Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: April 27, 1938
Name: Mrs. Rebecca Davis Beck
Residence: Paoli, OK
Date of Birth: April 8, 1890
Place of Birth: Ardmore, Indian Territory
Father: George W. Davis, born in Texas
Mother: Rebecca Columba Davis, born in Texas
My father and mother came to the Indian Territory in 1890 and settled near
Ardmore, in the Chickasaw Nation where I was born the same year. Ardmore only had
two stores then, I have heard father say.
We lived there three years the moved to a town called Texanna,
Indian Territory, lived there one year, moved over near Tahlequah, Indian
Territory and there I began to have my experience with the Indians. We lived close
to some full bloods who could not talk English. I was then four years old and an old
squaw would come over to our house and put up her fingers, meaning so much money to buy me
as she thought I looked like an Indian as I had long black hair. This scared me so
that every time I would see her coming I would crawl back under the bed and remain there
until she was gone. Mother was always afraid this Indian woman might steal me.
In that day and time there were not many tame chickens but there were lots
of prairie chickens and their eggs were what we used. I have helped my mother many a
time hunt the nests of prairie chickens. Wild game was plentiful here then. I
have seen cattle pass our house in great herds. Men would be driving them to market.
Most of the houses then were log houses with the roofs covered with boards.
We didn't have a cook stove when I was small. My mother cooked on a
fire place, I remember, until I was eight years old.
I didn't get to go to school until I was ten years old as there were to
many schools in the country then where we lived and when I started to school it cost 50
cents a month for each child, and if a man had a large family it would cost him so much
that most of the kids couldn't go as money was scarce during those days.
My first school was a one-room, one teacher school. We had to sit on
home made seats and we held our books in our hands until someone thought out a way to mail
a plank on the top of the bench for a desk. About three months of schooling was all
I ever had until we moved to Wynnewood in 1900.
When we moved to Wynnewood we came through in wagons. The creeks
wold get bank full and sometimes we would have to camp three or four days before we could
cross a creek as there were no bridges to speak of then.
While living near Muskogee, Father would take cotton to the gin there.
One evening while he was in Muskogee he saw the man and boy who killed the cashier
of the bank at Muskogee. This is the story that was told Father and he came home and
told us about it. a man and his little boy had taken a bale of cotton to town and
after the man had sold the cotton they started for home and after they had been driving
for a few miles and it was growing dark, the man looked back and saw what he thought was
an old woman riding a horse. The man and his little boy did not think much about
this and after driving a few miles further they camped for the night, made a fire and by
the time they got the fire going, up rode an old woman and asked if she could stay by the
fire for the night as she said she had been traveling all day and had a long ways to go.
Of course the man told her she was welcome and while she was sitting by the fire
the little boy discovered that the lady wore boots. When the boy and his
father went to the wagon to sleep the little boy told his father about seeing the lady's
boots and asked his father why she wore boots, as women didn't wear boots then.
After the boy told his father about what he had seen, his father told him to lie down and
wait awhile. Then the man began to snore as loud as he could. The boy did as
he was told and his father got his gun and hid in the front of the wagon where he could
see the old lady at all times. After waiting a while the man saw the old lady take
out a gun and start for the wagon and as she climbed upon the front of the wagon the old
man shot and killed her. Then he got out of the wagon and examined the dead body to
see if it was that of a woman and to his surprise he found that it was the body of a man
dressed in woman's clothes. So this old man and his son hooked up and went back to
Muskogee and told what had taken place. My father was there when the old man told
his story so after the body was brought to Muskogee it was found to be that of the cashier
of the bank in Muskogee at that time.
We farmed at Wynnewood five years then moved to Elmore City and were
living there on the farm when Indian Territory became part of the state of Oklahoma in
After statehood I was married to W.H. Beck. I now
live in Paoli.
Note: An effort was made by the Muskogee office, S-149, to
substantiate the story of the killing of the bank cashier. It was desired to have
his name and what motive was ascribed for his donning a woman's apparel. Other facts
concerning the whole episode seemed necessary to complete the story. Nothing could
be learned about it, however, the tale is included, therefore, but is not vouched for.