Choctaw by Blood, the Traherns in Indian Territory

This page was last updated on: September 24, 2011
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James N. Trahern and Sarah Hall

James N. Trahern attended the Choctaw Academy from 1830 to 1839. Prior to attending the Academy, he lived with Robert M. Jones after the death of his father. This is an interesting fact, as nothing would indicate that Jones was a close enough relative to have the care of James. However, letters from Jones and McDonald seem to indicate that Peggy and Delilah both were dependent on these relatives for support. While James McDonald lived in Jackson, Mississippi, Jones lived in the Moshulatubbee district. March 29, 1839 expense records show approval to send him home to Choctaw nation from the Choctaw academy.

In September of 1843 James married Sarah Hall, the daughter of William Hall and Susan Riddle. Payroll records for 1848 shows 2 men, one woman and 3 children as does the record for 1849. The identity of the second adult male is unknown, but it is likely a relative of his wife. In 1849 he was appointed the clerk for the First District, and in later years served as a Judge of the same district. While he holds the distinction of being a Judge for the longest period for the district, he never held the office of Supreme Judge. James along with his sons, James (Junior) and Lysander (Don) all were representatives (Congress) of the district for the Choctaw nation at some point.

Land scrip dated 1851, for the sale of Peggy Trahern’s land, does give the name of the children. The land was sold to Harriet Sims. The land is documented as east 1/2 of fractional section 7, Lots 1,6,7,8,9,14, & 15, (287.08 acres) township 22N range 5E and nw fractional section 8, lots 3,4,5, & 6 (147.27 acres) of township 15n range 1E. Land files indicate that Peggy and her son Jerry had died in 1846.

The 1855 annuity roll, referred to as the 1856 census, in Skullyville we find James Trahern. In his household there was Sally, Robert, Levina, Lysander, James & Catherine.
In 1857, Sarah’s cousin Tandy Walker was Governor of the Choctaw Nation  When the Butterfield Stage Coach stations were assigned, James was given the right to a station at his residence. Although Skullyville was the place of business for the United States government, the district council house was said to be next door. It is theorized that Moshulatubbee may in fact be buried in this location, across the road from Trahern Station burial ground. Now a historical landmark, Trahern Station is in Township 8, range 24 e, near section 32, in what is now Leflore County, Oklahoma. The 1860 Federal census shows James as the owner of two slaves.

Sarah Trahern died December 28, 1873 and is buried in the family burial ground next to the location of the station. Unfortunately, the owner of the land has ran cattle over the burial ground, and the remaining tombstones lie broken. Like Sarah, James Trahern is also buried there. Although tombstones for some of the children have not been found, it is assumed that those who died prior to 1899 are also buried there, but because of the shift of fortunes, tombstones were never provided. We know that in 1875 her heirs included 7 children. Each child will be discussed in their own section.


After the death of Sarah, on February 3, 1877, James married Virginia Parelli Clossen in Sebastian County, Arkansas. James and Virginia had two children before James’ death March 29, 1883. After his death, his widow and children lived with James Trahern, Junior.

The account of the estate of James Trahern gives us an idea at the wealth that the family at one time possessed. Inventory of assets of J.N. Trahern Estate
16            Cows and calves@$20               $320
  3Barren Cows@$20$  60
  7Two year old Steers@$20$140
  2Barrows@$  8$  16
  1Sow@$10$  10
  4Shoats@$  2$    8
  1Mare & Colt@$35$  35
  1Year old colt@$15$  15
  1Mare & Colt@$50$  50
  1Farm            $1500
  1Cotton sweep$    1.50
  1Scraper$    1.50
  1Steel plow$    3.00
  1Cast Plow$    3.00
  2Pair Harness$    4.50
  1Bull tongue Plow$    1.00
Amount of the appraisal         $2268.50

Tuesday 25, Sept. 1883
Turner Daniels, John Wesley Leflore, Silas W. James

Children of James and Sarah Hall

Louvina Trahern

Louvina Trahern is found in the 1885 census living next to Willis Daniels. According to her daughter’s Dawes card, she had a relationship with Morrow Daniels, but family members state that Willis is actually the father. (No Morrow Daniels exists in records that I have found). Louvina was by all indications never married. It is estimated Louvina died about the same time as her sister in law in 1893 and her daughter, Susan Gertrude Daniels was taken in by her Uncle Robert Trahern. In 1896 we find Susan living with Robert and his family. Given her marriage July 16, 1899 at the age of 14, it is assumed that Robert died sometime in 1898 or 1899. Susan married Samuel Fout and was the mother of six children.


Lysander Trahern, also known as Don Trahern, was an interesting individual. At one time he was married to a granddaughter of Cornelius McCann. In 1875, Lysander and his children are the only heirs of this child. It does not appear, however, that these children were by this wife, but instead by Anna Hardaway, a daughter of John and Sarah Hardaway. Lysander’s daughter Isabelle is found living with her Aunt Nancy Hardaway Edwards in 1885, as well as being listed living with her father. Between 1875 and 1885, Lysander had also married Sina Colbert, a daughter of Dave Colbert and had three other children. The separate residences of Sina and Lysander in 1885 indicate that the marriage had already ended but a divorce was not obtained until May of 1890. In 1886 Lysander had an illegitimate son with Emma Cox.

In 1900 and until his death, Lysander is always found living with a member of the Daniels family. It is not clear what happened to his allotment. The Daniels family and the Trahern family appear especially close, as multiple marriages and relationships occur between the two. Emma Cox was a daughter of Emma Daniels and a niece of Turner Daniels with whom Lysander resided. Lysander was buried at Walls cemetery in Leflore County Oklahoma. Lysander served, for at least one term, in the Choctaw Congress. Lysander listed himself as half Choctaw. While one of his sons died as a child, his son Walter was killed in the Philippines during World War I.

Catherine Trahern

Catherine Trahern married briefly at the age of 16, but because she was under age, her father informed her that the marriage wasn’t legal. She did not obtain a divorce, and this prevented her husband Robert Newton from becoming an Intermarried Choctaw. Robert and Catherine were married December 26, 1872. Robert was a stage coach driver for the Butterfield Stage, and after their marriage, he and Catherine resided within the Chickasaw Nation where they raised a large family. Shirley Arthur, Caty’s granddaughter, wrote a paper on her family before her death, and it is her notes that have provided much of the information on the family.  According to these notes, Catherine acted as a local doctor to folks, but when the white doctors came into the area, they tried to get an injunction to prevent Catherine from treating folks, with minimal success, as people kept coming, and Caty continued to treat them. Caty outlived all of her full siblings, and only her half sister Docia outlived her. Thanks to her great granddaughter, we have pictures of Caty and her family. Catherine is enrolled as half Choctaw.

Robert Trahern and Cornelia

While two of their children name their mother’s surname as Gardner, I have had little success confirming and researching Cornelia. According to Cousin Loren Adam’s book, both Robert and Cornelia died the same day, but we know that this wasn’t true, as Robert is found alive in 1896. Robert’s death, shot over land, is probably correct, and given the death of his brother Joseph, I suspect the two may have died together sometime in 1898 or 1899. The death on January 28, 1893 as listed by Loren, I believe is the death of Cornelia, likely from an illness or childbirth. Robert was known as Bully, and he supposedly served time in Fort Smith under Judge Parker. Fort Smith criminal records show two records for Robert in 1876 and 1886 for assault.

Robert and Cornelia had six children Admona, Margaret, Czarina “Rena”, Loren, William and Martha.

James D. Trahern

James D. Trahern, seen as James Junior, was like his father a member of the Choctaw Congress. While he helped raise his half sisters, he never married and died August 13, 1900. Unfortunately little is known of him. He did not have any children.

Joseph Hall Trahern

Joseph Hall Trahern died sometime 1897-1899. He married Armantha Holbrook, a white woman, and had two sons, Harvey and James Harrison Trahern, both of whom are enrolled on the Dawes rolls, though erroneously as 1/8 Choctaw. Since both of his siblings are enrolled as ½ Choctaw, his sons were ¼ Choctaw. James died in Oklahoma, while his brother Harvey died in Arizona. At this time, I do not have a great deal more information on them.

William Trahern

William Trahern is named as an heir in 1875, but is not found on the 1885 census, suggesting he died as a child.

Children of James Trahern and Virginia Clossen

Minnie Trahern

Minnie married Greenwood Daniels, but died prior to 1899. Her daughter Thelma died shortly after Greenwood Daniel’s death in 1915.

Docia Trahern

Docia Trahern married Harvey Alford. I have been contacted by several of their great and great great grandchildren. Docia and Harvey had four children, Ophelia, Roy, Vera and Horace. At least on of their grandchildren is still alive, and I hope to be speaking with her soon. Thanks to Helen Molezzo I have the following photos of Docia and her children.

Children of Robert Trahern and Cornelia

Admona Trahern was married to Joseph Kincade in 1896, but he apparently died and she married his brother Robert Kincade. Addie’s two children, twin girls died by the time they were two years old. Like her sister Margaret, Addie named a child Rena, and this may be a clue to her mother’s relatives. After the death of Robert, Addie married a white man named Ed Bishop. Although she remarried after his death James Choate, Addie is buried under the name of Bishop. After the death of her sister she raised her nieces, Mae and Anna Whitt.

Margaret Trahern will be discussed here

Czarina “Rena” Trahern is the namesake of one of Margaret’s children. She was married to John Gorman at the time of the Dawes, but they either divorced or he died, as she married John Sidney Whitt in 1909. In 1910 we find Rena and John Whitt living in South Dakota, where both of their daughters were born. Rena is inaccurately listed as mulatto. Rena and John may have separated before her death, sometime 1914 -1918, as an ad for the sale of her land is found during this time. John and Rena had two daughters, Anna and Mary Whitt, both of whom died in Arizona. Anna married twice but had no children, and Mary had one son, David Roe, who resides in Arizona.

Loren Trahern married a woman by the name of Jennie. She remarried shortly after his death and signed the rights of his land over to his sister Margaret Adams. Loren had no children, and died sometime in 1908 or 1909.

Martha Trahern married Will Schuster. She had two children, both daughters. Most of her grandchildren have also passed away. For some reason, Margaret’s nieces didn’t have pictures of Martha, suggesting perhaps that she was not as close to her sister and their family.

William Trahern married Lou “Lude” Christopher. The couple had four children, two sons and two daughters. William remained quite close to his sister Margaret, and was well known to his nieces and nephews. I had the honor of meeting one of his daughters, and am in contact with several of his grandchildren. While I wish I had more stories and information to share on Will Trahern, I understand from his granddaughter that he was, like others, a man who had trouble with alcohol. There are rumors of at least one illegitimate son, and apparently, like Jason, he also acted as a boot legger. Marilyn recalls Aunt Lude as a small woman, who kept her money in a pillow. Wherever she went, the pillow went also, and she sat on it.

Sources: Douglas Barclay, Ruthie Imes, Tabitha Imes, Bertha Geesman, Loren Adams, Reflections on Generations, copies of Dawes census cards, Laverne Shirley's notes, Kathy Hill, 1855 Choctaw Census, 1885 Choctaw Census, 1860 US census index, Oklahoma HIstorical Society Vol. 6 and 10, Frankie ?, Dusty, Sandra Riley, indian territory marrage records, land scrip from 1851, will naming Riddle descendants