Biographies


Transcribed by G McCall from:

A HISTORY OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA

By Luther B. Hill, A. B., With the Assistance of Local Authorities, Volume II, Illustrated, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago / New York, 1910, Page 133-134

John Newberry, a prominent pioneer of Oktaha, Muskogee county, was born in DeWitt county, Illinois, in 1849. He is a son of Benjamin and Adeline (Herley) Newberry, natives respectively of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They were pioneer settlers of Herleys Grove, DeWitt county, Illinois, named for the father of Mrs. Newberry. The Herley family is one of the oldest in the state, and the Newberrys date back almost as far. Benjamin Newberry was a farmer, and when a young man worked on the Illinois river, most products being then sent down the river on barges. He lived in Illinois almost his whole life, and died there about 1890, leaving a widow and four children, namely: Armilda, wife of Isaac Gardner, of Kansas; John; N. A., deceased, whose family now live in Harper county, Kansas; and Mariah, wife of Robert Johnson, of DeWitt county, Illinois. Mrs. Newberry died about 1896.

John Newberry received his education in the public schools of his native county, and remained with his father on the farm until September, 1870, when he removed to Kansas. Shortly afterward he came back to Wisconsin, and in 1873 went to Texas. From Texas he removed to Muskogee in 1876. At this time Muskogee did not have more than three hundred population and only five or six business houses of any kind, and these were conducted in one-story frame buildings. Many people were interested in stock raising, though little farming was carried on. Most of the farming was done on leased land, and most of the white men were stockmen, merchants and clerks. Chief Poter and a few others carried on farms. Although there were then a few bad characters in the section, most of the inhabitants were men and women of high character and purpose. The town of Muskogee then had no regular police, but peace was kept by the Indian Light Horse, who seldom had to look after any worse crime than boot-legging. When they found anyone with whiskey they were allowed a bonus of a certain amount per gallon for all they destroyed. This was found to be frequently sold by women who refused to pay the police for destroying it, and the police helped themselves to anything portable on the premises to the amount of the bonus on the whiskey destroyed.

For the first five years of his stay in Muskogee Mr. Newberry ran the ferry between Muskogee and Fort Gibson on the Arkansas river, and during the time thus spent he says he seemed to ferry enough people to settle one family in every quarter section of land in what is now Oklahoma. At his rate of twenty-five cents per wagon he has taken in as much as fifty dollars a day, meaning that two hundred wagons were ferried across. This included, besides families coming into the territory, persons who were hauling mean and other provisions in.

Since 1881 Mr. Newberry has devoted his time to farming and stock-raising. He moved to Oktaha in July, 1891, and located on land afterward allotted to his wife, on part of which Oktaha is now located. The site for this town was selected some years before the allotment, but no permanent homes were erected until Mrs. Newberry removed her restrictions, which was done before statehood. It is now a thriving village of five hundred persons, with some seven dry goods and grocery stores, one bank and several smaller places of business, suck as blacksmith shops, livery stables, etc.

Politically Mr. Newberry is independent, and he is actively interested in public affairs. He is very successful in his farming interests, and stands well in the community. He belongs to Muskogee Lodge Number 25, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Mr. Newberry married, May 17, 1891, Jennett, daughter of David and Elinora (Perryman) Sizeman, both full-blood Creeks. David Sizeman was one of the leading Creeks of the section, and served as a scout in the United States army during the Civil war. He was a deputy United States marshal, and on July 30, 1890, while taking a prisoner to Fort Smith, he stopped on the Canadian River among the Creeks, who were fishing, to enjoy the sport of shooting fish with a bow and arrow. He had set his Winchester down, and his prisoner reached it and killed him. Mr. Sizeman left a family of only two children, his wife having died some years previous. The children were: William, of Okmulgee, and Mrs. Newberry. The Perryman family were also among the prominent Creek Families; both families came from Alabama and settled in what is now Wagoner. The Perryman family were farmers and stock raisers, and Mrs. Newberry’s grandfather, James Perryman, was a pioneer Creek minister of the Baptist faith, who traveled and preached to the different tribes of the Creek nation scattered over the eastern portion of the territory. He was noted for his benevolence and high character, and was one of the best known men among the Indians. Both the Sizeman and Perryman families were slave owners previous to the Civil war.

Mr. and Mrs. Newberry are the parents of seven children, namely: Lula, Maude, Millard F., Corral, Beauford, Beulah and Merry Christmas, who was born on Christmas day of 1909. Mrs. Newberry and the children are members of the Baptist church.



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