Tag Archives: Richard Adkins

Lee Adkins – 52 Weeks/52 Ancestors

Lee Adkins or Why We Don’t Challenge Crazy Gunmen

Richard Adkins, my Grandmother Flora Hardin’s grandfather, had several siblings. He doesn’t mention in his interviews nor in his court testimony if he knew any of his siblings other than Lee Adkins. Lee Adkins was the child of Thomas Adkins and Mary Jane Davis and Richard Adkins testifies that he sent money to Lee Adkins’ widow when Lee died.

Lee Adkins was born in approximately 1857, six years after Richard Adkins was born. Richard Adkins gave testimony regarding his siblings.

richard adkins testimony

So, Richard Adkins didn’t know Billy Adkins or Nancy Adkins (two of his siblings, same father different mother) but he says the last time he’d seen him, Richard Adkins had been in the town where Lee Adkins was raised. He acknowledged that Lee had sisters but not that he knew them nor recognized them as his own siblings. Richard Adkins had received two or three letters from Lee Adkins, Lee Adkins’ wife wrote Richard after his death, and Richard sent money to help with his tombstone.

I have also found testimony in another case that indicates that Richard Adkins had one full sibling. That sibling is listed as Elmira Adkins. Now, why he wouldn’t have mentioned her anywhere is strange to me. He is very clear that when they left during the war, he was with his grandmother, grandfather, an aunt, his mother and himself. No mention of a sister at all.

Apparently Thomas Adkins was legendary. Here is testimony given by Chief Pleasant Porter regarding Richard Adkins’ father, Thomas Adkins.

Pleasant Porter Testimony

So Thomas Adkins was a pretty wild sort of fellow. That might have been the understatement of the century.

Poor Lee Adkins. His life comes to a tragic end on the streets of Checotah, Indian Territory. Checotah was a town named for Chief Samuel Checote, a full blood Muskogee Creek Indian, Methodist minister, and the first principal chief of the tribe after the Civil War. Checotah also happens to be where Carrie Underwood, the country singer, was raised.

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So while this article is difficult to read, this is a copy of the November 19, 1894 Muscogee Phoenix Newspaper account of the murder of Lee Adkins. Lee Atkins was shot by Amos McIntosh after 7:00 in the evening.

Reports were conflicting but most people agreed that horse races had been held in Checotah that day and that alcohol had been consumed. A gentleman by the name of Mr. Cresswell was passing by the Bumgarner Hotel and saw two men standing near a tree next to the hotel. Not wanting to get involved, as he could tell they had been drinking and trouble was brewing, he continued on his way, saying he didn’t have time to stop.  As he came back by the same location, there was a man lying on the platform in front of the billiard hall, the man groaning and calling out “I am killed, I am killed.”

How sad. Just 37 years old, Lee Adkins died of his second gun shot, about 12 hours after he was hit.

I found an additional newspaper article for this incident that claimed Lee Adkins had called Amos McIntosh a coward and dared him to shoot, saying Amos didn’t have the guts to pull the trigger.

If you take no other lesson from this story, please take this. Never dare someone to shoot you.

The gunman Amos McIntosh took a train to Eufaula just after the shooting, where a witness heard him say Lee Adkins was gunning for him but that Amos was too quick for Lee and got off a shot first.  They had both been drinking but was not “crazy drunk”.  Amos McIntosh and Lee Atkins were Creek citizens of prominence. McIntosh had served as a prosecuting attorney for the Eufaula and Muskogee districts. Lee Atkins had served the past year as a cattle inspector and was a candidate before the recent council as permit inspector. Lee Adkins lived in Eufaula until two years before his death, when he went to Muskogee and ran the billiard hall for a year before returning to Eufaula. Lee Adkins was popular in Eufaula and his friends were outraged at his killing.

Amos McIntosh was taken into custody and turned over to the police in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Lawmakers at Fort Smith refused to charge Amos McIntosh and thus he was turned over to the Muscogee Creek Lighthorse Brigade. Amos McIntosh was eventually freed and no charges were brought against him.

At the time of his death, Lee Atkins was a newly appointed U.S. Deputy Marshal.

adkins

This is the Indian Territory Checotah Cemetery, where Lee Adkins was the first person to be buried.

cemetery sign

cemetery record

A lot of the information I found lists Lee Adkins as Lee Atkins. Their surname is spelled both ways and Richard Adkins himself had no idea which was correct. He testified that he was uncertain but thought that his father had spelled it Adkins.

I am still researching Lee Adkins…I wonder what happened to his wife, if he had children and any other juicy tidbits that I can find. Until next time…

The excerpts from the interviews were reproduced with permission from

University of Oklahoma
Western History Collections
Indian-Pioneer Papers Collection
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“Millie” Marshall – 52 Ancestors-52 Weeks

One of the best tips I received at Ancestry Day in San Francisco was during a presentation where the presenter said you can’t always trust the information you find, even when its in stone.  I was so glad to hear that because the date listed on Richard Adkins headstone shows he died in 1931. However,  he gave one interview to the Indian Pioneer History papers on March 11, 1937. For me, I had to decide which sounded more likely until I received his death certificate. There was no question that his death certificate shows his date of death listed as November 21, 1938. His age was listed as 87 years, 9 months and 7 days.

Richard Adkins headstone

Nothing fancy, but I am still glad there is a headstone in honor of his memory.

Returning to his birth date, February 28, 1851, I like thinking about that date because his mother was there. She is such a difficult person to write about, with so little information known about her,  but let’s review what we have.

Of course, per usual, we can’t confirm her name. Not her first name, at least. So far, we know she was either “Millie”, “Nellie” or “Louisa Martha” Marshall. Dick Adkins was born at Fort Gibson in 1851. His mother was the daughter of Benjamin “Ben” Marshall. We have lots to discuss about Ben but for now, she is one of his eight children.  According to his Creek card he filled out in 1903, Dick said that as of July 9, 1903 he was 52 years old. That seems to confirm the date of birth.  His father is listed as Thomas Adkins.  His mother is listed as Nellie Marshall. And both are dead. Well, that’s not much information, right? Both were dead in 1903. Good thing he filled that out.

Fort Gibson

This is one of the barracks at Fort Gibson.

Back to Millie. Or Nellie. Anyway, in one of his Pioneer Interviews, Dick says his mother was Millie Marshall, daughter of Ben Marshall. She was a Creek Indian and a Euchee Indian and raised in Indian Territory. So, sounds like she was born after her father moved his family from the Georgia and Alabama area in 1833.  He goes on to say she died in the last year of the Civil War. The second interview dated six months later , Interview for Dick AdkinsDick Adkins calls his mother Millie throughout the interview. Which document is stronger, his interview or his Creek roll? Tough decision.

Then, 1899 rolls around and Richard Adkins realizes he will have to have a trial to prove his citizenship. Several people testify during this trial and one of those who testified was  Mimie Kernal, a slave that belonged his grandfather Ben Marshall. Mimie Kernal didn’t know how old she was but knew Dick Adkins from birth, says that she nursed him and she names his mother as Millie Marshall.

I am liking her name being Millie more and more. I can’t really explain the difference to his Creek enrollment card but to say I know Richard Adkins couldn’t read or write and perhaps the person taking the information down misunderstood.

Mimie Kernal says they were living between the Verdigris and the Arkansas rivers and that Ben Marshall was her master.

In later testimony, Dick says that his mother died within one mile of Fort Washita.

Fort WashitaFort Washita is in Durant, OK, the same place Dick Adkins goes on to raise his family and where Flora is born.

So I am comfortable with Millie. Reviewing everything I’ve found, I feel confident that was her name. Confident enough, I do believe I will remove the quotes that I’ve had around her name for quite some time. Millie Marshall. The sweetest thing she did for Dick Adkins was to call him Lump. Not much of a nickname, but a nickname it was. Lump Adkins was loved by Millie Marshall. I can tell he was loved, because Dick Adkins turned into a really great man who was well thought of by the people in his town of Sapulpa, OK and by others interviewed in different Pioneer interviews who said Lump Adkins was a kind friend. Poor Millie didn’t get to raise her son long if she died in the last year of the Civil War. If he was born in 1851 and she died in 1865, he was only 14 when she died. Millie Marshall left a good son behind.

 A portion of the interview used was from:  Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma Federation of Labor Collection, M452, Box 5, Folder 2. Western History

Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.

Ancestor Envy

Okay, I know to be envious is not a virtue; however, ancestor envy has taken over my life. Not in the “gee, wish I had been born in the line of a king” kind of way. Only in the “Wow, I just found a photograph of an ancestor that I didn’t know existed” kind of way.

Well, being the descendant of King Henry VIII would have been cool, but I like my ancestors. I love finding out their stories, bits and pieces of their lives, working to knit a comprehensive picture: where they lived, who they knew, and who they loved.

I am grateful for the photographs that I do have and I know one day I’ll get to shout, “Wow, I just found a photograph of Richard Adkins!” That is the person I’m looking for a photograph of and I think I will be successful. He died in 1938, so there ought to be a photograph of him somewhere. I am going to reach out to the only other descendants who might have a photograph of him, the Adkins kids. Those of Natelee, Brookielee, Lee, and Lump fame. Also Legus Adkins. I think there are one or two left and they all have kids so that is where my search is headed.

John W. and Rutha (Nee Cox) Burgess

Going back to the Burgess family, one of the hints I took away from the Ancestry day in San Francisco was to look at each family as a whole, not just one person and his parents. The John W. Burgess family was a big farming family that lived in the Kansas and Missouri areas.

Burgess'

The reason I think of them as scary is that Flora said her father, Henry Carter Burgess, was ill and probably dying and that his parents were starving him as they were going by the adage of “Starve a cold, feed a fever” and he was getting sicker every day. Henry Carter waited until his parents had gone to town, and then talked his brothers into giving him food. He finally started to regain his strength and that is when he moved to the Indian Territory.

Henry Carter Burgess  was the 9th  of 12 children to be born of John W. and Rutha Cox Burgess over a 24 year period. Crazy, right? Poor Rutha died at the age of 56. Ruined her body, sounds like to me. She looks angry in the picture of her and that is the only picture of her that I have, but she looks like sturdy stock. She was born in 1836, 60 years after the Revolutionary War and she was 25 years old with five young children when the Civil War broke out.

DANGER, Danger Will Robinson, I am going on a rant…

Rutha Cox Burgess is the child Mary Dillard and William Cox.

(This line goes on for a minute, stay with me.)

Mary Dillard is the child of Thomas Dillard and Rutha Goad.

Thomas Dillard is the son of Thomas Dillard Sr.

Thomas Dillard Sr is the son of Edward Dillard. Edward Dillard was born in 1672 in King and Queen County, Virginia.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Edward Dillard is the son of George Dillard, who was born in 1630 and arrived as an indentured servant in the Jamestown Colony. That’s right, ladies and gentleman, we have an ancestor that arrived and survived in Jamestown, VA. Not quite King Henry VIII, but I’ll take it.

OK, rant over…I am continuing with the John Burgess line…

John W. Burgess was 29 years old and I don’t know if he served in the Civil War, but he lived in Kansas, which was admitted into the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861, so he may have served as a Union Soldier. I’m still searching for those details.

The U.S. Census from 1900 shows John W. living with his son, James, and James’ wife Maggie. James is a farmer living in the Indian Territory, in the Choctaw Nation. Willa’s father, Richard Adkins is also living in the Indian Territory, in the Choctaw Nation on the 1900 census. So, both sides of Cart and Willa’s families are living in the same town during the same time period. However, when John passes away at the age of 75, he is living in Joplin, Missouri. Both of John W. Burgess’ parents were born in Illinois. I will continue my searching on the Burgess line, but have yet to make a connection with another descendant of the Burgess family.

So, I may be a bit goofy when it comes to ancestry research, but it is also very similar to the way I was taught to skip trace people for work, so this process works for me. The best byproduct of my searching has been making new friends. I have been able to connect with one of my cousins on my grandmother’s side and one on my grandfather’s side. They would both be so pleased that I have made these new connections.

Grandma Flora loved her uncles that lived in Joplin and she became the apple of their eye as well.  She says her uncles only had boys at home so her father would take her to visit and she would stay with them for a week or two. Her sister Ovola was born in Joplin, Mo and soon her parents made the decision that because a neighbor was moving to Washington State, they should move with them while they had the opportunity. Cart’s health still suffered and they hoped it would be better for him on the West Coast. As Flora climbed aboard a train for the trip west, she ran the length of the railroad car, searching for her Uncle James. By now, the year is approximately 1908 and by 1910 Flora is parent-less and heartbroken.

Avola, age 3 Flora, age 6
Ovola, age 3 Flora, age 6