Haskell County Historical Society

Scott, Mac - Interview by Amanda Cole

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BELLE STARR Rides in Haskell County, Oklahoma

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By Amanda Cole


AMANDA COLE: I wanted to come interview you because I'd been informed that you had a real prominent background and a prominent childhood, and just a real interesting lifetime. I just wanted to know if you could give me some information about your childhood.

MAC SCOTT: Well, yes, that's the way to start, at the beginning, I guess. I was born in Kinta in 1914. My parents were George W. Scott and Alice McCurtain. I'm one of thirteen children, number eight, specifically. There were, I don't even know the numbers, right off hand, which were boys and girls, 'cause only seven of us lived to maturity. We were born, the older children were born over in the San Bois area, and it was in the creek bottoms and there was a lot of malaria, so we lost a lot of the early members of our family from fevers and chills, and poor health because of the mosquitoes and malaria in the bottoms. We moved to Stigler in 1916 and lived down by Boone School when we first moved here. My sister, Katherine, became of high school age, we moved up to the west end of town. We been owning a home there since 1920. My mother was the oldest daughter of W. Green McCurtain of the Choctaws, Grandfather, we called him; although, I never knew him, he died in 1910. He was born in Oklahoma Territory in 1828, and he married Katie Spring who was born in 1855 in Indian Territory, and they had, they married in 1870, I don't remember if it was 1873 or 1874, I have the date written down. And he had been married previously, grandfather had, married Martha Anesworth of Spiro, then they called it Skullyville. And he had one child named Cornelius McCurtain by Martha Anesworth and then he married my grandmother and he had another son, Lester McCurtain, and then he had three daughters, and my mother was the oldest daughter. My grandfather didn't have a formal education; although, he later became a lawyer, he read law, but he only went one year in school to a non-Indian man whose name was W. W. Wilson and he taught down in Indian Territory, and then he was in the Civil War although he was only a child. His brother Jack McCurtain who was also a Choctaw Governor, as well as his Uncle Edmund McCurtain who was also a Choctaw governor. They were both older than Grandfather Green McCurtain, as a matter of fact Jack McCurtain was eighteen years older than grandfather. So, grandfather lived with him when he was very young and stayed with him a lot. When Uncle Jack went into the Civil War as a colonel, well, he eventually became a colonel, he didn't go in as a colonel, grandfather went with him, and although he was a teeny bopper he served as the messenger and errand boy for the soldiers.

My mother went to several Indian schools, well, first she went to a neighborhood school in Sans Bois. My grandfather brought two brothers in from Baltimore, Maryland and they were teaches and he hired them to teach out in San Bois. They're names were Bond. Reefer Bond, a young singer who sang in a stage play in Oklahoma was a relative of these Bond brothers who came from Baltimore, Maryland. Then my mother went to Tuskahoma school, Indian school for girls, and then later on she went to Herald Institute in Muskogee which was a private school for young ladies. That's where she met Will Rogers, he had gone to this girl's school a year before my mother went, and they were born in the same year, 1879. A lot of his folks thought he was incorrigible, and they thought that if they took him to this girl's school he would learn a few more manners and maybe be a better child, but it didn't help him any, he was still wayward and he finally ran away from home. Anyhow, after going to Herald Momma went to a Catholic school for girls over in Fort Smith called St. Anne's Academy which was a boarding school. She was still going there when she married father; although, she at that time was a Baptist, she did go to a Catholic school.

My father and mother, neither one, had college degrees, but they recognized the necessity of it. So they put us all through school and as much as we could learn, all of us went through college. My older sister graduated from Northwestern University in Livingston, Illinois. Norma went to Southeastern. George finished at Stillwater, well, Oklahoma City University, and got a Bachelor's at Stillwater. He also went to Michigan University, and I went to Michigan part time, and I went to Warner, the junior college, for two years, then I went to Michigan and I worked and went to school. Then I came back and went to the University of Oklahoma and got a degree in business. Times got kind of hard, money wise, and my dad wasn't making all that much money, so I quit and went to Washington D. C. in 1937 and got a job in Foreign Domestic Commerce. I stayed there from '37 to '41 and I went to Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service and Diplomacy which is where our President graduated from. It was a fine school, I enjoyed it, but I could only take night classes 'cause I worked, so I still hadn't received a degree when the war came because I could only take a limited number of hours and they kept adding courses. A lot of the courses that are required for a degree in foreign service you don't get in your smaller schools. I had to take a lot of courses, a lot of hours that I didn't need. I had an excess number of hours but not the right ones. So, then I went into the service and I went into the first Army division and I served as the assistant to the Division General, and to numerous Division Generals because we had a succession of them. I served in North Africa. Well, we went to Ireland and then we went to North Africa. I came home in '45 and I went back to Norman and took a law degree. I practices law in Stigler, well first I went to Washington D. C. where I worked for the American Enterprise Association. The salaries were paid by the American Association of Manufacturers. It was more or less a Republican propaganda. I analyzed legislation and put out pamphlets, and we were paid per pamphlet. I stayed there almost two years, and the job kind of paled on me because, being a democrat by choice, I was fed up with writing Republican propaganda and so I came home. I practiced two years here and, then, I was offered an appointment in the price control program in Oklahoma City in the legal department. So I went up there and worked about two years or so in price stabilization. I had the legal department for Oklahoma when price stabilization for Oklahoma was canceled by Eisenhower. I went to work for the, in Oklahoma City, the First National Bank as a salesman for trust services. I was a representative and I called on customers. Civil Services for the bank as a director and trustee, and also as trustee for pension funds, pension profits, and I took some extra training in New York on selling profit sharing and pension plans, and I worked four years and then I had an offer to go to Cincinnati, Ohio to work for a larger bank, the biggest trust department in the Ohio River Valley. So I went up there and I stayed until I retired, 16 years, and I retired in 1970.

I haven't married, as a matter of fact there are no children, and there are no grandchildren in our family. My brother and sister married, but they don't have children. So this is the last of our line. We do have, on the McCurtains, Uncle D. D. McCurtain, my mother's half brother, has an extended family, a great number of children and grandchildren. My Uncle Lester, my mother's full brother had a son and a daughter. The daughter has five children and the sone one child, they were McCurtain's. Then, my Uncle Lester's son married Marie Marshall from Oklahoma City and they had a boy and a girl. Then, on my father's side, I think historically I should report that he is descended from the Folsum family which is another Choctaw family which was part fothe Choctaw leadership. He is related to David Folsum who was one of the district governors that came her. Grandma, my father's mother was Elizabeth McIntosh, her father was John McIntosh who was a British officer who came into the Louisiana Territory to spy on the Spanish and the French. He married Ester Folsum and that's where the Folsum blood came in. The Folsum's originated in South Carolina with Nathaniel Folsum, he was not Indian, who was a trader among the Indians. He came into the Choctaw nation as a trader and married and Indian woman, I believe she was Chickasaw, though, and not Choctaw. He had a son named Nathaniel, and the second Nathaniel married an Indian woman and he had twenty-one sons and they all lived to maturity and had big families. So, that's why you have so many Folsums among the Choctaw, from the prolific blood of Nathaniel Folsum. Then, on my father's side, also, we are related to the Duty family which were pioneers in the settlement of Texas. The Duty family, Solomon Duty's five sons and a daughter came to Texas. Some of Steven Austin's settlers had settled around an area in Austin, Texas. Great-grandmother Scott, Martha Scott lived in a little town called Webberville in Travis County where Austin is. Then her son, George W. Scott, was my grandfather.

I have been in and out of Stigler so much that I missed a lot of things that went on here because of the need to make a living and so I'm not in touch with all the things that have happened since 1920. I'm familiar, I've heard about and read about it, but I wasn't here. I haven't lived here all my life, and I only worked here for two years.

I was always a listener much more than a talker as a child. I was very shy and I think I would just die if I got up and made a talk. You grow out of that, and you learn to think about what you're saying and not how you appear. I would never have thought as a child that I could be a lawyer and got up and argued cases. But really I had no problem with that, it was the easiest part of being a lawyer. The hardest part was dealing with the kind of people you have to deal with because they don't usually come to you unless they're in trouble. That's more of a problem than speaking is. Looking up the law, reading the law, and understanding the law is a lot more difficult than speaking about it. Once you know what you're speaking about, then outflow is not a problem. One of the problems of being a lawyer is that there is so much "jacatering" these days. You can go out and buy any kind of testimony. Sometimes you can't get people to tell the truth because they don't want to be involved with that. On the other side, you can get a preacher to testify to a drunk's good character. It's just available, just a part of society. People will try to bet people out of things, but people don't want to talk about someone being guilty. Law is a much more beautiful thing in the study of it than it is in the practice of it. The study of it of the rights of man is a very interesting and exciting field of work, but the practice of law is just, well, it's just "jacatering". So, it's not for everyone. I guess medicine would be great if all you had to do was smile and hold a patient's hand, but till there's blood involved. It's like that too. That's the same thing with law, there's always a bad side. Do you have any questions that my dissertation has brought up in your mind?

AMANDA COLE: Uh-huh, I understand that your sister also worked in Washington, D. C.?

MAC SCOTT: Yes, my sister Yvonne, she was a beautiful girl. She had reddish hair like you, real nice. She was always interested in politics. I think maybe she took it after my mother. My mother was in politics. She was more interested in politics than she was in social life. She had no interest in social activity. She was interested in politics cause she was my grandfather's confidante and she pulled strings to get us all jobs, and she got my sister up there with Jack Nichols the congressman. She got her up there, and she first for a law firm which was international in quality. They represented the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, whom she met. When that attorney died she went out on the hill and worked for Senator McClellan. She was on the committee that served for Watergate. She was the secretary of the Watergate committee. She appeared on T.V. and got a lot of proposals for things during the time with Senator Erwin and Senator McClellan. She died in '83 so she didn't see the Nixon committee. She worked in the Senate office building for thirty-five years. She had a very exciting career. She knew a lot of them, she knew Senator Goldwater, Senator McClellan, and Senator Kerr. She had a lot of political friends. She became ill in '72 and I was already retired then, so we brought her back here. She had a lot of severe hemorrhages, strokes. She became incompetent, so we kept her home, she stayed here for twelve years until she died. My older sister, Katherine, was a music teacher and she taught school in Indian department out in Arizona. Then she came to Washington D.C. when I was up there and got a job in Interstate Commerce Commission. When my father became in failing health she came home and took over his abstract company and ran it until she died in '73. Then, my brother George was a football coach. He coached various schools in Oklahoma. He got up as high as assistant coach at Texas Tech before he finished his career. He retired and came back here. Then, my baby brother, Folsum, was in the legislature in Oklahoma and he was a cattleman. He had a ranch out near Perry community and he died in '84. That's about the story of the Scotts. About all I can think of. If you amend or put an appendage on the end, you think of anything, then you call me and I'll see if I can come up with anything. I could come up with dates and facts, but I don't carry them up here. I'm eighty-two and my memory is not that good.

We had a very, when we were young, we had very good times in Washington D.C. We were all up there at once, most of us. It was Katherine, Yvonne, Folsum, Norma, and myself. Norma my sister is still living. She worked with Social Security Administration. She went to school in Chickasha, a school for girls. We were all up there at one time. We were very active. We lived in Georgetown, of course going to school there I had connections in Georgetown community. We were very active in those days, and we had a lot of parties and I went to a lot of debutante parties. We were busy, quite busy. I like to think about those days. Those were the salad days. That's about all I have to say, I think. I hope you don't flunk.

AMANDA COLE: No, I don't think I will. It was very interesting.

MAC SCOTT: Thank you.

AMANDA COLE: Thank you for letting me come interview you.

(This concludes the interview of Mac Scott, by Amanda Cole.)

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