American Native Press Archives and Sequoyah Research Center

American Native Press Archives and Sequoyah Research Center

Illustrated Stories of Royal Roger Eubanks [a machine-readable transcription]

Illustrated Stories of Royal Roger Eubanks [a machine-readable transcription]

By Royal Roger Eubanks

Edited by Doug Weatherly

Table of Contents

Royal Roger Eubanks (1879-?)

Royal Roger Eubanks was born at Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation to William and Eliza Thompson Eubanks. Eubanks was educated in Cherokee schools and graduated from the Cherokee Male Seminary in 1897. After graduation he taught school at Braggs, Cherokee Nation, and at the Cherokee Orphan Asylum. He returned to the Cherokee Male Seminary in 1901 as a teacher and became superintendent by 1905. While teaching, Eubanks also pursued a career in art and writing. He published a number of political cartoons in Cherokee Nation newspapers as well. Eubanks moved to Chicago to become head of cartoon syndication for one of the major newspapers in 1907 but returned only a few years later to resume his teaching career. He continued his work in commercial art and began writing short stories and dialect tales, some of which are reprinted here, as well as historical sketches, all of which dealt with the subjects of Cherokee culture and history. As artist and writer, he illustrated all of his own stories.

Eubanks' background was rich in literary influences. His father was a well-known translator for the Cherokee Nation. William Eubanks and his wife, Eliza Thompson Eubanks, were both educated and literate in English. In addition, the younger Eubanks' education was based in large part on literary studies. In 1910, after he had published biographical sketches and some short stories, he published two stories that were to begin a series of animal tales called "Nights with Uncle Ti-ault-ly." Two of these stories, reprinted here, appeared in Osage Magazine, a publication devoted to American Indian history and literature. The magazine was sold to non-Native Americans after Eubanks had published only two of his "Nights with Uncle Ti-ault-ly" stories, and the magazine's emphasis turned away from Native American interests. Like many Native American writers of his time, Eubanks saw receptive outlets to his works shrinking. Bibliographic work done to date has not turned up any more or Eubanks' "Nights with Uncle Ti-ault-ly" stories. Eubanks' artistic work later resurfaced in the form of illustrations for Wyandotte, Bertrand N. O. Walker's Tales of the Bark Lodges (1919), published under his Indian name, Hen-toh, a collection of Native American animal stories in the same vein as Joel Chandler Harris' "Uncle Remus" stories. Both Eubanks and Walker were aware of Harris' work but claimed this story archetype as Native American in origin. Eubanks later moved to Berryville, Arkansas, to continue his work as a teacher and commercial artist.

The Middle Man

By R. Roger Eubanks, with illustrations by the Author

Sturm’s Oklahoma Magazine, Vol. VIII, July, 1909

Kent walked briskly into his office, sauntered over to his desk at the farther end, tipped his little green hat to the back of his head, lighted a cigar and sat down.

McNeil, his partner, sat at the large table in the center of the room. In his left hand, with his fingers as a bookmark, he held a roll-book, and he perused abstractly an open plat-book which lay upon the table. The roll-book contained the names, ages, sexes and degrees of blood of the citizens of the Five Civilized Tribes, and the plat-book contained township maps of that part of Oklahoma which was formerly the Cherokee Nation and which was allotted to the members of the Cherokee tribe. Each township occupied a full page in this large book and showed each individual allotment, on which was printed the name and roll number of the allottee. 1 These two books were, by far, the most necessary pieces of furniture in an office similar to that of Kent & McNeil Realty Co.

Kent turned about in his swivel chair, placed his feet upon the table, glanced at the uncovered typewriter and asked:

“Hasn’t Miss Reed gotten here yet?”

“Oh, yes. She has gone over to the Agency to look up that stuff we were talking about last night. She ought to be back by this time.” McNeil had hardly finished speaking when Miss Reed, the stenographer, with note-books and pencils came in at the open door.

Kent was impatient and jumpy, and forever keyed to high tension. He glared at the young lady as she slowly unpinned her hat.

“Well?” he snapped, his voice querulous.

Illustration with caption "I found an approved lease on everything except the Nancy Keycatcher stuff.".

Figure 1. "I found an approved lease on everything except the Nancy Keycatcher stuff."

“Well,” she began, referring to her notes, “I found an approved lease on everything except the Nancy Keycatcher stuff. I got a cross reference but found nothing against it. There had been a lease given to the Puritan Oil Co., but it was disapproved. The description of the land shows it to be forty acres in Sections 6, 27, 13.”

Kent sprang to his feet, snatched his cigar from his mouth and went over to examine the notes.

“Why, Thunder, Miss Reed! The piece in 27, 13 can’t be clear, surely.”

“That’s what the records at the Indian agency show,” said Miss Reed, between humility and sarcasm.

“Maybe she’s married or dead,” observed Kent, looking at McNeil.

“What does the roll-book show her age to be?” McNeil turned the leaved of the plat-book until it was opened at 27, 13. He ran his fingers over Section 6 until he found the little square on which was printed the name, Nancy Keycatcher, and the number 25,640.

“Twenty-five, six, forty,” he sang to himself as he turned to the roll-book. Nancy Keycatcher, female, three-quarters, sixty-three years old.

“She’s dead,” said Kent, as he ran his hands down deep into his pockets and looked out of the window.

“Where is ‘Chick?’ He ought to know this old girl,” suggested McNeil.

`Chick' was a quarter blood Cherokee with few scruples and no inclination to work, and was consequently one of a number of hangers-on who loafed about the streets of Muskogee and loitered about land dealers’ offices, ready at all times to act as a tool in “getting a deal through” between an Indian and a real estate agent. “Boosters,” they are called. `Chick' was doubly valuable because of his wide acquaintance and because of his ability to speak the Cherokee language.

Kent leaned over the table with his elbows and scrutinized closely the forty-acre tract shown on the map.

“Is 27, 13, good?” Miss Reed ventured to ask.

“I should say, yes,” fairly snorted Kent, without lifting his eyes from the map.

“If that’s her surplus,” explained McNeil, “she can sell it, she being only three-quarters.”

Kent looked sharply on the map for the title “h” which designated “homestead,” but it was not there. 2

“Why, that’s so. She can sell it, can’t she,” he said, becoming excited, “and this is her surplus.”

“There must be something wrong,” said McNeil, becoming pessimistic, “that’s too good a piece of stuff to not be taken in before now. I’ll go and see if I can find ‘Chick.’” With this he indolently unfolded himself out of the chair and strolled into the hall.

Kent paced nervously about the room, then stopped for a moment to look at 27, 13 as shown on the Oil Map which hung on the wall. Dots, indicating oil wells, were on adjoining allotments and on all four sides of the piece in question. This was not necessary, however, for Kent, because he knew as well as every one else in the business that township 27, 13 was in the very heart of the oil belt. He looked at his watch and went hurriedly out of the door to help in the search for “Chick.” On reaching the stairway, however, he found McNeil with the big quarter-blood hurrying up the steps. The three men huddled together in the hall.

“ ‘Chick’ knows her all right,” began McNeil, becoming enthusiastic and breathing audibly from the exertion of trotting up the stairs, “and he says she’s not dead, nor married, nor sold unless she has done one or all in the last two weeks.”

“Now you want to be sure about this, ‘Chick,’” said Kent feigning nonchalance, “because—”

“Oh, I’m giving you straight goods, all right,” `Chick' interrupted, “I helped R. G. Smith get a oil lease on some of her land up clost to Bartlesville. She’s a kind of old woman. She lives up clost to Stillwell an talks all Injun. She’s a full-blood— .”

“She may be a full-blood,” put in McNeil, “but the roll-book says she’s three-quarters and what the roll-book says, goes.” 3 They walked leisurely down the hall back to the office door and stopped. Kent turned around and said:

“See here, ‘Chick,’ you show up here at the office this afternoon at six o’clock, you and I may have to go to Stillwell tonight.”

“All right, good,” `Chick' answered eagerly.

“All right,” repeated McNeil, “and keep everything under your hat, old man, and we’ll see you at six.” `Chick' seemed to have assimilated some of the enthusiasm now at its height in the other two men, and he walked away jauntily whistling.

Kent put in a long distance telephone call for the Washington County Abstract Company. With dire exasperation and feverish suspense the entire day was consumed in getting connections, giving the order and receiving the report, but it was worth the suffering because the report was that the Nancy Keycatcher stuff was clear—clear except for an oil lease which was evidently the one written for the Puritan Oil Co. by R. G. Smith, and which Miss Reed had found to be disapproved.

It was now five o’clock. The Dawes Commission 4 gong sounded in their offices across the court, Miss Reed adjusted her hat, took up her parasol and hurried out into the hall to join the bevy of stenographers and office girls chattering down the stairs.

Kent arose from his chair, walked over to the door, closed it, turned the thumb latch and sat down again. McNeil was the first to speak.

“Damn my cats, old man; that’s a dickens of a good piece of oil; that stuff is worth $150 an acre!”

Kent moved over to the desk telephone, laid his cigar down carefully so that the fire end extended from the edge of the desk.

“What do you say to my calling up old man Connors at Bartlesville and putting it up to him at $150?”

“That’s the right dope,” McNeil acquiesced.

When Kent hung up the receiver he said:

“He says he’ll take her up if we can deliver the goods. He knows the stuff; was out three to-day; you know he has leases all over that section. He said to put the deed and abstract in the Muskogee National Bank and he’d wire the ‘mazuma.’ ‘Chick’ and I can get out of here on the M. O. & G. at 6:30.”

When the Kansas City Southern north bound passenger train stopped at the Stillwell station, it was just breaking day. Only two passengers alighted. One, a man of medium build walked with a firm energetic step; his neck was short and his eyes had a downward tilt; he bore all the marks of the shrewd, the crafty. His dress would be designated in slang vocabulary as “loud.” His companion was tall and massive in build; his skin dark and his hair and eyes black; his shoulders were high and square and he walked with the erectness of the dare-devil—the brazen.

Illustration of Kent.

Figure 2. "Kent"

The first was Ernest Kent, the other was `Chick' Glory.

Both bore evidences of having made it convenient to run across the state line on the Missouri Pacific to Fort Smith to make connections with the Kansas City Southern instead of at Sallisaw, and had evidently “improved each shining hour” of the four “wee sma’” ones spent in a saloon town.

The Keycatcher home was eight miles from Stillwell on the Little Sallisaw; one of those old-fashioned double log houses with porch in front and a detached kitchen in the back yard; an old, unused spinning wheel sat on the end of the porch—a relic of former days; a mortar and pestle sat near the chimney.

The boys were out somewhere in the woods. Little Quatie moved noiselessly about in the kitchen, washing the breakfast dishes, and old lady Keycatcher, the grandmother and matriarch of this humble household, sat out in the yard in the shadow of the house stringing beans for the midday meal. It was thus that Kent and `Chick' found her when they drove up to the gate.

Illustration with caption "It was thus that Kent

Figure 3. "It was thus that Kent and `Chick' found her when they drove up to the gate."

They diplomatically shook her hand; `Chick' helped himself to two chairs on the porch, which he placed near her, and they sat down. Little Quatie brought from the spring a bucket of pure, sparkling water in which a gourd dipper wabbled [sic; alt. spelling of wobbled, OED.] like an anchored canoe.

Illustration of Nancy Keycatcher.

Figure 4. "Nancy Keycatcher"

`Chick' talked jocularly in Cherokee, though his tongue seemed thick, and Kent sat silently trying to appear interested in a conversation no word of which he understood. When the commonplace conversation between `Chick' and the old lady had subsided, Kent asked `Chick' to say to her that the company which had leased her land in the prairie country for oil had made an error in the papers and that he, Kent, was representing the company and desired her to accompany him and `Chick' back to Stillwell and go before a Notary Public that the error might be corrected. That it would take but a minute. That he would pay her for her trouble and that he would send her back in a buggy. `Chick' interpreted this to her and she declared her willingness to aid in straightening out any error that might have been made.

“It would have surprised you how easy it was!” Kent afterwards told McNeil.

After reaching Stillwell they drove directly to the little office of J. K. Haines, Notary. Haines, always in need of an extra fifty cents, dropped his feet from the table, crumpled up the local paper he was reading, and gave his only chair to Mrs. Keycatcher.

“Just a little paper,” explained Kent, as he nervously took from his pocket an innocent looking instrument and spread it upon the table. It was a warranty deed neatly filled in even to the signature, Nancy Keycatcher, in a bold running hand.

“Has she signed it?” Haines asked, as he reached for his seal on the shelf.

“No,” answered Kent, “She only makes her mark.” He helped himself to a pen, dipped it into ink, and tested its metal on a piece of paper.

Illustration of Nancy Keycatcher's mark.

Figure 5. "Nancy Keycatcher, her mark."

“Tell her to touch the pen,” he said to “Chick,” as he held it out to Mrs. Keycatcher. The interpretation was unnecessary, however, because the old lady, innocently and mechanically, reached out and touched the pen.

It was a matter of but a minute for Kent to make a cross between Nancy and Keycatcher and write above and below “her,” and “mark,” respectively; for Haines to fill in the Notary’s blank and affix his seal, and for `Chick' and Kent to sign as witnesses.

Kent threw a fifty cent piece upon the table for Haines, and magnanimously (?) slipped old Mrs. Keycatcher a ten dollar note.

`Chick' was walking down Broadway in Muskogee with Kent when remembering an item he had seen in the morning’s Phoenix he said:

“I see they have got Roy Gardner for forging a deed on a nigger.” Kent looked the picture of disgust and almost snarled as he said:

“I don’t see why, in God’s name, a man wants to do that kind of underhanded work when there is so much legitimate business!” And when Connors & Cane had wired $6,000 to the Muskogee National Bank to be credited to Kent & McNeil; when he had waited on the outside until Kent went into the bank and came out to count $25 into his large, brown palm in payment for services on the Stillwell trip, `Chick' Glory was perfectly oblivious to the fact that the Nancy Keycatcher stuff had been bought legitimately by Kent & McNeil for $10 and sold to Connors & Cane for $6,000.

Nights with Uncle Ti-ault-ly: How the Talapin Beat the Rabbit

By R. Roger Eubanks With Illustrations by the Author The Osage Magazine, Vol. 1, May, 1910

Uncle Ti-ault-ly always prefaced his narratives with: “Way lon' time 'go when all kinds animal and birds and trees could talk an' nobody lived here but Injuns.”

Illustration with caption "Uncle Ti-ault-ly tells a story".

Figure 6. "Uncle Ti-ault-ly tells a story."

And this time he went on and, between long and deep draws at his old clay pipe, told the following:

“Eve body know old Rabbit he run it fastest. Old Rabbit he knowed it too an' he altime brag. An' when he come it cross Talapin he make it fun 'cause he heap slow.”

Illustration with caption "He jump it him plumb over".

Figure 7. "He jump it him plumb over."

“One day he come it cross Talapin an' he jump it him plum over, then run it roun' fastest, jump it over big log heap high, jump it high everthin' an' run it roun' fast like whirlwin' then he come back to Talapin heap grin an' laugh an' he say: 'Say, Talapin, you ever get it hot box, you slide it on ground so fast?”

“Talapin he know Rabbit make it fun. He get mad. He spit it tobbacco [sic] juce an' look way off. Rabbit he see Talapin chaw tobacco an' he say: 'Say, Talapin, one day me run it roun' tree so fastest me stick it nose in hip pocket an' take it chaw tobbacco [sic].”

“Talapin he know he tell it heap big lie. He look it Rabbit straight in eye an' turn it up lip an' he say: 'Shuck! You think you run fastest? Huh! You no run it fastest. Me run it heap fastest.'”

“Rabbit he put it han' to nose to keep it back laughin' then he look it solumn [sic], take it out pipe, knock it out ash' an' he say: 'Sho' 'nough you run it fastest?'”

“Talapin he heap mad yet, he red in face. He say: 'Me run it fastest like a lightnings, me beat it deer, me beat it everthin,' me beat it YOU ever-days-in-a-weeks.'”

“Rabbit he say: 'Maybeso you run it me race?'”

“Talapin he say: 'Me run it you race when you get it ready yourself! Me meet it you here nex' Choosday this place, we run it over them four ridges, the one cross last ridge fust is the win.'”

Illustration with caption "You old
                        shell game, you know you no can run".

Figure 8. "You old shell game, you know you no can run"

“Rabbit he say: 'Ah, Talapin, you heap much mad an' heap big fool. You old shell game, you know you no can run. Me give it you fust ridge, then you run it t'ree ridge, me run it four ridge. Me beat you.'”

“Talapin he say: 'Al'ight, me meet it you here nex' Choosday this place.'”

“An' he went it crawl it off home. He call it in all he flens an' he tell it flens 'bout race an' he tell it flens: 'Me want you help me. Me know me no can run it fastest like it Rabbit, but me want it stop he aletime brag.' Then he talk it low an' tell it plan an' he flens say: 'We help you.'”

“When Choosday come all kinds animal come to see it race an' ol' Rabbit he there already an' Talapin he gone on close to top fust ridge, just see it head in grass.”

Illustration of the Race..

Figure 9. "The Race"

“Crow he give it word tree time, Caw, Caw, Caw. Way went it Rabbit like it lightnings, heap fastest up side the hill an' Talapin he crawl it on top an' over on other side. Rabbit he get it on top an' look all round, he no see it Talapin. He run on down side it hill an' heap fast up nex' an' when he look up he see Talapin ahead just go over top.”

“Now he run it fastest, heap high jump, heap long jump, an' when he get it top he see Talapin way head going over nex' ridge.”

“Now Rabbit he heap tired, he breathe hard like steam kear and when he get it top he see Talapin go over top last ridge, an' he knows Talapin's the win. Rabbit give plum up fellen in the weed, an' say, wi, wi, wi, wi, like he do now when he no can run some more.”

“Everbody no see how Talapin win, but Talapin he no tell. It wuz heap slick trick, like it White Man's. Talapin's flens all look same like him and he hide it one on fust hill, two hill, t'ree hill all close to top an' when Rabbit come where he see him he crawl it over top an' hide it in weed. Rabbit he think Talapin gone on head, he see nex' one he think it same one.”

“The same talapin he make the race, he on last hill to be come out end heself.”

Ezekiel Proctor

By R. Roger Eubanks (Illustrated by the Author) Sturm’s Oklahoma Magazine, Vol. X, June, 1910

Illustration of Ezekiel Proctor.

Figure 10. "Ezekiel Proctor."

Ezekiel Proctor 5 was born in the state of Georgia, in what was the old Cherokee Nation. He was of Scotch-Irish-Cherokee Indian mixture. During his early childhood the Cherokees were unsettled, he being but a small boy at the time of the Cherokee removal—that blot on American history which made corpses, wrecks and melancholoy [sic] pessimists of the more humble of these people, and desperate, daring men who asked no quarter and gave none, of another class, while in all was engendered a bitterness of heart and prejudice because of this great injustice. The Indian Territory was then a wild country with wild peoples; the Osages and other plains Indians on the west, savage and blood-thirsty; and on the other boundaries the Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas frontiersmen who thought, like Jackson, that the "only good Indian is a dead Indian." 6 The Cherokees, too, naturally looked upon all white men, excepting the few missionaries and intermarried, 7 as scheming, undermining, avaricious tricksters not to be trusted; and with all this, the Cherokees themselves were divided into two factions, the Ridge, or treaty party, and the Ross, or anti-treaty party, avowed and bitter enemies. Everyone went armed with rifle, pistol or dirk, or all three, and it was among these influences that Ezekiel Proctor grew to manhood. 8

Of all the desperate characters of the early days of the old Indian Territory, Ezekiel Proctor is king, and had he kept one weapon and marked on it the number of his victims there would be over twenty-five notches.

He began his career when a mere boy by killing a full-blood Cherokee named Wasp. Then followed in succession, Yearling, Alberty and Drum Jaybird, all of whom were killed before Proctor was twenty-one years of age. It would be uninteresting to go into detail and describe each of the altercations which resulted in a killing, even if the material was in hand; suffice it to say that during these times, when every one was armed, every man of high temper like Proctor who, too, was sociable and attended the little neighborhood dances and gatherings, would often be called upon to either show the "white feather" or his quickness with a weapon.9 The man who would always show fight was almost sure to some day meet a man quicker than himself and his career was cut off. Proctor never backed down, but could draw and fire his pistol unerringly with one instantaneous movement.

When the Civil war broke out he cast his lot with the Union and served as a cavalryman and scout during the full four years. No record has been kept of the number of men he killed of the opposing forces, but while in camp in Fort Gibson he killed a Union soldier named Crittenden.

After the close of the war he kept up his record as a man-killer, and often when in doubt as to the outcome of a trial, he would become a fugitive from the law until he felt more sure of the acquittal, and then it was woe to the officer who dared to attempt to effect his capture. Often these scouting tours would take him into the border states, and it is related that while on one of these trips into Texas he came near falling victim to a gang of the Bender clan. He was always faultlessly dressed, though in true scout garb of buckskin coat, beaded belt, and silver mounted spurs; rode the very best horse procurable, and was always well supplied with money.

One night he applied for lodging at a farm house and was received with all the hospitality he could ask by the man of the house and wife. On retiring, though tired, he was ever suspicious, ever on the alert, and would not allow himself to fall asleep until he was fully satisfied that all was well. Late in the night his watchfulness was rewarded and his suspicions confirmed, for he could judge by voices that he heard that the man and woman had not retired and that another man had appeared on the scene, and they were talking in low, subdued tones. After listening for a while, he quietly arose, crossed the room, and peeped through the key-hole. He discovered that strange preparations were being made. All were armed with knives of foreboding significance, and a tub of water had been brought in. He quickly dressed himself and sat on the bed with pistol in hand. He had but a short time to wait when the door was stealthily opened and the men appeared with the woman holding the light. Using a chair as a shield and shooting under it he lost no time in dispatching both men, and it was with an effort that he restrained himself from also killing the woman; but instead he immediately prepared to depart and with a pistol in each hand he followed her to the barn, where she was ordered to saddle his horse. After mounting he found that his horse was tied about the legs with wires in such a way that it could not travel, and it took the combined efforts of himself and the woman to free the legs of the animal.

In 1871 he had an altercation with an intermarried white man named M. Chesterson, which eventually led to the end of his career as a man-killer in a truly dramatic climax. He and Chesterson had some insignificant misunderstanding, one word brought on another, and both became more and more excited. Chesterson made a move for his gun, but quick as a flash Proctor whipped out his pistol. Mrs. Chesterson, who was Polly Beck before her marriage, jumped between him and her husband only to receive the bullet from Proctor's pistol, and fell, mortally wounded. Proctor's mortification at killing a woman confused him for once in his life long enough for Chesterson to make his escape, which he lost no time in doing. Proctor immediately surrendered himself to the Cherokee authorities, and on April 9, 1872, he was taken to the Goingsnake 10 court house for trial.

The operations of the United States marshals in the Cherokee country were at this time a source of much discontent among the Indians because they were largely men unprincipled, hunting adventure, over-riding and exceeding their authority. Often they were men more criminal in character and more deserving of punishment than those for whom they sought.

A strong posse of these marshals procured a writ for Proctor for assault upon the person of Chesterson, and demanded his surrender from the Cherokee officers, but this they were positively refused. The Becks, brothers of Mrs. Chesterson, with some Cherokee friends, met the marshals at Cincinnati, Ark., and offered their services ostensibly to help take the prisoner from the Cherokee authorities by force, and under the leadership of J. G. Owens they went in a body to the court house where Proctor was being tried. The real intention of the Becks became apparent when Sam Beck, in the lead, stepped to the door and opened fire on the unarmed prisoner. Proctor instantly snatched a Spencer repeating rifle from the hands of one of his guards and at the first shot sent a bullet through the neck of Sam Beck, killing him instantly. A general fight ensued, with the marshals and the Becks on one side, and Proctor, his guards and friends on the other. When the smoke cleared away, of the marshals' party, J. G. Owens, Jim Ward, Rily Wood, George Selvage, Sam Beck, Will Hicks, Black Sut Beck, and Bill Beck were killed, and White Sut Beck, George McLaughlin and Paul Jones were wounded. Of these Proctor killed Sam, Black Sut and Bill Beck. This could be told from the wounds, as the Spencer rifle he used was the only one brought into action and was of very large caliber. Of the Proctor party, Mose Alberty, attorney for the prisoner, Johnson Proctor, brother of the prisoner, and Andy Palone were killed, and presiding judge Black Haw Sixkiller, Ezekiel Proctor, Ellis Forman, a juror, Joe Shurver, a deputy sheriff, Isaac Vann and John Proctor were wounded.

The fight was on and finished in half the time it would take to tell about it, and for a moment no one seemed to realize what had been done. Proctor alone was master of the situation and though wounded in the knee, he limped about gamely helping in and giving orders for the care of the dead and the relief of the wounded. The next day he was tried for his life the sixteenth time and acquitted.

Proctor spent the latter part of his life in peace and usefulness, serving his district several terms as sheriff, and the Cherokee Nation as senator. Having made a treaty with the United States through a specially appointed commission soon after the Goingsnake tragedy, he ever afterward kept his pledge. He was acquitted by the government on the testimony of Eugene Bracken, a member of the marshal's party.

He was honest, thrifty, and a good liver, taking a particular pride in the raising of blooded horses. In 1907 he died a natural death, surround by friends and relatives, at an advanced age—somewhere near ninety.

In appearance Proctor was extremely picturesque, with his long hair, which he constantly threw back of his shoulder with a quick movement of the head. His complexion was fairer than the average Cherokee of his time, his eyes were hazel in color and kindly in expression. His neck was noticeably short, he was thick-set and athletic, walking erect and with a springing stride even in his old age. In disposition he was jovial and even jocular under normal circumstances, and charitable and generous to a fault. He spoke, fluently, both Cherokee and English, but was ever reticent about his own exploits, rarely speaking of them even to his most intimate friends.

With my personal acquaintance with Ezekiel Proctor, with what I have been able to learn of the circumstances which led him to take life, and considering the fact that he had stood trial and had been acquitted by a jury of representative citizens sixteen times out of twenty-five cases recorded, it is difficult for me to class him with the truly bad men.

Nights with Uncle Ti-ault-ly: The Ball Game of the Birds and Animals

By R. Roger Eubanks—Illustrated by the Author; The Osage Magazine, Vol. 2, September, 1910

Illustration with caption "They became great chums."

Figure 11. "They became great chums."

Uncle Ti-ault-ly would never attempt to speak English, in fact he never spoke to anyone on the farm except father, who spoke Cherokee fluently and with him he had many a lengthy and animated conversation, but with the little boy who tagged after him in his work, he made an exception after a few weeks acquaintance and talked English when he was sure no one else could hear him. They became great chums and it was many a romp they had together in the woods and by the river, hunting and fishing, and it was many an evening they spent together in the cabin back of the big house, the old man telling the tales of long ago with the earnestness o an eye witness and the little boy listening with eagerness and wild-eyed wonder.

It was raining a slow, drizzling rain, Uncle Ti-ault-ly and the little boy sat by the light of the oil lamp, the one smoking and looking vacantly out of the open cabin door into the gathering darkness, the other watching his companion almost envious of the pleasure he seemed to get out of his old clay pipe and anxious for a story. A bat flew in at the door and went around and around and then deliberately went to the middle of the ceiling, caught a claw in a small crack and hanged with head downward.

“Huh!” observed Uncle Ti-ault-ly with all seriousness, “funny bird, stick tail in crack an' hang down he hade.” In the dim light it looked even so and when he saw that his remark had had the desired effect, he laughed his peculiar little cackling ha-ha-ha and said: “It's no bird, it's Tla-meha, a bat,” and then he began.

“Way lon' time 'go when animals an' birds could talk an' nobody lived here but Injuns, they animals match game o' ball with birds. They leaders fix day an' fix it place; they animals on grass place smooth like table an' birds in top o' trees. Bear, he's leader the animals; he's big leg, big arm, heap stron', he t'row down anybody. All 'lon' road to ball play he was t'row big log, big rock, show he heap stron' an' he all brag what he do to birds in ball play. Talipin too—not little one like same we see now—big one, them long,” here he measured out as far as he could reach with both hands. “He shell hard like a iron. He stan' on him hind leg an' fall on ground hard, brag them way he mash it birds in ball play. Deer, too, he run fastest like whirlwind. Eagle, he leader the birds, an' he anoe Hawk an' Tla-nuwa, all heap stron' an' fastest flyin' like lightnings but they was leetle 'fraid animals beat 'em.”

Illustration with caption "Here come two leetle thin's--crawl up where Eagle sit.".

Figure 12. "Here come two leetle thin's--crawl up where Eagle sit.."

The dance was done an' the birds was fixin' they feathers an' wait for leader to give the word and here come two leetle thin's, lee-tle like rats, crawl up tree where Eagle, he set, crawl out limb to where Eagle set and say: “Wee want play in ball play.” Eagle he look clost he see they have four foot an' no wing and he say: “Why you no go to and-nal side like you were belong to?” And they say: “We go and animals make fun 'cause we leetle and no let us play.” Eagle he sorry, he want them play, but he no see how they play on bird side when they no got no wings. Eagle Hawk, Tla-nuwa and some more bird they together and so they 'cide we make wings these little fellows. They think and think and talk and talk how they was make it them wings and bymby Owl he heap know everythings, he say: “Take it ground-hog skin off that drum we use in dance.” Well, so they take it skin off drum, cut it same like wings, stretch on pieces cane and fasten on fore legs one leetle animal. They call him Tla-meha, the Bat. An' so they was t'row they ball to him and he dodge twistnen, circulin' 'roun in air and no let it fall ground 'tall.

Illustration of Tla-meha, the Bat..

Figure 13. "Tla-meha, the Bat."

An' so they was know he heap good man. Well, so they was used up all ground-hog skin to make wings for Bat and they was no somethings to make wings that other leetle animal. Well so Owl 'g'in he say: “Maybeso we make wings from stretch he own skin out on sides.” An' so Crow and Buzzard and some more bird heap stron' bill ketch hold skin on each side and pull and pull and stretch skin 'tween for legs and hind legs on both sides and they was call him Tewa, Flying Squirrel. They was t'row ball to him and he ketch in he teeth and take it t'rough air to tree put near cross ground. And so they was know he was good man, too.

Illustration of with caption "Martin throw it to bat".

Figure 14. "Martin throw it to bat.."

Well, so they was already for ball play and when word was give and ball play was started, Flying Squirrel ketch ball, take up tree, t'row to birds and they was keep it in air lon' time but let drop on ground. Old Bear run to get it but Martin swoop down, t'row to Bat who flyin' clost to ground and he dodgin' and turnin' and twistnin' and circulin' even Deer, he no katch him and he t'row ball t'rough 'tween posts and the birds was the win the ball play.

Old Bear and Old Talapin who aletime brag, no got it chanct even tetch it ball. 'Cause Martin, he save it ball when drop on ground, they birds give him gourd for to build nest in and he has it same yet.

Editor's Note

Sources for the selections are as indicated. Source texts have been followed faithfully except for silent emendations to correct obvious printing errors and to regularize the form of attributions. No attempt, however, has been made to follow typographical idiosyncrasies or to produce a facsimile edition. All footnotes are the editor's unless otherwise indicated.


Little Rock, Arkansas

March 2005

End Notes

1. The Allotment Act, or Dawe’s Act, divided reservation lands into individual allotments, which were then assigned to tribe members.

2. Under the Allotment Act, land allotments designated as homesteads had citizenship restrictions regarding their sales. Allotments not designated as homesteads could be sold as surplus land.

3. Full-blood Native Americans had considerably more restrictions placed on them regarding the sale and use of their own land.

4. The Dawe’s Commission, established March 3, 1893, was the bureaucratic body in charge of executing the policies of The Allotment Act.

5. Ezekiel Proctor (1831-1907).

6. Phrase erroneously attributed to President Andrew Jackson, was originally attributed to U.S. Army General Phillip H. Sheridan (1819-1898).

7. ‘Intermarried' referred to white men married to Native American women.

8. Refers to the Treaty of New Echota of 1835, or the Removal Treaty. The Cherokee Nation was split into two factions regarding the forced emigration called for in the treaty. The Ridge, also known as Major Ridge, supported emigration from the original Cherokee lands in Georgia. John Ross, Kooweskoowee, adamantly opposed the policy of forced emigration.

9. Refers to the practice of making one's intentions clear when entering mixed company.

10. Goingsnake is one of the territory districts of The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. Each territorial district had its own courthouse. The Goingsnake courthouse was located just west of Westville, OK in Adair County.

Author: Eubanks, Royal Roger.
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