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.