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County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



M.L. Stephens


Interview #9766
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: January 20, 1938
Name: Mr. M.L. Stephens
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:  August 18, 1875
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: John Stephens, born in Missouri
Mother: Lizabeth Combs, born in Missouri


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I was born in 1875, in Texas.  I came to the Indian Territory with my father and mother in 1890.  We came through in a covered wagon.  My father settled on a small farm near a place called Hennepin, in the Chickasaw Nation.  The farm we settled on was at the foot of the Table Mountains.   The first year we raised fifteen wagon loads of corn.  The first cotton we raised was in 1893.  We raised ten bales off of ten acres and had to haul our cotton to Wynnewood.

There were lots of deer in the mountains and plenty of turkeys.   About once a week my father and I would make a trip up in the mountains and bring home a deer.  This would last a week.

The first year we farmed we lived off of corn bread, deer and turkey and we only had a small turning plow and a Georgia stock to farm with.  The few people living in that part of the country were always ready to help each other get started.   There wasn't much money in those days and people would trade corn or anything they had.  My father traded seven wagon loads of corn for several heifer calves and this was how he got started in the cattle business.  We never did have a large amount of cattle like some of the people did, but from these seven head of heifers in 1898, my father sold over $500.00 worth of cattle and we always had several good milk cows.   There was no market for cream at that time and nearly every family had milk cows, so there was no sale for milk and butter.  We lived to far from town to try to sell butter.  We would go to Wynnewood or Pauls Valley about once a month for what few things we had to buy.  People didn't have very much to buy in those days.  When we would go to town to do our trading my mother would bring butter and eggs and she wouldn't have any trouble selling them. 

Everything was cheap at that time.  I have helped neighboring people brand cattle or worked in the field all day for fifty cents a day.

My father sold what few cattle he owned and the lease he had on the place in 1898 and moved back to Texas.

I was married that year and I moved on a place near where Lindsay is now and farmed until the railroad started building from Pauls Valley in 1902.  I worked on this road and when the town of Lindsay started building I worked as carpenter and helped build several stores and dwelling houses.  The lumber for most of these houses was hauled by wagons from Pauls Valley as Pauls Valley was our main trading point.

When I settled near where Lindsay is I would have to haul my cotton to Pauls Valley to the gin.  It wasn't any trouble to sell my corn as the cattlemen would buy all the corn I had to sell.  There were several feeding pens along the Washita River where the cattle buyers would feed out their cattle before starting to the market with them. 

I lived at Lindsay until after the Indian Territory became the state of Oklahoma.


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