Interview # 1197
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: April 9, 1937
Name: Mr. Mattie Ida McNeely
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: February 24, 1869
Place of Birth: Georgia
Father: J.L. Collier, born in Georgia
Mother: Mattie Collier, born in Georgia
Story told by Mrs. Mattie Ida McNeely, born February 24,
1869 in Georgia.
I married Mr. Jess B. McNeely in 1888, in the state of Mississippi,
and in 1889, we left for the Indian Territory, with six wagons, my husband driving the
front wagon. On reaching the Indian Territory in the Choctaw Nation,
this wagon train busted up.
My husband and myself came on to Boggy Depot, located in
the Choctaw Nation. There was one store there. Old Colonel
Hester owned this store. My husband rented a farm from Mr. Will
Harkinss, who was part Choctaw Indian. There were lots of Indians living
around Boggy Depot. I was afraid of them for a while. They
were friendly after I got acquainted with them. Of course, I could not talk their
language, but they would point and use their hands and I would understand them some.
There were lots of plums, blackberries and grapes growing wild when we
came to the Choctaw nation. The Indian women would come to my house
and watch me can plums and make jelly. Some of the Indian women were smart and quick
to learn anything. Some of the old ones would only come to get something to eat.
I have been at some of the Indian women's homes whom I showed how to can plums and
make jelly, and they had surely made it fine.
My husband raised cotton and corn. He would haul his cotton to Caddo
to the gin. We farmed at Boggy Depot two
We moved to Pauls Valley in 1892. My husband leased
a farm from Doctor Burk. We lived on that farm for nine years.
Corn was nearly all my husband raised then.. In later years, after statehood,
my husband raised lots of cotton. there was a grist mill owned by Zach
Gardner on the Washita River east of Pauls Valley.
That was where my husband took his corn to have it ground.
There was one store at Pauls Valley when we came here.
I believe Mr. Fisher owned this store and there was a balcksmith
shop and a stage stop. There was a stage line from Caddo, by Pauls
Valley, to Fort Sill.
People were friendly around Pauls Valley, what few lived
There were lots of negroes living around Pauls Valley.
People living on farms around Pauls Valley would come to
this store on Saturdays to buy what groceries they needed. My husband would say it
was a Saturday town and it has been that way ever since we came here. Now on
Saturdays there are thousands of people on the streets and they are just like they were
when I first came here, only there was not as many people then as there are now. The
men would come to town and get drunk and shoot things up but I did not see anyone get
killed, but now they come to town and get drunk, instead of shooting things up they get in
their autos and run over someone.
There were turkeys, deer, and lots of wild game around Pauls
Valley when we moved here. we had good times and hard tiems, just as we do
My husband raised the first broom corn around Pauls Valley
in 1911. My husband died in 1931. If he were living he could tell lots of
things that happened here as I did not visit much and we lived on the farm, about four
miles from Pauls Valley.
I now live in Pauls Valley. I have lived in and
around Pauls Valley since 1892.