Last week, I shared the origins of Lawton, Okla.’s Deyo Mission Church and Deyo Mission Cemetery, along with stories about some of those buried here. I’ve got a few more I wanted to pass along today. So let’s get started.
Doing research for the graves I photographed at DMC was a bit of a challenge sometimes because of the Native American names. Many had more than one and sometimes they were spelled differently on their marker. That was the case for Par-Ri-Eck-I-Vit, who has an above ground tomb with a larger monument in front of it.
When I looked up his memorial on Find a Grave, I realized that Par-Ri-Eck-I-Vit was more commonly known as Chief Paddyaker. This was the uncle of Wickkie, who I told you about last week. She was the wife of John Tabbytite, a member of Troop L of the Seventh Cavalry of the U.S. Army.
Chief Paddyaker was a Comanche, and his birth year appears as either 1843 or 1853. His 1927 obituary states that: “Paddy Aker [I have seen it spelled different ways] was one of the old-time Indians, was here when Lawton was founded, has always proved himself a friend of the white race. He professed conversion and united with the Deyo Missionary Baptist Church about 20 years ago.”
The grave of Iolene Paddyaker is nearby, a child who only lived six years and died in 1924. She was the daughter of Benton Dudley Paddyaker, who was related in some way to Chief Paddyaker.
I always enjoy seeing gravestones with portraits on them, and the one for Kosepeah is no exception. She looks like a wise woman who saw much in her life. I could find little about her but she is related to the Red Elk family. If her marker is any indication, she was born around 1867.
On Find a Grave, I saw that Kosepeah had two husbands, Kiowa George Ate-Te-Wuth-Take-Wa (who died in 1901) and Po-Ah-Way (who died in 1914). Both are buried at DMC. Beside Kosepeah is her grandson Clifford Red Elk. Clifford, born in 1918 (I think) was the son of Walter Red Elk and Charlotte Tah-Hah-Wah.
According to his obituary, Clifford attended the Fort Sill Indian School later switched to the Chilocco Indian School near the Kansas border. He drew a lot of attention for his boxing abilities. One article I found said he was “rated as one of the best 118-lb. Golden Glove prospects in Oklahoma” at the time of his death.
According to several articles I found, he died of tuberculosis in late February 1938. Yet his grave marker has a death date of Dec. 27, 1938 for him. That makes no sense to me. Was there some kind of mix up with the carver? I honestly don’t know. Regardless, Clifford’s life ended much too soon.
In some cases, I could find absolutely nothing about the deceased. Cooseronah is a good example of this. She has a beautiful stone with a portrait. But there was no information about her that I could use to shed light on her past.
The grave for this baby was another mystery. She only lived four months, dying in April 1901. Who were her parents?
I saw four different flat squares that are all marked “Tosee Baby” with no date. This is just one of them.
The Maddox Sisters
I found two sisters buried beside each other at DMC. Of Comanche heritage, Lucele and Matilda Maddox were close in age and attended the Fort Sill Indian School on the reservation. Their parents were George Maddox and Eck-Ah-Sy (Grace) Maddox. They had several siblings. Two of their brothers served in the military.
I learned from the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture:
First established as a Quaker boarding school in 1871, the Fort Sill Indian School became a nonsectarian institution in 1891 and remained so until closing in 1980. During its long history the school expanded from one building to 30. Its enrollment increased from 24 in its first year to more than 300 in the 1970s, and the number of employees on its payroll went from two in 1871 to more than 75 a decade later. Because the school was located near Lawton, before World War II Fort Sill’s student body was made up largely of Indians from western Oklahoma — Comanche, Apache, Caddo, Kiowa, Delaware, and Wichita.
The Fort Sill Indian School buildings were abandoned but still exist. You can read more about there here.
Born in 1890, Lucele Maddox would have been 17 or 18 when she died on Oct. 4, 1908. I don’t know her cause of death.
Mathilda Maddox, born in 1891, would have also been around 17 or 18 when she died on July 17, 1909.
It was terrible blow for their parents. Just a few months before Lucele died, their infant daughter Daisy had passed away.
George Maddox died in 1920 at age 56. He is buried near his daughters. I did not see Grace Maddox’s grave but she is likely buried there as well.
Missionary to the Comanches
Mabel Moon Gilbert was not a Comanche. She was a white woman. But she had a heart for the Comanche and it appears they loved her back.
Born in Fairfield, Ill. in 1885, Mabel graduated from Shurtleff College in Alton, Ill. in 1904. It was later absorbed by Southern Illinois University. After that, she taught for three years in American mission colleges. She married Hervey F. Gilbert in 1911 and the pair both attended the Rochester Theological Seminary. They served as missionaries to Africa in 1913 but returned in 1916 due to Mabel’s health. Mabel and Hervey moved to the Lawton area in 1920. They had three children together, one dying in infancy.
I don’t know her cause of death but Mabel died at home on Jan. 17, 1929. She was 43. Her funeral service included both whites and Native Americans. Below is a newspaper account of that unique event that I found very interesting. Mabel had clearly made an impact among both whites and Native Americans in the four years she lived in Oklahoma.
Note that in the article, it says Mabel was buried at the IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) Cemetery. Yet she is buried at the Deyo Mission Cemetery. It would make sense for her to be at DMC due to her love of the Comanche. Is it possible she was buried there first but later moved to DMC so she was closer to the people she loved?
Rev. Hervey Gilbert remarried to Ruth Long. He died in 1963 and is buried at Pomona Valley Memorial Park in Los Angeles, Calif.
It was time to start heading back to pick up Sarah. But I wanted to stop at nearby Pecan Cemetery on the way there. Please meet me there for my next adventure.
Tom Foster said:
So many of us that have deep roots of family members can relate some way or another to the “Native American Ancestry”. I’m one whose roots on my birth mother’s dad, my grandfather, have that blood line…even if it’s a small percentage part. The Deleware tribe is where mine come from…right in the heartland middle of the U.S. – Kansas, mostly.
May their heritage continue in free America pride of this “melting pot of people”.
Tom, it’s been an eye opener for me. I didn’t really know the history of the Native American in this part of Oklahoma, how they were dragged halfway across the country and back in the later 1800s. Really raw. I wish I had learned this earlier. Hope you and your bride is well, that she is not having to get any further chemo or radiation.
Tom Foster said:
Mary is doing well.
We are heading to Brunswick, Georgia tomorrow for a nephew’s wedding which is on Saturday the 18th. We haven’t been down that way in nearly 40 years.
Have you thought about having t-shirts made with your website logo? If so, it would be neat! Heavy cotton made in a few colors…the logo on the back, and a small something on upper left or, on a sleeve.
Happy St. Patrick’s day to you and your family!