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County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Henry M. Johnson


Interview #1140
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: March 24, 1937
Name:   Mr. Henry M. Johnson
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:  March 20, 1873
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: J.L. Johnson, born in Kentucky, living in Foster, OK
Mother: Mary Speegle, born in Texas


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Story told by Mr. Henry M. Johnson, born in Texas, March 20, 1873.

I crossed Red River north of Gainesville, Texas in 1895.  My wife and I and one child were travelling in a covered wagon, working two horses.  We camped just on this side of Red River in the Indian Territory, the first night.  I staked my horses out with a rope and I woke up sometime in the night just in time to stop someone from stealing my horses.  One of my horses was a mean horse to handle, especially for a stranger, and that was what woke me up, my horse was snorting.  I owned a good rifle and I got my gun, jumped out of the wagon, when I hit the ground, I saw a man on another horse.  my horses were staked about fifty yards from the wagon.  I took a shot at this man on the horse, of course, I did not try to hit him.  I only wanted to scare him.  I guess I scared him because he left there in a hurry.

The next night I camped at a place called Hickory and that night I sat up and watched my horses and let my wife sleep.  She would rive all day and I would sleep.

We crossed the Arbuckle mountains and came by a place called Hennepin.   This place was located a few miles west of old Fort Arbuckle at Hennepin.  We followed an old trail to Whitebead, five miles west of Pauls Valley.  I have heard old timers say that this old trail was a cattle trail used back in 1879 and 1880.  We came on to three miles west of Pauls Valley and settled on the W.G. Kimberlin land.   We lived the first year in a dugout and cut wood and hauled it to Pauls Valley and sold it for seventy-five cents a load. 

Pauls Valley, at that time had board sidewalks and mostly wooden buildings.  T here was quite a lot of rock building going up at that time.  I got a job hauling rock for some of these buildings.  I would make about four dollars a day, hauling these rocks.  Some of the old buildings are still standing today.

In 1897, I lived on the Tom Martin farm, south of Pauls Valley.  I made fifty bushels of corn to the acre and hauled it to Pauls Valley, and sold to Dick Gibson, who ran a livery barn at Pauls Valley, for fifteen cents a bushel.

I raised a bale of cotton to the acre that year, and paid 90 cents a hundred to get it picked, and only got 4 cents a pound for the cotton after it was ginned.   It takes about fifteen hundred pounds of picked cotton, to gin out a five hundred pound bale.

There were lots of prairie chickens in this part of the country when I came here.  Plenty of quails.  I have used nets to catch quails with.  A man would be at Pauls Valley every Saturday buying quails.  I have made quite a bit of money netting quails.  I would pen them up and feed them like chickens. On buying day I would put them in a coop and take them to market.

I had to pay five dollars a year to live in the Indian Territory.  My first four or five payments, I paid to an Indian militia, but from 1900 to 1906, I paid to the Indian Agent, 1906 was the last payment I made.

I was at Foster one time and saw a shooting scrape.  Jack Huffman killed Grant Bell, over a drunken quarrel, and the next day Jack Huffman got killed accidentally with his shot gun in a buggy coming to Foster to see about the killing he had done the day before.  Jack Huffman's son later married my niece and now lives near Foster.  A Mr. Howerton was the postmaster at Foster, when this killing took place.   Mr. Howerton lives in Pauls Valley now.

I farmed around Pauls Valley until 1907, when I went to work for Mr. Rowland in the produce business and worked for him four years.  Since then I have been in the restaurant business. 

My wife and I have raised eight children and they are all married and living in and around Pauls Valley.

My father is 92 years old and lives at Foster, Oklahoma.  My grandmother on my father's side was the second person to be buried in the new cemetery at Pauls Valley.  This cemetery was started in 1900, after the abandonment of the old cemetery at Pauls Valley.

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