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
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
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.