Cherokee Connection Chapter 3 page 16
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[1892] William Freeman Keith marries Alma Arnett

William was about 17 in 1888, when twin boys were born to a Bryant family. They were born on a farm near his grandfather's in Briartown. Their mother died early (perhaps at the birth of the twins). The father died of the flu 4 years later in 1892. The twins had been raised alone by their father and were very wild and undisciplined.

It should be noted that both Mattie and John Arnett as well as others in the area died in 1892 and 93, maybe there was a flu epidemic during those years. William was 21 years old in 1892.

William's grandfather, James McClure, suggested William adopt and raise the two 4 year old boys. William could straighten them out, run the Bryant farm and start his own family. To do this, William needed a wife.

By then William had a reputation as a ladies man and could have had choice of many Indian girls in the area. However he been seeing a lot of Alma and Annie Arnett, taking them to the Indian services, dances and long walks in the fields and along the river. He felt he knew them best. He talked to their father, John Arnett, about marriage. John said Alma is 18 and ready for marriage. Annie may also think she is ready, but she is only 16.

This disappointed William as he liked Annie, she was so innocent and vivacious and more fun to be with. Maybe her father was right, Alma was more serious and steady, she could be the better wife.

William and Alma (Arnett) Keith about 1892

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

Vernon Keith said that as a boy, he heard his aunt Pearlie, Susan Stuart's mother, say that her mother, Alma was having problems raising the adopted twins. The wild 4 year old boys, Charlie and Robert Bryant, were too much. She was now pregnant with her own new baby and couldn't take it. Alma asked her sister Annie to come to help after she became pregnant. William and Alma were living in Briartown at that time, just a few miles from Porum.


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