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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: July 20, 1937
Name: William Ballard
Post Office: Braggs, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Place of Birth:  
Information on father:
Place of birth:  
Information on mother:
Field Worker:  Florence L. Phillips

William Ballard was born at Whiteoak, 18 miles South of Tahlequah, in 1876. He is a Ĺ blood Cherokee Indian.

His fatherís people came from Tennessee, his motherís people from North Carolina. They came by wagon train drawn by oxen and horses. His grandmother died on the way and a grave was dug a few yards from the road. Where she was buried, the grave marked by a stone with no inscription.

None of his people took part in the run of 1889. His ancestors were farmers and hunters, also fishermen.

William Ballard is a farmer and Deputy Marshal at present commissioned under Tom JORDON, present sheriff of Muskogee County. He was once a deputy Sheriff under George CROFFORD and U.S. Marshall appointed by Leo E. BENNETT before statehood and was deputy Sheriff under R.B. RAMSEY.  He was U.S. Marshal during the early outlaw reign of Mose MILLER, Bill NAIL, Bill DOOLIN, James MILLER and John Miller. They were sons of Calvin Miller. He was in the searching party the night Mose Miller was captured. He and Bill Nail killed Jack TAYLOR, (supposed to be Zack) a merchant, at Hulbert. Previously he had shot and killed Tom MADDEN on Sunday morning at Braggs. Calvin Miller, Mose, James and John Millerís father was a good moral man and held office of Deputy Sheriff during Territory days. He belonged to the Keetoowah society. James and John Miller, his sons were killed. Jim was killed by Ross BENGE. John was killed near Porum by Tom JORDON Sr. Mose was killed later, he was decoyed into robbing the Vian bank and waylaid about 3 miles north of Vian. He was shot by a Marshall at Vian. Bill Nail, Mose Millerís pardner in crime was an outlaw of short duration. He hung around Greenleaf Mountain in the Cookson Hills. He killed only one man. He and Mose killed Zack Taylor, then robbed his store. Bill Nail was killed about 7 miles Northeast of Braggs by Tom BEAVERS. He was head of posse at the time. Bill Dollin was a white man wanted by the U.S. authorities. A large government reward was offered for him dead or alive. His hideout was around Enid, mostly. Calvin Miller led the posse.

They captured him East of Braggs. He started to resist arrest, but being covered by so many, he gave up. After Calvin Miller, deputy Sheriff questioned him, he turned him loose, believing his, Doolinís lies. However rumor said he was later killed by a posse and U.S. Marshals. It was not true, he died of tuberculosis. His body was turned over to marshals who tied it to a post and riddled it with bullets. This was done to collect the reward.

Ned CHRISTY was an outlaw who lived east of Tahlequah for years. He had terrorized the people of Cookson Hills and vicinity. He wounded John FIELDS (not fatal) when a posse led by Charley BOWDEN, U.S. Marshal, tried to capture or kill him. Failing to capture of kill him, Charley Bowden led a posse composed of fighting men. One youth, John WATERS, 18 years of age (son of George Waters, one of the most prominent cattlemen of Vian) crawled up to the house and placed the dynamite under the floor. This was set off by fuse, but Christy, ever watchful, heard a slight noise and peering about decided to leave his cabin. He sprang out the door as the house blew up and was shot down by Kale STARR, Marshal.

Creek PANOSKI was another bad man. He lived in the Cookson Hills. He was charged with killing 3 men. His first murder was a Creek Indian, brother to Bill BUSTER, then Jack CANDY and Medley HAIR. He was captured by John L. BROWN and posse and tried at Illinois Court House and sentenced to hang. He was placed in the jail at Tahlequah. When he later escaped jail and went back to Cookson Hills, Dydimus SANDERS led the posse that later trapped him at his house. He stepped outside his cabin and was shot down by Hunter BUSTER.

John FIELDS, another outlaw killed George REDBIRD, Cherokee prosecuting attorney of Illinois District. He was caught by William BALLARD, posse tried, convicted at Greenleaf Court, sentenced to hang and placed in jail at Tahlequah. He escaped, went back into the Cookson Hills, was hunted by a posse for 4 or 5 months, but was finally surrounded and killed by a posse led by Ed LUNSFORD, who was deputized by Sheriff Johnson MANNING.

The old Military Ford crossed the Illinois River near the old McKey Salt Works.

Ball games were played by the indians, however it was a novel game because of the sticks used for bats. They were about 3 feet long with a basket on one end woven of squirrel skins. This basket held the ball, a pole several feet high, with a wooden fish on top was the goal to be won. The ball was pitched by the hand stick from the basket, at the fish end, caught in the basket on the hand stick by the other players.

One ceremonial ground was 4 miles North of where old Military Trail crossed the Illinois River. This ground was known as the Coleman Dick Stomp Ground. Another ceremonial ground is at Chief Redbird Smithís old homeplace, Northwest of Vian.

The Greenleaf Court House was the site for Illinois District. They were very superstitious. They believed in witchcraft, dreams, omen, signs form the stars, wailing of the wind and lowing of cattle at midnight portended either evil or good luck. The Cherokees didnít move about much. There were several payments from the government. The Strip payment, the Old Settlers payment and Bread money payments. There were secret societies. The nost noted in our district was the Keetoowahs, Nighthawks. Tribal costumes were worn at the council or ceremonies of Keetoowahs, She-Wa-Gun-Sti, Redbird SMITH was chief of the Keetoowahs.

Garfield was first, the post office for Braggs and near Greenleaf Court House. The post master was Mr. MCAFEE.

The Chisholm Trail was the old cattle trail leading from North to South across the state. The old mail coach route ran from Kansas through Oklahoma Territory on into Texas. Stage stops were Fort Gibson, two miles Southeast of Braggs at Daniel ROACHís, at Gore, Illinois Station, overnight at George Waters, at Vian, then on into Fort Smith, Arkansas.

The Squatters were the Watts Delegation. They were around Muldrow. They tried to be influential and keep the lands they unlawfully held.

The best timber was walnut.

Trading posts were Fort Smith, Fort Gibson, Webbers Falls and Tahlequah in the 1860ís.

Mules, horses and oxen were used in farming.

Weapons used in those days were knives, cap and ball pistols, single rifles and brass band muskets.

Political parties in the Cherokee Nation were the National and Downing.

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Betty Sanders Spencer  bjss@intellex.com  Aug 2000.