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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma

Date: Aug 16, 1937

Name: Lizzie Billy Bohanan

Post Office: Talihina, Oklahoma

Residence address: Route 1, Nine miles east of Talihina

Date of Birth:

Place of Birth: High Hill, (now Muse, Oklahoma)

Father: James H. Billy Place of Birth: Mississippi Information on father: full-blood Cherokee Mother: Maggie Vaughn Place of birth: Mississippi Information on mother: Full-blood Choctaw Field Worker: Lawrence A. Williams Interview #7204

Lizzie Billy Bohanan was born at High Hill, now called Muse. Her father was James H. BILLY, born in Mississippi, a full-blood Cherokee; and her mother was Maggie VAUGHN, who was born in Mississippi, a full-blood Choctaw. They migrated here during the "Trail of Tears." Mrs. BOHANAN, as a child, attended a Methodist Mission School at High Hill Mission, near Muse. She remembers the Sam Bohanan Trading Post.

They made Tom Fuller by beating corn and sifting it, then adding meat and sometimes sweet potatoes. They had wild meat such as deer, turkey, and bear. During the cotton-seed picking, they would have a great rarity to eat, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.

Women were never allowed to attend the council meetings. She remembers seeing oxen pulling wagons to carry freight. The first car she saw was at a camp meeting at Wadesville, It created a great excitement. It looked like a turtle carrying his house. She was scared of the first white man she saw. She was only twelve years old and when she and her sister saw him walking down the road whistling they ran to the bushes. They thought the whistling was a bird. The second time she saw a white man, two were together. This time one with a long beard scared her. At that time the older people told the younger that some time there would be no Indians, that eventually they would merge into the white race.

On Sunday the children had to stay in church and be very quiet. If they were not, they would receive a thrashing on Monday. No work at all was done on Sunday. Everything including the wood-chopping and cooking was done on Saturday.

They had stomp dances, but her family being a very religious family would not let her attend. She did go to the Indian Cries. Everyone would be notified to gather on Saturday night. They would cry all night then have preaching until noon on Sunday and go home.

Her family never had a big farm, but they had plenty of grain and vegetables to last from one year to the next. Cotton was raised for the purpose of making clothing, stockings and gloves. They had no gin, so every night it was the job of the children to take a double handful of cotton and separate the seed from the lint before they went to bed. While they did this the women would make thread on the spinning wheel.

Their homes consisted of log huts. They did not have tables, but spread something on the ground to eat from. She has lived in the home that she is now in for thirty-six years.

There were five children in her family--one sister and three brothers.

She has been a member of the Presbyterian Church for forty-three years.

She remembers four governors: Jones, Greene, McCurtain, and Dukes.

Transcribed by Barbara Morris; submitted by Rusty Lang, a Choctaw descendant. <> 02-2000 Also submitted by Lynda Bell Canezaro <>

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