Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
History Project for Oklahoma
Date: January 10, 1938
Post Office: Ethel, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: Aug. 15,
Place of Birth: now Smithville
Father: Houston Labors
Place of Birth:
Information on father:
Mother: Parmillin Labors
Place of birth:
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Johnson
Volume 61, Page 76
I was born Aug. 15, 1879,
near what in now Smithville. My father’s name was Houston LABORS
and mothers name was Parmillin Labors.
My mother was raised in
Oklahoma, she was a full blood Choctaw woman. My father was of Spanish
descent. He came from Spain and located somewhere in Arkansas.
The country was wild where
I was raised and not many people lived in there, those who lived in there
were mostly Choctaw and there were not many of them. The country
is mostly mountains and there are some rivers running through the mountains,
and it is very tough.
At that time we had no
roads to speak of so it was very hard to get out and in. We had no
bridges on the river either, so if we happened to be out away from home
we just had to wait until the river ran down to where we could cross, before
we could get back home.
We lived in a log house,
it was a double house and we had flooring made out of split logs.
We had a small farm of about 25 acres, on the creek bottom, where we raised
all the corn we needed, and raised a little cotton for quilting purposes.
We did [not] raise much
cotton for there [was] no place to get it ginned. There were no gins
in that country at the time, nor were there any grist mills where we could
get our corn ground. There was a grist mill in Cove Arkansas where
we got our corn ground for meal but there was no gin there.
At that time our trading
point was at Cove Arkansas, we bought all our groceries from there, it
was not very far from where we lived to this place. We traded there
until we moved away from that part of the country. We moved to what
in now Bryan County, it was Blue County before Statehood.
We moved from Nashoba
County to Blue County where we lived until I moved from there to what is
now Pushmataha County.
My mother had a spinning
wheel, and a loom, and she used to make clothes and pants and sell them.
I don’t know what she got for them, but she had no trouble in selling them
to the Indians, who wanted them. Then she would make mittens and
socks, she made them out of wool, but the clothes and pants, she made out
of cotton. When she made the clothes and pants she would dye them
with the kind of roots, bark and leaves, and some other things, but what
she used, I don’t know.
Anyway when she got though
with the[m] they looked nice and pretty, like store bought clothes and
pants. She would dye the mittens and socks with different things
and it made them black and striped colors, and they were heavy. She
never made any baskets, nor did she make any pottery that I know of.
I never killed a deer
with my bow and arrow myself, but some of the other Indians did kill deer
with their bow and arrows.
Some of the Indians did
not use anything but their bow and arrows where they went hunting.
They would kill anything they wanted to with them, but I never did have
that much luck.
There were a good many
panthers in the mountains, we could hear them all during the night.
There were also lots of wolves, we had a few sheep, on our place and I
sure did have to look after them. I have run the wolves away from
the sheep in broad daylight, and have killed wolves among the sheep.
We had a hard time raising pigs on account of the wolves, the country was
full of them. They were awful bad at time.
There were no white people
in that country, at that time, only a few who came in there who were desperados.
They did not care for anyone and they did not come in there for any good,
just to get away from the law, and they gave the people lots of trouble
by stealing what they had. The Indians lived so far apart they just
lived in communities and it was several miles from one community to another,
so it was a good place for that kind of men to come and stay without being
caught by the “Laws”.
I never did know that
we had an Indian Agency, until after we got our allotments. We were
enrolled by the Dawes Commisison, sometime in 1898, after that we took
out allotments. After we had taken our allotment, all the papers
concerning our land came out of Muskogee, and that was the first time I
learned we had an Agency anywhere. There might have been an Agency
prior to that time, but that was the first time to hear of it. After
that time we got our payments though that office.
Our Court Ground at that
time was at Alikehi. It was called the Alikehi District Court Ground
where the Indians would hold their court once a year, and where they tried
everyone who had been arrested during the year. They held the Court
for about three weeks every year. They would convict some and give
them a good whipping and turn them loose.
The last man who the Choctaw
Court executed was William GOING. He had killed a man during the
year and was out on bond. When the court convened, they tried him
for murder and convicted him, and executed him. That was just before
Statehood and he was the last man whom the Choctaw Court executed.
The way this was done, was that when the Court convicted a man for murder
they would set a date for his execution, and when that day arrived, he
would be there with all his kinfolks, who were there to take his body home.
After they got everything ready, then they would let the man sit down on
a sheet or on the ground, and they would make a small black spot over his
heart, then the executioner would be selected out of the deputies, but
the sheriff, who then would read the sentence of the Court to the prisoner.
The executioner hardly ever missed hitting the black mark, that was the
way William Going went, and he was the last man to be executed by the Choctaw
Court. The Choctaw people out where I lived did not work much, most
of them had small farms, about 5 acres was about the largest farm the Choctaws
had. They would raise enough corn for their use and back in those
days it did not take very much of a farm to raise all the corn a family
needed. I never saw an Indian War Dance, nor the Scalp Dance.
Mother told me that the
Full Bloods would have those dances when a young man was going to join
the Army. They would dance all night and the next morning the young
man would get on his pony and start out to join the Army. When a
man came back from the war they would have another War Dance for him celebrating
his safe return.
I went to a neighborhood
school, when I was a boy, which was built out of pine logs and had split
logs for seats. It was a Subscription School. I did not attend
very much for I did not want to go to school at that time, just like all
the other boys.
I have lived among the
Choctaw Tribe every since I was born. My mother was a full blood
Choctaw and although my father was part Spanish, he lived among the Choctaw
Tribe with my mother until he died.
Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Cindy Young <CindyYoung@aol.com>