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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: May 24, 1937
Name: Sam L. Riddle
Post Office: Wilburton, Oklahoma--General Delivery
Date of Birth: June 06, 1891
Place of Birth: Close to what is now Wilburton
Father: George W. Riddle
Place of Birth: Sculleyville
Information on father: Born and raised in this Choctaw Nation
Mother: Elvarene Riddle
Place of Birth: Near Sculleyville
Information on mother: Lived to the age of 74-died 10-9-25. Buried in the Lutie Cemetery.
Field Worker: Bradley Bolinger
Interview #5925

My grandfather, John W. Riddle, was born in Scotland. He came to America when he was quite young, I do not remember his age then. He settled down in North Carolina. I do not remember his birth date nor his age. My grandfather was a slaveholder in North Carolina before the Civil War.

The Government moved the Five Civilized Tribes from the south to this country in 1836, according to my grandfather's statement before he died. My grandfather came to the Indian Territory from the south with the Choctaw Tribe, he had married a Choctaw Indian woman before he left the south.

My father, George W. Riddle, was born at old Scullyville in 1841. He lived with my grandfather until he married Isabelle McCurtain, sister of Green McCurtain, Governor of the Choctaw Tribe. She died two years after they were married and my father then married another sister of Governor McCurtain.

My father joined the Confederate Army in 1863. He was in General Cooper's mounted Brigade of all Choctaw Indians.

My grandfather opened the first trading post that was ever in the Choctaw Nation, in 1858. He secured a permit from the Choctaw government to open this trading post, which was located on the Old Butterfield Stage Trail, in the eastern part of the Choctaw Nation. If my father had a name for this place other than his own I never heard him call it.

When my father joined the Confederate Army their activities were in what is now western Arkansas. 

During this war the members of the Five Civilized Tribes split up, some of the Indians joined the Federal Army and some of them joined the Confederate side.

My father tells me that the Choctaw Brigade of which he was a member were all expert shots. He says that they met a Federal Brigade of white soldiers on a creek, the name of which he did not remember, not far from the line of Oklahoma, and his Indian Brigade ran the Federal soldiers out of that country.

After the Civil War was over and the Choctaws came back to the Territory to live, there sprang up quite a bit of political argument. Father told me that all the tribes wanted this Indian country to be free and independent territory and be the home of the Five Tribes as long as they lived, but our Government took charge of affairs and required the Indians to make allotment of a certain amount of land as their home. The Government made all Five of the Tribes Government Wards.

My father told me that when the Choctaw tribes came under the white man's courts of this territory they did not like it because they were not familiar with the English language and the methods of the white man.

My grandfather built the first toll bridge that was ever in this country. He went to the woods and cut logs and all of this bridge was built out of the native logs. That was the first bridge that was ever built on the Butterfield Stage Line. This bridge was built over a large creek, now called the Fourche Maline Creek, on the stage line and came close to the trading post operated by my grandfather. 

My father was County and Probate Judge of the Choctaw Nation. He served at this for four years. This county was called Gains County in those days.

During the early days when the law was in the hands of the Choctaw tribe, if a white man wanted to marry an Indian woman it was permissible and he became what was known as an intermarried citizen of the Choctaw tribe and was entitled to have his allotment just the same as the full blood Indian. 

If a white man became an intermarried citizen and violated any of the Indian laws in any form, if he not want to accept the findings of the Indian Court he was immediately turned out of the tribe and his citizenship papers were all canceled.

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Lola Crane coolbreze@cybertrails.com  November 6, 2001.