Cherokee Connection Chapter 1 page 8
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William's Gravesite

We saw a small coffee shop open and stopped for a cup of coffee. There was an older lady behind the counter in the coffee shop. While we drank our coffee. I said to her, "I know this is an unusual and strange question, but would you happen to know if there is an old graveyard close by. I am trying to find some information about my grandfather who died in this town 80 years ago, about 1893. His name was William Freeman Keith."

The woman looked pleased and surprised! She replied, "I don't know if there is a connection, but I knew Freeman Keith very well, he died here about 30 years ago. He was very well liked and known around town. In fact his granddaughter lives right down the street. There is an old graveyard where he is buried a few blocks beyond her house."

This answer came as quite a surprise, even shock. I quickly drank my coffee and left the coffee shop and drove to the house of William's granddaughter. What a let down, she wasn't home.

We drove further and found the old graveyard. One of the first grave stones we found was William Freeman Keith and wife Alma. William had died March 4, 1942. Only the birth date of Alma was on the gravestone. We later learned her name was Alma Arnett before she married William and she died in 1957. We looked at other gravestones and found more Arnetts and Keiths but no other William Freeman Keith.

We noted some of the other names on the grave stones and decided to stay overnight in Muskogee, the county seat. We could look there for marriage and death records. Then we could go back to Porum to see and talk to William Freeman's granddaughter.

The county records in Muskogee showed Alma Arnett married Ruben William Freeman Keith, April 3, 1892. In Briartown, Muskogee County, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

Their first child, Albert M. Keith was born in Porum, Muskogee County, Cherokee Nation Indian Territory Jan. 15, 1893. Alma died in Oklahoma city June 15, 1957.

There were no records of my grandmother, Anna Arnett's, marriage to a William Freeman Keith, or a birth record for my mother who was born in Porum on March 24, 1893.

However, there was a record of, Anna Arnett's, marriage to, Charles Pfieffer, July 26, 1896 in Checotah, McIntoch County, Creek Nation, Indian Territory. There was another record of Annie Arnett's marriage to Abe Ross Aug. 21, 1902 in Checotah, McIntoch County, Creek Nation, Indian Territory.

This left us in a quandary! I assumed Alma was a sister of Anna. If so, her sister had married William Freeman Keith, not my grandmother Anna! It sure seemed like we had stumbled onto some old fashioned "hanky panky" that had taken place back in 1892.


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