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GARVIN COUNTY INDIAN PIONEER PAPERS

 

OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection

 

Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



 

 

S.R. McGuire

 

Interview #9751
Field Worker: Robert H. Boatman
Date: January 20, 1938
Name:   Mr. S.R. McGuire
Residence: Lindsay, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:  September 20, 1874
Place of Birth: Texas
Father:
Mother:

 

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I was born in the state of Texas on September 20, 1874.   I left there at the age of nine years, moving with my parents to the Indian Territory in 1883.  We traveled from Texas by wagon and ox teams, with a small group of people, and many hours of slow and weary progress were encountered.

Wagons clogged in mud and on several occasions three and four yoke of oxen would be hitched to one wagon to drag it out of a bog.  Sometimes they would pull the tongue from the wagon, leaving it still in the bog and sometimes an ox would become wearied or hot and he would sull and lie down.  We would have to wait until he had rested and was willing to move on again.

People were contented and never became weary.  Life was easy and there was nothing surprising happened.

When we first stopped and located permanently it was near Old Woodford in the Arbuckle Mountians, twelve miles east of old Fort Arbuckle, and on what was then known as the old L.C. Ranch.   This ranch consisted of several thousand acres of grassland.  The place that is now the town of Ardmore was then a big ranch known as the old 700 Ranch.

There were very few white people in the Territory when I first came, though many Indians lived here.  They were very friendly, especially were the tribes of the Choctaws and Chickasaws.

All houses were of the primitive log type and dugouts.  Furniture consisted mainly of home made fixtures.

When I was 15 years old I went west to the Kiowa and Comanche country on an adventure among the Comanche Indians.  These Indians were very different from the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes.  They were of a rather hostile nature and lived altogether in tents or tepees.  They wore nothing at all in the way of clothing except a breech clout and blankets.  They were known as the blanket Indians.  The Government was building houses for the Indians although hey wouldn't live in them.  They would put their horses in the houses and continue to live in their tents.  The bucks or men would not work at all.  All the work that was done, which was very little, was done by the squaws or a white man that would be hired by the buck.  Once a Comanche Indian hired me to change a lock on one of the doors of a house, which required only about two hours and for pay the Indian gave me four head of horses.  A white man could never get money from them for work, but always got good pay in the way of horses or cattle.

This tribe lived principally in groups consisting of from 200 to 300 in each group.

Cow or hunting trails were the only roads in the Territory.  One old trail came from the line of Kansas across the western part of the Territory, running to and ending near Red River.  This was said to be an old buffalo trail that was supposed to be made in 1800.  From this time to about 1850, many thousands of head of buffalo roamed the western plains of the Indian Territory.  Then came bands of buffalo hunters from almost every section of the country and the buffalo were hunted down and slaughtered, the hunters taking only the hides of the buffalo, leaving the carcass wherever the kill was made.   After a hunter had a wagon load of hides he then set out to some market of which the principal ones were Kansas City, Missouri, and Shreveport, Louisiana.

This state of progress continued until a state of civilization began in about 1890, after which the country developed at a very rapid pace.  The settling of this country was then greatly improved.

I have had many unusual experiences of early days in the Indian Territory.

I now live seven miles northwest of Lindsay in McClain County.

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