Choctaw Indian, all of my people on my fatherís side were mixed
up with Spanish blood but Mother was a full blood Choctaw Indian and I
have lived with my tribe all of my life and the balance of my people have
lived with the Choctaws until they have all about died out although there
are a few of the younger ones living but the older ones are all dead and
I am living near Miller Post office at this time.
Note: Johnson H.
Hampton, an Indian, writes his interview as it is given to him by his Indian
friends and as he himself, expresses ideas. In this manuscript no
change was made as the repetition of ideas, etc., seemed of value.
Transcribed and submitted
by Cindy Young <CindyYoung@aol.com>