Roselawn Cemetery, Spiro Oklahoma
(Adjacent to Skullyville Cemetery)
This cemetery lies adjacent to the Skullyville Choctaw Nation Cemetery. In fact it is historically a part of the exact same community, of Skullyville, Indian Territory. The cemetery holds the remains of many Choctaw Freedmen, those who were the African slaves of the Choctaw Indians. The two cemeteries, are separated by a fence, which segregates the deceased by race. The Skullyville Cemetery side is well maintained, and kept in pristine condition. The well manicured lawn of the Skullyville side, leads back to the gated section of the Choctaw leaders, and slave owners.
The Roselawn Cemetery side, known by some as the "Freedmen" burial site is overgrown, with weeds, thistles and thorns. The ground is uneven and scarcely maintained. These are the remains of those who provided free labor to the wealthier community, and they now lie segregated by race even in death. It is known in the Freedmen communities of Ft. Coffee and other areas, that there are some Freedmen who have blood ties to the same enslavers from the nation. In addition, there are also some Freedmen who are actually buried on the Skullyville "Choctaw" side. The sectioning off of the two cemeteries by "the fence" is a sad testament to the legacy of slavery in the Choctaw Nation, and later racial segregation in the state of Oklahoma. Over the years, what occurred is that many in the Freedmen communities that evolved, did not learn of their historical ties to the nation and how it evolved, therby shutting off many descendants from in- depth knowledge of their own historical ties to the Choctaw Nation.
The history of how this burial ground became separated by a fence, from the Skullyville cemetery is not known. However, it's historical tie to the Choctaw Nation, must be pointed out and remembered. One gentleman from the local community, has begun working alone trying to refurbish this burial site. He receives assistance from no one, and uses his own resources, including equipment, hauling top soil, and he labors alone in an effort to bring Roselawn to better condition. There is no communication between those who maintain Skullyville Cemetery, and this gentleman.
Roselawn cemetery was documented this summer by Angela Walton-Raji and Tonia Holleman. Community leader Verdie Triplett of nearby Ft. Coffee directed the two researchers to this burial ground and as many headstones as possible were documented.
Several years go, the area was surveyed and documented by Pat Swafford Spiro, Oklahoma. At that time, on the Roselawn side, over 100 stones were documented and the images reside of the Skullyville Cemetery page. Now, less than 20 can be seen in this burial ground, and are the images are reflected below.
(Through the fence that separates the two burial grounds, the impressive gate to Skullyville Cemetery can be seen.)
Henry Cutchlow Sr.
Henry Cutchlow Jr.
Willie M. Cutchlow
Mary Brown Davis
E. D. DeGrafftenreid
George S. Franklin
Minnie C. Franklin
S. J. Gish
Chlora Lucille Jennings
Pvt. Reedy Parker