Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hattie Jane, Part Three

My Father, Sam Paul the Politician

                                                         Sam Paul

As told to her great grandson, Dr James Phillips, discovertheword.com

            My name is Jim Phillips, great great grandson of Samuel Ikard Paul. My great grandmother used to love to tell me stories about her father and brothers Buck and Willie Paul. 

             These are her words through her eyes. You must remember of all the people and newspaper articles written about my family, that my great grandmother was an eyewitness to almost everything that happened among her family from March 2, 1883 forward. Many of the stories written in newspapers and by people that wrote the stories down years later were second and third hand witnesses. Hattie Jane Paul was there and saw much of the action actually take place, or heard the stories from eyewitnesses to these events. Every story that Grams told me, no matter how fantastic it sounded, turned out to be very historically accurate. Many times Grams would say, "Jimmy, if you get the court records you will see that I told you the truth." As I quote Grams, I will try to write as she spoke to me. The misspellings are intentional. 

Grams would say:  

My father was a politician among the Chickasaw people. He was a lawman and senator, and he ran for governor of the whole nation and he won it too, but they counted out his voters votes. I never saw a man with more nerves of steel than my father Sam Paul. He would stand up at public open air meetins and speak in a load voice. It took a person with a strong voice to address a crowd back in those days before mikerphones were invented.  

He spoke at every opportunity. People used to have all kinds of meetins before radio came out. That was entertainment. Everybody went to church just to have somethin to do. When Sam Paul started to speak everybody listened, his friends and his enemies. 

His enemies would sometimes pull out their pistols and go to work tryin to kill him. Someone would disarm them, and he would go on speakin just like nuthin happened. Some people thought he made a lot of sense, but his ideers were so different than most of the ol time Indians that he made a lot of enemies. My uncle Tecumseh was a politician too. Most of the ol time Indians liked Kump a lot more than my dad. My father would get up and make a speech then sometimes Tecumseh would get up and speak before or afterwards. Nobody ever shot at Tecumseh as far as I member. 

Sam Paul was fearless one time he went right into the enemy camp of ol Byrd and gave a speech standin in his fancy drivin rig while him and his people had guns on the opposin parties. My father spoke to them, and I think some later even went over to his side. Jimmy, that was dangerous business back then, goin like he did right into that camp of full bloods and apreechin his side of the argument an getting out of there alive. 

My Father always carried a smaller pistol under his coat. It was a 3220. He was never unarmed. It was dangerous business just walkin down the streets in those days. When my father Sam Paul went out on his law man business he carried a big colts 45 a Winchester rifle or more  likely that big ol 12 gauge lever action Winchester shotgun. It looked just like a rifle, but it was real big. 

In the territory them outlaws were as afraid of Sam Paul as they were the plague or small pox. He was deadly business to them ol boys. When he said, 'this is marshal Sam Paul. Yur under arrest.' They were already whupped most of the time. If they resisted, the shootin was on, and I mean in a hurry.  

Oh, how I wish Grams could have seen the real contributions that her father tried to make. Sam Paul had reached a terrible low in his life with drunkenness and womanizing, but I truly believe that the last eight years or so in his life, that he lived his life for his people. He lived those last years of his life to try to secure a future for all Indian tribes in what was Indian Territory. He spoke to each Indian tribe in their own language to explain to them without an interpreter their options for a more secure future. (Mike Tower in his foot notes, in the Outlaw Statesman,  states that Sam Paul knew 17 different Indian languages.) 

The white settlers were coming into Indian Territory by the thousands and they had the best politicians in Washington D.C. that money could buy. If the Indian people were to survive they had better learn how to deal with the white population on their own grounds. If you can’t beat them, you had better learn how to join them. Sam Paul was ahead of all the thinkers of his time. He was visionary. We know that now, but it got him classified as a traitor in the eyes of the full bloods back in his time.  

Sam Paul had the nerve to stand nearly alone and fight unbelievable odds to protect the rights of others not looking to take an advantage for himself. It states in a book written about those times, Leaders and Leading Men of the Indian Territory, by Harry F. O'Beirne:  

Mr. Paul has ever been a staunch friend to the white man. His father was a white man, and for no motives of self-interest to gain the favor of his people could he be induced to be-little the blood inherited through his father. This of itself is a noble quality, and will cover many imperfections,”------“As the leader of the progressive party in the Chickasaw Nation, all eyes are now turned in his direction, while he, himself, bent on restoring the white citizens to their original status, is at the time of this writing making preparations for a trip to the United states Capitol. Much depends on the result of his mission.  

The white citizens spoken of here represent the intermarried white citizens such as his own father Smith Paul. Sam Paul actually won his bid to be governor of the Chickasaw nation but all of the intermarried white citizens votes were disfranchised or counted out. These people were Chickasaws by marriage. Their votes had counted all the way back to Mississippi but now Byrd’s group changed all of that. 

My family on nearly every side was Native American. They had all suffered greatly from the greed of people willing to look over right and wrong and to simply get what they could get in total disregard of moral character.  

The Indian Removal Act had devastated every civilized tribe. All had their Trail of Tears. The Chickasaws, Ojibway, Sioux ,  and, Cherokees, were my ancestral people. All of them had come to Indian Territory to make a new start, where no one would ever try to take their homelands away from them again. The Chickasaw and Cherokee side of my family had treaties guaranteeing this.  

In Mississippi alone the Chickasaw’s lost plantations, beautiful homes , towns schools, and colleges, and their government buildings, and their council houses. These were whole nations that had been displaced The Chickasaw nation can be traced as far back as 1539-40 When Hernando De Soto lived among them during that winter then in the spring he tried to make slaves out of the men using them for bearers and guides. The Chickasaws revolted whipped his socks off scattered his hogs , which became the wild hogs in the south starting out in Mississippi and spreading to the other states. These hogs had been De Soto’s portable food supply brought from Spain. These peoples complete holdings as nations were stolen from them because someone else wanted their plantations, homes and schools. 

The Cherokee side of my family were forced to walk off and leave complete towns, working plantations, schools, colleges, a whole and complete nation was forced out of their native lands that they had occupied for hundreds of years.  

Both nations the Chickasaws and Cherokees had fought wars side by side with the United States government against opposing foes but this same nation wanted their lands and holdings.  

We hear so much about making foreign governments into democracies today, giving their people the right to vote and build their own autonomous democracies planning and developing their own futures. These Indian Nations were all democracies. They ruled themselves they had elections and everyone voted. Their schools were not segregated Women had the right to own property, to be educated and to vote. Intermarriage was fully accepted. Not only was intermarriage between races accepted but anyone who married into a tribe was adopted and many times became a leader or chief. .Whites and blacks were both accepted into the tribes as equal citizens. It did not take and act of congress or an amendment to the constitution to enforce it either. It took the United States Government  over two hundred  years,  a civil war, several acts of congress, constitutional amendments, and so called race riots to reach this same high state civilization and freedom for each individual in their nation that existed two hundred years ago in these so called heathen democracies.  

These Indian nations were complete autonomous entities. All these nations were caused to relocate  on their separate trails of tears into what was to be Indian Territory or  Indianola, as some called it. In this new land they would separately reestablish their autonomous nations and democracies. In this new land they were to live out their separate futures guaranteed forever their separate democratic autonomous governments.  

These 5 civilized nations held perpetual treaties drawn up by the U. S. government and the separate nations were to last forever or as long as the wind would blow the rain would fall and the waters ran. 

My great great great grandfather Smith Paul and great great great grandmother Elateecha lived through the Chickasaw trail of tears, many did not. 

They had carved out a new home and had become prosperous in this new land. 

Then came the Civil war and many in  the civilized tribes supported the Confederate States of America. After the Civil War the United States decided to punish the Indian nations for backing the South and confiscated half of Indian Territory  from them for being rebels. Not all of each tribe were Southern sympathizers. Many Indian men fought on the side of the Union, but the U. S. made a good excuse for getting a lot more land free of charge. 

Then came the Dawes Act.  

In 1905 my Cherokee great grandfather John Wilburn was killed over the Dawes act. He had refused to sign a new treaty. His farm and home was taken from his family and sold to a new white man and he, John Wilburn, was killed while driving his cattle to his own pasture He was killed as a trespasser on his own land in the sight of all of his children and wife. He had become an enemy of the state. Many full bloods from all the Indian nations would not sign this new treaty and nearly all of their lands were stolen from them. Many were killed protesting this new treaty. Even their orphaned children had their property stolen from them as guardians were appointed for them as protectors under the guise of progress. 

My great grandfather Harry Stewart of Ojibwa, and Sioux heritage had told his wife Hattie Jane  and their children, ”Don’t ever speak the Indian language. Don’t tell anyone you are Indian or related to the Pauls. What we have we will be able to keep. If they find out you are Indian, you will not be able to keep what you have worked a slaved for all of your lives”.

My family had left Oklahoma to come out to California to be mistaken for the white emigrants. To buy homes and businesses once again and to be able to hold onto what they would work for and build. 

 Now you can see why my great grandmother Hattie was criticized for not laying down her heritage. The Pauls were her family. The picture of that little half Indian and black child was her brother and she loved him. He was her blood kin and her family. Mattie, Sammie, Black Willie, Willie Hiram and Buck were her family and she would not forget them or abandon her love for them. She had absolutely no prejudice what so ever toward any race of people not even the whites that had abused her people so much.  

Grams instilled these same principles in me. When she looked at a man or woman she did not see color or skin pigment she saw another human being. She must have inherited this trait from her grandfather Smith Paul. 

This Dawes Act the last major catastrophe is what Sam Paul saw as the Indian people’s last stand. To survive the Indian people had to circumvent the Dawes Act and start their own Allotments before the U.S. government could get involved.  

Sam Paul died trying to lead his people ahead of the enemy to out think them and outmaneuver them. 

In 1999 Sam Paul was added to the Chickasaw Hall of Fame, 108 years after he was politically assassinated by his own son, and 34 years after Grams died. Oh how she would have been proud of her father. 

In 1965 my great grandmother Hattie Jane Paul Stewart Russell died loving all her family, having never abandoned her heritage or the love for her brothers and sisters.  

I have heard many negative things about my great great grandfather Samuel Ikard Paul and I know that many of those things were true. At times he was a violent man, he was at times vicious in carrying out warrants for law enforcement. But Grams said he loved animals and that he was very gracious and kind to people. He was always ready to give them a helping hand. He was willing to help a man start out in business or to make a loan to the needy. These are the more important things that I now remember about him.  They are the things that last. These are the acts that placed him in the Chickasaw Hall of Fame.  

It has been reported the much of the story of the wild and reckless character of Rooster Gogburn was partially made up of Sam Paul’s real life and arrest episodes. 

Sam Paul’s trials were so famous in Fort Smith Arkansas that, Jon Wright guide of The Fort Smith National Historical site, told me that they were going to do reenactments of his trials in their night court episodes.  

To the American public John Wayne who played Rooster Gogburn was America’s hero. He was the frontier marshal taking the law in his hands as jury judge and executioner.  

My great great grandfather Sam Paul was my hero.  I have taken the bad with the good and I smile as I say that was my grandpa. 

What you don’t hear often is how that later in his life Sam Paul lectured on strong family values and morality. He said that these values would build and strengthen the Chickasaw Nation. Sam Paul must have said strong Chickasaw homes will build a strong Chickasaw Nation. 

As you had read in the other blogs my family came out here to California and lived in a state of poverty that many people could not even imagine. Some had fallen into depths of alcoholism but most of them survived.  

It took my family a whole generation to settle down out here in California, but Smith Paul and Elateecha’s descendants through Sam Paul became businessmen military heroes, soldiers, firemen, artists, educators, workers, ministers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, law officers, doctors, and assets to their communities. Some failed but most succeeded. Those strong Scottish and Chickasaw genes still run in the veins of many descendants from coast to coast.

End Note by Robin Gunning:

Sam Paul was one of the few Chickasaws who envisioned a union between Indian and white man. He wrote this prophesy in 1891, 16 years before Oklahoma Statehood:

The shadow of an Indian Star is already among the galaxy upon the national flag...The beginning of the end is here. The State of Oklahoma, if such it will be called, will include the old bounds of the Indian Territory. No state west of the Mississippi will surpass it in the extent and variety of its resources and general prosperity of its people...in all the resources that go to make a great commonwealth, the new state will be complete. Men of Indian blood will sit beside their white brethren in the councils of state and assist in the administration of government; their interest mutual. The races will be blended as one. The Indian problem will no longer cry for solution. Civilization will have broken down the last barrier raised to retard her irresistible march. Our hills and valleys will teem with industry and thrift and our streams turn the wheels of manufactories. Important trade centers will spring up along the old cattle trails and stage roads...I have given you no fancy sketch. The time is not far off.

Sam Paul left the State of Oklahoma as his legacy.

No comments:

Post a Comment