Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: April 25, 1938
Name: Mrs. Mollie Kinney
Residence: Paoli, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: April 4, 1869
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: Jim Florence, born in Texas
Mother: Frances Barnes, born in Texas
I was born in 1869 in Texas and according to my
mother I was only six weeks old when Father and Mother moved with me from Texas to the
Indian Territory. My father settled on a farm near Marietta in the Chickasaw Indian
Nation. I remember I was six years old when we moved to what is now known as the Florence
My Uncle Jack Florence had come from Texas in 1872 and settled across
the Washita River from Whitebead Hill. Later this community was named for him and he
was living there when my father who was a brother of Jack Florence moved
from Marietta and built a log house on land owned by this brother. Uncle Jack had married
a Chickasaw Indian woman and this gave him a right to all the land he wanted.
My father and a few more men built the first schoolhouse in that part of the country.
There were only a few families living around there at that time and the first
schoolhouse was a one-room log house. The men hewed the logs and stopped up the
cracks with red clay and we kids had split logs to sit on. There were a number of Indian
children who went to this school.
This part of the country was awfully wild then. Panthers and wolves were thick.
The fathers would take the children to school in the morning and come after them in
the evening and the teacher had a rifle that he always carried.
I saw the first wedding take place at the old schoolhouse. It was an Indian
wedding. The teacher was also a preacher and he would hold church services every
Sunday morning. These Indians were married sitting down and an interpreter came with
them and when they answered the questions they would only grunt. They came into the
schoolhouse single file and left the same way.
In the early 80's the bad men got so thick in the Washita River bottom that the men had
to form a posse and run them out.
My father had to haul his cotton to Gainesville, Texas to a gin as there was no gin in
this country then. After selling the cotton Father would bring back enough supplies
to last until the next fall.
I was in Oklahoma City when it was only a tent city.
I was married to Tom Kinney in 1889. My husband came from Texas
when he was a young man and went to farming and cattle raising. After we were
married, we lived on his farm and in that same year there was a cotton gin built at Pauls
I remember one day when I was a small girl. I saw a herd of more
than a hundred Indians with their faces all painted up. They were on horses and only
a few of them had saddles on their horses and they carried bows and arrows. They
killed several of my father's cattle.
The women and children were afraid to get very far from home by
themselves as they were not only afraid of wild animals and the Indians but of the
desperadoes from Texas as well. I have heard my aunt tell about a time a short while
after she and Uncle Jack was gone to his ranch along Red River in the southern part of
Comanche Indian Country and my aunt saw some Indians riding on the warpath and she ran off
and hid in a dugout and the Indians went into her house and just threw things all over the
floor. She was a Chickasaw Indian herself but she said that the Comanches would kill
a Chickasaw as quickly as they would a white person.
We had a hard time at first trying to make a living but things got
better after the railroad came through Pauls Valley and we got more land in cultivation
and raised more cotton. We had a way then to ship the cotton to Texas and as each
year went by,t he country became more civilized.
I have lived in the Florence Community and around Paoli ever since we
first settled here.