Interview # 1234
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: April 19, 1937
Name: Mr. T.J. Hicks
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1865
Place of Birth:
Father: Louis Hicks, born in Louisiana
Mother: Lottie, born in Louisiana
I came to the Indian Territory with a white family named Parnell. We
came through in a wagon from Texas and I helped Mr. Parnell move to the Indian Territory.
He gave me fifty cents a day and my board.
After reaching Purcell, Indian Territory, Chickasaw Nation, in 1897, I
went to work for Mr. Williams who owned a large ranch about thirty miles southwest of
Purcell. A white boy named John Evans and I did the breaking of all the wild broncs.
I have seen John Evans ride some mean horses. He was riding one once that was
a man killer. The horse threw John and hurt him pretty badly. After the horse
threw him it ran off about fifty yards and wheeled around and came right back at John.
One of the cowboys pulled his pistol and shot the horse and Mr. Williams said the
horse would have killed John if someone hadn't killed it. It was a fine looking
horse, but Mr. Williams only said, "Drag him off and bury the man killer".
according to the talk of the men who worked on Mr. Williams Ranch, this horse had
killed two men who had tried to ride him.
About five miles west of Mr. Williams Ranch a Mr. Love owned a big ranch.
This Mr. Love owned the bank at Purcell and I believe he died in 1898.
I have helped drive lots of cattle from Williams Ranch to Purcell.
We would leave in the early morning and get to Purcell about midnight of the same
day. After we got the cattle loaded for shipment, before going back to the ranch,
some of the boys would go over to Lexington, Indian Territory, across the Canadian River
from Purcell and get on a big drunk. I have gone over there several times and I
always went to the "Blue Front Saloon".
There were lots of tough white men in Lexington. On one of my trips
there, I saw two men in front of the saloon having a shooting scrape, but no one got
killed. I always went into the back end of the place and did my drinking. Most
times I would get a quart of liquor and roll it in my slicker and take it back to the
ranch. On Sunday I would have to slip off from the white boys on the creek someplace
to do my drinking. If I didn't and they found out I had any liquor they would make
me divide up.
There was a log school house about a mile from Mr. Williams' ranch.
I have been by this school house several times looking for stray cows with young
calves. There were about thirty children going to this school. Some were
colored but most of the children were white.
My hardest job was to watch out for young calves. The wolves were so
bad then that I have seen as high as fifteen in a bunch. The wolves killed lots of
I worked on Mr. Williams' ranch until 1902 and about then it became more
of a farm that a ranch. Mr. Williams' brand was a big "E" on the right
shoulder. I have helped brand thousands of his cattle on this old ranch. My
job in branding time was keeping hot irons. I have watched the boys rope the
yearlings and they were good with a rope. One boy, a tall slim white boy, surely did
know how to rope. He would rope a yearling and by the time the horse got stopped,
this boy would be on the ground and be tying the the yearling's feet. This white boy
told me he used to work on a ranch in Texas. He said that he had helped brand as
high as a thousand head of cattle on that ranch before eating dinner. I didn't doubt
it at all for he was a real cowhand.
I moved to Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, in 1902 and have lived around here ever