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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



R.D. Birdwell


Vol. 72
Date April 12, 1938
Name: R. D. Birdwell  (Robert Dillon Birdwell)
Post Office:  Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Residence Address:
Date of Birth: April 18,1890
Place of Birth: Arkansas
Father: A. J. Birdwell
Place of Birth: Arkansas
Mother: Matilda Stinepher
Place of Birth: Arkansas
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson

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I was born in 1890 in Arkansas. My father died, in the spring of 1893, leaving Mother with eight children to look after and in the fall of 1893, Mother loaded up the wagon and with us eight children, the oldest one only fourteen, left Arkansas for the Indian Territory. I was only three years old but I remember making the trip. We were about three weeks coming to where we settled. We got into Davis, Indian Territory, in the Chickasaw Nation, one evening and after supper, I remember, my mother ripped up an old wagon sheet and sat up nearly all night making cotton picking sacks.

            There was lots of cotton made that year and the farmers were wanting people to work. Mother and the older ones picked cotton for about a month for Mr. Nelson P. Price: then she rented a small farm from Mr. Price and the first crop we raised was made with only a turning plow and a Georgia stock. My oldest brother would lay off the rows with Georgia stock and Mother and some of the other boys would drop the corn by hand and cover it by raking the dirt over it with their feet. I can look back now and see Mother sure had a hard time making a living and trying to send us children to school.

            At that time there was only a subscription school and it cost one dollar and fifty cents for each pupil a month, so some of the children didn’t get to attend school very much. Mother would sit up sometimes until ten or eleven o’clock after working all day in the field and have us children read and spell. My first school was Whitebead and I was eighteen years old. I went to this school two years. At the end of these two years there were about sixty-five boys and girls taking examinations for a teacher’s certificate, and that night everybody over the community was there. When Mother and I went to the school house that night I didn’t have any idea that I was going to take the examinations, but after we got there, I was talking to some of the boys the teacher had passed as ready for the examination and they said: “Why don’t you try with out the teacher’s knowing about it?” so, after talking it over, I decided I would, more as a joke, not really thinking I would pass; so after the questions were given out and the work was passed on, I was one among the very few who made a passing grade. I want to give all the credit to my mother for sitting up night after night and saying: “Just read that over once more, then go to bed.” The next year after receiving my teacher’s certificate, I was given the school at Goose ranch, a few miles north of Paoli, Oklahoma, Garvin County. I taught at this school for three terms, then I taught one year at Roundup school in Carter County, and one year at the Camp school in Carter County. For the past several years I have been working as a salesman.

Submitted by Tassy Guenther

Submitters information: Robert Dillon Birdwell’s mothers name was Rebecca Matilda Stinecipher, born in Dallas County, Missouri on Jan 27, 1854. Her parents were Silas Courtney Stinecipher and Norieisic Obedience Reece.

Rebecca is buried in White Bead Cemetery in Pauls Valley, Garvin County, Oklahoma. 

It is believed that Robert Dillon Birdwell died in Springfield, Colorado on May 16, 1975. No proof has been found. 

It is futher believed that Matilda left Harrison, Arkansas with her oldest child, Harriet and son in law Thomas Bird Edgmon. The two families settled in Davis, Garvin County, Oklahoma. 

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