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Oklahoma Family Tree Stories

This beautiful sculpture of three redbud trees with gold and silver leaves by artist Robin Starke is located just outside the Eleanor & John Kirkpatrick Research Center in the Oklahoma History Center. Each leaf of the "Oklahoma Family Tree" memorializes an Oklahoma family with the family surname, first name(s), and the town or county where they lived. In addition, a short family history will be preserved in the digital family history book at the base of the tree. This is a great way for your family to make history and benefit future generations at the same time. To find out how to honor your own family with a leaf visit the Oklahoma Family Tree Project page.

Mathies Family

Christopher Columbus ("C. C.") Mathies lived up to his namesake. He was born to William Henry and Ann Alford Mathies in Alabama on May 3, 1850. LeFlore County journalists described him as one of the "best known and most loved men in eastern Oklahoma," a "pioneer citizen," and one of the "most remarkable characters…in Oklahoma."

C. C. left home at the age of 13 to enlist in the Confederate Army and was assigned to Lunden's Battery in Mobile, Alabama, in 1863. Private Mathies fought valiantly in the Battle of Missionary Ridge and was later wounded and reported dead. Thankfully, the reports were wrong. He was only 15 years old when, on May 9, 1865, he was mustered out of the C.S.A. Army in Mississippi.

C. C. worked his way through school in Mississippi. By 1872 he was a teacher. He met and married Almeda Killen in Arkansas in 1875. The couple settled in Monroe, Indian Territory. A year later, Almeda died. C. C. then married Ocie Woodson, and she died in 1879. C. C.'s third and final marriage was to Virginia native Annie Lee Carnall on January 1, 1884.

Known across the state as Captain Mathies, C. C. was regarded as a true southern gentleman. A personal friend and reporter for the LeFlore County Sun once wrote that the Captain's "sympathy was always with the unfortunate and he would go his length to right a wrong… [He] was very unassuming, very kind and loyal to his friends, and he is among the few men in the Constitutional Convention who refused to name a county after himself."

During President Grover Cleveland's first administration, Captain Mathies was appointed as the second postmaster of Monroe and was a board member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In that capacity, he represented the church as a delegate to district and annual conferences. Widely regarded as the father of LeFlore County, C. C. served as county clerk for the Choctaw County Court, was a two-term state representative, and served two terms as county commissioner. C. C. assisted in writing the Oklahoma Constitution and mapped and named LeFlore County, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Upon his death in Wister in January 1915, Captain Mathies was honored in front-page newspaper columns across eastern Oklahoma. Under the headline, "Captain Mathies is No More," the Poteau News wrote, "We have no hesitancy in saying that this county has lost its biggest man and the fact that he was loved was evidenced by the enormous crowds of sorrowing friends from all over the state and Arkansas who followed the remains to the cemetery." A reporter for the Heavener Ledger wrote, "Our county seriously mourns the loss of one of her best citizens."

Captain Mathies's beloved wife, Annie, was born in Virginia in 1863 and, after her parents died, moved to Arkansas in 1873 to live with relatives. In Arkansas she "enjoyed the best of scholastic advantages." She returned to Virginia as a young adult and attended Milligan Private School in Prince William County. She completed her education in Arkansas.

In an interview by Gomer Brower in 1938, Annie spoke fondly of her husband: "He frequently aided his friends, and especially his Indian friends, when in doing so he had no hope or desire for a reward." After the couple moved to Wister, they enjoyed the front porch view of the "grand mountains," and Annie often commented that she "preferred farm life, close to nature, to the more glamorous life of the drawing room from which her education and inherent refinement had so well-fitted her to adorn."

Annie passed away in Wister on August 8, 1942.

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