THE GOUGE COUSINS go to photograph (Photo by Joe Capolino) Mr. Felix and Mr. Thompson Gouge, direct descendants of Opothleyahola, beginning the procession to honor the resolve, resilience, and triumph of their own and the other families, including African-Americans, that came to Kansas in the Great Escape. After Indian Territory (that later became Oklahoma) was liberated, most of these Indian families returned to their homes. Many of the blacks also returned to Indian Territory to become Creek and Cherokee citizens, in accordance with the promises made to them during the Escape, and in the Treaty of 1863, as well as in new laws passed by the National Councils in 1865, and in the treaty to settle the Civil War in 1866. Chief Beaver is from Tulsa, and the Gouges live in Oklahoma City.
MRS. CAROLYN GREEN, Chair of the Humboldt Historic Days Committee,
spoke about the use of quilts to convey information to escaping slaves during
the period of Underground Railroad activities.
go to photograph (Photo by Joe Capolino)
MR. ERIC KIRKWOOD, member of the KIAANAFH Board of Directors, recounts
the rise and role of the Indian Home Guard as well as the Kansas Colored
military units that included warriors, black and Indian, who came in the
Great Escape, and fought with the Union army to help liberate Indian
Territory and in other Civil War battles in the region.
go to photograph
For copy of his presentation click here
Mrs. CHARLOTTE GOODSEAL in the Procession go to photograph (Photo by Joe Capolino) Charlotte Goodseal, born in Humboldt and now residing in Grand View MO connects to one of the several Landrums that were born in the Creek Nation and that came in the Great Escape to the Neosho Falls area. One of the Landrums served in both the First Indian Home Guard and the Second Kansas Colored regiments. Two other Landrums also served in the Second Kansas Colored.
REV. BAYNHAM, CHIEF BEAVER, and CHARLOTTE GOODSEAL go to photograph (Photo by Willard R. Johnson) Charlotte Goodseal recounts the story of her own family. Master of Ceremonies, and Vice President of the KIAANAFH, the Rev. Robert L. Baynham also wrote the pledge of unity that all the participants and audience recited at the end of the procession.
BILL LINDE go to photograph (Photo by Joe Capolino) Bill Linde, President of the Southeast Kansas Association of Counties, instigator of the successful project to have the State Legislature designate the Opothleyahola commemorative highway, and a tireless advocate of awareness and appreciation of Native American culture and history, speaks about the legacy of Opothleyahola and the Great Escape in the Woodson county area, where Opothleyahola is buried.
JAMES BOYD photograph in procession (Photo by Joe Capolino) go to photograph speaking (Photo by Willard R. Johnson) Life long resident and community leader of Humboldt, James Boyd, recounts the story of Aunt Polly Crosslin (later named Crosby) who was one of the earliest black settlers in Humboldt, and who likely came to Indian Territory with her parents who, according to early Humboldt newspaper accounts, had been slaves to Cherokee in Florida. Her first husband, Edward Crosslin, was an interpreter for the Seminoles. They likely came to Kansas during or very soon after the Escape. She was a real pillar of the colored community (black and Indian) in Humboldt during the Civil War, was one of the principal founders of the Poplar Grove Baptist Church (which celebrated its 121st birthday on the day following this ceremony) and was active in the underground railroad activities for which the town was known.
MARJORIE HARPER Photo of Marjorie Harper in the Procession (Photo by Joe Capolino) photograph of Majorie speaking (Photo by Willard R. Johnson) Now a resident of Kansas City, MO, Marjorie Harper, also a member of the Boyd family, commemorated Andrew and Sarah Tecumseh. Andrew was born in Indian Territory and likely came to Kansas in the Escape. Sarah was one of the early members of the Poplar Grove Baptist Church.
REV. OTIS CRAWFORD
go to photograph (Photo by Willard R. Johnson) The former
Pastor of the Poplar Grove Baptist Church, life long Humboldt resident,
the Rev. Otis Crawford Jr. recounted his own family history, which descends
from one of the earliest and largest of the black families in Humboldt,
that of Rufus and Caroline Anderson. He also commemorated the family of
Elizabeth Payne, herself an Indian (probably Creek) who was the wife of
Rev. D.D. Payne, the first Pastor of the church.
WILLARD R. JOHNSON go to photograph (Photo by Joe Capolino) Organizer of the Ceremony, and President of the KIAANAFH, Willard R. Johnson, recounted the long history of the connections between persons of African descent and the Native peoples of the Southeast U.S., especially the so-called Creeks (Muskogee). He also explained the special role Humboldt had played in the events and planning preceding the Great Escape. In the procession, he also recounted the story of his own family, that included a Cherokee Freedman, Charley Davis, who was born in Tahlequah (capital of The Cherokee Nation) around 1846 and was in Humboldt by 1870.
PARTICIPANTS go to photograph (photo by Willard R. Johnson)