After polishing off a tasty meal at the Meers Store and Restaurant, Sarah and I stopped by nearby Mount Scott Cemetery. It was a short stop because both of us were tired and ready to put our feet up.
Mount Scott Cemetery has about 550 burials listed on Find a Grave. It’s a member of the KCA Intertribal Burial Grounds. The KCA stands for Kiowa-Comanche-Apache, but there are folks who belong to other tribal groups buried here. I would visit a few more of these KCA designated cemeteries over the next few days before we headed back to Georgia.
As we walked among the graves, I was intrigued by what I saw. This was different than the POW cemeteries I had passed through earlier in the days with their white government-issues markers. There was more personality, more expression. A number of those buried here are Native Americans who are proud of their culture. But some have also adopted the Christian faith, melding the two.
Daughter of Chief Standing Bear
I discovered ties between some buried here and those at Fort Sill. One was Virginia “Au-Quo-Yah” Stumbling Bear Sahmaunt. She was the daughter of Kiowa Chief Stumbling Bear and To-Ye-Mah. Her name is thought to mean “To Turn Back”.
In November 1864, Chief Stumbling Bear fought U.S. military forces led by Kit Carson at the Battle of Adobe Wells. Soon after, both Chief Stumbling Bear and Chief Kicking Bird became advocates of peace with the whites. As a result of his peace efforts, the federal government built him a home in 1878 on the Kiowa Reservation in the Indian Territory. He died in 1903 and is buried in the Fort Still Post Cemetery.
Virginia’s marker indicates she was born in 1861. But at age 15, she arrived at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania in April 1880. That would mean she was likely born in 1866. She stayed there for three years, returning to Oklahoma in 1883. She kept in touch with the Carlisle administrators, letting them know in a letter she had married Luther Sahmaunt. They were living in Lawton, Okla. in 1914.
Virginia and Luther had at least two sons and one daughter, according to her obituary. She died on May 28, 1926, suffering from heat stroke on her return from traveling with her family. It caused a heart attack that hastened her death.
Virginia’s obituary mentions that she spoke English fluently, which she may have learned at Carlisle. She had many friends among the white population and was a member of the Mount Scott Church where her funeral was held. The epitaph on her marker reads: “Her spirit smiles from that bright shore, and softly whispers weep no more.” Luther, her husband, remarried to a daughter of Santata and died in 1958.
One of Virginia’s grandchildren is buried near her. Annetta Quoetone, born in 1919, was the daughter of Nannie Susan Sahmaunt Quoetone. Annetta died on Valentine’s Day in 1920, only eight months old.
Another of Virginia’s grandchildren is buried at Mount Scott Cemetery, but Helen lived a long and happy life. Helen Ellen Quoetone, born in 1909, married Charles Curley. Charles served in the U.S. Army during World War II. They had one son named Archie. Charles worked in a meat packing plant while Helen was a hospital worker. Charles died in 1977 and Helen passed away in 1998 at age 88. They share this lovely marker.
I especially like the portrait of the couple with Helen in her traditional Native American garb. It was clearly an important part of who she was.
Captain Scott Emauha
The marker for Captain Scott Emauah intrigues me. Born in 1894, he is the child of E-Mau-Ah and Gap-Kau-Go, and the nephew of Virginia Sahmaunt. Scott died at age 14 on June 26, 1909. I’m not sure how he was a Captain at such a young age or if that was simply part of his given name.
I suspect E-Mau-Ah may have been a Native American chief but I could find nothing about him. He is buried at Mount Scott Cemetery but I did not photograph his grave marker. He and Gap-Kau-Go had at least seven children together and none of them lived past their teen years.
Scott is buried beside his sister Vida, who died in 1907 at age 15. The angel at the top of his monument has an Arts and Crafts style to it that I love.
The grave marker of Pah-do-Pony posed a bit of a mystery for me. I found little about him online but I did find some information regarding his son, Oliver, that helped. I believe the family is of Comanche origin.
Born in 1838, it is likely Pah-do-Pony was a medicine man. His son, Oliver, would follow in his footsteps many decades later, which you can read about here. The following generations went by the surname Pahdopony and many of them are buried at Mount Scott Cemetery. Pah-do-Pony died on Oct. 27, 1912 at age 75. Oliver, who died in 1988, is also buried at Mount Scott.
The top of the grave marker features a bird clutching a quiver and arrows in its talons. I’m not sure if it a tribal symbol.
Alexander and Lorraine Mathews
I am especially fond of the grave of Alexander Mathews (1919-2008) and his wife, Lorraine Coosewoon Mathews (1920-1994). He and Lorraine were married for 47 years.
Alexander’s Pawnee name was “Koot-ooks-Tah-Kah” meaning “White Bear”. He was a full-blood member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. In 1941, he joined the U.S. Army and fought in the Pacific during World War II. He was captured in April 1942, and was a prisoner of war until September 1945. He was part of the Bataan Death March, and was forced into slave labor conditions in Japanese prison concentration camps. As a result, he returned to America after the war a much-decorated veteran.
He and Lorraine had two sons and two daughters together. Alexander was Pawnee Nation President from 1993 to 1995, and a Traditional Chief of the Chaui Band of Pawnee. A graduate of the Haskell Institute in Kansas, he used his accounting skills to help others through various tribal agency organizations. After Lorraine died in 1994, Alexander remarried to Darlene Joyce Codopony in 1999. Alexander died on March 4, 2008 at age 88.
A Song for Bradley
It’s always difficult to see a grave for a young person. But the one for Bradley Hilton Wahnee is especially painful.
Born in Oklahoma City in 1990, Bradley was the son of Kari and Ernest Wahnee. His grandmother, Geneva, was a Sahmaunt. He attended Norman High School and graduated from Elgin High School in 2008. He was the 2008 Comanche Nation High School Graduate of the Year. He attended Oklahoma City University, where he was majoring in biology and pursuing a pre-med course.
From newspaper articles I found, Bradley was doing well in college and was a popular student. On the night of Sept. 22, 2009, he was standing outside a friend’s home with him when a group of men wearing hoodies and bandanas drove up in a truck. Both Bradley and his friend were shot. The friend survived but Bradley died of his wounds. Police hunted for the truck’s driver but he was later found shot to death. I don’t know if any of the others involved were ever apprehended.
On the back of Bradley’s marker is a powerful poem called “A Song for Bradley”. He will never be forgotten.
Join me next time when I visit Deyo Mission Cemetery.