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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: June 24, 1937
Name: Lemuel Jackson (A Freedman)
Post Office: General Delivery, Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: December 23, 1868
Place of Birth: Down on the Texas Line
Father: Ned JACKSON
Place of Birth: unknown
Information on father: a slave
Mother: Hager LEWIS
Place of birth: unknown
Information on mother: a slave
Field Worker: Jerome M. EMMONS

Lemuel JACKSON, a freeman and allotee, lives one mile north, one-fourth west of Morris on highway corner.

I had lived in the Territory before moving to Clearview, twenty-five miles west of Okmulgee with my parents when I was about ten years of age. There was no particular reason for their moving here--just got tired of the last place like people will.

Our first home near here was made of split logs without nails. Clapboards were put on with wedges and wooden hooks. It had split-log floors, except the kitchen which was dirt.

The furniture was crude benches and tables which were home-made.

Wood was the only fuel, and springs and the creek supplied water.

My first employment was some farming and the raising of livestock. Ten acres in crops was considered a good farm then. Of course, we didn't have to feed the stock, except occasionally, and corn would last from season to season.

Later, I carried the mail on horseback to the Shawnee line. I was employed thus for a year.

I learned blacksmithing under SMITH in Okmulgee. My apprenticeship lasted for eight months, then I got half of what I made. I worked at this for a while with SMITH and then started in business for myself with a partner. I worked at this trade for fifteen years.

When the Frisco was building through here, our shop shod practically all the horses used between here and Beggs.

When I was a boy, we had practically the same food as the Indians. Beef, pork, squirrels, deer, turkey, fish and the foods made from corn, were the main items in our diet. When we got flour, biscuits were made only on Sunday mornings and special occasions.

Sebron MILLER, Sam HAYNES, Samuel CHECOTE, John FREEMAN and his  son of the same name were a few of my friends.

Before the Civil War, my parents told me sometimes when a master died his personal slave was killed and buried with him and his favorite horse killed and the saddle buried with his body. My father said the Creeks used to stand a corpse up when it got stiff and build a fence around it. Children were buried in a hollow log and in hollow trees. I have seen trees boarded up, when I was small, but never knew the reason for this.

My parents were buried four miles northwest of Weleetka.

There is a burial ground east of Schulter, which is very old.

I was in the Lighthorse for a year, but didn't like it much. When a man had to help arrest his friends, etc., he seemed to lose face with them. While a Lighthorseman, I used to attend the Creek Council Meetings, but can't tell anything of interest.

The Creeks and Freedman used to weave their own cloth for clothing. I used to knit my own socks, gloves and pulse warmers (Wristlets). My grandmother taught me how to knit.

The old Indians never wore a cap or hat. They generally wore their hair short in front and long in the back. Some would wear two long plats. They would wrap up in a blanket in the winter.

Most of the clothing was wool, as we didn't know that cotton was for clothing. I wore home-made clothing until I was fourteen or fifteen years old.

I did quite a bit of hunting with dogs. One year I sold enough fur to buy a suit for $8.00 and some red-top boots for about the same amount. With these I thought I was really dressed up. I wouldn't wear them around home, but would save them for visits or trips to town.

Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Coffeyville, Kansas, I guess were the closest towns with saloons, until old Oklahoma was opened in 1889.

The colored towns in the Creek Nation were called Arkansas, Canadian and North Fork. They were northwest of Muskogee.

People traded at Muskogee, Fort Gibson, Eufaula, Fort Smith, as well as Okmulgee. They made the trips to these towns, sometimes with oxen hitched to a wagon. They didn't use horses as much as they did sometime later.

I have a bow and some arrows which I have had for thirty-five years. I used to kill squirrels and fish with them.

I have attended a few camp meetings and ball games with the Creeks. I  have seen eyes put out with the ball sticks. The last game I saw was played at Okemah, it was a rough game.

I don't know much about the cattle trails, but I remember crossing the Chisholm Trail one time at Shamrock.

I was just a boy when this war was going on. I was riding around unarmed. Sometimes, I would go with ESPARHECHER's men on my pony. I hoped to  get some guns if they had a battle with Chief CHECOTE's men, as I figured there would be some left around when and if they fought.

Some of the Sac-Fox, Comanches, Araphoes, and Cheyennes would come to  Fort Gibson for supplies. There was a commissary there for a while. The Cheyennes would ride in on pintos. These tribes were friendly with the Creeks. However, they usually staryed on their own lands.

There were lots of ponies in the Creek Nation. My dad owned about  twenty-five head. They hardly knew what corn tasted like. They just ran loose on the range. There were horses sometimes three or four years old that had never had a rope on them. We just never needed them. $20.00 then would buy the best of horses. I sold a pony one time when a boy, receiving $2.00 which was a good price. I also sold yearlings and steers for $9.00, which was top price at that time.

I don't have any relics now. I used to own a muzzle loader, which was borrowed and never returned.

James TURNER, SANGER & SANGER & SEVERS had stores here. Dave  BRODY was working in SANGER & SANGERS. I think he later had a store of  his own. Major CRAMER clerked for James TURNER and was postmaster when I carried mail on horseback.

Jim PARKINSON and Tom WALLACE ran the first lumber yard in Okmulgee.  CRAMER later ran a store for J.R. DAVIS, who married ?n's sister, at Arbeka.

I received every money payment the Creeks received. I received the usual allotment of land, which was located south of Okmulgee.

I know a family names ASHLEY who bought their adoption into the Creek tribe. The man's wife and daughters got allotments, but he didn't. Lot of other colored people did this.

Transcribed for oKGenWeb by Gay Wall <t31892@enaila.nidlink.com> 02-1999.