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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: February 2, 1937
Name: J. J. Stewart
Post Office: 
Residence Address: 
Checotah, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Information on father:
Place of birth: 
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson 
Interview #

Autobiography of J.J. Stewart

Father moved from the state of Arkansas sometime in the eighties to the Cherokee Nation, some twelve or fifteen miles from the town of Checotah, bringing a large flock of sheep.  He soon found the country not suited to raising sheep.  The wolves and wild dogs soon diminished his flock to a mere half dozen which he sold a neighbor.  Cattle roamed the prairies by the hundreds, fattening and wintering on the native grass without care from the ranchers.

The event to be long remembered was the Indian Fish Fry, a day being set for the festive event.  The Indians for miles around would gather at a designated place on the creek, all ready for the big job of catching and cooking the fish.  Some of the men would gather bunches of roots called Devil Shoestring.  The roots being beaten into a pulp and placed in sacks and dragged a few times through the water.   The fish would come to the surface.  Then the fun would begin.  With spear, sometimes called a gig, they would soon have work for the women to do.  The women would be waiting on the bank with well filled baskets of bread and other good things.  They would have a frying pan already to cook the fish.  Everything moved in the best of order until everyone had his fill and the day was over.

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Brenda Choate.