Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: May 1st 1937
Name: Eastman Ward
Post Office: Miller, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: September 1892
Place of Birth: Nashoba, Oklahoma
Father: William Garland Place of Birth: Information on father:
Mother: Nancy GARLAND or WARD Place of birth: Information on mother:
Field Worker: Johnson H. Hampton
I was born some time in September 1892, at Nashoba, Oklahoma, but at the time I was born, there was no Post Office there but it was just a wilderness. Since that time Nashoba Post Office was established, and it now goes by the name of Nashoba, meaning wolf. It used to be Nashoba County, Wolf county, back when it was still Choctaw Nation.
My father's name was William GARLAND, and my mother's name was Nancy GARLAND or WARD as she went by. She was not married to my father, I understand. I don't know. When I was born, my father was a wealthy man in those days; of course I don't guess he had a million but he was in good shape financially and had lots of cattle, hogs, and wild ponies, and he had a pretty good sized farm where we lived about 35 miles northeast of Antlers, Oklahoma, and about 25 miles east of Tushkahom, Oklahoma.
My grandfather and grandmother left Mississippi, and they said that they had a tough time getting over to this country. They said that it took them a long time in getting over here; that lots of Indians died coming over; that they had nothing to eat on the way, and but very few clothes to keep them warm; and that they were driven like they were a bunch of cattle, they had no mercy on them at all. They finally landed in Little Rock, Arkansas, and they stayed there for some time. There my father was born and they then moved on, and landed in this country.
My grandfather located near what is now known as Smithville, Oklahoma. they lived there and started to work. They had no cattle or anything to eat, but wild game. There was lots of game in the country and they lived mostly on this, and when they could not get any flour nor any meal they lived on roots, berries and leaves until they could get some land cleared where they could get some corn planted. After the first year they got along pretty well and though not getting enough to eat, they could make out on what they had. It seemed the Government gave them some corn they could plant, which they did, and they made enough corn for their bread. They then began raising hogs, and cattle. After my father got big enough to work, he helped his father make crops, and other things and they got to where they were in pretty good shape. When my grandfather died, (and not long after that my grandmother died), my father was a pretty good sized boy and he took hold of what they left and made what he could out of it. He married then and kept on working until he had started a good bunch of cattle, hogs and ponies.
In fact he got to where he could get money out of Fort Smith, so he put up a store in Smithville, and ran it for a long time, and was doing well when the war broke out. Then he joined the south and went to the war. He practically lost everything he had while he was out in the war. He used to tell us that during the war they sure had a hard time; they would go several days without anything to eat, and lots of times they had to sleep on wet ground. They would build up a big fire and lay around it until the next morning and go without a bite to eat. He said that he was in two battles, I think that they were just skirmishes. They had a fight with the Cherokees some where about Fort Gibson, or in that country. He was in the north part of Arkansas, and they had a battle there somewhere but where I don't know, neither do I know who the Captain was, he told me he was under. The Indians back at home would pull off the war dance when the Indian soldiers would kill one of the enemy and send the scalp back home. They would dance all night. They did this every time they got a scalp from the front. The way they got the scalps was that they would send some one from the camp wherever they were, he would bring the scalp back home, then they would have those war dances.
My father lived until he was at a ripe old age. He was the leader of the Indians in our community. He built two churches for them, one was for the Methodist, and the other was Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He had plenty of everything until he died several years ago. Our trading point was Fort Smith, he would go to Fort Smith about three times a year to lay in our supplies. Every fall he would go and get enough to run us through the winter. We had no roads then and it sure was a job to get out of that country, not like it is now.
My father was a full blood Indian and also my mother, they did not attend any school during their lifetime and of course my mother and father could not speak any English at all. My father learned to write in Choctaw and could read it but mother did not learn how to read nor write in either language.
I went to school for about two or three months is all the schooling I had, but I can read English pretty well and write it pretty good. My wife and I camp at the big meeting. They generally hold about two or three days. It doesn't cost much to feed them for we have our own hogs and a few cattle, so we kill a hog or a beef and dry them on top of the houseroof. When it is dried it gets hard and stiff. If it salted good it won't spoil but will keep all the year. They have to boil it for several hours to get it cooked done then it sure is good eating.
Transcribed and submitted by Gay Wall <email@example.com> 02-2000