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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Matilda Clure


Interview #4673
Field Worker: John F. Daugherty
Date: June 28, 1937
Name: Mrs. Matilda Clure
Residence: Wynnewood, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: December 5, 1857 
Place of Birth: Arkansas
Father: Francis Aaron Clay, born in Tennessee in 1835
Mother: Melinda Eubanks Clay, born in Illinois, August 18, 1837


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Father was Francis Aaron Clay, born in Tennessee in 1835.   He was a third cousin of Henry Clay.  He was a mechanic, and died during the Civil War.

Mother is Melinda Eubanks Clay, born August 18, 1837 in Illinois.  She is living with me.  We have lived together all my life.  I was born in Arkansas, December 5, 1857.  I was married in 1875 in Madison County, Arkansas, to J. Clure.  We moved to the Indian Territory in 1891 from Arkansas.

We came in a schooner and drive mules.  We crossed the Sallisaw Creek in the Sequoyah District, Cherokee Nation, on a flat boat.   There were hewed logs on each side to keep wagons from slipping off and an apron on each end to keep the boat from dipping.  These aprons were turned down when the bank was reached to permit the wagons and horses to drive onto the bank.

The aprons always hit the bank and jumped back three or four times before the boatman could drive the stake to hold it in place.

My sister-in-law was very frightened at crossing the river on such a thing and when they struck the band the first time she jumped into the river as the boat darted backward.  Some of the men grabbed her and jerked her back on to the boat, just as it was about to strike the bank the second time.

We settled at Old McGee near Stratford in Garvin County, Chickasaw Nation.  We lived in a log house and half dugout, with a puncheon floor and cat chimney.  We had a side room with a slide window.

My husband bought cattle in Arkansas and drove them through to McGee.   He always paid the cattle permit to the Chickasaw Nation.

I have known several families who were moved across Red River for not paying their permits, and the Texas officials wouldn't let them stay there, so the next day they would drive back to their homes in the Territory. They never seemed to mind being sent.  They said they had a good ride.

As we came through the Cherokee Nation we saw a panther and Grandmother thought it was a Shepherd dog.  There was a train of wagons which came as we did.   There was lots of game. 

One morning my husband went to the lot to feed the horses.  He came running back to the house and speaking in subdued tones said, "Matilda, get my gun! Quick"!  I said, "Are you gong to kill a man"?  He said, "No, there are two deer in the horse lot".  He killed them both, and I told him if any more came that day not to kill them for we had plenty of venison for one time.

We traded at Pauls Valley, Purcell and Tecumseh.  It took three days to go to Tecumseh and back.

We had many friends among the Indians.  They never forgot a kind act.   They were very slow about making friends with strangers, but when they once became your friends they remained so.

We moved to Murray County in 1905.  At that time there were no section lines, just trails made by the cowboys.

The first school I remember which my children attended was in a tent.   There was straw on the ground, covered with a wagon sheet, for the floor.   They had wooden benches to sit on and held their books on their laps.

I am eighty years old and my other, Melinda Clay , is a hundred years old.

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