Mattie America Stewart Leatherwood 1865-1939

Mattie America Stewart Leatherwood is my great grandmother. The following pages are taken from my Family Trees and Memories book.





Mattie America Stewart Leatherwood (1865-1939)

My Great Grandmother.
My Great Grandmother

Mattie America Stewart Leatherwood was born 1865 in Kentucky to Dr. A. Lafayette Stewart and Francis Gillum. She married James Franklin Leatherwood the Fall of 1900 in Washita County, Oklahoma. They lived in a dugout on Little Elk Creek on the homestead that James claimed in the Oklahoma Land Run. This is where her two children were born: daughter, Willie F., 1901 and son, Jessie Burrell, 1902 (my grandfather). Widowed at the age of about 50, Mattie managed to keep the farm by leasing it until she and her children could manage on their own. The land remained in our family until 1998. I am proud to be great granddaughter of Mattie America Stewart Leatherwood

The Homestead – James Franklin Leatherwood (1838-1915) Mattie America Stewart (1865-1939)

1908 – James, Mattie, Jessie Burrell (grandpa), and Willie Francis.
My Great Grandparents
My Great Grandparents

James Franklin Leatherwood married Mattie America Stewart 1900

Two children were born to this marriage: daughter, Willie Francis (1901) and son, Jessie Burrell, my grandpa, (1902). On 19 April, 1892, Cheyenne and Arapahoe land opened to homestead settlement by the government. At the age of 52 years, James Franklin Leatherwood claimed 160 acres in Washita, County, Oklahoma. For about 106 years, the Leatherwoods were caretakers and farmers of the land that my Great Grandpa James F. Leatherwood homesteaded in 1892. From 1892 to 1998, many Leatherwoods were born there and worked the land. James, Jessie Burrell (his son), JB, Jimmie Dee, Nina Vee, Butch, and Ronnie (his grandchildren), Jimmie Dee Jr. (his great grandson), and others, worked this farm, breaking sod, planting crops, and harvesting. When the farm was sold in 1989, the heavy impact was only softened a little by the fact that the buyer of the home place was Russell Trissel, a longtime close friend and neighbor. Russell made it clear that our family would always be welcome to visit the farm. The last Leatherwood born on the Leatherwood farm was Jeremy Dee Leatherwood. Jeremy was born in 1975 and is the great great grandson of James F. and Mattie. I will be posting Great Grandpa James’ homestead documents in the near future. I acquired them during the mid 1990s. I imagine it is much easier now to get homestead documents. Any advice?

Jessie Burrell Leatherwood 1902-1978

grandpa blogGrandpa had told his youngest son, Ron, that he and his sister, Willie Francis, were born in a dugout that his father, James Franklin Leatherwood, had burrowed from the east bank of Little Elk Creek on the land he claimed in the 1982 Oklahoma land run.

In 1915, Grandpa was twelve years old when his father, James F., died. His sister Willie was about thirteen and their mother, Mattie America Stewart, was fifty years old. Grandpa, his mother, and sister, knew hard times, and hard work.

Grandpa’s success as a farmer/rancher speaks volumes of a man with a fourth grade education and a physical disability. Though at the time, his disability had no name, it did not curb his ambition. Now, we know that his disability was a hereditary neuropathy known as Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT). Walking across a field, climbing on a tractor, horse, or working with his hands, was not always easy, but he was still successful. I also have CMT and Grandpa has been an inspiration.

In the early years, Grandpa worked his farm with four mules. Their names were Buck, Red, Rat, and Snake. They were two sets of prized red mules. Later, he sold them for $400 a team, about the time he bought his first tractor.  Pictures below, Grandpa and his mules.