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County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



N.L. Brim


Interview #9671
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: January 13, 1938
Name: Mr. N.L. Brim
Residence: 113, South Locust, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: October 2, 1859
Place of Birth: Nebraska
Father: J.J. Brim, born in Indiana
Mother: Lettie Spergeon, born in Iowa


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I was born in Nebraska in 1859 and my father came to Kansas at an early date and settled on a section of land not far from Dodge City and the Old Chisholm Trail was in sight of our home.  I have watched herd after herd of cattle go over this trail when I was a small boy and after I grew up I have helped drive cattle over the Chisholm Trail.  Cattlemen from Dodge City would hire cowhands in the early days, would go to Texas, buy up large herds of cattle and drive them back to Kansas to the market.

I was only eighteen years old when I made my first trip and we brought back around thirty-five hundred head of cattle.  On several trips after that we have come over the Doby Wall Trail.  This trail crossed Texas into Kansas but did not touch the Indian Territory.  The reason it was called the "Doby Wall Trail" was because all along this trail were 'doby' housed made out of grass and clay.

In 1882 my father and I decided we would come to the Indian Territory and start a cattle ranch.  We came and established a ranch on Salt Fork Creek near a small place called Pond Creek, N.S. of I.T.; the letters N.S. meant the Neutral Strip of Indian Territory.

We established the Horse Shoe Bar I Ranch.  After digging a dugout for our ranch home, the next thing was to get cattle, so we went to Texas and bought seven hundred head of two year old heifers.  They were not in first class shape as that had been a dry year and grass and feed were hard to get in Texas at that time, so we bought these seven hundred head of heifers from two ranches at a cost of $5.00 a head.  We were three weeks coming back with our cattle.  We came over the Chisholm Trail.

We also bought a supply of groceries and a chuck wagon, also a yoke of oxen to work to the chuck wagon and with the help of two more cowhands we brought these seven hundred head of cattle through to our ranch.

We located our ranch house or our dugout ranch house in about the center of a number of ranches.  There were the Gardner's ranch, Hammer's ranch, Bill Reed's ranch, Cub Bennett's ranch and the Stone and Wilson ranch and the 101 Ranch was not very far from us.

This Neutral Strip of the Indian Territory was the cattlemen's paradise as there were no women nor children at any of these ranches that I knew of and every ranch place had men cooks.  There were no school or church houses.   This Neutral Strip was about sixty miles wide and ran the length of the south side of Kansas.  There was not any cultivated land, not even a garden spot that I ever saw.  I know on our ranch we did not eve have a milch(?) and all the cattle ranged anywhere they wanted.

After getting our seven hundred head of heifers to our place and putting our grand on them, we went to Kansas City, Missouri, and bought one hundred head of Durham bulls.  We drove them back and put our brand on them.

In those days if you were out on the range riding and came to a ranch place, if there was no one at home, all you had to do was to go in and cook something to eat as the door was never locked.  After you had finished your meal you would just clean up the dishes and leave the place clean like you found it.  That custom was understood among the cattlemen.  we have cooked many a meal at other ranches and other men have cooked at our place.

There was a saloon at nearly every little place where there was a post office but there was no saloon at Pond Creek.   There was one at Beaver's post office.  there was plenty of whiskey at Fort Reno and at Camp Supply but you had to be a friend to the captain of the soldiers or have someone with you who was a friend to him or you could not get a drink.  I remember one time there was a celebration of some kind at Camp Supply or Fort Supply, I believe it was called, and a bunch of us cowhands went over.  Before midnight they had every soldier in camp onto us.  we all got plenty of whiskey into us and then the fireworks started.  No one got hurt but plenty of shooting took place.

In 1889 we sold out our cattle and Father went back to our home in Kansas and I went to work for the Diamond F. Ranch, located near Beaver post office.  Before we sold out, when it came to round-up time each cattleman would furnish a chuck wagon and so many m en.  we would all go to the east side of the strip and start the drive.  There would be three parties and from one to three chuck wagons to each party of men.  Each rider would have from three to five saddle horses.   The extra saddle horses stayed with the chuck wagon as it took a good saddle horse to stand up under the hard riding for half a day.

Our ranch being near the center of the Strip the branding usually took place at our ranch and we all worked together.  There would always be several orphaned calves whose mothers had either been stolen or had died so these calves would be herded by themselves until the branding was over, then we would have a 'catch as catch can'.   Whoever caught one of the calves would put his brand on it.

While working for the Diamond F. I met the daughter of one of the Indian Territory's first pioneer farmers named M.J. Doolin.   At that time Mr. Doolin was living at Beef Creek, now Maysville, in the Chickasaw Indian Nation.  I left the Diamond F. Ranch and married Mr. Doolin's daughter in 1892 at Beef Creek. Then the Federal Court was held at Ardmore, Indian Territory, and I had to go there to get my marriage license.  After our marriage we went back to Kansas, my home state, to live.

I now live at Pauls Valley.

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