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County Seat - Pauls Valley

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OKGenWeb Indian Pioneer Papers Collection


Garvin County Indian Pioneer Papers



Lenora Stark Wisenor


Interview #1088
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Date: March 10, 1937
Name:   Mrs. Lenora Stark Wisenor
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:  1877
Place of Birth: Arkansas
Father: S.B. Stark, born in Arkansas
Mother: Mattie Stark, born in Arkansas 


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Story by Mrs. Lenora Stark Wisenor, born in Arkansas in 1877.

My father and mother came with a wagon train.  My father and Mr. John Goodrich led this wagon train.  That was 1882.  We crossed the Canadian River at Johnsonville, Indian Territory on the Government trail.  This wagon train separated at Whitebead, Indian Territory.  My father settled there.  I was very young at the time.  I don't know where the rest of the people went. 

My father went to hauling freight from Caddo to Fort Sill. 

There were lots of turkey, pecans, grapes and plenty of fish in the Washita River.

My father, S.B. Stark, built us a one room log house at Whitebead.   There was not very many houses there then.  James Rennie owned a store there.

This country was wild then.  I have seen the Indians pass our house on ponies with their faces painted.

When we were coming from Arkansas to Whitebead, Indian Territory, I was riding with my father and mother and three brothers in the front wagon.  After we had traveled for several days, my father said, "We are in the Indian Territory."   Late that evening a big group of Indians, on horses, stopped our wagon train.   One of them did the talking.  He talked to my father and Mr. Goodrich.   He wanted to trade, he said.  My father asked him what he wanted to trade for.   The Indian said, "Trade Squaws."  Father said, "No".   Then the Indian said "Papoose".  Father said, "No".   The Indian then shook his head and rode away and the rest of the Indians followed him, whooping and hollering.  Some of them, I can remember, had their faces painted and lots of feathers in their hair, or fastened on their heads some way.  We were never bothered again.

When the railroad from Purcell to Nebraska was being built, two of my brothers, W.B. Stark, then 15 years old, and Silas Stark, only 10 years old, worked for Mr. Charlie Cantell, who had the contract.  W.B. Stark worked just like the men did, but Mr. Cantell let Silas, who was only 10 years old, carry water for the men.

After the building of the railroad, Silas joined the Army and went to the Philippine Island.  After coming back from the Philippine he went to St. Louis, Missouri, where later died.

My brother, W.B. Stark, now lives at Neosho, Missouri.  In 1889, he made the run and got his claim near Noble, Oklahoma, but he was too young to file.   So my mother went to Guthrie, Oklahoma and filed for him.  Later Mother sold this place for very little.

My other brother, D.G. Stark, now lives in Springfield, Missouri.  It was in 1896, my father and mother left the Indian Territory and went to Springfield, Missouri.  I was 19 years old when we went to Springfield, Missouri.

I met Mr. J.R. Wisenor and later we were married.  I have lived in Springfield until about four years ago.  My uncle, E.P. Baker, wanted me and my husband to come and stay with him.  He is in bad health. 

I now make my home at Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. 

My father and mother have been dead for several years.

This registered letter receipt was issued at the first post office in Pauls Valley.  Frank Miller owned the store and was postmaster.

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