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Transcript of Bill Yantis (Great nephew of Oliver Yantis) | Contact Us
Oliver Yantis (Genealogy Site)
Transcript of Bill Yantis (Great nephew of Oliver Yantis)

This information will be updated as time permits. My Great Granddad, and I believe his name was William also,  was married to my Great Grandmother Susan J.They had three children:  The oldest was William, my Granddad, and Lidia (sometimes referred to as Ida). Oliver was the third and youngest of the bunch.
My dad was one of two children born of my Great Granddad William, and Daisy Yantis, who was a   'Knox from Ponca City.  They had two children, one was my dad, William [NMI]. The other had the name of Harold, who died when he was young and is interred in Cushing with my Granddad.  My dad and my mother were married twice.  My Father was married a total of seven times, he married my mother [a Boyd] the first and last time. I was best man the second time in -+ 1945 at the Grand Canyon. Dad had my half brother, John who lives in Aptos, CA.                                                             

 I have three children: Dixie, Stewart and Mickeal.  Mike is the person establishing site and is responsible fot it's contnt.  Eric, his son, will be assisting him.
    As for history, here's the way I remember it. Back when I was about 5 or 6 years old.  My mother used to take me by bus from Cushing which is where I was born and raised, over to Stillwater about 27 miles away to visit Grandmother Susan.  I dont remember much about these trips except I remember the house she lived in and the way it was laid out .I do remember seeing her laying on a sort of a Day-Type Bed. She was very sick.  She had apparently put some hair curlers on a wood burning stove to curl her hair and her hair caught on fire.  Which subsequently ended up killing her.  I do remember my mother telling me that Susan would tell her (my mother) please dont ever let Lidia be alone with me. Mother said Susan was very scared of Lidia.  Lidia was of some questionable character, as I recall a Dance-Hall girl. Mother would hardly talk about her. I have [some place] a letter  I believe from a Lidia Campbell  in California in the 1930s. It seems to me that she had written to the War Department trying to collect a pension of some kind for a Yantis relative that was as I recall apparently in the Union Army back in Ohio, maybe around Civil War time.  I do have a copy of a will which Susan left Lydia $10 .
Of course by this time Uncle Oliver was already gone.  I can remember my Dad used to get drunk and say he was going to sue the State of Oklahoma because the Federel Marshals had bushwhacked Uncle Oliver without giving him a chance to surrender or defend himself.  There are two stories about that shootout.  One is when he was walking from the house to the barn with a saddle he was bushwhacked by, I think, "Heck" and some other people including a witness who had been brought down from Kansas to identify Oliver as one of the Kansas bank robbers.  The other one was that they offered him a chance to surrender.  I believe that in both accounts Oliver did empty his six-shooter before they took him down and  he lived for a while and was quite disrespectful to the people who shot him--like cussing and spitting at them. They threw him on a wagon and took him to Gutherie, which was sort of like the Oklahoma Territory Capitol.  There is a picture of Uncle Oliver in a book that I have as he is laid out in a Casket. 
    When I was about 35 years old, my Grandmother Daisy, who lived  in Santa Cruz, CA. called me in and sat me down, and said to me Billy, I know that your going to be proud of what I am going to tell you, but it is nothing to be proud of, and that is the reason I have waited this long to tell you.  She said to me that she was at that farm house whenever Oliver was shot, and that during all the commotion and confusion she grabbed a canvas bag that had US Government stamped on it, and  brand new government  (currency) inside and threw it in the stove.  I remember saying Well Grandma, didnt you save at least a couple of them.  She was not the kind that even thought that was amusing.  I did not ask her any more questions about the shootout.  The question I do have in my mind is since she was not a Yantis, [a Knox as I recall from Ponca City]  How she got to be in that farm house at that time, I dont know.  That is question that has always been in the back of my mind.
    Next we go to the All-Yantis Reunion which I believe was in 1996 at Arillington, just outside of Dallas.  All of my family went back in Stewart's motor-home, including Stew and wife Mary, Mike and son Eric, and my half-brother John his wife Jan plus the lady I was living with at the time, June, who was trying to become a Yantis. At the reunion a Yantis From Germany discussed the three  Yantis brother's ancestors before they came to the U. S. People kept getting up and extolling the virtues of the first two Yantis and very little was said about the third Yantis.  There was only one other representative there, and he wasnt very communicative.  So when they asked someone to talk about the third Yantis,  I got up and told this story,  There was five Yantis:  The Old Man, Susan and the three kids.  The oldest of which was William (my Grandfather), the second was Lidia (or Idia), and the third, the youngest was Oliver.  And as I recall the story, one of the children was born in a what was called a stockade [ a Fort] in Kansas.  Anyway, while in Oklahoma Territory [ I am sorry I have no idea what year this was], it is alleged that the old man was killed by Susan and perhaps the kids-- chopped up with a hatchet. As I recall the story, Susan and the kids were then taken to Arkansas because the alledged crime was in Oklahoma territory.  The charges were dropped against the children, but Susan was tried and aquitted. This would be a reaal challenge for someone to research and find if there is a record of that trial  in Arkansas [Fort Smith? Hangin Judge Bean?]. I have a tape of the Yantis reunion, including my speech. Several of the Yantis congeration went from Arlington TX  North to Yantis, TX where we had lunch with the mayor who made a speech [good lookin Gal].
We then went on North to Cushing, Ok to visit my mother. Then we went over to Muhall to visit Uncle Olivers gravesite.  At this time I think it was Mike who pointed out to me that that headstone had just been setting there for almost a hundred years on a pedistal with only a iron rod sticking very loosely into a hole from the base into the headstone itself. This was all that secured the headstone to the base.  So , I can remember standing there and looking at the stone and gravesite trying to reverse roles. I asked myself: If I was there, as Oliver was, would I want that headstone to stay over the place where I was interred or would I prefer a loving family take it and cherish it.  Obviously, I opted for the latter. That was long before I knew that there was such interest in Ol' history as there is now.  In any event, I had three stones made which are much larger and are not real similar to the origianal stone that I know have sitting on my fireplace in my living-room.  I gave one to my half-brother, John, and I gave one to my youngest ugly son Mike, and the other I had installed on Uncle Oliver's grave by the only  monument man in Stillwater.  Now I am told that that stone was damaged and has been repaired by a Historical Society there. I have made a donation in his memory.Now that I see  there is such interest, I may return that stone to Uncle Olivers grave, I dont know. Maybe Mike will after I die. One other consideration is we visited a lady that was sorta the unofficial keeper of the records of the graveyard in Muhall. She said there had been some vandalism by kids. It may have been rationalization but this coupled with the fact the stone was not secured was enough for me to take the original stone. I left her a note confirming that I was taking Uncle Ol's stone. t secured and it was not too heavy, not nearly as heavy as the one I had replicated/duplicated, somebody could steal it.  So this was another motivating factors for me to take the stone.
    Over the period of years I have aquired some books, at least two different books with information about Uncle Oliver. One has a picture of him  laid out in a casket in Gutherie. He was in a suit that obviously didnt belong to him but a much bigger man. I believe the guy that wrote that book was named *Shirley* in Stillwater. I communicated with him, and told the story as I told it here. He said the money that Grandma burned accounted for the missing money was never found or accounted for. I am certain he was referring to the train robery at [OK town] I sent him a written statement verifying what I told him then and what I am telling now.  
   I have a couple of friends who still live in Cushing: Carolyn Clark [ used to be Sutton), and Patti Brandel, both very good friends of mine. They used have fun running records in court houses and newspapers. They could not find a record of trial there in Stillwater [Payne County]  My Dad said he thought there was a trial but there was no record.They did find a couple of newspaper articles which I hope I can find.One of the articles was about a hired hand at Grandmother Susans house in Stillwater, who apparently got a little fresh with her, and get this------ my Great Granddad [ according to this article] litterally mopped up the road with this hired hand. In other words,  he whipped his ass.  I dont know how to explain the difference between the chopping up in Oklahoma territory and this quite a few years later, Did Susans husband appear again or was it actually my granddad, not great- grandad? This is another question for someone if they really want to get into it.  If so, please let me [or Mike] know. I would certainly like to know the answer to that question.

William Yantis