Haskell County Historical Society

Christy, Adam and Eliza (Jackson) - Interview by Kim Medlock

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BELLE STARR Rides in Haskell County, Oklahoma

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By Kim Medlock

NAME: Adam and Eliza Christy

BIRTHDATE: (June 1903) (17 January 1909)

PARENTS: Wilson and Minnie (Chubbee) Christy
Cooper and Nancy (Leflore) Jackson


SUMMARY: Family farmed for a living and bought very few store products. Both talk about their families and the hardships they faced. Adam talks about people changing their names in order to get a land allotment. He mentions Indians by the name of Nakanatubby and Onabee. He also sings an old Choctaw hymn and interprets it in English. Both talk of catching a train at Kanima and riding it to Stigler for twenty cents.

KIM MEDLOCK: What is your full name?

ADAM CHRISTY: Adam Christy, Sr.

KIM MEDLOCK: Where were you born? How old are you?

ADAM CHRISTY: Indian Territory (Haskell County). I have lived here all my life. I'm eighty-years old.

KIM MEDLOCK: What were you parents'; names?

ADAM CHRISTY: My father's name was Wilson J. Christy and my mother's name was Minnie Chubbee Christy.

KIM MEDLOCK: You've lived in Haskell County all your life--;have you always lived in Stigler?

ADAM CHRISTY: Since 1927--the rest of the time around Garland.

KIM MEDLOCK: Did you go to school?

ADAM CHRISTY: Yes, I went to Jones Academy and the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. I went to tenth grade, came back and got married, and never did go anymore.

KIM MEDLOCK: How did you get to Kansas?

ADAM CHRISTY: They sent me there. I went on my own.

KIM MEDLOCK: Did you go by train or how did you go?

ADAM CHRISTY: Yeah, I went by train. I had to pay the tuition, though.

KIM MEDLOCK: How much was tuition then?

ADAM CHRISTY: Two hundred dollars a year at that time.

KIM MEDLOCK: What can you remember about your parents? What kind of work did they do?

ADAM CHRISTY: All they did was farming; raising corn--anything they could raise. Sweet potatoes--all kinds of things.

KIM MEDLOCK: Can you remember if your grandparents, or even your parents, were ever discriminated against because they were Indians?

ADAM CHRISTY: No, not that I know of.

KIM MEDLOCK: Do you remember much about when you were young? Like prices of things?

ADAM CHRISTY: I know a loaf of bread was ten cents and a fifty pound bag of flour was a dollar and a quarter. That's way back in there.

KIM MEDLOCK: You did ride a train?

ADAM CHRISTY: Yeah, we'd go to town, catch a train at Kanima and come to Stigler. It was twenty cents a ticket. Twenty cents to ride.

KIM MEDLOCK: Did you ever get to go to Ft. Smith on the train?

ADAM CHRISTY: No, never did. We'd just come to Stigler.

KIM MEDLOCK: At that time was Kanima bigger than Stigler?

ADAM CHRISTY: No, it just had about five or six stores then. It had a lumber yard, ?, grist mill, post office, and three or four stores there.

KIM MEDLOCK: Did you ever go to town with your parents when you were small?


KIM MEDLOCK: Can you remember much about Stigler then?

ADAM CHRISTY: Yeah, at that time I went over there, there was no street; nothing but wagon and teams tied up along the street. Go through a mud hole when it rained. It wasn't paved or nothing.

KIM MEDLOCK: When you went to town what sort of items did you buy?

ADAM CHRISTY: My parents bought sugar, coffee, and flour. That's all they'd buy and salt meat every once in a while. They'd kill their own hog and make their own meat. They'd raise a lot of chicken, guinea, and geese. All they'd buy is sugar, coffee, and flour.

KIM MEDLOCK: They made the rest of the stuff?

ADAM CHRISTY: Yeah, the rest of it they made.

KIM MEDLOCK: Are any of your ancestors famous?

ADAM CHRISTY: Not that I know of.

KIM MEDLOCK: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

ADAM CHRISTY: My own brother, that's one; and half brothers--J. B. and Raymond. My sisters are Viola, Gladys, Kanille, and Gurdy.

KIM MEDLOCK: You grew up in a fairly large family. Did you ever have very much?

ADAM CHRISTY: Do you mean my parents or me?

KIM MEDLOCK: All of you together?

ADAM CHRISTY: They raised cattle, horses, and hogs.

KIM MEDLOCK: Who did you marry?

ADAM CHRISTY: Eliza Jackson.

KIM MEDLOCK: After you married, where did you live? Mom said something about the Sigmund Hotel?

ADAM CHRISTY: Yeah, we first lived out in a log house. I don't know how many years, from there we moved to the hotel.

KIM MEDLOCK: Were there a lot of travelers who stayed there?

ADAM CHRISTY: Yeah, it was a traveler's hotel. There was Bill Stigler's Hotel. We rented a room upstairs. From there we rented a house over at ? place. From there I bought this place and we've lived here ever since. I don't know how many years--since 1928.

KIM MEDLOCK: Can you think of anything else about Stigler that you might remember? Or Kanima or anywhere around there when you were young?

ADAM CHRISTY: No. I guess that's about it.

KIM MEDLOCK: When you were a kid, what did you do when you played?

ADAM CHRISTY: In the school? We used to play baseball and basketball, but we didn't have no court like the rest of them, we just played outside. It wasn't level. When we went to Tamaha we just played outside.

KIM MEDLOCK: How much do you know aobut Indian history?

ADAM CHRISTY: There was an old man by the name of Nakanatubby; he was a preacher. He had to change his name in order to get an allotment. So they gave him Maurice Cass. That's how come he got on the roll. And there was Onabee, an old timer, before he got an allotment he had to change his name to Mattheuw Henry.

KIM MEDLOCK: Does anyone in your family have a roll number?

ADAM CHRISTY: Yeah, and there's my grandma, Kaniohona, had this first name. When she married Joshua, why she had to have an allotment, so they give her Sally.

KIM MEDLOCK: So Sally wasn't her original name?

ADAM CHRISTY: Sally Christy.

KIM MEDLOCK: But she had an Indian name?

ADAM CHRISTY: She had Kaniohona--one name.

KIM MEDLOCK: When you were young or anytime you were sick, did you ever go to the doctor?

ADAM CHRISTY: No, they used to send after the doctor. He used to come down in a buggy. Way back there. Some of them horseback. Way back there.

KIM MEDLOCK: When you came to Stigler were there a lot of stores?

ADAM CHRISTY: No, there wasn't very many. Just only Sigmund, Bill Stigler's hotel, used to be ?, Thomason brothers, Dunlap Brothers Stores was there then at that time.

KIM MEDLOCK: Did Stigler have a bank?

ADAM CHRISTY: Yeah, they had three banks: First National Bank, American National Bank, and State Bank.

KIM MEDLOCK: Did you ever remember hearing about outlaws or anything?

ADAM CHRISTY: Yes, we heard about them, here and there, but not around here. But they weren't no Indians!


KIM MEDLOCK: What is your name?


KIM MEDLOCK: Where were you born and how old are you?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: I was born in Whitefield and after my daddy died we moved to Garland.

KIM MEDLOCK: How old are you right now?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: Fifty--I mean seventy-four--seventy-five.

KIM MEDLOCK: What were your parents'names?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: Jackson and Nancy Leflore Jackson.

KIM MEDLOCK: Did you go to school?


KIM MEDLOCK: Where did you go?


KIM MEDLOCK: How far did you go?


KIM MEDLOCK: What do you remember about your parents?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: After my daddy died, she (mother) married Scott, Cephus Scott.

KIM MEDLOCK: Can you remember if your grandparents or parents were discriminated against because they were Indians?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: No, I don't remember. I don't ever remember hearing them talk about that.

KIM MEDLOCK: Were they scared to come to Stigler?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: Yes, I know they used to talk about that. I never did know what they were afraid of.

KIM MEDLOCK: When did you marry?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: 28 February 1928.

KIM MEDLOCK: Who did you marry?


KIM MEDLOCK: Do you remember prices of things back then?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: Well, thing were cheap, but I don't remember.

KIM MEDLOCK: Did you make your butter and cornmeal?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: Yes, they had a grist mill at Garland, and we'd take our corn down there. Renters would raise a crop--corn, you know--why momma used to shell corn and take it down to Garland.

KIM MEDLOCK: How large was your family?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: Four of us--Momma, my stepdaddy, Cecil, Bessie, and Paul--five of us.

KIM MEDLOCK: Do you remember much about your grandparents?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: Well, I used to go to Whitefield to visit them.

KIM MEDLOCK: How did you get there?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: They used to come after me with a buggy.

KIM MEDLOCK: Was Whitefield very big then?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: No, just one little store there.

KIM MEDLOCK: How much do you remember about Stiger?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: I know they didn't have paved roads then. It was just muddy roads--streets. That was way back.

KIM MEDLOCK: You lived at Garland at one time. Was it a very big community?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: A lot of people lived around there. Everyone raised their garden and stuff like that, you know.

KIM MEDLOCK: How did news get around?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: Well, they used to have an old telephone. Mighty few though. Some would go down there and use their telephone, like Alan Cox--he had a telephone.

KIM MEDLOCK: Before telephone how did news....?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: Oh, I don't know. Just had to walk and tell each other things.

(ADAM CHRISTY: Down at Kanima an Indian fella named Reverand Dan Perry, had a print shop. They had paper running there, but it was all Indian words. We couldn't read--old timers did. It was the only way they could read a paper there.)

KIM MEDLOCK: You can't read Indian?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: No, I can't. Some of it.

KIM MEDLOCK: But you can talk?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: I can talk, but I can't hardly read some of it. I can read a Choctaw hymn.

Nitak kanima fehna ho
Si ai illi hokma,
Aki vba binili mvt
Is sa halanlashke.

KIM MEDLOCK: Did your parents ever speak Choctaw?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: All Choctaw--they finally learned to talk English. I know my aunt and grandpa--my grandma and grandpa didn't even talk.

KIM MEDLOCK: When did you learn to speak English?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: When I went to school. I didn't know how to talk English.


KIM MEDLOCK: What does that mean in English?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: Let's see--I have to figure it out.

Someday I will meet you
If I die, I will meet you
Up in Heaven.

KIM MEDLOCK: If someone died in your family, how did they have their funeral?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: They all gathered, they would wait three days before they buried the body. Of course they have the embalming man over there, they don't bring the body they embalm it over there. It would be laying there, covered with a white sheet. Then they take it down to the graveyard. They don't have no ceremony, they sing and preach a little and bury it. One year later is when they have the funeral. A memorial--one year later. When they'd have a funeral down at the mission, they'd all....you could hear'em cry.

KIM MEDLOCK: Do you remember your great-grandma?


KIM MEDLOCK: Do you remember much about her?

ELIZA (JACKSON) CHRISTY: No, just barely remember her. She is the one that used to carry me on her back.

KIM MEDLOCK: Did your ancestors go by Indian customs?

(ADAM CHRISTY: I don't know about Indian customs, but they'd wear a long dress. My great-grandma didn't know anything about English. I used to come to town with her and kindly interpret.)

(This concludes the interview of Adam and Eliza Christy by Kim Medlock.)

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