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County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



E.H. Scrivner


Interview # 8610
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: September 20, 1937
Name: Mr. E.H. Scrivner
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: January 7, 1855
Place of Birth: Tennessee
Father:  B. Scrivner, born in Virginia
Mother: Mary Snyder, born in Tennessee


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I was born in 1855 in Tennessee.

I came to the Indian Territory from Texas in 1888 and settled in the Choctaw Nation, on Red River.  I leased a section of land and began farming.

I had to go to Texas for my groceries and supplies.

I didn't do so good the first year, but in 1889, I raised two hundred and fifty-bales of cotton.

There was an old horse power gin, that had been in use before I settled there but the man that had built this gin had moved off and left it.  It was either fix this gin up or haul my cotton across Red River to a gin in Texas, so I went to Gainesville, Texas, and got the parts I needed.  This old gin was the find, that after the lint was cut from the seeds, the lint had to be carried to the press in baskets.   That fall, with the help of three Negroes, I ginned two hundred and fifty bales of cotton.  I raised this cotton on three hundred acres.

Besides making this much cotton I raised eighteen thousand bushels of corn that year.  I got forty cents a bushel for my corn, hauled to Texas, and I sold my cotton for eleven cents a pound.

I have been in the Choctaw Indian Ball games.  They would pull off their clothes and put on a breech clout made of the skin of some kind of animal with the tail of the animal hanging down behind them.  They would use a hickory stick about three feet long and there would be a round end on this stick like a saucer made out of buckskin.  Instead of a ball game to me it looked like a free for all fight.  I have been at several ball games where there were some got killed by getting hit over the head with these sticks.

The full blood Choctaw men usually had seven or eight wives.

They cooked their food in a pot and they didn't have plates to eat out of.   They had spoons made out of wood or bone and when they got hungry they would go eat out of this pot which contained corn beat up and meat of some kind cooked together.

The Indians never did much farming.  What little farming was done the squaws did it and they usually had four or five acres of Tom Fuller corn and sometimes two or three acres of cotton.

They lived in one-room log houses with a dirt floor or in dugouts and all they had were a few blankets and buffalo and deer skins to sleep on.

I used to buy cattle from the Choctaw Indians and when I would buy from a full blood Indian I would have to have gold or silver.  That was all they would take.   They never  did have very many cattle at a time.

I came to Pauls Valley in 1890.  I leased seven hundred acres of land from Sam Paul and took up farming again.  I had all of the land where the high school is now in Pauls Valley, in corn in 1890.  At that time the government was shipping the supplies for the Comanche and Kiowa Indians to Pauls Valley and the Indians would come and freight those supplies over to Fort Sill, where they were camped.  Sometimes they would stay three or four days. Their squaws and children would be with them.  They wold camp on Rush Creek, south of where Pauls Valley was then, by the old cemetery and while they were camped here the Government agent would issue steers to them for meat.   I have watched them kill and eat these steers.  As soon as they killed the steer and skinned it the Indian children and women would start eating it raw and they never lost anything except the hide and horns.  At night they would have a big fire and barbecue the bones and eat them.  They came to Pauls Valley for their freight until 1893.

I was made a Deputy United States Marshal under McAlester in 1891.  I held the deputyship for six years and during that six years I arrested more men for murder than I did for anything else.  These killings happened around Pauls Valley and Wynnewood.  I arrested Bill Lewis two times for murder.  He told me he had killed fourteen men, but John Walner put a stop to Bill Lewis' killings at Wynnewood.   John Walner sent word by me one day when I was at Wynnewood to tell Bill Lewis if he ever came to Wynnewood that he was going to kill him.  I told Bill about this and the next day Bill went to Wynnewood.  He was a nervy little fellow, but John   Walner did what he said he would do.  The six years I was a deputy I never killed a man but a number of them had said they were going to kill me if I ever crossed their trail.  It was an old saying, that if you killed a man you would get killed.   I believed in that old saying for I have seen nine out of ten that had killed someone get killed. There was John Swain, he and I got into some trouble and he swore he was going to kill me on sight.  Well, I kept out of his way for a while and it happened that I was in Paris, Texas, where I had taken some prisoners to jail when John Swain, thinking I was in Pauls Valley, got drunk and came to Pauls Valley to get me.   However, he crossed someone else's trail and was killed.  His wife thought I had a h and in his killing and she swore she was going to kill me if it was the last thing she ever did.  I heard a few years back that she was living over around Lawton.   I don't know, she may still have that old feeling about me.  I never did get a chance to tell her that I knew nothing about the killing of her man.

John Swain was a deputy United States Marshal at one time and while he was a deputy he was the head of a band of cattle thieves.  At that time I was deputy and I got the proof on him and went to Paris, Texas, and showed the proof and his commission was taken from him.  That was the cause of our trouble.

There was Charley Strickland, he killed West Harris.  At that time if m en got in a quarrel the first thing they thought of was to see which one could kill the other.

Wade Williams killed Doctor Patterson and Wade Williams got killed and also Charley Strickland died with his boots on.

When I came to the Choctaw Nation in 1888, Joe Edwards was a United States Marshal and he was called the 'king bee' over the Choctaw Nation.  The man who did the hanging for Judge Parker in the  Choctaw Nation had hanged ninety-seven men before he quit his job.  He had the ninety-seven nooses when he quit and he started around over the country putting on shows and telling about his days when he was the official hangman for Judge Parker.   This didn't last long, for he went insane.   The United States Commissioners in Territorial days were like the Justices of the Peace are now, they tried small cases.  All murder cases were tired at Paris, Texas, until the court was established at Pauls Valley in 1895.  After then they began trying murder cases at Pauls Valley.

I now live on East Charles Avenue, in Pauls Valley.

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