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Carl Phillips

Postal System, 1861-1864
Jesse Phillips  First Sheriff Of Atoka
Hartwell Phillips
 The Travels Of
David C. Betts  The Betts Boys
Story of George Lail Captured and Raised By The Indians
Benjamin Franklin Phillips  Asst.Ad.Gen.of the OK Division of United Confederate Veterans.
Williams and Atteberry
Ramsey Betts, Choctaw Confederate Soldier

Jesse Phillips

I was born in Atoka County in 1930 and I knew several of the people mentioned in the Indian Citizen article. I remember Jesse PHILLIPS.  R.O. "Bob" SUMTER was a neighbor as was Kelly FAIN. This brought back memories. Jesse was the first sheriff of Atoka County when OK became a state. He was a friend of my father and visited in our home frequently.
I have been gone from Atoka for many years but I do recall one story about Jesse PHILLIPS that was written up in a magazine in the 50's.  Jesse was sheriff and it was soon after statehood. He got a report of a missing housewife from the community of Buckholz, which was in the south-west part of the county. Jesse investigated and found traces of the woman in the hogpen. apparently the hogs had eaten her. After further investigation, Jesse arrested the woman's husband for murder and took him to the Atoka jail.

Later Jesse got word that a lynch mob was forming and there was talk of taking the prisoner out of the jail and hanging him. After dark, Jesse had some friends and deputies create a diversion, (seems like it was a wagon wreck or something similar) while he took the prisoner to another county, Coalgate, I think. The mob did in fact come to the jail. Jesse let them search the building but of course the prisoner was gone.

Don't recall the final outcome. The title of the story was " The Night The Sheriff Outsmarted The Mob". I believe the story was written by Andrew PHILLIPS, who frequently wrote for the Atoka paper. I donated my copy to the Atoka Museum . If anyone wanted to check my memory of the event, they can contact Gwen Walker, the Director of the Atoka Confederate Museum and I am sure she would make a copy of the article.

 Another anecdote about Jesse just came to mind. Many folks will  remember a major escape attempt from Alcatraz in the 40's. One of the leaders was an Indian man named Clarence CARNES from Atoka. Jesse was instrumental in placing him in prison for armed robber. He ended up in Alcatraz because of his many escape attempts. He served out his time and was released. Last I heard of him he was working on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, within site of Alcatraz.

The Kelly FAIN mentioned in the article was in the Insurance business in Atoka for 50+ years. The FAINS lived directly across the street from my aunt and uncle on W. 4th st. Mrs. FAIN and my aunt were good friends. 

As I stated previously, Jesse was a friend of my father's and may have been a distant relative, as our ancestors came from Lauderdale Co. AL. Jesse later became Warden at the OK State Penitentiary. I still have a couple of old pictures of him.

Regards, Carl in Hangtown
Carl Phillips
Phillips Index

THE TRAVELS OF Hartwell Phillips

Hartwell was born on Arbuckle's Island in the Arkansas River just east of Ft. Smith in 1897, where his father Jim, rented a farm. It was near Jim's wife's family, the McCREAS and the NESBITTS.
When Hartwell was very young, Jim took his small family and moved to Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma where his parents had settled near the small  town of Wanette. Jim's father had bought a farm near his cousin, William A. TROUSDALE. William's son William Bell 'Billy' TROUSDALE became the first sheriff of Pottawatomie county in 1895.
Jim later moved his family to Lindsey in Garvin Co. The PHILLIP'S house was on the bank of the Washita River where Hartwell learned to swim, when Jim tied two one gallon Karo syrup buckets together and threw them and Hartwell into the river. Hartwell's younger brother, Albert, told of Jim and Hartwell walking miles upstream and riding logs back down.
Jim was a restless sort and moved fairly often. When Hartwell was about fourteen, they moved again.
With three wagons loaded with their goods they headed for Atoka County. Jim drove one, Hartwell another and a hired hand named Walter drove the third.
Hartwell quit school after the eighth grade to work on the farm. When he was twenty, World War I was raging so Hartwell joined the army. He took his training at Camp Pike, Arkansas.
In the nationwide flu epidemic of 1917-1918, Hartwell was hospitalized when his unit shipped out for France.
It was irrelevant, as it turned out, since the armistice was signed before they got into combat.
After the war, Hartwell went to work for the Post Office and attended Tyler Commercial College in Tyler, Texas.
The PHILLIPS family by this time had moved again, to the community of Star, about two or three miles east of Boggy Depot. This was not far from where the Williams family lived.
Soon Hartwell and Beulah WILLIAMS were married and went into business in Atoka.
The timing was terrible. The depression was starting and folks could not pay their bills. The store went broke and Hartwell and Beulah moved back to the country at New Hope.
Hartwell fed his family by hunting and trapping. He was well known for his skill with trap and rifle. It was at this time that their son, Carl was born.
Eventually the family lived in Tushka and then Antlers and finally when World War II came along, Hartwell loaded his family into their 1937 Chevrolet sedan and went to California.
Hartwell found work as a welder at the Pacific Bridge Shipyard in Alameda, California.
Housing was impossible to find so he stayed with his sister-in-law Jewell CHAPMAN and her family in a one room apartment until he found a place to stay.
He soon contracted pneumonia and passed away at San Jose, California in 1943. Beulah took him back to Atoka for burial.

Carl in Hangtown
Carl Phillips
Phillips Index



My gg-grandfather was David C. BETTS, a white man from NY who had come down into Blue County IT and married a Choctaw woman named Nancy. They had a son named Ramsey Douglas BETTS, my g-grandfather.
I don't know what happened to Nancy but David married twice more. The third wife was a white woman named Mary Ann SEAGO. They had two sons, John and Tom. David and Mary divorced and Mary married three more times. Two of the subsequent husbands were Choctaws and Mary was granted Choctaw membership by virtue of intermarriage.
There was one big advantage to being a member of the Choctaw Nation. You could receive a land allotment. In 1903, John and Tom who were then living in Antioch, Garvin County, applied for Tribal membership, stating that their brother Ramsey was a Choctaw and their mother was a Choctaw so they should be also. Well the Commission didn't buy it and their claims were denied. John and Tom later moved to Texas where they lived out their lives.

Carl in Hangtown
Carl Phillips
Phillips Index

The following info was gleaned and excerpted from the book, The Lagle/Lail Family in America by Margaret Lail Hopkins and James Donald Lail.
This book is well researched and documented and devotes several pages to the Ruddle's Station massacre and aftermath.


Hans Georg Löhl lived in Bavaria, Germany but was evicted by the Catholics in the protestant purge of 1587. He moved his family to Wuerttemberg.

Every generation had several men named Hans Georg but the authors of the book determined that our immigrant ancestor was Hans Georg Löhl who landed in Philadelphia on the British ship Samuel on Aug. 30, 1737. On the ship's papers his name is spelled phonetically as LALE.
This Georg first settled in York County Pennsylvania where his name finds several more spellings on land and church documents. It appears as Lale, Lagel, Lael, Layle and others. There are twenty-four known spellings of this family name.

About 1755 Hans Georg LALE moved to Rowan County, NC in the area that became Davie County. He lived next door to Squire BOONE, the father of Daniel. The Lagle/Lail book states that the first to adopt the LAIL spelling was George LEGALL, Jr. who moved to KY in 1778. He also occasionally spelled it LAELL. His will used the LAIL spelling and his descendants have stuck with that spelling. Georg Lale had six sons.

In 1778 three of them, George Jr., Henry and Peter took their families and moved to Kentucky, settling on Hinkston's Fork near the present day town of Cynthiana in Harrison County. It was Bourbon County then. George Jr. claimed 351 acres on Hinkston's Fork. A community grew up around a stockade fort originally built by John HINKSTON, abandoned in 1776 and rebuilt in 1779 by Captain Isaac RUDDELL. According to Mrs. HOPKINS'  book, the fort was variously known as Hinkston's Station, Fort Licking, Fort Liberty and Ruddell's Station. Ruddell is sometimes spelled Ruddle.
On June 22, 1780 the stockade was defended by 49 men including Peter, Henry and George LAIL. They were all in the fort on that day due to the very wet weather. British Captain Henry BYRD with a force of six hundred troops and Indians attacked the fort. When he brought into play his six-pounder cannons, the settlers agreed to negotiate a surrender on the condition that Capt. BYRD would restrain the Indians from their usual brutal practices.
Well, the Indians were not restrained and they killed and scalped many of the defenders, including women and children. It is believed that the Indians were Shawnees but may have included members of the Delaware tribe.
We do not know what happened to Henry LAIL and we must assume that Peter was killed. Peter's wife, Mary, and two daughters were taken prisoner and taken to Michigan. Many years later Mary wrote a letter dated Aug 7, 1822 that was delivered to Governor CASS of Michigan who in turn sent it to the editor of the Kentucky Gazette, who published it as follows:

From the Kentucky Gazette: addressed to Peter LALE, Kentucky.

"I was taken at Fort Licking, commanded by Capt. RUDDLE and was ransomed by Col. McGEE and was brought into upper Canada near Amherstburgh, (Fort Malden) where I now live after having been 16 years among the Indians. Your eldest sister is now living in Sandwich, but the youngest I could never hear of.
Now, my dear son, I would be very glad to see you once more before I die, which I do not think will be long, as I am in a very bad state of health, and have been this great while.
I am married to Mr. Jacob MIRACLE for whom you can enquire.
Your affectionate mother, Mary MIRACLE."

Unfortunately, Mary never learned that the youngest daughter, of who she spoke, was safe with the brother of her husband. (George)
For some reason, George LAIL and his wife were spared, though they were taken prisoner and later released.
But their two little boys, George, aged 7 and Johnny, aged 4 and a daughter, Eva, aged 14, were taken by the Indians. Eva was taken to Canada but was later released.
There are conflicting stories about how Johnny was released but he did get back to his parents and lived a long and productive life in Kentucky.
Little George was kept by the Indians and as they moved west, he was taken with them. This band of Indians settled in the area of Missouri where the City of Jackson now stands in Cape Girardeau County.
George was raised as an Indian. When he was an adult he returned and visited his family in Kentucky but went back to Missouri to live. Again, when he was twenty-four and married to Louisa WOLFF, he went to Kentucky and stayed for two or three years.
Two of his children, John and Robert, born 1823 and 1824 respectively were born in Kentucky.
George then took his family and returned to Missouri where he stayed and raised his family.
Robert LAIL married Lucy Ann ALLEN daughter of Andrew Vincent ALLEN from Virginia.
They had a daughter named Rosa Elvira who married Abraham WILLIAMS.
Rosa and Abraham's son, Thomas Robert, was the grandfather of this writer (Carl Phillips). Thomas married Warneta BETTS, a Choctaw woman, in Blue (Bryan) County OK.
Warneta received her land allotment in Atoka County near Boggy Depot.
Tom built a log cabin there and my mother was born in that cabin in 1904.
George, the little boy who was raised by the Indians, was my ggg-grandfather. --

Carl in Hangtown
Carl Phillips
Phillips Index


Assistant Adjutant General of the Oklahoma division of United Confederate Veterans

Benjamin Franklin, was born during the brief time Wilson and Nancy lived in Mississippi, near Corinth. He grew up in Lauderdale County, Alabama.
Benjamin joined the Confederate Army on Feb. 22, 1862 and went to join his two brothers, George and John.
They all served in the 9th Alabama Infantry, Co. I, under Capt. Edward Asbury O'NEAL, (see below). The nickname for this unit was 'Calhoun Guards'.
George was killed at the Battle of Frayser's Farm near Richmond.
Benjamin later served under Col. (later General) WILCOX.
Benjamin was captured April 6, 1865 at the battle of Amelia Court House in Virginia and was held until Jun 6, 1865, when he was released after taking an oath of allegiance to the United States.
He appears on the roll of sick prisoners. It is not known what was wrong with him. When captured he weighed 165 lbs. When he was released he weighed 110 lbs.
When the war was over he returned to Lauderdale County. He arrived back home on Jun 27, 1865. After he and Mary married they continued to live there until approximately 1883 when they loaded a wagon and moved to Franklin County Arkansas. Their youngest son, Kirby was born in the wagon on the trip.
While they lived in Arkansas, they had as neighbors, the NESBITTS and the McCREAS. Benjamin's son, Jim became acquainted with Maggie McCREA.
About 1882 the family moved again, this time to Indian Territory, settling in Pottawatomie County near Benjamin's cousin William A. TROUSDALE.
William's son, Billy would become the first sheriff of Pott. County in 1894.
The small town that was to become Wanette, OK would become their permanent home.
Jim and Maggie corresponded and finally Jim took a wagon and went to Arkansas and married Maggie. He brought her back to OK where their first child, Mary, was born.
When Mary was just an infant, Jim and Maggie returned to Arkansas. They rented or sharecropped a farm on Arbuckle's Island near Vesta, AR. It is a very large island in the Arkansas River. Their second child, Hartwell was born there.
A couple years later, Jim took his small family and went back to Pottawatomie County OK. Benjamin and Mary are buried in the Wanette cemetery.
Mary always called her husband Mr. PHILLIPS and he called her Stumpy.
Their son Sam, told his children a story about Benjamin buying one of the first cars in Pott. County. He drove it home and was putting it in the barn. He drove it right through the back wall of the barn while shouting WHOA! Thereafter Sam did the driving.
Benjamin was very proud of his Confederate service and was photographed in his uniform several times. He attended the Confederate reunions and most of the photos were taken then, when he was older. He became Assistant Adjutant General of the Oklahoma division of United Confederate Veterans.
The town of Wanette probably has had more locations and more names than any other settlement in the state.
First, in 1874, it became Clardyville, or Pleasant Prairie near the present site of the Wanette Cemetery.
In 1876 the town was moved two miles north and four miles west of the present site and was named Wagoza.
Then in 1877 the town was moved back to the cemetery site and called Oberlin.
Later, when a more adequate water supply was needed for the cotton gin, the town was moved two miles south and one mile west to become Wanette.
Construction of the Santa Fe Railroad in 1903 meant another move for the settlement. The town moved one mile north to its present location and the sale of lots began.
The Pottawatomie Indian name, Wanette, means beautiful valley.
When the town became Wagoza and obtained a post office, Mary TROUSDALE, wife of William A. TROUSDALE became its first postmaster (mistress).
Their son, William Bell 'Billy' TROUSDALE was elected sheriff of Pottawatomie County in 1894 and served two terms.
About three or four miles north of Wanette is where the TROUSDALES settled. William A. donated the land for a post office and TROUSDALE became a town. There is only one building left there now but it still appears on some maps. The town withered when the railroad passed it by.
Benjamin was a farmer and raised his family in the Trousdale-Wanette area.
Edward A. O'NEAL was a prominent lawyer in Florence, Alabama and performed some legal services for Jack PHILLIPS, Benjamin's grandfather.
When the Confederacy formed, he was appointed or elected captain of I Company , 9th Alabama Infantry. He served throughout the war and was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines and again at Boonesboro. He attained the rank of Colonel and was Brevet Brigadier General. After the war he resumed his law practice and was elected governor of Alabama in 1882 and served one term.

Benjamin was my G-grandfather.--

Carl in Hangtown
Carl Phillips
Phillips Index

Jesse Franklin Williams and the Atteberry family

Jesse WILLIAMS was born Feb. 12, 1898 in the Choctaw Nation in what was then Blue County but is now Bryan County. His father was Thomas WILLIAMS from Missouri and his mother was Warneta BETTS, daughter of Ramsey and Emeline. Ramsey and Emeline were Choctaw Indian so they, Warneta and Jesse all received land allotments. The land was in Atoka County a few miles from Boggy Depot. The old Butterfield Stage line from St. Louis to San Francisco ran across Warneta's and Jesse's allotments. This area became known as Betts Prairie. The road followed the historic Texas Road, through Atoka, across Betts Prairie to Boggy Depot and on to Ft. Washita and El Paso.
Jesse was just a young boy when he received his land and at that time lived in town with his folks. He rented his land to Thomas Benton ATTEBERRY and his wife Melinda. The old house on the property had a dug-out basement or cellar under the house. Ruth ATTEBERRY ADAMS, a grand-niece of Thomas, relates a story told her by her aunt, Addie Dee ATTEBERRY, that the family slept on the dirt floor downstairs as a security measure, as this was wild and lawless country at that time and outlaws were known to raid isolated homesteads.
When Jesse WILLIAMS was in his twenties, he married and took over the old house until he could build a new one. Thomas Benton ATTEBERRY bought property southwest of Jesse's place in the area known as New Hope. Several of the Atteberry children attended New Hope school and were taught by Jesse's sister Jewell Williams CHAPMAN. Jewell remembers "Uncle Tom" Atteberry as a very gentle kindly old man. Jesse WILLIAMS is still living at age 99 in a rest home in Atoka.
This writer was born in an old house across the road from the New Hope school. The old country school is gone now. All that remains is the storm cellar, which every school had in that area due to the frequent tornadoes in the spring.

This article was written with input from Ruth Atteberry Adams and Jewell Chapman. Jesse and Jewell were my mother's brother and sister.

Carl in Hangtown
Carl Phillips
Phillips Index

Early Postal System
1861 - 1864

After the Confederate States of America was formed, one of the major obstacles was the formation of a postal system. The delivery of mail in the Choctaw Nation was very sporadic. On Mar 6, 1861, President DAVIS appointed John H. REAGAN of Texas as Postmaster General and assigned him the task of building a functional system. It appeared the job was too big for Mr. REAGAN. The system continued to be chaotic. The Nation was divided into numbered routes. Route 407, formerly U.S. Route 7949, had been operated under a U. S. contract for two trips per week at the rate of $975.00 per annum. REAGAN advertised for bids on the route described from Ft. Washita, by Tishomingo to Ft. Arbuckle in Garvin County, seventy miles and back, once a week, leaving Ft. Washita Wednesday at 6:00 a.m., arriving at Ft. Arbuckle the next day by 6:00 p.m., leaving Ft. Arbuckle Friday at 6:00 a.m. and arriving at Ft. Washita the next day by 6:00 p.m.
Two bids were received and the contract was awarded to David W. HEARD of Ft. Smith for $1100.00 per annum to commence Oct. 1, 1862.
Sometime in the fall of 1862 under arrangement of HEARD'S agent, David C. BETTS began carrying the mail over this route; and apparently throughout 1863 the service was maintained by him with regularity from Ft. Washita to Ft. Arbuckle. The post office at Tishomingo was discontinued May 18, 1863. As Route 407 was in one sense an extension of Route 410 (Ft. Washita to Doaksville) it is somewhat confusing why the routes were bid separately. Mr. HEARD received this contract also for the amount of $1250.00 per year.
Sometime in the spring of 1863, the contractor turned the carrying of the mail on both Routes 407 and 410 over to David C. BETTS.
On June 28, 1864 David BETTS wrote to the Trans-Mississippi Agency at Marshall:
I have carried the mail on Route No. 410 from Doaksville to Ft. Washita in the Choctaw Nation for twelve months commencing on the first day of January 1863 and ending on the first day of January 1864 under the contract and by the authority of David W. Heard. D. W. Heard employed me for one year for which he was to pay me one thousand nine hundred dollars for which I have his written contract, payable quarterly as the Department paid him. Now the last I have heard or know of D. W. Heard he was on his way to Mexico with a train and I don't know now where he is and I have never received any part of or particle of my pay from said Heard. I have a certificate from the postmaster at Doaksville that I carried the mail for the time above stated. Now I wish to inquire of you what process I will have to pursue to obtain my just dues from the Post Office Department. You will confer a great favour by giving me the necessary and proper instructions. You will please answer this at your earliest convenience. Address me at Armstrong Academy.
Respectfully, David C. Betts

On January 14, 1864 BETTS delivered the last mail and refused to carry any longer, until he received his pay or observance of it, from the Post Office Department.
Unfortunately, the records are silent on whether David C. BETTS did or did not receive remuneration, albeit in fast depreciating Confederate currency, for his year of service to the Confederacy.

Carl in Hangtown
Carl Phillips
Phillips Index


In early 1862, with the Civil War spreading into Indian Territory, the First Choctaw Mounted Regiment, Confederate States Army, was organized at Atoka. In a list compiled by Asa KING, Sheriff of Blue County in 1861, Ramsey Betts, his half brother David and some of the Durant boys were listed as Warriors of Blue County, Choctaw Nation. This was apparently a list of men eligible for military duty.
Ramsey joined the regiment on Aug. 15, 1862 and was assigned to Company E. The regiment was commanded by Col. Samson FOLSOM. This unit saw action throughout Indian Territory and even into Missouri and Arkansas. They suffered several casualties at the battle of Newtonia, MO. They were in both battles of Cabin Creek, the battle at Ft. Gibson and a battle outside Ft. Smith, in addition to several smaller skirmishes.

The following report was copied from a special edition of "The Merry Green Press".


"The Federal column captured at Poison Spring west of Camden on April 18 contained wagons laden with corn, bacon, bed quilts, women's and children's clothing, hogs, geese and other property stolen by soldiers.
Confederates under command of Brigadier General Samuel B. MAXEY attacked the Federal forage train commanded by Col. James M. WILLIAMS at Poison Spring.

The train consisted of 198 six-mule wagons, artillery, and strong escorts of infantry and cavalry. The Infantrymen of the First Kansas Colored had earlier stripped the houses of the region of little baby frocks, shoes, stockings, women's bonnets, shawls and cloaks which they hoped to take home to their families in Kansas.

The Confederate Force included Indians of the 1st and 2nd Choctaw Regiments who reportedly broke for the plunder of the train at one point with demoniac war whoops which disconcerted even their own men.

One hundred seventy wagons, four cannon and their caissons, and hundreds of small arms were captured along with stolen items. The Federal loss was 301 of 1160 present on the field. Of 438 officers and men in the battle, the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry lost 182 men, 117 listed as killed.

Captain ROWLAND of the 18th Iowa has informed our Camden correspondent that three days afterwards, a burial detail was sent to the field where six white officers and eighty men of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry were found. The white dead were all scalped and stripped of clothing which was carried off by the Rebels. To add insult to the dead officers, they were laid on their faces and a circle of their colored soldiers made around them. Some wounded soldiers were bitten by rattlesnakes. Confederate losses were 16 killed, 88 wounded and 10 missing."

As far as is known, Ramsey came through the war unscathed. The regiment was included in the surrender at Doaksville on June 23, 1865, one of the last Confederate units to surrender. Ramsey returned to Blue County and became a Baptist minsiter.

Carl in Hangtown
Carl Phillips
Phillips Index


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