Collection: Choctaw Freedmen and Oak Hill Industrial Academy

Biographical Sketch of Rev. Samuel Gladman

Rev. Samuel Gladman, who died Jan. 11, 1913, at Eufaula, Oklahoma, was a native of Westchester, Chester County, Pennsylvania. During the early seventies he went to western Texas and engaged in teaching. Sometime afterwards he was licensed and ordained to the work of the gospel ministry. In 1896, when the Presbytery of Kiamichi was organized, he was enrolled as one of its charter members. He was then living at Atoka. During the next year he served New Hope and Sandy Branch Churches, but continued to reside in Atoka until 1900, when he located at Lukfata. Three years later he took charge of Bethany, near Wheelock, and in 1905, effected the organization of the Church in the new town of Garvin. In 1910, he voluntarily resigned the work at Bethany and the office of stated clerk of the Presbytery, and located at Eufaula. As a minister and life-long teacher, he rendered a very helpful service to the various communities, in which he lived and...

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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...

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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...

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History of the Oak Hill Presbyterian Church, Valliant, Oklahoma

The Oak Hill Presbyterian Church was organized about June 29, 1869, with six members, namely, Henry Crittenden, who was ordained an elder, Teena Crittenden, his wife, J. Ross Shoals and his wife Hettie Shoals, Emily Harris and Reindeer Clark. The services at first were held in the home and later in an arbor at the home of Henry Crittenden, one mile east of the present town of Valliant, and now known as the home of James and Johnson Shoals. After a few years the place of meeting was transferred to an arbor about two miles southwest of Crittenden’s, and two years later, 1878, to the Oak Hill schoolhouse, a frame building erected that year on the main east and west road north of Red river. It was located on the southwest quarter of section 27, near the site on which Valliant was located in 1902. It is reported, that Henry Crittenden was the principal contributor towards the erection of this building. His cash income though meager was greater than others and he gave freely in order that a suitable place might be provided both for public worship and a day school for the neighborhood. Parson Charles W. Stewart of Doaksville, a representative of the last generation of those who were slaves to the Indians, was the minister in charge from the time of organization until the spring of 1893,...

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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...

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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.”

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Voices from the Black Belt

In a discussion of the Negro problem it is eminently appropriate the Freedman and his neighbor be accorded the privilege of expressing their respective views. The thoughts expressed in this chapter have been gleaned principally from the columns of the Afro-American, a colored weekly, published by the faculty of Biddle University, Charlotte, North Carolina. The problem of the Negro relates to his capacity for improvement and self-support. Is the American Negro, after centuries of slavery that kept the race in an infantile condition, capable of development and self support? Over this question the people of our country have expressed differing opinions, many insisting that the servant condition is the better one for the American Negro. The Presbyterian Standard, published at Charlotte, N. C., a section of country in which the latter sentiment still prevails, recently bore this testimony to their progress. “While it is true of them as a mass that they are an infantile race, it is not true of them in many individual cases. There are thousands of them, who have advanced wonderfully during the last fifty years. They have made progress in every line. They are owning more farms every year, and in our cities they are buying homes, which sometimes would do credit to a more enlightened people. Their Churches are not only built in better taste, but their preachers are becoming better educated, and...

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