William was the son of Thomas Levi SWEETEN and his second wife Rachel CLARK. Thomas was born about 1805, in Tennessee.
Thomas SWEETEN lived in Illinois for several years with his first wife Emeline SPRAGG and their children. At some point, while living in the state of Arkansas, Thomas left Emeline and went to Texas and married Rachel CLARK, who was 35 years younger than him.
Thomas and Rachel were married on January 31, 1857, in Carthage, Panola Co., Texas. Shortly after 1860, the family moved to Arkansas where they lived in various counties.
CHILDREN OF THOMAS LEVI AND RACHEL (CLARK) SWEETEN:
Nancy (1860 TX - ? )
Alexander "Elec" (1865 - 1931 Murray Co., OK)
Thomas Brunson "Tom" (1868 - 1941 Murray Co., OK); Twin to Frances
Frances (1868 - 1869); Twin to Thomas Brunson
Rachel (1870 - ca 1915)
Harvey (1872 - 1884)
William Henry "Bill" (May 31, 1874 - Jan 28, 1929 Pushmataha Co., OK)
ONE COLD DECEMBER NIGHT
In December of 1873, near Old Dallas, Polk Co., Arkansas, when Rachel was about six months pregnant with her last child, William Henry SWEETEN, Thomas went out in the evening to hunt some food for the next day's meal. Shortly after he left, the family heard a shot and agreed that "Papa" had got his rabbit. However, Thomas failed to return home that evening.
Upon seeking help from a neighbor, the family searched the next day and found Thomas' body slumped in a fence. He apparently had set his gun against the fence while he crawled through it. The gun accidentally went off and shot him. Because of the cold winter and snow, his body had froze.
About six years later, Rachel died and the children were placed in various households in various neighboring counties.
BROTHERS REUNITED AND HEADED WEST
In 1894, the three brothers, "Elec", "Tom", and "Bill" were reunited and headed west for Indian Territory, settling in the Wynnewood area. It was there that William Henry "Bill" SWEETEN met and married Luella BATSON (May 22, 1881 - Jan 25, 1968), daughter of Phillip BATSON and Martha Elizabeth "Bettie" (HALL) PARISH BATSON WOODS.
BILL AND LUELLA SWEETEN
The orphanage was established by the Presbyterians in 1848, as a mission school. Known today as Goodland Children's Home, it is said to be the nation's oldest Protestant Indian Orphanage.
Luella was an excellent seamstress. She made all of the girls dresses and the boys shirts and pants of dark cotton flannel which was purchased by the orphanage several bolts at a time. All the dresses were made of the same pattern, long waists with gathered skirts. Luella once said that she had made so many of them that she could make them in her sleep.
In later years, Luella did sewing for friends and neighbors. She made clothes for both men and women, along with hats and any other items which were needed. When her children were growing up, she made all of their clothes. Her two daughters were proud as they were considered the best dressed girls in town.
After working in Goodland for a few years, Bill and Luella resided in Paris, Texas; Mena, Arkansas; and Kasoma, Indian Territory, before moving to Moyers, Pushmataha Co., Oklahoma, about 1909.
A FATAL ACCIDENT
On January 28, 1929, Bill, along with his son Luther, his son-in-law Dewey, and a friend were hauling a truck load of lumber when they came up over a steep hill called "Buck Creek".
Bill noticed a horse-drawn wagon coming up the hill being driven by an Indian woman hauling some children. Bill applied the brakes and tried to stop the truck with no avail.
The truck started sliding and he lost control. Bill informed everyone to jump, which they did. However, the tail of Bill's coat caught on the truck and it threw him back under the tires of the truck. He was killed instantly.
On January 29, 1929, William Henry "Bill" SWEETEN was buried in the Antlers Cemetery, Pushmataha Co., Oklahoma.
LIFE WITHOUT BILL
Luella continued to live in Moyers. In the 1950's, she moved to Dallas where she married Mr. Cornelius CLOAR. A few years later, Luella went to Downey, Los Angeles Co., California, to live with her daughter and Son-in-law, Betty and Dewey POOLE.
On January 25, 1968, Luella died at the age of 87. She was buried in Rose Hills Cemetery, Whittier, Los Angeles Co., California, on January 29, exactly 39 years to the day after the burial of her husband Bill SWEETEN.
BILL AND LUELLA RAISED SEVEN CHILDREN
The two oldest children of Bill and Luella are suppose to have been named after Luella's cousins Frank and Jesse JAMES:
Jesse Lee (1900 TX - 1988 TX) married Atha LITTLEPAGE and Mrs. May ARTRE
Frankie Mae (1902 - 1922 OK) married James Monroe ARTRE
Charlie Rufus "Chock" (1905 - 1987 OK) married Cleo QUAID
Elizabeth Gaynell "Gay" "Betty" (1907 OK - resides in California) married Henry Harrison Dewey POOLE
William Luther "Bill" (1910 - resides in Kentucky) married Mary Elizabeth "Libby" MERRIFIELD
John Dale (1914 - 1986) married Violet SPEAKS
Robert Milton (1921 - 1965) married Glendora LOONEY