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"From the Diary of M. V. B. Harris"
Return to Letters, Diaries, and Such

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Submitted by Barbara Giddens

James Lafayette Parks known as Fate was my great grandfather and he lived in Garvin county in the
turn of the century. He came from Logan county, Arkansas. I recently got
this material  from the Logan county Arkansas historical society. It is the
Wagon Wheels Winter 1986 bol 6 number 4 issue of a article called
"From the Diary of M.V.B. Harris"..another trip Texas trip.
This Harris guy wrote this diary on his trip to Texas and he came back
through Iona to vist Fate and I thought that it was interesting how he
explains the surrounding area and my family. I am sending you just the
part of the journal that contains this information. Let me know if it can be
use on your page.

Sat. 6th Nov. 1897 was a very plesant day we are on our 20th days travel
from Texas. We had some desperate sandy road to come over this day,
for the first days travel in the Chickiesaw Nation. We travel in the timber all
day and onley come about 11miles, as we struck camp about 3 O’clock P.M. at
a little place by the name of Bob a little station on the Santa Fee R.R.
We eat dinner in a little town by the name of Thackerville (Thackerville)
on the R.R. We payed 5 cts. for stock water here. We camped at a little
town on the R.R. just at the south edge of the Prairies and 4 more moveing
wagonscamped with us. We saw some rough people since we come into the
ChickiesawNation. We are camped about 20 steps west of the R.R. and the cars
make aterriable racket at they pass by and plenty of drunk horse jockie pass
by swiftly to be shure but not very quiet about it you know. We are
hailed on every corner by men wanting us to pick cotton for them, but we are
going to Cousin Tate (Fate) Parks now I guess before we stop.

Wed. 10th Nov.1897 was a very plesant day and we are on our 24th days
travel from Texas. We came from Rock Creek to Iona about 10 miles west
of Wynnewood, I.T. We came by Buckhorn, Sulphur Springs, through some
very rough limestone prairie land to day and saw the best country in the
Chickasaw Nation between here and Red River. We eat dinner at Sulphur
Springs, and they are Sulphur shure enough. We could smell them before
we come near them, and we crossed several every flowing streams to day.
We camped at Cousin Fate Parks to night and we all had a big time to be
shure. John & I went to church here, as we was camped in 20 yds of the church
house, and herd Rev.----. Freewill Baptist, and his text was Faith, and
he was just a tolerable good preacher. We are most asurely in a very,
very tough, rough country now, here in the middle of the Chickasaw Nation.
I dident know Cousin Vick, but knew Fate just the same you know.

Thur. 11th Nov.1897 was a very plesant day and we are on our 25th days
journey, but we did not travel any. We helped Cousin Fate move some
hogs and house plunder about 2 � miles north of Iona on his 200 acre farm,
and in the eve John and I looked over the farm to see how we would like to
cultivate the land. This is a very tough, rough country here to be
shure. You can heare fireing of pocket guns at all times in the day and night.
The land is spotted some limestone prairie land and some creek bottom black
land. The dwellings are very poor, they are made mostly of logs, mug,
grass and clabboard (clapboard). Cousin Fate has been closed out in business
here at Iona and is now moveing on the farm again. There was a show come
through town this eve and stopped just below town a peace and John, Jim, cousin
& Garnite and Lathe his boys, and I all went and saw the wonderful sight
for only 10 cts. It was only a peep show as it was called. Showed war
pictures, famous buildings, men & some famous outlaws, and there justice.

Fri. 12th Nov.1897 was a very plesant day and we are still at Cousin
Fates yet. Uncle Jim and Jimmie helped him finish moveing to day and we all
occupied the house where he lived at Iona. John , Lish & I all picked
cotton for cousin Fate all day, and I picked 130 lbs. I say all day
from 9 O ’clock A.M. to 4 P.M. We eat dinner at a tank at cousin Fates pasture,
and I can say I worked one day in the wild Chickasaw Nation. Arch & Bob,
who has been sick for several days, are better now, but don’t think they
are takeing the chills or fever. This is shurely the wildest, roughest
country we have traveled in on our trip. On last night there was a great deal
of shooting here at Iona. Cousin Fate dunning a fellow. They were
several yds. Apart and in the moonshine too, and the other fellow was on his
horse, starting home when he fired first. Uncle Jim & Aunt Sallie are very
much dissatisfied with this part of the Nation and we are going to stay here
until Arch and Bob gets better, and then Uncle Jim says he is going to
pull for the old home in Arkansaw again. We will pick cotton I guess as
long as we stay here. The old gin is making big fuss now which is about 150
yds. From the house, and I am up stairs laying flat on the floor with my
chin resting on my hand this 10 O’clock at night. Hush I here so much
racket now, rumbling of wagons, puffing of the engine, sing of the gin,
whistling of the wind, barking of dogs, & fireing of pistols, and keeps me very
uneasy all the while. I am uncomfortably situated for writing, shure.

Sat. 13th Nov. 1897 was a very warm day and I, John, Lish, and Jim
picked 600 lbs of cotton for Cousin Fate. The wind blew very swift from the
south east. Arch and Bob, is still improving slowly. We are all getting
worse dissatisfied every day we stay. Us mean boys shure had lots of fun to
day trying to pick cotton. I led the field you know, just as I do in all
the cotton patches.

Sun. 13th Nov.1897 was a very rainey day and it has been 28 days since
we left Ellsworth, and we are still in the Chickasaw Nation. I sit in the
house and wrote letters all day nearly. The wind and rain come very
swiftly from the southwest but not very cold. This old stickey mud is very bad
to be shure, but not half as bad as Texas black mud. John , Jim, Lish & I
all went over to George Thrasher our cousin by marriage, he married Jocie
Parks and they have only one child and he is a bad ague you bet, and listened
to him pick on the banjo, and talked and laughed, and had a good time
until 9:30 O’clock at night and then came home through the mud, the distance
of about 250 yds. Cousin Fate eat dinner with us to day.

Mon. 15th Nov. 1897 was a very plesant day, until abut two hours before
sundown, then the wind changed from the North west and then it turned
cold very fast indeed, in fact a northern is coming and the wind is blowing
very swift now and turning cold very fast. I picked 213 lbs of cotton to
day and lead the field of 16 in third picking. 29 days since we left home with
to day
Tues. 16th Nov. 1897 was a very cold day to be shure and it has been
29 days since we left home and we are still in the Chickasaw Nation and we
have not rented any land yet. John , Jim, Lish & I all went over to cousin
Fates to pick cotton, and in a hurry to be shure, and the north wind blew
very cold and swift to be shure. I picked 121 lbs in the cold, and done
well to do that, you bet. Uncle Jim has got him a job of carpenter work for
George Thrasher at .75 to $1.00 a day. I never saw as rough people anywhere
as ther is around this place. Couisn Fate sold 3 bales if cotton at the
town of Davis just 11 miles west from her for 4,75/100 cts per pound. We
all have a tough old time to be shure.

Wed. 17th Nov.1897 was a very cool day, and a very heavy frost fell
last night. It has been 30 days are one month since we left home and I am
still in the Chickasaw Nation picking cotton for cousin J.F. Parks and John ,
Jim, Lish hawled a load of cotton to the gin after we quit work and we went
down to the gin, and watched them work awhile. Some very industrious men
owns that gin. There names are cousin George Thrasher and his Bro. Billie.

Thurs. 18th Nov.1897 a very plesant day and we are still in Chickasaw
Nation and I picked 240 lbs of cotton and John picked 236 lbs. John and I
pick very close together. I beat him a few lbs every day, not over ten no
time. Uncle Jim has regular work, from the gin men, and others. I am very
tired to night, and I will stay at it for 2 or 3 days yet I guess. Cousin
Fate is drunk as he can be to night.

Fri. 19th Nov.1897 was a very, very plesant day and I still continued
to pick cotton for cousin Fate. My old sore thum and fingers are not in a
good shape for picking either on account of picking so hard. The cotton has
(been) picked twice and is not good at all to pick in. Cousin Fate is
drunk as he can be this eve, and very impatient to be shure.

Sat. 20th Nov.1897 was a very plesant day, to be shure, and John and I
went to the town Davis about 8 miles southwest of Iona, and about 5 or 6
miles south from the town of Wynnewood on the Santa fee R.R. Cousin Fate
also went and took 3 bales of cotton for the market and got 4-1/4 cts for
them, very cheap indeed. We arived there about 11 O’clock A.M. Davis is a
very beautiful little town about the size of Paris Ark and situated in
broken Limestone Prairies, near the foot of the beautiful ball Arbuckle Mts.
On the Santa fee R.R. We roamed all through town and eat dinner, which was
good to be shure, but cost you bet. We watched the cars switch around and
also wathced them load about 350 head of cattle, which was going to the
market at Kansas City Kansas, which was a big sight to both of us. We started
back about 2:30 O’clock P.M. with cousin Fate, but we stoped on the way you
know to take some refreshments as cousin Fate called it. We arived at Iona
at about � hour before sundown and at night Uncle Jim, John, Jim and I all
went to church, as the church house was only about 20 yds. From our house,
or the place we stay at least. Rev. Huckaby Freewill Baptist, preached a very
interesting sermon.

Sun. 21st Nov. 1897 was a very plesant day, and I wrote 3 letters this
morning, sitting in Uncle Jim covered wagon. John and I put on our
Sunday every day go to meeting close this morning for the first time in five
weeks are more. There was a very large crowd assembled at Iona to day at the
11, 12, 1, and 2 services. You know those old Freewill Baptist preach 3
hours on a stretch, but Rev. Huckaby is a very interesting preacher and a
fine spokesman. At night George & Jocie came over and stayed until bed
time. We enjoyed our selves well to be shure.

Mon. 22nd Nov.1897 was a very cool day and we are on our 34 days travel
from Texas going strait back to Ark again. We left Iona to day at 12
O’clock for Arkansaw as this country does not suit Uncle Jim. I would like to stay
here one year anyway with cousin George Thrasher & Cousin Fate. So we
started toward home after dinner, and we traveled about 12 or 15 miles this eve
through some beautiful Prairie country, a very good farming country.
Little young wheat looks fine in this country, and tolerably thickly settled
with white people, and no Indians that we saw. We passed two towns this
eve, first a town of one store by the name of Dollsburg and the other Roff,
a tolerable good size town. Just 20 miles east of Wynnewood we camped
on a little slew are branch, with some very small vegitation on each side of
it, and run through a very extensive Prairie, about 1-1/4 miles east of
Roff. Very cool now to be shure, but we are in a low place and the sharpe
whistling wind dos’ent strike us fair this 8:45 O’clock at night.

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