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Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma


Name: William Porter

Post Office: , Oklahoma

Date of Birth:

Place of Birth:

Spouse: Mildred Fears, married 1895

Father: Pleasant Porter Place of Birth: Information on father:

Mother: Mary Ellen Keys Place of birth: Information on mother: Cherokee mixed blood

Field Worker:

Vol 40, p. 235-38

.....Betsy PORTER was a Medicine woman among the Indians; she brewed herbs and restored to a magic in which she believed and which had much influence over the Indians. She was white but had been adopted and had grown up with the creek Indians. She was sincere in her teachings. She believed these trunks of pamphlet surveys which her brother (father) John Snodgrass Porter brought back from Texas were forms of witchcraft and promptly burned them. Betsy was married a number of times. One husband was Tom CROWELL. Crowell addition east of Tulsa is part of her allotment and some of her descendants still live there.

John Snodgrass Porter was the father of Benjamin (my grandfather), Betsy (the Medicine Woman), and Jack. When John departed with Houston on his Texas ventures (his wife having died) he left his children to the Creek Indians. Like himself, these full blood white children were adopted by the Creeks and knew no other nationality. Benjamin was married to Phoebe PERRYMAN. Phoebe was the daughter of Lydia Perryman and Tah-lo-pec Tust-a-nuk-kee, a town chief. Lydia Perryman was the daughter of Benjamin Perryman Steek-cha-ko-me-co or the Great King. Benjamin had been a tribal chief of prominence among the Creeks back in Alabama and was an adherent of the McIntosh faction. He was a signer of the treaty of February 24, 1833 at Fort Gibson. A celebrated painting of Benjamin Perryman was made at Fort Gibson in 1836 by George CATLIN, the noted painter of Indian pictures. It now hangs in the United States National Museum.

So my father, Pleasant Porter, was the son of a full blood white father and full blood Creek Mother, each representative of his and her race. That is my heritage and the heritage of my six sons and three daughters, all living.

Benjamin and Phoebe lived in the Clarksville area where their children were born. My father, Pleasant, born in 1841, was named for Pleasant BERRYHILL who came in the removal. The other children were John, Daniel, Benjamin, Matilda, (mother of Lillie who married Lincoln Postoak) and Nancy who married John Yargee. Pleasant went to school at Tullahassee. During the Civil War, though very young he served with the Confederate Army under Col. D. N. McIntosh, and was promoted to be first lieutenant. After the war he returned to the old plantation home near Clarksville to find it in ashes. The father was dead so young Pleasant took his mother and younger brothers and sisters and went to the North Fork of the Canadian River near Eufaula. One crop here was enough and after scouting around he chose the fertile land in the Arkansas about half a mile northwest of where Leonard is today. There was only one other Indian in the vicinity. In the course of time, he had a ranch of three thousand acres under his control. We all took our allotments in this vicinity and considered this community sort of an ancestral home. That is where I live today.

My father was later married to Mary Ellen Keys, Cherokee mixed blood, daughter of Judge Riley Keyes, Chief Justice of the Cherokee Nation before the Civil War. This marriage took place in 1872. The Keyes home was on Barren Fork, nine miles southeast of Tahlaquah. The old family homestead is still there at Coffin Springs near Welling. It is the home of some of the keyes descendants at the present time. My mother taught the neighborhood school of "Euchee town" five or six miles south of my father's home. My father was superintendent of schools for the Creek Nation. He reorganized the educational system which had ceased to exist during the war. His marriage with the neighboring "school Ma'am" was natural. Of this marriage there were three children - I was the oldest, born in 1874, Pleasant Jr. accidentally killed when he was sixteen and Mary Anita, now deceased. Mary Anita was married to Jay P. FARNSWORTH. She died in 1921. One son, Porter Farnsworth, survived his mother by only a few years. Later, my father married my mother's cousin, Mattie BERTHOLF, a Cherokee. By that marriage one daughter, Lenora, now Mrs. E. C. BOTHWELL, Edgewood, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania was born. We are the only living children.

p. 243

...He hoped that I would live up to the standard of the former Admiral Porter. He had fond hopes and plans of my at least going to Annapolis. I did not, I got married. I was married in 1895 to Mildred FEARS of Muskogee, we went to live on the old family ranch and live adjoining it today. We have nine children, six boys and three daughters: Pleasant, William Adair Jr., Stockton, Mildred (Mrs. R. S. HARRISON, Tulsa), James D., Mary Ellen (Mrs. Chris LANE, Kansas), Patrick and Portia. Three sons live at home.

My father, Pleasant Porter, though spending much of his time in Washington, kept in touch with his ranch life. He was especially interested in breeding fine horses, especially trotting and running horses. He was associated with Clarence TURNER in the Three Bar Ranch eleven miles west of Muskogee. His plan was to raise the standard of stock in the Territory. He allowed free use of his stables, sold thorough breds at cost and often if he fancied an individual freely gave him a horse.

Abstracted and submitted by Joan Case <> 02-99

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