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Biographical Sketch of Rev. Richard D. Colbert

Rev. Richard D. Colbert of Grant, is one of the young men, enlisted in the work of the Church, by Parson Stewart. He attended Biddle University from October 1884 to June 1887, three years, when he returned home, on account of impaired health. Regaining his health after a few months, he became a teacher and taught school eleven years during the territorial period. In the spring of 1897, he became a licentiate of the Presbytery of Kiamichi, and two years later was assigned the pastoral oversight of New Hope and Sandy Branch Churches. He was ordained in 1903. Most of his ministerial labors have been devoted to Sandy Branch and Hebron Churches, serving the latter until 1913. As a result of accidents that happened in making the journey to the Hebron Church in 1911, he experienced the loss of an eye and other injuries that resulted in total blindness in 1913. He endeavored to make a good record as a teacher and preacher, and has served his generation...

Biography of Rev. William Butler

Rev. William Butler (B. 1859), pastor of St. Paul Presbyterian Church at Eagletown, and of Forest Church near Red River south of Millerton, is a native of the community in which he still lives. His parents, Abraham and Nellie Butler, were the slaves of Pitchlyn and Howell, Choctaws; and William was about seven, when freedom was accorded the family in 1866. His home and work as a minister until recently have been in localities remote from the railway and good schools. The short period of one and a half months was all the time he ever went to school. He learned to read by a regular attendance at Sabbath school, and by private study at the fireside. The Bible and the Shorter Catechism were the books that occupied his spare time and attention. As a natural result, he became a Christian and united with the Church at an early age. In 1885, at the age of twenty-six, he was ordained an elder in the St. Paul Presbyterian Church. He then began to read the Bible to the congregation and to hold religious meetings. While preparing himself for the work then in hand, he was led to see the great need of more teachers and preachers for the colored people, and, believing he could render efficient service as a minister, he undertook a special course of reading and instruction under Rev. John Sleeper, his pastor, and later of Rev. E. G. Haymaker, superintendent of Oak Hill Academy, instructors who lived 12 and 35 miles distant, respectively. In 1894 he was enrolled as a candidate for the ministry under the Presbytery...

The First Chautauqua

In 1907, the last year under territorial government, arrangements were made for a patriotic celebration, in the form of a Chautauqua at the Academy. The following account of it is from the columns of the Garvin Graphic: The Fourth of July meeting by the Freedmen at Oak Hill Academy, near Valliant, was a real patriotic Chautauqua, the first meeting of the kind ever held in this part of the Territory, and well worthy of more than a mere passing note. The preparations for the occasion, which included a comfortable seat for everyone, were fully completed before hand. The speakers’ stand and the Academy buildings were tastefully decorated with our beautiful national colors, one large flag suspended between two of them, being twelve feet long. “The exercises included three series of addresses, interspersed with soul-stirring patriotic music by the Oak Hill Glee Club, and the speakers included several of the most eloquent orators in the south part of the territory. The occasion afforded ample opportunity for the free and full discussion of those questions, relating to the administration of our public affairs, that are now engaging the attention of the people; and this fact was greatly appreciated both by the speakers and the people. “At the forenoon session James R. Crabtree presided with commendable grace and dignity. The Declaration of Independence was read in a very entertaining and impressive manner by Miss Malinda Hall, who has been an efficient helper in the work of the Academy, since its reopening two years ago. The principal address at this session was delivered by Rev. Wiley Homer, of Grant, a large, well built...

The Choctaw Freedmen and Oak Hill Industrial Academy

The aim of the Author in preparing this volume has been to put in a form, convenient for preservation and future reference, a brief historical sketch of the work and workers connected with the founding and development of Oak Hill Industrial Academy, established for the benefit of the Freedmen of the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, by the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., in 1886, when Miss Eliza Hartford became the first white teacher, to the erection of Elliott Hall in 1910, and its dedication in 1912; when the name of the institution was changed to “The Alice Lee Elliott Memorial.”

Tributes to the Workers

These tributes to worthy workers seem incomplete, without some reference to the faithful co-operation of some of the young people, who, making rapid progress in their studies and industrial training, during the later years of this period, and serving efficiently as workers, foremen and occasional teachers, made possible the large amount of improvement work necessary to overcome the losses sustained. The memory recalls the names of the following students, whose responsible and efficient co-operation was thus worthy of grateful mention. Occasional Teachers and Leaders: Paul Thornton, Vina Jones, Delia Clark1, Isabella Monroe, Ruby Moore1, Virginia Wofford, Sarah Milton, Celestine Seats, Solomon Buchanan, Riley Flournoy, Clarence and Herbert Peete. Carpenters and Cement Workers: David Folsom1 , Solomon Burris, Louis and Alvin Pitchlin, Isaiah Nelson, Clarence Peete, Noah Alverson, Riley Flournoy, Fred and Percy McFarland, Thomas Wilson, George Hollingsworth, Frank Dickson, Ashley and Alonza McLellan and Brown Gaffony. Painters: Solomon Buchanan, Frank Dickson, John Black, Eugene Perry, Wesley Lewis, Herbert Peete and Cornell Smith. Farmers and Trustworthy Teamsters: James Stewart, James Burris. James Richards, Dee McFarland, Robert Johnson, Robert Maxie, S. S. Bibbs, and Everett...

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