Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: January 19, 1938
Name: Mr. Elmer Godwin
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: September 18, 1892
Place of Birth: Pauls Valley, Chickasaw Nation
Father: M.F. Godwin, born in Illinois
Mother: Mary Hider, born in Illinois
I was born on the Zach Gardner farm, two miles east of
Pauls Valley, in 1892. My father and mother came from the state of Illinois at an
early date and, according to my father's story, he helped Zach Gardner
build the dam across the river where Mr. Gardner built his grist mill.
I have heard him say they ground corn into meal for the soldiers at Fort Sill.
My father was farming on the Gardner place at the time
and he said he would haul his corn to Fort Sill and sell it to the
Government. In the early days he said he received as high as $1.00 a bushel for his
corn. There was no cotton raised around Pauls Valley at that time and when people
did start raising cotton, Zach Gardner, built the first
cotton gin in this part of the country. It was operated from the power of the old
wheel that ran the mill. They would have to carry the cotton from the wagon in
baskets to the gin and I have heard him say five or six bales ginned was a good day's work
In the early days the Comanche Indians would come to
Pauls Valley for their supplies, as Pauls Valley was the nearest railroad point at that
time. the Government would ship supplies to Pauls Valley for the Indians and they
would come and haul their supplies back to the reservation where they lived, near Fort
In 1902, my father helped build the railroad from Pauls Valley to Lindsay
and he hauled the first lumber from Pauls Valley to build the first building in Lindsay, a
grocery store. We moved to Lindsay before the town started to build. Some of
the store buildings from Erin Springs were moved to the townsite of Lindsay. After
the railroad was built up to that point and another railroad from Chickasha
to Lindsay was built, the trains from Pauls Valley would just come to Lindsay and turn
around. The train from Chickasha would also turn at Lindsay.
There was no cotton gin at Lindsay for a few years and we had to haul our
cotton to Pauls Valley, a distance of about twenty-five miles. It would take two
days to make the trip there and back.
There were very few doctors in the early days when I was growing up.
I can't remember ever seeing a doctor in our home until I was a grown young man.
There wasn't a great deal of sickness in the early days and if any of us kids at
home complained of being sick, Mother would fix up some kind of home remedy and we were
soon all right.
I remember when I was a young boy there were plenty of quail.
Along the rivers and creeks the squirrels were plentiful and I have seen
numbers of turkeys along the river, but very few deer. I have heard my father say
when he first came to this part of the country that right where the town of Pauls Valley
is now was in grass as high as a horse's back and there was plenty of deer. Very
little of the land around here was in cultivation. What was in cultivation was along
In the early days when Father settled here he had to haul his supplies
from Texas. He would make one trip each Spring and bring enough supplies to last
until the next Spring.