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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
CRK TAPE 24A
Mrs. P. Linton
This is September 6, 1972, and I am interviewing Mrs. R. E. Perloca Linton
in her home in Pensacola.
L: I was born in Calhoun County, Florida, November 9, 1913. My Creek Indian
ancestry came from the name Taylor, even further back to the name Wahcooche.
My great grandafther on my mother's side prried Creek Indian girl.
M My great grandafthear was named Benjamin _-e-- and he lived in South
Carolina near the;S River. He wqs an overseer on a large slave plantation.
When his wife died, he was left with some small children, his first wife
and he came down into Alabama to see and be with his uncles after his
wife died and while he was in Henry County, Alabama, he met and married
this young Creek Indian girl. She was much younger than he was. He
carried her gck to South Carolina and they had one child in South Carolina
and she was so grieved and upset at being away from her people that he
moved back to Alabama. After he came back to Alabama, the first placid
we find him 6 is in Barber County, .Eaph.e. And from there, they raised
a large family and lived in Henry County what is now known as Geneva
County and Houston County.
P: Then how did it come to be that you were born in Florida?
L: Well, after the son of Benjamin'PS was a grown man and he was reared like
I said in Euphala, Henry and Geneva Counties, he married a girl from Henry
County one of the very famous names ofPeatm, she was related to the John
Peal y of the Civil War. And the'moved into Florida. He was a S -crop
farmer and he was very indian and he was a very rough man. Since he was a
very rough man and -ea mean when he was drinking, he had to move from place
to place, he couldn't stay in one place very long.
L ^ ^__________________________________________________________________
P: And that was your grandfather?
L: That was my own grandfather. Incidentally, let me tell you4 little some-
thing here. In 1850 census, my grandfather was named Mytaja In 1860
census he was named Manmia Manuel Then he changed his name to M. C.
P;pi Dc P;pw
Bi4mean and died Michael K. ],ELPitmt .
P: Do you know why his name kept changing like that?
L: Indians love fantasy. Have you noticed that in your history? And he
would change his mother's name. In one census she was Kitty, then
Kitty Ann, and then Katherine, and of course she died Kitty. That
was the indian j.* A ,
P: And that was the father of your mother or father now?
L: My mother my mother was the indian woman.
P: Ms your name Perloca Indian in any way? -- o-k--e -e
L: it definitely is indian = it's written in Indian)Palokee. V
P: Do you happen to know what it means in the ndian language?
L: Not in Creek,) I asked a Delaware Indian and he said it meant laughing
waters. I have no idea, he could have been putting me on.
P: When you were growing up-was it Jackson County?
L: Calhoun County ...
P: Were there other people of Indian descent in Calhoun County?
L: Not too many my grandfather had about five brothers and of course
they were all j.dian and all had indian families just like he did and
of course when they grew up and multiplied that was quite an Tidian
P: Were you acknowledged as ndians in the community do you think?
L: No, my grandfather tried to hide the fact that they were indian because
he had all girls and didn't have any sons and because ndians were so
persecuted and so badly mistreated and because he was a rough man, it
wouldn't have done anybody to abuse one of his girls. So, he tried
to hide the identity of being indian for the protection of his girls.
But there is an incident that I would like to tell you.
It caused a great alarm to my mother and the thing that caused him to
confess to her that they were Creek Indian whenever she was quite a young
girl, he loved to read he was quite a smart man, he read a lot and
he had some books and of course my mother got a hold of the books and
started to read them too and x just devoured them she loved to read -
and she had found in these books aucasicns did not have half moons
in their hands ...
P: In their fingernails?
L: Yes, in their fingernails and she looked at hers and of course they
were fo1-s and it alarmed her very much and she went to her father
and too, my mother was a lot .ndian, she knew she was not white, so
she went to him and she told him now I read this in this book and it was
your book and told him what it said and he put his arms around her and
sJd I want to tell you that there's not one drop of colored blood in
you that you are Creek Indian. So she knew then that she was nhdian and
as she began to read aboutolndians, she knew, of course, more and more
that she was definitely ndian.
P: So you grew up knowing that you were Indian descent all along?
L: My father was a full white man and he always told me that I was indian
and to be proud of it and not to be ashamed of it. It was kind of quiet
on my mother's side of the family, but my father was a Scotch-Irish, and
his name was Alfred Harper and he seemed proud that we were indian, and
he admired and respected my grandfather a great deal.
P: Before we Lvae Florida for a moment, I am not sure where Calhoun County
is I was just wondering out of curiosity if you w HoraceL / 0
"f the Florida Choctaws?
P: Can you talk about them just a bit who they are ...
L: No, the knhx only thing I know about Horace L ___ isthat he came
through here he spent the night with me he seemed to be a very fine man.
He had written a book at that time and I believe the name of it was
Heads Half Acre -f He gave me a oopy of that book and spent the night
here talking to me about his Chactaw ancestry. He left and I didn't see
him again until we were in Pembroke, North Carolina at the bigT dian
convention and there he had left near Ocala where he was living I
believe it's 8*ets or something like that, and had moved up there and
had gone into the ministry.
P: Well, before you became involved in the Creek Indian nase with Calvin
McGhee as the chief, had you ever actively participated in ay organized
indian affairs before that time?
P: Can you tell me then how you found out about what was happening
in the Atmore area and how you got involved in that beginning from the
L: Mrs. McGhee had a niece who was a nurse in a hospital here in Pensacola -
She and I were good friends and I worked with her. Mrs. McGhee told
them very quickly after Mr. McGhee became involved in this and I went
to see them and it so happened .
P: What year was this, can you recall what year?
L: I imagine this was about 1951, may be1952, I don't remember Joe was
very smart and we went to talk to Chief McGhee about this thing and
we registered and of course when this come up my husband's people were
indian also, and incidentally they were from that area.
P: What family was your husband's people from?
L: The HOllinger family.
P: The Hollinger family? Is that Ionroe County or Escambia County?
-L: -Both;--rit tbefba +h:^njwlven-Ent~fl
Page A 5
L: Both r At the time of the involvement of my husband's part of they
were in BaldminJand of course William Hollinger then lived and died his
old age in Monroe County with his legal children.
P: Then your husband wasfndian, too I didn't know that.
L: Yes, he was indian also.
P: You were talking about registering ...
L: So Mr. McGhee was he and his wife were working day and night and they
didn't have any help so the day that I carried some more of my relatives
up to register, they were just swamped with people and had no organiza-
tion they were just registering and they had to charge a $1 for the
registration in order to be able to proceed with this law suit They
were registering these poeple and just.putting The money in a paper
bag. Mr. McGhee early and I asked him if I could take his
place for a while. I helped hcm to register the people and I must
have done it quite satisfactorily because they were several people
who wanted to work with him when he started the research to prove
who his people wereso he tells me, 4o I felt that I had proven pretty
true, or he wouldn't have done that, for I wasn't the only person
he could have gotten to help him. Mx McGhee and I became very very
good friends As a matter of fact, we are closer to each other
than to either of our sisters.
P: Was your husband as involved in this early stage as you?
L: My husband has never been involved.
P: Did he register?
L: Oh, yes.
P: Do you want to say in any way why he hasn't been involved?
L: Well, my husband alwa% had two jobs and he didn't like for me to be
away from home so very nd* much a4 I was xaw away a great deal and our
house was literally a hotel and a motel AntngxJhx during those crucial years
years of trying to prove our people. The children didn't know what it was
to sit down and eat at the table with the family. They got something to
eat and ran off to eat on the washing machine and he had to do the same
thing. I think it was the incoVenience and the time-consuming part of
that that made him unhappy.
P: Could you now talk about the work that you did with Mr. Mc@hee and Mrs.
^fmtfe ^W pE<< ^wgl" U tP
McGhee in trying toyt I understand you went to Washington, is that correct?
L: Many times.
P: Would you talk about those days and whqt you were doing?
L; Before I started to work with Chief McGhee, had been to Washington
several times and hadtalked to the Chief A" in the National Archives
in Washington, D. C. and had found a number of records and he was very
enthused and felt that from that source, he could get many documents
for his people. However, at this time, we did not know what the
government would require, but we felt at that time that xn if we proved
every generation step by step, that there would be no way to throw us
out and we knew we had to go back to 1814, so we started from there. .-
-Mayr instances in tracing the ancestry of these poeple, we began
xtm- say withthe grandfather if they knew that far back. And they probably
would not even have known their greatgrandmother's maiden name. But by
searching the various counties, the various places, and the various
documents, we would find out her maiden name and possibly she was the
indian and all along they though it was the grandfather you see be-
cause the indian come through that name after he married the indian woman.
And when we first began to go to Washington, Houston was just a real
young man, and I imagine about 14, and by the time he was 16 he was
doing all the driving and very shortly Gaynell got old enough to drive
and between Gaynell and Houston and Dewey and Mr. McGhee, we managed
I imagine more than a hured trips to Washington, proving our people.
P: How would you finance these trips?
L: Well, we fell upon a plan, because some families had a lot of people in
them and some peopleVhad a few;as a matter of fact, there was some in-
as little as on
stances where we hadgone applicant f one A ride? And Mr. McGhee
wanted to treat everybody fairly, not overcharge somebody but then be-
cause somebody couldn't pay enough to do this research 0 he planned
to charge 481 W everybody $20 for adults and $10 for children and he
did that for several years. ut of course, inflation he couldn't
travel and keep us on that so he went from $20 and $10 to $15 and $30
which really and truly was not very much. But in order to do this,
he made an agreement with the people and we didn't do business with the
entire family. Say, for instance, you wanted the research done for
your people. You come to see us and we would tell you how much it would
fost ISMd per capital and then we would also tell you that we would
not give you the documents that we found, we would let you see them and
see what we found. But if you were to comein here Now I want to re-
tain you for $30 to do my research, and we said alright and we TMai
took your money and we did your research and we come back and we
gave this research to you Now you know for $30 we couldn't hardly
go to Montgomery and back, so therefore, we kept the documents, made
the books and as the people registered and entered these books, we put
their applications in the books with the documents, and we never lost
one, by the way We kept them all. Never had a complaint of one being gone.
P: Let me interrupt jou just a moment. This retainer fee for doing the
research Was that an option in addition to the basic registration fee?
L: The basic registration fee had nothing to do with Chief McGhee. That
money was put 4%Bthe bank for the law suit. Now the research it
actually belonged to Mr. McGhee. VHe had to pay me, he had to pay all the
jpx expenses. Well, everything had to come out of this $30.
P: Now what was the situation I've heard several people talking abou t this ...
they signed up once for a $1 a piece then later it was $5 a piece that
they signed up for.
L: No, they were mistaken into signing up. Now, Mr. McGhee did the re-
search for his immediate family Now I'm talking about everybody that
was kin to him wd in the aek community. If they had moved away to
snamt someplace else, if they went back to his ancestors who was the
RthnrfdwKts, Lynn McGhee, Hinson, various others he had many indian
ancestors as you well know. Now all the people that went back there -
he did their work for ten and seven and a half maybe for seven and
a half or five. Now I had nothing to do with that whatsoever. Now if I
foundWa any material on this line, I'd give it to him. But I did not
get one penny out of any of the research for his immediate family. But
he gave them a price that was impossible he couldn't even have done
this for working for other people and moeny coming in from another
P: So the other prices were for the others outside of his immediate family?
L: That's right lFor the people that lived there and were his family Now
I know this The $5 that they were talking about r Possibly he charged
a man $5 to sell out his papers and aiKzg furnish him with his documents.
That was not to sign up, that was research and that belonged to Mr. McGhee.
The dollar jp for registration was put in the bank and was used by the
lawyers for whatever they needed it for. But you see there was a difference
in hhe registration and the research.
P: Now I have been told that the first time people were signed up, they were
a little unsure as to what kind of information to put down and people
had to re-register another time,is that correct, and fill out another
set of forms?
P: we WA government forms made up at one point?
L: Yes. But I don't know if they were told that the government forms ...
LET ME EXPLAIN this to you. When they first began to register, they
were not charged anything they just went up and registered. People
put their name down in a large ledger, but Mr. Thompson seen very
quickly that this would not do that tInyxKaAH d there would have to be
some money from somewhere and he was a ppatxmanx poor man and he couldn't
afford this*Sb they fell upon the plan of charging a dollar for the
registration. Now a lot of people had already registered and had not
paid a dollar, so Mr. Thompson explained to them who had already
registered not to re-regisater but to send in their dollars and it would
be checked off Es by their names. And that was the first registration.
Then we decided upon the counsel fxn form that was to help the people
work out the way they went back and how they went back so that we would
have something to work with. So they charged them a dollar each for the
counsel form. The counsel form money was also placed in the bank and
used by the attorneys for whatever was necessary, and that meant nothing
to Chief McGhee except he and I sp3d the forms The forms were counted
out to us by number and when these forms were sold, we carried the
turned it in"Au
exact amount of money back anri ot some more forms. That was to help the
P: Then along came the forms that actually were returned of eligibility looked
like government printed forms.
L: They were.
P: How did those come about?
L: The government forms -you had to write to Oklahoma and get them yourself.
Chief McGhee did not distribute those hkw was not allowed to.
Each individual had to write and get the forms for his family -
his minor children and so forgi. Those forms were free They did not
cost a thing.
P: Now were those the ones Mr. 4 l ekse) rom Muscogee came to the
Perh area and explained to the people how to fill them out?
P: When did he come and how did he happen to come?
L: I don't remember he come in about 1968 I believe and I don't know why
hew come because he sure did create a lot of confusion. He told these
people, as you know our people aren't-almmft[an educated and literate
but they try and they are sincere. But when he come and told these
people now you can fill these forms out by youself, don't you pay or hire
anybody to do it they felt that then if they paid someone to do
that, they felt that they were breaking the law They felt like that
man knew so much and he was so right. So here were these people, 4"
they couldn't fill these forms out by themselves. I wish you could see
some of the messes they made. And they were so upset until they couldn't
hardly bear it,
I remember andoof course, at that time, he was already very ill and he
said Mrs. Linton I'm not gonna fill out any. I'm just gonna give them
a counsel form and let them do the best they can. Im-net I said, I'm
not gonna do it I'm gonna fill them out and I'm gonna charge them
the ones that want me to do it. This man don't know what he's talking
about. So he come back another time and he come back the next time and
he told these people (Some of them didn't have a 3rd grade education
and some ha d never been inside a schoolhous)j Ay u can fill out
your income tax, you can certainly fill out that form.
P: And they believed him, I guess.
L: They knew then that they couldn't fill out their form, because they
certainly couldn't fill out their income tax.
P: Now to review for a moment, then, the first registration was free just
signing people in one a ledger. Then Mr. Thompson decided they needed
money for the case, so people were charged a dollar and those that
already signed up were asked to send in a dollar. Then there was the
counsel form, which was sa second Dollar, then an independent form
altogether, Mr. McGhee for the prices you mentioned was doing the
research on the geneology on the members of his own community at
half the rate for those people outside the immediatexRak Porch community.
Then finally in 1968, there were the government forms, explained by Mr.
usey ? ) which you just descirbed. Were there any forms besides
the counsel form and the government form?
P: Do you know whether there were many people who tried to do the necessary
research on the geneology on their =w own?
L: Oh, yes.
P: What percentage tried to do it on their own, do you think?
L: It would be hard to dopaw say. One familyAdid their own research
was theS'3qi S *- Most of theS g did their own. ie yau t
descendants ,, ,./A 01
1 L O ........ And the A from ane Mrs. (Pf
from Birmingham. Now both of those were real large clans and the
Elizabeth English td They never paid anybody that we know of
any research fee unless it would have been a Mr. .aray. Now I believe
that he did help them, but I believe he was a descendant also.
I don't know -
P: Now one question that you may some more of the human interest side of
it, is that I know during the end of the final winning of the case, their
was a move to not allow courthouse records, anything other than federal
records. Were you aware of that and the fact that it waS overturned and
that these courthouse records were admitted?
L: In the beginning, naturally you know that the Bureau of Indian Affairs
was aiswx always against us. They never gave us any encouragement and
never, never wanted to recognize not one indian east of the Mississippi.
So when the time come to write the rules and regulations for the
award, the Bureau of Indian Affairs entered the ruleSand they wanted the
jqinkndian census and a certain documents and just a few way-back papers
that were made back in the early 1800's. Really we carried back to 1814.
That's all they wanted. They didn't want anything else. As a matter of
fact, if you were not on the inrk census, you had no right to be
Creek Indian. You see, we had already done .
P: This saxx 19061
L: No, 1932. We had already done xngmnh enough research to know that all
the towns were not in the Creek census. There were many people who were
Creek Indian who were not On the apiKk Creek census. For instance, Lynn
McGhee was not on the Creek census. But there was no way of proving he
was not Creek Indian. Many instances like that Mr. Thompson wrote an
amendment to that and Mr. McGhee also wrote an amendment to that and we
spent a lot of money and went to see a lot of congressmen. The sadxpa
sad part of it was w they were interested they wanted to help and they
listened, but they could not understand. There was so much in such a
little time for them to hear it all in, they couldn't understand. They
thought Mr. Thompson's covered the most, and I think it did also, that his
amendment did take in more places for the documents to be accepted from so
that was added to the original regulation.
P: But at first the government didn't want to accept it?
L; Oh, they Un-aln did not, they did not.
L: We had several committee hearings on that.
P: Now did for the eastern Creeks I mentioned the census of 1906-07 I've
forgotten which one it was Just before Oklahoma became a state.
Was that ...
P: I was wondering if that was ever involved in your dealings at all?
L: No, no. And incidentally, let me tell you a little something about
that so that at the end of this history, people can know just how
unfairly the Creeks ave been treated. When the DAwe$S Roll they
accepted the word of any [dian. If you went in with an dian
person and you told the commissioner or whoever was in charge of the
papers, that you knew this man now you were registered Creek, and you
knew that he was Creek Vndian, and you ifi signed an affidavit, they
accepted the &IO word. They did not have to go back to the immigration
records even to prove that they were Creek. An affidavit from any
ndian, just like in 1814, we had many affidavits from 5dian men who
knew white men who had married Indian women and had an ndian family,
see, but for the Creek East, we must have documents this is heart-
breaking we must have documents proving who our ancetor was -
on a document listed by the ^ireau of Indian Affairs. We must proceed
from that document step by step every generationwhere there were no
records kept. When the federal census take the names of the head of
house, the sex osfthe children and their approximate names, and the
Bureau of Indian Affairs refused to accept that. Unless one of these
old Indians left a will and named his children, there was no way to
prove that in 1814. The Creeks West only had to go back to the O ,
P: On the DqttSRoll, did you ever come across a former Creek Indian
slave that had been freed after the Civil War and ended up in (
P: Who may or may not have had Creek ancestry?
L: Yes, that's right.
P: Now did you ever find any usefullness to the jndian ensus of 1910 that
was done by the Bureau of the eabo.
& That census was not available to the public.
P: It wasn't?
P: I've never actually seen it I've seen summaries of tt.
L: No, that census was not available to the public and we could not use it.
P: Did they give you any reason for not using it?
L: No, this was not for the public,
P: So you never used ...
L: The only way the 1910 census bould be used fras for the individuals
who would be on that census to write and ask for the information
themselves. Then they would send that.
P: Could you talk for just a little while about your working with the lawyer
themselves. Did you ever have direct dealing with the lawyers yourself?
L: I went to nearly all of the "ig before the Commission and at one
,f\ A& rLSi
time, they were el for some research and I did some research for
P: Who was he?
L: I believe he was a professor from the University of Georgia.
P: An historian, or ....
L: No, he was a I y e must have been.
P: I've heard several people talking about and maybe you have some A<04
insights from that,4I understand there was some conflict between the
lawyers andx themselves at one point yven an attempt to organize a new
counsel, do you know anything about that?
L: Yes, I know all about that.
P: Could you tell me about it please?
L: I don't know if I should or not.
P: I believe it would really be important for me to have the full story.
L:: Now the story that I am going to tell you is true and will be i conflict
with anything else you've heard. If that's what you want.
,' Mr. Thompson and Mr. McGhee worked very closely together and Mr. Thompson
likes Mr. McGhee and Mr. McGhee, I believe, iikz loved Mr. Thompson
and respected and admired him. But as we have already metnioned on
this dollar registration fee and the dollar that went into the bank and
the lawyers used it at their discretion to use it whatever they needed
it for. But understand me to say, it was strictly used for the case.
All of the checks that I ever saw was used for ha for Docket 21. How-
ever Mr. McGhee devoted his entire time for hi this lawsuit and for the
people and the counsel, the Creek and the lawyers were there that he
e was to receive payment for the time he put in there and that the
counsel members were to receive I believe $5 a trip g for going to the
counsel meeting, because the people doing this were really very poor,
xkhnyx some lived in Monroe County, Escambia County, Florida, and they
would have to drive over when they were called to go. Well, Mr. McGhee
may have gotten two or three checks and didn't get anymore money.
Now I do not know this, but Mr. McGhee told me Mr, Thompson promised mn him
that when the expense money was alback as a matter of fact, Mr.
Thmmpson filed an expense account and the government would pay back this
money that they were using at the time).and when this money was paid back
that he would see that Mr. McGhee got the money that was coming to him.
This was drawn up in the minutes so I know this is true. Many years
past and many thousands of dollars were put in the bank and at long last
Time to put in the expense account.Well, I was not with Mr. Thompson and
Mr. McGhee at the time nk but they discussed this and I don't know what
happened at the time, but Mr. McGhee called me in and I went with him to
Mr. Thompson's office and we discussed it,I was with Mr. McGhee and he
would not change his mind about the way he was going to do this. cTnt.
L AMcGhee said, I always said that when the time comes that when I am going
to do something, and the i time has come now, and I want to do something,
either he's gonna file this expense accouA right or I'm gonna stop it.
Well the time had come, because the expense account was really n grave
error, gross error, and the point of it was, the expense account had
it been filed accurately and correctly would have given him as much
money asi more than hk he had filed for, but he had filed it in an
erroneous manner and then I filed it correctly and dwAm copies of this
can be had if you need it. And, -u Mr. McGhee was very disappointed,
Mr. Thompson never at this time mentioned things and the moe4 due him
back, I doubt if there was enough money come back to have paid Mr.
McGhee. And so we went to Washington, Mrs. McGhee, Mr. McGhee, myself,
and Jackie .Jackie drove us that time, and we went to see the
Commissioner v- We saw the expense account i e knew what was wrong and
how it was wrong)and I called Mr. Thompson and told him that we were
there Would you change any part of it and would youx6nrHgH do anything
about it. He said no. I said, you know that Mr. McGhee is here, Mrs.
McGhee was standing beside me, I was doing the talking, I said)you
know that Mr. McGhee is here to stop the expense account and he hollered
for Helen, his secretary at the time to get on the telephone, o I
said well if you can't mak any changes that's all I have to say, and I
told him goodbye, and hung up. Well, Jackie was a very religious person
and so was Mr. McGhee and she told me and said now Calvin you be gag careful
the ible /II A sowethh /
what you are doing. Remember, S& said whatsoever man soweth, that shal also
And I never forgotepow Jackie I can't go along with you on this this time.
He's done me wrong and I've got to do something. So, Jackie was not
telling him not to stop it, she wanted him to be sure he knew what he
was doing, because it was his decision not mine, not hers, not Mrs.
McGhee's, it was Mr. McGhee's decision. And she was just comforting him
so that she might help him to go wit his conscience and make sure he
was making the right decision. So, Mr. McGhee stopped the expeNde account.
Well, Mr. Thompson decided that if he the attorney j not the people,
"th+Imiho the chief, and made him another camMese,that he could get this
u.L.. to get tl an expense account. Now all this transpired one day
while I was cleaning house and Mr, McGhee was ihf hunting deer. and the
people begun to come back and tell us what happened. Well, Mr. McGhee
was hurt he was hurt very deeply. But you understand now he hurt
Mr. Thompson and had hurt him very deeply, km so already it was coming
back. He had hurt Mr. Thompson' s pocketbook, and Mr. Thompso really
9 hurt his heart. Now, you understnad I do not know if Mr. Thompson
intended to pay Mr. McGhee or what he intended to do*. Now that I do
not know& But I do know that the expense account was filed erroneously.
There were gross mistakes in the expense account MOow I know that.
I can produce the expense account to prove it But what Mr. Thompsn=ons's
intentions were, I can no t say, There was a girl friend of mine
that I went to school with, elementary and junior high, and we had
been friends and had been close friends after we had worked on this -
and 4L'told everyboyd that she was taking my place. Well, it was
funny to me, 'cause nobody could take my place, I was still here ond
she did and Mr. Thompson did cause quite a bit ofconfusion with the
Creek people and did make another council. The oet did find the
papers for him to get the money but they would not honor that eCo64ei.
So, we did as much as we could to stabilize the original rQmaol to tepp it
together, and to keep Mr. McGhee as chief, ie didn't slow up in no capacity
of anything he had been doings and aempok to my knowledge Randolph McGownq
didn't do anything that I knw of or heard of.....
P: Randolph McGown;4the new chief?
L: Yeah, if he did anything, I didn't know about it. He may have I don't
know everything. Lucille Ur)was the woman that was taking my place,
and she told everybody she was taking my place. I don't know what they
thought, I was still here.
P: Now, could I ask you approximately what was the amount of this expense
L: I really don't think I should answer that V I really don't remember
how much. If I had the documents here to tell you....I guess between
SO 'mildifL.amb m I believe that's about Mfir CIdr f lwT
P: Now the reason I ask that I'm a bit confused Well this is z the
same thing ktat a KxaS case between Rosell and Thompson had amongst
themselves that's another matter altogether?
L: That's a little bit down L line.
& :.: P.. COck. Ot
L: After all this come up, well the lawyers were to get paid, and Mr. McGhee
signed for them to get their money, and I don't remember now just how
it was supposed to be The la9rs were to get ten percent of the net or
P: And divide it among themselves?
L: Yes.Senator Pepper was to get 15 percent of thatand I think the others
were supposed to share edaB, I don't know. Now Mr. Thompson wouldn't
share the rest of money, saying they hadn't done as much work as he had*
Ihich was true, -hey hand't and they knew they hadn t. When it-s C time
to go to Washington, he couldn't hardly drag one of them off with him
And he made very trip he did do more work. Now somebo d said Mr. Rosell
did do more research, I don't know what Mr. Rosell did. And Mr. Thompson
did I do know for a fact, he did do more work on the case than the other
P: So that was a problem they had amongst themselves...
L: That was a problem they had amongst themselves) and had nothing to do with
no layman in the Creek nation, not even Chief McGhee.
P: Now)very quickly, what steps did Chief McGhee take to stop Thompson's move?
L: All he had to do was to go tell the Commission that he objected to the
P: That it was in error? Well, rest assured that people and specifics will not
l be gp revelaed publicly in inh what you just said That it is an issue
that has been of some concern to some people, but I did want to get the
p Icf re
details straight so I could get the whole piertwe what was going on. In
the prosecution of the case, was there any other major role besides assisting
in the genological aspect?
L: Unless it was just being the mouthpiece for Chief McGhee, I don't know.
Because, there are mayy instances, we would go see our congressman, senators,
or anybody, Mr. Beal, any department that we went smetime Mr. McGhee
found it hard to explain what P he wanted and I was always there to put
it in words they could understand.
P: You, yourself, how much education do you have. Atw,
B: Well, junior high school, and adult high schoolP WA. I have no college.
P: Not .eern-adult education WPA ?
L: Dont you remember the WPA had auuia scholteachers and they held school
in the district of community home,
P: I have to admit, I don't remember that.
L: I d know you don't remember, but you've read about it is what I mean.
Well, it was in one of those projects that I received my high school
education and the lady lived not too far from here she had her home.
And I've forgotten her name I don't think I would she was redheaded.
She was a lovely person.
P: Let me I go to another topic now and ask you to describe how you became a
Coa I AoIn;
member of the emone an actual member of the Rmdk ".Qnaaa of the Creek
L: Mr. McGhee asked me if I would serve on the G iaeel and I don't remember
if there was a mass meeting and I was Ex voted at that mass meeting or
if ya just the 4nestl voted I just don't remember. I believe it was
just the -on
P: How many years have you been on the counsel?
L: The connG 1 hadn't been but two or three years old when I went on it.
One of the men the man whose place I'd taken it doesn't read like that
in the minutes. But I really did take the place of a man who was dying of
cancer I can't remember his name now then Roberta at that same
time had a sick child and she asked for a leave of absence and Buford's
sister, Leola, I don't remember.
P: That was Leola Manack?
L: yes Pnd I don't remember really and truly which one had a sick child, but
one of them did and they got a leave of absence and people replacedthemj
but the person I replaced really and truly was a man who had cancer. I think
he died a short time after that. But in the minutes, it showed that new
counsel members were phased in.
P: Now, after that time, wasn't there a mass meeting in the 60's sometime to
reaffirm the eueene and everybody voted one time?
L: Yes, that was after Mr. Thompson had made his counsel then ...
P: Could you tell me how that mass meeting came about?
L: Well, we just asked the people to come, they come to this hall and some-
body made the motion that Mr. McGhee be reaffirmed and I shall never for-
get this may be off the record, it's entirely up to you. This man was a
retired attorney and they were just going to 'a.r -se Lon somebody
nominating and voting. This retired lawyer's name was Harry Adams from
v 4'Abm He comes in and says)Mrs. Linton, you are making a
mistake. Don't let anybody re-nominate Chief McGhee ust reaffirm him
as Chief of the Creek Nation. If you re-nominate him, it will look ttten
you accepted the fact that the other Chief was put in. So, I did just
exactly klrt he told me to do, carried it out just like he told me to
do and Mr. McGhee was reaffirmed and all the counsel.
L: Were you actually haxi chairing that meeting/
P: And the Q.oeei as a whole was reaffirmed?
P: Then what happened to te i Geua l kd they continuetoperation?
L: Oh, yes.
P: Are they still in operatdnn?
-L: o, -es,
p I hear very little about them e what do they do?
L: Well, I don't think they're doing anything, and they haven't had a
meeting in many years. Really I think .i Chief McGhee has died,- Since
the conflict has hed cause even at the time of his death In they
After Chief McGhee died I know MR. Thompson didn't know how ill the Chief
was a He had no idea. It was as much of a shock to him as to anybody who
didn't know. After the chief was gone, really the fuss was gone.
He has been especially nice to Mrs. McGhee and given her every assistance
that he could 0 And he told her if she neededxanyting anything, for her to
come. He treats her very very well I do know that the lawsuit is going
on in Chief McGhee's nameeo since it is going on in his name our C [-il
will be the one to say anything mH concerning any part of business. That
I know. At this state, our attorney is not in communication literally,
with our oaenisL4, but he stays into communication with Mrs. McGhee, which
really keeps the line open.
Flor rA CoWei
P: Could you tell me about the'S M GSomne came into being?
L: You see we are not a tribe over here never being under the Bureau of
Indian Affairs since immigration .r nd the law says that any n of people)f
they have to band themselves together can call themselves a tribe, elect
themselves a chief, axtkhHnx ky qnd a eoa4 then they are recognized
really just as much as we are.
P: When did the-94loalla group get organized?
L: Oh, shortly after the chief's death.
P: It was after the chief's death that it got organized?
P: Have you been over to their celebration over there?
P: Tell me a little bit about how that got started and what happens at the
L: Well, I really don't know how ti got started. The thixkg thing you want
to know, I imagine, how Jackie got him told about Chief McGhee?
P: I hadn't thought about that, but go ahead/
L: Well, what did you want to know?
P: Well, I am interested i what the purpose of this celebration was, why it
was held and was what the activities were and so forth.
L: well, I don't really know. In th beginning of the aFloevea affair, the
McIntosh's held a McIntosh reunion every year and they held it at Lake
Jackson. Well, eventually after they knew about Chief W. W. McIntosh,
they invited him to come to the reunion and he come and very shortly
after that, they begun to organize and make that into a larger reunion
which was fine. Well, then, they didn't only go into a larger reunion,
they went into a tribe all their own, had their chief all their own, and
consequently lost the McIntosh reunion and now there's just the chief and
the counsel a very iE few participants.
FRo r-c I-
P: Are there many people in the FleroTi area who did prove eligible for the
land claims money?
L: Chief Turner himself did, Mrs. Rogers, and her family, Mhe Stewarts ....
;:I k t-
P: AAr ithe related to the Stewarts here in Pensacola Ex related to the
L: Oh, yes that's him Now he is on the aeaeel and his brother, too, I
think =, and the Tomlins and Mrs. Williamsons. I think all the mm members
of his ewe 1 are proven CreekS,
P: Sinceyou brought it up, could you tell me what Jackie haid at the last
L: Well, we had been invited by almost every member of the maril and by the
chief and they had invited us to come, so I told the iaieial that I would
join and some more of the c they were all invited. So we wnet.
The first day we were there, he was ending his sppech. We didn't hear
very much of what he said, but I figured it was ugly and I said I didn't
hear enough of it that day. So they called Jackie and she made a short
talk. The next day, we were there earlyheAstarted his speech early and
he ignored the fact that Chief McGhee had ever been born. That there
had ever been such a man. He never mentioned him in no shape, form or
fashion. He just completely ignored the existence that he had ever
been. Several of the counsel members were there, including myself.
Jackie was there she's not a s I ee1 member. She said mother, nobody's
gonna challenge him. I said no, I don't suppose so. Matter of fact,
I hadn't though of it. She said that old man was the nearest thing to
my daddy on this earth, and I'm gonna challenge him. So I ran over to
Buford and got some dates, and she challenged him. She made everybody
there admit I He ax said there had not been a chief east of the Mississippi4
since Mineya, and so we felt that they had asked us over there and got us
over there, really to insult us, see? What else would you think? And
because we were on his ground, didn't make us have to keep our mouths
shut. So Jackie v^MmP mfWe him and the man at the microphone said you
don't have time to speak now and so Jackie said yes, but I have something
to say. She took the microphone out of his hand, and of course, he didn't
dare take it back, and she defendedshe told him what all he done Made
Everybody there admit they knew him and that he did exist. She just really
lowered the boom on them She's smart. And then when she was through,
they made the announcement that nobody could speak on the mike without
Chief Turner's permission. Well, no use to lock the gate, the cow's out.
P: Well, does this, you think, close off any possibilities of cooperation
between the two consels or if there still that possibility?
L: I see no advantage of any cooperation between them. I'm friednly with
all of them, and they're all friendly with me, and there's no xmnmi amemnity
anywhere except with him. I don't understand why he did that.a There's
hi no excuse for that It was an ugly thing. He could have still been
chief Turner. He had just as much right to be chief as did Chief McGhee.
As does Houston, and Doug McGown, had just as much right. But why did he
? Ai~e. k ?
want to be ugly v th" nobody had been prior to him.. That was the thing.
And I see no point for any cooperation really, what could they cooperate
P: Eventually, I hope to get over to .lll, but I haven't been. I wonder
if you could tell me briefly, have the indian descendants there have the
same kind of economic and educational history tte terf the people around
L: No. Most of the people on his counsel lived here. They are better educa-
ted and have better jobs and have a better way of living.
P: Do youMildred Grant in Tallahassee?
L: Yes, I know her.
P; How did you get to know her?
L: She came or Calvin and I a to do some research for their family.
P: Do you keep in contact with her at the present time? e ( "
Fo r/ (A 071 0
L: No, not d too much. Now she was in Farel and I talked to hektAH two
or three times lately nothing personal I don't know what they are
doing in Tallahassee. They had meeting not too long ago and I was in-
K vited to go, but that was during the elections and they were having
the delegates for Wallace and I-hqad to be in on that, *o I missed that,
but I really did want to go.
If they have another one, I am Wk going.
P: let me change subjects here#4 0w did you get involved, how you got in-
volved i and what part youh have played in the artistic side of the
indian movement the costuming, dancing, and this sort of thing.
L: Because I loved it I suppose. Chief McGhee always wanted his people ,
when they were 2 at an indian gathering X wear indian et++r and he
always did. Now I always did and my girls alwaysdid, ut it seemed
that the other indians aew that the rest of the world knew that
they were indian and they didn't have to do anything about it. As a
matter of fact, he could not make them understand that it was the love
of their heritage that made them do this, not showing off to the poeple.
They could not understand what he wanted. They-ought the Chief wanted
yhr them to go off and show off He didn't want that ge wanted them to
be loyal to their heritage but he couldn't make them understand that.
Then, traveling with Chief McGhee's wife over the years and going to
various places where they sold merchandise : I just loved to do it.
P: Did you make the costumes yourself?
L: Oh, yes.
PPrere did you learn to make them?
L: Well, we did a lot of reserach and we soon found that the Cree along
ikih with the Cherokees, took up the white man's attaire just as soon
as he come to the Nation into the country, and of course, they keft some
things of their own the beads and shells the glittery and the showy,
4hat they kept, and so as we began to xusmxx research we just decided
that we would make ou4 own attaire. We didn't like thn what the Creeks
West wore, Ve didn't think it looked pretty, so we made it JTdian
and made it what we wanted. Just about everybody followed suit.
P: Did you travel with the dance gamp group when they were going specifi-
cally going to dance someplace?
P: I understand that you recently were at
P: Do you got there every year, and wK how did you get started with that?
L: Well, Mr. Hicks purchased this pa piece of property and was gonna make
a big indian center there.
P: What was his first name, by the way?
L: Delbert Hicks. Alabama education apartment. And he invited the chief
and... to come and bring a group to dance, so we wnet and we all wore our
costumes and the little boys danced, but he was very disappointed.
We only had the one day and that was the first time he felt discouraged
and disheartened becuase it didn't turn out like he thought it should,
so we talked to him and told hm that for the great distance that the
people would have to go to get there, he should never have it for less
than two, and should have it for three days if he possibly could. From
then on, he had it three days every year and it grew and giaw and they
eventually put on a big drama it was a lovely thing- the ndian before
the white man and when
the white people to play that and horses it was really beautiful.
And it was a big production. Well, the next year, the ndian Heritage
Association was going to put the drama on and justvCpb pay Mr. Hicks
P: Was that a national organization or...
L: No, state I believe. It was a bunch of people that p away from
the Alabama Historical Society and they're the one ... And so they
put it on, put it on for a week, and it was very successful and very
beautiful, and Mr. Hicks and them had some sort of confusion something
happened I don't know the details, and they put didn't put it on
anymore and Mr. Hicks was heart broken and was not gonna fool with the
festival anymore. But Chief McGhee and I had started in our group, and
I hated to see it die, because I knew it could be made into something
fantastic if a person would just work a bit, so Mr. Hicks said, well
we're g not gonna have the drama but if you all want to have the festival
we'll have a festival. So, we all invited the indians and we all had a
good time. We did this for two or three years, so then a lady from
iSn Ocbs g1,Mary Brewer, decided she'd put the drama on without
anyndians and she did.Wobody would come. As far as the dramanmm
was concerned, that was dead. Nobody would come to see it wihtout any
*dians. So, last year, we went and just had a festival, the jdians
gathered, and I asked Mr. Hicks to let me put a drama on this year and I
did and it was very successful. People from -.Jdians from all overo-P IWifof
people come from Chattanooga )And there was one man there in a
seminary and he was from Montana e was full hask blood e* e was so
thrilled to see people working with the indians and trying to keep their
heritage alive and just trying to get the indians together and let the
indians be indian and all kind of help and cooperation from Chattanooga
next year. The people in Snt rnu h- .were so glad to have t renewed
and going again, they gave us live publicity, also from.. it was just really
successful/ It Culd be really something big next year, but it's too big
a thing for one person.
P: Let me ask you very quickly, before you went up and registered that first
time, for the land claims money on your own or through your husband, had
you ever visited anybody in the Atmore area?
L: No, my husband knew all those people, but...
P: You had never traveled up there ian hfe*-community?
P: O.K. Let me ask yougow that Chief McGhee has passed on, what do you
see as the major job of the counsel now with waiting for the final
distribution of funds and what kinds of activity do you think the counsel
is involvedin now?
L: Dr. Parades, there is no limit what could be done for the indian. There
could be hospital, educational facilities, there could be everything if
our a could ax pull together and work, but... 'U*4
P: Do you think the counsel will realize that potential?
L: I don't know. You see, I'm getting old and I'll not be with them much
longer and young people don't love to listen too much to old people. I
realize that I've got children and I'm saying this with a love now, not
wth no malice, adn the young pmmix people there's no way I can give
these yougg men what I know here's no way I can take it out of me
and give it to them And I don't know I'd love to, I want to very
badly. But almost everytime we get something started, something happens.
They don't know how to push, they're working they have to work and
we do need capable people and when I say ladies I say that because they
have more time they have husbands who are working and the ladies have
more time to see after this, but somehow they don't approve too much of
laides, I don't know why. The unl as a whole, now, I'm talking about
the entire group Women could do great deal of work that 5) men
xaxxx can't go because they're on the job every day. They can't be on
the job and be at the State Capitol in Washington D. C.)and all these
P: Would you, since I never got to meet Chief Calitn McGhee, would you just
make a general statement on what kind of man he was?
L: When I first met Chief McGhee, he was one of the most religious men
I've ever known. But, in the next following few years, he had ceqased
to be as quite religious as he was. He drank a little and smoked some,
and was his n worst enemy. Chief McGhee loved his people moore than
any man that I've ever known loved a group of people. I ever knew any
presidents, but I never knew any man that loved a group of people Zh like
he loved the group oflndians. And if you come to him and told him
that you were Creek Indian, he believed you. He didn't think you'd
come and told him a story he believed you. He done everything that
man could do to believe you. And I heard him say many times that he'd
rather not have any money himself than see his Creeks left ad. He
loved the Creek Indians, he did try to help khi them.
P: You mentioned that sometimes you were his spokesman. x u
Was he much a of a speaker in his own right?.
L: Years went by and he learned to speak quite well and did thingwg always
did his own speaking in public, I didn't do that for him. But it was
hard for him to make people understAid what he wanted. Like he never
could get his own people it was the love of the heritage the reason he
wanted them to wear the indian attire. They thought he wanted them to
show of f see) that's what I'm talking about.
P: He did all his public speaking]
L: He did all his public speaking.
P: Well, other than the love of the heritage, do you feil that you ever
got any insight into his character that you knew what motivated him
and kept him going for all those years?
L: Do you believe in reincarnation?
P: I don't think I do at this point, but I'll hold that in abeyance until
I hear what you say.
L: It would be very hard to explaijto you how I feel. wUix Well, I do
believe to an extent of reincarnation. It would have had to have
been for him to be the man that he was, for he was not an educated
man, and he felt this burden on his people that was youth and always
h tried to help his people and stand straight and tall among his
people. I believe that it would have had to have come from another
lifetime the burden that he felt you see you don't know how heavy
this burden was how hard he had to fight Nobody don't know.
And believe that from another lifetime he was here to complete
a job that was not finished.
P: I want to ask you another question, but I almost hate o. It's about
Chief Calvin and what you knew about his attempts beyond the land claims
case to organize the people into a political party. Were you ever
involved in that?
P: Could you tell me about that?
L: Well, he felt he would love, if he could have, he would have been like
I- -_ AS___ Maybe that's who he was in another lifetime. a
in early history, wanted to minE unite all the indian tribes together.
Chief McGhee had this same desire. If he could have gotten all the
tribes to join this organization, I believe ... and everyboql the indians
to have voted in a bloc vote and to have united as the negroes. He
worked very hard for that. The winidexha insight he had on that was
fantastic. But, he didn't have any money so there was not a whole
lot he could do. He did everything that he could do. He did or-
ganize the State of Alabama in a good bloc vote and what have gone
to other place, but even without the money, he would have done
much more had his heart not failed him. But just at the time
when it looked like everything was wide open and he could really
go, he had to slow down because of his heart.
P: Now I saw a newspaper clipping that I think Mrs. McGhee has,
xkf:kikxHf shows Dr. Kilroy and Horace Ridout was there. Do you
remember his being involved?
L: Yes, he hi helped them organize he did not work in it, but he
did help them... c ,
P: How did he come to get involved and Horace Rideout?
L: I don't know except he just heard of the Creeks up here and come
P: One other point There was something else you wanted to add?
L: Well, that was all. He had nothing to do with it, except he did
help them with some work and some things he thought was good.
Pe H rokc 000
P: You mentioned going to Fembreek, N.C., was that 1960 Jndian inference
that was organized at the Univ ersity of Chicago?
L: No, that was in Chicago...
P: But was there a branch of it in Pembroke?
L: I don't know Well, that was really with a bunch of indians who
wanted to name themselves. They felt that they knew the original
tribe, but it had been swallowed up in the diangand they wanted
a name and they named themselves the baby Indians.
P; And what year was this?
L: Must have been about 1960 -1961.
P; Were you at that meeting?
P; You saw Chief McGhee did go to the S'' dian conference.
P: Did he ever talk to you bout it?
L: Yes, yes.
P; What did he say about that?
L: Well, he thought it was great and wanted very much for them to have
another one, but it was a new thing for him and he felt that they
asix could have accomplished more, but he didn't know how, you
understand. He felt like enough wgas not accomplished.
He felt like there should be follow-up conventions of the sort
and that would have helped very much on4-- this organizations
organizing the indians so they could go to bloc vote and to
get a lot more civil rights than they ever gotl.
P: Do you happen to know how Chief McGhee got to be one of those
selected to xrpresent the Chicago Indian Conference Resolution
to President Kennedy?
L: No, I don't, unless it was because he was a southeastern Vdian.
P; I understand becasue he came from Alabama he was first in line?
L; Possibly so.
P: Well, we have just a little tape left here, and I wonder if you
would like to say anything generally about what's been happening
over the years and the various activities that you've been in-
L; I feel very badly because like Chief McGhee I see Mite things
that could have been done and because the people don't understand
and the lack of cooperation, many things are not being done. When
I think of the CreekSEast could have if the government would pay for,
that they could have, and we just sit idly by and go to a movie and
talk a little bit and let that be the end of it. It breaks my
heart. I hate to die and it not be left in the hands of a good
leader. Now I have no 4 reproach for Houston *'think he's done
the best he can do, but he doesn't have the burden. Either you
have it, or you don't. He's a young man and he's doing the best
that he can His father laid a beautiful foundation If Curtis
would have taken his father's place he's a leader But he
didn't have the burden He had the force Houston is a humble
man and a good man, a good boy, but Curtis had the force and the
dynamic personality that could have built from his father's founda-
P: Why wasn't Curtis elected to succeed his father?
L; Because he's blonde like Gaynelle and what difference did it
make? He's on the Roll, Gaynelle's on the Roll I'm the indian,
I'm sitting here, a quarter indian talking to you, and I'm not
on the Roll. So what difference did it make if he was blonde -
he's still an indian. My documents didn't satisfy them.
P: How did your children get on the Roll through your husband?
P: So no one could ever aeamr you of just being in it for the money,
P: Have there been people accused on that basis?
L: I don't think so, I really don't think so.
P: Your daughter's laughing like me she thinks there is.
L: Well, they know that the money was very little,- how much ie cost
their father and how we have to hear it constantly. So i eos tAi .**o
Chief McGhee barely got by You know they barely got by. You've
been to their home. Everything they ever made, put it right back
P: I'll ask you one more question How important in the long run od
you think the land claims case was, given the fact that there won't
be much money for each individual, so they say, in the history
of the Eastern Creeks?
L: Well, one thing, we do know h who we are, and lots of people
would never have known who they were. A lot of people never ed
have known that they f had old indian ancestors that walked this
land mnay years before them.
P: While the tape was off, we were discussing the possible benefits
of the roll number Would you talk about that for just a minute?
L: Well, the roll number does make you an indian, recognized by
the government as such...
P: That number assigned for the land claims?
L: Yes. And that number will be valuable in many things- for small
business loans from the government because you proved you are
an Xdian and that you are a miant minority group and that--
there's many benefits that will come out of this.
P: Have many people tried to get some of these benefits using their
L: Chief Turner, by the way, has been to a hospital in Philadelphia CA1l* e .
That's the Chactaw Hospital and was transferred to another hospital
because they didn't have the facilities to take care of him I
understand he is very ill I think he has lung cancer and that
is the only one that I know of. However, I have a friend in _C__
County, and her daughter married an idian with a roll number and
he tried to get her to go to an ndian hospital to have a baby
and she didn't go Her mother kept her at home and took care of her
P; Well, unless you have anything to add, I certainly do think you.
L; But, I hate to see,,J guess so, everything happens for the best. I
would love a to see Houston be the dynamic leader that I want him
to be, ut you see, there again, I know Houston has to work. He must
work and support his family His father f his friends have helped
him a great deal so that he could do these things and tkyHrihkx they're
no one to provide for his needs. Now Curtis in my opinion would
have been the man for the job. He had the personality and the push
and the thing it takes.