Richard Martin Fields, is one of the industrious and
reliable farmers of Washington Township,
classed with those who are acknowledged to be as broad and scientific
in their methods as the workers in any other branch of modern
industry. A full-blooded Cherokee, he was born two miles south of
Fort Gibson, in the Cherokee Nation, now Oklahoma, August 3, 1855,
and is a son of Wert and Sarah (Woddord) Fields, natives of Tennessee
and members of the Cherokee Race.
The mother of Mr.
Fields was the first to come to the West, being brought here among
the first settlers of what was to later become the State of Oklahoma
by her mother, with whom she returned to her native place. Later,
when the Cherokees were removed from Tennessee by the United States
Government she again came to the Indian Territory, and in the
vicinity of Fort Gibson met and married Wert Fields. He died in 1857,
and she was subsequently married to Cal Riley, and had two daughters
by that union. By her marriage with Mr. Fields she was the mother of
three children: William, who died at the age of seventeen years; Mrs.
Ella Smith, who is now deceased; and Richard Martin, of this notice.
During the early days in Tennessee, the Fields family was a wealthy
and prominent one, Richard Fields, the grandfather of Richard M.,
having been the owner of a large plantation and of many negro slaves,
as was also his son, Wert. The latter, on coining to Indian
Territory, devoted himself to agricultural pursuits, and continued to
be a tiller of the soil and a raiser of livestock up to the time of
his death. He was an industrious and hard-working man, gaining
prosperity by his earnest application and keen foresight, and was
highly respected and esteemed by those among whom he lived.
Fields was reared in the vicinity of Fort Gibson, and was brought up
on the farm, receiving the greater part of his education in the
public schools, although he also attended the Cherokee Male Seminary,
at Tahlequah, which was conducted by the Cherokee Nation, and where
he was a student for a period of ten months. As a young man he
removed to Webbers Falls, now in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, where he
followed farming until 1900, and at that time came to his present
property in Washington County, a tract of 100 acres, the greater part
on the Caney River, his home being located two and one-half miles
north of Dewey. Mr. Fields has devoted his entire attention to
agricultural pursuits, and now has a valuable and productive farm,
with modern improvements, substantial buildings and good equipment.
He uses up-to-date methods in his work, and is known as one of the
substantial men of his community, standing high in the esteem of all
who know him. He is a democrat in politics, a member of the A. H. T.
A., and a Master Mason.
In 1883 Mr. Fields
was married to Miss Texanna Barnes, who was born three miles west of
Fort Gibson, September 2, 1867, a daughter of Albert and Nan
(Harper) Barnes, natives of the Cherokee
Nation. Mrs. Fields’ father died when she was about six or seven
years of age, while her mother survived until September
25, 1894. She had
been married before, and had one child: James Keys, who is now a
resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mrs. Fields was the only child by her
parents’ marriage. To Mr. and Mrs. Fields there have been born five
children, as follows: Charles, a successful farmer of Washington
County, Oklahoma, who married Myrtle Hines; Wert, who is also
successfully engaged in farming in this county, married
Cora Teague; Jesse, who prepared for college at Tonkawa, and now a
student in the medical department of the State University at Norman,
securing a training for a professional career; Pearce, who resides at
home; and Claud, who met his death by drowning, May 26, 1905, in the
Illinois River, aged nineteen years, seven months, being a student in
his senior year at the Cherokee Male Seminary at Tahlequah.