I came to Pauls Valley,
Oklahoma, Indian Territory in 1871. When I came here the government had a trail from
Fort Gibson, Kansas, to Fort Arbuckle, Oklahoma. I crossed the Canadian River at
Young's Crossing and crossed the Washita River at Zack Gardner's Mill
east of Pauls Valley and crossed Rush Creek at Tom Wait's Ranch about one
mile southeast of Pauls Valley. I crossed Wild Horse Creek at Courtney Flat just
north of Fort Arbuckle. There was a trail from Fort Arbuckle to Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
I do not remember its route. I believe it was in 1872 or 1873 that they moved
the soldiers from Fort Arbuckle to Fort Sill. I believe F. Sherdan
was the name of the commanding officer at Fort Arbuckle.
The stage coaches they used here were four horse stages, they were Concord coaches.
Their schedule time was eight miles per hour. If they happened to be late
they would go faster until they made up their lost time. They would change horses at
every stage stop. Their stops were Elmore City, Tussy, Rush Springs, Caddo, Fort
Sill, Post Oak Grove, Tishomingo on Pennington Creek, Governor Harris's Ranch, Mill Creek,
on Rock Creek at Sulphur Springs, Chiggly Sandy Camp, Cherokee Town Crossing north of
Wynnewood, Miller and Green Store on Rush Creek at Pauls Valley, White Bead Hill, Beef
Creek Camp where Maysville, Oklahoma is today, Erin Springs, Frank Murray's Ranch, Rounds
Creek Camp, Twin Sandy Camp, crossed Chisholm Trail near Rush Springs, 16 Mile Beaver
Camp, Cache Creek, and Fort Sill was the end of state line.
I stayed at Pauls Valley a short while and I went to Anadarko, Oklahoma, and stayed
there about three years. I was working for William Shirley, who
owned a trading post there. I did general work for him. I helped bale the
first hay that was put up around there. Mr. Shirley owned a Buckeye
Bailer and a Buckeye mowing machine. We hauled it to Fort Sill and sold the hay to
the government. It was prairie hay. Our camp was on Cache Creek near Fort
Sill. We cut hay around Anadarko and east of Anadarko. We would bale it up and
then haul it to Cache Creek, where we had a big corral fixed to keep our mules in.
The government had some soldiers there to guard our mules as we were hauling hay for the
government. I remember one Saturday at noon a Comanche Indian named Queena
Vida, who was a friend of Mr. Shirley came and told him that the
Kiowa Indians were going to raid us that night and take our mules and horses. Mr.
Shirley sent me up on a hill to watch for the Indians and they started loading up
at sundown. We left there and at 11 o'clock we were 20 miles from there, crossing
the Washita River at Black Beaver Ranch near Anadarko, Oklahoma. We had 40 mules and
horses, eight wagons. This ranch was known as Shirley Trading Post.
I returned from there to Pauls Valley and did some farming in 1878. I went to
Lehigh, Oklahoma, close to Atoka, and started a livery barn, later I sold part interest to
Mr. Bandy. Then we put in a barn at Pauls Valley, one at Whitebead
Hill, 5 miles west of Pauls Valley now, one at Rush Springs and one at Fort Sill.
They were called Baker and Bandy Stables. I owned half interest in
a stable at Norman. Mr. Roundtree was my partner there.
First mill in this part of the country was Zack Gardner's Mill, on the
Washita River, east of Pauls Valley. At Cherokee Town Crossing, Wynnewood there was
an old cotton wood log store that belonged to Dr. John Shirley,
stage stand, blacksmith shop, two dwelling houses and a four room log house called a
hotel. There was a toll bridge. For two horse wagons it costs 25 cents, for 4
horse wagon, 50 cents, for six horse wagon, $1.00 and for horse backers, 10 cents.
I never drove a stage coach but have ridden in them. The fare was 10 cents per
mile. Lots of things that have happened I can't remember.