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County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



T.M. Hatchett


Interview #9499
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: December 20, 1937
Name:   Mr. T.M. Hatchett
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: May 29, 1866
Place of Birth:  Nebraska
Father:  J.C. Hatchett, born in Tennessee
Mother: June Brown, born in Missouri 


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I was born in 1866 in Nebraska.  I came to the Indian Territory in 1889 in a wagon, from Texas.  I crossed Red River and was headed for Fort Sill. I was traveling by myself and on the lookout for a place to settle.  The country was wild and very thinly settled at that time.

I have seen many runs of deer cross the trail in 'gun distance' of me.   I would much rather have had a fat rabbit to eat than a ham off a deer. 

There were no roads but now and then I would come across a log cabin located on a creek and people were glad to have me stop and stay with them.  They would be glad to hear some news from Texas or from other states.

I used to listen to the hard time stories which some of the settlers would tell me and they would say, "You had better turn back while you are able to make it."  I have eaten several meal with different families and all they would have to eat would be kaffir corn bread and some kind of wild game, but I did not turn back.

I owned a good span of mules and a good wagon and had several dollars in my pocket so I couldn't see where I could get worried about starving.

Then a man had to have a permit from the Government to stay in the Indian Territory.  I didn't have a permit and one day before I got to Fort Sill I was stopped by several Indians and the leader asked me if I had a pass.   I was within about ten miles of Fort Sill at the time so I told these Indians that I was a Government Agent from Fort Sill and did not have to have any pass.  They talked to each other in the Indian language and while they were having their pow-wow I started for the Fort and on reaching Fort Sill I was able to get a Government pass.

After leaving Fort Sill I settled within a few miles of Cloud Chief.  I homesteaded a place and lived in my wagon the rest of the summer and in the winter of 1889 I cleared up several small patches and planted corn.  I did not have to buy any feed for my team as the prairie grass was knee high and the land looked like a wheat field looks today.

There was a crowd of Indians camped on a creek about a mile from where I was located and they would have some kind of a dance nearly every night.  One night I saddled up my mule and rode over to their camp and thought I would watch them.  I was the only white man there except their medicine man who was a white man who had married an Indian squaw and the Indians had made him their medicine man.  They were putting on some kind of a worship dance.  There was a tall pole in the center of a cleared off place and the man and women would go in all directions just stomping their feet and waving their hands and making noise with their mouths while one was beating on some kind of a drum.

While at this dance I made friends with two big Indian men, one named Big Horse and one named Red Bird.  They were just common Indians and turned out to be good friends to me.

In the spring of 1890, Big Horse and Red Bird helped me build my log cabin and during that year they were at my house half of the time.  They helped plant corn for me.  I learned from them how to 'get by' with the Indians and in a short time I was attending all their dances and was always welcome.

I learned that they had a dance for nearly everything, a rain dance, a war dance and the medicine man dance.  The war dance was worth watching for they would be painted from head to feet and they would wear feathers in their hair.  Some of them would have a row of turkey feathers tied around their waists.

Red Bird and Big Horse had five squaws each and one day Red Bird told me that he was taking him two more squaws and if I wanted him to he would bring two of his squaws and five them to me.  I told him that I did not Like women and he said, "They are good cooks."  I told him that I would come over to his tent the next day for dinner and see how well they could cook, so the next day I rode over to where Red Bird was camped, tied my mule and went to his tent.  All of the Indians who were camped there were living in tents and in the tops of the tents were round holes for the smoke to pass out and in the center of each tent they would have a small fire that they cooked over.

When I went into Red Bird's tent there were seven or eight women and Red Bird, sitting around the sides of the tent on blankets and in the center was a fire.  A wood stake was on each side of the fire and a pole extended from one stake to the other and hanging tied from the pole and right over the fire their dinner was being barbecued.  It was a fat dog.

I sat down beside Red Bird and he said, "Him soon be ready."  I went outside and my mule and I left for home.  Red Bird and Big Horse were fine friends of mine but I never did take dinner with them.

I asked Red Bird one day how he happened to be named "Red Bird" and he said, "After a child is born, the first thing the mother sees she names her baby.

In later years my father came to the Territory and settled at Cloud Chief.   He was appointed judge of the court there and served for four months.  I sold my homestead there and bought another homestead thirteen miles north of Anadarko and raised cotton and corn.  I would have to haul my cotton to El Reno to market because in that day and time El Reno was the nearest cotto market.

I lived on that homestead until 1907 when I sold out and moved to Pauls Valley where I have lived since.

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