[Muskogee Daily Phoenix May 30, 1934]
Mrs. Barnett Found Jackson, 70, Living As Though Penniless
When Oil Was Found on His Land, Indian "Became Shuttlecock in Game of Battledore"
Jackson Barnett lived for 70 years in his shack near Henryetta with his dogs and ponies, and until he became wealthy was allowed to shift for himself and eke out an existence as best he could. Even when fortune came to him and oil that yielded a monthly income of $90,000 was discovered on his allotment in Creek county, Barnett refused to leave his home or change his mode of living.
With the discovery of oil on his apparently worthless land in the Cushing field, however, Barnett became, as described by Federal Judge John C. Knox of New York, "a shuttlecock in a game of battledore in which the stakes were high." Known as the "world's richest Indian" Barnett was solicited and importuned for donations, kidnapped, and married by an adventuress, and harassed and annoyed by his attorneys."
Thought Him a "Bit Off"
Barnett suddenly found himself thrust into the national spotlight, but apparently suffered none from it. His Creek neighbors around Henryetta thought the old man a bit "off", but excused his incompetence on the grounds that he had been thrown from a horse as a youth.
An Okmulgee county court appointed Carl J. O'Hornett as Barnett's guardian. O'Hornett approved a grant of $25,000 to several Henryetta churches and struggled to protect an ever mounting fortune that 10 years later was estimated at three million dollars or more.
Barnett's fortune has rocked national administrations, resulted in kidnapping, demands for impeachment and Senatorial investigations. Annie Laura Lowe, a Kansas oil promoter, drove to Henryetta in a taxicab, found the aged millionaire and whisked him across the Kansas line to marry him.
Gave $550,000 to Bacone
Against that marriage the Indian bureau cried in protest. It sought first to set it aside, finally acknowledged it, only to see it declared void by Judge William P. James in the Los Angeles federal court recently.
After his marriage to Mrs. Lowe Barnett continued as a philanthropist. He sough to create two trust funds of $550,000 each, one two go to his wife at his death and the second to go to the American Baptist Home Mission of New York for the use and benefit of Bacone college in Muskogee. Jackson, according to the agreement, was to have an interest in both trust funds as long as he lived.
The settlement was approved by the department of interior, but subsequently attacked by Oklahoma lawyers and the department of justice. Harold McGugin, long Mrs. Barnett lawyer, now a member of the house of representatives from Kansas and who at one time was given a $50,000 fee only to be ordered to return it by federal court, charged in a direct appeal to President Coolidge on September 19, 1926, that Senator W. B. Pine of Okmulgee had exerted his influence with the department of justice to intervene against the interior department's settlement of the case in an effort to keep Barnett's money in Okmulgee county.
McGugin charged that Pine's political group was dominant in Okmulgee county and had influenced the appointment of various guardians for the aged Creek incompetent's estate.
Lived in Local Hotel
McGugin voiced a plea of "let Barnett alone" to president Coolidge. He demanded, at the same time, the resignation of Bert M. Parmenter of Lawton as assistant attorney general, Pine had demanded the resignation of Indian Commissioner Burke, who had approved the Barnett settlement.
Mrs. Barnett suddenly bundled up the "chief" and hurried him to Los Angeles, purportedly to protect him from further suits. The aged Creek however was returned to Muskogee where, with Mrs. Barnett, he was held virtual prisoner in the Baltimore hotel by three guards to await his release on bond.
Because Federal Judge Robert L. Williams was confined to a Battlecreek sanitarium as a result of a serious operation, Federal Judge F. E. Kennamer of Tulsa released Barnett on a $2500 bond on September 26, 1926, over vigorous protest from the department of justice. Mrs. Barnett was said at the time to have kept an automobile waiting daily in front of the federal building here in an effort to make an anticipated dash to California, but was warned by Judge Kennamer that she would not be allowed to leave the eastern district of Oklahoma.
Lived on West Okmulgee
Following his release on bond, Barnett and his wife left the Baltimore and took up residence in a cottage on West Okmulgee
Judge Knox of New York subsequently held that donations to Bacone and to his wife were void, and ordered Barnett's estate turned over to the department of interior for administration on the ground that the aged Creek was incompetent and had married an adventuress.
Barnett and his wife returned to Los Angeles, still faced with government efforts to void the marriage with which Barnett was apparently content, and took up their residence in their palatial colonial home on Wilshire Boulevard. Barnett contented himself with directing traffic from the curb in front of his mansion.
Judge William P. James of Los Angeles, held recently that the marriage of Mrs. Lowe and Barnett was void, but allowed Jackson the privilege of employing his wife as a housekeeper at $2500 per month.
Apparently dissatisfied with the handling of her expense account by the Mission Indian Agency, Mrs. Barnett came to Muskogee two weeks ago seeking to file a motion in federal court to require payment through the office of the Five Civilised Tribes her. Because she had no suit before Judge Williams in which she could file a motion, Mrs. Barnett returned to her home in California.