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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

From  The

INDIAN TERRITORY
ITS CHIEFS, LEGEISLATORS, AND LEADING MEN
BY H.F. & E. S. O'BEIRNE.



VINITA LAW COURTS.

Tibbils, William H. (pp. 448, 449) Biographical Index
William H. Tibbils was born May 2, 1838, at Auburn, New York, the second son of Henry W. Tibbils. His mother was Miss Abbey, of New York. William attended public school until the age of fifteen, when he went to Bethany Academy, Genesee County, New York, and there remained two years, after which he assisted his father to farm. At twenty he learned brick-laying, and worked at the trade two years. During his early youth he formed an idea of becoming a lawyer, and read the elementary principals of law, becoming fascinated by the profession, through having been present at the defence by William H. Seward, of the negro Wiatt for the murder of the Varness family, at Auburn, New York. William in his eleventh year daily attended this trial, leaving school to do so, for which he received six consecutive whippings at the hands of his aggrieved father. In 1860 he went to Pike's Peak, Colorado, where there was a great mining excitement at the time, and remained there until 1864. During this period he met with a series of accidents, which prostrated him for two years. On his recovery he began reading law with the firm of Clarke & Tewksbury, of Benton County, Iowa. In 1868 he located, and first began practice at Carroll, Iowa, then an almost unsettled country. In 1872 he moved to Coffeyville, Kansas, and there following his profession, became acquainted with all the prominent men of the northern portion of the Indian Territory. In 1889 when the Federal court was established in the Indian Territory, Mr. Tibbils was one of the first lawyers there admitted, having obtained the first judgment rendered, and having also taken out the first execution issued by that court. In December, 1890, Mr. Tibbils located at Vinita, where he is now enjoying a lucrative practice. Mr. Tibbils married Mrs. Edna Charles, widow of Robert Charles, of Steuben County, New York, and daughter of Mr. Eddy, of Steuben County, a prominent man in New York State. By this marriage he has one son William H., who is chief deputy constable for United States Commissioners' Court, at Vinita. The subject of this sketch held the office of judge of the probate court in Kansas, and was prosecuting attorney at Coffeyville. Mr. Tibbils has always taken an active part in the organization of the Republican party in South Kansas, having canvassed the south-eastern district in company with Judge W. A. Pfeffer, successor to John J. Ingalls, in 1880. Judge Tibbils has been connected with several prominent newspapers, and has himself founded and edited three or four papers in the State of Kansas. The judge is a gentleman of marked culture, and a man of sterling and forcible characteristics, while he is at the same time gentle and sociable in disposition. Few men are possessed of an equal amount of executive energy, which, added to his large knowledge and experience of law, places him away up on the list of Indian Territory lawyers.



Merrell, Joseph B. (p. 450) Biographical Index
Joseph B. Merrell was born June 27, 1863, in Salem County, Missouri, the eldest son of Asa C. Merrell, a leading farmer raised in Georgia, and claiming the rights of a Cherokee citizenship. His mother was a Miss Akers, of Kentucky. After attending public school until his seventeenth year, Joseph entered the Marshall Academy, Marshall, Missouri, and there remained two years. In 1885 he studied law for one year at Lexington, Missouri, and from there went to Carrollton, Georgia, where he read law with his uncle, W. W. Merrell, ex-senator of the State; remaining with him until 1888, Joseph was admitted to the bar, after which he returned home, where he remained awhile before deciding upon a good location for the practice of his profession. Finally he decided upon the Indian Territory, and located at Vinita, where he is now practicing, having movd there in January, 1891. On his arrival, he identified himself with Farmers' Alliance, and was chosen as public lecturer of that order. Mr. Merrell is six feet in height, and weighs 160 pounds. He is a gentlemanly looking young man of good address, and considering his youth, has been very successful, and in a few years will, very probably, be upon an equal footing with the most prominent among the profession. His office is located on the north side of the main street, in front of the Peoples' Drug Store, while he resides with his mother, a widowed lady, at her home in Vinita.


Mason, Charles H. (pp. 450, 451) Biographical Index
Charles H. Mason was born August 9, 1828, at Walpole, New Hampshire, the third son of Joseph Mason, of New Hampshire, a leading farmer. His mother was a Miss Ormsby, of Walpole, New Hampshire. Charles attended public school until eighteen years of age, when he entered the Hancock Literary and Scientific Institution, and there completed his education at the age of twenty-one. After studying law in the office of Hamilton & Smith, Louisville, Kentucky, he was admitted to the bar in 1849, and after that practiced his profession in the State of Indiana, until he moved to the Indian Territory. During the interim he was judge of the court of common pleas for two terms, and also served in other prominent capacities. In 1890, Mr. Mason was appointed by Judge Shackleford, as commissioner for the first judicial division, located at Vinita, which position he still holds. He is a stanch Republican, and an active supporter of the cause. As a writer, he is well known to the press, not only of his native State, but throughout the greater part of the Union, his articles on political subjects having been widely read. In March, 1851, Mr. Mason married Mrs. Rachel Wright, daughter of J. B. Huckeby, of Carrolton, Indiana, a prominent lawyer. This lady died childless, in 1883. Mr. Mason is a gentleman of good appearance and address, intellectual looking, and possessed of a very superior education. His reputation as a lawyer is enviable, and he is very popular in Vinita.


Moore, Napoleon Bonaparte (pp. 453, 455) Biographical Index
Napoleon Bonaparte Moore was born January 8, 1828, in Russell County, Alabama, son of William Moore and Lucy Chemulee, who was daughter of Chemulee, a man of much prominence among the Cussetahs. At six years of age Napoleon commenced attending public school, continuing the same until he was sixteen years old; after which he returned to his father's home, whom he assisted on the farm, remaining with him until his death, in 1847, when he assumed charge of his sister and brothers until 1853. He was afterwards appointed light-horse man of his country, which office he held until the breaking out of the war, when he joined the Confederate service as second-lieutenant under Colonel D. N. McIntosh, remaining in the army until the termination of the war, and acting for one year as quartermaster. On the adoption of the constitution he was elected to the House of Warriors, for four years; then to the office of revenue collector, afterwards to that of supreme judge, for four years; and in 1889, as delegate to Washington, with Hotulke E. Martha and Cowe Hargo, two full-blood Creeks. Thither he went to secure the $400,000 due the Creeks for the sale of the Oklahoma lands; after eight months' sojourn at the capital, Mr. Moore secured the passage of the bill, and on his return, as treasurer of the nation, paid the amount to the Indians, in per capita payments of $29. He had been elected as national treasurer in 1888, and was a member of the House of Kings, in all about ten years. Mr. Moore married, in 1853, a Miss Rody, who died in 1874, leaving no family. In 1882 he married Mrs. Craig, widow of the late John H. Craig (she was formerly a Miss Robertson). Mrs. Moore's great usefulness in educational matters is too well known to here comment upon them. Mr. Moore has no family, but has charge of his nephew and nieces -- children of the late John Moore, at one time a man of great national influence and reputation. The subject of this sketch is five feet nine and one-half inches in height, weighs 175 pounds, of gentlemanly bearing and gentle and affable disposition. On first acquaintance he is retiring and somewhat reticent, but this wears off after a short time, giving place to social qualities that entitle him to the regard and respect of all who know him. Although a self-educated man, Mr. Moore has a fund of general knowledge above the average, and possesses fine business capabilities, while his high integrity and strict honesty have gained for him the confidence of his people. He has 640 acres under fence, a fine farm, 800 head of cattle, a herd of sheep, 40 head of horses, and other stock.


Crittenden, Henry Clay (p. 461) Biographical Index
The subject of this sketch is the son of Henry Clay Crittenden, generally known as Harry Crittenden, a half-breed Cherokee, who emigrated from Georgia in 1837, and died about 1871. Henry was born in Going Snake district, in April, 1857, and attended the neighborhood school at Barren Fork for several years, and later the Prairie Grove school, in Going Snake district. In 1877 he began farming close to the Arkansas line, near Cincinnati, and married Miss Mary Morris, daughter of Gabriel Morris, a Cherokee, in October, 1879. By this union they have five children: Charles, William Cicero, Pearl and Thomas Richard. In 1882 Mr. Crittenden was elected clerk of the house and served till 1886, being once re-elected. From 1886 he served as interpreter for various committees of the council for four years. In 1889 he was appointed Census Superintendent for Going Snake district till 1890, when he commenced the practice of law, and continues it till the present. Mr. Crittenden has two farms in Going Snake district, containing 150 acres, most of which he rents out. He also owns a fine residence and orchard. Mr. Crittenden is a quiet, unassuming, gentlemanly man, honorable and reliable in all his transactions, and commands a host of friends wherever he is known. In 1891 Mr. Crittenden was a member of the committee on claims.


Boudinot, Elias P. (pp. 462, 463) Biographical Index
The subject of this sketch was born January 2, 1854, the son of W. P. Boudinot, a poet and scholar, and brother of the late well-known E. C. Boudinot. Elias is a grandson of the celebrated Elias Boudinot, who was, perhaps, the most illustrious Cherokee of his day. He was almost a full-blood, was educated at Cornwall, Connecticut, and there married Miss Harriet Gold, daughter of Rev. B. Gold, a Presbyterian minister, and president of the academy at Cornwall. An account of the tragical death of Elias Boudinot, Sr., will be found in the historical pages of this work. Young Elias' mother was a member of the Fields family, one of the leading families in the Cherokee Nation. As a pupil of the old Gunnery School, Washington, Connecticut, at the age of eleven years, Elias there went through the ordinary routine of education till his fourteenth year, when he returned to his home in the Indian Territory, and dwelt upon his father's farm for two years. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to the printers' trade, in the office of the Cherokee Advocate, Tahlequah, and perfected himself in the craft at the establishment of Ennis & Co., St. Louis, at the age of twenty years. Returning to Tahlequah, he took charge of the typographical department of the Advocate. In that office he remained until the fall of 1879, Elias taught at intervals in the national schoools for two sessions, and after resigning the position of foreman was elected editor of the Advocate, and held the position two years. In 1882, '83, and '84, he was connected more or less with the publication of that paper and the editing of the present laws, which is a very complete and, altogether, a very creditable work. In 1883 and 1884 Mr. Boudinot was clerk of the senate, and in 1885 was again created editor of the Advocate for a term of two years. The previous year he had commeced the study of law, and was soon practicing in the Cherokee courts. To-day, after eight years practice, Mr. Boudinot can flatter himself with having prosecuted or defended more than one hundred individuals charged with capital offenses, and of being successful in gaining verdicts in all but three cases. As a criminal lawyer Mr. Boudinot stands pre-eminent at the top of the list. He is the senior partner of the firm of Boudinot, Thompson & Hastings, their office being in Tahlequah, while their practice is extended to all the courts of justice in the country. Mr. Boudinot was renominated for the editorship of the Advocate in 1887, but refused the offer. In 1890 he was elected a member of the town council of Tahlequah, and while in office, in connection with his father, gave the town its present code of laws. In 1891 Mr. Boudinot was appointed district clerk, and in the same year was appointed by the chief as delegate to Washington City. During council of 1891 Mr. Boudinot was chairman of the commission to negotiate with the United States for the sale of the Cherokee outlet. May 26, 1880, the subject of our sketch married Miss Addie Foreman, granddaughter of Thomas B. Wolfe, the founder of the city of Tahlequah, and a man of prominence in the Cherokee Nation. Elias Boudinot is five feet eleven and one-half inches in height, and weighs 235 pounds. He is a man of a great deal of force and magnetism, handsome and intellectual looking. His influence over a jury is said to be remarkable, while as an advocate he would rank high in any court of justice. In disposition he is good-humored and pleasant, and very popular. Mr. Boudinot is a member of the Masonic lodge. He owns a fine residence in Tahlequah, and 700 acres of land in cultivation.


Adair, John Lynch (pp. 463, 464, 465, 466, 467, 468) Biographical Index
John Lynch Adair was born in Georgia, and left there with the general removal of the Cherokees in 1839, while a small boy. His father was Thomas Benjamin Adair, a descendant of a brother of General James Adair, the Indian historian. His mother was Rachel Lynch, from whom he derives his Cherokee blood. His parents died while he was a mere child, and he was consigned to the keeping of his aunt, Mrs. Maria Thompson, afterward Cunningham by marriage, and to the guardianship of two of his uncles, Joseph M. Lynch and James Allen Thompson, the latter by marriage. He had one sister, who died in the great removal West. He began his education in a Moravian missionary school, under the supervision of a Mr. Vogler, a Moravian minister. At this school he learned more how to endure pain than from the speller and catechism, as he was daily whipped for idleness and disposition to mischief. The boy was quick, active and swift of foot, and fond of rough and tumble exercises and coon-hunting with the "niggers" at night, of whom his uncles and aunts had hundreds. That there might be a chance for his reformation, he was taken from his old associations and put in the family of Rev. Cephas Washbourne, who had formerly been a missionary at Dwight Mission, in the Cherokee Nation, and then living near Bentonville, Arkansas. Here he took on more of Yankee habits and speech than knowledge of common school studies---so much so, that he was often taken for one of that peculiar distinction. In the family of this excellent diviine and scholar, Mr. Adair resided for about three years, when he was sent to Ozark Institute, near Fayetteville, Arkansas, while Mr. R. W. Mecklin, or "Uncle Bob" as he was called by the boys, was preceptor. At this school were a score or more of Cherokee boys, and to it many yet living can ascribe any distinction they may have achieved. Here the subject of this sketch first began to make any noted progress in his studies. Language was his favorite study, and in the Latin he became a rather proficient scholar, and in the Greek to a small extent. In 1849, when the gold excitement in California was at its highest, and his guardians had refused to send him to college when he wished to complete his studies, because, as they believed, he had education enough to be a doctor, he and a cousin of his, by the name of William Buffington, concluded to try their fortunes in the gold fields of California. His guardians and uncles and aunts, not being loath to such an undertaking, and believing there would soon be a return of two boys thoroughly disgusted with rambling, an ox-wagon and a team of four yoke of cattle were procured, with a lame negro to drive them, and with enough provision to have gone on an Arctic exploration. In about four years they returned, with a good deal of experience, but with very little gold. After his return, in 1853, Mr. Adair married Miss Jeffries, of Springfield, Missouri, and entered upon the duties of an "affectionate husband and an indulgent father." The character of his life up to the beginning of the War of the Rebellion was entirely private, his occupation being principally farming. Casting his fortunes with the South, he raised a company of home guards, and was commissioned captain. He was never in any considerable battle but one, and that was at old Fort Wayne, near Maysville, Arkansas, in 1862. As a scout he was in many skirmishes and hand-to-hand fights, where differences were decided in a few minutes. After the Confederate armies had been driven South, and General Stand Watie, of the Cherokee regiments, had been stationed as an advance guard south of the Arkansas River, Captain Adair disbanded his company, which, in fragments, made its way through the enemy's lines to General Watie's command. He served through the entire war, and after the surrender returned to the Cherokee Nation in 1868, with his family, from Bellview, Texas, where he had moved them in 1863. On his arrival in his own country he settled at Tahlequah, the capital town of the Cherokee Nation. He reached that place with a helpless and hungry family, and seventy-five cents in his pocket. He did various kinds of work to support himself and family, and was finally relieved from drudgery by being appointed, first, auditor; next, clerk of the Cherokee Senate; executive councilor under Chief Downing; commissioner to re-survey the boundary lines between his nation and the States of Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas, as far west as the Arkansas River; delegate to Washington City in 1876, in 1880 and 1889; was twice member of the board of education; was assistant executive secretary under Chief Bushyhead, and secretary under Chief Mayes; was editor of the Cherokee Advocate, the official organ of the Cherokee Nation; was editor of the Indian Cheiftain, published at Vinita, and is now editor of the World, published at the same place. Mr. Adair is a gentleman of refinement and learning, and a poet of no ordinary ability, having contributed several gems to the collections of "American Poems," now in circulation.
 
 
JOY RETURNETH WITH THE MORNING
--JOHN L. ADAIR, SR.

A great storm had blown out the stars,
And the winds, rushing from their caves,
Lashed the sea into mountain waves;
And the ship, under bending spars,
In utter darkness plowed the deep.
Unto Him whom the winds obeyed
On Gallilee, I humbly prayed
That in his keeping I might sleep.

In a haven, calm and bright
With tropic sunshine, where the scent
Of orange blooms made redolent
The breeze that was so soft and light
That scarcely there a wavelet broke
Upon the bosom of the bay,
When next morn' our good ship lay---
To glad consciousness I 'woke.

So may it be, Lord of all,
When into darkness sinks my sun,
And my stars go out, one by one,
To such calm slumber may I fall.
And that which only faith had been,
Awake to find a truth to be,
Where no white sails go out to sea,
But are forever coming in.

HEC DIES
--JOHN L. ADAIR, SR.

To him whose hopes are far away,
To where life's sunset scene discloses
First of spring flowers and roses,
Of summer next, and winter snows
Further on, knows or thinks he knows
That far this scene beyond is a day.

That to behold it, as we may,
Its but little more than a dream,
And of events, this turbid stream---
Beginning, ah where? and ending,
Ah where? and forever wending---
Is not a real scene to-day.

That we'll fall to sleep, as we say,
And, weary, would have it night
While the sun is yet warm and bright;
Will wake from sleep to find
That all we saw and left behind
Was nothing but a dream that day.

Wonder how long we slept that way,
Think we've been dreaming---nothing more---
And to those who had woke before
From sleep, will wish to tell our dreams,
Of the unaccountable scenes,
We beheld as we slept that day.

That our loved we'll find as we pray,
Who had grown weary and had slept,
And in their dreams had laughed and wept
O'er scenes that were so real
That nothing could be ideal
Of what they saw and felt that day.

Believe we were dreaming, some way,
When we thought it was more than sleep---
It was so cold and calm and deep---
In which they lay, and sorrow's tears
We'll think were strange, as were the fears,
That made sad our dreaming that day.

That the gleams from the far away
We sometimes have of better things---
Like strange birds upon helpless wings,
Blown from some isle in tropic climes---
Are memories of other times,
As we'll find when we wake that day.
 



Buffington, Thos. M. (pp. 468) Biographical Index
Thos. M. Buffington was born October 19, 1855, at Cincinnati, Arkansas; the fourth son of Ezekiel Buffington, by Louisa Newman. He was educated at the Going Snake district schools, and was married to Miss Susan Woodhall, daughter of Isaac Woodhall, in 1878. His wife died, without family, November 11, 1891. In 1889 Mr. Buffington was elected to the judgeship of Delaware district, and in 1891 was called to the senate to represent the same district. During his first council he ahd the distinguished honor of being elected president of the senate---a rare precedent for one so young. In this race he competed against Hon. Richard Wolfe, a man of great popularity. Mr. Buffington has 225 acres in cultivation, eight miles from Vinita; he also owns a small stock of cattle, besides hogs, horses and mules, and a fine residence and orchard. He is one of the tallest and best-built men in the nation, his height being fully six feet seven inches; he is uncommonly propossessing in appearance, and popular with all classes. On the death of Chief Mayes, December 14, 1891, Mr. Buffington, being president of the senate, filled the office of principal chief till the nomination and election of Col. C. J. Harris to the executive chair, December 23, 1891. Such an honor has rarely fallen to the lot of such a young statesman, and Mr. Buffington during his brief office in that high capacity, acquitted himself to the satisfaction of all.


Bell, George W., M.D. (pp. 471, 473) Biographical Index
George W. Bell was born January, 1858, the third son of Silas Bell and Mary Jane Grigsby. Silas Bell was a lieutenant in the Mexican War, and captain of Company C, Confederate army, and was killed at the battle of Wilson Creek, August 10, 1861. Dr. Bell's parents were from Tennessee, emigrating to Dade County, Missouri, where he was born in 1858. The young man was educated at the neighborhood schools until 1876, when he went to the Dadeville graded school, where he remained one session, after which he began clerking in a drug store for Messrs. Davis & Baily, of Rock Prairie, Missouri. Here he commenced the study of medicine under Drs. A. P. Murphy and Appleby, under whose tuition he continued for two years; soon afterwards he purchased his employers' interest in the drug business, which he moved in 1880, to Ozark County, Missouri, and commenced the practice of medicine. In 1887 he went to the American Medical College in St. Louis, which he attended for two sessions, coming to Tulsa, Indian Territory, in 1888, where he formed a partnership with J. C. W. Bland, M. D., of that place; this partnership continued until December 15, of the same year, when he was appointed resident physician of Nuyaka Mission, Creek Nation, under the superintendence of Mrs. Moore, which appointment he holds at the present time. In 1890 he opened an office and drug store in Okmulgee, which he also attends to---his mother, Mrs. Bell, a lady of kind and amiable disposition, living with him. The doctor is a refined gentleman, and possesses a thorough education, devoting a greater portion of his leisure to the study of his profession, to which he is devoted heart and soul; he is very popular and will doubtless make a mark in the world.


Thompson, Thomas Fox (pp. 473, 474) Biographical Index
Thomas F. Thompson was born May, 1848, at Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, the second son of Johnson Thompson, merchant of that place. Thomas attended district school until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he went South with the refugees. After the war he went with his parents to Grand River, Delaware district, where he attended one session at Pea Ridge School, Arkansas; leaving there he went to Vinita, where he was employed in his father's store for about three years, after which he improved a farm on Big Cabin Creek, and there resided three years. Moving back to Vinita in 1878, he opened a grocery business in connection with James Skinner, who after one year sold his interest to E. N. Radcliffe. In 1878, Mr. Thompson disposed of his half of the businss, and established a feed and produce exchange in the same town, which business he is now conducting, carrying a stock of about $2,000. Mr. Thompson handles produce of all kinds, and solicits orders by carload from all parts of the country; goods carefully handled, and to the best advantage. Mr. Thompson married Miss Susan Parks, daughter of Judge Parks, formerly of East Tennessee, who, at his death, was supreme judge of the Cherokee Nation; Mrs. Thompson's mother was a Miss L. Spriggs, of Scottish and English descent, and of a leading family in East Tennessee. Mr. Thompson is a man of gentlemanly bearing and courteous manners, has a good practical education, and is highly esteemed in his town. Mrs. Thompson is a lady of refinement and education, and is a member of the Methodist Church. Mr. Thompson announces his intention of establishing a general mercantile business early in the summer of 1892, and will stock a house in Wilson street with the latest assortment of goods in all departments. Mr. Thompson owns a large tract of land, seventy acres of which is in good cultivation, also a fine residence worth $1,500, and $700 of town lots.


"The Indian Arrow" (pp. 474, 475) Biographical Index
The Indian Arrow is an eight column paper, published every Saturday at Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation. It was founded at Fort Gibson, in the year 1887 by the late Colonel William P. Ross, who was recognized as one of the ablest journalists of his race, having obtained a thorough education in an Eastern college. In early life he was offered a large salary to remove to New York and take charge of the literary department of a paper in that city. He was also an able statesman, having served one term as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. The purpose for which the Arrow was established was the defence of Indian rights, and especially those of the Cherokees, and the diffusion of useful knowledge, not only among the Indians, but that the people of the States might become educated as to the true status of the five civilized tribes. And to this end, while Colonel Ross was editor, he consistently labored. On account of official duties, which called him away from home, he was compelled to give up the editorship. Judge John T. Drew then took charge of the paper and moved it from Fort Gibson to Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, where he labored for one year in the laudable course of his predecessor, when Mr. Waddie Hudson, the present editor, became his successor. Mr. Hudson is the son of Thomas J. Hudson, who founded the National Farmers' Congress of the United States, an organization now flourishing throughout the Union. Mr. Hudson is a young man of good education, a practical printer and an able writer; in short, he seems to have inherited the genius of his father as a journalist. This fact is more than demonstrated by the success of his paper to-day. The Arrow is the paper of the Cherokee Nation. It is fearlessly outspoken, knows no criterion but to be right for right's sake; and, having pursued this course from its very first existence, it has become endeared to the hearts of those whose cause it defends, and commands the respect and admiration of all who read its columns. Hence its success.

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
OF
REV. ROBERT MCGILL LOUGHRIDGE, D. D.,

MISSIONARY TO THE MUSKOGEE INDIANS.


(pp. 475, 476, 477, 478, 479, 480, 481) Biographical Index

According to the record of our family bible, and the testimony of my parents, I was born at Lawrenceville, South Carolina, December 24, 1809. My parents were of Scotch-Irish descent, and were members of the Presbyterian church, in good standing until death. My earliest recollection dates back to an accidental burn on my cheek, when I was about two years old.

My parents were anxious to have their children educated, and availed themselves of every opportunity of sending us to school. When fourteen years of age my parents moved to St. Clair County, Alabama, where for seven years I and my brothers worked on the farm, having the benefit of schools occasionally. When twenty-one years of age I was engaged as assistant teacher, for several months, in Dr. Beebe's school, at Mesopotamia, Greene County, Alabama. I professed religion in my twenty-second year, and united with the Presbyterian church, under Rev. John H. Gray, D. D. Feeling divinely called to preach the gospel, I immediately commenced the study of Latin and Greek, under my pastor, to prepare for the solemn calling; afterwards I attended the Mesopotamia Academy, Eutaw, Alabama, for four years, in preparing for college. I entered the sophomore class in Miami University, at Oxford, Ohio, and after three years, having taken the full course, was graduated in 1837, receiving the honorary degree of Bachelor of Arts.

After a few weeks at home I entered the Theological Seminary, at Princeton, New Jersey, where I remained one year only; and, on account of the death of my father, I returned home and continued my theological studies for two years, under my old pastor, Rev. J. H. Gray, D. D. I was licensed to preach by the presbytery at Tuscaloosa, synod of Alabama, at Eutaw, April 9, 1841.

In accordance with a call from the three vacant churches of Oxford, Paynesville and Elizabeth, in Alabama, I preached six months; then being appointed by the Presbyterian board for foreign missions to visit the Creek Indians, west of Arkansas, to inquire whether they would be willing to have preaching and a mission school among them, I set out on horse-back, November 2, 1841, from Eutaw, Alabama, and, after a ride of about six hundred miles, I met the chiefs of the Muskogee Nation, and laid the matter before them. Having to wait about three weeks for the council to meet to consider my proposition, I improved the time in visiting several parts of the nation; everywhere there was evidence of the most deplorable state of society; "darkness covered the nation, and gross darkness the people;" there was not a missionary in the whole country, and the few natives who kept up the semblance of public worship, occasionally, were miserably ignorant. There was not an institution of learning in all the land, except a little government school, pretended to be taught by a bad man, who was afterwards proved to be a counterfeiter. When the council met they gave me to understand that they wanted no preaching, because it broke up their old customs, their busks, ball-plays and dances; but they wanted me to come and establish a school; I informed them that I was a preacher, and unless I was permitted to preach to the people I would not come among them. After long consultation, they finally proposed that if I would establish a school I might preach at the school-house, but nowhere else; after considerable hesitancy I agreed to these terms; and mounting my horse I returned to Alabama, as I came, to prepare to move out. After some delay in getting ready, I returned by steamer, and arrived, with my young wife, in the nation, at the Verdigris landing, February 5, 1843.

After a few days of observation I purchased a horse and saddle, and started out to find the most appropriate place for the mission school; at the suggestion of the principal chief it was located in the Coweta Town, and called the "Coweta Mission," situated one and one-half miles east of the Arkansas River, and twenty-five miles southwest of Fort Gibson. Very soon a cabin was built for school and church purposes, and the people notified to attend church, and to send their children to school; fifteen or twenty children were enrolled, and my wife, an experienced and well-qualified teacher, commenced the school; only a few of the neighbors were disposed to attend preaching.

The outlook was truly discouraging, and was literally "a day of small things;" the people were very friendly, but shy, and seemed afraid to attend preaching. During the following year we built a large, hewed-log house, and at the urgent request of some persons living at a distance we received eight or ten children, boys and girls, to live with us to attend school; this was the beginning of our system of manual labor boarding schools, which has proved itself to be the most effectual means of civilizing and Christianizing the Indian youth; indeed, it is the best of all classes. Gradually, the number of boarding scholars was increased until we had forty; and the people becoming more interested in religious exercises attended preaching more regularly, so that a number became converted, and in about two years we had the pleasure of organizing a church. As the Seminoles, who speak the same language as the Creeks, were entirely without schools or preaching, the board of foreign missions directed me to visit them and learn whether they were willing to have a mission school among them. Accordingly, in the summer of 1846, I visited them with my interpreter, and found that the majority of their chiefs were quite willing to have schools and preaching among them; this was the opening wedge for that good Christian work done among them afterwards by Revs. J. R. Ramsey and John Lilley. In April, 1847, Hon. Walter Lowrie, secretary of the board of foreign missions, New York, visited the mission, and gave a new impulse to the cause of Christian education by entering into an agreement with the chiefs for the enlargement of the school at Coweta, and the establishment of the Tallahassee Manual Labor School, to accommodate eighty pupils, forty of each sex; these schools are sustained jointly by the Presbyterian Church and the Creek school fund. A large and very convenient brick building, three stories high, 76 x 34, with a good cellar, was erected for the Tallahassee school; the building was admirably arranged, for a boarding school for both sexes; it was located on a beautiful ridge, in the Arkansas district, one and one-half miles north of the Arkansas River. Rev. H. Balentine was sent out by the board to take charge (with other missionaries) of the Coweta Mission, while I was apppointed to superintend the Tallahassee school. Accordingly I moved down to Tallahassee to superintend the erection of the building and make other preparations for opening the school. William S. Robertson, A. M., of New York, a graduate of an eastern college, was appointed as principal teacher, and other assistant teachers were sent out by the board.

The first day of March, 1850, therefore, found us ready to commence the school. The main building was in readiness; out-buildings, stables, corn-cribs, fences, etc., had been built; cattle, horses, wagons and teams had been purchased; furniture for the building, and provisions of all kinds, books, papers, etc. had been provided, and the school opened with thirty pupils---boys and girls. Our full number of eighty was not received until in the fall, because it was deemed best to begin with few, and get them under training before the whole number of raw recruits should arrive; after experience proved the wisdom of the course. A fine, large bell was sent out by the board and hung in the cupola of the building to regulate the various exercises of school and church. By the thoughtful generosity of Dr. Wells, of Fort Gibson, the stanch friend of the mission, a beautiful and appropriate vane, representing an Indian standing with bow and arrow, pointing the course of the wind as it flew past, was presented and placed on the cupola of the main building. A full supply of excellent and well-qualified teachers and helpers were sent out from time to time, as the best interests of the school demanded. The exercises were conducted on the manual labor plan, and the ususal time of six hours, daily, was spent in study.

The pupils were employed about two hours daily in some useful exercise: the boys working on the farm, garden or chopping firewood, and the girls in household duties, assisting in sewing, cooking, washing, and the care of the dining-room. The children were provided with three good substantial meals daily, and abundant time given for sleep and recreation. Religious exercises were regularly kept up; preaching on Sabbath, and prayers morning and evening through the week. Daily at supper table, in connection with singing and prayer, every pupil was expected to recite a verse, or part of a verse, of the Scripture.

Thus the school was kept up regularly, being fully equipped with a noble band of excellent, self-denying, pious teachers and helpers in every department; who came not from "the loaves and the fishes;" but all, both teachers and superintendent, labored faithfully and cheerfully, and were content with a mere support---their respective salaries being only $100 per annum.

The school continued to flourish, doing a grand work for the nation in the education of her children, until July 10, 1861, when it was suddenly broken up, and all the mission property (amounting to $12,270) was taken possession of by the chiefs of the nation. Such was also the case with the Coweta Mission Labor School. The children were sent adrift to their several homes, while the devoted teachers took a mournful leave of each other and left for their several homes North and South.

Thus, after eleven years of successful operation, this interesting school was disbanded. The Coweta school was never renewed; but at the close of the Civil War, November, 1866, the former teacher, Rev. William S. Robertson (who had been ordained as an evangelist during the war), was sent out by the board, with others, and after much self-denying labor, revived the school to something like its former size and usefulness, in March, 1868. It was continued in successful operation, doing a good work in educating many of the youths of the nation for twelve years, until December 19, 1880, when, from a defective flue, the building catch fire and was burned to the ground, and most of its contents were consumed.

But to return to the history of my own movements. During this time, when our school at Tallahassee was broken up, in 1861, I moved my family over into the Cherokee Nation, and preached for one year to the churches there, which had been left by the missionaries, who felt compelled by the pressure of the Civil War, to return to their homes in the North. The Indians themselves, both Creek and Cherokees, having divided on the war question, some joining the South and other the North; it became aslo useless and very dangerous for me to remain in the country longer. Therefore, on July 17, 1862, I packed some of our belongings, with my family, in two small wagons, and journeyed down to Texas, where most of my relatives were living. Here during the war, and afterwards for eighteen years, I was regularly employed in preaching to the vacant churches in different parts of Texas, and my wife during this time, was engaged in teaching several interesting schools. Thus, while we were accomplishing much good for others, the Lord provided for our support and enabled us to give a respectable education to our children.

Having received an urgent call from the board of foreign missions, and also from several of the prominent Indians, to return to our mission work among the Creeks, and our children being now able to provide for themselves, my wife and I returned on January 5, 1881. I commenced preaching for the Wealaka church, in the Broken Arrow district; during the two years that I preached in this district, ten persons were received into the church, and twenty-eight children of believing parents, were baptized.

The Tallahassee school building having been burned, the council decided to build another and on a larger scale, and locate it further West, where the people were more thickly settled. Accordingly, the trustees selected a beautiful site on the south side of the Arkansas River, surrounded in the distance by several grand old mountains, and about forty miles west of the town of Muskogee. A large and magnificent brick building, 110 x 42 feet and three stories high, was erected and soon occupied by the 100 children engaged to be boarded and taught there. Having been appointed superintendent of the school, I opened it November 1, 1882, and continued in charge for two years, and then resigned my office to others. Since then I have devoted myself to preaching the gospel in various places in the nation, and in preparing books in the Creek language. The books prepared and published by me, with the assistance of my interpreter, were a hymn book, a catechism, translation of the gospel of Matthew, a treatise on baptism, and a dictionary in two parts, Creek and English, and English and Creek.

On June 26, 1886, I was remembered and honored by my alma mater, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, which conferred upon me the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.

In concluding this brief sketch of my life, I will further remark that, during my long pilgrimage of nearly eighty-two years, many have been the afflictions I have been called to bear. Three of my six children have passed over the Jordan of death, and I am now living with my third wife, who is seventy-three years of age. But in all these bereavements, we are comforted with the assurance that all the dear ones thus taken  away, are safely housed in their Heavenly home, where we shall meet again, and be forever with the Lord.

R. M. Loughridge.
Red Fork, Indian Territory, December 2, 1891.



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