WPA Interviews

Excerpts from WPA Interviews
This contains only genealogical facts from these interviews with a link to the full interview

Submitted by Lynn

Mr. Amos Braley
Full Report

Interview conducted on Nov 29, 1940. Amos Braley was retired and living in Greenwood, Ar.
Amos Braley was born October 4, 1852. He was born in Tennessee. He has been a farmer and a school teacher. He does not remember the place. His family moved to Arkansas around 1854. They settled in a valley now known as Braley Valley. They were the first white people to settle in the valley and the valley was named after Mr. Braley's father, John Braley. John Braley was a school teacher and a Cumberland Presbyterian Preacher and died before the civil war.
The first blacksmith shop around this community was at the place now called Burnsville, a man named Frank Dunn operated the shop.
Amos Braley went to Buckner College for three years. This building was torn down and the school at Witcherville was built with the lumber.
The first telegraph station at Greenwood in 1889. Mr. Braley saw the first train that came to Greenwood in 1889.
Mr. Braley remembers a lynching in Greenwood in about 1884 or 1885. They lynched two men. A white man and a Negro. The white man had killed a man and robbed him (beat him to death with a rail) at Dayton. They had both men in jail waiting trial. Thad Tatum was deputy sheriff at that time and acting jailer. The Negro (whose name was Dumas) took advantage of Mr. Tatum and got his gun. The Negro then ran. There were several men trying to catch him and he shot and killed Mr. Blakely. They caught the Negro and took him back to jail. That night several of the men decided to lynch both of the men. Five or six of the men took another man who acted like he was drunk to the jail and got the jailer to unlock the door to put the drunk man in. When he unlocked the door, the men overpowered the jailer and took the prisoners out to a big tree, put them on a horse, the rope around their necks, then ran the horses out from under them. Mr. Braley could not remember the name of the white man, or the given name of the Negro.
Mr. Braley has one daughter Mrs. Cline West, and one grandson Tom West in Lavaca, Arkansas.

Mr. Henry Estes
Full Report

Mr Estes was retired and living in Greenwood, Ar at time of interview.
Mr. Estes married Miss Arelena - Arra (Arra Lena) at Greenwood, Arkansas on January 14, 1897.
Mr. Estesí father settled here before the Civil War. When the war broke out, he went to Franlkin Co., Kansas, and worked in some kind of a shop till after the war then came back to Arkansas in August after Henry Estes was born in June.
Mr. Estes remembers one time he cut wood for a Mrs. Rowland when he was a young man. Mrs. Rowland paid him for his work with jean cloth. He got one yard of cloth with each day's of work.
The only time Mr. Estes remembers sharing food with any one was when he was a boy. There was a Widow Hanks who had three children lived in this community. She was in bad health and in need. Mr. Estes' father would send Henry over on a horse with corn meal, meat, lard and any other food they could spare.
Mt. Harmony was named after the school house. The first school house was named Estes school house. When they built the new house a man by the name of W. R. Alexander was teaching there. He wanted to name the new school the people let him name it. He named it Mount Harmony.
The Estes school house was in Sec 29 T6N R30W. Mr. Estes started to school in 1871. This school was moved about 100 yards N.E. and the name changed to Mount Harmony in about 1890. Mt. Harmony is in Sec 20 T6N R30W. 31. The first teacher that Mr. Estes went to was H. C. M. Braley after that he went to Mr. Amos Braley, Jasper Seaman, Henry Carty, Mrs. Peris, John H. Holland, Miss Della Davis, Charley Dunn, and the last teacher that Mr. Estes went to school was H. H. Waters.
Mr. Estes saw George Green, a Negro, hung at Greenwood, Arkansas, in 1884. George Green was convicted of killing his wife. They built a scaffold, put the rope around his neck, then the sheriff James Burton struck the trigger with a sledge hammer.
Mr. Estes has two daughter and three grandchildren. Mrs. Delta James, Greenwood, Ar, Mrs. Ella May McKelvie, Billie Merl James, Doris Irene Johnes & Gerald Derine?? McKelvie.

Chesley Hudson Nichols, Jr.
Full Report

Mr. Nichols lived at Greenwood at time of interview in 1942.
He homesteaded the farm he now lives on and has lived on since 1886. He was born on June 4, 1866. He was born in Harden County, Tn June 4, 1866. He was married to Martha Grey on September 20, 1885, in Greenwood, Ar Sebastian Co. He came to Arkansas in 1873 with his father, mother, brothers, and sisters. He lived at Mt. Zion, which is now known as Milltown, until his marriage in 1885.
A bunch of the boys and girls would run away to the Choctaw Nation to get married and it was very frequent.
School was Mt. Zion, now known as Milltown in 1873. The teacher's name was Jennie Erwin.
There were three boys and four girls born to Chesley & Martha, six of whom are living:(1942) Ella David, Mansfield, Ar; Lennox Nicholas & Hudson Nicholas, Greenwood, Ar Fred Nicholas, Detroit, Mich; Lela Smith, & Clarice Smith, Greenwood, Ar.
There are twenty-four grandchildren living and three dead and one great grandchild. Roulene Gordon, Greenwood, Ar; Aylune Craig Barber, Ar & Leon Smith, Tulsa, Ok.

Wharton Carnall
Full Report

At time of interview, 1941, Mr. Carnall lived in Ft. Smith, Ar.
He was born on April the 10th, 1862 at Massard Prairie, in Sebastian Co, Arkansas. He never married.
"My mother in 1857 came into possession of a large track of land on this Wild Cat Mountain and it was kept as a family possession until 1898. My mother was Miss Franses H. Carr, before her marriage to my father."
"My teacher, that is my first teacher, was Mr. Bugg."
His teacher at Belle Grover when he was about 13 was Miss Wheatly.

Mrs. Nettie Johnson
Full Report

At the time of the interview (1940) Mrs Johnson was living at Greenwood, Ar.
Mrs. Nettie was born February 21, 1863 in west Tennessee between the towns of Jackson and Lexington in Henderson County.
Married A. F. (Frank) Johnson November 26, 1889 at Jackson, Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson came to Arkansas in the year of 1884. Prior to that time she made several trips the Arkansas to visit her grandfather who lived in Forrest City, Arkansas on the St. Francis River.
Mr. Johnsonís brother was Louis Johnson. Mr. Johnsonís brothers came to Arkansas before Mr. and Mrs. Johnson came. Mrs. Johnson moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1889.
Mrs. Johnson has 7 children, 35 grandchildren, and 31 great grandchildren: Clyde Johnson, Louis Johnson, Riley Johnson, Willie Johnson & Clarie Johnson of Greenwood, Ar. Mrs. Beaulah Lowe of Stigler, Ok. & Mrs. Donie Guinn.
The names or Mrs. Johnsonís grandchildren are:Frank Johnson; Greenwood, Ar, Mrs. Ruth Francis; Greenwood, Ar, Luther Henry; Los Angeles, Ca, Mrs. Mural Johnson, Kenneth Johnson & Evert Johnson of Greenwood, Ar. Some of the great Grandchildrenís names are: Katherine Lee Johnson, Norma Gene Johnson & Jessie Francis Jr.

Mrs. Margaret Foster (Power) Sherlock
Full Report

Lived in Ft. Smith in 1941 when the interview was conducted.
She was born December 3, 1844 in Salem, Missouri & married in 1866 to Samuel H. Sherlock.
In 1882 they moved from Salem, Missouri to Raleigh, Missouri. After two years there, they came to Arkansas. At that time the family one daughter and two sons.
Her father owned a wheat mill.
Mrs. Sherlock, herself, was a niece and namesake of Margaret Foster, the first white child born west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Charles LaFave
Mrs. Margaret Foster (Power) Sherlock
Full Report

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Interview was conducted in 1937.
My father, S.R. LaFave, was French. He was born in 1836 in Little Rock, Ar. He died at Booneville, Ar in the year of 1881 and is buried in the Booneville Cemetery in Logan County.
My mother, Nancy LeFave, was Dutch and Irish. She was born in 1851 at Stone Hill, Ar. She died the year of 1898, seven miles north of Stigler, Ok, and is buried in the Webbers Falls Cemetery at Webbers Falls, Ok.
I was born in Sebastian Co., Ar in 1871 near Booneville.
The first and only school that I attended was near Washburn, Ar.
When I was 25 yr old I came to the Indian Terr.

W.H. Brewer
Full Report

Interview Apr 20, 1938 in Eufaula, Ok
He was born Feb 17, 1882 in Sebastian Co., Ar. His father was Archibald William Brewer b. Tenn.
His mother was Adeline Bland also b. Tenn.
In 1886 our family consisted of Mother, Father, two sisters and myself. 1886 was the year in which we decided to come to the Indian Terr. The brother of my father, D.T. Brewer joined us.

James Lee Hale
Full Report

Interview done in 1837 in Poteau, Ok.
He was born on May 2, 1872, three miles east of Hackett, in Sebastian Co., Ar. His parents were J.K. & Omelia Hale.
James R. Barnes
Full Report

Interview done in 1938 at Poteau, Ok.
He was born May 14, 1849 in Sebastian Co., Ar. His father was Joseph Barnes from Tenn. and buried at Kully Chaha. His mother was Nancy Goforth b. in Arkansas and she died in 1852.
He and his parents moved to the Indian Territory about 1875.

James William Bradshaw
Full Report

Interview 1938 in Muskogee, Ok
I was born Dec 24, 1886 at Greenwood, Sebastian Co., Ar. My father was Charles K. Bradshaw, Gherokee, born in Tenn and brought west bty his parents when vewry youn, who were termed Eastern Cherokees. His parents remained in the Indian Terr only about 1 year after coming west, then moved to Arkansas, settling near Greenwood. My father married Rebecca Glass there, who was of Irish descent. There were 6 children, 3 boys including myself, and 3 girls born to that union.
In 1892 my parents moved from Arkansas to the Cherokee Nation.

Mary Jane Davis

Full Report
Interview 1937 in Poteau, Ok
Born in the Choctaw Nation on Dec 1, 1860. Her father was James McKinney from N.C., Her mother was Elizabaeth McKinney nee Lewis.
After the close of the war in 1865, Captain James McKinney settled at Hackett, Ar.

Mose McKissach
Full Report

Interview conducted in 1937 in Red Oak, Ok
He was born April 10, 1872 six miles east of Ft. Smith, Sebastian Co., Ar. His father was Richard McKissace b. Atlanta, Ga. He dien in 1909 and is buried at Poteau. His mother was Minerva Everett McKissact, b. Atlanta, Ga. She died in 1897 and is buried in the Poteau Cem.
They all moved to Indian Terr in 1881.

Johnson H. Hampton
Full Report

Intervies in 1938 at Antlers, Ok.
Born May 18, 1893 in Indian Terr. His father was born in Arkansas and mother in Missouri.
My grandfather came from Mississippi with the Choctaws when they moved to this country where he died and is buried. After my parents married they lived in Arkansas until they moved here.
We moved back to Sebastian Co and lived ther till 1910 coming back to Okla then. My father and mother both died in Okla but I had them taken back to the old home and they are buried in Liberty Cemetery in Arkansas where we used to live.

Mrs. W.M. Witcher
Full Report

Interview 1937 in Stigler, Ok
My father J.P. Bland, of English descent, was born in Tennessee. He died while living in Sebastian Co, Ar and is buried in the Clark Chapel Cemetery.
My mother, Jane Ashlock Bland, of English descent, was born in Tn. She died in Sebastian Co., Ar near Witchville, and is also buried in the Clark cemetery.
I was born near Witchvill, Ar in Sebastian Co., Feb 14, 1869. After parents death I lived in my sister's home in Wichville till I was grown.
I was married to W.M. Witcher, Mar 29, 1887 at Witchville, Ar. Mr. Witcher was born Dec 27, 1862 in Johnston Co., Ar.
We came to the Indian Terr in 1904.

Saphronia Catharine Raburn
Full Report

Interview 1938 Hartshorne, Ok.
She was born Dec 25, 1855 ten miles from Greenwood, Sebastian Co., Ar. Her father was William Henry Waldrop and her mother was Piety Elizabeth Blaylock.
They both died when she was four.
She was married on Dec 10, 1871 at the age of 16 to Thomas Raburn in Hackett City, Ar.
In 1890 they moved to Indian Terr.