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GARVIN COUNTY INDIAN PIONEER PAPERS

 

OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection

 

Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



 

 

Charity Hartigan

 

Interview #8495
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 

 

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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 Sill. 

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.

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