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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.W. Shumate


Interview #8344
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: August 24, 1937
Name: Mr. J.W. Shumate
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1855
Place of Birth: Kentucky
Father: William Shumate, born in Kentucky
Mother: Mary E. Garner, born in Unknown


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I was born in Kentucky in 1855.  I came to the Indian Territory in 1894, and settled at Elmore.  There were two stores and a blacksmith shop there at that time.

I went to work for Doug Burk, who owned one of the dry goods and grocery stores.

A Mr. Black was the postmaster and the post office was at his home.  The mail was brought from Pauls Valley in a buggy.

Jim Gibson came to Elmore, after I settled there, and built him a one room building, which he stocked with about one hundred dollar's worth of groceries.  As time went by, he added on to this store, and later started the bank at Elmore.

The only taxes we had to pay was a five dollar permit to live in the Indian Territory.  A Chickasaw Indian officer came around and if you didn't pay the five dollars required, you were taken and set across Red River.  They never did take anyone from Elmore.  I always paid my permit.

There was no church or school in Elmore at that time.

When a man told you he would pay for something at a certain time he would do it.  We did a large credit business in those days.  The country was thickly settled by 1900.  Nearly every day new settlers came in and wanted us to credit them for groceries until they harvested their crop.

We bought our groceries from the wholesale house at Pauls Valley and they were hauled in wagons to Elmore.  The country from Pauls Valley to Elmore was open range, and with the kind of roads we had then, it was all we could do to make the trip in one day.  The dry goods we handled were shipped from Kansas City, Missouri.  We had no telephones, and sometimes we had to wait two or three days for a shipment to arrive.

There were several farms, but they would be on some creek.  The prairies were covered with grass knee-high.  There were fine meadows, but people didn't put the hay up then; their stock ranged as far out as they wanted to go.

I moved to Pauls Valley and went to work for Mr. Freeman in a general store, and in later years I went into the dry goods business for myself.


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