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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Jim Helm


Interview # 9501
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date:  December 22, 1937
Name:   Mr. Jim Helm
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:  March 11, 1877
Place of Birth:  Texas
Father: C.C. Helm, born in Texas
Mother:  Melvina Bell, born in Texas


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I was born in 1877, in Texas, and came to the Indian Territory in 1897 from Texas in a covered wagon hauling what things I owned at that time.  I was only twenty years old and had only been married a short while so my wife and I decided we would make our home across Red River in the Indian Territory.  We loaded what few things we owned and started out.  At that time I owned a good span of horses.  We crossed Red River into the Chickasaw Nation and followed the old Chisholm Trail to Duncan and spent one night there.

Then Duncan was a small lumber town, having about six stores.  We didn't like that part of the country and we drove on finally settling about fifteen miles east of Marlow on a place belonging to a Chickasaw Indian and I went to farming.

The forty acres that I settled on was along a small creek and was fenced with a rail fence.  Almost all the land at that time that was in cultivation was along some small creek or along the river.  The prairies were waist high in grass and anywhere that you looked you could see herd after herd of cattle.  There were several large ranches around there.  John Morris, Tom Tineannon and Dick Harris were large ranch owners. 

This country was pretty wild at that time.  I remember I had only been living there a few months when late one evening two men rode up to my place.   They carried Winchesters.  They tied their horses and came into the house and ordered my wife to fix supper for them.  My wife and I were young and never having had any dealing with outlaws, naturally we were scared, but we were not too scared to fix them something to eat.  My Winchester was hanging in a rack over the door and I had in mind while they were eating, I would get to my gun, but I was disappointed for before they went into the kitchen to eat, one of the men took my Winchester down and carried it into the kitchen with him.

We thought that they would leave after supper but they didn't.  They made us fix a bed for them and we only had one bed at that time and before they went to bed, they told me if I tried to leave the house, they would kill me and my wife.  I did not try to leave for by looking at them, I knew they meant what they said, so my wife and I sat up that night and early the next morning we had breakfast ready for them as as soon as they ate their breakfast, they took my rifle with them and left, telling me that they would leave it down the trail about a half a mile.  I waited about an hour and went to look for my rifle, not really thinking I would find it, but I did.  It was lying in the trail about a half a mile from my house.

There were lots of cattle stealing going on in that part of the country but that was the only time we were ever bothered by outlaws.

My wife and I had been raised on ranches in Texas and knew nothing about farming and we made a bad start on the farm.  I saw that we could not make a go trying to farm, so then I went into the cattle business, getting my start like a lot of the small cattlemen did.  When I found a yearling without a brand, I knew that it belonged to whoever got his brand on it first.

In 1902, when the town of Lindsay was started, I sold my lease and what cattle I owned and started a livery stable at Lindsay.  I operated this livery barn until 1908 and at that time sold out and moved to Pauls Valley where I have lived since.

My father drove cattle from Texas to Kansas when he was a boy and I have heard him say that he had been in many a fight with the Western Indians while crossing the Indian Territory.  At that time people referred to the Territory as "No Man's Land".

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