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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.

Briix Family

During a visit to relatives near Lacy, Oklahoma Territory, Robert Gustave Briix, a resident of Morris County, Kansas, met Katherine Genevieve McCarty. They were married on October 1, 1900. The couple returned to Kansas and, for a short while, lived with Robert's parents. While residing in Kansas, Robert and Katherine had two daughters, Clara Joanna and Lyndell B.

In 1904 the family moved to a homestead south and west of Hackberry, Oklahoma Territory, in Woodward County. Improvements included a log cabin with a lean-to on the west end of the house, which served as the kitchen, a large hand-dug well, and fruit trees. Lyndell B. Bish recalled winters when frost formed on the kitchen walls. The family used a bucket to draw water from the well. They raised corn and used corn shucks to stuff mattress ticking. Katherine tended a large garden that produced most of the family's food. Another daughter, Agnes Hermina, was born on the Woodward County homestead.

Among the Briix family's neighbors was Lyndell Bish, who later recalled a sod house across the road from the Briix farm. She also recalled that the inside of the house was very clean. The walls had been covered with some substance and then whitewashed. Neighbors who lived further south often stopped to water their horses and visit.

In 1907 the Briix family moved to a farm about two and a half miles further south, even as they retained ownership of the farm near Hackberry, known by then as "the north place." The newly acquired farm had a log cabin with a lean-to on the north side that served as a bedroom. Two sons were born on this farm: Robert Edwin in 1909 and George Francis in 1912. To accommodate a larger family, they built additions on the log house. Fruit-bearing trees and bushes and a large garden provided fresh fruits and vegetables for consumption and canning. During the late fall or early winter, the Briixes slaughtered hogs and preserved the meat. They relied on horses for plowing and other farm work.

The Briix children attended several schools. While living on the south farm, they walked across the section to the west to attend the Dudley School, where they participated in competitions such as spelling and ciphering with students at the Hackberry School, which was located about two miles east and two miles north of the Dudley School.  Later, so-called "kidwagons" transported children in rural areas to a school in Vici. Lyndell and Clara Joanna took room and board to attend the Woodward High School.

In 1927 the Briixes began to build a new house to replace the original cabin. It was a large frame house with stucco finish whose modern features included carbide gas lighting fixtures and a large wood-burning furnace in the basement with ducts leading to registers in each room. Although they did not have electricity until the end of World War II, they eventually installed electrical wiring circuits and wall switches.

Robert and Katherine lived on the "south place" for most of their remaining years and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary there. Robert died in Vici In 1956, and Katherine died in Enid in 1962.

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