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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



J.L. Johnson


Interview #8648
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: September 22, 1937
Name:   Mr. J.L. Johnson
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:  November 1, 1845
Place of Birth: Illinois
Father: John B.  Johnson, born in Kentucky
Mother: Ann Millen, born in Kentucky


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I was born 1845 in Illinois.  When I was eighteen years old I joined the Army and was assigned to Company "O" under Captain Will Dawson.  I was living at Sulphur Springs, Texas, at the time.  After serving a few months with company C I was assigned to a scout party.  Our job was to be on the lookout for Indians in this scouting party.  There would be a man started out each morning in different directions and he would ride all day looking for signs of Indians.  As soon as he found where they had crossed or had been camped a night or two before, this scout would come back to where the scouting party was camped and repeat what he had found.   The Captain of the party would leave one man to notify the other scouts when they came in and he would take the rest of the men and hit the Indian trail.  In following these Indian trails we have come upon where a house had been burned and the family killed.   Sometimes we would find enough of the bodies to bury but in most cases the wild animals had eaten them after the Indians had killed and scalped them.  They would scalp a little boy or a girl just as quick as they would a man or a woman.

Right after the war closed, I took up a homestead near Red River, in Texas, across from the Comanche Indian Country.  The Indians were still making raids, killing people, and stealing their horses and cattle.

My father died before the war and that left me to take care of my mother and younger brothers.  We had lived on this homestead a few months when the Indians made a raid through that part of the country.  Several families were wiped out, everyone killed, and their stock driven off.  I had been a scout during the war and I knew how the Indians traveled.  For three nights my family stayed hid and I did the scouting.  After the raid I save two mules and two cows.

My mother just wouldn't live there any longer.  She told me to sell out if I could get anything out of the place and if I couldn't, we were going back to Sulphur Springs anyway.  I sold the place to two young men who had served in the war.

I moved back to Sulphur Springs and in about six months another man who had been living about five miles from me, came to Sulphur Springs and told us the two young men were killed and the house burned that I had sold to them.  The Indian shad made a raid one night and killed several families and had driven off their stock.

The Indians made raids over in Texas until in the late eighties and during the Indian raiding days, many of the crimes laid on to the Indians were done by a band of cattle thieves.

I left Texas for the Indian Territory to make my home in 1895. The part of the Indian Territory I came to at that time was very thinly settled.  I took a lease on Rush Creek west of Pauls Valley a few miles, and helped haul rock to build some of the stone buildings at Pauls Valley.  At that time Pauls Valley was just a wide place in the road and a very muddy place.  There were several stores and a bank but they still had the old board side walks and not many of them.

I have lived in and around Pauls Valley since 1895.  I now live with my son in Pauls Valley.

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