Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: March 16, 1938
L. A. (Lawson) Mason
Post Office: Route 2, Blanchard, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: January 15, 1860
Place of Birth: Arkansas
Place of Birth:
Information on father: buried in Arkansas
Place of birth:
Information on mother: buried at old Skake Rag in the Choctaw Nation
Field Worker: Robert H. Boatman
I was born January 15, 1860, in the State of Arkansas; one of my parents was a native of Tennessee and one of North Carolina. I grew up in Arkansas and there I remained till I was thirty-two years old. I then left Arkansas and with an ox wagon and a small group of pioneers, with some six to eight wagons, I came to the Indian Territory in 1892. As we entered the Territory the group of travelers divided; some going to one place and some to another. I came along West seeking better water and after several days of wandering I settled in the Chickasaw Nation near a small creek called Cotton Creek, which later became known as Big Sandy Creek, about three miles from where the town of Ada is now located. The reason for my settling at this particular place was that I was to become engaged in the livestock business or the raising of cattle and there was plenty of water and grass here and after much bargaining with a Chickasaw woman named Susan SCROGGINS I was able to secure a lease on a small tract of land for the purpose of erecting a home and when finally we agreed on a price I built a home my first in the new country. It was a log house with a dirt floor and stick and dirt chimney and was near the east bank of Cotton Creek.
Everything went along nicely for a while considering that I had some twenty head of cattle running on the range on which I had based my future hopes. Some five miles above us lived several Indians known as the HARJO Indians; they were supposed to be and were a pretty tough bunch and were widely known as cattle thieves. One evening my cattle disappeared and one of my work steers as well and the next morning I started out to find them but no trace could be found as no one had seen them. I hunted for my cattle all summer; then a personal friend of mine, a Chickasaw Indian told me that the Harjo Indians had stolen my cattle. I went over to see the Harjo Indians but they denied ever having seen my cattle.
Only a few days later I was some fifteen miles from home on Red Creek and as I was riding along there I saw at some little distance on the hill my cattle grazing very contentedly. There was no one around and I was greatly relieved. I then started riding over to get my cattle though before I had reached my herd an Indian came galloping up from a ravine and headed straight for my cattle. I set the spurs to my horse and soon caught up with the Indian. Not knowing whether he was one of the
Harjo's I rode up and said, "Hello Harjo." He seemed to be taken by surprise and at once came to a halt and then said, "You know me, know Harjo?" Then I saw that I had guessed him right and I said, "Sure I know you Harjo." At this I had little difficulty in establishing my ownership of the cattle and that Indian then roped my work steer for me but was not satisfied to give up the rest of the cattle. In writing I told him that I would return the following day for them. I took my steer and started home leaving the others for the Indian to think about and the following morning I went back and that Indian was right there with the cattle and helped me drive my cattle home and never was I bothered with the Harjo Indians.
In 1892 Ada was only a country store consisting of a post office and one store owned and operated by a man named Jeff REID, which was located in what is now North Ada. The closest trading points were Purcell and Pauls Valley.
The town of Ada continued a one store town until the building of the San Francisco Railroad, at which time the town began to grow. Since that time it has continued to grow and prosper. The Eastern Central State Teachers College is located here and Ada's pay roll ranks among the pay rolls of some of the leading cities of the state. A brick plant, glass factory, Oklahoma Portland Cement plant, an elevator, three railroads and several small industries are located in Ada.
Horse stealing was very bad in the '90's so an organization was established and was known as the Anti-Horse Thief Association. I was elected chairman of the committee who wrote the Constitution and By-laws of the association. This association worked in various ways and much stolen property was recovered and returned to the owners by its operation. I have to my honor the capture of several horse thieves and the return of more stolen horses than any other man in that section of the country.
My parents are both dead; Father is buried in Arkansas and Mother at old Skake Rag in the Choctaw Nation. I have lived in the Indian Territory and in Oklahoma since first I came in 1892 and expect to live at my home where I have been for the past several years in what is now McClain County, three miles south and three miles east of Blanchard.
Submitted to OKGenWeb by
Vicci Flatt, great great granddaughter of L. A. Mason <email@example.com>