Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Pioneer Papers

I should have been writing this month's post about organizing genealogical photographs.  I have been visiting my mother for the past several days.  We were planning to work through some of the family photos, but didn't end up getting to that.

Last time I was here, we started sorting the photos into separate boxes for individuals and families.  We will then scan them.  We have hours worth of photos to organize and scan, so I am already planning my next trip.

Instead of organization, Pioneer Papers...
One fascinating set of records that my mom has spent a lot of time researching is the Indian Pioneer Papers.  Many details of the lives of people in what is now Oklahoma are found in these files. When she did her original research, my mother found the papers on microfiche at the Family History Center at the LDS church in my home town.  Now, all of these interviews are available online at University of Oklahoma Western History Collections.  As I was  looking through the Pioneer Papers, with my mom, we found an interesting example about Mrs. Joe LeFlore.  Not only does the interview provide us with the names of Joe's parents (David McCurtain and Rebecka Krebbs McCurtain) and her husband (Felix LeFlore), it gives insight to the educational system of the Choctaw tribe from the time of removal (Trail of Tears, 1830s), through the Civil War and to the turn of the 20th century.

A Woman Named Joe

I was able to find a picture online of New Hope Female Academy with some of the students and staff.

And just for fun, here is a picture of Wheelock Academy, another Choctaw girls school that my great- grandmother and grandmother attended.  Although these Choctaw tribal/missionary schools were not perfect -- for example, they forbid students to speak Choctaw-- many former students have recounted positive academic memories, in contrast to some of the horror stories that young students of other tribes experienced at government schools.


  1. Thanks for sharing this story and giving me a history lesson in the bargain.

    I guess the photos are on the agenda for your next visit.

  2. I love your story. When I read McCurtain, I immediately thought of McCurtain county. I love the Old Oklahoma Newspapers too. Glad to hear the girls academy had some good experiences associated with them. Many sadly did not. Great post.


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