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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: June 29, 1937
Name: Mrs. Abbie Hall
Post Office: El Reno, Oklahoma
Residence Address:  605 West Rogers Street
Date of Birth: December 14, 1862
Place of Birth:  Columbus, Ohio
Father:   Joe Sherman
Place of Birth:  
Information on father: died in 1917
Mother:   Martha (Hale) Sherman
Place of birth:   
Information on mother: died in Missouri in 1914
Field Worker: Nora Lorrin
Interview #: 4713

An Interview with Abbie Hall,
605 West Rogers St. El Reno.

I was born in Ohio, near Columbus, December 14, 1862. My father, Mr. Joel Sherman, was born in November in 1842. He died in 1917. My mother, Martha Hale Sherman, died in Missouri in 1914. We moved from Ohio to Indiana and then from Indiana to Illinois. We moved to a farm on the Illinois River, near a town called Seneca and we were there for quite awhile and then moved to a farm near Morse and Ottawa, Illinois, and we were there awhile and then moved again to a place near Chicago. These moves were made in covered wagons.

I grew up on this farm which was in a good farming country. We had wild fruits among which were wild crabapples, wild cherries, plums, grapes and we had a great deal of wild honey.

The lakes and rivers held clear pure water and I spent many hours paddling a boat on the Arkwise River; its waters were clear but it was too deep to see bottom. We often fished in it also; sometimes I could use a trout line and sometimes just a pole. Father fished usually with the troutline.

I was married to Mr. Emmet Lyman, March 6, 1882, and went with him to live on a big ranch, a cattle ranch owned by the Gibson brothers, in Harrison County, Missouri. My husband helped with the stock but not as a cowboy. 

I did the house work and cooked for the men, no small job as there were many harvesters to cook for. This ranch put up wild hay and that was their main work, putting up hay for the stock; my husband and I worked on this ranch a year and then moved to Barber County, Kansas, taking a claim there, when that country was new.

We came to Oklahoma in the fall after the opening in 1889 and followed the old Chisholm Trail most if not all of the way. We came from Kingman County, through Caldwell, Kansas, to Kiowa, then on to Driftwood Creek, about a dayís drive from Kiowa, from there we passed Drums Ranch located in the Cherokee Strip, the last place before they got to Dover; from Dover we went to my fatherís farm which was located near Piedmont; my brother, my husband, our two small children and I were in the party.

We had two cows and the dog drove them all the way. We settled on an eighty acre farm south of Geary. It was a good farm with good timber on it and a great big dugout and a dugout barn. The dugout had a very large fireplace in it and we had plenty of wood to burn and I helped to saw and chop the wood we used in it. We dug a well and had plenty of good water and had two cows and raised fodder and corn.

We lived on this place about a year and a half, raising one crop and planting another and my husband got homesick to go back to Kansas and went; I of course followed him and we let our nice home go back to the Government. We lived in Kansas a year and then I came back to Oklahoma. I cooked for a Mr. Hilton, the man who was supervisor of the Choctaw Railroad when it was under construction; I cooked on the average for about forty-five or fifty and I was in Geary when the first train came through that town; then I went to cook for a Mrs. Low who was running a boarding house in Geary and then I came to El Reno to run a boarding house of my own.

I was married to a man named Jack Hall in 1890, having previously been divorced from my first husband.

I crossed the Cherokee Strip three or four times before it was opened up, always in covered wagon; as I crossed the great salt plains, the salt would shine and sparkle in the sun and people would scoop the salt up by the scoop shovel and haul it away by the wagon load. We lived right on the Chisholm Trail, but they called it the Kingman Trail then. I have seen freighters passing on it many times.

My baby boy, Eddie, used to run off and the trail forked a short distance from our home so I had to keep pretty close watch over Eddie. I would listen and when I would hear a small voice called, "Yuh! Keen, Yuh! Curl, Yuh! Hunter!" I would know that I had better go get my boy for he always took the dogs along and usually the little fellow took the big trail.

My husband freighted from Harper County to Kingman, Kansas. His team was a big roan and a large gray. I saw some men freighting with ox teams in 1887. I saw a large herd of Texas longhorns stampede in the Cherokee Strip and that was a sight to see.

We had dug a well sixty feet deep and were still digging and my little son Eddie was crawling and not yet able to walk. He was a mischievous little chap and when I would go to pick him up he would crawl away just as fast as he could; I went to the door one day and he was crawling directly toward the open well, and was right at it. I didnít dare call to him, or to go after him because I knew he would keep on running from me, so I did the best thing inadvertently. I couldnít stand it any longer, and screamed; that startled the baby and he turned and smiled at me. I didnít go toward him but knelt and coaxed him to come to me. They never did strike water in that well.

On their way down here they would always try to make it to "Twin Springs." There were two springs there flowing out of a hill; the water was as cold as ice and so pure and good. These springs were located in the Strip but this side of the salt plains.

One fourth of July, the first fourth after the country was opened, the Indians had a beef to kill here in El Reno; they almost tortured it to death shooting arrows into it. They had seemingly gone wild again. The law went to the camp and shot the poor thing and put it out of its misery.

[Submitters note: Also see Della Briggs, Abbie Hall's sisters interview]

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Megan Reilly eponine119@att.net  August 2002.