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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Reverend J.W. White


Interview #9365
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: November 29, 1937
Name: Reverend J.W. White
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:  December 31, 1870
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: J.D. White, born in Alabama
Mother: Mary Reems, born in Alabana


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I was born 1870 in Texas.  I came to the Indian Territory and settled on a Choctaw Indian's land at a place called Blue River in the Choctaw Nation in 1894.   There was not much farming then in that part of the country.  The Choctaw Indians only raised small patches of corn and the women did the farming.

When I settled there I went to farming but all I had to farm with was a Georgia stock and a six inch turning plow.  Corn was the main crop.  People then raised nearly everything they ate.

There was plenty of deer, turkey and the woods were full of quails then.   It was open range.  Cattle and hogs ran out and the farmers living in that part of the country would have to fence their crops off with rail fences.

Then Durant was the trading point for that part of the country.   Durant was a very small place at that time with one street and a few store buildings.

Paris, Texas, was where we had to go to court.  Our "laws"   were United States Marshals and Indian Police.  We didn't have to pay taxes on property.  All we had to pay was a permit to live in the Territory.  A farmer had to pay $5.00 a year and $2.50 a year for a laborer.

Abner Willis was one of the men to collect the permit to live in the Territory.  He was a Choctaw Indian.  The Choctaw Indians had laws of their own and if one of the collectors who collected a permit to live in the Territory failed to turn in what he had collected, he would be given so many lashes with the whip.

You could pay $50.00 and be married under the Indian law which would make you and your wife citizens of the Indian Territory and gave you a right to control all the land you wanted.

There was a log school house and an Indian church house not far from the Blue Post Office where I lived.  When the Indians held meetings they would last for two or three weeks.  The Indian preacher would preach in the Indian language and another Indian would translate it into English as there were about as many white people at this church as there were Indians.

Captain Wright was the Indian preacher then for that part of the country.

John MacHenry was a United States Marshal then and Caddo was the nearest jail where prisoners were held until they could be taken to Paris, Texas.

My father, J.D. White, was the blacksmith at Fort Washita during the Civil War.  He was paid by the Government to do work for the Indians.

I preached my first sermon to the Choctaw Indians at the log church on Blue River in 1900.  Word was passed around that I was to preach for the first time on the following Sunday and there was the largest crowd anyone could ask for.  The house couldn't hold the people.  There were people there from miles around, whites, Indians and Negros.  From about nine o'clock in the morning until midnight that night the preaching never stopped.

The lunches were put out on long tables in Indian style and anyone could go and eat at any time during the day.

After my first sermon at this little church, the people wanted me to stay and preach for them.  I was the minister there until 1902, at which time I moved to Texas and lived there until 1916.  Then I came to Pauls Valley and have lived here ever since.

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