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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: May 17, 1937
Name: Mrs. Atwood Risner
Post Office: North 1st. St. Durant, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1870 
Place of Birth: Old Doaksville, Cherokee Nation
Father: William C. Strickler
Place of Birth: 
Information on father: 
Mother: Malisia Echols
Place of Birth: 
Information on mother: 
Field Worker: Lula Austin
Interview # 

Wiliam Coral Strickler, white man.

My father came to the Indian Territory from Washington Co., Arkansas, soon after the Civil War and located near the Old Doaksville Trading Post. That and one at Paris, Texas, were the only Trading Posts.

Father spent one winter at Old Ft. Washita, caring for the army mules.

The grass and cane was so good there, they did not have to feed them.

My mother, Malisia Echols Strickler, lived to be ninety, passing away last year, 1936. My father died at the age of 82. They are both buried in Caddo Cemetery.

I attended school at the Old Bennington School until I was sent to Kid Key College at Sherman, Texas.

I married Atwood Risner, who was an intermarried citizen. His first wife was Minnie Peters, a full blood Choctaw, and they had two children who are still living, Mrs. Frank Lewis of Durant, and Bud Risner.

We had no children, but adopted three orphan Choctaw children. One is still living, Mrs. Julia Phillips of Ardmore. One boy, Calvin Bryant, was killed in France the last day of the war at 10:30.

Mr. Risner was in the cattle business, and when he would go to buy cattle over the country, he would carry gold and silver in saddle pockets attached to his saddle. The Indians would not accept paper money, as they had to go to Texas to put it in a Bank. The gold or silver they would bury. He would be gone two or three weeks at a time.

Robert Jones and his mother owned some cattle, with my father and we were fixing to sell them and had a bunch of cowhands helping divide them, and when the men were all seated for dinner Mr. Young, a United States Marshall, came in to arrest Robert Jones, who had killed his stepfather and had been hiding from the law. Papa was his friend and had told him not to come to the house that day, but he did. When the Marshal came in, Robert, his uncle and his brother-in-law were seated at the table. They all jumped up and began shooting, running into the yard. Robert killed Mr. Young, the Marshal. My father put his body in the wagon and took it to Caddo and that night, he met Robert and helped him to escape into Texas. The uncle and brother-in-law were arrested and my father and I were called to Ft. Smith as a witness. It took us a week to make the trip in a wagon, and the trial was postponed and we went the second time, some of us riding horseback and some in the wagon, but the trial was never heard. The Jones boy later came back, and my father kept him posted. He died while trying to dodge officers. R. M. Jones was his father and he owned a beautiful home near Hugo. Robert was only 18 years old when he died. After his death the case was dropped. Old Lake West belonged to the Jones family.

My father was the only one who raised wheat. He would take it to Paris, Texas to have it ground, taking two days for the trip. There was a gristmill down on Clear creek near Valliant, operated by Ralph Arlson, and when my father took his meal there to be ground, we would go with him and spend the day. All of us had our own horse, saddle and lariat. We wouldn't let each other ride our horse. I had four sisters and three brothers, all of who are living.

My mother and Auntie spun and wove for the family during the Civil War.

We attended school at Old Bennington Mission School, boarding there with William Gardner for two years, and then Mother took us to Caddo and stayed there with us during the school term. When I was older, I attended Kid Key College, Sherman, Texas.

Mr. Risner was great to play pranks on the Indians. His first wife was a full blood Choctaw and Mr. Risner spoke Choctaw. He and John O Riley were working for Bennie Hunter, and Atwood was teaching John the Choctaw language; so one day at the dinner table Mr. Hunter said "John, let me hear you talk Choctaw to the girls", so John began saying something and Hunter said "Stop John, Atwood been teaching you dirty talk. I will teach you myself."

While living on Rook Creek eight miles from Durant, Atwood had a Choctaw friend by the name of Daniel Payton, and after Mr. Risner moved to town, Daniel seemed to grow cool toward him. One day some one asked him what was the matter, he said, "Well, before Atwood moved to town he would buy cigar and give me half, now he buy cigar and smoke all of it."

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