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"Alexander Family History"


CHOKMAH !

Hello, let me welcome you to my Alexander Family web site. My name is Judy Thomas McAnuff. As many Americans I come from a very racially diverse background: A part of the American melting pot within my own family. This is the story of just one branch of my family tree, the Alexander Family branch. The Alexander family has grown to be one of the larger Chickasaw Indian families within the Chickasaw Nation. I am proud to be a part of this tenacious family and the rich culture of the Chickasaws. Relax and set back and go with me back in time to a piece of the past, to the Alexander family beginning.

During the 1830’s the United States Government began to round up the Indians of Tennessee, Mississippi,Georgia, Alabama, and Florida to move them to a new land set aside for them just west of the Mississippi river. This land they called the Indian Territory and which later became Oklahoma. Some of the Tennessee Indians along with their Negro slaves came thru the State of Arkansas on their way to the Territory. As they reached Pope Co. Ark. The river was up and being unable to cross they camped while waiting for the army to hire railroad cars to transport the Indians. At this time about 311 Indians escaped and hid out and did not make the journey into the new Indian Territory.(This is taken from the detailed accounts of the Trail of Tears on June 9 1838 group led by Lieutenant Deas)) Many settled in Pope Co. and this is where Mary and her son John Alexander where living at the time of their emancipation. They were living in a community by the name of Double Springs and belonged to a woman by the name of “Betsy”. Sometime after being given their freedom they came to the Indian Territory and settled in the Chickasaw Nation.

JOHN "OLD JONAH" ALEXANDER
Many of the family have told of Jonah being a Medicine Man and this is confirmed by people in the Allen community who once knew him and has seen him heal the sick. There is a short reference to his healing abilities in the history book of Allen. The book is titled “Beginning at Cold Springs: the History of Allen”. The Author Hope Patterson McInroy states, “After the dancing sometimes the Medicine Man “Old Jonah” healed the sick. Hope remembers their passing one sick Indian over the fire, while the Medicine Man chanted; so close was the flame she was sure he would be burned alive, but he wasn’t.”

There is also reference to Jonah in The Chronicles Of Oklahoma, Buffalo Valley: An Osage Hunting Ground, by Judge Orel Busby (page 26). “Among the old time Indian Medicine Men was a well known character around Allen in the writers boyhood days called “Old Jonah” Alexander. He claimed to be one hundred years of age just before his death and he still had all of his mental facilities. He loved to talk about the folk lore and traditions of the “old days.” All his life “Old Jonah” lived near the spot of the present Osage Village marker. He said the valley just to the south of the marker was called Buffalo Valley by all the old time Indians. By “old time he meant Choctaws and Chickasaws as well as the Osages who were known as the “wild Indians.” Jonah explained that the valley was a great place to hunt because it had plenty of buffalo grass in the tight flatlands near the streams and the remainder of the area had a good growth of blue stem and Indian switch grass.”

  Click on the feather to view
the sketches by George Catlin
and the Osage Historical Marker

Family members have told of the familiar red jacket he always wore and the felt hat with the feathers coming out of it. Many have also mentioned his sense of humor. Apparently he liked to pull jokes and tricks on people and then have a big laugh. He passed his knowledge of medicine on down to his oldest daughter Tennessee who was to become a medicine woman. Jonah was a man who apparently felt you are never to young to learn, because as a grown man he had a woman teach him to speak English. This is the teacher who is pictured with him in the drawing.

Jonah and the teacher

"Alexander Family History Continued"

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