Interview # 10598
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: April 29, 1938
Name: Mr. C.W. Spencer
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: May 30, 1869
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: R.F. Spencer, born in Missouri
Mother: Amanda Adams, born in Arkansas
I was born in 1869 in Texas. I came from Texas to the Indian
Territory in the fall of 1886 and went to work for Dave Colbert on the farm at Colbert's
Crossing in the Chickasaw Nation. There was a ferry crossing on Red River at
Colbert, which Dave Colbert's father had established in the early days and the stage and
freight lines crossed Red River there and went on to Caddo and from there to Fort Sill by
Mill Creek, Cherokee Town, Pauls Valley and Rush Springs.
The only railroad then crossing that part of the country was the M.K.
& T. Railroad which was built through there in 1876. The Santa Fe Railroad was
being built from Gainesville, Texas, north through the Indian Territory in 1886, but I
believe it was in the early part of 1887 before there were any trains going over this
The Indian court was held at Tishomingo which was the capital of the
Chickasaw Nation when I came to the Indian Territory. The white man's court was held
then at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Judge Parker was the judge. In that day and time
it was against the Indian Law to carry a gun and if the Indian laws caught you with a gun,
they would take the gun and that would be all there would be to it.
There were lots of killings in the early days and a great many of the
killings were over whiskey. White men would haul whiskey from Texas over into the
Indian Territory and sell or trade it for cattle and the Indians would give anything they
owned for some whiskey and when the United States Marshals ran onto these bootleggers it
spelled trouble and someone would get killed but if a man stayed at home and attended to
his own business, he would get along all right.
It was easy for a young man to get a job of work then as men were very few
in the Indian Territory and to start in farming for yourself was easy as the ground was so
rich that corn or cotton would make good without being half worked.
I worked there at the Colbert until the fall of 1889. At that time I
came to Pauls Valley and went to work for Ed Tellie on the farm. Pauls Valley was
not much of a place at that time. Although it was the main trading point for this
part of the country. There was only one gin in this country then and it was owned by
Zach Gardner, a Chickasaw Indian. This was a gin and grist mill and was run by water
power. It was only a one stand gin and could not gin more than six or seven bales of
cotton a day.
There were no wire fences in this country then and very few roads and no
bridges across the creeks and if the creeks or rivers happened to be bank full, you would
just have to wait until they went down or swim your horse across.
There were very few doctors in this country then. People just didn't
seem to need doctors then as they do today. I worked for Mr. Tellie for a few years
then went to farming for myself. I have lived in this country since I settled here.
I now live in Pauls Valley.