There is a story behind this little item. A friend recently asked me if I had heard this story, originally told to him by his grandfather, and I said “no, but I’ll keep it on my list”. I keep an ongoing list of things I can’t directly research for one reason or another and this, as I explained to him, was one for the list because we do not have the Caddo papers for 1906-1907, the time period he thought was correct. Also he had only the basic facts of the event and the location, but no names.
A few days ago I was researching some background information on one of the preachers at Bennington and needed an item from the Durant paper. While I was in that drawer I glanced at the box containing 1906, noticed that it was a weekly at the time, and decided to give it a glance. (The daily issues take forever to search!) Took me less than five minutes to see the headline and determine that this story met his criteria. Serendipity!
My friend made a thoughtful comment about the names of the Indians being “English”. I have found in my research that Choctaw names were often changed to English by teachers and missionaries. I suppose some of that was for the convenience of communication and record keeping by people who could not speak Choctaw, but I suspect that some of it was also an attempt to “improve and civilize” the heathens. I think this entry from the Old Bennington Church records of 1853 is a prime example of the mindset of the missionaries at the time:
“Joe Nakishtapata who was excommunicated from the church appeared and freely confessed his guilt and wished to be again received to the fellowship of the church, but upon examination it appeared that he was still attached to some of the former heathenish customs of the Choctaws, especially that of conjuration over the sick. Resolved that he be deferred for the present.”
Even Allen Wright, elected principal chief of the Choctaws in 1866 and again in 1868, was born as “Kilihote”, but given the name Allen Wright by teachers- in honor of Rev. Alfred Wright, the eminent Presbyterian missionary.
So, today’s post is a little off the Caddo trail, but neighbors are an important part of our lives! And if there is something or someone you want me to find, don’t hesitate to ask.
The Bryan County Democrat
September 20, 1907
Tragedy at Blue
At 4o’clock at the Blue polling place one man was killed, a second fatally wounded, and a third terribly beaten. Reports as to the details are meager, and the responsibility for the killing is unknown at this writing. Report has it that three Choctaw Indians, Wade Nicholas, John Anderson, and ___ (original printed with blank) Jefferson, created a disturbance by trying to take possession of the polls and run things, as they said, so that Frantz should be elected. They were driven out and not becoming quiet, a general fight began. All else is a matter of conflicting reports. What is certain is that Nicholas was cut and slashed and almost disemboweled. He was carried to a house nearby and died in a short time. It is stated that he gave the names of his assailants to a friend who stayed with him till his death, but the man refuses to make any statement until the proper time. Anderson’s injuries are severe but not fatal, it is thought. Jefferson was terribly beaten as he tried to run to his horse. Four arrests were made by the U. S. Officers Wednesday and the men carried to Atoka. They are Buck Woods, Levi Woods, Reuben Beal, and Sam Adams. Buck Woods was refused bail and the others, not making the $2500 bonds, were also placed in jail.
Later word has it that the affair took place at the rear of a store, and that a report of an attempt to interfere with the voting is incorrect.