Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: November 18, 1937
Name: Mr. Floyd Cooper
Residence: Maysville, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: April 8, 1865
Place of Birth: Illinois
Father: J. C. Cooper, born in Kentucky
Mother: Mille Floyd, born in Tennessee
I was born in 1865 in Illinois. I came to the Indian
Territory in 1884 with my brother. We rented a four hundred acre farm in Kickapoo
Flats, now known as Neil Switch, about five miles west of
Maysville. That year we put the four hundred acres in corn. That was about the
only kind of crop that was raised at that time and if you did not have as much as three or
four hundred acres in cultivation you were not counted as much of a farmer.
There was no cotton grown in this part of the country then and what few
people were living here were along near the river. In the river bottom the grass was
waist high and there were not very many trees
There was a store called Beef Creek, now Maysville, and a store at Whitebead
and one at Pauls Valley.
Whitebead was the leading trading post at that
time but most of the farmers and ranch owners did their trading in Texas. People
didn't have to buy things then like they do now as they raised nearly everything they
Our nearest grist mill was on the river just east of Pauls Valley and
was owned by a Chickasaw Indian named Zack Gardner.
James Rennie was the leading merchant at Whitebead
and the three Mays brothers owned the largest ranch with two ranch houses
and also owned the Beef Creek store and the stage line that came from
Caddo to Fort Sill which had for one of its stops the Beef Creek store.
This stage line was ore of a United States mail stage than anything else.
There were four horses worked to it and we called it the mail hack. It was very
seldom we ever saw a passenger on it.
The only market we had for our corn then was the big cattlemen from
Kansas. They would have beef pens on the river and every fall they would feed out
thousands after thousands of head of cattle at those beef pens. That was the reason
the store there was named Beef Creek.
After the Santa Fe Railroad was built from Texas to
Kansas in 1887, I quit the farm and went to work as brakeman on the Santa Fe
Railroad from Purcell to Arkansas City. I worked for this company until
1893, when I came back to Beef Creek store and bought a corn sheller and
shelled corn for the cattlemen up and down the Washita River.
There were several ranchers who raised their own cattle and fed them out
along the river; Joe Wilson, Bob Love, and a man named Story.
I operated this corn sheller until 1900. At this time there was lots of wheat
and oats being raised so I bought a thresher and began threshing for the farmers and I
still own my thresher and make the harvest each year.
In 1906, I owned an elevator at Maysville and in six days I bought and
piled at the elevator twenty-five thousand bushels of corn. There were five other
corn buyers in Maysville and I think eac one of those buyers bought as much corn in those
six days as I did. This will show about how much corn was raised in those days.
In 1908 the Washita River got out of its banks and destroyed several
thousand acres of crops between Maysville and Pauls Valley and besides this there were a
number of homes washed away.
The grist mill and sawmill owned by Mr. Higginbottom on
the river north of Maysville was washed away.
I have made Maysville my home since 1902.