Indian Removal: Jackson Miashintubbee Narrative
Letters & Narratives
In 1936, with the assistance of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Writers' Project grant, the Oklahoma Historical society and the University of Oklahoma launched an oral history project to collect the stories of Oklahoma settlers. Led by Grant Foreman, the writers conducted more than 11,000 interviews across Oklahoma, many of which were with American Indians whose families had been forced westward as a result of U.S. Indian removal policies. When compiled, the project consisted of 116 volumes and was titled the Indian-Pioneer Papers. The narratives selected as part of our Primary Source Collection recount Indian Removal and the aftermath of migration as Native communities forged a new life in Indian Territory.
The following primary source document provides valuable first-hand information to better understand Choctaw removal.
Works Progress Administration
Indian-Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Field Worker's name Johnson H. Hampton.
This report made on June 21, 1937
Name Jackson Miashintubbee
Post Office Address Finley, Oklahoma
Date of birth: September 25, 1875
Place of birth Near Fewell, Oklahoma.
Name of Father William Miashintubbee
Place of birth Eagletown, Okla
Name of Mother Wilsie Miashintubbee
Place of birth Eagletown Okla
An Interview With
I was born September 25, 1875, in Nashoba County, Choctaw Nation, which is now Felwell, Oklahoma. At the time I was born at this place there was no Post Office nor anything else but mountains, at this place or no stores were we could buy our groceries.
My Father's name was William Miashintubbee, and my mother's name was Wilsie Miashintubbee. They were both raised in Eagle County near Eagleton and they lived there for several years; then they moved to Nashoba, County, near what is Fewell now, where they both died.
My grandfather and grandmother came from Mississippi. I have been told, but I don't know anything about it. When they landed in this country they located near Eagletown and lived there until they both died. It seems that nearly all of the Choctaws who came over from Mississippi landed in that county then they moved to some other county and permanently located. It seems that a good many of the Choctaws were banded together and when they started to move, they were under the command of a white man, who was bringing them through in wagons and horse back. They left there sometime in the fall, and before they got very far, winter overtook them; it was a severe winter; they did not have sufficient clothes to keep them warm, and some of them froze to death. There were a good many Indians died from exposure; and it seems that they did not have food to keep them from starving along the road. They, some of them, said that this white man in command did not care for them at all; he did not care if all died on the road coming over here.
They finally landed here, and they began to build their log houses. They gave house-raisings and helped one another with their houses. They then had to open little farms in the neighborhoods and they gave workings and by this way they got small farms opened. After that they then had to get some seeds which were given by the government for them to plant.
After the first year, which was a hard year for them, they got along fairly well, considering the chances they had, and the conditions that existed at the time.
Then a good many of the Indians took sick after they moved here and a lot of them died for the want of care and a doctor. They had some Indian doctors but they could not get them well. The doctors got into something that they did not know about, so the Indians died.
My father was not in the Civil War or if he was, I never did hear of it. There was lots of talk about the war after I was grown or nearly so, but I never did hear anyone say that my father was in the war. And I don't think that my grandfather was in the war either. If either one of them had been in the War, they sure would of said something about it, and tell us how they came out to where they were at and all about it but they never did say anything about the War or that they served in it.
After my father left Eagle County and moved to Nashoba County, they opened up a little farm on the river bank. It was good land, where we raised our corn for bread and garden stuff that we needed. At this community not many Indians were there. Just a few houses in this part, but there were some Indian in a little further down the river. The Indians lived in communities and there were some up the river and some down the river. It was a pretty good sized river, which the Indians called (Black River) and the white people called Little River. The Indians called it Black River for it was just as black as it could be, even when it was clear the water looked black, so the Indians named it Black River instead of Little River as it is now called. The water is not as clear as it used to be years ago.
Our trading point was at Fort Smith. There were no stores nor a Post Office in that country at that time, but after the railroad went through, Tuskahoma was established so we traded at that place for it was nearer than any place else. The Indians who lived in our community went to Fort Smith for their groceries. They would go about twice a year, a bunch of them together in wagons, some with horse team and some went on ox teams. It took them several days to get back if they had good weather and it didn't rain on them; but if it did rain and got the creeks up, then it would take them a month to get back.
We lived on corn bread most of the time for flour was too hard to get, and too far to go after, so we sure had to save it. We would have flour bread, that is store bought flour, when we raised some wheat that made bread, but it was not as good as store bought flour. They had to beat this wheat in a mortar, and sift it just like they did corn; but they could not get all of the shorts and the other things out of it like the mills did. It was pretty good but not like store bought flour. We used corn meal all the time for mother made meal all the time by beating it, just as other Indians did in the community.
Where we lived is right in the valley between two big mountains. The land was good along the river, so that the stock lived on the river bands in the winter moving out on the hills in the summer. They did not have to be fed at all and still stayed fat all the time. There was plenty of mast for the hogs, and they sure would get fat on acorns which were plenty on the hills and on the banks of the river.
When I was a boy the country was full of wild animals that roamed the mountains, lots of deer, turkey, and squirrels. The creeks were full of fish. There were some bears in the hills and mountains-some of the Indians killed some bears-and timber wolves, just lots of them, and sometimes a panther would attack men out hunting. The country was wild at that time.
Nearly all the Indians has some stock, although some of them did not have many cows, others had lots of cattle, hogs and ponies. The country was open and the stock could run anywhere, and not be bothered. They sure would get wild. The wild ponies all got killed when the white people began to settle the country. They were small ponies and wild, so the work horses of the white farmers would get with them and they were hard to round up so the white men decided it was best to kill the wild ones out so they did, and there is not a wild horse in the mountains now.
I used to see spinning wheels and weavers but I don't know how they used them for we did not have one; but I used to see breaches and dresses that were made by people that had a spinning wheel and weaver.
I never did play Indian ball. I saw a game or two played by the Indians but I did not play. Those games I saw were not much of a fight. They had a fight during the game but it did not amount to much. The older heads would not let us boys play. They would tell us that we would get hurt so they would not let us play. I never attended school at any place so I am unable to speak or read in the English language. I can read and write in my own language but not much. I just didn't go to school like I should then, until it was late, for we had a school house in the neighborhood not very far from where I lived.
I am a full-blood Indian. All of my folks were full-blood Choctaws, and we have lived here all of my life. I am now living near Finley, Oklahoma about twelve miles southeast of Antlers, Oklahoma.