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Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma

Date: October 2, 1937

Name: Annie Maude Usray Self

Post Office: , Oklahoma

Date of Birth:

Place of Birth:

Father: Place of Birth: Information on father:

Mother: Place of birth: Information on mother:

Field Worker: Hazel B. Greene

My father was born in Texas. When he was twelve years old, he ran off from home, came to Indian Territory, and lived among the Cherokee Indians, until the Civil War broke out, then he enlisted in the army. It was while he was in the army and they were either passing through this country, or were camped for a while, that he met my mother. The horses had wandered off from the army camp and he was sent to search for them. He rode up to my grandfather=s house, which they called Rock Hill. My grandmother answered his halloo, but when she saw he was a white man, she would not talk, and retired to the back of the house and sent her daughter Malinda to do the talking. He was attracted to Malinda right there, and secured her name and address and after he left, entered into a correspondence with her. She was about eighteen and he was about thirty-five years old, when they were married. She was teaching school but she was married anyway and gave up her school. They settled a place on what was named later, Usray Branch, about a mile west from Grandfather=s place on Roebuck Lake, and right near Red River. When I was born, mother was over at Granny=s beside Roebuck Lake.

Granny Roebuck was Annie Homer: she was full blood Choctaw Indian. Her father was Robert Homer: they came from Mississippi when Granny was fifteen years old. Her father was some kind of officer who was employed by the Government in the removal of the Choctaws from Mississippi, and when they got out here the government build him a mansion about two miles south of the old home place of Uncle Billy Spring, and his place is about a half-mile south of South Eighth Street in Hugo.

When I was six years old we moved out of the Red River bottom and Father built a home about a half-mile west of Grandfather Homer=s old mansion. We moved there so we could go to school. I was six in February, and ___ that winter of 1878 and 79 the school house was built. It was not built for a school alone, but the Doaksville Masonic Lodge built it for a hall, and permitted school and church to be held below stairs, while Lodge was held upstairs. That school-church room, was called Pleasant Hill and continued to be called Pleasant Hill until I was twelve years old. We moved away from this place when I was twelve years old.

I do not know when people began calling this building Spring Chapel. Neither do I know when Doaksville Lodge was moved from there to Grant. My father, James Shelby Usray, was twice elected and served two terms as County Judge of Kiamichi County, and was elected and served as Sheriff of Kiamichi County, Choctaw Nation. He told us stories of the hardships of war. He said that once a bunch of soldiers were sent out foraging for something to eat. They had had nothing to eat for days, except parched corn and were so hungry, they were almost desperate, when they saw a bench-legged fice dog. It was fat and no sooner did someone suggest eating that pooch, then another had shot is, and these men barbecued it and ate it right there without bread. They just had salt and parched corn to go with it but they said that it was the best meat they had ever eaten.

I can remember when my grandparents lived at Lake Roebuck, and later at their place called Hickory Hill about seven miles north of Gay, I believe. My grandfather was a half breed Choctaw, and looked like a white man. His name was William Roebuck and he was raised by a white man named Doak. Mr. Doak had a store and blacksmith shop at Doaksville, and taught my grandfather the trade of blacksmith. Grandfather=s (William) mother and half-sister lived at Honey Springs south of the present town Soper, and his mother was postmistress there. His half-sister, ___ became Mrs. William Walker. They are all dead now and most of them are buried at Roebuck Cemetery.

I have been told that when my grandfather, William Roebuck, was ready to marry my grandmother a big feast was prepared by the family and a number of young bucks of they Choctaw tribe. Each young buck and his girl selected and the families of those girls were invited to the feast. After all were gathered, a young buck would catch the eye of the girl of his choice, and would beckon to her. If she wanted him for a mate she would start out running and he would startin pursuit. If she did not want him she would ignore the challenge. After all the brides had been caught the feast was partook of, that concluded the marriage ceremony.

The ceremony of partaking of food side by side, after the chase: in which the girls had been caught by the bucks and the fact that the feast had been prepared for that purpose constitutes the wedding ceremony. That was the way Grandfather William Roebuck married Granny.

Abstracted and submitted by Jami Hamilton <> 02-99

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