Interview # 8611
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: September 21, 1937
Name: Mr. W.C. Morris
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1867
Place of Birth: Georgia
Father: H.F. Morris, born in Georgia
Mother: Emily Nelson, born in Georgia
I was born in 1867 in Georgia. I came to the Indian Territory in
1889 and settled at Pauls Valley in the Chickasaw Nation.
There were two stores there then, C.J. Grant owned one and Jim Rennie
owned the other.
John Harvey owned a gin at Pauls Valley then, run by steam. Zach
Gardner owned a gin and grist mill on the Washita River, east of Pauls Valley. This
gin was run by water power.
C.J. Grant established the first bank in Pauls Valley in 1891.
When I came to Pauls Valley, W.J. Long owned a large ranch near old McGee
and he also owned a general store there. E.R. Spears owned a large ranch southwest
of Pauls Valley and he always had three to four thousand head of cattle on his ranch.
There were several large farms around Pauls Valley when I came here.
Most of them were fenced with rail fences. Then, this part of the country was
open range and you could ride all day and wouldn't have to open any gates.
There was lots of corn and oats raised then , but very little cotton,
nothing like it is today. If people had raised lots of cotton, they couldn't have
gotten help to pick it, as there wasn't very many people living around here. The
farmers that raised cotton just raised what they could take care of with their own family.
There was no alfalfa growing in this valley. I sowed the first patch of
alfalfa, in 1894.
When I came to Pauls Valley, the court for this part of the country was
held at Paris, Texas and later there was a court established at Ardmore but that court
only tried minor cases. Murder and whiskey violators were taken to Paris, Texas
until 1895, when the court was established at Pauls Valley.
When I came to Pauls Valley, Sam Paul owned about eighteen hundred acres
of fine prairie land, just south of Pauls Valley. Mr. Paul had this fenced and
turned it into a large farm. A. Mr. Scrivner farmed this place for Mr. Paul.
There were lots of deer and turkey in this part of the country when I came
here. I have killed deer right where the main part of Pauls Valley is now.
There were several big cattlemen living around Pauls Valley and in the
vicinity of what now is Garvin County, but after people began to come in and settle this
county up and fence this prairie land, that put most of the cattle raisers out of
business. In 1891, I went to work for Mr. Agnew, who owned the cotton yard and
bought cotton. The cotton, after it was ginned, was stacked on the cotton yard until
we had several carloads, then it would be shipped to Texas to the market.
People didn't visit among their neighbors then as they do now. Of
course there wasn't very many neighbors, in some cases it would be seven or eight miles to
your nearest neighbor.
There were very few churches and no shows or ball games then. About
all the amusement the boys had then was to go out on the prairie and ride steers all day
and this usually took place around on the prairie nearly every Sunday.
In 1889 and 1890 what little cotton that was raised, sold for eight to
nine cents a pound.
When I came here there was a ferry crossing on the Washita River northeast
of Pauls Valley.
The first bridge was built by the business men of Pauls Valley. It
was built across the Washita Rive at Zach Gardner's mill, east of Pauls Valley.
I still live in Pauls Valley where I have lived since 1889.