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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: January 10, 1938
Name: Alexander Labors
Post Office: Ethel, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: Aug. 15, 1879
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 H. Hampton
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> 04-1999.