These are notes that I took from Swann's life story.
Swann - March 26, 1903 - September 30, 2002 - was a first cousin of my mother, Cleo Sims Josey, and they grew up together:
"Swann Ray Lake Buckles Short Story of Her Life"
Walter Ray and Grace Sims were a product of the territory near Wilton (De Queen), Arkansas. After a time of courtship, they were married - rented a little farm house and began farming like most people were doing in those days. They married in the spring of 1900. They leased a little farm and worked it as best they could raising vegetables, cows, pigs, etc.
Walter and Grace lost a little boy before he was born. Then in 1903, came along a little tow headed girl they named Swann Maurine – a little time passed and another little boy came to the household -- they named him Patrick Henry, named for a general - friend of Grandpa Ray's that he knew in the civil War. General Patrick Henry. He was called Pat.
Then, came talk about the government turning the Indian Territory into a state. Walter and Grace and about five other couples packed all their belongings on to a wagon and headed for the now Oklahoma line. A black man, helper on the farm, drove the wagon and in front of it was a one seated buggy and a horse carrying Walter, Grace and two small children - Swann - three years old and Pat - 1 ½.
They traveled about 60 miles, which was a full day's travel - they landed in what is now called Idabel (named for a couple of Indian girls - Ida and Bell). Indians were everywhere - this Indian territory was to become Mc Curtain County and there had to be officers to hold the county jobs. Walter Ray was a very compassionate and loving person, loved the Indians and they knew it. His efficiency and knowledge became known to the proper persons and he became the first county clerk in Mc Curtain County. then Berton came along. Then, James was born, and then Billy.
Daddy was a steward in the Methodist Church. **Grandma Sims (Bettie Elizabeth Collins Sims) was with us at church one night and she began to shout - I had never seen anyone shout in my life, and it scared us; she was laughing out loud and clapping her hands and dancing all at the same time. It was precious to see her so happy. Grandma Sims was such a Godly person, she and daddy loved to talk about characters in the bibles as if they were their best friends. They were very close. I have another very vivid picture of Grandma Sims - sitting at her picture window in her house on "the little river' road reading her bible by the little round oak table, with an oil lamp burning. She taught me to memorize the 23rd Psalm.
**This was Grandma and Grandpa Sims who reared Cleo Sims and Lloyd Jean since they were orphaned at such a young age.
Daddy acquired a great deal of land around the new house. He thought of his mother and father in De Queen, wanted to give them about ten (10) acres and have them build a residence across the field just back of us and he would do the same for Grandpa and Grandpa Sims. They both eventually moved into their little new houses on the "Little River Road" adjoining our property. Then Ruth was born.