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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: March 2, 1937
Name: Henry Tussey
Post Office: 
Residence Address: Tussey, Oklahoma 
Date of Birth: 1856
Place of Birth: Kentucky
Place of Birth: 
Information on father:
Place of birth: 
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson 
Interview #

I came into this country in 1874 when few white men were here. There were no settlements then. We were all cowboys driving cattle over the Chisholm Trail. 

About the first that I saw go over the trail was a bunch of mules and horses. An old cattle man in Decatur sent these through here to Caldwell, Kansas.

We white men tried to settle here but everything was owned by Indians and the federal militia would not let us think of settling. They called us "Nesters". The militia cut the wires and drive our cattle back across Red River. We came back and finally some of us married Indians so we could stay here.

There is talk of the Chisholm Trail as a freight trail. All I ever saw or knew to go over this trail was cattle and horses. It must have been made in the 60's because they were using the trail when I came here.

Mr. John Daily built the first house in this country. It was made of raw hide cotton wood logs, about one mile east and one-half mile north Velma. Jim Doak came in here and built a house and store combined on Wildhorse Creek and that started the settlement. 

We had to watch our stock very close because there were many thieves then.

The Arbuckle stage ran pretty close to Velma. They had a stop there called Ft. Worth, Indian Territory. That trail and the Chisholm trail crossed about 100 yards north of the base line near Cow Creek.

Jim Fitspatrick started a ranch just east of what is now Duncan. The Suggs ran cattle through here and it was a big outfit.

Indians had an encampment four miles south and two west of where I live now. It was only their hunting camp. They came a certain time of the year and stayed about three months.

We never had much trouble with the Indians. Oh, they might steal a horse or beef now and then but no battles.

Story of settling of Stephens County (General History)
Told by Henry Tussey

Early settlers in and around Velma received their mail from Old Healdton at Fort Worth, Indian Territory and it was run by Mr. Weldon from Fort Worth, Texas. The mail was carried by stage which stopped tow miles east of the present site of Velma.

Mr. Henry Tussey came into the country in 1874, settling near Tussey, Oklahoma, a village named after him. He had to marry an Indian in order that he might file a claim. The Indians held an encampment four miles south and two miles west of Mr. Tussey's place,

The Government built a house in 1894 on Jim Fitspatrick Creek near Duncan store. Later was torn down. This creek was named after Fitspatrick, who had a ranch on this creek. One old ranch building is still standing just north of the Duncan Lake. 

The Indians would steal cattle and horses from this ranch and run them to Anadarko. One Indian, Caddo Jo, stole John Bob Frenselev's favorite horse in the group. He trailed them to Fort Sill and asked permission to go after the horses but was refused. He decided to go after them anyway so he started to Anadarko and overtook Caddo Jo, riding his own pony. He pulled the Indian off the horse and brought the group of horses back. 

The Indian militia gave warning that all stock had to be Indian owned and a white man could not work for an Indian. 

A number of so called "Nesters" fenced some land for grazing, but the Indian militia came and cut the fence and ran the people back across Red River.


H.B. Tussy, Tussy, Oklahoma. Born July 8, 1856 in Kentucky. Parents - Jacob and Mary Allen Tussy. White but married an Indian woman (Chickasaw).

Mr. Tussy's Story:

Came to Indian Territory in 1869 from Kansas, having come there from Tennessee. We lived in Kansas when the war started then came to the Cherokee Nation in 1870. 

The town of Tussy is named in his honor.

In 1889 married Lila Colbert, daughter of James Colbert.

During a long residence in this part of the country Mr. Tussy and Family share in warm regard of many friends.

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Brenda Choate.