The following letter was written
3/3/37 by W. P. Blake, addressed to Grant Foreman,
"Indian-Pioneer Papers" (Foreman Collection), Vol. 77,
pp. 213-216, Indian Archives, Oklahoma Historical
Hyattsville, Md., 3/3/37
Dear Mr. Foreman:
Now in my 80th year, I am not so sure
I can recall much of interest of my work with the
Seminoles, tho' I think I am wide awake enough to the
present condition, to retain my seat on the Supreme
Court, if I happen to be there, and I am sorry about the
My relation with the Seminoles were
of such a nature as to bring us into intimate fellowship
the whole Nation, both of the full-bloods, mixed bloods
and the negroes among them.
Caesar Bowlegs, well-known in the
Nation once said, when shaking hands with me, "Why,
Mista Blake, you's de Fadda of all the Seminole children
— " This grew out of the fact that I was Superintendent
of one of their schools for about 19 years. Some of the
girls who were there in our first years, later sent
Rev. John Jumper, was Principal Chief
when I was called to the school, and through him, the
America Baptist Home Mission Society of New York,
commissioned me as Missionary to the Seminole Government
on November 14, 1887, 30th anniversary of my birthday —
That suggests the sort of man — Bro Jumper was over six
feet tall, large body, and very dark for an Indian. He
was a Baptist preacher, and greatly beloved as their
Chief. He had a close friend, Rev. James Factor, who in
their early life in the South, before their removal to
Indian Territory, had been whipped publicly for
professing Christianity. That was, I think before Bro.
Jumper was Chief. Both these men were Christians, tho'
some time troubled by drink, which was common in those
May I say here, in my contact with
the Seminoles, I found, drinking intoxicating liquor,
did much harm to them. It was hard for them to resist an
invitation to drink, and Christian character suffered
I thought then, and am sure now that
their early drinking of osofke as children created an
appetite for whiskey etc. Drink is a curse.
Rev. Hulputta, who succeeded Jumper
as Principal Chief, was much interested in his people, a
loyal friend of the schools and carried on much the same
as Bro. Jumper. During Hulputta's incumbency they
thought seriously of a removal into Mexico, and Hulputta
in company with others went down into Mexico to view the
country. He could talk a very little English, so that an
interpreter, Mrs. Alice B. Davis, a half-blood,
accompanied the party as interpreter. However, nothing
came of this trip.
This Mrs. Alice B. Davis, was a
sister of John F. Brown, who succeeded Hulputta as P.
Chief of the Nation. Mr. Brown was in merchandise
business at Sasakwa when I first met him, and I had
called on him to get the keys of the academy building.
He was, I think the real leader of the interests of the
Nation, even while Jumper and Hulputta were in the
Chieftancy. His Bro. Jackson who was treasurer of the
Nation was in business at Wewoka, merchandise. This
Brown family, John F., Andrew Jackson, and Mrs. Alice
Brown-Davis, were undoubtedly the real leaders, and did
much to advance their people.
They were highly favored by birth,
their father having been a U.S. Surgeon Physician, a
Scotchman, in the U. S. Army, located at or near Ft.
Gibson in the early days — He was a linguist and master
of several languages, (as I was told). Any way John F.
Brown and Mrs. Davis and Jackson received considerable
education, which added to inherited talent fitted them
In the affairs of the Seminole Nation
with the U.S. Government — in arranging the Educational
part of it, two large brick buildings, and necessary
other buildings for schooling purposes were erected and
as I understood it, a sufficient sum of money was set
apart to maintain the schools. These were boarding
schools to accommodate 112 pupils. We tried them one
year as co-educational, and then decided it would be
better to make one a Boys' school and one a Girls'
school I should say it was first a Girls' School —
capacity about 30 — when the new buildings were ready we
tried the co-ed plan.
As I then understood, it was my
impression, the Educational question was practically
settled for years to come. Provision had also been made
for attendance of some of the children at Public Day
schools — So far as the Seminole support of the schools
was concerned, and the money allotted each of the
Boarding Schools was believed sufficient for all
At first the A. B. H. M Society was
associated in the support of the school. About 1894 the
Society withdrew, with the full consent of the
Seminoles, who gladly took over the support of myself
and other helpers, and we were under the management of
the Supt. of Education of the Seminole Nation. I was
given a free hand, so to speak, and carried on just as I
had when in cooperation with the ABHM Society.
Later we came under the management of
the Indian Agency at Muskogee, which also gave me a
free hand, and we carried on just the same — Having
begun in 1887 as a mission school, and being retained in
charge; as the changes in management came on, we carried
on as a Mission School, to May 1906.
During these years the Brown family
were leaders — At my suggestion Mrs. Alice Brown Davis
succeeded me as Superintendent of the school.
As I recall it, Thomas McGeisey, a
full blood, was Supt. of Education when I began my work.
I think he was followed by Rev. Dorsey Fife, who was a
frequent visitor to the school, and a good influence
among the people. Later Staunton (?) Brown was chosen
Superintendent. Wm Factor was on the School Board. The
Brown Brothers, John F. and A. J. had associated with
them in business Mr. C. C. Long in the name of the
Wewoka Trading Co. His opinion as he expressed it to me,
of John F. Brown, was "he is the soul of honor." My
business relations with the Browns were always pleasant,
and they treated me with the respect, that made me
appreciate them among my dearest friends. None of them
perfect. Neither was I, but in our work together we
welded a friendship that holds, and it would be a joy
today, to meet any one of them — It is a hope of mine
that some, at least, of their children will hold up the
high standards of those who have gone on.
Now, you may have to write me again,
if you wish to know more.
W. P. Blake
the Indian-Pioneer Papers (Foreman Collection), Vol. 77,
pp. 213217, for a more detailed account of William
Packer Blake's work among the Seminoles. Also see D. C.
Gideon, Indian Territory Descriptive Biographical and
Genealogical (New York and Chicago, 1910), pp. 667, 668.