Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: September 14, 1937
Name: Mrs. Victoria Paul
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1878
Place of Birth: Mississippi
Father: J.T. Rossen, born in Virginia
Mother: Emily Bass, born in Alabama
I came to the Indian Territory with my father and mother. We were
moving from Mississippi to the Indian Territory in wagons, working horses and oxen
in 1889. I was eleven years old. I remember people telling my father that he
would have to be on the lookout for horse thieves. We had some trouble while
crossing Arkansas, but after we crossed into the Indian Territory we never were bothered
by anyone. My father would buy feed from the Indians and they were the most
accommodating people I ever met. We came through Muskogee but there wasn't much of a
town there then. At that time there were but few roads and at times it looked as if
it would be impossible to go any farther. After several months of traveling over
rough country we located at Pauls Valley. My father traded the ox team, a tent
and a few horses to Mr. John Burks for a lease that had
a two room log house on it. This lease had never been worked but there was a plowed
furrow around it. My father and brothers began putting this prairie land in
cultivation. There was open range at that time, and you could have all the
hogs and cattle you wanted to own, but you had to have your brand and mark on them.
There was an Indian law at that time between the Choctaw and Chickasaw
Indians that if anyone's cattle grazed over on the other's territory the person owning the
cattle would be tried by the Indian laws and given the death sentence. They
would carry out this sentence tool but when anyone was given the death penalty for some
crime under the Indian law he would be given an honor parole for a certain time in order
to visit his family and straighten up his affairs. Then on the day set for him to
die, this person would be at the place set and right on time.
It cost five dollars a year permit for a family to live in the Indian
Territory and two dollars and fifty cents for a single man. There would be
collectors come around and collect this fee and if the collectors did not turn in all that
he had collected then he would be tried under the Indian law and given so many lashes
across the back. They had a whipping post at the place where the court was held.
The Choctaws held court at Eagle Town and the Chickasaws held court at
I have heard my husband say he went to school at Cherokee town, and at
that time there was a church there. It was called a community church. My
husband was Bill Paul, Sr., a grandson of Smith Paul,
the man for whom Pauls Valley was named.
Amos Waite built the first schoolhouse in Pauls Valley
and it was a subscription school. A Mr. Mackey taught this school.
My father lived southwest of Pauls Valley about six miles and my sister and I had
to come to Pauls Valley to school. There were several children who lived in this
community who had to come to Pauls Valley to school, so my father and several other men
bought a frame building at Pauls Valley and moved it to this community. They made a
school building out of it and this school was called Red Branch school.
Today it is called Klondike.
I now live in Pauls Valley.