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
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
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.