Indian Pioneer Papers
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Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: November 18, 1937
Name: Mrs. Sarah R. (Couch) Eichor
Post Office: El Reno, Oklahoma
Residence Address: 601 North Bickford St.
Date of Birth: November 10, 1869
Place of Birth: Reynolds County, Missouri
Name of Father: Jonathan Couch
Place of Birth: Doesn't know place or date
Other information: Died about 1872
Name of Mother: Eliza (Dryden) Couch
Place of Birth: Missouri
Other information: Died in 1914 or '15
Field Worker: Nora Lorrin
Mrs. Sarah R. (Couch) Eichor was born in Reynolds County, Missouri, November 10, 1869. Her father, Jonathan Couch, was a doctor and school teacher who at one time practiced medicine in Eminence, Missouri, and also taught school in Missouri.
He died about 1872, leaving her mother with four young children to care for, two girls and two boys.
Her mother, Eliza (Dryden) Couch, was born in Missouri and died in 1914 or '15. They lived with their mother's father, a Methodist Circuit rider, and got along the best way they could. Sarah was seven years of age when they got on the train, leaving Marshfield, Missouri, and went to Whitesboro in Grayson County, Texas, and she grew up on farms in that community.
Sarah R. Couch was married to Arthur Elmer Eichor in 1885 when she was sixteen years of age and they had four children, two boys and two girls, all of them being born in Texas, except the youngest son, Arthur Efton Eichor, who was born at Terral, Indian Territory.
They came to Terral in the "Horseshoe Bend country" just across the Red River, making the trip in a covered wagon and they brought just what they could with them in the one wagon with the family. This was the happiest time of their lives. They were all together, in good health and young. The did not think about hard times. They had a thoroughly good time.
They moved from Terral to Shawnee and lived there for a year and then went out about twelve miles northwest of Hobart in Washita County and bought a relinquishment and settled on this place. When they took this claim, Sentinel was not yet in existence but they were living three and one half miles southwest of Sentinel when it was founded. The claim they had was just raw prairie with not a stick or a post on it. They built a dug-out. It was dirt covered and had a dirt floor and they lived in it like that for three years.
They obtained their fuel by going to the Wichita Mountains and getting wood. It would take them three days to make the trip. A day to go, one day to gather the wood and a day to get back home.
They dug a well and were lucky enough to get a well of good soft water; much of the water out that way was "gyppy" and not even fit to wash with. They did their trading at Hobart, buying their groceries from a man named Alcorn. There were no roads, and they just angled off across country, crossing the creeks and gullies wherever they could find a place that was safe or reasonably so.
Their claim was in Washita County, just one half mile from the line dividing Washita County from Kiowa County. The first ground they broke was planted to maize, cotton and feed stuffs; these were all that would grow on sod.
A neighbor let them have three or four cows to feed for the milk and butter. They had chickens and got some hogs as soon as they could manage it and it was not so very long until they had cows of their own but the loan of those first cows helped a lot.
There was no wild fruit of any kind but there was lots of game, especially prairie chickens, quail and plover. Mr. Eichor was a good shot but he was very tender hearted and liked the game too well and was much more apt to feed and care for animals than he was to kill them for food.
There were lots of coyotes; they were so bold that they would come right up in the yard and Mr. and Mrs. Eichor lost a lot of chickens because of the coyotes. There were a good many snakes and lots of big tarantulas.
There were no Indians living close to them, but the Indians staged a barbecue at Sentinel one time and danced and killed some cattle and ate the meat raw. The Indian Chief "Lonewolf" preached once at Sentinel and his daughter interpreted his sermon for him.
Four or five years after they took the claim, they walled the dugout up with rock and built a room over it then built a two room house at one side, leaving a hallway between and then put it all under one roof.
They lived on that farm for seventeen years and had it pretty well improved, with a nice house, barn, chicken house, fencing, etc., and then in about 1910, a cyclone came along, and literally blew everything away. They escaped with little but their lives. The fences were pulled loose and the wire was wrapped and twisted around the posts.
Their plows and other implements were broken and simply twisted out of all semblance of their former appearance. They never found a piece of the house that was as large as a door and some parts of the house were found later three or four miles northeast of their claim.
Mrs. Eichor still owns eighty acres of their original claim
Her husband re-built the home but died shortly after that and twenty-four years ago Mrs. Eichor moved to El Reno.
There were lots of other buildings destroyed in the cyclone that took Mr. and Mrs. Eichor's home and all their improvements, but only three persons lost their lives.
Transcribed and submitted to OKGenWeb by Dorothy V. Wray - May 12, 2004 Submitter's comments: Sarah Couch Eichor's mother, Eliza R. Dryden Couch, died November 29, 1918, in Guymon, Texas County, Oklahoma. Sarah had one brother and two sisters, making that family consist on one boy and three girls rather than two boys and two girls as stated above.
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