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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: July 20, 1937
Name: Mora M. (Cap) Duncan
Post Office: Hugo, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: March 6, 1896
Place of Birth: New Mayhew, Indian Territory, Choctaw Nation
Father: T. H. Duncan
Place of Birth: Logan County, Kentucky
Information on father: 74 years old now (1937)
Mother: Viola Maxwell
Place of birth: North Carolina
Information on mother: Boswell Cemetery
Field Worker: Hazel B. Greene
Interview #:

I, Mora M. (Cap) Duncan, am now High Sheriff of Choctaw County, having been elected in 1934 and re-elected in 1936. Prior to that I was a deputy sheriff of Choctaw County from 1927. I also held a United States Indian Service Commission. (That is one title of a peace officer). I was elected County Weigher in 1920, served in 1921 and 1922. I am the son of T. H. Duncan, who lives now about three-fourths of a mile from where I was born, at New Mayhew, March 6, 1896. My father was from Kentucky and my mother Viola Maxwell Duncan, was from North Carolina. She passed away just a few years ago and is buried at Boswell. She was fifty-eight years old.

New Mayhew is three and one-half miles north and west of Boswell, Oklahoma. The old Mayhew Indian Court ground was three-fourths of a mile east of New Mayhew, which consisted of two stores, a gin, a court house, and jail, and a school house. The post office was in T. H. DUNCAN'S store, and Dillard Duncan, my uncle, was postmaster when I was a boy. The post office was abolished about 1901.

Old Mayhew was probably a court ground for fifty years, or no telling how long, before they moved it to the forks of Boggy Creek where held for several years; then they moved it to the crossing of the roads, that led from Doaksville to Caddo, and from Atoka to Lake West on Red River. The old steel paneled jail was first put up at the forks of Boggy Creek court ground. It was told that Governor Wilson N. JONES had it built in which to incarcerate the murderers of his son, Willie, when and if they were brought to justice, but I don't think they were ever put in it. When I was two or three years old they moved the court back to the place where we lived and where Mayhew postoffice was then. They also moved that old jail over there and built it over. I remember seeing them riveting it together. They built a frame courthouse. Last spring I met a truck in the road with that old jail on it, intact. They tried to cross the bridge on Mayhew Creek but the old jail was about two inches too wide for the bridge, so they had to back up and turn around, take it back and get it the next morning and go around the head of the creek to get to Bokchito. It is the city jail at Bokchito now.

I remember some of the Court officials. Judge EVERIDGE was District Judge. Doug Everidge was Court Clerk, Paul HARRIS of Antlers was prosecuting attorney. The officials that I name might not have been in office all at the same time. They are just some that I recall having been at sometime. Mike LEFLORE was sheriff, another sheriff was Edmond DWIGHT, Thos. W. HUNTER's brother-in-law and father of Ben DWIGHT.

Once, a cousin of mine, Miss Cora SIMMONS, was teaching school there and my Dad came down there and asked her to dismiss school in order for the children to witness a man getting whipped. He got about forty-five licks with a switch or switches about three feet long, as large as my little finger and tapered to about the size of a pointed lead pencil or just about that way. There was a big huckleberry tree there and a bois d-arc picket fence near that three they removed his shirts and hung them on the fence, and hung a red blanket around the tree and wired it in place, placed the man facing this blanket with his arms around the tree and a man holding each hand, then the sheriff and deputies took turn about administering the number of lashes prescribed by law. Then the man put his shirt on and walked away. That old picket fence is still standing. I saw several whipped but I never heard of a woman being whipped or executed. Douglas MCCLURE, a little scrawny fullblood Choctaw Indian was the last one to be whipped at the New Mayhew Court ground. That was about 1905. He was convicted of stealing hogs from Sim HARRIS, another Choctaw. They are both dead now, but Harris has a son still living out in that neighborhood.

None were ever executed at New Mayhew, but I imagine there were at Old Mayhew. My Dad said he knew of three being executed at the forks of Boggy Creek and witnessed one execution.

If a man was convicted of stealing the third time they drew the death penalty, because he was adjudged an habitual criminal. Then the death penalty was imposed and he was shot to death.

Information on Father: 74 years old now (1937). Born in Logan County, Kentucky. Father still lives near Mayhew, within three-fourths of a mile of my birthplace. Which belonged to my uncle, Dillard Duncan.

Information on Mother: Born in North Carolina. Mother been dead just a few years (from 1937). Buried in Boswell Cemetery.

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Donald L. Sullivan <donald.l.sullivan@lmco.com> 07-2000.