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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



David O. Clapp


Interview #10486
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: April 18, 1938
Name: Mr.  David O. Clapp
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: July 1, 1861
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: John Clapp, born in Rolling Fork, Indian Territory
Mother: Lizzie McFarling, born in Missouri


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I was born in 1861, in Texas, and came to Indian Territory in the fall of 1889, locating at Roff in the Chickasaw Nation.  A Mr.Cox owned the store there and the postoffice was in his store.  Joe Roff owned the livery stable.  There was also a log church house there then. John Beck who married my sister was the only preacher in that part of the country.

I remember one Sunday a short while after I came there, my brother-in-law was holding a meeting when twelve men were killed in that log church house.  They were men working on a ranch near Roff and that morning they all rode into church and on their way into Roff they met a boy going home.  This boy was only twelve years old and these men thought they would have some fun out of the boy, so they roped him like they would a steer and they were too rough with him.  The boy got skinned and bruised up pretty bad.  They let the boy go and came on to church.  The boy went and told Joe Roff how the men had treated him and Joe, not thinking that the boy would do anything, up and told the boy that if it were he, he would go and kill all of them.  The boy, being only twelve years old, took Joe at his word and went home, got his father's rifle and came to the church house.  I was there at church myself and saw what took place.  Everybody wore guns or carried a rifle so no one thought anything when the boy came in the church house with the rifle.  The twelve men were sitting on a bench on the south side of the room and the boy never said a word, but just opened fire on them and the killing was over within a few minutes.   Some of the men were killed outright and some died from wounds a short while after.   There was only one window in the church and my brother-in-law went through it.

The boy went to Joe Roff and told him what he had done.   He was arrested by a deputy United States Marshal and had to stand trial but after showing the bruised places on him where the men has mistreated him, he was turned loose.

I moved to Sandy Creek on the Roff and Old Center road near a place called Hart and leased some land from Joe Purtle, who lived at Hart.  I built a gin, sawmill and grist mill there.  I first built a log house until I got the sawmill to working and later had a box house built.  Not long after I went to operating the sawmill, my wife's brother went to work for me.  His name was Jesse Chatman.   While unloading a wagon loaded with logs one of the logs rolled off on him and he was killed.

The only doctor in that part of the country was Doctor Davis who now lives at Blanchard, Oklahoma.

While owning the sawmill, I sold the lumber that built the first jail at Pauls Valley, when Pauls Valley wasn't much more than a mud hole.  But it was the main trading and shipping point for the eastern part of the country as far as Stonewall.   People would haul cotton to Pauls Valley and some would sell their cotton there as there was a market for it at Pauls Valley, but I don't think they paid as much as the buyers would in Texas, where some shipped it.

When I located on Sandy Creek there were only two grist mills in this part of the country, mine and Zach Gardner's.   Mr. Gardner owned a mill on the river east of Pauls Valley and it was run by water power while mine was run by steam.

This was a cattle country then.  Anyway you looked you cold see great herds of cattle.  I have seen deer go in droves and there were worlds of turkeys and prairie chickens.

I now live in Pauls Valley.

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