Notes for Jennie CRITTENDEN

Source:  "CHEROKEE IMMIGRATION ROLLS, 1817-1835", Dr. Emmett Starr, Transc
ribed by Jack D. Baker, Baker Pub. Company, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 1977
Return to Jennie CRITTENDEN

Notes for Rebecca CRITTENDEN

1851 Drennan roll: Going Snake, 316
1880 Census [CN]: Going Snake, 629 as Beckey Eaton
1890 Census [CN]: Going Snake, 6 as Rebecca Eaton
1902-07 Dawes roll: card# 406, roll# 1236 as Rebecca Eaton
Blood: 3/4 Cherokee
Return to Rebecca CRITTENDEN

Notes for Sarah CRITTENDEN

1851 Drennan roll: Going Snake, 316
Return to Sarah CRITTENDEN

Notes for Walter Starr CRITTENDEN

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: January 25, 1938
Name:  Mrs. Emma Love
Post Office: Claremore, Oklahoma
Residence Address:  
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth:  
Place of Birth:  
Information on father:
Place of birth:   
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Carl R. Sherwood
Interview #: 12831 

Walter Starr Crittenden was born May 4, 1866, in the hill country of what is
now Eastern Oklahoma, then Flint District, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

His father was George Washington Crittenden, a Cherokee Indian, who fought as
a soldier under General Stand Watie in the Confederate Army, Cherokee

His mother was Miss Martha Starr, also a Cherokee, a sister to Walter A.
Starr, who served first as Sheriff and later as District Judge of
Cooweescoowee District.

Walter S. Crittenden, who is known as ‘Uncle Watt’, was a nephew of Judge W.
A. Starr, and a first cousin of Emmett Starr, the Cherokee historian, author
of ‘Cherokee West’, early history of the Cherokees. No man in the Claremore
vicinity is better known or more respected than is ‘Uncle Watt’ Crittenden.

His wife, Aunt Rachel, died a few years ago and was admired by all who knew
her best.

Early settlers well remember the welcome accorded a guest in the day of yore
in the home of Uncle Watt and Aunt Rachel at the foot of a hill near the
village of Sequoyah a few miles northeast of Claremore. Although Aunt Rachel
has gone to her reward and ‘Uncle Watt’ is stricken in years, the memory of
those visits is vivid in the memory of many.

Aunt Rachel’s maiden name was Henry. She was a sister to Josiah Henry, one
time District Attorney of Cooweescoowee District.

The courts for this District were formerly held at Kephart’s Spring, six miles
northeast of Claremore and near the present head of lake Claremore. About 1883
the District courthouse was moved to Claremore, where it remained until the
Cherokee courts were abolished by the Curtis Bill and the Cherokee Treaty of

Walter Starr Crittenden’s mother was as Old Settler Cherokee, which meant that
she or her parents came west to the Indian Territory before the general exodus
of Cherokee under Chief John Ross had before the signing of the New Echota
Treaty. His father was an emigrant Cherokee, one who came west in accordance
with the treaty under the guidance of Chief Ross. He came her in 1836 from the
Old Cherokee Nation in Georgia, and he and Martha Starr were married while the
country was ravaged by the horrors of the Civil War. The Cherokee Indians
suffered greatly during the Civil War. 

General Stand Watie and his followers adhered to the southern course, and he
raised, equipped, and trained a regiment of Cherokee soldiers. The Pin
Indians, the full blood element and followers of John Ross, at first proposed
to remain neutral and to take no part in the controversy but later, finding
that impossible, became loyal to the Northern or Union cause. Thus brother was
against brother, and sometimes father against sons in this terrible
‘slaughter’ of the innocent.

The tragedy of Goingsnake, which occurred in Goingsnake District Court House,
near the present city of Stilwell, Adair County in 1872, was a sad after math
of this deplorable war. In the battle of Goingsnake, several members of the
Beck Family were slain and seven graves all in a row at the ancient home of
Geoffry Beck, near the present town of Row, in Delaware County, are marked by
plain marble slabs that tell the story.

‘Uncle Watt’s’ father was at one time a member of the National Council, the
same as our state legislature, while his wife’s father, Joe Starr, served in
the Cherokee Senate.

The Cherokee Nation was divided, for political and judicial purposes, in to
eight districts, which correspond to what is now termed counties under the
Oklahoma laws.

‘Uncle Watt’ came to what is now Rogers County, then Cooweescoowee District in
1880, and has lived in the vicinity of Claremore ever since. He was a young
man then and for a few years lived with his uncle and aunt, Judge and Mrs.
Walter A. Starr, at what has been known as old Claremore, five miles northeast
of the present city of Claremore; the change in location having been made soon
after the building of the Frisco Railroad in 1888.

As a young man he worked on the farm, fished in the Verdigris River and hunted
deer and turkey at the famous Claremore mound. He remembers Bill Pigeon, one
of the most dreaded outlaws of the Cherokee Tribe. Pigeon, at first a
peaceable and law-abiding citizen, lived near the present town of Locust
Grove, on Spring Creek, or one of its tributaries called Snake Creek. He had a
fight with a Negro who claimed to be a Cherokee Freedman, a Negro who was
formerly a slave of a Cherokee Indian Citizen, over some hogs which the Negro
had stolen from Pigeon. The trouble became intense, the Negro drew his gun and
probably would have shot Pigeon, who happened to be quick on the draw for the
Negro was killed.

Pigeon was ready to surrender to John Jumper, sheriff of Illinois District,
and stand trial in the courts of that district, of which George W. Benge was
presiding judge, but the fact developed that the slain Negro was not what he
seemed and was not a citizen of the Cherokee Nation so as a citizen of the
United States, was subject to trial in the United States Court at Fort Smith,
Arkansas, presided over by Judge Isaac C. Parker, commonly called the ‘Hanging
Judge’. Pigeon did not take kindly to this idea and virtually went into the
brush to avoid this terrible fate.

He crossed the Grand River at Markham’s ferry near Locust Grove, at midnight
and before daylight was with his friends on the ranch near what is now called
Scaly Park Mountain in what is now the southern part of Rogers County. Here he
remained for a time, until Federal officers were seen scouting the country.
Then he changed his rendezvous to a deep canyon in the Hog Creek Hill country,
near the present location of Washington School in Claremore and on lands now
owned and occupied by Arch Helms, a Cherokee citizen, and a blood relative of
Pigeon. Here be built a miniature fort, the remains of which are still in
evidence, and evaded arrest for a year or two. He was a skilled hunter and
kept his friends and neighbors supplied with deer, brought down by his trusty
rifle, in exchange for which he was supplied with ammunition, tobacco, and
other necessities.

A few years ago children of C. E. Fallen, while playing around this old hiding
place, unearthed and old stone pipe, a favorite smoking pipe of Joe Pigeon.

The matter of the killing finally died out and was forgotten and Pigeon
returned to his family and his cabin home, between Locust Grove and Rose
Village, Delaware County, where he committed suicide. He lies in an un-marked
grave on the banks of Snake Creek in an ancient Indian Cemetery near an Indian
Church called Little Rock, so called because an older church a few miles away
is called Standing Rock.

The Federal officers managed at one time to arrest Pigeon and took him to a
school house near Oowala to spend the night. He slept on a pallet which was on
the floor of the school; he slept between two officers who were heavily armed
and went to sleep early in the night while wintry blasts blew on the outside.
As he was sleeping and snoring loudly, the officers became careless and soon
fell asleep. About the middle of the night they were awakened by an Indian war
hoop from outside the school and discovered their prisoner, as well as their
guns, were gone. Pigeon whooped, fired his pistol several times, disappeared
into the night and was never recaptured.

On my visits to the Crittenden home, when I was a small girl, I feasted on
canuche, and Indian relish prepared from native hickory nuts, in the making of
which Aunt Rachel was an artist.

Aunt Rachel’s health began to fail and home remedies failed to bring relief,
which fact was charged to evil influences of a disappointed suitor. This
disappointed suitors’ grudge against Watt was so bitter that he ‘smoked the
pipe of hatred’ and the smoke passed through the air to the young wife who
suddenly became very sick. According to tradition, sickness could be brought
on is this way and love could also be promted by those in the know-how. The
pipe was filled with a powerful native herb, know only to members of the
Kee-too-wah, an ancient Indian society.

Aunt Rachel was near the point of death, and on the advise of friends, her
grief stricken husband took her to the home of an Indian doctor, who resided
in the hills near Tahlequah. The once charming young lady was reduced to skin
and bones. She took no interest in life and her young husband was prostate
with grief. At the suggestion of his Indian doctor, they took the patient to a
camp at Oil Springs, near the Illinois River, a few miles northeast of
Tahlequah, where the healing waters were supplied and aid of the Great Spirit
invoked on behalf of the maiden who was slowly fading away. All that was
required of her was to sit on the banks of this clear stream, look up into the
Heavens and listen to the ‘doctor’.

This treatment was carried on for nine days, each treatment being before
sunrise. On the ninth morning, they felt a change in her condition and
realized that the evil spirits were taking flight, have been subdued. In a few
days she regained her normal size, weight, and sunny disposition.

Uncle Watt said in the olden days before the white man came, the Cherokees
were divided into seven clans, known as the bird, deer, holly, long hair,
stealer, wolf, and paint clans. When a young man desired a wife, he sought her
in another clan for all his own clansmen were considered his relations.
Children belonged to the clan of their mother, who was the head of the family,
doing most of the work about the home and leaving the man free to rest and

Modern maidens of Cherokee blood have long since abandoned the idea that a
husband is a luxury to be slaved for. They figure that a man should support
his wife and children

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Catherine Widener, October 2002.
Return to Walter Starr CRITTENDEN

Notes for Helen of the CROSS

Flavia Iulia Helena was probably born in the city of Drepanum in Bithyni a.
Various sources indicate that Drepanum was renamed Helenopolis by Helen a's
son Constantinus I to honour and to perpetuate Helena's memory (e.g ., Sozom.,
Hist. Eccl., 2.2.5). Procopius (Aedif. 5.2.1-5) mentions that C onstantine
changed the name of Drepanum to Helenopolis because his moth er was born
there. Her year of birth may be established on Eusebius' rema rk (VC., 3.46)
that she died at the age of about eighty years. Since she p robably died in
328/9, she must have been born ca. 248/9. Helena was of l ow social origin.
Ambrose (De obit. Theod.,42) calls her a stabularia a nd Eutropius (Brev.
10.2) mentions that she was born ex obscuriore matrimo nio. Philostorgius
(Hist. Eccl., 2.16) calls her `a common woman not diffe rent from strumpets'
(cf. also Zos. 2.8.2 and 2.9.2). Constantius I Chlor us and Helena probably
met in Drepanum ca. 270. It is very likely that t he pair lived in
concubinage, an accepted form of cohabitation for peop le of different social
origin. In 272/3 Helena gave birth to Constanti ne in Naissus. It is not known
whether Helena bore any other children besi des Constantine. When in 289
Constantius became Caesar and married Theodor a, he separated from Helena and
Helena's life recedes into obscurity for u s.

The gap in our knowledge about Helena's life lasts at least until 306, wh en
the troops in York proclaimed Constantine the successor of his fathe r. It is
probable that from this time on Helena joined her son's court. Co nstantine's
foremost residences in the West were Trier and Rome. Ceiling f rescoes in the
imperial palace in Trier, on which Helena possibly is depic ted, as well as a
lively medieval Helena tradition in Trier and its surrou ndings, may be an
indication that Helena once lived in this northernmos t, imperial residence.
After Constantine had defeated Maxentius at the Mil vian Bridge, Helena
probably came to live in Rome. The fundus Laurent us in the south-east corner
of Rome, which included the Palatium Sessorian um, a circus and public baths
(later called Thermae Helenae), came into h er possession. Several
inscriptions (e.g., CIL, 6.1134, 1135, 1136) fou nd in the area, are evidence
for a close connection between Helena and t he fundus Laurentus. So is her
interest in the newly found basilica Ss. Ma rcellino e Pietro which was built
in the area that belonged to the fund us Laurentus (Lib. Pont., I, 183), as
well as the fact that she was buri ed in a mausoleum attached to this

Helena must have been a prominent person at the imperial court. Before 3 24
she held the title of Nobilissma Femina as may be concluded from coin s. In
324, after Constantine's defeat of Licinius, Helena received the tit le of
Augusta. The increase of coins - with the legend SECURITAS REIPUBLI CE - and
inscriptions bearing this title indicate Helena's rise in stat us and her
prominency within the Neo-Flavian dynasty.

Although it has been suggested that from her childhood on Helena had fe lt
great sympathy for Christianity, it is more likely that she only conver ted
after 312 when her son Constantine began to protect and favour the Chr istian
church. Eusebius reports that Helena was converted by Constantine a nd that he
made her a devoted servant of God (VC, 3.47). That she once w as Jewish, as
suggested by the Actus Sylvestri and taken seriously by J. V ogt is most
unlikely. There are indications - e.g. her sympathy for the ma rtyr Lucian,
Arius' teacher - that Helena was favourable towards Arianism.

The most memorable event of Helena's life was her journey to Palestine a nd
the other eastern provinces in 327-328. Because of Eusebius' descripti on of
this journey (VC, 3.42-47), it is generally looked upon as a pilgrim age.
Eusebius only has eyes for the religious aspects of her journey. He d epicts
Helena as driven by religious enthusiasm: she wants to pray at t he places
where Christ's feet had touched the ground, she cares for the po or and needy,
she only does good deeds and is generous, and she builds chu rches. However,
it may also be possible that her journey to the East w as a political act of
conciliation. People living in the East may have be en dissatisfied with
Constantine's radical (religious) reforms, which incl uded e.g. the
replacement of many officials by Christian dignitaries and t he rigorous
suppression of pagan cults. Furthermore, Constantine's popular ity may have
suffered severe damage from murdering his wife Fausta and h is son Crispus in
326. A reason why Helena travelled to the East may there fore have been to
appease the inhabitants of the eastern regions of the Em pire.

Shortly after her journey to the East Helena died in the presence of her s on
Constantine (Euseb., VC, 3.46). The abrupt interruption in the iss ue of
Helena Augusta-coins in the spring of 329 suggests that she died eit her at
the end of 328 or the beginning of 329. She was buried in Rome in t he
mausoleum near the Ss. Marcellino e Pietro at the Via Labicana. The por phyry
sarcophagus, which contained her remains, is now in the Vatican Muse um.

Her greatest fame Helena acquired by an act for which she was probably n ot
responsible, i.e. the finding of the True Cross. Her presence in Jerusa lem
and the description Eusebius presented of her stay in the Holy Land l ed
ultimately to connecting Helena with the discovery of the Cross. Remai ns of
the Cross were already venerated in the Church of the Holy Sepulch re in
Jerusalem at the end of the 340s as is clear from sermons of Cyri l, bishop of
Jerusalem (Cat. 4.10, 10.19, 13.4 PG 33, 467ff, 685-687, 777 ). After 7 May
351, Cyril wrote the Emperor Constantius II that the Cro ss was discovered
during the reign of Constantine I; the bishop gives no i ndication who
discovered the rel ic (Ep. ad Const., 3 PG 33, 1168B). The E mperor Julian
believed in the discovery of the relic; he rebukes Christia ns for worshipping
the object (Contra Gal. 194C). The legend of Helena's d iscovery of the Cross
originated in Jerusal em in the second half of the f ourth century and rapidly
spread over the whole empire. Three versio ns of the legend came into
existence in Late Antiquity: the Helena legen d, the Protonike legend and the
Judas Kyriakos legend. The Helena legen d, which was known in Greek and Latin,
is found in: Rufinus (Hist. Eccl ., 10.7-8), Socrates (Hist. Eccl. 1.17 PG 67,
117ff), Sozomen (Hist., Ecc l. 2.1-2) Theodoretus (Hist. Eccl.. 1.18), Ambrose
(De obitu Theod., 40-49 ), Paulinus of Nola (Epist., 31.4-5), and Sulpicius
Severus (Chron. 2.22-3 4). The Protonike legend was only known in Syriac (and
later on in Armenia n) and was part of the Edessene Doctrina Addai but also
circulated indepen dently in the Syriac-speaking regions. In this version of
the legend Helen a's role is taken over by the fictitious first-century
empress Protonik e. The Judas Kyriakos legend originated in Greek, but became
also kno wn in Latin and Syriac and later on in many vernacular languages.
This ver sion relates how Helena discovered the Cross with the help of the Jew
Juda s, who later converted and received the name Kyriakos. It became the mo
st popular version of the three, probably because of its anti-Judaism.

Because of her alleged discovery of the Cross Helena became a saint in t he
Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church. Her feast day in the easte rn
church is 21 May and in the western church 18 August.
Return to Helen of the CROSS

Notes for Elizabeth May CROW

Sources: Charles Brashear
Return to Elizabeth May CROW