Charles Henry Drew


Charles Henry Drew. Perhaps no appointment was ever more satisfactory to the Indians of Seminole and Hughes counties than that of Charles Henry Drew to the position of United States District Indian Agent. Mr. Drew took up the responsibilities of this office in 1915. He is a Creek Indian himself, has spent all his life in old Indian Territory and the new state of Oklahoma, is fully conversant with tribal affairs, and for a number of years was an important official under the Dawes Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes.
He was born December 9, 1882, at Broken Arrow in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, a son of Daniel and Maggie (Seaman) Drew. His father was an adopted Cherokee while his mother was of three-fourth Creek lineage. Daniel Drew spent most of his life as an employe in the stores of Indian Territory, being connected with a licensed trader’s store at Tulsa, and could speak the Creek languages fluently. he was closely related to Col. John T. Drew, who made a gallant record as an officer in the Confederate army. He died at his home near Broken Arrow December 25, 1891, at the age of forty-one. His first wife, the mother of Charles H. Drew, died August 28, 1886, and he afterwards married again, his second wife being a fullblood Creek Indian. Charles H. Drew was one of five children: Amos W. of Broken Arrow; Legus C., who died in 1906 at the age of thirty-six years at Broken Arrow; David D. of Broken Arrow; Ella, wife of R. J. Moore of Broken Arrow; and Charles Henry.
By the death of his father Charles H. Drew was left an orphan at the age of ten years. As his stepmother employed no other language than the Creek, he had no opportunity to acquaint himself with the English tongue until at the age of fourteen he entered the Coweta Mission School, which was conducted under government auspices. There he learned to read and write the English language, and after three terms there entered the Eufaula High School, also a government school. He graduated in 1900, then attended the Bacon University at Muskogee, where he was a student from the spring of 1901 until he graduated from the academic department in 1902, and his education was finished with a course in the Fort Smith Commercial College at Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he graduated in 1903.
His first business experience was as bookkeeper with the Farmers and Merchants Bank at Coweta. In 1907 he accepted a position with the Dawes Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, and gave all his time and energy to his duties with that commission until August 11, 1915. He was an invaluable aid to the commission, because of his fluent understanding of the languages of the Five Civilized Tribes and his thorough English education. His principal work was as custodian of the enrollment records, and he examined all the enrollment records which had been collected by the Dawes Commission during the allotment of Indian lands. These documents are of priceless value and absolutely necessary in all transactions involving the sale or lease of lands within the district of the original Five Civilized Tribes. Mr. Drew’s initials, C. H. D., appear on practically every document involving land titles in this district of Oklahoma from 1908 to 1915.
With this experience and long association he was thoroughly qualified for his promotion on August 11, 1915, to the post of United States District Indian Agent. He is the first Creek Indian to occupy such a position, and his appointment was highly gratifying to both the Creek and Seminole tribes. He is considered by these tribes as a native and one of their own people, as in fact he is, and at the same time he has a high sense of responsibility regarding the dignity and importance of his position, and is thus exceptionally qualified for the duties which he has to perform.
Mr. Drew was reared a Methodist, while his wife is a member of the Baptist Church. On December 30, 1903, he married Miss Bettie McCombs, daughter of Rev. William McCombs of Eufaula. Mr. and Mrs. Drew have four children: Charles Haskell; Wynema Phrona; Edna Beatrice; and Grace Helen. Mr. Drew is now teaching his children the English language and intends to make them acquainted with the Creek tongue after they have acquired some proficiency in English.
Mr. Drew is one of the noted representatives of the Indian people of Oklahoma. He is one of the few men of his people who have never tasted liquor or tobacco, and he has enjoyed the highest standing and some of the highest positions among the Creek Nation. Before he was twenty-one years of age his home district of Broken Arrow elected him a member of the House of Warriors in the Creek National Council. After serving two terms in that position he was elected a member of the senate and still enjoys the title of senator, and was the youngest ever chosen by the Creek Nation to such a post. In the fall of 1915 his name was prominently mentioned as successor to Hon. Moty Tiger, who is the present governor, of the Creek Nation. In general politics Mr. Drew maintains an independent attitude. Mr. Drew has a fine farm and a modern residence near Eufaula, and he employs his land for the raising of registered Berkshire hogs and draft horses.