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William McCombs. One of the oldest native sons of Indian Territory is William McCombs of Eufaula, McIntosh County. Mr. McCombs has had a long life and many varied experiences, which have brought him into intimate contact with the life and affairs of the Creek "Nation beginning with the epoch of the Civil war and continuing down to the present. In many ways he has impressed his influence for good upon tribal politics, religion and education. His individual history reflects much of the important experience of his people during the past half century or more.
He was born six miles east of Fort Gibson in Oklahoma, July 22, 1844, a son of Samuel and Susan (Stinson) McCombs. His father was a white man, a native of Tennessee, and he came to Indian Territory about 1830 in the service of the United States Government, being a dragoon and afterwards was a general overseer of government work in Indian Territory for a quarter of a century. In 1856 he moved to the Creek Nation, locating thirty-five miles north of Muskogee, and died there about 1857 when still under fifty years of age. He was married after coming to Indian Territory to a half-blood Creek, who was born in Alabama, and who preceded four years the colony of Creeks who settled in Indian Territory in 1828 under the leadership of General Chilly McIntosh. She died in 1866 when aged about sixty-five. Her children were: William, the oldest; David, who spent two years in the Confederate army, was a farmer the rest of his life, his death occurring in 1913; Thomas, who was killed in Muskogee in 1877; Joseph, who lives at Eufaula; Anna, who died at the age of fourteen.
William McCombs has spent all his life among his home people in the Creek country. His education came from the Indian Government schools, and when he was about seventeen years of age at the outbreak of the war he enlisted in the First Creek Regiment in Company C, and for practically four years exerted all his energies in behalf of the Confederate cause and the protection of Indian Territory from invasion. During much of the time he was an aide-de-camp. From early youth he had the spirit of adventure instilled in him, was keenly observant, was skilled in all the arts of woodcraft, and came to know almost every square mile of the country in Indian Territory. Having been educated in the English language, he was a master of both the Indian and the white tongue, and this made him valuable as an interpreter, a service which he rendered between the white and Indian officers during the war. In one skirmish he was slightly wounded in the right ankle.
After the war Mr. McCombs located on a farm nine miles west of Eufaula in November, 1865, and he has kept that place ever since and has always been more or less closely identified with farming pursuits.
While the simple life of the farmer has satisfied him as a vocation, he has none the less been active in all tribal affairs. Reared a Methodist, he was converted under the influence of a Baptist missionary in 1867, and since 1868 has been identified with the Baptist Church in an official capacity. He has preached to the Indians, and for a great many years was interpreter for white missionaries until about 1912. His many qualifications naturally brought him into prominence in tribal affairs. Soon after the war he was elected a member of the Creek Council and sat in that body altogether for six terms, of four years each, and was a member of the Council when the tribal affairs were wound up preparatory to statehood. For four years he was also superintendent of public instruction and for three years a superintendent of the Eufaula High School. For another period of four years he sat on the Supreme bench of the Creek Nation. Another service he rendered, and that the last official rank he held in the Creek Nation was as interpreter for General Pleasant Porter, a governor of the Creek Nation. He filled that office for six years. He has been called upon to settle many difficult questions involving political, educational and religious, affairs of his people. In recent years Mr. McCombs has spent much of his time in religious work, delivering sermons and talks at the various missions. His home membership is in the Tuskegee Church.
For a man now past the age of three score and ten there is hardly a better preserved gentleman in the old Creek Nation, and Mr. McCombs has always enjoyed splendid health and a rugged constitution that has made him equal to any responsibilities and burdens placed upon him. From the close of the Civil war until 1904 he never missed a single fall in taking his hunting trip, and if all the deer he has killed could be turned loose at once they would make a drove larger in number than could probably be found in any one state at the present time.
While he was still a member of the Confederate army Mr. McCombs was married, November 7, 1864, to Sally Jacob who was a Creek woman and who died March 23, 1901. Their children were: Lizzie, the widow of James Colbert, and she died in July, 1906, leaving five children. Sudie is the wife of William Bumgarner, living west of Eufaula. Susie is the wife of P. R. Ewing, whose home is three miles north of Eufaula. W. P. McCombs lives at Eufaula. Tooker is the wife of A. E. Raiford of Eufaula, with whom Mr. McCombs now resides. Bettie is the wife of C. H. Drew. George Washington resides nine miles west of Eufaula. On October 5, 1902, Mr. McCombs married for his second wife Sarah Philips, a fullblood Creek Indian. Mr. McCombs’ daughter Mrs. Ewing served for about eighteen years as president of the Woman’s Society at Muskogee and has always been active in Baptist missionary affairs. His daughter Mrs. Drew is now treasurer of the Baptist Missionary Society and has been president of its executive committee. His son George W. McCombs, for the past live years has served as clerk of association at Eufaula.