Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hattie Jane, Part One

Hattie Jane's Story, as told to her great grandson, Dr James Phillips

                                          Hattie Jane Paul Corley
(This is the earliest picture we have of Grams. It was taken about the time of her first marriage to Harry Stewart. She was 16. The picture is distorted but you can tell that she was a very pretty girl.)

Part of  an of interview in a Chickasaw hearing concerning Sarah Jane Lambert Paul.

Question. Mrs. Paul ,  state how your husband, Sam Paul, during the time you lived with him , was he good to you or not?
Answer,  He was not. 

Question. In what respect was he not good?
Answer. Every way that was barbarous. 

Question. What do you know of his relations with other women during that time?
Answer. He was with them all the time -- he kept them all the time. 

Question. Well state how he kept them and where?
Answer. He kept them in my house. 

Same hearing, but we jump down through many questions and answers after Sarah names illegitimate children that were born to Sam Paul and the different women whom she names, to this point where Sarah is further questioned about Jim Ross and her relationship with him and how Sam Paul treated her.

                    Mattie Paul Ebisch                                             Willie Paul

Sammie Paul

                              Pictures of three of Sam Paul's illegitimate children

Question. Did he ever make any serious threat on you ?
Answer. Yes he tried to shoot me lots of times. 

Question. Describe one instance of what he did and said to you ?
Answer. He came home – he was just like a stranger—came in that time asked if I heard about some men getting killed and I said I did and he just run a pistol up my head   and said he would show me how they were killed, and tried to kill me but I broke away. 

A few questions later she is again asked about testimony Hugh A. Campbell has given on October 24, 1902. Sarah is asked if she knows that Hugh Campbell was present in the Cherokee nation near where she was living with Jim Ross. She says no. 

Question He mentions a man by the name of Jim Ross. Were you ever married to Jim Ross?
Answer. No Sir. 

Question. There is a note in the record that you married Jim Ross and had a child by him; Did you?
Answer. No sir I never had a child by any one but Sam Paul. 

Question. Why Mrs. Paul was it that you continued to remain as the wife of  Sam Paul after he treated you so badly and brought this lewd woman to his house?
Answer. Simply because I had to. He tried to run me off and I returned to my father and asked him to take us. He told me it was better for one to be killed than the whole family.

Question. Was your father afraid of Sam Paul?
Answer. Yes, sir.   

Question. What was the disposition of Sam Paul?  How many men had he killed in his life?
Answer.  I suppose fifteen or sixteen. 

                              Jim and His Daughter Dakotah in Indian Dress

          My Name is Jim Phillips. I am the great great grandson of Samuel Ikard Paul and Sarah Jane Lambert Paul. I will tell this story through the eyes and words of my great grandmother Hattie Jane Paul AKA Hattie Corley. 

          My father Sam Paul was a very powerful and feared man in Indian Territory and what became Oklahoma. He was a lawman and a Senator among the Chickasaw people. He killed a lot of outlaws in early Indian Territory.  My mother was Sarah Jane Lambert Paul. My mother and father fought a lot over everything. Many times according to my mother Sam would come in drunk and threaten to shoot or kill her and she would take off to the hills to hide herself and my brothers till Sam sobered up. She said that he would bring his girlfriends, prostitutes, and lovers home and kick her out of the bedroom and make her sleep in the kitchen on a pallet on the floor or a cot in the corner of the room. Mother said at times she would get so mad at him that she would insult him. Sarah said she just couldn’t keep her mouth shut and would say some stupid thing and he would threaten to kill or shoot her again. One time Sam came home and asked my mother if she had heard about the men he killed and she said, "Yes, did you shoot them in the back?" She said he rolled his big pistol up to her head and asked if she wanted him to show her how he killed them. 

          This all sets the background for my birth. I have two brothers Willie and Buck Paul. My mother and father fought a lot but they had four children. I was the last child born to Sarah and Sam Paul.  

          My father had been arrested for killing two outlaws and both of them were white men. Judge Parker hated my father and thought that he killed too many outlaws instead of bringing them to court, especially white outlaws. My father Sam Paul had been arrested just after my mother got pregnant with me. She felt that this time Parker would hang my father and she would be free of him at last. One time while Sam was on a rampage Mother went back home to her father and mother Hiram and Emily Lambert and begged them to take her in. But Grandpa Hiram bolted the door and told Sarah that she had made her decisions and that it would be better that only one would be killed rather than the whole family killed.. 

          My father Sam Paul was arrested in July 1882 and he was taken to Fort Smith Arkansas before Judge Parker. He was in jail there with Jim Ross. When Jim Ross got out on bail my mother Sarah looked Jim Ross up and made a deal with him to testify against Sam in court to say he shot down that white boy in cold blooded murder. Mother had promised to pay Jim Ross a lot of money to hide her in the Cherokee nation while she had her baby so that no would know about she had Sam’s last child and no one would take me from her. She also had him promise to take Buck and Willie and hide them too. Mother knew that if Sam died or was hung that it was possible for his family to take his children from her because they were powerful politicians among the Chickasaws. My mother was not romantically interested in Jim Ross at all but he was her road out of a very bad situation. 

          After I was born my mother gave me to her sister Juliana Lambert Corley to hide and to raise as her child.. I would get to be with my mother and aunt all the time, no matter what happened to Buck and Willie my brothers. 

          My father Sam Paul did get out of prison by a presidential pardon. My mother moved in with her family and Sam divorced her and got custody of my two brothers Buck and Willie Paul. 

          Over the years I got to be around my father a lot but I don’t think he ever knew who I really was. I always knew that he was my father as long as I can remember.  He thought I was his niece and not his daughter. He treated me real good and I wasn’t afraid of him as my mother was. I went to the Paul mansion many times and my father and grandpa Smith Paul would give me a gold or silver coin out of this great big strongbox full of a lot of gold and silver coins.  

          I watched my father give speeches many times and people would shoot at him and he would keep on speaking just like it didn’t happen. He was a very handsome man with steel gray eyes just like mine.  

          I saw him in a carnival on the forth of July gathering and he used to stand like a statue real still. He did not blink an eye and you couldn’t even see him breath. He was so handsome standing there dressed in his nice suits. The girls would come by and look at him real close to see if he was real or a statue. He would just stand there, as I watched him from a distance. One girl and her boyfriend came by several times and she looked at him real close. She finally reached out and touched him and he said "Boo!" She screamed real load and fainted and fell on the ground. Everybody laughed and  they  had to revive her. That was my father.

                                              Sam Paul, about 1890

To be continued

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sam Paul, Part Six

With this post I'm going to try and finish the story of my great grandmother's divorce from my great grandfather, Sam Paul. It's not a pleasant story, and not one I'm proud of. Anyone interested in more details can read the book: Shadow of an Indian Star, by Bill and Cindy Paul, who did and continue to do a huge amount of research into our family's history. They have discovered more details since the book came out, but it covers most of the stories about Sam Paul, with some drama added. See for pictures, excerpts, and book orders.

Like I said in my post of September 10, Sam Paul divorced his wife Sarah when he got out of prison because she had run off with his codefendant, Jim Ross. It must have been a frightening time for Sarah. Several years before, when she had fled to her parents' house to escape her husband's wrath, her father, Hiram Lambert, had turned her away, saying "it is better for one to be killed than the whole family." Sarah's father had died in 1883 though, so when Sam returned to the Chickasaw Nation she was staying with her mother. 
This was Sarah's testimony before the Dawes Commission:
Q: Where were you when he (Sam Paul) came back?
A: At my mother's
Q: He did not come to see you?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you ask him to live with you?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you propose to go back to live with him?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did he say to that?
A: He said no, he wanted a divorce.

I kind of doubt that Sarah begged Sam to take her back, but that's what she said anyway. It's pretty clear though, from the evidence that her attorney, Owen Patchell, presented at her citizenship hearing, that her life with Sam Paul had been a living Hell. As he said in his brief: "the plaintiff had been so uniformly brutal and had led her such a dog's life for the ten years that she did live with him that she looked upon a permanent separation as a mercy of God."
After making the point that Sam Paul had multiple affairs during their marriage and had several illegitimate children, Patchell asked Sarah:
Q: Did he make any pretense of keeping these matters secret to you?
A: No, sir, told me I could leave if I did not want to stay.
Q: How did he treat you in other respects?
A: He tried to starve us out.

At this time, Sam Paul's oldest boy, Joe, was living on his own, and he helped Sarah and his two younger brothers. My grandfather, Bill, whom his mother called Willie, said that there were times when they would have starved had it not been for Joe.
                               Joe Paul, second from left

Mr. Patchell went on with his questions:
Q: Did he ever make any serious threat on you?
A: Yes, he tried to shoot me lots of times.
Q: Describe one instance of what he did and said to you?
A: He came home --- he was just like a stranger --- came in that time and asked me if I heard about some men getting killed and I said I did and he just run a pistol up my head, and said he would show me how they were killed, and tried to kill me but I broke away.
Q: Was anybody present when that occurred?
A: Yes, Frank Beckly and his wife.
Sam's libertine behavior, and his cruel treatment of his wife Sarah was certainly not typical of Chickasaw men. For example, Sam's brother Tecumseh was happily married to the same woman all of his life. Sam did follow Chickasaw tradition however in taking responsibility for his children and for their mothers. He apparently even paid one man to marry Fanny Briley, with whom he had a daughter pictured below. You'll remember that Fanny had been Sam's partner in the saloon business. 

                        Daughter of Sam Paul and Fanny Briley

Sam Paul certainly was a brilliant man, as I'll try to show later, but he was also volatile, and at times violent. At one point in her testimony Sarah estimated that during his life he had killed fifteen or sixteen men.
If my mother had known her grandmother Sarah at an earlier time, she might not have thought of her as being so timid, since she was able to stay with Sam Paul, and occasionally she even stood up to him.
But what of this trip to the Cherokee Nation? Was it just simply a brief love affair interrupted by Sam's release from prison? "That just doesn't quite ring true. Well, the answer took a long time in coming, at least to Sam's descendents in Oklahoma, and it came from California, from a Baptist Preacher named Dr. Jim Phillips, who read the book, Shadow of an Indian Star, and realized that he had been hearing stories about the characters in the book all of his life. He contacted the authors, Bill and Cindy Paul, and the two branches of our family were finally joined.

Dr. Jim Phillips and great aunt Mable Stewart, Hattie Jane's daughter.

Jim was raised by his great grandmother, Hattie Jane Stewart. Nobody paid much attention to Hattie Jane's stories, partly because she was an old woman, but also because the family was of Indian descent on both sides, and didn't want to be labeled as such by the largely prejudiced community. Jim loved his great grandmother's stories though, and gradually as he grew older he pieced together the story of her life.
                           Hattie Jane Stewart

Hattie was the daughter of Sam and Sarah Paul. When Sam was taken to prison at Fort Smith, Sarah was pregnant, and when he was sent to the federal penitentiary in Detroit, she went to the Cherokee Nation to have her baby, secretly. About that time Sarah's sister Juliana was also pregnant, but she lost her baby, so Sarah asked her to raise her daughter, whom she named Hattie Jane, as her own daughter. Sarah was afraid that if Sam were to be released from jail he would take custody of his children. She knew that she would lose her two boys, but she didn't want to lose her daughter also. So the switch was made. Hattie Jane was raised by her Aunt Juliana, and Sarah denied that she had ever given birth to her.
For the next couple of posts, My cousin, Dr. Jim Phillips has kindly agreed to write the story of his great grandmother, Hattie Jane Stewart, as she told it to him. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sam Paul, Part Five

                                  Sarah Jane Lambert Paul

When Sam Paul was released from federal prison, he returned to Indian Territory, and within a few months he had divorced my great grandmother, Sarah, and married another woman, Jennie Talbot. Custody of the children, my grandfather Bill and his brother Buck, was awarded to Sam by a Chickasaw jury.  

The whereabouts of Sarah during Sam's imprisonment are a mystery. She never gave any plausible explanation herself. Bill and Buck probably knew, but they never talked about it. The only evidence comes from a hearing held in 1904 after Sam's death regarding Sarah's status as an intermarried Chickasaw Citizen.  

At the time of the Dawes Commission, there were many fraudulent claims to Chickasaw citizenship by white people wanting Indian land, so the Chickasaws and Choctaws requested and received permission to set up their own commission to question claims. Sarah's claim was one of those questioned so there is a record of the proceedings.  

Apparently Sam divorced Sarah because he thought she had been unfaithful to him. Rumor was that she had run off with Sam's co-defendant in the murder of John Harkins, Jim Ross, the man who, after spending ten months on death row in Ft. Smith with Sam, convinced the jury to convict Sam instead of him. (See post of September 3, 2011, Sam Paul, Part Four) 

Here's part of the testimony of Hugh Campbell, a friend of Sam's who testified to the rumor:

Q: Do you know anything about the separation of Sam Paul and Sarah J. Paul?
A: Well, nothing only that --- Sam and I were very intimate --- what he told me.

Q: Did Sam go off to the penitentiary?
A: Yes, sir.

Q: And while he was gone did she marry another man?
A: I don't think they were ever married.

Q: Did they live together as man and wife?
A: I don't know that. He was there in the house all the time; lived with her all the time; he would be gone off and on, hardly more than two or three days.

Q: What was his name?
A: Jim Ross

Q: He was a Cherokee?
A: Well, he was a Cherokee by birth but a Choctaw by marriage; he married his wife's aunt.

Q: Did they stay here together, Sarah and this man Ross?
A: Yes, sir.

Q: Did she move to the Cherokee Nation?
A: I hear that they went to the Cherokee Nation.

Q: Do you know whether they lived away from her a year, or not?
A: I think she came back inside of a year.  

When the commission questioned Sarah about the matter, she was clearly uncomfortable with the questions and inconsistent in her answers. In one session she was asked:

Q: Did you, while your husband was in the penitentiary, live in the Chickasaw Nation with one James Ross?
A: I did not.

Q: Did you ever at any time live with Jim Ross?
A: No, sir. 

But during another session she hedged a little:   

Q: Did you ever live in the Cherokee Nation?
A: No sir, I have never made that my home.

Q: Have you been there?
A: I have passed through there.

Q: How long have you been there at any one time?
A: I don't remember

Q: How often have you been there?
A: I passed through there once or twice.

Q: How long would you stay when you passed through there?
A: Not long.

Q: About how long?
A: I don't remember.

Q: About a week?
A: Maybe so.

Q: Longer than that?
A: (No response)

Q: What were you doing in the Cherokee Nation?
A: Nothing in particular.

Q: Did your family live there?
A: No

Q: Why did you go there?
A: If you don't want to put me on the roll you needn't to.

Q: (What ) We want to find out, madam, is (if) you should be put on, that is all
A: This has always been my home.

Q: Do you know a man named Ross?
A: No sir, no man by the name of Ross 

The Commissioners kept after her:

Q: Mrs. Paul, did you at one time, when Sam Paul went to the penitentiary, marry a man named Jim Ross and went to the Cherokee Nation?
A: I did not

Q: Was your husband, Mr. Paul, ever sentenced to the penitentiary?
A: Yes sir.

Q: Were you living with him then?
A: Yes sir

Q: No separation at that time?
A: No sir

Q: How long after your marriage was it that he was sent to the penitentiary?
A: It was just after we were married

Sarah was getting flustered here, because she had been married to Sam Paul for ten years when he was sent to prison.

Q: Up to the time he was sentenced you lived with him continuously?
A: I did

Q: Had been no separation up to that time?
A: There had not

Q: Did he die there?
A: No sir

Q: How long after he went to the penitentiary before you got a divorce?
A: After he came back

Q: How long have you been divorced?
A: It has been fifteen years I guess, I don't know just how long

It had been twenty years

Q: When did Mr. Paul die?
A: I think it was in '91; I am not sure.

Q: How about this Ross man, did you ever live with a man named Ross?
A: No sir

Q: Did you know any Cherokee, or any man, by the name of Ross?
A: I have heard of him, yes sir

Q: What do you mean by "heard of him?"
A: I have heard the name

Q: Just heard the name?
A: Yes sir

Q: Don't you know any person by that name
A: No

Q: You say you don't know a man named Jim Ross?
A: No sir

Q: Never knew any such man
A: I have heard of him, yes

Q: Ever see him
A: I believe I have

Q: Where did you see him?
A: Ft. Smith

Q: Arkansas?
A: Yes sir

Q: Were you ever married to Ross?
A: No sir, I tell you I was not.  

I apologize for quoting all this testimony, but I'm just fascinated by the words. It's like having a window, or microphone rather, into the past.   

Up to this point it sounds like there was a romance between my great grandmother, Sarah Paul, and Sam Paul's posse man, Jim Ross. Ross, it seems, testified against Sam Paul to get himself off, and then he and Sarah took off to the Cherokee Nation where they lived together until Sam got his pardon. Then Ross got scared that Sam would come looking for him and he left Sarah, forcing her to return to live with her sister in Pauls Valley.  

That's what Sam Paul and most of the community thought too, because when Sam returned he was granted a divorce by the court, as well as custody of his sons. He also made a will that excluded Sarah from any inheritance.  

My mother knew Sarah Paul, and she thought all of this was ridiculous. Sarah lived right across the street from her when she was a girl, and she said her grandmother was a timid woman, "scared of her own shadow." She said that there was no way Sarah would have had the nerve to run away with another man, whether or not her husband was in jail.  

So what do you think? You'll be surprised when you hear the rest of the story.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chickasaw Hall of Fame, 2011

Last week I was privileged to attend the induction of three new members into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame. Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby founded the Hall of Fame in 1987, to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the tribe and to the communities in which they live. Honorees include modern Chickasaw citizens as well as tribal leaders from preremoval times.  

This year’s ceremony was in the beautiful auditorium at Riverwind, one of the Chickasaw Casinos. It was thrilling to see so many Chickasaws gathered in one place: men with feathers in their hair, women in traditional Chickasaw dresses. The entertainment was provided by Native American musicians playing the flute, guitar and violin. Traditional Chickasaw dishes were served. I heard some Chickasaws conversing in our native language.

The ceremony itself was very impressive. The invocation in the Chickasaw language was given by Pauline Brown. Then an honor guard of Chickasaw veterans presented the flags of the U.S., the State of Oklahoma and The Chickasaw Tribe. After an introduction by Amanda Cobb Grantham, head of the Chickasaw Division of Culture and History, Ray Gene McCarter, a Chickasaw legislator, introduced this year’s honorees.

                               Tishu Miko
The first Chickasaw to be honored was the great chief, Tishu Miko, after whom the Chickasaw capital, Tishomingo, was named. Tishu Miko was a respected leader before the Removal and was the last Chickasaw War Chief. He led Chickasaw warriors in support of U. S. troops against the French, the British, and even against the Creek tribe. Finally, when the State of Mississippi permitted its citizens to operate trading posts on Chickasaw land in violation of U. S. treaties, Tishomingo closed a trading post operated by a white man and confiscated its goods. For this he was put in prison and fined $500. Tishomingo died on the Trail of Tears at the age of 102.

                                      Jess Green

The second honoree for 2011 was Jess Green, a Chickasaw attorney and judge who has worked for the tribe since the revitalization of our tribal governnment in the ‘70’s. Mr. Green won two cases in the U. S. Supreme Court which established legal sovereignty for the Chickasaws as well as the other Native American tribal governments, and through the years he has fought for the rights of Native Americans in the courts. Although in poor health, Mr. Green was able to attend the presentation and he gave an inspiring acceptance speech.

                                     Robert Perry

The third honoree was Robert Perry, who has spent many years volunteering his time and talents working for the Chickasaw tribe. Mr. Perry is an engineer, an artist and a writer. He wrote a fascinating biography of the Indian artist, Woody Crumbo, and a book about a ceremonial Chickasaw garment, The Turkey Feather Cape, which he recreated, and which is on display at the Chickasaw Culture Center. My favorite one of his books is The Little People, a book of stories about magical forest creatures of Creek and Chickasaw lore. Mr. Perry, like Mr Green, played an important role in the development of Chickasaw tribal government. For several years he traveled monthly to Oklahoma from Houston, Texas, where he was working for Phillips Petroleum Company, to chair the Chickasaw Industrial Development Board.  

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Perry pointed out the importance of volunteers and of tribal elders in building our tribe and in preserving our traditions. My mother, Wenonah Paul Gunning, met Mr. Perry in 1995 when she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Chickasaw Historical Society.  She and Robert’s mother, Sophia Reeder Perry, both went to school during the ‘20’s at Bloomfield Academy, a Chickasaw boarding school for girls, and after she recognized their connection, she felt a special affection for Mr. Perry. She also appreciated Mr. Perry’s knowledge of tribal history, and the respect he showed for her and for other elders of the tribe. He was always a good and kind friend. 

Governor Anaotubby spoke after the presentions, and pointed out how the awards recognize the numerous and diverse contributions made by members of our tribe. If you’re interested in seeing the other members of the Hall of Fame you can visit the Chickasaw web page: