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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: July 19, 1937
Name: John Luther Branchcomb
Post Office: Tahlequah, Oklahoma; Peggs Route
Date of Birth: Feb. 4, 1871
Place of Birth: Mount Vernon, Illinois
Father: Daniel Branchcomb
Place of Birth: Mount Vernon, Illinois
Information on father: Too young to fight in the Civil War
Mother: Mary Gentles
Place of birth: Mount Vernon, Illinois
Information on mother: Died in Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory 1883
Field Worker: Wylie Thornton
Vol. XVI pages 144-149

Experiences of John Luther Branchcomb
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 place.Ē

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 this.

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 burden.

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 <pkcouch@efortress.com>

NOTE:  contact Sandra McCann<sandra@mccann-nw.com>, great great granddaughter of John Branchcomb for more information.  July 2001.

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Brenda Park <lnghntrss@aol.com> November 1999.