This is a summery of my research on a descendent of Oliver and Margaret Stembel. Oliver was a son of John Stembel, who was a son of Frederick Stembel of Middletown, Maryland.
Oliver and Margaret Stembel were married in 1850. Oliver was a farmer in Ohio. They had five children, four boys and a girl. Sometime after 1880 they moved west, eventually settling in western Missouri. Their daughter, Elenor, married Frank Lanham and they set up household in Missouri, but in 1903 Frank and Elenor moved their family to Creek County in the Oklahoma Territory. Oklahoma was not yet a state.
Frank and Elenor Lanham had nine children, eight boys and one lone girl, Sadie Marie Lanham.
About this time, John (Hum Pah See) Long and his wife Mary Louise, both full-blood Osage Indians had a daughter, Josephine (Pah Skah) in 1882. They lived along Quapaw Creek, west of present Skiatook, Oklahoma. When Josephine was 16 she married 35-year-old Isaac Tell Bratton, a white man born in Ohio. Josephine gave birth to her first child soon after. They named him William Ernest Bratton. Josephine had six children in all, three sons by Isaac (who died in 1908) and three daughters by a second husband, John Nix. They owned a large homestead which they named Turkey Creek for the creek that ran through it. They raised their children in the Osage Indian culture.
In 1918, Sadie Marie Lanham, granddaughter of Oliver Stembel, and William Ernest Bratton, an Osage Indian, married. By now Oklahoma was a state (the 46th state) and Osage County (which included Quapaw and Turkey Creeks) was now an Osage Indian Reservation with 2,228 registered Osage Indians living within. That number included Josephine (Pah Skah) and her three sons at the time, one of whom was Sadie's husband.
Sadie and William lived on the Bratton's Turkey Creek homestead and raised their seven children as Osage Indians.
When I first realized we had a distant cousin who married an Indian and chose to live on a reservation back in the early 1900s, I jumped to the conclusion that they probably lived in near poverty based on my preconceived idea that Indians living on reservations equaled poverty, especially back at a time when Indians were not held in high esteem by a significant portion of the population. As I began to research this family in depth I found I had underestimated the Osage Indian leaders who bargained hard and intelligently to extract as much from Congress as possible when they were setting up the new state of Oklahoma. In the end the 1906 Osage Allotment Act contained many benefits for the tribal members. Each registered member of the tribe was allotted 657 acres of land (the normal allotment was 150 acres), and more importantly, they retained the mineral rights to their shared reservation land. Oil had been discovered on their reservation in 1894, but there was not much demand for oil in 1906 when the bargain was negotiated, but by the mid-1920s oil was much in demand and the Osage Indians were among the richest people in Oklahoma!
Researching this branch of the family required learning more about the history of the Osage Indians. I learned of the special relationship the Osage had with French traders in the early 19th century (apparent in the names of two of Josephine Bratton's grandparent's: Louis Baltimore and Francois Celeste Cardinal), and the treaties and forced moves, none of which were as devastating as the "Trail of Tears" suffered by the Cherokee and Choctaw in the 1830s, but they were disruptive. Even so, it is not hard to feel the outrage at the many disturbing failures of our government, and the cruelty of individuals, including murders of Osage Indians for their oil money. To get a feel for what the Osage have experienced, read the Wikipedia entries for 'Osage Nation' and 'Osage Indian Murders.'