Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Friday, February 8, 2019

Chahta Tamaha

Song - Choctaw-Chickasaw Drum Dance with Ardis Mose

About four months ago I contacted a woman, Kathy from Find-A-Grave to see if she knew who could get Mr. B and myself into an old Indian burial ground on private property in Oklahoma.  She replied later that day that she could actually get us in. Wow!

This is Armstrong Academy and is near Bokchito in Oklahoma just across the Red River separating Oklahoma from Texas.  This is also where Mr. B's Great-Great Grandfather Ish Ka Na went to school.  Armstrong Academy was founded as a school for Choctaw boys in 1844.

Originally it was built with logs and in 1850 it was rebuilt with bricks that were made on the property.  The blog title "Chahta Tamaha" means Choctaw Town because a little town grew up around the Academy. They had a blacksmith, a general store, a grist mill and a church.

And this was our vehicle for the day!  Dog and gun thrown in for free!  Seriously we needed this little mighty vehicle as Kathy drove us over hills, threw the mud, across small streams and many gates that needed opening and closing to keep the cattle where they belonged.

It was a bitter cold winter day but we were very excited to get a private tour of this area by a very nice, knowledgeable guide - Kathy. While we were still in California, Kathy warned us that there was little left of the Academy as it burned down in 1921 and that Mr. B's great-great grandparents were in unmarked graves. 

Above was the front entrance to the dormitories.   

The foundation of the four room schoolhouse.


The well that had a windmill above it.

 Kathy and Mr. B

All around the school there were bulbs coming up.  I wonder who first planted them?

Then we headed over to the nearby Armstong Academy cemetery - more gates to open an close.

 Through the dense Oak forest and scrub.

Suddenly we were there!  Kathy said that she and her sister cleared the land about fifteen years ago.  They had thought there were about 100 graves but at that time they counted and marked 900!

 You had to be careful where you walked because there were stones like this all over the forest floor.  Besides being a tripping hazard they are the stones they used for the Indian graves and have weathered away over time.

Some of the headstones still remain.

This grave held an entire family.

Some had elaborate fencing that still stands today.

This is John William Connelly - Ish Ka Na and Elizabeth Hunter's son & Mr. B's Great Grandfather.
He was born in 1861 and his father died in 1865 and his mother in 1870 so he was raised by a teacher and missionary at the school who found him to be quite smart.  

Above is the man who raised him, educated him and gave him his own name.

A beautiful stream flows through the land.

I can just picture the boys playing and swimming in this stream.

"Our first teacher is our own heart"  


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