A Relative's Letter
"My Aunt Ruth Oklahombi told me he use to fish with a bow and arrow and his bow was on display at a museum somewhere in the Dallas area."

From: Vivian Murray <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: December 31, 2015 at 3:25:31 PM CST
To: <
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Subject: Joseph Oklahombi Our WW1 Hero

To the students of Mansville;

My apologies for the last minute letter. My name is Vivian Murray and Joseph Oklahombi was our Great Great Uncle.  He was married to my mother's Aunt Agnes from the Watkins side of our family whom were residents of Wright City, Oklahoma. My mother was Mary Louise Noah Bales, the great niece of Joseph and Agnes Oklahombi. Florence Watkins Noah was the niece to Joseph and Agnes Oklahombi, the mother to Mary Louise and Clara Ruth Jefferson. My Aunt Clara Ruth resides in Broken Bow, Oklahoma.  She is 82 yrs old and my mother would have been 81 yrs old. Florence Watkins Noah is the daughter of Miliwit and Louisa Watkins. Agnes Oklahombi is the sister to my Great Grandfather Milawit Watkins. They are all are laid to rest in our Watkins family cemetery at the end of Billy Bell Trail off of old State Highway 98 in Wright City. However,  Uncle Joe,  Aunt Agnes and their son Jonah Oklahombi are resting at Yasho Methodist Church in Broken Bow. We are very proud of our Great Great Uncle Joe. I live in Houston, Texas and my sisters Darla Battiest and Sharon Arce reside in Wright City. We grew up in Texas but we would spend our summers in Wright City.  My sisters staying with our grandparents and myself with my Uncle Jonah, his wife Ruth and my Aunt Agnes. I was young and although they were my mother's cousins and Aunt. I referred to them as my Uncle and Aunts.

I remember some of the stories that my mother and my Aunt Ruth Oklahombi would tell me. My mother told me he was a hero in the war, he was mean but loving and he was killed by a hit and run driver. She said " they knocked him right out of shoes! His shoes were still on the side of the road". She spoke of him with admiration and I could hear the sadness in her voice when she spoke of his death. My Aunt Ruth Oklahombi told me he use to fish with a bow and arrow and his bow was on display at a museum somewhere in the Dallas area.  She also told me about a man that came to the house and wanted to write an autobiography about him. That's when I visited the following summer and they had the big billboard in town, Welcome to Wright City. Home of the WW1 hero, Joseph Oklahombi. I was very proud to see that and would come back to Texas and tell my friends about it. Although the billboard has been long gone, I am very pleased and proud to see his statue that is there now honoring him.

My Aunt Ruth told me how he single handedly overtook the Germans as prisoners. I was young then and thats what I remember the most about Uncle Joe. She also stated he was mean but not in a bad way. My most memories are spending the summers with his son, daughter in law,  and his wife. Aunt Agnes wasn't much for words of course I played alot with the animals and helped Uncle Jonah. I was scared of her but she was nice yet firm. I was intrigued by her. She would catch rainwater in a wash tub and wash her long hair in it on the back porch. They lived on a dirt road with cattle guards (D4530) between highway 98 and Eastside rd next to the Luksoka Church.

They would make big dinners for the church on Sundays. Aunt Agnes would give me money every day to walk to the Eastside store where I would buy me a pop and chips. I remember Aunt Agnes use to dip snuff. She would swing on the porch and spit half way across the yard. One day she left her snuff on the porch. I thought to myself " I'm gonna get some of her chocolate!" Well I did, I took a big mouthful and it set me on fire! I took off running to the back by the pig pen and had to wash my mouth out in the spicket. I came back to the front, my eyes watering, spitting and she came back out, sat on the swing. Looked at me and asked if I was okay. I told her yes and she just kind of smirked. I think she knew but I never touched her snuff again.

I would watch Uncle Jonah plow the field next door with olé Kate, the mule and an old plow. Reins hanging over his shoulders. People started coming so I asked Aunt Ruth why they were here and she said we're gonna dig taters.  Well that's when I found out potatoes come out of the ground.  The next summer I came Uncle Jonah had a tractor. I remember Aunt Ruth and Aunt Agnes making quilts. They made some beautiful ones. I have an apron my Aunt Ruth made with a lil Indian and a Indian maiden. I remember going to the field where the big garden was and picked okra, corn, and peas. I've churned butter, snapped beans, shuck corn, hulled peas, strained fresh milk, killed chickens, made bead jewelry, helped Uncle Jonah with the hogs. Calling them into the pen and chasing the runts to catch them so he could pull that tooth that kept them from nursing. Listening to him play his fiddle on the porch after supper, Aunt Agnes swinging and spitting.

I have wonderful memories of my Uncle Joe ' s family. Aunt Agnes was the first to pass, then Uncle Jonah. We visited him before he left us and I told him thank you for all he taught me and that I loved him so. Aunt Ruth was the only one left. Eventually she had to be put in a home. The last time I came to visit she didn't remember me. I believe she was 92 when she left us. We are very proud, especially myself, of our family and our WW1 hero. I hope this helps, Uncle Joe was already gone but I had his family and wonderful memories to grow up with. I will always be "Cho Cho Baby" to my Uncle Jonah Oklahombi. I'm not sure of the spelling but that's what he called me.

Joseph Spoke No English
He walked 26 miles to volunteer for the United States Army. He left behind his young wife and baby son.
No Grenades Used A Potato
The unit had no grenades, Joseph carved one out of a potato and went over the top earlier than his company.
Joseph's War Cry Of A Panther
This startled the Germans and Joseph was able to run to the first German machine gun nest and take control of it until the rest of the men in his unit arrived.
Held 171 German Prisoners
The men then turned the enemy’s own guns on them and held 171 Germans prisoner for four days under constant barrage of high explosives and gas shells.