Field Worker: Maurice A. Anderson
Name: Mr. A.G. Harris
Residence: Pauls Valley
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
I came to Indian Territory in 1886. Left Arkansas in a covered wagon
with four head of horses. Stopped near Poteau, Choctaw Nation.
It was called Canadian District.
It was a wild country then with lots of turkey and other wild game.
I didn't do much hunting myself, but my wife has killed several turkeys.
There were lots of cattle thieves in that part of the country. There
were several that were taken and strung up or hanged, but I don't remember their names and
I never took any part in their work.
I farmed and tried to make an honest living for my family. I would
only go to the store when we needed anything. The store and settlement was called High
I saw the Indians play ball. They would use a stick of some kind and
throw the ball at a pole with the sticks. I never did learn how they won the game.
The Indian squaws wouls server something to drink to the ones that were playing.
I think it was coffee.
I saw two men have a gun fight. I was getting my hair cut and a man
was at the mirror combing his hair. His name was John Griffie and a
man named John Harris stepped in the door and started shooting at John
Griffie. Griffie pulled out his gun and they had it out.
John Harris killed Griffie and received three
wounds himself. The barber, who was cutting my hair, ran under the table. I
sat in the barber chair and never got a scratch. John Harris was tried
at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
to the Federal prison for six years.
They didn't have any prison around that part of the country where I lived.
When an Indian was tried for a crime and if he received the death sentence, they
would set a day for him to come in and be shot and he would come in, and a part Creek
Indian named, Duke Berryhill, called the "Light
Horsemen" would stand the one to be shot up against something and
shoot him. I only saw him shoot one Indian. I was about 100 yards away but the
Indians have told me he had killed several.
I lived there fourteen years. I farmed while I lived there.
There was a lot of killing around there, but i never saw them. I would not
have witnessed the killing of John Griffie if I could have got away.
I think it was in 1900 that I moved to Stroud, Oklahoma.
I have seen the Sac and Fox Indians carry their babies on their backs.
I moved to Sparks, Oklahoma and was living there when
Oklahoma became a sate in 1907. I moved to Pauls Valley after
leaving Sparks. I have lived in and around Pauls Valley
since I have been married 54 years.