Interview # 9884
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: January 28, 1938
Name: Mr. Joe Holt
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: March 9, 1886
Place of Birth: Alabama
Father: Ruff Holt, born in Alabama
Mother: Betty Allison, born in Alabama
I was born 1886 in Alabama and came to the Indian Territory with my
father, mother and brothers.
We moved from Texas n a covered wagon and my father settled on a farm near
Burneyville in the Chickasaw Nation in 1893. My father farmed there two years then
moved to a place called Glenn in the Chickasaw Nation and leased a farm. There were
a few stores, blacksmith shop, and post office and school house at Glenn and church was
held in this school house on Sunday. Will Gardner was the first postmaster.
This was where I attended my first school. There was a man teacher
and it cost one dollar a month for each child sent. We had to sit on split logs and
used the slates and we only got to go about three or four months a year, as we would have
to help chop cotton and corn. As soon as the crops were laid by, we got to go to
school until cotton picking time, then school would close until the people got their crops
My uncle, John Holt, and my father first came to the Indian Territory when
they were young men and went to work on the Bill Washington Ranch near Hennepin in the
Chickasaw Nation. My father only worked a few years and went back home but my uncle
stayed and later started a ranch near the Arbuckle Mountains and when we moved to
Glenn he had built his ranch up to several thousand head of cattle. His ranch was
known as the Diamond T. Besides running the ranch, my uncle built the first gin at
Glenn. That was where my father had his cotton ginned, but he would have to haul it
to Texas to the market as there was no market for cotton at Glenn.
My father moved to Violet Springs in the Seminole Country in 1898.
This place was a good sized town then and had a good school.
There were many Indians living in that part of the country and they would
have a dance of some kind nearly every week. I have been to their dances and their
ball games. They didn't dance like the white people did. T hey would have a
big fire and they would go around in a circle behind each other. I was at one of
their dances called the green corn dance. They had some kind of medicine in a bottle
from which a bunch of the men took a drink then started going around and around in a
circle. They would go one way a while then the leader would holler or make a noise
of some kind and they would start back the other way.
I remember one time Father and I went to one of their dances and boy-like
I wanted to see what they were eating and as I was acquainted with some of the Indian boys
around my own age, I asked them to get me some of what they were eating. They
brought me a dish full but I could not eat it. They called it sofka but it wasn't
anything but beaten up corn and water and the corn was soured. Father asked me how I
like it and I told him it was the same thing he fed our hogs on.
To watch the Indians play ball was a treat. They would have a pole
about twenty to thirty feet high and their stick was about three feet long with a buckskin
fixed like a saucer on one end of the stick and they would throw the ball at the top of
the pole with this stick. Some of them never missed.
Governor Brown's trading post was not far from where we lived. I
have been there several times when I was a boy and there would always be a large number of
When we moved to Violet Springs it was known as a tough town.
Everybody there would be in a shooting scrape of some kind. We only lived
about a quarter of a mile from town. My father farmed there a few years then moved
to Pauls Valley, where I now live.