I was born in 1865, in Arkansas and lived there until 1870. Then
Father and Mother moved to Texas and my father farmed there until 1885. At this date
we moved to the Indian Territory as farming land was better there and one could get all
the land they wanted to farm by leasing land from an Indian. My father leased one
hundred acres for ten years and it only cost him one hundred dollars. We
settled in the Chickasaw Nation near where Elmore City is now.
At that time my father would have to go to Texas for supplies. There was a store
at Pauls Valley owned by Miller and Green and the store was located about one half mile
south of where the present town of Pauls Valley is now.
There was a store and a government stage stand at Cherokee Town. Cherokee Town
was located on the Washita River a few miles north of where Wynnewood is now and John
Walner owned the store there at that time. There was a stage coming from Caddo to
Fort Sill by Cherokee Town and Pauls Valley.
There were no railroads in this part of the country at that time and all freight
shipped in and out of here was hauled by wagon trains, better called freight wagons.
When we first moved to this country I have seen those wagons hauling freight from
Caddo to Fort Sill. They would be working from four to six mules to a wagon and they
would sometimes have a trial wagon hooked on behind the wagon the mules were hooked to.
The only officers we had then were United States Marshals and court was held at Paris,
Texas, and Fort Smith, Arkansas. They started holding court at Pauls Valley in 1895,
but they had been holding court a few years after the establishment of Federal courts at
Muskogee, Ardmore and McAlester. A commissioners court was established at Pauls
Valley in 1895.
One time my father and I had taken two bales of cotton to Gainesville, Texas, after
having it ginned at Pauls Valley and on our way back we were met by two men who said they
were United States Marshals. They searched our wagon. Father had bought a
gallon of whiskey before we started back and he had taken a few drinks out of the gallon
as the weather was very cold and the whiskey had made him nearly drunk. These two
men took his whiskey and told me to take him on home and for me to tell him to appear at
Pauls valley the next day and report to the United States Commissioner's Office. The
next morning my father saddled his horse and rode into Pauls Valley. He reported to
the United States Commissioner's Office but found out that he wasn't wanted. He was
told that the two men must not have been United States Marshals and he never heard any
more about it.
There were some very bad outlaws in the early days and on several trips to Texas with
my father taking cotton to market I have heard men tell my father about being held up and
robbed of their money after they had sold their cotton. We were only stopped one
time, the time we lost that gallon of whiskey. For several years after settling in
this country we hauled our cotton to Texas.
We raised quite a number of cattle. In the early days there was free range and
the prairie grass was knee-high. We didn't have to feed cattle then. Grass was
plentiful and the cattle would have grazing all winter.
The railroad was built through this part of the country in 1886. My father worked
with his team some on this railroad while it was being built through where Wynnewood is
now. He was helping clear the right-of-way. The town of Wynnewood started
building in 1887 and John Walner owned the first store in Wynnewood. It was in 1887
that the first passenger train went over this road.
In the early days we didn't have to buy things like we do today. We raised
everything we could and there were plenty of deer and turkey and I have seen hundreds of
prairie chicken in one bunch. Quails and rabbits were also plentiful.
There were very few fences then and very few roads. From where we lived to Pauls
Valley there wasn't a wire fence. I few miles before getting to Pauls Valley there
was a small farm fenced with rails.
The farm we settled on had a two-room, log house but none of the land was fenced.
The second year we lived on this farm we fenced the land we had in cultivation with
poles and rails.
We moved to Texas in 1900 and I came back to Oklahoma in 1908. I came on the
train this time and Wynnewood was as near as I could get to Pauls Valley, as the Washita
River was out over Pauls Valley and had washed away part of the railroad track. The
water only stayed out of banks a few days. At that time Pauls Valley and Wynnewood
had a fight on to see which one was going to get the county seat. Pauls Valley won,
although there was water all over town. I didn't vote in that election but I have
heard men say that they went from house to house in boats hauling men and women so they
could vote. Elmore City was in that election fight. Elmore was trying to get
the county seat.
I rented a farm near Wynnewood in 1908 and moved my family from Texas and have lived