The ties that bind: These Kiowa and Irish descendants can trace their family origins back to one fateful raid

Great State

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Okla. (KFOR) – Thanksgiving recipes and family history.

Around this time of year, cousins Wes Goombi and Harriet Sloan talk about who’s coming over for supper, and, for this uniquely Oklahoma family, who might be included.

“If we were all together,” guesses Harriet, “we’d probably have close to 500 people.”

The road back to the origins of this story stretches past the town of Mountain View, past the old Rainy Mountain Kiowa Church, to the mountain itself, back to 1864 when a band of Kiowas and Comanches raided a settlement in north Texas.

Little Millie Durgan, just a toddler at the time, was taken that October night.

Her older sister Lottie too.

Their mother was slain.

Lottie was eventually ransomed back to her family.

A Kiowa family adopted Millie, gave her a tribal name, and hid her away.

Her captive secret only whispered about among close family.

“She had blue eyes,” says Harriet of family lore. “My dad talked to us about it when I was young.”

The story didn’t come out until Millie was an old woman, fully Kiowa by then.

She never knew English, never learned to read or write.

“She was Kiowa through and through,” insists Wes.

She passed away in early 1934 on her allotment near Mountain View, and a historical marker on Highway 9.

But her story lived on, passed down from generation to generation.

Wes tells us, “She was one of the first converts to ‘the Jesus way’.”

So what are the ties that bind?

What defines family and what breaks them apart?

A few years ago, Millie’s Kiowa descendants and Lottie’s Irish descendants started getting together, curious to see how alike they seemed to be, and forgiving of the long distant past.

Wes Goombi recalls, “There was just a connection. It was amazing the connection that we felt because we were tied together.”

Their first reunion took place nearly a decade ago at the Rainy Mountain Church.

They all keep up now and make plans to get together again.

At a time of year when lots of family turn to their respective histories, this one stands up as proof that blood and time can overcome almost any obstacle.

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