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My great-grandfather, William Grant KIMBERLIN moved to Indian Territory in 1868 and engaged extensively in ranching. He came to Pauls Valley in 1872 when it was known as Smith Paul's Valley and was a frontier trading post.
He began farming and buying cattle, and for many years was a leading rancher in this area, running up to 1,500 cattle on the ranges.
He opened a dry goods store in Pauls Valley, receiving most of his stock by ox-drawn wagons from Denison, and became one of the original directors of the National Bank of Commerce.
KIMBERLIN, along with Rev. J.C. POWELL, organized the Methodist Church of White Bead Hill in 1879. This church, Kimberlin Chapel, was built in 1905. Today, 1998, the church still stands and holds services every Sunday.
Though out the years, my family, especially my late grandfather WILLIAMS, not a Kimberlin, have maintained the records for the White Bead Cemetery. The GARVINS, our county's namesake is buried at this cemetery. My grandmother, a KIMBERLIN, was named after Susan GARVIN.
Pauls Valley Daily Democrat September 28, 1999
Tall cedars block the view from I-35 of an old Victorian white frame two story house that W. G. Kimberlin built. Today, Kimberlin Road runs east-west under I-35 a mile north of Hwy 19. It is straight now, but has a few jobs in the old days. To the east of I-35 the road leads down into the Washita Valley; to the west about two miles is Whitebead school on Hwy 19, and before you get to Hwy 19 you come to a road on the right which leads to Whitebead Cemetery. The first Kinberlin house stood just east of this house. It burned in 1896.(See Note 1) To replace it, Kimberlin started building a new one hauling lumber by wagon from Gainsvelle, Texas. It was built with quality materials and workmanship. One unusual building technique was that the studs go from top to bottom ..two stories. For this time and place, this was a grand house. The Victorian style was beginning and the gingerbread patterns on the porch are evidence of that style's emergence. There are many homes nearly identical throughout the North Texas area which was becoming well settled and was sort of the model for homes in Indian Territory. One can trace the prosperity of an area by the architectural styles as they develop.
The unusual nature of this home is that it was built in old Pickens County, Chickasaw Nation in 1877 - ten years before the railroad and only five years after the stage road was built. (See Note 3)This was still raw country and a grand home was a rarity, not only because of the lack of lumber and building supplies; but because this area still was cash poor, if not land rich. While it was growing and the road improvements made it better, most of the few inhabitants still lived in much more humble abodes.
Whitebead Hill was one of those communities on the old stage road to Fort Cobb from the east. (See Note 4)Beef Creek to the west was the next stage stop and Smith Paul's Valley and Cherokeetown were to the east. W. G. Kimberlin was a Confederate veteran of the Civil War. He was born Dec 22, 1841 near Texas Post Office, Washington County, Kentucky and had moved in 1854 with his parents to Blue Springs Missouri. He enlisted in the southern cause at the age of 19 in 1861, serving with Co. D. Shanck's regiment, "Pap" Price's Brigade under General Joe Shelby. According to an 1891 Biography of leading citizens in Indian Territory, Kimberlin went through the entire war without a wound, not withstanding seventeen holes having been shot through his clothes. After the war he spent some time in Northeast Texas before moving into the Washita Valley across from Dennison, Texas. He traded with the Chickasaw Indians and gradually went into the cattle business.
In 1870 he married Elizabeth Mitchell of Chickasaw Bluff. IN 1872 he moved into the area of the Washita Valley beyond Smith Paul's Valley and began buying cattle and farming. Like many of the men of the Chickasaw Nation at that time he was able to use the unique landholding system and build a huge heard, while enclosing and farming some of the fertile bottom land.
One year, his obituary in the Pauls Valley Democrat said, he fed 1500 head for the market and was running between ten and fifteen thousand head on the range.
His family grew and with it the need to have a home to house them all. He and his first wife, Elizabeth, had five children before she died in 1889. By then the big white house was full to the brim with kids. At one time Kimberlin evidently planned to use the great bif attic to finish up and make into bedrooms, but the kids got married off and he didn't need it. In 1890, Kimberlin married Mary J. Hancock. They had three children and adopted a daughter.
Kimberlin was not only successful in this commerical ventures, he was a community activist and promoter. The little community needed a church and in 1897 (See Note 2) about the same time his white house was finished he worked with Methodist circuit rider, John C. Powell, to build a church at Whitebead, then called Whitebead Hill. Whitebead became the region's center of Methodist Church activity. Powell's circuit at times also included Cherokeetown, Floorence and Smith Paul's Valley and other smaller churches. (See Note 5) In 1884, the Methodist Indian Mission Conference met at Whitebean Hill and again in 1888. Both times, some 80 delegates from all over Indian Territory were entertained in the big white house. (See Note 6) Kimberlin's promotion of the community extended to the establishment of education. The community had had some schooling for some time. But in 1885, a higher learning institute under Methodist auspices was established at Whitebeah Hill, Pierce Institute. Kimberlin was it's biggest backer. The college, the other schools, the stage stops, the church and the commercial area were at that point located near the present Whitebead Cemetery closer to the river. Allis gone now, a true ghost town, fading when the railroad went further east in 1887. Kimberlin had actively worked to get the railroad to come through Whitebead. Reports are that he was very disappointed, but he had good relations with the promoters of the news Pauls Valley.
A 1901 History of Indian Territory by D.C. Gideon, after commenting on his continuing reaching and farming, says, "for five years he has been engaged in merchandising in Pauls Valley, where he has a well appointed establishment and enjoys constantly increasing sales." "He is also propretor of a drug store and in connection with Tom Grant and Mr. Garvin he owns the government courthouse at Pauls Valley" "The subject of this review is regarded as one of the leading business men of Pauls Valley, and life demonstrates what may be accomplished through determination and energetic purpose." Of course, the vast land holdings of Kimberlin came to an end with the enrollment of all the citizens of the Chickasaw Nation and their federally forced choice of land allotment.
The unique Indian method of land-in-common gave way to the Anglo-American method of individual land ownership. Before 1903 all land was actualy owned by the Chickasaw Nation, which granted citizens the right to use as much land as they needed. Afterward all the land of the Nation was divided into squared off plots and each citizen chose 320 acres. For many of these cattlemen and farmers it was a vastly reduced amount of land. All the rest of the land not chosen was then auctioned off and the proceeds went to the Nation as a whole. Where once the roads ran along the ridges, the new land survey system promoted straight roads up and down. Many of the old residents thought the new system was useless and impractical and essentially the roads continued to follow the Chickasaw pattern for some time. But things were moving rapidly. In 1907 the two territories were combined into one for statehood.
Grant Kimberlin, W. G.'s son, recalled in 1956 that the first legislature in 1908 started the downhill climb, so to speak, by passing a law stating that " all section lines were roads, a strip 16 feet wide on each side of the section line. This brought on many conflicts one of which is related in vivid term in 'Town-Country Topics, printed in Pauls Valley, for 'free distribution' by H. S. Blair. In the issue of Thursday, June 29, 1911, it is stated: 'Boxing Contest Here: W. G. Kimberlin and Wayne Lasater Engate in a Battle Royal." the story was about Kimberlin and the deputy county attorney. Grant Kimberlin said the first set of county commissioners wee very eager to straighten the roads and didn't want to make any exceptions, even if there was an adequate or a structure or improvement in the way. It might be important to note that Garvin County came into existence only at statehood, so the old citizens of the Chickasaw nation were used to dealing with a much larger and Indian run Pickens County, I. T. Apparently, Kimberlin and several others were indicted for 'obstructing' the road that would go through their houses. He was arrested and brought before the judge, who set bond at $200. Kimberlin was very indignant and declared he would go to jail first. Words flew and the deputy, Wayne Lasater, said. " I'd send him to jail, he's no better than any other vagabond.". With this fisticuffs broke out and evidently Kimberlin got in a blow aimed a Lasater's nose. Kimberlin won the round in court though. The court records show that the new section line ran right through the Kimberlin white house. But the county had made no provision to pay for damages and the judge ruled that, "property could not be taken without just compensation." Acccording to the account, "that settle the matter and Mr. Kimberlin's home still stands in the same place, a two story structure, and a landmark in the history of this vicinity.'
Kimberlin died in 1927. The house is still owned by the Kimberlin family and Kimberlin Road, through straight, does not go through it.
Information by Grant Kimberlin in August 2011
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