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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: March 9, 1938
Name: Lottie Choate
Post Office: Nashoba, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1873, Full Blood Choctaw
Place of Birth: near Ludlow
Father: Charles Jones
Place of Birth: Ludlow
Information on father:
Mother: Rhoda Jones
Place of birth: Ludlow
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Johnson H. Hampton
Interview #13163

I was born some time in the year 1873, near what is new Ludlow, at the time I was born there was no Ludlow.

My father' s name was Charles JONES and Mother's name was Rhoda Jones. They both lived near Ludlow and they lived there until they both died. They are buried there at the old home place. They were both raised in this country and they were both full blood Choctaw Indians.

When I was a small girl that whole country around Ludlow was a dense forest; there were lots of fine pine timber and white oak and other good timber and the place where I was raised is between two ranges of mountains. This place is in the valley and a pretty good sized creek ran down the valley and on both sides are the mountains. The land in the valley along this creek was good land and there are small bottoms along the creek, which the Indians who were living there in that community put into cultivation and farmed. There were no big farms but small ones, about five acres, which was a big farm at that time for any Indian; they raised all the corn they needed for their bread for that was about all they needed at that time. My mother had a spinning wheel and a weaver and she used to make cloth and make pants and dress patterns and I used to help her with those things. She would spin the cotton or wool and then put it in balls and she then would put them in this weaver and weave them into cloth and she then would use the cloth in making the dresses and the pants and she made socks and mittens too. I don't remember what she used in dyeing the cloth for I was quite small when she was doing this but after she had dyed them they looked good. Those were the only kinds of goods we saw; there were no store bought goods so the home made ones did look good to us at that time.

We had a small farm, in order words a Tom Fuller patch, where we raised corn for our bread. This was a hard flint corn; we do not see it any more; and we had some corn that was called Choctaw corn; it was white corn and very soft; it was used for gritting; it was good for that. it was just as white as it could be. I donít see it any more, it has been lost and the seed has been lost some way and the flint corn is gone too. It was a hard corn; ponies could hardly eat it, it was so hard, but it was good to beat into meal. The way we did at that time, we would put our corn in a block of wood sawed off, we would burn one end of this block cup-shaped, making the hole big enough to hold right smart corn. We then would make the pestle and then we would beat this corn, fanning the hulls and the husk with a fan made for that purpose. It took a good while to make meal out of this corn but we did it for that was the only way we could get meal to eat. We then would make Tom Fuller as it is called now and Tanchlobona which was made by beating the corn. Tanchlobona was not fine, it made usually square corn after it was fanned out. Then we would make this Tnachlobona mixed with hog bones and let it boil and cook, then it was ready to eat. It sure was fine eating and the meal was fine meal; it was not like the ground meal nor the bolted meal it would keep for several days in a crock in which she kept the meal. Mother made several other things besides those she made out of corn, for that was all we had to eat; we did not have an flour at all only on some days when Father would get a sack of flour and we did not have coffee nor sugar; we did not know what sugar was until later years. The way we had coffee was to parch the corn and then grind it up fine and use it as coffee and we did not have real coffee but once in a while for there were no stores at that time where they could buy it. Father used to go to Fort Smith to trade; several men would get together and go at the same time. They would go in the Spring and then in the Fall, and they would bring back flour, coffee and sugar for the Winter; we sure had to be saving so we did not each much of the flour nor did we use coffee very much. It would take the boys several days to get back home for it was a long way to Fort Smith the way they had to go and if it rained, then it would take longer for them to get back. Later, there was a small store put up at Alikchi not very far from where we lived where Father did his trading, and then we would trade at Tushkahoma on the railroad. That was where I first saw a train, I was about 14 years old when I first saw a train, and it sure did frighten me for I did not know what it was when I first saw it on the track.

In our community the Choctaw lived pretty hard; they had some cattle, hogs and corn but they could not sell any of their stock, there was no market for stock, so they had to keep them until some of them died with old age. After they began to sell their stock they could buy what they wanted but not much at that for they did not get anything hardly for their stock at that time, and it was so rough in the country that after anyone bought the stock it was a hard matter for them to get it out of the country.

I was enrolled by the Dawes Commissioners when they enrolled the Choctaws. I don't know when that was but I know that I was enrolled and I selected land in the mountains. I did not get very good land for I did not want to get land anywhere else only in the country where I lived, for it had been my home ever since I was born. I also got my part of the payments with the other Choctaws; we got several payments about that time; I don't know what year that was.

I never saw an Indian war dance but Mother used to tell me that she used to dance it and the Scalp Dance. The War dance was given in honor of a boy who was going to join the army; they would give him the war dance. They would dance all night for him, then in the morning he would get on his pony and go to join the army. The Scalp Dance was held when the scalp of the enemy would be brought.  They would then get together and dance around the fire where the scalp was hanging near the fire where they could see it. The dance of that kind was done away with after the war; the Choctaw have not danced any of them since that time; in fact, they don't dance any dance at all now, they quit years ago.

We go to the camp meetings; in fact father used to camp years ago and we still keep it up; we go to a Methodist church. It was build years ago out of logs but the logs have been done away with and now they have a church house built out of lumber. This is a good church house that is being used now. My people were all christians and belonged to this church at that time but they all died out; there are but few Choctaws in this part of the country now.

Mother said that for greens they would gather some kind of leaves and boil them down and eat them for greens; she had a name for them. Mother did not make any pottery but we had a woman near us who made pottery and baskets too. She would go down to the river and gather the small cane, split them up and make baskets out of them; she would make some large baskets and some small ones and she would paint them up; make them striped, white and red and she would trade them for anything she could get, for the Choctaws had no money with which to buy them. We had one piece of the pottery that she made.

I am a full blood Choctaw Indian and all of my people were Fullbloods. They never had any education at all; they could not speak English so we children did not attend school. I am unable to speak English and I can't read it. I don't understand English at all and can't read in my own language, having been raised in the mountains and I never had the opportunity for school nor anything else, so I am just blank in anything and don't come to town but very few times during the year. I don't have any business in town, anyway we have a little store where we live anyway so I get what I want out there. I don't come to town unless the Field Clerk of the Indians sends for me; then I come in to see him about my land. I then go back and stay at home. I never do go anywhere unless I have business to attend to.

I have lived among my tribe all of my life and I will live, until I am called away, like all the other Choctaws have done. There used to be a good many Choctaws who lived in our community and around there but they are all gone, having died out, and very few now live in this community where I live now.

Transcribed by PJ Achramowicz <PJ_Achramowicz@spe.sony.com> 06-1999.