From Kingfisher Oklahoma Free Press, Monday April 4,
by Mrs. Margaret Doty
In loving memory of Gov. A.J. Seay, his sister,
[Susan] Isabella Seay Collins and family.
The following paragraphs tell of my memories of, and how I came to
know Governor A.J. Seay; his lovely sister, Isabella Seay Collins; his
nephews, Ralph and Will Seay; niece, Lula, a beautiful young woman
(raised by the governor and sister), whose mother had died when she was
three years old. Ralph, a handsome young man, also was raised by them,
and was a great help to his uncle in his later years.
As I remember, I was about 18 years old, living on a farm with my
father, James A. Graham, and sister Barbara, when one day a beautiful
young lady came driving in, introduced herself, and explained that her
aunt, Isabella Collins, was sick and needed help. She asked me to go
home with her and care for "Aunt Isa." I went with her.
Yes, I was afraid-they lived in a big, wonderful house. But, when
Lula took me up to Aunt Isa's room, the fear left me.
Isa was very kind and lovable. I stayed with them for several weeks,
and , after I returned home, if they needed me they would come for me.
I loved them all-especially Aunt Isa. She would talk of her parents,
and of when she and "big brother "Jeff" as children were living on a
farm, working to help their mother.
Spent Childhood in Missouri. I remember parts of the family history
of the Seay family, as Mrs. Collins would talk of the days when they
lived happily on a good farm home in Missouri, with their parents.
I recall how she told that one morning a strange man came to the
kitchen door of their home, and asked Mrs. Seay for food. Mrs. Seay
asked him was from the Cholera district. Apparently he said no, as she
let him in and gave him a good breakfast. He was very thankful. As he
was leaving, he picked up the baby from the cradle, kissed it, and laid
God only knows the suffering this man brought to this home! Within
three days, the baby, an older sister, and the father had died-all from
cholera. Isabella also became sick, she related, but had a craving for
vinegar, sugar and water, so she got into the kitchen, fixed herself a
cupful of the mixture, and drank it. Soon the country doctor came riding
in. The mother explained what Isa had done, and the doctor said, "that
is good to kill cholera - ALL of your drink it." They did, and no more
died. Then came the sad part of burying their loved ones.
In those days, people didn't know how to fumigate and disinfect
homes, so the authorities had the remaining members of the Seay family
go to a big, old log house (also on the Seay farm) to live, and they
burned the Seay home and all its contents-clothing, bedding and
The mother was a brave, good woman, Isa recalled. She made mattress
ticks and filled them with straw, and made shirts for the children. Son
Jeff-a brave boy-wore his long shirt, plowed corn, cared for the crops
and stock, gathered big pine knots, split them up fine and when evenings
came would make a fire of them on the hearth of the big old fireplace.
Nearby the fire was where he and sister Isa would read and study.
In later years, the family moved into town. Isa finished school, and
became a schoolteacher. She was a great help to her big brother Jeff, in
Later, he was in the army, and then became a lawyer.
Isa loved and married Mr. Collins, who later died, causing Mrs.
Collins much sadness.
Jeff Seay decided to come to Kingfisher to practice law, and was
appointed governor of Oklahoma territory. Gov. Seay hired a good
contractor, and in due time, the big wonderful A. J. Seay house was
Them, sister Isa and niece Lula got busy selecting the furnishings
for it. Jeff's big library room was at the northeast - off the wide
front hall; two parlor rooms were on the west side of the hall. Lula had
a piano in the back parlor, and many of her young friends came there to
sing with her. The dining room was a large, beautiful room that opened
onto the east porch. One could sit there and see over Kingfisher.
When the governor would come home, everyone would put on their best;
all the meals were served in courses. And when dinner was over the
governor went to his library room. His visitors saw him there.
The stable man and the hired men ate in the kitchen with the cook,
and lived in a cottage.
I went to the Methodist church with Mrs. Collins. She loved her Lord,
and the church people. Once a week, she had the stable man bring her
carriage, and she would drive to visit the elderly and the sick.
I remember a niece, Sue Sanders, whom Mrs. Collins loved. She and her
family lived on a farm west of Kingfisher. She and her family came often
to the mansion. And a nephew, Austin Marsh, and family, who lived
southeast of Kingfisher, came often. Lula loved their pretty little girl
Daisy, and Aunt Isa loved the nice boy Harry. I also remember the nice
little girl, Gertrude Sanders.
Mrs. D.K. Cunningham and Mrs. J.V. Admire were dear friends of Mrs.
Collins. Many nice ladies came to visit in the Seay home.
I left Kingfisher when I was 23, and went to Nelson, British
Columbia, to visit my oldest brother, Thomas H. Graham, his lovely wife
and their children. I was with them about two years, then came home.
Sister Barbara had written me that she was quarantined in Kingfisher
College for smallpox. I had to get vaccinated to leave nelson or get
through Spokane, Wash.
Father and Barbara were OK when I arrived, and were happy to see me.
After a few days at home, I went to the Gov. Seay home to visit Aunt Isa
and the family. To my surprise, Mrs. Collins was very ill. Mrs.
Cunningham was with her. When she learned Margaret Cunningham was with
her. When she learned Margaret Graham was there, she was so happy, and
before I left, she asked me to promise to come and stay with her as long
as she lived.
I returned to care for her. Her brother Jeff also stayed at home, and
many of the relatives came and went.
On her last day, Mrs. Collins spoke of a brother who had died about
20 years before they came to Oklahoma. At times, she would say he had
come for her.
Brig brother Jeff sat by her bed most of that day. At 5 P.M. with
Jesus with her, Aunt Isa left this world to go on with her many loved
ones. For many days, brother Jeff grieved.
As I remember, Isa's funeral was held in the big parlors in the home.
She and brother Jeff are buried on the Gov. Seay lots in Kingfisher
cemetery. There is a tall monument in the center of the lots, giving
their birth and death dates.