History of the Delawares of Idaho

The Creech & Fent Delawares

Our Ancestors spent several years in Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. They moved from Kansas to Oklahoma in 1867, and lived near Coffeeville, Oklahoma. they were issued 160 acres of land from the Cherokee’s. (The Bureau of Indian Affairs paid the Cherokee Tribe for land for the Delaware Indians to settle.)

Leander Louis Creech and Otelia Evoline Fent married on October 5, 1889. In addition to being a cattleman, and a hunter for the army, they lived at a stage relay stop. On more than one occasion when they would get up in the morning they would find 15 to 30 men sleeping on the floor. They were the Jesse James gang, who would stop in and sleep for a little while, get fresh horses and go on their way. They never offered to pay, but as grandma cleaned-up after them, she would find little bags of gold, here and there in the room. (If the authorities had ever heard about it, they would have been in serious trouble.)

While living at Coffeeville several children were born. One of them was Bruce Leander Creech, who was born in 1893.

In 1902 the Cherokee Indians got a bill passed which gave them the right to remove all Intermarried and Freedman Indians from the Delaware Indian Rolls. They were told if they did not agree with the decision, that they would have to go to the area Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Billings, Montana to protest the action.

It was 1907 that they went to Billings, Montana to protest. Grandpa & his son (Bruce) worked in the Heating Plant in Billings, Montana.

Bruce married Viola Emma Sherwood in 1917, and one son – Clifford Creech was born. They were divorced in 1919, and Bruce in 1920 then married Martha Elizabeth Johnson. They had three children, Clyde W. Creech (July 11, 1921), Lawrence E. Creech (Sept. 22, 1922), and Vera E. Creech-Cox (June 14, 1924).

Shortly after Vera’s birth the Creech’s moved to Ontario, Oregon. It was about 1925 that Bruce and Martha moved there also.

From there Leander & Bruce (and Families) moved to Payette, Idaho. Next they moved to New Plymouth, Idaho and bought a farm. He raised grain and watermelons, some stock, and cut firewood, too. Many of the family lived there, and made their home there. That area was called ‘The Islands’, and people for miles around came to buy wood.

(More than one individual referred to the Indians who lived there, and some still remember about it today.) Bruce trapped in the winter, and had a summer fruit route and sold fruit all over the state of Idaho. (Many times Clyde accompanied his dad on the route.)

Clyde went on his own in September of 1935, going all over the United States. Clyde married Dorothy E. Curtis on August 1, 1942 at Modesto, Calif. It was in 1943 that he entered the Marines, and served his country for 2 1/2 years. During that time he was 4 invasions, and wounded in the right shoulder, while on Iwo Jima.

There are six surviving children of this marriage. Shirley ? Creech (Musgrove), Marlene R. Creech (Menges), Beverly D. Creech (Jenkins), Rosmarie S. Creech (Kingston), Clyde W. Creech Jr., and Carl B. Creech.

It was in 1946 that Clyde learned the Masonry trade. He worked in the trade for about 28 years, and it was shortly after Beverly was born that they moved back to Idaho, and then on to Montana. Over the next period of years, they lived in Wyoming, Idaho, California, and Idaho again.

It was 1969 that research was started to prove Otelia Fent – Creech’s statement that we were in fact Indian. From 1969 to 1976 researching was done to prove their Indian Heritage. We filed to share in the Delaware Judgement Funds which was going to be released to the Cherokee-Delawares in Oklahoma. We were told at this time that we did not qualify to receive funds, and advised by our attorney to form a Corporation. It was in January of 1978 that the ‘Delawares of Idaho’ was incorporated. It was after much correspondence with officials in Washington, D.C.; Muskogee, Oklahoma; and with the Cherokee-Delawares in Bartlesville, Oklahoma that 2 delegations went to Washington, D.C. They testified before a Senate Select Committee, and before the B.I.A.

They got a bill passed, which gave them the right to share in the Delaware Judgement Funds. This was passed and signed into law on August 1, 1980, by President Jimmy Carter.