Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: December 16, 1937
Name: Mr. W. E. Blevins
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: July 28, 1862
Place of Birth: Arkansas
Father: W. H. Blevins, born in Tennessee
Mother: Mary Bene Grisham, born in Tennessee
I was born 1862 in Arkansas and came to the Indian Territory in 1880 when I was only
eighteen years old.
I had been raised on a cattle ranch in Arkansas as my father owned a large
cattle ranch in the early days and always had from a thousand to fifteen hundred head of
cattle on the ranch all the time. After I was old enough to ride a horse, I would
help take cattle to the market. My father would drive cattle to Kansas, crossing
through the Indian Territory in the Choctaw Nation and west and north.
In the early days there were but a few cattle trails and most of the drives we made my
father would have the men keep the cattle in the open country as best they could where
there would be plenty of grass. I remember on one trip we were about forty days
making the trip to Kansas and we hit a cattle trail after we crossed the Canadian River
west of Johnsonville and went a little east I believe of where Norman
in now. That was before there was any Oklahoma City.
In 1880 I came to where McAlester is now and went to work on Colonel
McAlester's Ranch. There was one store at McAlester and
the post office was in this general store. Mr. McAlester owned this
store and I believe he was also postmaster.
In those days it was no trouble to get a job on a ranch if you were a good
cowhand and if you were a tender foot they would make a cowhand out of you in a short
I worked on the McAlester Ranch three years and every week or so the
Choctaw Indians would have a big stomp dance of some kind. The white people were
always welcome, but I never did see any white people take part in the dances. I have
gone to lots of their dances but never took part in any of them. There would be a
big fire and the Indians would dance around this fire in a large circle singing and
stomping. These dances usually lasted two or three days at a time.
The Indians then in that part of the country were very funny people,
especially the full bloods. They didn't farm much, only raised four or five acres of
corn and a few acres of cotton. The Indian women would do the farming and about all
the men did was hunt and fish At cotton gathering time as soon as the women picked a
sack full they would put the sack of cotton on a mule or a pony and take it to the gin.
The three years I worked on the McAlester Ranch I never did see an
Indian man working.
After the big fall round-up in 1883, I left the McAlester Ranch and went
back to Arkansas and lived in that state until 1905. At that time I came back to the
Indian Territory and settled on a farm near Elmore City in the Chickasaw Nation and farmed
around there for several years. I now live in Pauls Valley.