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Russett, Oklahoma

The Poindexter Family

Russett, Oklahoma

Written by Martha Lee Poindexter Martin


(L-R) Front row:   Colby, Jimmy Doyle
Back row:  Billy Ray, Turner, Martha Lee, Alice, Monroe, Willie

My memories of Russett are fond indeed.  Since my dad, William Colby (Willie) Poindexter was a farmer with several children, we fit right in. 


We moved to Russett from Pontotoc, Oklahoma in 1940.  Our family had 6 children; I was the second born and the only girl. The children were: Billy Ray, Martha Lee, Turner, Monroe, Jimmy Doyle and Colby.  My dad was a share cropper, meaning we gave ¼ of our crop to the land owner. We all worked hard raising cotton, corn and sorghum.  My dad had heard of Mr. Fred Chapman and the fertile land along the Washita River, so we moved to Russett.


I was in the 9th grade when we moved. Mr. Ed Gill was our History teacher. The first thing I remember about school in Russett was Mr. Gill asking Don Martin if he would let me sit by him and share a book, as I had not been issued my books. This was a combined class of 9th and 10th graders, Don was in the 10th.  Mr. Gill was a great teacher.  He lectured and asked questions over his lectures and the assignments.  If we knew the answer, he would put a mark on the chalkboard by our name.  If we did not know the answers, he did not put a mark for that day.  That made us study hard!  I found out later that he had been a State Representative and knew all about these things.


My older brother Billy Ray did not make the move with us to Russett.  He stayed in Pontotoc with my grandmother, Flora Pearl (Wilson) Lewis.  He wanted to graduate from Pontotoc High School, had a girlfriend there and was a good forward on the basketball team. 


The year we moved to Russett, we made a good crop and had cows and chickens. We lived in a house down by Randolph.  I remember the Wheelers and Easleys lived on our road. My dad drove the school bus for the Russett School.


I was on the Russett girl’s basketball team. At that time, the girls played half-court ball. I always got the ball and passed it to a tall forward. They called me “shorty” or “Pontotoc”.  Some of the girls on my team were: Hazel Kirtley, Etolia May, Neta (Hook-shot) Boyer, Louise Easley and Margaret Watts.


I remember many assemblies at the Russett School. We sang patriotic songs, folk songs and we always had plays. One play I was in was “Hillbilly Courtship”.  Katie Rood was our music teacher.


We had lots of parties in people’s homes.  My favorite game was called “Pleased or Displeased”.  The group would ask one person, “What would it take to please you?” and they would say….” I would like Martha and Don to walk down to the corner and back holding hands.”  That was a thrill!


We rode the bus to play basketball at other schools. I would sit by Don and then he would take me home afterwards on his horse.


Another thing I enjoyed about Russett was the church. By the time we started attending the Baptist Church, Don and I had begun to like each other, so we sat together at church.  I had never attended church regularly. My folks were Christians and they always had us thank the Lord for our food before we ate and rebuked us if we said bad words.  The church had a revival during the summer.  The preacher was Lee Nail.  He told us about Jesus and what He had done for us.  He invited us to come forward if we wanted to go to heaven when we died and there would be people there who would help us know how.  I went down with Don and my brother Turner.  We accepted the Lord as our Savior that day. We were baptized in Mill creek down the road to Norton.


The next year, Laddie Creek overflowed and washed away our corn crop, so we had to move again. My dad got a government farm loan and bought a farm in Bromide, Oklahoma.  I graduated from high school in Bromide.


Don and I wrote letters to each other. He enlisted in the Air Force in December of 1942. When we were separated by distance, we agreed to read the same scriptures every night at 10:00.  That way we felt that we were communicating through the Lord.


Because I had good grades in school, I received a scholarship to attend East Central State College in Ada, Oklahoma.  When Don finished his service, he came to Ada. We decided to get married. Our wedding was July 1, 1945.


Don enrolled at East Central State College and we both graduated with our B.S. degree.  Don finished his master’s degree at the University of Oklahoma.  I received my masters from East Central.


My brother, Billy Ray was in the Tank Battalion in World War II and his group did fighting in Hitler’s Hide-out.  Billy Ray received the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in saving the lives of his buddies. His medal, the Silver Star, his picture and the news item are all on display in the museum in Tishomingo.


My mom and dad, Alice and Willie Poindexter, are buried in the cemetery in Pontotoc, Oklahoma.


Don and I have been married 62 years (2007); have four children, 12 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. 


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Martha Lee Poindexter


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Last modified: 05/27/07