Indian Territory/Oklahoma Historic Landmarks
I was on the phone earlier this week speaking with a man who wanted to get permission to refer to a blog post I wrote about Jehovah Baptist Church. His reason for the request was based on the 150th Anniversary of the church and a program they were planning for March of this year.
After thinking about all of the effort Oklahoma puts into recognizing “Oklahoma All Black Towns” I was not aware of their recognition of Indian Territory Freedmen landmarks, settlements, buildings or institutions.
Now that is not to say the state doesn’t recognize the history of Indian Territory Freedmen, I’m just not aware of them and considering that a church that established by Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen approximately three years following their “emancipation” I would think that church should be recognized at least by the Oklahoma Historical Society.
The ground on which the church sits is a cemetery that the sacred remains of many Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen lay in rest. It is also the resting place for Chickasaw Indians like Amanda ABRAM Chickasaw by Blood #610
|M 1186 Chickasaw by Blood #610|
Considering there are other individuals who have attended this historic church and have been laid to rest on the soil of their ancestors it is vitally important that this history and the history of this institution is recognized and preserved for generations to come.
There other important people who have left a mark on Indian Territory and Oklahoma history and you will find their presence on these hallowed grounds. If you are a student of Chickasaw Indians and Chickasaw Freedmen you undoubtedly have heard the names of Dora and Jesse McGEE,
One of the oldest original Chickasaw Freedmen interred in Jehovah Cemetery is Maria FRANKLIN a sister of Amanda ABRAM’S husband Ed ABRAM (Chickasaw Freedman Card #699.)
|M 1886 Chickasaw Freedman #600|
I don’t know the status of the church and it’s cemetery as far as a historical landmark but I do know as a Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen descendant we need to recognize and preserve our history.
There are other cemeteries that are being taken back by nature like the one I visited years ago that was the resting place for United States Color Troop Soldier Thomas BLACKWATER at the Brazil Cemetery and the cemetery in Berwyn (Gene Autry) that is the resting place for Chickasaw leader Charles COHEE. I find it difficult that the descendants of these heroes and she-roes are not insuring the preservation of these sacred sites.
As we celebrate Black History Month we need to know, why isn’t the state of Oklahoma showing the same zeal to recognize and preserve these sites as part of the history of Indian Territory and the state of Oklahoma as they “proudly” proclaim the “All Black Towns of Oklahoma?
More importantly, why are we as descendants of Indian Territory Freedmen preserving and celebrating our long history and historic sites in Indian Territory and the state of Oklahoma?
Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church
Milo, Indian Territory