Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: April 16, 1937
Name: Mr. Gloster Wiley
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1892
Place of Birth: Cherokee Town, Chickasaw Nation
Father: George Wiley, Texas
Mother: Jemima Allen, born in Indian Territory
I was born at Cherokee Town, Indian Territory, in the Chickasaw
The first school I went to was held in an old church house near where I lived. I
was six years old. A white man named Henry Russell was my teacher.
My father paid Mr. Russell one dollar a month for my tuition. He only taught
three months. We used slates and sat on benches. We had no desks. There
were about fifty children who went to this school. The white children, Indians and
Negroes all went to school together. After that three months school was out and I
did not go to school any more until 1901.
My father, George Wiley, with Dixie Smith, Monroe Smith, Zach Allen, Steve
Allen, (all Negroes) and Mrs. Elizabeth Crawford, a white woman, donated
enough money to build a Negro Mission school. My father was one of the trustees and
Mrs. Elizabeth Crawford was one of the teachers. They had the mission school built
in 1900. It was located three miles east of Wynnewood Oklahoma.
The mission was a two-story building, built of lumber, and there was a basement.
The kitchen and dining room was in the basement and on the first floor was the
class room. The boys slept there on cots and in the mornings they would carry their
cots out in the yard. It if happened to be raining they would have to be stacked up
in a corner of the room. We had long benches to sit on and long tables for desks.
On the second floor was where the girls and the white women teachers slept. There
were four white women teachers. A Mrs. Fannie Johnson, was the head
of the school.
There were about two hundred Negro children attending this school. Some of the
children came from Ardmore and some from Seminole. Lots of the children who lived
within six or eight miles of the school would go home in the evenings. I stayed and
boarded the first ten months. After that my father got a horse for me to ride back
and forth on, so that I could live at home.
I heard my father say that each child paid five dollars a month for board and schooling
and one dollar a month if the children went home in the evenings and brought their lunch
from home. The children had to furnish their own clothing.
Monday was washday. The boys would carry the water from a big well about a
hundred yards away and the girls would wash the clothes down in the basement. This
mission was called, "Beseth Mission" and it was for Negro
children exclusively. It stood there until it was wrecked in a storm in 1917.
I attended the school until 1907. I was in the fifth grade and I quit to stay at
home to help my father on the farm. We raised lots of cotton and corn.