H. D. JohnsonJohnson, H. D.
Worker: John F. Daugherty
Date: February 15, 1938
Interview # 9963
Address: Sulphur, OK
Born: September 13, 1857
Place of Birth: Tennessee
Father: Silas Johnson, born in Tennessee
Mother: Louiza Dodd, born in Tennessee
My parents were Silas M. Johnson, farmer, and Louiza Dodd Johnson, both born in
Tennessee, and I was also born in that state, September 13, 1857, one of ten children.
I came to the Indian Territory in 1884. We were looking for a location, and we
drove for months all over the Territory. My wife was afraid to stay anywhere alone.
She was so afraid of the Indians.
We drive through the Comanche Country and I learned some of their peculiar customs.
One which I recall in particular was their belief in their Medicine Man, a man whom
they believed was endowed with superhuman skill in the compounding of certain medicines
and the consultation with oracles and omens that enabled him to bring about events or
prophecy concerning their fulfillment.
He was a great official in their tribe and in cases of sickness, he worked on the
credulity of the patient instead of his vital organs, employing wizard like spells in
preference to medicines to effect a cure. However, in some cases, herbs were used.
The Medicine Man consulted his Oracles before the undertaking of any serious
enterprise and if he failed to get good results from the oracles, the scheme was always
abandoned until another time, when conditions might prove more satisfactory. If the
Medicine Man failed to properly guide or inform the council, he lost his prestige and
sometimes, his life. He wore crosses which were supposed to exert an influence
toward helping him achieve superhuman power.
We finally went to Texas where we remained until 1894 when I again had a desire to see
the Indian Territory. This time we came into the Chickasaw Nation and settled near
Oil Springs, south of the present site of Sulphur, at which place I ran a store and post
office. The Mail came from Cobb Town on a horse every other day. I freighted
my groceries from Ardmore.
Cow men were the only market for corn which sold for about 15 cents per bushel.
These cow men had stock pens on the Washita River near Pauls Valley where the
cattle were put and fed just before being driven to Atoka for shipment, before the Santa
Fe was built through Pauls Valley in 1887. After that they were shipped from Pauls
During the time the Chickasaw Legislature was in session each Fall at Tishomingo, the
Indian legislators brought their families and camped on Pennington Creek. This was a
great annual event among them.
Jack Doolin lived east of Oil Springs for three years. He traded with me and he
never failed to pay for what he bought. When he moved, he asked Brother and me to
inspect his cattle so that if anybody accused him of taking their cattle with him, he
would have witnesses. He moved to the Osage Nation where he was later killed.
Somebody murdered him and burned the grass around his dead body to hide any
evidence which might expose his slayer.