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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Date: February 11, 1938
Subject Name: Marmie M. Jarrell
Subject Address: Sentinel, Oklahoma
Location: Sentinel, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: January 18, 1800
Place of Birth: Texas
Name of Father: R. S. Hilton
Place of Birth: Georgia
Other Information: Farmer
Name of Mother: Georgia Lawson
Place of Birth: Arkansas
Other Information: Housewife
Field Workers Name: Ruby Wolfenbarger
Interview # 9940

I came to the Indian Territory with my parents in 1891. We were all sick in Texas, Mother had the fever and the chills. Father thought that perhaps this climate would be better for us and some of our friends said that it was better farming land up here. We brought three wagons, which were drawn by oxen. Progress was very slow, there were no roads, bridges were out and we didn't know the way. We didn't make over twelve or fifteen miles a day. We also brought about ten head of cattle.

There were three other families with us; one night our stock got away and we thought the Indians turned them out. Early the next morning while the men were packing, the older boys and girls went out to look for them. They wandered around until they got lost and after they had been gone for several hours the men decided that something had happened to them so they started out to hunt for them. During the time some Indians rode up to the camp and wanted to tell our fortunes, which they did, and they said that the children would be found that day. The men returned with the children about dark. 

My father located on Black Bear Creek near Marlow. He leased a small tract of land from the Indians. Our first home was a very small one-room log house with one-half window and a door. Our first crop was corn, kaffir and cotton. Father worked our land the first two years with oxen. We had a rail fence around part of the place because our stock would run out. Wood was very plentiful around Marlow. We had plenty of wood to burn. We had such a good well of water that several neighbors hauled water from our place. We got our groceries at Marlow and Pauls Valley. There were quantities of wild plums and grapes along the creeks and in the woods. We stayed there until about 1897, then my father decided to come to this part of the country. There was talk of the country being opened for settlement. We made the trip up here without any trouble, except we had lots of cold weather. However, we had two good teams to make the trip with. This part of the country was not like that around Marlow, there wasn't any timber and it was colder up here. Father filed on one hundred sixty acres one mile south of Port and twelve miles west of Sentinel and dug a half dugout for us to live in. We didn't have money to improve our land with and had to work out for what little money we did have.

Father decided to make a little extra money hauling freight.He had a good wagon and team. There were several men who freighted and they always went along together so that they could help each other out if they had any kind of trouble. One man would haul lumber, nails and farm tools and another would haul groceries and sometimes two wagons would bring back flour. They got these supplies at ElReno, Vernon and Quannah, Texas.

I didn't get very much education, I was the oldest child in the family and I had to work in the field and cut and haul wood. I didn't get to go to school until I was twelve years old. My Mother taught me at home when she could find time. My first school was a half dugout. We had seats dug out of the walls but didn't have any desks. The early pioneer children didn't have very much to play with. I can't remember ever having but one doll. It was a china doll which I brought from Texas. Most every boy in the country had a dog. We didn't have sugar half of the time and Mother mixed okra seed with our coffee.

The Indians lived several miles north of us and one day while I was going to school some men came and told the teacher that the Indians were on the warpath and of course school was dismissed. Parents came for their children just as fast as they could. We went home and the men took their guns and kept guard all the rest of the day and night but the Indians never came near us. The Indians were very nice to us but we were afraid to get very far from home. One time some Indians set the grass on fire and burned out several of the settlers.

We had many prairie fires in the early days. The only way to fight fire was to set fire to the grass near the house and the barns or plow around the land. Our only entertainments in the early times were church socials, singings, box suppers, dances and the big camp meetings which would last for several weeks. People came to these entertainments in wagons and on horseback. We didn't have buggies at that time.

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Brenda LaRue Jarrell Stone <ruecountrygarden@yahoo.com >, October 2002.