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Sarah D. Mahan Axley

A Pioneer Woman

by Gwendolyn K. Ullo

Sarah D. Mahan was born November 29, 1859, in Alabama. Both of her parents were natives of Alabama. Sometime prior to 1880, Sarah married Joseph M. Axley, a native of Illinois. Sarah was the mother of six children, all born in the small farm community of Warm Springs, Arkansas, in Randolph County. Joseph and Sarah lived in the small community their entire married life, farming and raising a family.

Sometime between 1894 and 1900, Joseph died. Sarah and her children continued to farm for a while. Sometime after 1900, they left their family home in Warm Springs bound for Indian Territory. Four of her children migrated with her to make their home in Indian Territory. They were Maude, Nettie, Arthur Allen and Hettie Joe. With the few personal possessions they were able to move, they traveled by foot with only a small hand cart to bear their meager belongings.

Cotton was the principal crop of the area. Sarah and her children found employment picking cotton. It was a hard and laborious way to earn a living. They lived in the small settlement near Stone Bluff known as Concharty, a settlement which existed only for a short time, then in Leonard, Oklahoma. All four of her children married and remained in the Leonard-Bixby area, raising families of their own.

Sarah was remembered as a very kind and generous lady who enjoyed intricate handwork such as quilting and paper weaving. After her death on February 14, 1920, Sarah was wrapped in a quilt and carried up to a small country cemetery where she was buried near a large cedar tree.

Located in Stone Bluff Township in the Concharty Mountains, Gibson Cemetery was named for Jerusha Gibson, a Creek Indian allottee who donated the land for the cemetery. Marked by only a small hand-hewn stone, it would be many years later that Sarah's children secured sufficient funds to mark her grave with what they deemed an appropriate gravestone.

© Gwendolyn K. Ullo, All rights reserved.
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