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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Ellen Waller


Interview #1155
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: March 31, 1937
Name:   Mrs. Ellen Waller, 1-16 Choctaw
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:  August 30, 1852
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: Abner Nail, born in Texas
Mother: Martha Shaw, born in Texas 


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My father and mother left Texas when I was three weeks old. They came from Texas to the Indian Territory and settled in Burneyville. Mother told me after I was six or seven years old that they forded Red River in a wagon, working two horses. Father had to tie the wagon bed down. The wagon got stuck about the middle of the river and the water was running into the wagon bed. So Father undid the traces and the horses swam out. My mother swam to the bank with me. She caught hold of my dress with her teeth and swam on her back about fifty yards to the bank. Father finally got the wagon out but lost most of our things. My grandfather, George Nail, came to Burneyville in 1858 and settled on Governor Parker's place, and that was where Father and Mother were going. I don't know much about their hardships then, except a few things that I remember Mother told me before she died, when I was ten years old.

I have stayed at Governor Parker's home many times. I believe that he was the Governor of the Chickasaw Nation. I know he said he was a Chickasaw Indian. My grandfather, George Nail, was a half-Chocaw Indian.

I remember that when I was about seven years old, my aunt, Sallie Nail, married a man named Emmett Owens, and they had lived together about a year when one day two men rode up to our house. They asked my father where Emmett Owens lived. He told them and they rode off. Father said to Mother when they had gone, "Those men are up to something". He hitched the horses to the wagon and we started over to Uncle Emmett's house, but we were too late. Those men had taken Uncle Emmett about fifty yards away from his house and hanged him to the limb of a tree. I can remember seeing him swinging on the end of the rope. My father and mother and we children were sitting in the wagon. The men rode up to the wagon and told my father why they hung Uncle Emmett.

They said that Emmett Owens had married their sister in Texas and after living with her about two years, had run off and left her with a young baby. She was in bed, sick, and had this young baby to take care of. They said that when they came to the house, the baby was dead and she died a few days later. They promised her that they would find Emmett Owens and square the debt. They finally found out where he was and had come here to settle the debt with him. The one who did the talking asked my father if he had anything to say about it. My father shook his head. The man had a gun in his hand. He turned and fired three shots into Uncle Emmett's body. After the men were gone, my father, mother and aunt buried him. Father made a coffin out of some lumber around the barn.

I have seen deer in large herds and wild turkeys by the hundreds. In the small creeks around Burneyville, there were plenty of fish.

In 1890, I was married to Ben Waller at Tishomingo. He got the marriage license at Ardmore. My husband and I farmed around Burneyville and in later years moved to Healdton, where he died.

I now live in Pauls Valley and draw the old-age pension check.

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