Dr. Thomas Peter Howell

Interview #4265
Field Worker: Jennie Selfridge
Date: June 1, 1937
Name: Dr. Thomas Peter Howell
Residence: 3 miles west, one north of Davis, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: August 29, 1849
Place of Birth: Eagletown, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory
Father: Dr. Calvin H. Howell, born in North Carolina, died when Thomas was 12 years old
Mother: Rhoda Pitchlynn, born in Mississippi, sister of Peter Pitchlyn

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Interview with Dr. Thomas Peter Howell, Box 218, Davis, Oklahoma

I was born at Eagletown, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, August 29, 1849.  My family lived just east of the Peter Pitchlynn farm which was located on the east side of Mountain Fork.  We had a large farm there and owned a large number of slaves, as did my Uncle Peter P. Pitchlynn.

I first attended school at a Mission on Mountain Fork.  I believe this was called the Mountain Fork MissionChamberlin was one of my teachers, and Byington was the missionary there.  I later attended school at Center, Arkansas, and then entered  Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee.  During vacation I would visit in Washington, D.C., with my uncle, Peter Pitchlynn.  After attending Cumberland University for two years, I entered medical school at Baltimore, Maryland, where I graduated in the spring of 1872.

After graduating from medical school, Dr. Israel W. Folsom (who later moved to Ardmore) and I went to Atoka where we began the practice of medicine up and down the M.K. & T. Railroad  We also operated the drug store at Atoka.  The Nichols family was operating the hotel there at that time.  I spend two years at Atoka and sold out to Dr. Folsom, then moved to Pauls Valley, where I began the practice of medicine.

In 1876, I moved to my present location, three miles west and one mile north of Davis.  Here I established a good medical practice, sometimes riding as far as Healdton to see a patient.  I would go on horseback, usually riding down one day and coming back the next.

My mother moved four miles west of the present town of Davis while I was attending school in Baltimore.  She settled on the old Moncrief place, which is now owned by a Mr. Smith.  My first wife was Lizzie Grant, a daughter of  Tom Grant.   Tom Grant later married my sister.

The first store around Davis was called the Washita store and was owned and operated by Matt Wolfe.  Apparently he wanted to own the whole place and did not want anyone else to own property there, so Sam Davis went down to the present town of Davis and established a and began operating a store.

Early settlers in this country were the Gardner's, Brad Camp, Sam Garvin, Tom Grant, Mitchell's, Wantlings, Kimberlins and Joe Myers. The Kimberlins and Wantlings raised corn in large acreage and sold it at Fort Sill for $1.00 a bushel.

Fort Arbuckle was abandoned in 1870, although the United States surveyors were still using the buildings as headquarters for the surveyors when I first visited there.

I operated a large ranch in the Arbuckle vicinity for many years and gave up the practice of medicine to engage in this enterprise and I still own several hundred acres of land.

Transcribed by Brenda Choate and Dennis Muncrief, December, 2000.