A story from the 1800’s
There are many tales of strange happenings in the forests and woodlands of Oklahoma. Many of the folk have stories about haunted woods, strange beasts out in the woods, and “spooky” noises. There are legends, folktales and family histories where screams in the night have been handed down from family member to successive family member.
Hamas Tubbee was an unusually large man, even for a Choctaw Indian. His father, Hanali Tubbee stood two inches over eight feet in height and weighed five hundred forty pounds. Hama and his six sons stood about a foot shorter than Pahlumi, or “father” Tubbee.
They were large, exceedingly strong, fierce warriors. Hamas and his sons were the point riders for a troop of Choctaw cavalry known as the “Lighthorsemen”. Many in the Choctaw Nation thought it humorous that such large men, riding draft horses, refered to themselves as “Lighthorsemen”. Tubbees men experienced something which none would ever forget.
This day’s assignment was to flush out some bandits that had been preying upon the local farmers. A thirty man troop would be going into an area which later in the “state” of Oklahoma became the “McCurtain County Wilderness Area”. These bandits had been not only taking large quantities of corn, squash, and beans, but had as well been taking very young children. This thievery had been taking place across the border in Arkansas as well as in Indian Territory. The captain of the troop of Choctaw cavalry was a man named Joshua LeFlore. Captain LeFlore was of mixed blood, part French, part Choctaw. The men deeply respected him. Joshua LeFlore was impeccably honest and wasbrave to a fault.
The men had been traveling horseback non-stop since three o’clock in the morning. They began their assignment at the tribal capital in Tuskaloma and when they finally came to the Clover River, they let their horses eat and the men decided to rest and eat as well. Non-stop riding for eight hours, having to lead their horses across Little River, and the hot July sun were taking a toll on the men and their mounts. When some time had passed, Captain Josh gave the order and the men remounted and they began the last leg of their trip. At or around 4:30 in the afternoon, the troop came to the edge of the area which the bandits were supposed to be inhabiting.
Captain Josh signaled with uplifted hand that the troop should come to a halt. Standing in his stirups, Captain Josh utilized a ship’s eyepiece [telescope] and promptly turned to his men and gave the command for a full armed charge. The distance between the suspected bandits and the troopers was about five hundred yards. The Tubbee men and captain Josh were at the front of the charge and as the thirty men and he neared the thick, pine forest where the bandits were, two things took place at once… The stench of death assaulted both men and horses, and the horses became uncontrollable.
Horses were rearing, pitching and throwing riders. Captain Josh and the seven Tubbee men were the only ones in the troop whose mounts were disciplined enough that they continued to obey their riders and continued to charge in the midst of the bandits.
When the eight men met with the “bandits” they were totally unprepared for what greeted them. The clearing behind the inital tree cover was actually a large, earthen mound. Strewn about the mound were numerous corpses of human children in varying stages of decay. Most of the bandits had fled, but three really large, hairy ape-like creatures remained at the mound. Captain Josh drew his sabre and with pistol in hand, sabre in the other, charged the huge monsters.
The nearest monster killed Captain LeFlore’s horse with one blow of its massive hand. The monster never flinched as Captain LeFlore poured bullets from his Patterson’s Colt revolver into the beasts chest. After emptying the revolver into the monster, Captain Joshua continued to press the attack with his sabre. Many times did the sabre meet with the brute’s flesh and many times did blood spew from the gaping wounds on the beasts body. So quickly did this engagement take place that the Tubbee men had barely enough time to take aim at the three monsters before one of the beasts flanked the Captain and literally tore off Captain LeFlore’s head.
There was not time for any sort of delay due to shock. The Tubbee men opened fire upon the three man-beasts. Seven 50-caliber Sharp’s buffalo rifles impacted the three simian appearing brutes at the same time. From years of routine and practice, all bullets smashed into the three monster’s heads. six rounds were fired into the heads of the two monsters which were the culprits that killed their beloved Captain. Only the youngest Tubbee; Robert, had the presence of mind to put a bullet into the head of the third monster.
A legend was born that day. Robert Tubbee, 18 years of age, all six feet eleven inches, three hundred seventy-three pounds of him, chased down a wounded man-beast and finished the beast off with only his hunting knife. By the time the other six Tubbee men caught up with Robert and the monster, Robert had already decapitated the beast. Holding the head aloft with both hands, Robert let out a primal scream which made even the Tubbee mounts panic.
The “light-horsemen” gathered their mounts and surveyed what was before them. Absolute carnage littered about the clearing. The partially consumed bodies of nineteen children lay upon and about the mound. The stench of decaying bodies was bad enough, but the over-powering odor of the man-beasts’ urine and feces was more than the strongest stomach could endure.
After retching violently, the men of the troop buried the bodies of the children in nineteen small graves, buried their beloved Captain, and as a matter of respect, gave him a twenty-one gun salute.
They built a large bon-fire, placed the murderous man-beasts upon it, and lit it. As they rode back into Tuskahoma each man struggled with emotions and thoughts he never before imagined.