Brother Dennis M. Jones was zooming through the
Chilocco arch gate with back hoe in tow and I barely caught a picture of it.
The Otoe tribe loaned him the machine along with a man, Leon Tohee, to help
with cleaning up the cemetery so the fence building people could put a new
As I watched my brother unload the back hoe I
was made aware of the years of working with his own business in
construction. He worked with everything in such an easy way it was evident
he had done this many times before although he did say he was glad to do
this work just as an adventure since he is retired. He died on March 6,
The old cemetery gate still has a padlock on it
even though part of the fence to connect with the gate is down. We wonder
where the key to the lock is now. The grass on the cemetery itself has been
cut and this is nice. Otherwise it would have been like the deeply rutted
road where standing wet holes almost made it impossible to drive over. The
wilderness of trees growing over it was like going through an enchanted
Brother Mike does not like to take out trees but
this one was directly where the fence line would be so it had to come out.
Portions of the fence are hanging onto the posts
yet and Mike takes a wire cutter to cut it away from these metal posts.
Leon Tohee is lifting those metal posts out of
the ground with so much ease it is incredible. With a couple jerks of the
blade on the back hoe he easily pulls them out of the ground.
This marker is dated July 29, 1892. The name is
Roubideaux, a French name but also an Otoe name. The crosses beside it were
markers also and have been pulled up. They are cement but I didn't see a
name on them. Leon and Mike started to clear out some of the thicket of
trees and discovered graves under them so they left them to be cleared by
Now leaving the campus. Someone asked me if the
old bridge we used to walk over to go to the Hospital was still there, and
yes it is. I did notice that the campus oval had been mowed and it looked
very nice and clean.
The road through the trees to the arch is now
marked with heavy, large old fallen dead trees like this.
from Betty Belt, Cherokee.
The name on
the marker in the cemetery is Roubedeaux – Otoe. Matilda (Tillie) Vetter
Roubedeaux Shaymame is the biological mother of my husband, Robert Belt,
Jr. He was adopted by a Cherokee family when he was a baby.
Robert had a
half-brother, (Red) Murray Leo Joe Roubedeaux. He went to Chilocco also.
Red passed away when he was 48 years old (that has been several years ago).
Tillie passed away around 1969. Robert never go to meet and get acquainted
with her. He did meet Red around 1973. I understand that Red was a
champion dancer in his younger days. He danced at many powwows with Alice
Ann (Bradshaw) Allen.
Alice is a good
friend of mine. She and I started working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs
at the Tahlequah Agency in 1966.