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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Joe Davis


Interview #1157
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: March 30, 1937
Name: Joe Davis
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: March 21, 1881
Place of Birth: Alabama
Father: James Robert Finley Davis, born in Alabama
Mother: Millie Blackwell, born in Alabama


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I came to the Indian Territory with my father and mother in 1892. I was 11 years old, we came through on the Santa Fe train from Texas to Pauls Valley, Indian Territory. On arriving at Pauls Valley, my father bought 2 horses and a wagon, we loaded up our household things, that my father has shipped through. It was not much, we had 4 chairs, table, homemade bedstead and a few other household things.

My father moved to Purdy, a little place about 25 miles southwest of Pauls Valley. There was a store, lone schoolhouse, Blacksmith shop and a Grist Mill. This mill was ran by steam and owned by Mr. Park (Hart). The Blacksmith Shop was owned by Jim Welch. I do not remember who owned the store.

I went to school at this Log School house. A white woman was my teacher, I do not remember her name. My father had to pay her one dollar a month for me. Us kids that went to school did not have desks, we used slates and set on the hued down logs for seats. I had a blue back speller and a reader. I think there was about 25 or 30 children went to this school, the year I went. I did not go much the second term, only on the days we could not work in the fields. I had to help my father on the farm.

My father had about 100 acres leased, he raised lots of corn and cotton. He would haul the cotton to Pauls Valley on the Washita river. I believe this mill and gin went out of business.

There was lots of deer around Purdy, when we moved there, I have seen as high as 15 deer in one drove, around the foot of the Table Top Mountains, south of Purdy. Wild turkey's I have shelled corn and feather, about one mile from our house was a big turkey roast, they would come around our corn crib early of a morning. We could have turkey anytime to eat we wanted to. I have gone hunting and would not even shoot at a turkey. I like rabbits better, there was lots of coon, possum and skunks around Purdy.

I have broke wild horses for my father when I was 14 years old. Sunday, that was our "fun day". After Sunday school a group of boys that lived around Purdy, would meet at my house, nearly all owned saddle horses. We would go out on the prairie, there was not very many fences then. We would rope calves and have our rodeo, riding these calves on Sunday was when I learned to ride. When I was at the age of 15, I was not afraid to try any wild broncs or did I not care how big the steers were. We boys would make up $5.00 purses for the best rider for that day. I have won several times.

My father raised some cattle and hogs, but his main crop was corn. Corn was cheap then, I have seen my father sell corn for fifteen cents a bushel. My father sold about 20 Acers of corn for ten cents a bushel in the field. I do not know how much corn the man he sold that year gathered, but we usually made forty to fifty bushels an Acre.

I lived with my father and mother around Purdy, until I was married in 1900. I married Lisa Sarah Malecoat, daughter of F.L. Malecoat, who was a big cattle man around Purdy, when my father moved there. My wife was born in Purdy, I do not know how long her people has been in the Indian Territory, before my father and mother came there.

After getting married I moved on a farm and went to farming for myself.

In later years I have raised as high as 75 bales of cotton a year.

My wife and I have reared 10 children. I now live 3 miles west of Pauls Valley. I have lived around in what is now Garvin county for 45 year.

Submitted by: Jean Brand

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