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Location: Checotah Oklahoma

Slave Narrative of Nellie Johnson

Person Interviewed: Nellie Johnson Location: Oklahoma I don’t know how old I is, but I is a great big half grown gal when the time of the war come, and I can remember how everything look at that time, and what all the people do, too. I’m pretty nigh to blind right now, and all I can do is set on this little old front porch and maybe try to keep the things picked up behind my grandchild and his wife, because she has to work and he is out selling wood most of the time. But I didn’t have to live in any such a house during the time I was young like they is, because I belonged to old Chief Rolley McIntosh, and my pappy and mammy have a big, nice, clean log house to live in, and everything round it look better than most renters got these days. We never did call old Master anything but the Chief or the General for that’s what everybody called him in them days, and he never did act towards us like we was slaves, much anyways. He was the mikko of the Kawita town long before the war and long before I was borned, and he was the chief of the Lower Creeks even before he got to be the chief of all the Creeks. But just at the...

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Biography of Charles R. Freeman

Since 1902 Charles R. Freeman has been practicing law in Checotah, and he is numbered among the representative members of the legal profession in the state. He was born in Clay county, Mississippi, on the 8th of November, 1875, a son of John P. and Anna (Lyon) Freeman, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Mississippi. For some time the father followed agricultural pursuits in his native state and upon the outbreak of the Civil war continued to reside there until the last year of the war, when he enlisted for active service. At the close of the war he went to Mississippi where he bought some land and previous to his death he owned several plantations. His demise occurred in February, 1902. Mrs. Freeman died in May, 1883. Charles R. Freeman received his early education in the common schools of Clay county, Mississippi, and later enrolled in the Iuka Normal Institute at Iuka, that state, graduating from that institution in 1898, with the A. B. degree. Subsequently, determining upon a legal career, he entered the University of Mississippi at Oxford and he received his LL. B. degree in 1901. For the following year he practiced in Starkville, Mississippi, and in October, 1902, came to Checotah. He has built up an extensive and lucrative practice and handles much important litigation before the courts. He has...

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Biography of Claude A. Niles

One of the prominent attorneys of Checotah is Claude A. Niles, senior member of the firm of Niles & Staley. A native of Missouri, he was born near Rolla, on the 5th of November, 1882, a son of Asa S. and Nettie E. (Burns) Niles, the former a native of New York and the latter of Nebraska. The father went to Rolla, Missouri, about 1865, when sixteen years of age, and subsequently engaged in the real estate business, which he has followed for the past thirty years. He has won gratifying success in that connection and is one of the prominent and representative, citizens of the community in which he resides. Mrs. Niles is also living. In the acquirement of an education, Claude A. Niles attended the schools of Rolla, Missouri, and after graduating from the high school there, he entered the State University. After graduating from that institution he spent several years as an accountant and then took up the study of law. He came to Oklahoma in 1902, locating in Checotah, and in October, 1906, he was admitted to the bar. He has since practiced here and in 1921 formed a partnership with Floyd E. Staley, further mention of whom is made on another page of this work, the firm being known as Niles & Staley. Mr. Niles served as city attorney of Checotah for several terms...

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Biography of John T. Cooper

Checotah numbers among her representative citizens John T. Cooper, attorney at law with offices in the Peoples National Bank building. He is a southerner by birth, born in Scottsboro, Jackson county, Alabama, on the 7th of August, 1881, a son of Abe and Julia (Anderson) Cooper, both natives of that state. The father engaged in agriculture in Alabama until 1894, in which year he removed to Indian Territory and located at Sallisaw. He engaged in farming there for three years and subsequently came to McIntosh County. He became one of the prominent and successful agriculturists of this community. He is now living retired, enjoying well earned rest, at the age of seventy years. Mrs. Cooper died in 1897. John T. Cooper received his early education in the public schools of Alabama, removing to Indian Territory with his parents at the age of eleven years. He completed his preliminary education in the public schools of Sallisaw and later entered Harrell Institute, now the Spaulding Institute, at Muskogee. In due time he was graduated from that school and for the next eight years was engaged in educational work. During that time he studied law by correspondence and he was admitted to the bar in 1915, in which year be came to Checotah, where he has since practiced. For more than six years he has had offices in the Peoples National Bank...

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Biography of Floyd E. Staley

One of the promising young members of the legal profession in Oklahoma is Floyd E. Staley, junior member of the firm of Miles & Staley at Checotah. He was born in Ottawa, Kansas, on the 17th of October, 1895, a son of William and Grace (Anderson) Staley, the former a native of Missouri and the latter of Kansas. William Staley engaged in farming in the latter state until 1909, when he came to Oklahoma and located in Checotah. Here he established a grain business; in the conduct of which he was active until 1921, when he disposed of that business. He is now operating a cotton gin and achieving substantial success in that connection. Floyd E. Staley was reared and educated in Kansas and at Checotah, Oklahoma and after completing his preliminary education he enrolled as a student in the State University at Norman. He completed his course there in the required four years and was graduated with the class of 1921, receiving the degrees of B. A. and LL. B. He immediately located in Checotah for the practice of his chosen profession and became a partner of Claude A. Niles, extended mention of whom may be found on another page of this work, the firm being known as Niles & Staley. Mr. Staley has already gained distinction among the’ members of the bar in Oklahoma and he handles...

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Biography of Andrew J. Snelson, M. D.

Dr. Andrew J. Snelson, who has been actively and successfully engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery in northeastern Oklahoma during the past two decades, has continuously maintained an office in Checotah since 1908 and is numbered among the leading representatives of the profession here. His birth occurred in Johnson County, Arkansas, on the 1st of January, 1862, his parents being John and Cynthia S. (Davis) Snelson, both of whom were natives of Overton county, Tennessee. The father enlisted for service in the Confederate army at the time of the Civil war and was killed in battle at Camden, Arkansas, when but twenty-two years of age, the engagement in which he was fatally, wounded being known as the Saline fight. The mother of the Doctor long survived her husband, passing away on the 5th of August, 1907, when sixty-four years of age. Andrew J. Snelson, who was the only child born to his parents, obtained his education in the public schools of his native-county and when a youth of eighteen began teaching school there, continuing to follow the profession in Johnson county, Arkansas, for a period of nineteen years. He won an enviable reputation as an educator one who had the ability to impart clearly and readily to others the knowledge that he had acquired. Desiring to take up the medical profession, however, he pursued the necessary course...

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Biography of Joseph G. Schofield

One of the prominent attorneys of Checotah is Joseph G. Schofield, who was born in Lowell, Ohio, on the 22d of September, 1847, a son of Joseph C. and Anna (Miller) Schofield. He is of English and colonial ancestry on his father’s side and Scotch-Irish ancestry on the maternal side. The Schofield family in America is descended from Holland Dutch ancestors, the head of the English line having come to England with William of Orange, he being one of the officers who came from the native land to assist in the support of the claims of William and Anne to the English throne. The Schofields in England became manufacturers and the grandfather emigrated from York, England, about the beginning of the preceding century and settled at Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in woolen manufacturing and set up and operated the first spinning jenny ever erected west of the Susquehanna River. He was there united in marriage to Elizabeth Brown. Her father was a well known and prominent merchant and was a soldier in the Revolution, having served with the Colonial troops. In 1828 this couple, with their family, removed to the then far west and settled in what was then Morgan County, now Noble County, Ohio, near Olive, said to be the second oldest town in that state. There the grandfather purchased a farm and a woolen and grain...

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Biography of Hon. William M. Duffy

Hon. William M. Duffy, attorney at law in Checotah and now serving his first term as justice of the peace, was born in Callaway County, Missouri, on the 21st of August, 1866, a son of Mathew and Caroline (Ellis) Duffy. The father was born in Ireland and came to America when a young man, locating in Missouri, where he engaged in farming. He followed agricultural pursuits the remainder of his life and died in 1874, one of the prominent and representative citizens of the community in which he resided. Mrs. Duffy was born in Missouri and her death occurred in 1872. In the acquirement of an education William M. Duffy attended the common schools of Callaway County, Missouri, and later enrolled in Westminster College at Fulton, where he remained for two years. He then taught school for four years in Kansas and served as County clerk of Harper County, that state, in 1891, being reelected in 1893. During that time he studied law and in 1896 was admitted to the bar. In the same year he located in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, for the practice of his chosen profession and he resided there until 1906, in which year he came to Checotah. In the intervening years he has built up a large and lucrative practice, handling much important litigation before the courts and he has taken an active part...

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Biography of James M. Wood

A representative citizen of McIntosh County is James M. Wood, who since 1921 has been Mayor of Checotah. He was born in Crawford County, Arkansas, on the 13th of December, 1861, a son of James M. and Sophronia (Clyman) Wood. The father was born near Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1825, while Mrs. Wood was born in Danville, Illinois, on the 3d of January, 1834. Mr. Wood emigrated from his native state to Van Buren, Arkansas, at an early age and for some time followed farming. Subsequently he engaged in the general mercantile business and he was active along that line until his demise on the 15th of December, 1881, at the age of fifty-seven years. Mrs. Wood died on the 31st of October, 1921, in her eighty-eighth year. James M. Wood was reared and received his education in Van Buren, Arkansas. He remained with his parents on the home place until he became of age, when he accepted a position as clerk in a store in Van Buren. He was thus employed for several years but finally resigned to become traveling salesman for a large local concern. In June, 1901, he came to Checotah to take charge of the shoe department for the firm of Spaulding & Hutchinson and he remained in that capacity for two or three years, at the termination of which time he again went on the...

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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....

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