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Editors:
Cathy Sifuentez
Christy Reynolds

Central Sisters Write

Vol. 7 Issue 5
May 2009

Published monthly by the Women’s Ministry at Central Church of Christ, Amarillo, TX
It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. Philippians 2:13 NIV

 

Just Another Day in the West

 

A couple of years ago my very large family celebrated two members of the family who are in their 90s. Different family members sent me stories of their childhoods and I compiled them into a family “story book”. I thought you might enjoy reading about motherhood in Indian Territory in the late 1890s. My aunt is telling the story. My grandfather was half Choctaw and my grandmother was white; both were Christians. Christianity was introduced to the Choctaws in the mid-1700s. After Grandpa built up his business he built his family a large home, adding a school and a church on his property.

“My father had a freight line. It was quite a distance from the coal mines to the places he had to deliver his coal, so he put a tent close to a creek a day’s drive from the mines. Every other night he stayed with Mother at the tent. He kept plenty of wood cut and they got water from the creek. Can you imagine a creek so clear and fresh as to drink from it, cook from it, and also do laundry?

“Daddy stayed home on Sundays. He built a lot of things to make it easier for Mother and he also taught her how to shoot a gun. Mother said she was very frightened some times but never let Daddy know. Indian women often were alone for long periods of time so she thought if she took the oath to live in the Indian Way, she would have to get over being afraid.

“One morning after Daddy had left on his trip, four men stopped not far from their tent. They were on horseback and all had bedrolls behind their saddles. She knew when she saw the bedrolls that they were traveling men. They watered and fed their horses and did some gun practice but never came near her tent. They mostly were lolling around on the ground.

“She had some chickens in her yard and the hawks were always trying to steal the baby chicks. When she heard chickens squawking, she grabbed her gun and ran out to the yard. A hawk was flying overhead so she proceeded to shoot him out of the air. Now one has to be a good shot to shoot a bird on the wing. The men all jumped up to see what she was doing. They saw her shoot the bird out of the air and they cheered and whistled. Then she went back inside the tent.

“The men spent the night in their camp, but did not come near the tent. Mother stayed awake all night with the gun across her lap. The next morning another man rode into the men’s camp. They talked for a while and all of them got on their horses and left. Daddy got home about noon and Mother told him what had happened. Daddy asked her what color their horses were. Then he told her that there had been a bank robbery and the five men had got away. Their horses were the same color as the men’s horses. Daddy thought they had left a man in town to see and to hear what happened. Then he rode out the next morning to tell the other men the news deciding then which way they would go.

I suppose my Mother had a lot of exciting times while she lived at that creek. Her first three children were born there.” (Including my mother. MEE)

Times are physically easier for women today and we must display our courage and skills in different ways, but one thing remains constant across generations of women. We can do what has to be done and we must always rely on God to guide us.

—–Mary Ellen Evans

 

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