Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: September 17, 1937
Name: Mrs. Charity Hartigan
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1863
Place of Birth: Virginia
Father: W.R. Gray, born in Virginia
Mother: Elizabeth Prillaman, born in Virginia
Mrs. Charity Hartigan was born in 1863 in Virginia.
I came to the Indian Territory with my father and mother
in 1879. My father settled on Wild Horse Creek west of Fort
Arbuckle in the Chickasaw Nation. We came
from Texas in covered wagons working oxen. My father had two wagons
and worked four oxen to each wagon.
My father and brother set to breaking land and getting it ready to plant
corn. The first year my father raised two or three small patches of corn and that
winter all we had to live on was deer, bear neat and corn bread.
In the spring of 1880 I met a soldier from Fort Sill
named James J. Hartigan and we were married. He was a private in
the Fourth Cavalry then stationed at Fort Sill. My
husband had been in the army ten years at that time and I have heard him say the Fourth
Cavalry had fought the Indians from Mexico to the Black
Hills of Dakota. After we were married I went to live at Fort Sill.
A short while after we were married my husband received his discharge from
the Cavalry and we started a dairy farm near Fort Sill on
Medicine Creek. We sold milk and butter to the officers at Fort
Chief Quanah Parker of the Comanche Indians
was one of our best friends. Everyday or so he would come and eat with us. He
was only half Comanche Indian. His mother was Cynthia Ann Parker,
who was captured by the Comanche Indians and was made the squaw of the Chief of the
Comanches at that time. Quanah Parker has told me that he and his sister
were the only children his mother had and he said his mother grieved herself to death over
his father who was killed in a fight. When his mother was taken from the Indians, Quanah
Parker brought his family to visit us one evening and he had a new hearse working
tow horses to it. My husband asked him why he bought a hearse to haul his family in
and he said because it was so shiny. Quanah Parker only had two children
when I knew him, a boy and a girl. His girl took ill with some kind of disease and
he took her to a hospital in Texas but she died at the hospital.
The Indians were friends to us. Many times my husband would be gone
to the Fort to sell milk and butter and I would be at our home alone. Sometimes two
or three of the Indian men with their faces painted and carrying tomahawks would stop at
our house and try to talk to me. I couldn't understand them but my husband could, so
I would point to a bench in the yard and they would sit there and wait until my husband
came home. When he came home they would laugh and talk and sometimes the Indians
would eat with us. Then away they would go.
They lived in wigwams and slept on bear and deer skins and blankets.
Right in the middle of their wigwams they would place a dug out where they built
their fires and they had a pot or two. This was all the cooking utensils they owned.
Many a time I have seen the squaws set the pot out in front of their wigwam and let
the dogs eat out of it and never wash it.
Quanah Parker has told us that dog meat was better than
bear meat. I will never forget one time my husband promised Quanah Parker
we would come and eat with him and we went. he had a pot of some kind of meat cooked
up but before time to eat I played off sick and had to be taken home. I was afraid
it was dog meat.
We were living on Medicine Creek near Medicine
Bluff when the Comanches, Kiowas and Cheyennes held their
council meeting to see if they should lease their land to the cattlemen. The big
cattlemen brought several steers and put them in our pen for the Indians so they could
have a big barbecue. They danced and ate for two days and the cattlemen got the
lease. That was in 1883.
My husband sold our milk cows and we went over in the Cherokee
Country and thought we would try farming. My husband knew nothing about
farming and this didn't suite us, so we came to Whitebead Hill, in the Chickasaw
Nation where my brother, A.C. Gray, ran a shoe shop.
My husband made a barber chair and opened up a barber shop in the front end of the
shoe shop which my brother owned. There were two stores and a stage stand
there. At that time James Rennie owned one of the stores and he was
postmaster and the post office was in his store.
There was a stage line running from Caddo to Fort Sill.
They worked four horses, and the drivers would sit on top of the stage and the
horses would go in a trot most of the time. They had regular stops where they
would change horses.
When I lived at Fort Sill, Anadarko was called the Washita Agency.
My husband was the barber at Whitebead from 1884 until he died in 1891.
Before the railroad came through Pauls Valley, Whitebead was the main trading point
but after the railroad came through Pauls Valley in 1887, Whitebead went to losing out and
Pauls Valley began building up since it was on the main line of the railroad.
I now live with my daughter in Pauls Valley.