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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Short History of Pauls Valley
(Maurice R. Anderson - Clipping - Information furnished by the Pauls Valley Enterprise)


Interview #
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth:  


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(One of the state's oldest towns, Pauls Valley, as a town or settlement first came into being about 1872, according to old timers here, as a stage stand or stop on the route from Caddo, near Atoka, to Fort Sill.   However, it had been used prior to that time as a camp for soldiers during the Civil War.

The valley was first used by Smith Paul, who at one time sold 80,000 bushels of corn to the Government at Fort Sill.   His son, Sam Paul, donated the right-of-way to the Santa Fe Railroad at the time of its construction in 1887, and the depot was named in his honor.

The stage line was owned and operated by P. Hopkins, who also had a boarding house on Rush Creek some distance east of the site of the present town of Pauls Valley.  At this location, there was a general store and blacksmith shop operated by Frank Miller and Tom Green, who came here from Winston, North Carolina.  The town continued in its present location until the time of the construction of the Santa Fe Railroad through the Indian Territory in 1887.  It was moved to its present site when the location of the depot was established.  The stage, which was the principal means of travel took a day and night and part of a second day to make the trip from Caddo to Fort Sill.  The fare was ten cents per mile and the comforts meager, according to old timers, who have traveled in the stages.  The towns made on the route from Caddo were Mill Creek, Cherokee Town, Pauls Valley, Whitebead Hill, Beef Creek (Maysville), Erin Springs, Twin Sandys (about half way between Erin Springs and Fort Sill.  Horses were changed at Mill Creek, Pauls Valley, Erin Springs and Twin Sandys.

The first townsite was started at Pauls Valley soon after the establishment of the depot.  This was begun by Tom Fields and Sam Paul.  However, no lots were sold at the sale because of the high price that was asked.  Later Albert Rennie and eight other men formed a townsite company.  They bought 160 acres from Mr. Paul for $200.00 and a tenth interest in the company.  The town was platted and surveyed by J.J. Higgins of Norman in 1887 and a number of lots sold at the first sale.  The members of the company retained several business and residence lots and named streets in the new town after themselves.  Members of the original townsite company besides Mr. Rennie and Mr. Paul were Richard Sneed, James Rennie, Sam Paul, S.J. Garvin, Calvin J. Grant, John A. Bradley, T.H. Martin, Col. Tom Grant and William Guy, governor of the Chickasaw Nation.  The plat was approved by the Daws Commission and in 1903 all lot owners had to purchase their lots again under the rulings of the commission.  They also had to put some kind of improvements on them to retain them and this brought forth the first building boom of the town.  Wells were drilled on some of the lots and buildings of all kinds and descriptions appeared on others.  Many of these buildings stood for years as evidence of a boom but all are gone today.

Business first started locating on the present site soon after the location of the depot and establishment of regular train service.  Prior to this time Mr. Green, part owner of the general store at the old site had died and his partner, Mr. Miller, disposed of the business to Calvin J. Grant, son of Tom Grant, who had been clerking in the store.  Grant moved the store to the present site of the Leland Hotel and his was one of the first business firms here.  Other businesses began to locate here until by 1895, there was quite a business section along the west side of the railroad and facing it.   This was known in the early days as "Smoky Row".   Some of the other business here in 1895 were Richard Sneed's general store, just south of Grant's store, a drug store where Tyler and Simpson wholesale grocery is now located and the Robinson Hotel, just north of it, a livery stable on the corner across the street east of the Moody Hotel site, a harness and furniture store on the ground floor of a building on the corner where the Pauls Valley Building and Loan is now located.

One of the early events that turned the tide of business to Pauls Valley and added greatly to the growth of the town was the construction of a telephone line from Old Center, an island town about 45 miles east which was at that time one of the leading trading centers of the country, according to Tom Fields, early day settler and founder of the Enterprise in 1887.   The phone line which cost $1,800.00 was built with the citizens of Old Center paying half the cost and Pauls Valley paying the other half.  Mr. Fields, who represented Old Center visited Pauls Valley in regard to the line and Calvin Grant told him that he would give him $200.00 in gold to let Pauls Valley have this end of the line.  However, Fields had been instructed to present the proposition to Wynnewood, also, and would not make a deal until he had seen the people there.  Wynnewood rejected the proposition and the line was built to Pauls Valley. The principal advantage of the line was that it enabled merchants in Old Center to call here to see whether or not shipments had arrived by train.  In the past they had been forced to send freight wagons over and pay the expenses of the freighter for several days.

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