Nannie Cleveland

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Nannie Cleveland

Nannie Cleveland

“A year after the smallpox epidemic the great Indian War broke out…Chief Yellow Bird and the Wichitas did not forget…for they were men of honor. They fought on the side of the little girl who helped save them…”
Nannie Cleveland


Nannie Hutchens Cleveland was born in Indiana and moved with her mother and uncle’s family to Kansas only a short time later. Nannie’s uncle was a Quaker Agent for the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes and the family moved to Darlington, Oklahoma, around 1872. Her mother became superintendent of the first government school at the Indian Agency and in May of 1874 helped save Native Americans at the Wichita Indian Agency when she allowed a doctor to withdraw some of the vaccine that had been given to Nannie as they battled to save people from a widespread small pox epidemic.

Nannie’s husband, Charles Cleveland, owned an Indian Traders’ Store at Anadarko, Oklahoma, and became chairman of the first Board of County Commissioners in 1901. Nannie served as chairman of the first City Park Commission and was a teacher at the Wichita Indian Boarding School in Anadarko and at Pierce Institute, a Methodist mission school near Pauls Valley.

Fun fact

Nannie Cleveland was only six years old when a small pox epidemic broke out among Native Americans near where she and her mother lived. Her mother had just administered the last dose of vaccine to young Nannie, and so she allowed the local doctor to withdraw some of it from her arm to save the population of Indians. Nannie immediately became known as “The Little White Angel.”

Oklahoma connections

Cleveland came to Darlington, Oklahoma, with her family in 1872.









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