Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: December 29, 1937
Name: Mr. W.H. Minton
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: May 22, 1882
Place of Birth: Illinois
Father: W.J. Minton, born in Mississippi
Mother: Sarah Beck, born in Ohio
I was born in 1882 in Illinois. I came to the Indian Territory with
my father and mother in 1887. We came from Texas in a covered wagon and my father
took a lease four miles south of Elmore City in the Chickasaw Nation. There was one
store there owned by J.W. Black.
My father first went to farming. There were no fences in those days
and that part of the country was covered with white faced cattle and I have heard my
father say that his hardest work was keeping the cattle of his crop. There was no
gin in Elmore and Father would have to haul cotton to a little place called Foster, about
fifteen miles on west from the place where we lived.
My father did his trading at Wynnewood, as that was one of the leading
trading places on this side of the Red River. Pauls Valley, at that time was a
trading point but Wynnewood was the nearest trading point to the place where we lived.
My father farmed a few years and then built a store where we lived and put
in a stock of groceries. As we lived on a much traveled road, coming from Wynnewood
and going on west, several wagons would pass by our place every day and most of them were
people coming from the east and settling in this country and they would all stop at our
place as we had the only well of water in that part of the country. It was a dug
well walled up with rocks. My father dug this well himself and my mother pulled the
dirt out with a rope and bucket. This well stood about twenty feet in water and we
lived there until 1900 and this well never did fail and that was what caused my father to
put up a store there. One day a man camped there and told my father that that would
be a fine place for a store.
After Elmore City began to build up and the country was being settled up
fast, in 1895, my father sold the stock of groceries he had left to J.T. Gibson, who put
in a shack at Elmore and a few years later he started the bank.
We lived where we first settled until 1897 at which time my father took a
lease on a better farm between Elmore and Pauls Valley and we lived on this farm until
1900 and at that time we moved to Arkansas where I lived until after the Indian Territory
became a part of the state of Oklahoma in 1907.
I now live in Pauls Valley, where I have lived for a number of years.