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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Charles W. Dillingham


Interview #10488
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: April 20, 1938
Name:   Mr. Charles W. Dillingham
Residence: Paoli, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:  December 15, 1849
Place of Birth: Illinois
Father: George E. Dillingham, born in Illinois
Mother: Nancy Pace, born in Illinois 


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I was born in 1849 in Illinois and my father, two brothers and myself came to the Indian Territory in 1886 and settled at Paoli in the Chickasaw Nation.  That was before the railroad was built through here and Paoli had only one store and a log school house which also served as a church.  The school was a subscription one.

My father was the only doctor in this part of the country at that time.   My two brothers and I did the farming and father looked after the sick people.   People paid him with cattle and in that way we were able to start a small cattle ranch.

The railroad was built through here in 1887.  Before that some men opened a copper mine about one mile southeast from Paoli.  I remember one of the men was Mr. Jack Florence who owned a ranch southwest of Paoli about six miles.  When this mine was first opened they took out several wagon loads of ore and hauled it to Kansas City with ox teams but the mine played out.  It was opened again in the early nineties and a few carloads were shipped.  The most that was shipped from there was along in 1917 and 1918 when around sixty carloads were shipped out.

My father, two brothers and I made the Run in 1889 and my oldest brother got a claim just east of Norman.  My other brother staked a claim in the eastern part of what is now Cleveland County.  My father and I staked a claim but we went off and left it.  After the Run my father and I went back to Texas and my two brothers stayed on their claims a few years, sold out and settled on Washington Creek, southeast of Paoli a few miles and built a schoolhouse then known as Dillingham School.   Now it is called Union Springs School.

I married in Texas and in 1897 my brothers wanted me to come and settle near them so I moved to where they lived and leased a farm.  I came through from Texas in a wagon and I was several weeks in making the trip.  As there were no roads to speak of, we had to make our road.  There were no wire fences then.

I will state here my youngest brother, Curt Dillingham, when they were drawing lots in Oklahoma City, drew the lot that the Colcord Building now stands on and traded it for a shotgun.

This part of the country was a great cattle country.  I remember a man named Tom Thornton owned the Box L Ranch about two miles north of Paoli and he had thousand of head of cattle on this ranch.

There were lots of deer and turkey then.

I lived on a farm since coming to the Indian Territory until I got too old to farm.  I now live in Paoli, Oklahoma.

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