Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
History Project for Oklahoma
Date: November 1, 1937
Post Office: McAlester,
Date of Birth: 1862
Place of Birth: Decatur
Father: Benjamin Dean
Place of Birth: Greenfield,
Information on father:
Place of birth: Greenfield,
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Charlene
Volume 22, pages 137
I was born in Decatur
County, Iowa, in 1862.
My parents were Benjamin
and Mary Dean. Both were buried at Greenfield, Missouri.
I came to the Indian Territory
in the year of 1888 and located in now what is known as LeFlore County,
in a little Indian village called Kullychacha, which was eight or nine
miles from Poteau.
I came direct from Missouri
to the Territory, bringing my wife and one child in a covered wagon.
My mother-in-law was living in the Territory, which was the reason for
our locating here. We came from Missouri to the Territory alone.
Our first home was a little
log hut with shutters and a fireplace at one end. It was known as
the old John Anderson place; John Anderson was a white man.
I also farmed some land belonging to John MCCLURE, who was a U. S. Marshal.
We did most of our trading
at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and some at Kullychacha and Cameron.
There was one general
store at Kullychacha, operated by Emmitt CRADIT. School and church
were held in one box building.
There was very little
game near this little village, as it was down between two mountains and
most of the game had been killed. We often heard the panthers, though,
from our place.
We ferried across the
Poteau River at the Stanley TURNEY crossing and the John ANDERSON crossing.
John Anderson also had a big cattle ranch, as did Toll FIELD and George
After living at Kullychacha
for three or four years I moved nearer to Poteau to a district called Tarby
Prairie, which was six or seven miles from Poteau. At Poteau at this
time there was a Will WELCH store and Captain MCKINNEY had a store there
and the FLEENER hotel was there, too.
We had a school at Tarby
Prairie where my daughter, Clevie, went to school. Jim BAGWELL was
the school teacher. This was a subscription school, parents paying
one dollar and a half a month for each scholar. The school was a
fair sized frame building having log benches and box desks. They
used the McGuffy Readers. Some of the Indian children who went to
school there were the JAMES, WILLIS, and HARRIS children.
A few miles from Tarby
Prairie they laid out the Kansas City Southern Railroad and built a depot
and a few stores and the settlement was called Shady Point. I helped
lay this railroad, getting three dollars and fifty cents a day with my
team. The building of this railroad was a great help to the farmers
in this district as they could sell most all their produce to the workmen
and get a good price for it.
Some of these stores still
stand at Shady Point; Johnnie LEOPARD’s and Bill LEWIS’ mercantile stores
are still standing.
Our personal friends among
the full bloods were the BOHANNON and WILLIS families. We always
attended the camp meetings which were conducted by the Baptist Church.
I raised cattle on “the
Halves” for a full blood Choctaw named Jess STRICKLAND, who lived up the
mountain from our place. He would come each week to see his cattle
and would spend the night with us. He always brought his blankets
and would roll up in them in the yard or sometimes on the porch.
He always told us he had his money buried and whether it was found after
he was killed I do [not] know.
One notorious outlaw who
was feared in this district was Belle STARR. She stole good horses
as that was what she wanted mostly.
Transcribed for OKGenWeb by email@example.com 08-1999.