In the August issue we went way up north to the Yukon and Alaska.  Next month’s issue will feature some unique stories about Oklahoma.  I have a particular interest in Oklahoma and its history since that’s where my mom was born.  My grandfather, Roosevelt “Bud” Young, was born in Indian Territory in 1902.  His father, Noah Seborn Young, was born in Alabama and migrated to Indian Territory with his family.

Awhile back I was working on that part of my family tree, and while conducting a little newspaper research at The Gateway to Oklahoma History (which, I might add, is an excellent place to research your Oklahoma ancestors — and free!), I ran across an interesting political advertisement.  You might ask, “what good is a political advertisement for genealogical research?”  Good question.  This one provided a startling tidbit which set me on a course to discover more about an intriguing piece of radical Oklahoma history.  Why was it so startling?

Noah Young at one time worked as a Deputy Clerk for the United States Court of the Northern District of Indian Territory.  He signed his name “N.S. Young” and that was how he was referred to in newspapers and legal documents. Interestingly, as Deputy Clerk he signed his own marriage license in 1898 when he married my great grandmother Talitha Pugh (who died in 1904).  I believe this 1910 political ad in The Weleetka American was my great grandfather’s because 1910 census records indicate he and his family lived in the county, and as far as I can tell there was no one else enumerated with this name or initials in Okfuskee County.

My great grandfather was also a farmer and Holiness lay preacher, a man of faith.  So, I was definitely interested in knowing why my farmer, Holiness-preaching great grandfather was running as a Socialist for Constable of Okfuskee County in 1910.  Today, Oklahoma is considered the reddest of “Red States”, politically speaking.  So, why was Oklahoma such a hotbed of socialist fervor (a much different and radical kind of “red”)?

It’s an intriguing story, the “onion peel” kind.  It’s what we do in every issue of Digging History Magazine … uncovering history one story at a time.

Sharon Hall, Publisher and Editor, Digging History Magazine