Interview # 10107
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: February 25, 1938
Name: Mr. Arthur James
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: August 8, 1879
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: J.L. Davis, born in Missouri
Mother: Mildred Melton, born in Missouri
I was born in 1879, in Texas and came to the Indian Territory in 1895,
with Father and Mother. We settled on a farm in the Chickasaw Nation, near Elmore.
Pauls Valley was where my father brought his cotton to have it ginned and
the old grist mill east of Pauls Valley was where he would have to bring corn to have it
At that time there were only two stores in Elmore. Mr. Jim Gibson
owned one of the stores. He later established the first bank at Elmore.
The country then was very thinly settled around Elmore. People living
around there farmed and raised cattle. There were no fences. It was open range
and cattle could graze anywhere. We had four head of mules and three good milk cows
when we moved to the Indian Territory. My father had been farming near Gainesville,
Texas, before we moved to the Indian Territory.
There were plenty of turkeys in the part of the country where we settled
at that time. I have seen as high as fifty in a bunch and the prairies were covered
with cattle. My father raised cattle and would buy cattle and fatten them and then
bring them to Pauls Valley and sell them to some bigger cattlemman. A Mr. Byars at
Pauls Valley was a large cattle owner and Mr. Sam Garvin owned a large ranch west of Pauls
Valley. There were no large ranches around where we settled. What few people lived
there then were farmers, but raised some cattle.
People then tried to raise what they had to live on. My father would
only make about two trips a year to Gainesville, Texas, for what things we had to have.
The first year we farmed, he hauled his cotton to Gainesville to market, but after
that he always sold it at Pauls Valley. I have helped him haul many a wagon load of
corn to Pauls Valley. The cattlemen here then would buy all the corn anyone had to
sell. Everything was cheap in those days. Corn was worth about 15 cents a
bushel and cotton would only bring about $25.00 a bale. I guess everybody settling
in this country in the early days made a good living. There was plenty of wild game
and there was no cause for anyone to go hungry. You could raise from fifty to one
hundred bushels of corn to the acre and not half farm it. We didn't have but one
turning plow and a Georgia stock to farm with when we settled here and Mother and I
dropped the corn by hand.
We moved back to Texas in 1904.
I now live in Pauls Valley.