Friday, September 20, 2013

The Trahern Chronicles-Robert Trahern and his children

Robert Trahern's life isn't well documented. He married a Choctaw named Cornelia, whose last name was Gardner by two of four available death certificates that I have seen. He wasn't in the Choctaw Congress, and he never shows up in any records except for the Choctaw annuity roll of 1885 and 1896 roll.

I did find a case involving him in the Fort Smith Criminal cases. He was accused of assault on a white woman with whom he was having an affair. Where Cornelia was at this time is not clear. My family said he was in jail when his wife Cornelia died, but I can't find that information. We also have that he was shot over land, but the year and date of his death would have to be the death of Cornelia, because he was alive until after 1896. Since his brother Joseph dies in 1897 I wonder if they both weren't shot over a land dispute.

Cornelia to this day remains a mystery. She died not long after her youngest son, William was born. Her sister in law, Louvenia was also said to have died about this time. Perhaps there was some sort of illness that went around, but I have nothing on that either. Though I am sure the children of Cornelia knew any family they had on her side, none of her grandchildren seemed to know of any.

Most of what I know about the early life of this family comes from other researchers and family members, like Doug Barkley, Loren Adams, Bertha Geesman, and the information from Laverne Shirley. Gerrie Zhang who researches Addie's husband's family generously has supplied me with her photo and obituary.

In 1896, a census was taken in preparation for the Dawes rolls. The cards folks research were filled out in 1899. Robert Trahern is found in 1896 with all of his children except Addie who was married to Joseph Kincade. He also has his niece, Susan Daniels in his home. Likely the bulk of carrying for the younger children fell upon Margaret and her cousin Susan.

In 1899, Margaret and Susan both marry, no doubt because they had no visible support on the death of Robert, and it isn't likely that Addie's husband, now Robert Kincade (brother of Joseph), was willing to support so many folks. Czarena (Rena) married John Gormon shortly afterwards, but that marriage didn't last long.

In 1899 we find William, Martha and Loren living with Addie and Joseph, along with his children and his niece. By 1900, Martha and William are living with Margaret and her husband, Jason Adams. Most likely because this is the same time that Addie has had the twin girls, but by 1901 both have died, and then Joseph and his son follow soon after. Initially I find Addie was the guardian for William as required by law, but eventually that was taken over by someone else. After Martha marries, she petitioned the court to have the guardian changed to her brother in law, the fourth husband of Addie, Ed Bishop. Addie had married in Atoka in 1904, but by 1909 was married to Ed.

Joseph Cox (not the Choctaw one), an uncle of Robert's daughter, tried to get control over Robert's estate and to cut Addie out of it altogether. The odd thing is, Robert didn't own land prior to his death and was ineligible for an allotment because of when he died, there was no estate to be had except for personal effects, farm equipment and the like.

Martha married Will Schuster (a cousin of the Schuster who married into Louis' family) in 1904. Rena by 1910 had moved to South Dakota where she married John Sidney Whitt, her race on the 1910 census was listed as mulatto and not Native American. Rena's daughter Mary Irene was born later that year. By 1917, John Sidney Whitt has remarried in Colorado, and as far as I can tell, he never looked back or took care of his daughter by Rena. I did find her land allotment advertised for sale, but cannot find a record for her death, which occured by 1920.

In 1920 we can't find Margaret or Jason Adams at all. This is the same time frame in which the family lost their land due to the mortgage that Jason had taken out on Margaret's allotment. We know that the family lived near Short Mountain before ending up in Barnsdall around 1925. Addie has married a Jim Choate (which also didn't last) and is found living in Pittsburg county with her nieces, Mary Irene and Anna Mae. Addie never had more children.

 I spoke to David, Mary's son several years ago. The girls adored their Aunt, and were close to her throughout her life. Addie ensured that they went to school, Mary attended college out of state and became a school teacher. Anna remained in Oklahoma where she married at least twice. David is the only child of Mary Irene, and Anna Mae had no children.

Loren Trahern married a woman named Jennie and died shortly afterwards. About a decade ago there was an Oklahoma court database online that showed that Jenny had signed her rights in Loren's land to Margaret Adams. I am sure Jason squandered this land as well.

William Trahern kind of bounced around quite a bit. He was supposed to have gotten in trouble over boot legging like his brother in law Jason Adams. It is rumored he had at least one illegitimate son along with the four he had with his wife, Lou. When he did settle down he lived near Latimer, Oklahoma. Two of William's children don't have descendants, but I am in contact with a few of the descendants of one of his daughters.

Martha lived in Chant, the same place Margaret lived before she lost her land allotment. She and Will Schuster had two daughters. I was able to talk to the widow of her grandson several years ago.

Margaret and Jason Adams had a large family. Their first three children received land allotments. Unfortunately, Jason was arrested for boot legging and according to family legend, a crooked judge forced him to sign over their lands in exchange for his bond. My great grandmother was the eldest daughter and the first child born after statehood, thus she was ineligible for enrollment to the Choctaw nation. She was followed by four sisters and a brother, but sadly, the youngest son and daughter died young.

From Leflore County, Margaret and Jason Adams moved to Barnsdall, Oklahoma where they lived until Jason's death in 1930. I am not sure exactly where Margaret lived after that. She raised her grandsons, Eugene, Claudus and Ernest intermittedly. By 1940 she is living with her brother, William Trahern. Later, she moves to Tulsa where she lived with her daughter Rena. She died in Tulsa in 1955.

No comments:

Post a Comment