Interview # 8491
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: September 13, 1937
Name: Mrs. Caroline Edwards
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: February 6, 1873
Place of Birth: Missouri
Father: Ben Archer, born in Tennessee
Mother: Ann Buckles, born in Tennnessee
Mrs. Caroline Edwards was born 1873 in Missouri.
I came to the Indian Territory with my father and mother. We came
from Arkansas in a wagon, and arrived near Leon, in the Chickasaw
Nation, in the Fall.
There was lots of cotton raised that year, which was 1883. My
father got a job picking cotton but there wasn't much money in those days. After
the cotton was ginned at Leon the farmers would have to haul their cotton to Gainesville,
Texas to sell it. There was a gin, blacksmith shop and a store at this
little place called Leon. Cotton was five cents a pound in the
My father bought a lease from G.W. Young about six miles
west of Leon and we lived in a tent until my father got the log house
People didn't have furniture then as they do now. We had a home-made
bedstead, a table and a few chairs, which were all home-made. Mother had to cook out
in the yard over a fire and had a frying pan with an iron lid to put over it. This
was what she baked our bread in, and it is called the old Dutch Oven. It was several
years later before she got a cookstove and we all were proud of the stove.
My mother did all our dress-making and making shirts and pants for father
and my brothers with her hands, as she had no sewing machine. There were lots of
peddlers who came through the country and they carried their store on wheels. They
would have everything to sell from dress material to groceries.
We had lots of chickens and eggs were cheap. I have seen my mother
trade eggs for calico to make our dresses. She would trade one dozen eggs for a yard
of calico. Eggs were then about five cents a dozen.
We always had plenty of fresh meat to eat. In the winter my father
would go up in the mountains west of Leon and kill wild hogs. He
would be gone two or three days sometimes and when he came home he would have a wagon load
of hogs. This way we would have plenty of hog meat to last until the next
winter. Of course, there was lots of deer, turkey and the creeks were full of
My father had to pay a five dollar permit to live in the Chickasaw Nation.
There was a collector in every district.
We children had to go five miles to school and it was a subscription
school and was only taught six months each year. My father would have to pay one
dollar and fifty cents for each child he sent. We used the Blueback Speller.
I must say it was very little schooling we children received in the early days.
I can remember that we would have to drive about ten miles to church, and
a wagon and team was our means of travel. My father and mother would load us
children in the old wagon on Sunday mornings and go to church just as regularly as the
Sundays came, if it wasn't raining. My mother would always have a big box of good
things to eat fixed up so it was more like a picnic to us children.
There were lots of horse and cattle thieves around that part of the
country. There was a place between Leon and Gainesville,
Texas, called Black Hollow. I have heard
my father say a band of outlaws and horse thieves stayed there. When the farmers
would take their cotton to Gainesville and sell it, they would have to come back through Black
Hollow. He said there were lots of the farmers who had lost their whole
years work by robbery. It got so bad that the farmers would all go to market their
cotton together. Sometimes thirty or forty of them would haul their cotton to
Gainesville, and in this way the outlaws were afraid to attack them, as there were too
many of the farmers.
Ardmore then had one or two stores. In the early
days if someone put up a gin or a sawmill, then in a short time there would be a little
town spring up.
I remember my father getting his first suit of clothes from a peddler.
My father traded the peddler a bale of cotton for the suit of clothes. People
didn't pay money very often for anything, they would trade for what they wanted.
We had free range in that day and time, and in the fall when the big
cattlemen started their round-up we would have to keep our milch cows penned up until the
round-up was over to keep them from being driven off.
There were lots of Indians living in that part of the country and they
lived about like the white people did except some of them would cook things differently.
The full-bloods only raised small patches of corn called Tom Fuller patches.
This corn was white and nearly as hard as flint. They would have a block with a
burnt out place in it and they would put about a half a gallon of corn in this at a time,
then they had a wooden maul and they would beat the corn up. Then they would put it
in a big pot and cook it, without any salt being put into it. I have eaten with them
and I must say it was very good.
The Indians living in that part of the country were very friendly and were
good neighbors. They would come and borrow things from my father and he would go to
them and borrow when he needed anything that they had.
I now live at my home on North Pine Street in Pauls Valley,