Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"God is His Keeper, and It Was God's Will That He Go."

When my husband's grandmother was 16, her 7-year-old brother died from injuries after he was hit by a car. He was hit while crossing a highway on his way home from school. The newspaper account says that an officer had stopped to tell the children to face the traffic to safely cross the highway. Little Obel Jene ran from behind the police car and was hit by a car. His little body was then thrown into traffic coming from the other direction and he was hit a second time. Another motorist picked him up, but Obel Jene died before he reached the hospital.

Obel Jene Payton (1931-1938)
Son of Ben Payton (1887-1985) & Viola (Points) Payton (1888-1942)

On, I clipped an article about this accident several years ago. But, as I looked at the article again recently, I realized there were two other articles about this incident on the same page.

One short article speaks of the great faith Obel's mother had. The article reads: "I can not think of anything as comforting to any one in a time of sorrow as the words uttered by Mrs. Ben Payton; the mother who lost her baby so sudden and tragic, when she said 'God is his keeper, and it was God's will that he go.' How comforting that must be, not only for her, but for those who were responsible. There could not be a more comforting expression and hold so much grief and sorrow back of it. What a wonderful mother she must be."

The third article was an editorial about the safety of children crossing highways on their way to and from school. The author, John A. Woods, explains that some "Western states" have "school lanes" where yellow lines are painted to indicate where children should cross the highway. Signs indicating "Slow... School Crossing" are placed before this lane for approaching traffic to see. He said "if motorists are caught disregarding these crossing signs they are fined and their license revoked." He also explains that other children are appointed Junior Police to assist in the crossing of the highway.

He defends these precautions and says if they should "prevent one such accident as occurred last week on highway 62, would be well worth interrupting traffic for and I would like to believe that the little fellow whose life was snuffed out, did not die in vain for surely will make us all more cautious for children on the streets and highways."

Source: Obel Jene Payton Services Held Monday, Fort Gibson Independent, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, 31 March 1938, page 1, column 3, digital image, ( accessed 7 February 2017. [The 2nd & 3rd articles are on the same page, but the first column.]


  1. Oh, Obel's death is so sad. I can't imagine the grief his mother and brother felt.

    1. I can't imagine the pain the family went through, either.

  2. Obel was a darling child. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child, especially in such a horrific way. I hope they were able to make the changes to the highway so that he, in fact, did not die in vain.

    1. Isn't he adorable? It's heartbreaking to think he died such a violent death. And, I do hope they made the changes, too. It's hard for us to imagine such young children crossing a highway to get to and from school! I know where his house is and what the highway looks like now, but I'm not sure what it looked like in 1938. But, I cannot imagine a young child crossing the highway.


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