1893 - 1957 (64 years)
||Thomas Hamilton Payne  |
||20 Mar 1893
||Marlow, Indian Territory 
||12 Dec 1957
||Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon 
||Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon
- Thomas's mother died when he was just three months old. His father remarried shortly after he turned six. Sometime after his father's remarriage, Thomas was sent to Decatur, Texas to attend school. His daughter, Anna Laura Payne, believes this school was run by Jesuits. While he was away at school, about six months after his thirteenth birthday, his father died "of a long and lingering illness like consumption." Before he turned 17, Thomas's stepmother died as well. Within the next ten years, both of his younger half-brothers died tragically. In spite of suffering these many significant losses, Thomas was a gregarious and outgoing person with many friends. He loved to hunt and be in the outdoors.
Ken Harvey wrote "Tom was musical and learned to play the piano by ear. He seemed, throughout his life, to have had little sense of responsibility or of time. As a boy he would often disappear and be found, for example, asleep in a field. His father often had to saddle up his horse and go and get him when he was missing from home as a child."
Harvey continued "In the First World War Tommy served in the 90th Division US Army alongside his double cousin Carl. Tommy used to collect enemy arms after a military action, Carl reported, even though he was not allowed to keep them. He could be seen staggering across the battlefield weighed down, dropping a weapon from the pile he clutched when he saw another gun he preferred better. He was a marksman who shot left-handed. He had been excused from further army rifle practice in basic training, and allowed to fire holding the gun as he wished, when it was discovered how accurate his aim was."
Daughter Anna Laura reported that her father did not go oversees until after the Armistice, he was part of the later occupaying forces. She remembers waving to him from the train station as he departed for the service. After he returned from overseas, Thomas resumed his farming and ranching operations in Stephens county.
Charles Strong reports that Tom lost his land in the late 1920's, after the bottom fell out of the cattle market. He had borrowed money against his ranch from a bank in Wichita, Kansas to raise a herd of cattle. A couple of years later, when they had fully matured, he shipped them by freight train to Chicago to be sold. The market crashed, and the sale of his cattle didn't raise enough even to pay the freight charges that were due on his shipment. To avoid foreclosure, Tom arranged to sell his land holdings to Leonard Ketchum. Ketchum paid him a few thousand dollars in cash, and also assumed to notes that were due on the land, a fair and gracious offer that helped keep Tom on his feet.
Tom used this stake to homestead for a while in Wyoming, thinking this would give him a fresh start. He thought it a great adventure. Bessie was horrified. Charles Strong recalls that Bessie's initial impression of the Wyoming homesteads was favorable. She admired both the large screened in porches, and long clothes lines. Her admiration turned to stark terror, however, when she learned that the screened in porches were actually set up so the children had somewhere to play away from the rattlesnakes. She also came to realize that long lines between the homes and barns weren't for clothers. They were set up so that you wouldn't get lost and freeze to death going between your barn and your home in the case of a sudden blizzard. At Bessie's urging, they soon moved back to Oklahoma.
These setbacks eventually became too much for Tom. One day he simply disappeared, leaving Bessie and his children behind. Unbeknownst to them, he moved to California. This is how he was listed at the time of the 1930 Federal Census:
California, Los Angeles, Signal Hill, ED 1509
Taylor, Joseph A Hd M W 40 M @ 25 Calif Ill Ind Assistant Operator Gasoline Plow
Taylor, Mary A Wife F W 45 M @ 30 NY NY Ireland
Crossen, Albert Lodger M W 22 S Cal Cal Iowa Rotary Helper
Stamper, Edgar A Lodger M W 34 S Oklahoma Tenn Iowa Rotary Helper Garlington, Robert Lodger M W 35 D Alabama Georgia Alabama Rotary Helper Price, Sterling Lodger M W 49 M California Missouri Missouri Pumper Harris, Abbot B Lodger M W 31 D Pennsylvania Ireland Nebraska Promoter O&G
PAYNE, THOMAS Lodger M W 37 M @ age 20 Ok Missouri Ok Rotary Helper
The occupations of the lodgers in both the Taylor lodging home, and in the homes of their immediate neighbors, made it clear he was part of the booming oil and gas industry in California. In 1900, the state of California produced 4 million barrels. By 1910, this had jumped to 77 million barrels. In the 1920's three new major fields were discovered in rapid succession - Huntington Beach (1920), Santa Fe Springs (1921), and the biggest of them all, the Signal Hill, where Thomas lived. By April 1922, only 10 months after completion of the discovery well, Signal Hill was covered with 108 wells, producing 14,000 barrels daily. By the fall of 1923, 259,000 barrels of crude was being produced every day from nearly 300 wells. Signal Hill was the biggest field the already productive Southern California region had ever seen....this made California the nation's number-one producing state, and in 1923, California was the source of one-quarter of the world's entire output of oil!
Tom appeared to be in the Long Beach area for well over a decade. In August, 1943, he filed a document with the Long Beach, California Selective Service board. It was a request for permission to depart the United States to visit the country of Alaska, which was not yet a state. He was in the employ of Guy F. Atkinson Co of San Francisco, a heavy construction company. As the nature of his business was listed as "confidential," it is likely he was involved in a civil engineering project in Alaska related to the war effort.
Back home in Oklahoma, in September 1950, his family had him declared legally dead so they could probate his estate and apply for benefits based on his enrollement in the Chickasaw tribe. Daughter Lois Marie Payne was named executor. Because they had not heard from him in over twenty years, they had no idea if he was still living.
Tom remained in the Pacific Northwest after the second World War, working as a civil servant at various Air Force Bases in and around Alaska. When he became terminally ill, the Red Cross reconnected Tom and his family in Oklahoma, via letters, prior to his death.
On the Standard Certificate of Death, State of Oregon, Thomas H. Payne is shown as having died at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon on December 12, 1957. His usual residence is shown as Palmer, Alaska, and his usual occupation is shown as Laborer. It appears that his marital status was subject to some question. It looks as if the "divorced" box was originally checked, and then scribbled over. The "married" box is checked, and the name of his spouse is shown as Mrs. Bessie Payne. The date of birth is given as March 20, 1893, and his birthplace is shown as Marlow, Oklahoma. Mother and Father are shown as "unknown." It is noted that he was a Veteran of World War I, and that the information on the death certificate was taken from his VA records. The certificate was signed by W.A Haug, MD, Asst. Pathologist. The funeral director was A.J. Rose and Son of Portland, and the cemetery or crematorium being Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. A telegraph regarding his death was sent the next day to Anna Laura Strong in Duncan.
His gravesite information is below:
PAYNE, THOMAS H PVT US ARMY WORLD WAR I
DATE OF BIRTH: 03/20/1893
DATE OF DEATH: 12/12/1957
BURIED AT: SECTION H SITE 2888 WILLAMETTE NATIONAL CEMETERY
11800 SE MT. SCOTT BOULEVARD PORTLAND, OR 97266 (503) 273-5250
Anna Laura Strong also received a letter from Mrs. Earle W. Barry, Star Route, Palmer, Alaska some eight months after her father died. She had apparently written Mrs. Barry regarding some trouble they were having in regards to an insurance settlement. Mrs. Barry informed her that she had "never heard him mention a divorce at any time and I believe I would have heard tell about it some time when he was under the influence of liquor. He was in California before he came to Alaska. The boys met him in Amchitka Island that was an Army base, the last was Ladd Field...near Fairbank, before that he was (at) Eidson Base. I am sending some papers that were laying around. Hope they will help you. Tom was a good man. His worst enemy was liquor."
Among Tom's personal effects that were returned to his family were his wallet and four photographs: two of the photos were of co-workers, Lee H. Talley of Iowa and Richard Neal of Missouri; one photo of Tom himself in outdoor gear; and a studio portrait of "Marie and Midge." Richard Neal inscribed his photo, taken at Amchitka Base Headquarters, "To a very good Pal from a Boiler house cook." Marie inscribed her portrait, dated 1944, as well, saying that although it was "not a good picture" of either her or Midge, she thought Tom might wish to cut it down to fit his wallet. He chose to keep it intact.
His brown Norwegian Cowhide wallet contained several money order receipts, a blank check from the First National Bank of Fairbanks, receipts for funds he received as a VA patient in Oregon (claim #1431661), his 1956-1957 Alaska Resident Hunting License, an National Rifle Association of America Membership card, a Veterans of Foreign Wars Ballard Post 3063 card, a membership card from the Ladd AFB Civilian Club of Fairbanks, his U.S. Civil Service Commission retirement card dated May 6, 1957 (#CSA-466-659), his union card from the National Federation of Federal Employees Local 899, a receipt for a .22 caliber rifle, and a business card from the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, based in Philadelphia. On the back of this card was written "Benjamin Constant, Amazona Brasil, S.A.".
A few pieces of correspondence were returned as well. Among these were his 1943 permit to leave the US for Alaska; a 1948 letter from the IRS--mailed to Tom in Seattle--regarding a $32 refund on the 1946 taxes; a "Notification of Personnel Action from Ladd AFB," dated July 8, 1955, showing Tom's change in title from Stationary Boiler Fireman to Heating Equipment Fireman. His grade, WB-54-02-09, and his salary ($2.94 per hour) remained unchanged. Also saved were his separation from duty papers dated 20 May 1957. It showed that he was retiring due to disability, and that his permanent home address would be in care of Earl W. Barry of Palmer, Alaska. A prescription for various drugs to treat his bronchogenic carcinoma was included as well, signed by E. Dank, Capt. USAF, of Todd AFB. He also saved his acceptance as a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Ironically, his VFW Life Member card (No. 4427), also in his effects, was dated 1-1-1958, two weeks after his death.
These effects, as meager as they seem, were treasured by his daughters, and remained in 2005 in the position of his granddaughter, Lynn (Payne) Moroney of Oklahoma.
He was 1/32 Indian by blood through his mother. He appears as No. 3686 upon the "lists prepared by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes under the Act of Congress approved July 1, 1902 (32 Stat., 641), of persons entiled to enrollment as citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation and approved by the Secretary of the Interior December 12, 1902". Because of this, he was first alloted land when he was only eleven years old in Tishomingo, Indian Territory on July 9, 1904, Section 29, Town IN, Range 5W, 160 acres in total with a value of $1,040. (Cert # 8801, Cert 11253).
||Strong Family Tree
||17 Aug 2014 |
||Thomas Bunker Payne, b. 24 Nov 1864, Shelby County, Missouri , d. 11 Oct 1906, Duncan, Stephens County, Oklahoma (Age 41 years) |
||Mary T. "Mollie" Hardwick, b. 23 Oct 1872, Indian Territory , d. 20 Jun 1893, Marlow, Indian Territory (Age 20 years) |
||11 Jul 1891
||Pickens County, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory 
- In the matter of the application for enrollment as a citizen by intermarriage of the Chickasaw Nation, Thomas B. Payne was sworn before the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes in Chickasha, I.T. on October 15, 1902 and testified as follows:
Q What is your name? A Thomas B. Payne Q How old are you? A I was born in sixty-four the 24th day of November. Q What is your post office address? A Arthur Q How do you spell that A A-r-t-h-u-r I think, Q That is in the Chickasaw Nation? A Yes, sir. Q How long have you resided in the Chickasaw Nation? A I have been here about sixteen or seventeen years. Q Lived here continuously for the past seventeen years? A Yes, sir. Q White man? A Yes, sir. Q Applicant to this Commission for enrollment as a citizen by intermarriage of the Chickasaw Nation? A Yes, sir. Q What is the name of your Chickasaw wife? A Mollie Hardrick Q She is a citizen by blood of the Chickasaw Nation? A Yes, sir. Q Always recognized and enrolled as such? A Yes, sir. Q When was you married to her? A I disremember just when it was; the Comission has a certified copy of my license; it was in eighty-nine or ninety I think. Q Were you married with her in accordance with the Chickasaw license? A Yes, sir; I paid fifty dollars for the license. Q Was you ever married before you married that woman? A No, sir. Q Was she ever married before? A No, sir. Q Was you married to her in the Chickasaw Nation? A Yes; near Ardmore. Q Your Chickasaw wife now dead? A Yes, sir. Q When did she die? A It was the 20th day of this last June I think ten years ago. Q You lived together until that time? A Yes, sir; until she died. A She has been dead about nine years now? A Yes, sir. Q Have you remarried since her death? A Yes, sir; I have. Q When? A It was about this time four years ago when I enrolled and married some time in February or March. Q Whom did you marry? A A girl by the name of James. Q She is a white woman? A Yes, sir. Q Never recognized in any manner as a citizen of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nations? A No, sir. Q Where were you married to her? A In the Indian Territory. Q Married under a United States license? A Yes, sir. Q Living with this woman still? A Yes, sir. Q How long did you say you have been living with her? A Since February or March, I think in February after the Commission was through some time in this month four years ago. Q You were married then the February after you made your application to the Commission? A Yes, sir. Q That would be in Ninety-nine? A Yes, I think so. Q You have lived with this woman about three years? A Yes, sir. Q Have you any children by her? A Yes, sir.
G. Rosenwinkel being duly sworn on his oath states that as stenographer to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes her reported in full all the proceedings had in the above entitled cause on October 15, 1902, and that the above and foregoing is a full, true and correct transcript of his stenographic notes in said cause on said date.
The commission followed the ruling of the Department of the Interior in the case of Thornton D. Pearce (I.T.D. 4060-1904) relative to the question of forfeiture, and Thomas B. Payne was enrolled as a citizen by intermarriage of the Chickasaw Nation on September 8, 1904.
He received a land allotment in Tishomingo, Indian Territory on December 20, 1904. His P.O. Box at the time was Marlow, Indian Territory. The land was in Sections 29 and 30, Town IN, Range 5W. He received a total of 190 acres with a value of $1,000. (Certificates 10150 and 13786).
In his sworn testimony, above, Tom states that he married Mollie in 1889 or 1890. This is supported by the fact that they can be found as husband and wife on the 1890 Chickasaw Census. However, the transcribed "Copy" of his actual marriage license, which was part of his Dawes enrollment packet, showed that they married on 11 July 1891 in Pickens county. There may have been an error on the transcription, or it could be that they were married in 1889, and remarried under a Chickasaw license in 1891.
||Group Sheet, Family chart
||Bessie Bird Gentry, b. 14 Dec 1894, Alma, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory , d. 3 May 1958, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma (Age 63 years) |
||27 Dec 1912
||Stephens County, Oklahoma
- Vol. 3, Stephens County Marriage Book: , Lic. # 101
Thomas H. Payne, 19 to Bessie Gentry, 18 married 12-27-1912
Because of his outgoing nature, it must have come as a surprise to some when Tom Payne and Bessie Gentry were married a few weeks after her 18th birthday. Bessie was timid and shy by nature, and much happier in town than in the outdoors. They had five children in fairly short order, and times were tough in Oklahoma during the dust bowl. Charles Strong, Bessie's oldest grandson, also remembers that Bessie had very high standards, which her husband found hard to live up to. She was a thorough and dedicated housekeeper, and was almost obsessive about things being neat and tidy at all times. Charles recalled a story one of Bessie's brothers related to him about dropping by one afternoon for a visit. Bessie had just mopped, and refused to let him in, not wanting her immaculate floors stepped on.
| ||1. Anna Laura Payne, b. 23 Oct 1913, Arthur, Parks Township, Stephens County, Oklahoma , d. 15 Sep 2004, Duncan, Stephens County, Oklahoma (Age 90 years)|
| ||2. Dora Fay Payne, b. 30 Jan 1915, Alma, Stephens County, Oklahoma , d. 7 Mar 2002, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma (Age 87 years)|
| ||3. Thomas Hardrick Payne, b. 17 Jan 1917, Duncan, Stephens County, Oklahoma , d. 12 Apr 1997, Shasta County, California (Age 80 years)|
| ||4. Lois Marie Payne, b. 10 Feb 1920, Duncan, Stephens County, Oklahoma , d. 20 Nov 2013, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma (Age 93 years)|
| ||5. Patricia Gabriela "Patty Gay" Payne, b. 8 Feb 1928, Ada, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma , d. 2 Mar 1936, Duncan, Stephens County, Oklahoma (Age 8 years)|
||9 Dec 2006 |
||Group Sheet, Family chart
||Payne, Thomas Bunker's sons, ca 1900|
L to R: Thomas Hamilton Payne II, with his half brothers, Clyde Marion and Paul John Payne, ca 1900, Quanah, Texas
||_Payne, Thomas Hamilton|
Husband of Bessie Bird Gentry
B. 1893 Indian Territory D. 1957 Oregon
||Payne, Thomas Hamilton II|
This studio portrait of Thomas Hamilton Payne (II) appears to have been taken while he was still a teenage, probably around 1910 in Oklahoma.
||Payne, Thomas Hamilton II ca 1918|
World War I Photo, Thomas is standing on the left. He did not go oversees until after the Armistice, being part of the later occupaying forces.
||Signal Hill, California, 1930's|
By April 1922, only 10 months after completion of the discovery well, Signal Hill, California was covered with 108 wells, producing 14,000 barrels daily. By the fall of 1923, 259,000 barrels of crude was being produced every day from nearly 300 wells. Signal Hill was the biggest field the already productive Southern California region had ever seen....this made California the nation's number-one producing state, and in 1923, California was the source of one-quarter of the world's entire output of oil! Thomas Hamilton Payne was living here at the time of the 1930 census, working as a rotary helper.
||Payne, Thomas Hamilton II in Alaska, between 1945-1955|
Some eight months after Thomas H. Payne died, Mrs. Earle W. Barry of Palmer, Alaska replied to a query Anna Laura Strong had made about her father "The boys met him in Amchitka Island that was an Army base, the last was Ladd Field...near Fairbank, before that he was (at) Eidson Base. I am sending some papers that were laying around." This picture was either sent by her, or by the Portland Veterans Hospital as part of Tom's personal effects. The other two individuals in this photo are UNKNOWN, possibly the Barry's themselves? Tom was a boarder in the Barry home.
PLEASE HELP US IDENTIFY EVERYONE IN THIS PICTURE.
Amchitka, Alaska Air Force Base. This was the photo of a co-worker of Tom Payne's, and was among his personal effects at the time of his death.
||Marie and Midge UNKNOWN|
This photo was among the personal effects of Tom Payne. It was inscribed:
"Dear Tom, If you would like to cut this down to fit your wallet I don't care. The photographer pulled my shoulder and spoiled sleeve and Midge's collar. Not a good picture of either of us, Marie"
PLEASE HELP US IDENTIFY MARIE AND MIDGE
||Payne, Thomas Hamilton II, 1906 Choctaw and Chickasaw Nation Homestead Patent|
Homestead Patent for 80 acres granted to Thomas H. Payne as a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation
||Payne, Thomas Hamilton II, 1906 Choctaw and Chickasaw Nation Homestead Patent, Back|
Back of Thomas H. Payne's homestead patent
||Payne, Thomas H. Proof of Heirship Chickasaw Tribe 1920 PG 1 0f 6|
This important genealogical document is a six page proof of heirship, and was filed in Stephens County, Oklahoma on October 18, 1920 by Thomas Hamilton Payne, and outlines in detail his father's family. Tom lists his father's parents, brothers and sisters, first and second wife, and other children. Tom's father, Thomas Bunker Payne, was an enrollee in the Chickasaw Nation by marriage; and this was filed to prove Thomas Hamilton's Payne eligibility to enroll in the Chickasaw Nation based on his father's initial application.
||Payne, Thomas H. Proof of Heirship Chickasaw Tribe 1920 PG 2 0f 6|
||Payne, Thomas H. Proof of Heirship Chickasaw Tribe 1920 PG 3 0f 6|
||Payne, Thomas H. Proof of Heirship Chickasaw Tribe 1920 PG 4 0f 6|
||Payne, Thomas H. Proof of Heirship Chickasaw Tribe 1920 PG 5 0f 6|
||Payne, Thomas H. Proof of Heirship Chickasaw Tribe 1920 PG 6 0f 6|
||Payne Thomas H. Selective Service Departure Permit 1943, California to Alaska|
In August, 1943, Tom Payne filed this document with the Long Beach, California Selective Service board. It was a request for permission to depart the United States to visit the country of Alaska, which was not yet a state. He was in the employ of Guy F. Atkinson Co of San Francisco, a heavy construction company. As the nature of his business was listed as "confidential," it is likely he was involved in a civil engineering project in Alaska related to the war effort
||Payne, Thomas H. Letters of Administration 1950 (Based on Presumed Death)|
After his absence from home for more than twenty years, Tom's wife and daughter had him declared legally dead in order to collect benefits due him from the Chickasaw Nation. His youngest daughter, Lois Marie Payne, was named administer of his estate. Seven years after this was filed, they were reconnected with their dying father by the American Red Cross
||Payne, Thomas H. Union Card|
National Federation of Federal Employees Local 899, issued in Fairbanks, Alaska
||Payne, Thomas H.- Ladd AFB Job Description 1955|
This detail's Tom's promotion from Stationary Boiler Fireman to Heating Equipment Fireman at Ladd AFB in Alaska. His wages, of $2.94 an hour, however, remained unchanged.
||Payne, Thomas H.- Alaska Hunting License|
This was issued in 1956, one year prior to his death. He was listed as 5'9 1/2 inches tall, and weighing 145 pounds (unchanged from his 1943 departure permit to Alaska), with brown hair and blue eyes. Tom's love for the outdoors is apparent, as included among the handful of his personal effects returned to his family were this license, an NRA membership card, a photo of him in hunting gear, and a receipt for .22 caliber long rifle.
||Payne, Thomas H. Civil Service Disability Separation, May 1957|
This is Thomas Hamilton Payne's May 1957 Civil Service Separation order, issued by Ladd AFB in Fairbanks, Alaska because of his diagnosis of bronchogenic carcinoma. It showed his forwarding address in care of the Earle Barry family of Palmer, Alaska
||Payne, Thomas H. Civil Service Card|
This card showed that Tom was retired from the Civil Service Administration, lists his annuity claim number, and shows that he began drawing his annuity in May, 1957, seven months prior to his death.
||Payne, Thomas H. - Telegram informing his family of Tom Payne's death|
This Western Union Telegram was sent by the Portland Oregon Veteran's hospital to Mrs. Anna Laura Strong in Duncan, Oklahoma to inform her that her father had died. Thomas's children had not heard from him in close to thirty years, until the Red Cross put them back in touch shortly before his death.
||Payne, Thomas Hamilton II|
Death Certificate, as issued by the State of Oregon
||Payne, Thomas H. VFW Lifetime Membership |
Ironically, this Life Membership was issued a few weeks after Tom died at the Portland V.A. Hospital.
||Payne, Thomas H. - Info Letter re TH Payne from Mrs Earle W Barry Palmer Alaska PG 1 of 3|
This is the letter written by Mrs. Earle Barry of Palmer, Alaska to Anna Laura Strong. Mrs. Barry was responding to Anna Laura's inquiries about her father's whereabouts and activities over the past thirty years.
||Payne, Thomas H. - Info Letter re TH Payne from Mrs Earle W Barry Palmer Alaska PG 2 of 3|
||Payne, Thomas H. - Info Letter re TH Payne from Mrs Earle W Barry Palmer Alaska PG 3 of 3|
- [S477] Chickasaw Nation. Chickasaw Roll. Velma, Indian Territory, No. 3686, Pickens County No. 20, Field No. 1279 (Reliability: 3).
- [S262] Oregon State Board of Health, Certificate of Death.
- [S459] Chickasaw Nation, Enrollment Application, Chic 1279, Thomas B. Payne.