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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: August 16, 1937
Name: Jennie E. Hines
Post Office: Westville, Oklahoma
Residence Address: Section 29, Twp. 18, Range 26
Date of Birth: February 3, 1883
Place of Birth: Goingsnake District, Cherokee Nation, I.T.
Father: James E. Phillips
Place of Birth: Georgia
Information on father:
Mother: Mary Martha Parris
Place of birth:
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Gus Hummingbird

Jennie E. Hines, a Cherokee, was born in the Goingsnake District, February 3, 1883. James E. PHILLIPS was her father, who came to the Cherokee Nation in 1829 with the immigrants. And her mother was Martha PARRIS, who came from Georgia with the Immigrants in 1836.

After the marriage of the Phillips they settled on a farm near the present town of Westville, Oklahoma. Here, Jennie was raised and still lives on the same farm that her father settled about one hundred years ago.

Early Life
Most of the early life of said Jennie Phillips was spent on the said farm. She was not raised in poverty as most of the Cherokee children were in her time. She had a fair chance to receive an education.

The principal crops in those days were corn, oats, wheat and beans. The Phillips' family was considered well to do at that time.

Trading and Milling Points 
Cincinnati, Arkansas, was their main trading point at that time. People did not go to town as often as they do now. They raised all the food that the family could consume at home. Money was scarce in the Cherokee Nation and produce was cheap. Those that had money always lend to neighbors when they needed.

Some Cherokees that lived along the Illinois River went to Siloam to do their trading. Siloam was about twenty miles from the Phillips' home. This was the only large town at that time.

Dutchtown was another town that the Cherokees frequently visited. There was also a mill located at this place. a colony of Dutch people settled at this place long time before the Cherokees came to this country.

The early day merchants at Cincinnati were Bob and Bill RAY. These men were brothers. Another man by the name of CRAIG was also in business at this place. Moore Brothers operated the mill. The mill at that time was located in what was known as Rag Hollow. A Mr. CHAPMAN was a blacksmith at Moore's Mill. There were camp grounds at Moore's Mill. Many Cherokees from all over the Cherokee Nation came to this place to do their milling. The chief source of transportation was horseback and ox teams.

Jennie was educated at an old school called Shiloh, which was located about two miles southeast of the present town of Westville. She finished the fifth grade at this little school.

Twinley ALBERTY, Pug BUSHYHEAD and Tom BAGGETT were the early day teachers. Baggett was a permitted white man in the Cherokee Nation to teach school. He later married a Cherokee girl by the name of HOLT.

Among the Old Timers that attended this small school at that time were Eddie BUFFINGTON, Lula ALBERTY, Roxie FOLSOM, Ellis WILLIAMS, Fred Williams, Earl Holt and Grover Buffington.

Indian Cooking 
The Cherokees at that time lived on the simplest food that they raised at home. Bean bread could be found at almost every table. Hominy, dried corn, dried fruits, and wild meats were their chief food. They did not can much food. There were no fruit jars in this country yet. They usually dried their fruit and meats.

Most of the wild meats at that time were deer, turkey, squirrels and many other small animals. There were a few buffalo in this country at that time. There were several to be found around Pryor. She recalls the times when the Cherokees including her father would go on hunting trips. They usually went to the Grand River just south of Pryor, Oklahoma, now. She remembers at one time these Cherokees killed four of those animals at one trip. The custom of the Cherokees at that time was to call all of their neighbors together when they had something good to eat. Mr. Phillips, after arriving home, called several of his neighbors to share in the feast. The meat tasted something similar to beef. These hunting expeditions would generally last about two weeks.

Deer sometimes would leave this part of the country and go to the Salt Springs near the Grand River to lick the salt. Buffaloes did the same. It was when this happened that the Cherokees went on these expeditions.

The meat was dried so it would keep during the summer months. In the winter they would hang this up as they do beef. She recalls at one time Uncle Adam PALONE, who lived on Ballard Creek, would come and trade some sorghum for buffalo meat. Palone was the molasses king at that time. Prairie chickens were numerous in the prairie where Westville is now.

The Palone molasses mill was located on Ballard Creek. This was a queer outfit as we would call it now. The juice was squeezed through wooden rollers into a barrel and boiled in kettles. This usually sold at forty cents per gallon. Usually this was a means of exchange for Mr. Palone. People those days traded among themselves. This was known as the old barter way. If you had any surplus you traded that for something that others had and you needed.

The Cherokees made their own dye. They made the dye from weeds and barks of trees. It seems that the yellow, brown and red was their chief colors.

Copperas mixed with soap made yellow dye. Yellow Prairie Weed bloom mixed with Alum made brown dye. They used this dye to dye home-spun cloth. Yarn was also sometimes dyed.

Indian Medicines 
The medicines at that time were herbs from the woods. There were many Cherokee faith doctors at that time. Most of the common diseases were cured by herbs. For Chills they used Hickory Tea, this was taken immediately after a Chill. This was supposed to stop the other which usually came the next day.

There was only one white doctor in the country at that time. That was Dr. LACIE, at Cincinnati. Dr. Lacie was killed by Knute NOBLIN, about 1889.

James Phillips was struck with paralysis followed by an epileptic fit about 1889. He was doctored by some fullblood that lived on Baron Fork Creek but she does not recall the name.

Arts and Crafts 
The old time Cherokee women were good basket makers. They made baskets of broom brushes and barks of white oak trees. They sold these goods for groceries at Cincinnati. The prices for these baskets were from a nickel to a quarter.

Most of the Cherokees at that time lived in log houses. The poorer class lived in single room homes. The middle class usually lived in double log houses. But those who considered that they were rich had houses built with lumber. The Phillips' family lived in a frame building. The house is still in good shape that Phillips built about 1885.

The lumber used in this building was worked out at a saw mill on Tyner's Creek near the present village of Proctor, Oklahoma.

Mr. Phillips worked for a man named Lew Williams, a white man permitted in the Cherokee Nation for the saw mill that he owned.

She does not remember the Cherokees ever living in tepees.

Civil War 
James Phillips was a teamster at Fort Gibson during the Civil War. This part of the story was told to her by her father. Mr. Phillips never took part in any battle. But he was near when the battle of the Cross Hollows was fought. He drove the supply wagon for the Union Army. This battle was fought just over in Arkansas.

Camp Meetings 
There was always a Camp Meeting at Shiloh which lasted for two or three weeks. Another Camp Meeting site is at Alabama Springs. She does not remember any old time preachers at that time.

Cantrell KIRBY and Bob MEDARUS were the leading cattlemen at that time. The shipping point was Fort Smith. They usually drove their cattle through the country.

Strip Settlers of '93 
This was a settlement made to the Cherokees by the government the sum of money received per capita was Two Hundred and Sixty-Five Dollars. At this payment most of the Cherokees built their frame homes. They built their houses almost alike, two story buildings. Some of these buildings are still to be found in this part of the country.

The Baptist Mission was the earliest church that the Phillips family attended. The exact date she does not remember when she first went to this church. She has been told that a white man by the name of John JONES was the first preacher sent to this place to preach to the Cherokees. He edited the first paper that was printed in this part of the Cherokee Nation. The name of the paper she does not remember.

Mrs. HINES' folks came up on a steamboat to Fort Smith when they came to the Indian country. From Fort Smith they came overland to the prairie where they settled.

Many people died on the road to the Indian country. If any person died on the road they usually buried him just anywhere they could. She has been told that thousands of Cherokees are buried along the road when the immigrants came over. It has been told by the old timers that a number of babies have been carried all day long on their mother's backs until night. When they rested for the night their tired fathers would bury their little ones in a shallow grave near their camp. This was why they called this journey "The Trail of Tears."

Family Cemeteries 
After the Cherokees came to their new home every family started a family cemetery. They were strong believers in staying with one another. Therefore they did not care to mingle with other families. At each home place of these old timers are to be found one of these old cemeteries.

Financing Farmers 
The Cherokees loaned money to one another without any security. John M. Phillips borrowed from Mose Phillips Five Hundred Dollars without a note or mortgage. A man's word was his bond at that time. Another time Mrs. Phillips herself loaned this same John Two Hundred or almost all of her Strip Money. John agreed to pay this back in a year. At the end of the time she got her money. An honest man had no trouble getting help.

Frontier Towns 
Westville is the only frontier town in this part of the country. This town did not start until after the Kansas City Southern Railroad was extended south from Siloam Springs. This was in 1894.

She remembers the first building that was built at Westville. T. B. Alberty was the first man that sold good at this place. Before that time the place was just a prairie.

The Phillips' family was not in favor of the Allotment when that law went into effect. They claimed a good home on the prairie. The people that favored it were the ones that came here after the immigrants came. The mixed bloods also favored this allotment. After the passage of this law the Cherokees were given a chance to vote this law out but there was a class of Cherokees called Night Hawks that did not vote in this election.

The Phillips' consisted of the following children: John M. Phillips, William M. Phillips, Margaret Malinda Phillips, James Rufus Phillips, Sarah Mary Lou Phillips and Jennie E. Phillips.

Old Records 
This lady has an old Day Book that her father brought from Georgia with him. The book contains dates from 1812 until they came to the Cherokee Nation. It seems from the reading of this book that the owner, Malachi Parris, was a timekeeper in some mine back in Georgia. It gives many names of the old time Cherokees.

This book also gives the date of the birth of Bob Parris, the grandfather of Mrs. Hines. He was born in 1804.

It gives the dates of the deaths of Mose DOWNING and Henry Parris. Downing died August 15, 1819. Parris died June 10, 1821.

The writing is very poor and almost invisible.

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Wanda Morris Elliott < jwdre@intellex.com > November 2000.