Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
History Project for Oklahoma
Date: July 19, 1937
John Luther Branchcomb
Post Office: Tahlequah,
Oklahoma; Peggs Route
Date of Birth: Feb. 4,
Place of Birth: Mount
Father: Daniel Branchcomb
Place of Birth: Mount
Information on father:
Too young to fight in the Civil War
Mother: Mary Gentles
Place of birth: Mount
Information on mother:
Died in Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory 1883
Field Worker: Wylie Thornton
Vol. XVI pages 144-149
Experiences of John Luther
Pioneer of Oklahoma
I came to Oklahoma quite
awhile before statehood, I came to the Indian Territory when I was only
twenty years of age, getting here in July 1891. I rented the old
Mike MAYFIELD place near Gideon, and found that I had landed right in the
middle of an Indian settlement. There were about three white families
anywhere near me and these were Eli, John, and Henry FAUBUS, out there
on Fourteen Mile Creek and Arch Hill.
About the first thing
I did was to pitch in making some kind of a crop such as I could plant
away late like that, but I raised a few things that year; and the next
spring I saw I needed help out here alone, so I married Nancy Ann HILL
in the month of June. She was the daughter of Arch Hill. We
have six children living today and two of our children died within three
years of each other.
The first church my family
had the privilege of attending was the old Marvin church down there near
the Bill BALLINTINE place, near the Male seminary just south of Tahlequah.
The only preacher we had at that time was named WRIGHT and he lived near
that church on a farm.
The first Doctor I remember
was Dr. Henry BONDS there in Tahlequah. He used to come out to see
the sick folks on a horse because I tell you we didnít have any roads in
this country back there in 1891 and up to away after 1910, and we havenít
got too good a road out there yet but in that time all we had were trails
through the woods. This present road wasnít here. The road
going north out of Tahlequah passed on east of us here. It went down
a bad hill away in this direction (pointing in the northeast direction);
it went down by Gideon and Peggs and on to Locust Grove and Pryor.
The first school out this
way was an old colored seminary at Seminary Springs, just about two miles
west of me here, and I judge these springs are about six miles from town,
pretty near due south. I guess that big spring is one of the best
known springs in Oklahoma.
Field workerís note:
I saw the spring and
it certainly is a wonder spring, coming right up out of the earth in a
flat and smooth location. It is flowing with a great force and causing
a large branch to start down through the country. This spring should
be noted in Oklahoma History in some way. Here is the location of
the First Negro Educational Institution in Oklahoma, I suppose, not too
sure of that.
After leaving the Mayfield
place, Mr. BRANCHCOMB moved out on Black-bird creek, north of here, where
he took a lease from Gordon WATKINS for four years. Watkins sold
this place to John HICKS (that was still before the allotments) and then
John Hicks gave this farm to his stepson, George HOUSTON. George
Houston wanted Mr. Branchcomb to stay with him and Mr. Branchcomb says,
ďI remained with him six years making a total of ten years on this same
I found a real friend
in this Indian, George Houston, I had been deceived by several men here
in this Indian Territory just where a man needed a real friend so badly.
After I had begun to believe I had a real friend he would do something
to hurt me and my family, but this man, George Houston remained a true
friend through every trail and a dear friend in time of sickness and death.
This Indian had something good about him.
After we left the Houston
place, we moved to Pryor and lived one year on Widow COLEís place just
six miles east of Pryor. We didnít like the community here.
We got lonesome and the next year we came right back to our old acquainted
neighborhood just a few miles north of here, and I bought forty acres from
Charles RILES. We lived there for twelve years and there is where
I got a start. By this time we began to have some church services
and the country began to put on a little community life, and a few more
whites moved in. I sold this forty acres just two years ago.
I had this place in my name several years ago so when I sold this other
place, we just moved here. My first wife died and I married this
full blood Indian woman Sept 4, 1936; she is a Creek.
The biggest change I recall
in this country is the roads and wild game, why I have seen wild deer running
in droves, right out in a field over here across that creek. I have
seen wild game of every kind here. I have killed game of every kind
but deer in this country. I never was able to kill a deer.
I have considered W.W.
HASTINGS a fair friend of mine up here at town, but of course I never have
called on him to represent me or any thing of that kind, and yes I have
known Mike CHORMLEY and his two brothers, Dave and Scott Chormley, but
I think Scott Chormley is Mikeís half brother; however I am not sure of
I have been on this place
here now seventeen years and expect to die right here.
Another thing that is
also noticeably different from those old days is the crop failures.
Now would you believe it if I told you I have made $600 on six acres of
land and my boy has made $400 on four acres, when we planted it in cotton.
I used to make money so easy, not half as much worry and work as now.
I am not blaming the Government, or any thing else but crop failure, for
the farmersí plight. The biggest change is all of these, roads, game,
schools, and settlement, loss of open stock range, and of course, taxation
Yes I am glad to tell
you anything I can, and hope I have helped you some at least.
NOTE: also see Fielding
Salyer Hill, brother-in-law of John Luther
Branchcomb - Jerry L Couch <email@example.com>
NOTE: contact Sandra McCann<firstname.lastname@example.org>, great great granddaughter of John Branchcomb for more information.
July 2001.Submitted to OKGenWeb by Brenda Park <email@example.com>