Location: Le Flore County OK

Settlement with Superintendent

On the tenth day of May I had a final settlement with Rev. L. B. Stateler, the acting Superintendent of our mission, with the intention of quitting the territory as soon as a steamboat should ascend the river as high as Fort Coffee. We could not conscientiously remain in the south after the division of the Church. Before the separation, while the Methodist Episcopal Church was a unit, with a Scriptural and conservative platform, bearing an emphatic testimony against the “great evil of slavery,” and looking forward to its “extirpation,” we could labor heartily and conscientiously in fellowship with our southern brethren. But when required to abandon the old landmarks, and stand upon a new platform, or return to the north, the path of duty was clear. We determined to remain in the Methodist Episcopal Church; for it was impossible for us to pronounce the Shibboleth which was the only password that could gain access to the public sentiment of the south. We durst not remain in communion with a Church which claims that ” slavery is right per se;” that it is an “Abrahamic institution.” We felt that we must withdraw from a communion which will not, or dares not say a word in condemnation of an institution which utterly ignores the marriage relation, and, per sequence, tolerates and sanctions polygamy, bigamy, adultery, and promiscuous concubinage. After closing...

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Death in the Mission

On the twenty-fifth day of March, James Wathin, a lad of about ten years of age, died of pneumonia. The disease had prevailed in our family for a number of weeks, and James had suffered severely with it, but had partially recovered from his attack, and we thought him out of danger. But owing perhaps to imprudence he suffered a relapse, from which we could not raise him; the physician did all that he could, but without success. When we saw that the lad must die, we sent for his father, whose name was Beelah, and who resided near the Sugar-Loaf Mountain, thirty, miles distant. But James had died, was in his coffin, and we were ready to bury him when Beelah arrived. We were waiting that the father might be present when the son was buried. But Beelah came prepared to take the corpse home, to perform the funeral rites according to the ancient custom of his fathers. We did all in our power to change his purpose, but without effect; he remained firm in his determination to take the remains to his home and perform the burial services according to the customs of the tribe in their earlier and more palmy days. Finding that arguments and entreaties would avail nothing, we assembled the students in the chapel, read a portion of Scripture, sung and prayed, gave a...

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Choctaw Wedding

Mrs. H., a Choctaw woman, has just sent a servant to ask if we would be willing to attend a wedding at her house; her youngest daughter was about to be united in wedlock to a fine young Indian, who was serving as a clerk in a dry-goods store at the Agency. As we expressed our pleasure at being her guests on the eventful occasion, Mrs. H. sent us horses and saddles, and a servant to conduct us to her residence. We found a multitude of people assembled to witness the ceremonies. Mrs. H’s dwelling consisted of two square rooms, built of logs, and standing separate, leaving a space of ten or twelve feet between them, which served as a hall or court. There were porches in front and rear of the buildings. The invited guests occupied the hall and porches, while the lower class of natives, who were prompted by curiosity to be present, were scattered about the yards, seated upon the ground, and smoking their pipes in silence; they had never witnessed the marriage ceremonies solemnized by a minister. At nine o’clock the bridal party were marshaled upon the front porch; friends held lighted candles, the natives swarmed about the yard, and then, in duo form, according to the Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the nuptials were celebrated. It was probably the first instance in which...

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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 Theodore T. Shackelford, M. D.

An extensive practice attests the ability of Dr. Theodore T. Shackelford as a physician and surgeon, and he is numbered among the leading representatives of the medical fraternity of Haskell, where he established his residence in 1917. He was born in Okolona, Arkansas, January 31, 1886, of the marriage of Theodore T. and Elizabeth Jane (Thompson) Shackelford, the former a native of Mississippi and the latter of South Carolina. When a lad of eight years the father accompanied his parents to Arkansas and his education was obtained in the schools of that state. On reaching adult years he took up the occupation of farming, purchasing land in Clark county, Arkansas, which he continued to improve and develop until 1910, when he retired from active agricultural pursuits, having through industry, enterprise and capable management accumulated a comfortable competence. He is now residing in Foreman, Arkansas, at the age of seventy-three, while the mother is in her seventy-fourth year, and they are highly esteemed residents of their community. Their son, Dr. Theodore T. Shackelford, was reared in Okolona, Arkansas, and there attended the grammar and high schools, after which he worked in a drug store for three years. He then became a student at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, from which he was graduated with the class of 1910, at which time the M. D. degree was conferred upon him. In...

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Life Among the Choctaw Indians

Henry Benson worked as a missionary amongst the Choctaw at the Fort Coffee Academy for Boys in the mid 1800’s. In this manuscript he depicts the formation of the Academy and missionary amongst the Indians, providing valuable insight into the tribal customs of the Choctaw after they had been forcibly moved to the Indian Territory. He also provides glimpses into the lives of westerners before the Civil War in the south-west.

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