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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Earl Witten


Interview #8844
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: October 14, 1937
Name: Mr. Earl Witten
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: April 12, 1893
Place of Birth: Missouri
Father: C.P. Witten, born in Missouri
Mother: Minnie Smith, born in Missouri


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Mr. Earl Witten, born 1893 in Missouri.  I came to the Indian Territory with my father and mother in 1896.  I was three years old.   We settled at Pauls Valley in the Chickasaw Nation.  My father, C.P. Witten, put in a grocery store then located on what was known as Smoky Row.   Then Smoky Row was main street. 

My first school was at Pauls Valley.  The school house was a two story building.  Mr. Osborn was the superintendent of the school; it was a free school.  Pauls Valley had the first free school in the Chickasaw Nation. Albert Rennie was the United States Commissioner for this district and John Clemons was the United States Marshal.

In 1908 the Washita River was higher than I ever have seen it; people rode up and down the streets in boats.

In 1908 three towns had a fight on to see which one would get the county seat.  Elmore City, Wynnewood and Pauls Valley.  Pauls Valley won by a large majority of votes.  In 1910 the people of Oklahoma voted to locate the state capitol at Oklahoma City and it won by a majority of several thousand.  At that time the capitol of Oklahoma was located at Guthrie.

Governor Haskell was the governor of Oklahoma at that time.  Lee Cruce became governor of Oklahoma in 1911 and served until 1915.

In April, 1918 I went to France with the ninth division and served through the World War, receiving only one wound.  After Armistice, November 11, 1918, I went into Germany with the army of occupation and stayed there six months, then I was sent back to the United States and discharged.  After my return home I bought an army airplane and located the first and only airport at Pauls Valley.  Mr. Jackson and I became partners in the garage business and were the owners of the first garage in Pauls Valley.  At one time Pauls Valley had more airplanes at its flying field than any other town in the United States acccording to its size. 

I am now postmaster of Pauls Valley.  I have lived in Pauls Valley since 1896.

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