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Bowman, Gene C. “Smokey” – Obituary

Gene C. “Smokey” Bowman, 76, of Baker City, died March 9, 2005, at his home after a year-long battle with cancer. His wife and children were at his side. His memorial was at 1 p.m. today at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel. Pastor Lennie Spooner of the First Church of the Nazarene officiated. Interment was at Mount Hope Cemetery at the foot of his granddaughter Sophia’s grave. Gene was born Sept. 10, 1928, at Checotah, Okla., to Floyd and Maude Bowman. The family moved to the Gooding, Idaho, area where Gene attended school until he was 15, when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After his time in the service, he worked on many ranches in Idaho and Nevada — always a top hand among the crew. He began to rodeo at an early age and won his first buckle in bull riding at Bliss, Idaho. He spent many years following rodeo in bull riding, saddle bronc riding and bulldogging. He was a pretty fair team roper, too. Gene owned his own airplane and would fly over the family ranch and knock the tops out of the cottonwood trees to tell the family to pick him up at the airport. He also owned and operated several bars and restaurants over the years. Gene married Betty Woods and they had three children: Becky, Dave and Brad. They later divorced. On May 8, 1981, he married Shelley Hack at McDermitt, Nev. They spent their honeymoon in a branding camp with Cisco’s. They started raising quarter horses and showing “Pepper,” Gene’s good yellow stud horse in cutting. Gene did many things...

Okchai Tribe

Like the Pakana, Adair includes the Okchai among those tribes which had been ”artfully decoyed” to unite with the Muskogee,1 and Milfort says that the Okchai and Tuskegee had sought the protection of the Muskogee after having suffered severely at the hands of hostile Indians. He adds that the former “mounted ten leagues toward the north [of the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers] and fixed their dwelling in a beautiful plain on the bank of a little river.”2 Among some of the living Okchai there seems to be a tradition of this foreign origin, but nowhere do we find evidence that they spoke a diverse language. Their tongue may have been a dialect of Muskogee assimilated to the current speech in very ancient times. This tribe appears on some of the earliest maps which locate Creek towns, such as that of Popple.3 Their original seats were, as described by Milfort, on the western side of the Coosa some miles above its junction with the Tallapoosa. By 1738, however, a part of them had left that region and moved over upon a branch of Kialaga Creek, an affluent of the Tallapoosa.4 Another portion evidently remained for a time near their old country, since the census of 1761 mentions “Oakchoys opposite the said [i. e., the French] fort.”5 After the cession of Mobile and its dependencies to Great Britain these probably reunited with the main body. Okchai are indeed afterwards spoken of in the neighborhood of the old fort, but they appear to have been in reality Okchaiutci, part of the Alabama, whose history has been given elsewhere.6 The last...

Hilibi Tribe

We now come to three towns or groups of towns —Hilibi, Eufaula, and Wakokai— which, while they have had a long separate existence, claim and in recent years have maintained terms of the closest intimacy. Their square grounds are much the same and they generally agree in selecting their chief from the Aktayatci clan. It is possible that this points to a common origin at some time in the remote past; but it would be hazardous to suggest it in stronger terms. From one of the best-informed Hilibi Indians I obtained the following tradition regarding the origin of his town. It was, he said, founded by a Tukpafka Indian belonging to the Aktayatci clan. Having suffered defeat in a ball game he determined to leave his own people, so he went away and founded another, gathering about him persons from many towns, but especially from Tukabahchee. When the people began to discuss what name they should give to their settlement their leader said ”Quick shall be my name,” and that is what Hilibi (hilikbi) signifies. It was because it grew up so rapidly. This story was confirmed independently by another of the best-informed old men, except that he represented the town as built up entirely of Tukpafka Indians. Tukpafka was, however, only a branch, and probably a late branch, of Wakokai, therefore we should have to look for an origin from the latter town. The historical value of this tradition may well be doubted, even with such emendation, but it serves to show the mental association between the places mentioned. After De Soto had arrived at Cofitachequi, Ranjel states...

Eufaula Tribe

The Eufaula tribe was an independent body as far back as history takes us. According to one of my informants they branched off from Kealedji, while another seemed to think that they originated from Hilibi. Practically no confidence can be placed in these opinions. Not even a plausible guess can be furnished by the living Indians regarding the origin of the name.

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