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County Seat - Pauls Valley

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Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers

Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



James R. Reed


Interview #10325
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: March 24, 1938
Name: Mr. James R. Reed
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: December 9, 1875
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: John Reed, born in Missouri
Mother: Mary Rowland, born in Missouri


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I was born in 1875 in Texas, and worked on the J.R. Young Ranch in that state prior to 1895, at which time I came to the Indian Territory.

My father and mother had both passed away before I was fifteen years old and this left me to shift for myself. 

During the five years I worked on the Young Ranch I saved enough money to buy a team and wagon and a few plow tools, including a turning plow and Georgia stock.   There were some walking cultivators then but very few people owned one.

I settled a few miles south of Pauls Valley in the Chickasaw Nation where I rented a small farm.  I had to live in my wagon until I cleared up part of the land and built a one-room log house out of the timber I had cleared off of the land.

I had heard so much about the Indian Territory I loaded up what few things I owned and came to Pauls Valley and after renting a place I went to Mr. Zack Gardner, a Chickasaw Indian, who owned a grist mill on the river east of Pauls Valley.  Mr. Gardner let me have enough corn to run me until I made a crop and Mr. C.J. Grant stood good for my groceries.

That year I cleared up about ten acres and built a log house and made a cotton and corn crop with no one to help me.  I was out in a strange country and it was do or die.  I planted about ten acres of corn and four or five acres of cotton and that year I made about five hundred bushels of corn and three bales of cotton.

After paying my grocery bill, which wasn't very much, I had so little money left I lived on cornbread but there was plenty of wild game at that time so I always had plenty to eat.  Rabbits, squirrels, quail and turkeys were plentiful then.

I paid Mr. Gardner back in corn what I had borrowed from him and that fall I traded him fifty bushels of corn for a milk cow.

The only taxes we had to pay then was a permit to live in the Indian Territory, which cost five dollars ($5.00) per year.  I only paid this two times and they never came around any more.

I farmed in the Indian Territory for five years then sold out and went back to Texas and learned the barber trade.  I put in a barber shop at Gainesville in 1901 and worked in that place for ten years.  After leaving there I came to Ardmore, Oklahoma and went in the barber business and lived there until I came to Pauls Valley a few years ago.

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