This collection features the transcriptions of 250 letters written by Louisa Brannon Briscoe from Sugden, Indian Territory, to her mother in Washington state. The letters discuss daily life and work as a postmistress in Sugden. The letters are dated 1893 through 1910 and provide an excellent snapshot into life in Indian Territory.
Louisa “Lula” Estelle Brannon Briscoe
Lula married Robert Willis Briscoe on December 13, 1901, at the home of the bride’s family in Indian Territory. They were both eighteen years old when they married, according to the Chickasaw Nation Marriages website. The couple had five children: Julia Edna, Anna Fern, Mary Louise, Robin Willis, and R.W. “Joe.”
Lula’s letters are to her mother, Juletta “Julia” Ellis McNaught Brannon, who was married to Thatcher Washington Brannon who died from pneumonia as a consequence of being crushed by a bale of hay while working at Grogan’s Store in Sugden, Oklahoma. Julia had six children by her husband. Their names are Louisa “Lula” Estelle, Carl, Frank Thatcher, Winnie Davis, Elmer Patton, and Juletta Augusta. Julia, as a widow, had left the Indian Territory with her five other children to live with her bachelor brother, Lewis Augustus “Gus” McNaught on his homestead in the Big Bend Country, Douglas County, near Hartline, Washington. They lived there until Julia’s son Frank was old enough to work and they moved to Seattle. She boarded people and eventually was able to build a home.
The youngest child Juletta married Leo Duncan and the couple moved into the Briscoe home in Seattle. When they chose to sell the home and move into another house, Juletta moved the family letters and photographs with her. After she died, the family archives were found by her niece, Bonnie Duncan Peters, and given to Robin Briscoe Diplock for safekeeping.
Thatcher Brannon and his brother, William I. Brannon, had many business interests in the Wichita Falls, Texas, and Indian Territory area, including the Purcell Electric and Water Company with J. Taylor Bradley. William I. Brannon died in El Reno on August 2, 1949 and is interred in Oklahoma City. He staked a claim in the opening of the Indian Territory.
Julia Brannon had Patent #28 for Lots #5 and #6 in Block #33 of Sugden with the Choctaw Seal, June 5, 1906, and the Chickasaw Seal, June 12, 1906 showing receipt for the final payment of $19.52 on October 28, 1905. This made the full amount of the $78.12 purchase price. The patent shows it was recorded in Book 11, page 339, file #6339 on September 1, 1906.
Louisa “Lula” Estelle Brannon Briscoe:
Born September 13, 1883, Texas; Died February 4, 1920, Wichita Falls, Texas
Robert Willis Briscoe:
Born July 13, 1883; Died March 25, 1942
Juletta “Julia” Ellis McNaught Brannon:
Born December 7, 1860, Iowa; Died March 30, 1934, Seattle, Washington
Thatcher Washington Brannon:
Born January 31, 1845, Kentucky; Died January 6, 1902, Indian Territory
Correspondence from Bonnie Duncan Peters, March 2010.
Family Data file on diskette 2, Louisa “Lula” Estelle Brannon Briscoe Letters.
Chickasaw Nation Marriages, Ardmore Courthouse, Groom Index 1895-1907. Transcribed by Mary Turner Kinard, April 27, 1992. B Surnames. (link)
Scope & Content Note
This collection includes two 5.25 diskettes and two 3.25 diskettes that contain transcriptions of 250 letters written by Louisa “Lula” Estelle Brannon Briscoe to her mother between 1893-1910. Letters were mailed from Sugden, Indian Territory/Oklahoma. The transcriptions were made by students at Washington State College, Pullman, Washington, around 1990 under the direction of a college professor and Robin Briscoe Diplock (Lula’s daughter). The original letters are described as being written in longhand on about 6×8 inch stationary, still with their corresponding envelopes. Printouts have been made of the transcriptions and they are organized chronologically for reading ease.
Folders 1 & 2 contain the 250 transcriptions, while Folder 3 contains the original diskettes containing the transcriptions. A compact disc, created June 2010, has been included with Microsoft Word document files, rich text files, Adobe PDFs, and notepad files of the transcriptions for posterity and compatibility. A “register report” of genealogical information relating to the Larkin W. Briscoe family and descendents is included in the third folder as well.
Brannon, Juletta “Julia” Ellis McNaught
Brannon, Thatcher Washington
Briscoe, Louisa “Lula” Estelle Brannon
Briscoe, Robert Willis
McNaught, Lewis Augustus “Gus”
Grogan & Bird General Merchandise
This collection was received on April 1, 2010, from Bonnie Duncan Peters, niece to Lula Brannon Briscoe. The scope and content note and current finding aid was written and updated online by archivist/librarian Laura Anne Heller in June 2010.
The Louisa “Lula” Estelle Brannon Briscoe Letters is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.
Louisa “Lula” Estelle Brannon Briscoe Letters, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.