This morning, we got up early and drove south east of Oklahoma City to a Community Center outside of Holdenville in Hughes County. My mother was one of 12 kids, and many of my mother’s brothers and sisters are gone, but the oldest brother was there. He is 90 years old, and still going strong, and he will talk to you about God. He got up and spoke to everyone there encouraging them to follow God before he offered the prayer for the meal. I was disappointed because I thought my mother was coming, but my sister’s husband was in the hospital, and she stayed with him. In fact, many I wanted to see didn’t attend because of health problems. However, I got to see some of my cousins and a couple of my uncles. All the ones in my generation are grandparents now.
My cousin, Noel, and my Uncle Hub always talk to me a lot when I go to family reunions. They are from the Pentecostal church. I am not Pentecostal, but they love the Bible teaching that I have done. I ate lunch with my cousin, and my uncle asked me if I would come and live with him. I guess if all else fails, my daughter likes the fact my uncle asked me to live with him, and she says if her plan doesn’t work to get a job and an apartment in Oklahoma City, she is game for it. She liked him a lot. It is the first time she ever met him, but she was really impressed with him. However, we are working on getting a place in Oklahoma City, and my uncle lives in Wewoka.
There were lots of people there that I didn’t know because they were the kids and grandkids of my cousins. I have been gone for many years, and everyone’s lives have gone on. I met some of the younger people, but if I get to know them, it will take time.
This is the story of how Tennessee Indiana Burch Milam got her name. My fourth cousin told me this story. Her parents were living on the east coast. They were Cherokees. The white men burned their house down because they wanted their land, and her parents went running into Tennessee, and then up into Indiana. In the meantime, the Trail of Tears happened which was when they marched all the Cherokees from the east coast to Indian Territory which is what Oklahoma was called back then, in the dead of winter. Many Cherokees died along the way because it was just too cold and the walk was just too long. My great- great grandparents heard the Cherokees were in Indian Territory, so they joined them. My great-great grandmother was pregnant, and when they got to Indian Territory, the baby was born. They called the baby Tennessee Indiana so they could remember where they had been. My fourth cousin who told me this story called my great grandmother Aunt Tenney.
Mary Flowers is my great-great grandmother. She took the Run into Oklahoma. She was in all the newspapers because she came in by herself with five kids. The Run is when they lined up along the border, and at a certain time, they let everyone come in and join the Indians who were already in Oklahoma. The American government was giving away free land, and many people took advantage of it. There have been recent movies made about people who came in the Run into Oklahoma. My grandfather insisted that Mary Flowers was related to Quanah Parker, the Comanche Indian chief who was half white and half Comanche and signed the treaty with President Roosevelt to bring the Comanche people into Indian Territory, Oklahoma. When my daughter tried to research her in the archives, no one really knew where she came from, and the lady working there said that Mary Flowers was researched more than anyone else in the data base. She is an enigma to many people, but my grandpa was convinced he knew where she came from.
Where we went wasn’t that long of a drive. We visited a lot, ate good food, and drove back to Oklahoma City with no problem.