Field Worker: Robert H. Boatman
Date: March 21, 1938
Name: Janie Elizabeth Ray
Residence: Lindsay, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: April 7, 1865
Place of Birth: Texas
My parents came from Alabama to Texas in an early day and in that state I
was born, April 7, 1965. My father died some three months before I was born and I
was brought up by my mother and lived in Texas till I was eighteen years old. At
that time, 1883, with my mother, I left there with a team and covered wagon on our way to
the Indian Territory, and I was introduced into this new country with little or nor
The country was then just a big open space where the Indians were content
to live in the peacefulness of leisure which then existed. They seemed to hate or
fear the coming of the white people. Once one Chickasaw explained
to me how his tribe had been driven from place to place. He said almost ever since
there had been a country known, the Indians had been driven by removals and promises,
which later were broken, and soon they feared the white man would again invade their homes
and again destroy their game and peace, which they so dearly loved.
The Chickasaw Indians were a very friendly tribe of
people and were very honest in all their dealings. The word of a Chickasaw
Indian in any business deal was all that was necessary. The Choctaws and
Chickasaws were the more friendly of the tribes.
The Comanche Indians were of a hostile tribe and many
times they would come over into the Chickasaw Country and steal horses
and cattle, which seemed to be their greatest desire. Sometimes they would get away
with the stock then again the Chickasaws and Choctaws would run them down
and fight it out with them and at such times nearly always regained possession of the
stolen stock. The Comanches generally came in small bands and for
this reason could usually be beaten down or driven back to their country if overtaken
before reaching the boundary line of the Chickasaw and Comanche countries
but the Chickasaws would nearly always give up the chase when reaching
the Comanche line.
When I first settled in the Indian Territory it was in the Chickasaw
Nation at old Walnut Bend on the Red River, just across the line
from Nocona, Texas, where I rented a small tract of land from a Chickasaw
Indian named Bolen.
The house was a very crude log hut and our only furniture was what little
we had brought along from Texas. Our food consisted of corn bread and bacon with
biscuits about once a week, providing it could be secured.
There were no roads and no bridges and no towns this side of the river.
I had to get all my supplies from Nocona, Texas, and the river
could only be forded at intervals, although a ferry boat was finally built and used to a
great advantage in crossing the river. After the boat was put into practical use a
permanent crossing was then established and became known as Walnut Bend Crossing
of Red River. With this came the opening of a route from the Territory
leading to St. Jo and Nacona.
In the 80's, I established one of the best of friendships that I have ever
known among the Chickasaw Indians.
Since first I came in 1883, I have continued to live in the Territory and
Oklahoma and as time passed conditions changed. In my mind the building of the
railroad has been the greatest step ever taken in the development of the Indian Territory,
for that was the beginning of permanent roads, bridges and towns.
I have always been engaged in the business of agriculture and advancement
of better farming conditions, and have seen Oklahoma advance from a vast hunting ground to
one of the leading agricultural states of the Union.
My mother died sometime after coming with me to the Territory and is
buried at Blanchard. My father, whom I never knew, is buried in Texas.