One of the pioneer citizens of Nowata county is Mrs. Mary C. Bezion, residing on her farm two miles southwest of Delaware, hale and hearty at the age of seventy-three years. A native of Kansas, she was born in Wyandotte county, on the 14th of April, 1849, a daughter of Jim and Nancy (Washington) Secondine. Her father, who was chief of the Delaware, was born in Ohio. He was with General Fremont during the Mexican war and his picture has been preserved in the archives at Washington, D. C. Mrs. Bezion was but fourteen years of age when her father died. Her mother was half Wyandotte and half white, and was a native of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. She was married to Jim Secondine in Kansas and her death occurred while residing in the Cherokee Nation, thirty-nine years ago.
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Mrs. Bezion received her education in the schools of Kansas and is a very intellectual woman. She came to Indian Territory with the first Delaware emigrants and located at Grand River, where she resided but a short time. Subsequently she removed to Coodys Bluff and from there came to her present home, two miles southwest of Delaware, where she has one hundred and ninety-eight acres, a fine home and oil holdings, from which she draws royalties. Although she rents her farm to a tenant, she still resides on it, and administers all of her own affairs.
Mrs. Bezion has met many prominent people and when just a girl was introduced to President Lincoln and his wife in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. President Lincoln presented her with a ring which she treasured greatly, but which she lost in a fire in later years. Her father was much respected by President Lincoln. In 1902 Mrs. Bezion went to Washington, D. C., and for seven weeks was the guest of President Roosevelt at Oyster Bay. The late Senator Quay was her cousin and while east she was also his guest. She was feted and greatly honored and is the proud possessor of a beautiful brooch given her by President Roosevelt. She made for him a wonderful beaded buckskin coat.
Mrs. Bezion has been married three times. Her first husband was Charles Armstrong and she has a son by this marriage, Solomon, who is fifty four years of age and is engaged in farming near his mother. Thompson Smith was her second husband, and Stephen Bezion was her third husband. He died five years ago. Mr. Bezion was a Delaware of French extraction. He was a farmer of note and was well known throughout the county in fraternal circles, being affiliated with the Woodmen of the World and the Knights of Pythias.
Mrs. Bezion is a great lover of history and takes a deep interest in the traditions of her people. Among her treasured possessions is a picture of the first Delaware Baptist church, erected at Alluwe, Nowata county, and she had the distinction of being the first person baptized in the New Cherokee Nation. Although she is seventy-three years of age Mrs. Bezion is enjoying the best of health and in 1922 expects to make a trip to Canada to visit friends.