Biography of Isaac W. Bertholf

The subject of this sketch is the fourth son of the late Rev. Thomas Bertholf, the well-known Indian missionary, and Nancy Keys, daughter of Isaac Keys, of Tahlequah district. He attended public schools for some time, and completed his education at the national male seminary in 1856. After some five years spent on the farm, Isaac joined the Confederate service in 1862, under Stand Watie, and served in the battles of Cabin Creek, Bird Creek, Honey Springs and other lesser engagements. At the outbreak of the war, Rev. Thomas Berthold and Isaac’s mother refugeed close to the mouth of the Washita River, and on their return to the ranch on Bird Creek in 1867, they found that Opothleyoholo’s men had killed or driven off their entire stock of cattle and destroyed the home by fire. Rev. Mr. Bertholf, who had become missionary teacher at Asberry Mission in 1859, in 1867 returned to that point, while Isaac assisted him on the mission farm till his father’s death, July 1868. No good man was ever more sincerely or deservedly regretted than Rev. Thomas Bertholf, whose name will be long cherished among the Indian people. After his father’s death, Isaac moved to Canadian district for one year, and in 1869 opened a farm on the Arkansas River of 120 acres, which he sold out in 1880, and moved twenty miles south of the head of Elk Creek (or Durdeen Creek) and there cultivated a fine farm. In conjunction with his brother-in-law, Stand Gray, they have a farm extending fully two miles. Some of the land is immensely valuable, being underlaid with solid iron ore thirteen feet thick, and in another spot coal three feet thick. He has a good house, 200 head of cattle, 12 head of horses and mules and a large stock of hogs. Mr. Bertholf was appointed tax collector in 1870 for four years, and in 1889 was elected auditor of the nation, which office has just expired. His place is situated two and one-half miles from the survey of a future railroad, and five miles from Checotah. Mr. Bertholf is a man of excellent sense, and highly trustworthy in every respect. The development of his iron claim will no doubt result to him in great wealth.

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