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Russett, Oklahoma

The Boyer Family History

By June Boyer


James Wesley Boyer came to Oklahoma, Indian Territory in 1890 with his parents, William Wesley Boyer and Margaret (Barker) Boyer. 

Jim was 9 years old and he rode a mule behind the wagon that hauled their worldly goods from Arkansas.  William got a permit and cleared land in Indian Territory, Russett, Oklahoma.  He lived there until he died and he and Margaret are both buried in the Russett Cemetery. 

Jim married Annie Ritchey in 1902.  They lived all of their lives in Russett and are both buried in the Russett Cemetery.  Jim was Town Marshall of Mannsville, before State Hood.  He was a farmer and raised 10 children in Russett.  They had 12 children but two died as babies.  They lived not far from the Wilcox's while raising their family. 

They were very hard workers and Annie was a great cook and no one was ever turned away from their table.  They later bought a home by the Russett Cemetery and Jim took care of a big portion of that cemetery as long as he lived.  He planted all the iris you still see in that cemetery. He and Annie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in that house with all their living children present.

Jim always had a dog and each and every one was named Bob.  They were members of the Russett Baptist Church.  Their children all attended the Russett School.  The son William Wesley Boyer married Ora Mae Brown, who's parents also lived in Russett.  William and Ora Mae lived in Russett until December of 1942, when he purchased a home in Nida.  Joan Boyer and June Boyer both begin school at Russett and still have fond memories of the time they lived in Russett. 

The following are stories my Dad, William (Bill) (Son) Boyer, use to tell me over and over each time I went to visit as we drank our morning coffee.  He was known as Son Boyer to all the folks he grew up with.  That includes Mother, Father, his sisters and also his classmates.  Many years later when I would meet someone his age who knew him and I would ask them if they knew William Boyer they would not know until I describe him and they would say "Oh you mean Son Boyer".

His best friend he grew up with Joe Bailey Cobb, who was State Senator for years and years from Johnston County, introduced him to the Governor as Son Boyer and it was in a Newsreel when they were talking about a Crop subsidy they were trying to get passed and Joe was having Daddy tell the governor what the farmers expected from their governor.  I remember seeing the Newsreel on the Screen at the Thompson Theater in Tishomingo.  They use to always have a Newsreel, a Serial, a Cartoon, and the featured Movie when you attended the movies in those days.


A Watermelon Story:

My Grandpa Boyer always had a big watermelon patch.  William who had 8 sisters 5 older and 3 younger use to take his younger sister,  Margaret to the watermelon patch and they would being eating one and then he would say oh, here comes Dad, he is really going to get us, he would take her by the hand and run down the trail leading her where she had to step on all the grass burs and of course in those days the kids were always bare footed.  Anyone who grew up there knows what grass burs are and how they hurt when you step on them.
White Lighting Story
When he was about 6 or 7 he said he always saw Dad go out to the barn in the morning just before going to the field and it was not to milk cows or any of that work stuff because it had already been done so he was determined to see what he did.  One morning he sneaked out to the barn and hid in the hay and waited for Dad. Pretty soon in comes Dad and goes to his little hiding place and takes out a bottle and takes a swig and wipes off his mouth and out the door to work,  Daddy, said Oh, that looked so good I decided to have myself a big swig and I thought I was going to die right there, I spilled it down my shirt and sat there for sometime before I could even breath.  He said he was always sure my Grandpa knew he had done it but it was never mentioned but he did not have to worry because he never wanted a swig of that again.
The Jump in the River Story
One day when William (Bill) was about 9 or 10 his sister Margaret was playing on the floor and he was teasing her with a deck of cards and she kept bawling for one and My Grandma made him give her one, 
Well, he threw whole deck in the floor and said " I will just go jump in the River", and he ran out the door.  You see they lived just up the hill from the Washita River.  My Grandma and Grandpa were always afraid one of the kids would get drown living that close to the river.  His older sister Jack (Ada) was sitting in a chair bare footed as always as it was summer and Ma yelled "Catch him Jack, Catch him".  Well Jack ran out the door as fast as she could, down the hill to the river, stepping on rocks, grass burs, and what ever was in the way, not stopping for anything.  She caught him just as he was sliding under the fence to the River,  well she gave him a good spanking, he bawled a little and held his breath until he began to turn blue, scared her to death, nothing could happen to this baby brother or she would never be forgiven,  she grabbed him up and carried him to the top of the hill and when they got there he started laughing and said "Haw, Haw, Haw", she was so mad she ran in and told "Ma if you don't spank him this time, I will". Of course he would never have jumped in the River. He knew they would not let him. 

The Playhouse Story:

As everyone was poor in those days and did not have all the store bought toys kids do today they had to make do with what ever was around.  The girls would build a playhouse out of apple boxes, old crates, use old bottles and whatever was around for there dishes and get it fixed up real nice for what they had to use.  Daddy William (Bill) would beg them to let him play with them and as soon as they did he would come in and tear it all down.  When they would get it fixed up again he would do the same thing.  No matter how many times he did it to them, he would say "Oh let me play and I won't do it again".  Each time they would let him play and he would do it again.  It is a wonder those girls did not kill him themselves.
The Barb Wire Story:
It was winter and one day all the kids were playing outside and it had been raining and it was very cold and like most kids they were wading in the mud puddles with there only shoes on.  Well, my Grandmother (Ma) made them all come in and gave them a spanking,  Daddy William (Bill) would not come in and the older girls could not catch him because he picked a piece of barbwire and started swinging it around and just stood there daring anyone to get close to him.  My Grandma was so afraid he would get sick and die from the cold and him being wet she promised him if he would come in the house she wound not spank him and she did not spank him, he is the only one who did not get spanked for their wading the puddles.


Daddy was so spoiled by not only his Mother and Father but all of his older sisters and he never seemed to get spanked no matter what he did.  How he ever grew up to be such a responsible and great Father I will never know.

The following photos have been "thumbnailed" to allow for faster loading.  Click on the thumbnail to view larger photo.  Click on your browser's return to return to this page.

William Wesley BoyerJim  and Annie Boyer 50th AnniversaryJim Boyer & William Boyer with cat fish caught in Washita River in RussettJim Boyer Family

Annie (Ritchey) and Jim Boyer

Fr. Row Jo(Boyer) Cantrell, Ora (Brown) Boyer, Jim,June,Joan, Jeanne Boyer
Back: Joel Cantrell, Harold Watts, Nita (Boyer) Watts, Susie (Boyer) Martin, Margaret Boyer, Jim Boyer, William Boyer, Jack (Boyer) Dake, Annie (Ritchey) Boyer, Alta (Boyer) Coon, and Robert Dake.


Jim Boyer & one of his dogs Bob

Ora Mae (Brown) Boyer

First Russett Graduation Class 

William Boyer

Photo made in 1934

Iris in Bloom Russett Cemetery


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Last modified: 05/27/07