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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: December 21, 1937
Name: Jennie Duke (Mrs.)
Post Office: Altus, Oklahoma
Residence address: North Willard Place of Birth: Fort Smith, Arkansas
Father: William H. Thomas
Place of Birth: Mississippi
Information on father: Just a really good man
Mother: Sarah Ann West
Place of birth: Alabama
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Zaidee B. Bland
Interview: #
My father, two brothers and a married sister were '89ers. Mr. Duke and I had been up several times to visit and liked the country very much so when my father wrote us that there was a man near his claim who would sell his right to prove up to us, we loaded a car with all our household goods and stock and billed it to Vernon where Brother was to meet us. We brought with us six head of horses, four mules and four cows, two wagons, a sewing machine, a cook stove and a heater that would burn either wood or coal, besides other household furniture.

We stayed with my brother until we could fix up all the papers and buy the man out. Mr. Duke freighted from Vernon to Mangum, Navajo and Mountain View so I was always at home alone. I planted and plowed all the crops. Mr. Duke was not home more than one day out of every week and sometimes not that many. I could pick one bale of cotton a week alone and when he came in for Sunday he would haul the cotton off. We made two good crops on this place, finished proving it up and sold out and came to town. We brought a Phaeton with us from Texas and the children and I had a way to go when we wanted to. I have lived in two towns in two states; in one territory and two counties and never moved.

Altus was Lager when I came here and its name has been changed to Altus and back to Lager two or three times before the name Altus stuck. There was a post office, a saloon, three grocery stores, one hardware and three dry goods stores, one bank and one drug store here when I moved to Lager. On the farm I raised chickens and turkeys. Wolves and polecats would come right into the yard or chicken house and get my fowls. I managed to raise seventy-five turkeys for market one Fall. Sent them to Vernon to market and got $150.00 for them.

Indians frequently passed our place and sometimes stopped for water, for we had a good well.

One night Mother and I were sleeping up in the wagon bed, for it was very warm, when about twenty Indians came riding up and stopped at the well for water. They chattered and chattered and gave a war-whoop or two and nearly frightened Mother and me to death. We took the baby and, slipping out, we ran down the cotton rows and got away. We would run a little and then lie flat on the ground until rested. I do not think the Indians ever knew anyone was at home at all.

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Donald L. Sullivan <donald.l.sullivan@lmco.com> 07-2000.