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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: June 30, 1937
Name: Samantha Hillen (nee) Lane (Mrs.)
Post Office: Fairland, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: December 23, 1846
Place of Birth: near Mayesville
Father: Garrett Lane
Place of Birth:
Information on father:
Mother: Jane J. Harlan
Place of birth:
Information on mother: daughter of David W. Harlan
Field Worker: Nannie Lee Burns

Samantha Hillen nee Lane was born December 23, 1846 near Mayesville on the Cherokee side.
My parents were Jane J. Lane nee Harlan, daughter of David W. HARLAN, and  Garrett Lane, a white man of French and English descent who came with the  Cherokees from North Carolina and I think my parents were married soon after  we came near Mayesville and before we moved to the Neuter Strip near Baxter  Springs, Kansas.

Really I do not remember my father as he left my mother and baby sister, (Mrs. Tennessee JAMES) and myself with our grandfather in the spring of 1949 and joined with two of my uncles (John Harlan and Bert Lane) the caravan that was assembling at the fort west of here to make the trip overland to California in quest of gold.

Both of my uncles died on the way and father was killed by a fall in the shaft after he had been in California two years.  His partner, a half-breed Cherokee, was with him, Ed CRUTCHFIELD by name and later he came home and their business was sold and Mother received her part of it but sisterís and mine was held by the public administrator until we were eighteen and by that time the expenses had [canít read the word] most of it.

Grandfather kept lots of cattle around and as only the fields were fenced, some one had to be looking after them all the time and I liked to be out of doors so much of my early life was spent in the saddle.  At first my mother rode with me a good deal when I was small but later she married my stepfather, John BLYTHE and we moved from Grandfatherís to an adjoining place.

There being only an occasional subscription school we did not attend school much and I liked best of all to ride after cattle and have had many experiences and when I was alone: had a small dog that I taught to ride just behind the saddle for I had been told that no wild animal would attack you then.  Once I remember I had a small half-brother with me and the dog behind me when I thought I heard a panther, but if it saw us it did not attack us.
Mother died in the summer of 1859 and my younger sister, Tennessee, who was considered too small to be of much help, went to live at grandfatherís but I was older and needed at home to help with the half-brothers and sisters so I remained with my stepfather, and besides helping with the stock which were my happiest hours, I helped with the spinning and weaving, the cooking, etc.  Grandfather had lots of sheep and all of our cloth that went to make our clothes was made at home.  Later my father married a lady that came to the neighborhood to teach school.
We were near the border and were exposed to the raiders from both Missouri and Kansas.  At the beginning we had lot of and cattle, sheep, and horses stolen from us, as well as the food from the house and our blankets, etc.  Each raid left us worse off than before and we had no protection as we were too far from Fort Gibson to receive any assistance from there and, of course, not then considered a part of Kansas and each month found us just a little worse off.  Our stock was taken which curtailed our farming even the crops were partially destroyed after they were planted, then too being Indians, we had no status and they seemed to think that they could take anything they wanted and there was no one to say anything.

The latter part of the second year things grew so much worse.  Two of our neighbor men were called to the door after dark and were shot.  Then all who were Indians were ordered to move up in Kansas for safety and protection, so taking what we had left that we could move in wagons and drive, we went and remained there the last two years of the war.

When we returned the windows were gone from the house, the fields were grown up in sprouts, the fences were destroyed, and everything was in a bad way.  Some cattle and quite a few hogs had escaped and made their living in the timber so these hogs were shot for meat and some few were captured and penned.  Some few cattle had gone wild as well as some of the poultry which had managed to exist and increase, this together with some parts of orchards that had escaped destruction made it possible for the families to exist till they could raise a crop and get straightened out.

I married Frank BERNETT and continued to live near, just north of the crossing on the Military Road (I think she had reference to Shoal Creed) so we had considerable travel past the home.  I raised my children, helped my husband and did the work of the home.  We had three children and only Ike is now living.

One day when the children were small and the men were in the field, a girl, I should have judged her to be twenty or less, came by and asked for a drink.  She was afoot and alone,  I insisted that she come in and rest and after much persuasion succeeded in getting her to come in and gave her dinner.  She was neatly dressed and had dark hair and wore a plain gold ring.

As she would not remain with us over night, I took one of the horses and took her a couple of miles towards Baxter Springs, where she said she was going and did hate to leave her for at that time the grass was high and few travelers along the road.

That night I kept thinking of her and the next morning my husband and two of the neighbors decided that they would  go to Baxter and see if she had reached there.  They found no trace of her and then began searching for her and found the body a few feet from the roadside in the grass.  A doctor was brought from Baxter and nothing could be done for her as she was already dead and the little life was also beyond help.  The body was taken to Baxter Springs and when nothing could be learned about who she was or where she came from, she was buried with the small child in a grave in the cemetery there and one of the men placed a stone at the grave and engraved it ďThe Unknown Girl.Ē

More than a year after that, an older man with two younger men stopped at our place over night and in talking of unusual things, the circumstances of this girlís death was told and we could see that the older man was much affected by the tale and asked many questions.  From our place they went to Baxter and later they returned with a spring wagon and had the body taken up and later passed our house with it and I am told that they were from Springfield, Missouri, but more than this we never learned and to me this has been the one thing that has stood out in all my early experiences.

Submitter's Comments:

The document is from the Oklahoma Historical Society.  Norman S. James copied it from the material kept in a library in Oklahoma City, probably in the early 1970ís.  Norman gave a copy to Shasta (Huggins) Anker, who transcribed it, printed it, and sent a copy to her nephew, George T.  Huggins, in August, 1999.  George scanned the document and corrected it to the copy he received from his Aunt Shasta.  October 30, 1999.

George T. Huggins
4733 East Seneca Street
Tucson AZ  85712
520-325-9606, cell: 520-975-2205