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Sweeter Than Elderberry Wine
This is where I'll Stake my Claim


Oklahoma is made up of many different landscapes. Some are verdant and green, other parts, hard-baked clay. If there was a stream of clear water clean enough for even humans to drink John and his father, Wiley, knew where it was. They rode horseback through every ravine, growth of trees and each stand of shrub oaks called Black Jacks.

“You need to be near a good fresh running stream for your stock.”

Wiley told his son. “This is where there will be plenty of wood for fuel and for building a house.” The location Wiley wanted was close to Guthrie at Marshall.

“I believe this is it, Dad. This is where I’ll stake my claim.” John agreed.

“You’re right son. This is a beautiful place, too. There’s plenty of water for your stock from the stream that runs through it, and look how high the grass is growing. I believe there is enough for cattle to graze all through the winter.” Wiley gazed out across the rolling hills while cool rushes of wind swirled about the tops of the trees along the creek.

John hunkered down so he could pick up a fist full of the rich looking earth. He squeezed it in his hand. The ground packed together and then just as easily fell back apart. “This soil is fine, too. I think I can turn that over there into a patch for growing produce and feed for the stock.” John pointed to a near by place that was now just prairie grass.

“Yep! This will be the 4-D, and that suits me. There’s Dora, Little D. Dennis Frenchman, Dora’s son, and Dennis, my son.” John spoke of his second child he and Zona now had.

‘Did John have knowledge of the name giving reaching all the way back to places and times of another world in Wales? Donish, Knight Donish, would be honored for an eternity with children given his initial D whether it was Dora, Dennis, Debra, Diane, Dean, Dana, Don and on and on. This was the new world for them. Wiley had been listed as a sailor when he entered the civil war. During this time these skills did help him to navigate the immense grasslands as one would sail a ship. For anyone who does not know about the prairie let them drive through the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve out of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The roads are well marked but the thought will cross a person’s mind about the possibilities of taking a wrong turn and having to wander, hopelessly lost in the expanse of hills where one scene is very much like the other. Wiley used the markings of constellations in the stars and was able to fearlessly plot a route so he could take his son to the best possible location to claim.’

‘Wiley did not live to see his son’s pioneering days from the claiming of land through The Cherokee Strip Land Run. He and his wife Mary Ann died months apart. She died in August and he died in December of the year 1891 at Bartlesville, Oklahoma. One of his descendants tells that Wiley is buried in one of the old cemeteries around Hennesey, Oklahoma, Kingfisher County which is aproximately 20 miles from Marshall where his son staked a claim.


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