OKGenWeb Notice: These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or presentation by any other organization or persons. Presentation here does not extend any permissions to the public. This material may not be included in any compilation, publication, collection, or other reproduction for profit without permission.
The creator copyrights ALL files on this site. The files may be linked to but may not be reproduced on another site without specific permission from the OKGenWeb Coordinator, [okgenweb@cox.net], and their creator. Although public information is not in and of itself copyrightable, the format in which they are presented, the notes and comments, etc. are. It is, however, permissible to print or save the files to a personal computer for personal use ONLY.

Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: 1937
Name: Edwin Manley
Post Office: Tonkawa, Oklahoma
Residence Address: 304 West Grand Avenue
Date of Birth: Jul 10, 1862
Place of Birth: Lewis [Cass County] IA
Father: Edmund Manley
Place of Birth: Jan 01 1818, Newport [Vermillion County] IN
Information on father:
Mother: Susanna Everly
Place of birth: May 15,1827, [Wayne County] OH
Additional information: Date of Marriage: 22 Apr 1852
Field Worker:
1862 - 1952

Being in a reminiscent mood today, I have decided to reply to an invitation from Mrs. Jennie Goodson Cannon, of Ponca City. This to relate some of our experiences just prior to, at the time, and following the opening of the Cherokee Strip -- on September 16, 1893 -- The greatest horse race in history.

Some of the things I relate will no doubt seem trivial to the modern mind, but old people live largely in the past, and our lives in those pioneer days were largely made up of small things. And in fact, life itself is largely made up on common place things. It is my intention to describe conditions as it affected the people who settled here -- an honest, frugal, industrious a class, as ever settled in any community anywhere. I have often remarked that Kay county made as much progress in building towns, public buildings, churches, schools, highways in 25 years, as many of the older communities did in a century.

I was born in Lewis, Cass County, Iowa, July 10, 1862... came with my father Edmund Manley and mother Susanna EVERLY Manley to Burlington, Coffey County, Kansas, in 1871. My father homesteaded land there, where I grew to manhood.

Edmund and Susanna Everly Manley were married April 22, 1852 at Newport, Vermillion County, Indiana and in 1854 moved to Iowa, where I and three brothers and one sister were born. Twenty years later, in 1871, we moved to Kansas, settling on a homestead in Coffey County, seven miles southwest of Waverly, where they resided until 1896, when they came to Oklahoma, and passed the remainder of their lives at my home. Susanna died December 31, 1897, Edmund died March 15, 1899. Both are buried in the I.O.O.F. cemetery in Ponca City.

In 1881, I left my father's homestead and went to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where I was employed by the U.S. Government, as a teamster to haul ammunition and provisions for the soldiers. During 1881, I went from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Fort Thomas, Arizona, near the San Carlos Indian Agency, hauling ammunition for the Third Cavalry, which had been dispatched from Cheyenne, to quell the Indians in the south-western United States. Geronimo, chief of the Apache's, being on the war path was being chased by the soldiers here and there, over this area. Geronimo was finally captured in 1882. I was engaged in helping a remnant of the Cheyenne tribe of Indians from Pine Ridge Indian Agency, in South Dakota, to Fort Reno, Oklahoma Territory, where they remained until 1883, and were then taken back to South Dakota. In 1883, I went to the Ute Indian county of Utah, and stayed there until 1884, when I went to Colorado. I remained there about one year, after which I returned to my father's homestead in Coffey County, Kansas, and engaged in farming.

My wife, Charlotte DUDLEY, came in the fall of 1886, from Cambridge Ohio to Coffey county, Kansas. After I met her and during the following winter, my time was mostly occupied in taking her to literary societies, spelling schools, and church services, and on the 12th of May 1887, we were married at Lebo, Kansas. Charlotte "Lottie" Dudley was born March 29, 1869 at Cambridge, Noble county, Ohio the daughter of Jacob and Rachel METHENEY Dudley. Jacob Dudley was born in 1840 and died 1901. Rachel Metheney was born September 29, 1849 and died July 6, 1924. Both are buried at Hall Summit, Coffey County, Kansas.

Lots of talk about the opening of portions of the Indian Territory, at this time. And from the first, we were firm in our determination to secure a home there, in which to rear our family and provide for our old age. In 1893, we felt sure the opening would occur that fall, so in July, we loaded our belongings in a covered wagon, 4 cows and 4 calves, and 4 horses -- one of which was my race horse, that was noted for both speed and endurance, and $190 in cash ................

My wife drove the team, and I drove the cattle. We had two children at that time, John and Mable (John in later years became well known as an organizer and manager of the Oklahoma and Texas Wheat Grower' Assn.). We were 10 days reaching Arkansas City, having traveled at the rate of 15 miles per day ... camped near the line in a farmer's yard till the opening. In a short time after our arrival near the border line, the President, Grover Cleveland, issued the Proclamation opening the Cherokee Outlet to settlement and designating the day and hour of September 16, 1893 at high noon. The last Monday preceding the opening was set as the first day for Registration of entrance in the race, and in order to be on time, I left our camp on Sunday night, arriving at the Registration Booths at 2 o'clock A.M. Monday morning where I found a multitude of men waiting for the booths to be opened. The crowd in waiting were formed in lines around the several Registration Booths and such a mass of humanity was there waiting that it took several days to register them all. I was in line from early Monday morning 'till Tuesday evening before I could get registered. When night came, the men in lines would lay down upon the ground on blankets, if such were to be had; when they left their place in line, the man next to them would guard their place till they returned.

A strip of land about 100 feet in width along the border line in Oklahoma Territory was set apart for the use of people coming to take part in the race; this strip of land was completely filled with men, horses, wagons, buggies, carts and every known means of conveyance that could be used. When the thousands of people gathered on the line with their blanketed race horses, I began to wonder why I had moved my stock and family until I had secured a claim. But this county was burned by drought, and I think there were 10 men here for every claim. A large percent of them would not have taken a claim as a gift -- a great many just here for an outing.

The morning of the race, my wife and children came to the line in the wagon, I with my horse, prepared for the run. A few minutes before 12 o'clock, the hour of the opening, we heard some shots fired out in the new territory and one man started to run on a fiery horse, but before getting far the soldier's shot and killed him; and falling from his horse immediately, the horse proceeded on his way, with empty saddle on his back and ran for miles before being caught. As the final hour approached for firing the signal gun, I chose a position one half mile west of Chilocco Indian Reservation to start the race. The shot was fired at 12 o'clock and the wagons, buggies, carts, buckboards, started nothing like it had ever been seen. I proceeded over the bare, burned black prairies 17 miles south and angled 2 1/2 miles west, and staked the north east of nine township 26 and range 1 west, in 1 hour and 5 minutes. I had found out that race horses use to only running short distances, and wagons, and buggies, were not in it ... my cow horse, that had both speed and endurance, out distanced them all.

I made the acquaintance of the men on adjoining claims Saturday evening and Sunday and returned to my family, still in Kansas, Sunday night at 10 o'clock. On the following Tuesday, I went to the Perry Land Office and got my number in line to file. So many people were there to file that the authorities adopted a plan for the multitude to organize us into companies of 100. Each company was designated by a certain letter or number and we went to file in that order. Most of the claimant, including myself, returned to their homes and waited until their number was about to be reached at the filing office. The number which were being filed each day was printed in the newspaper published at Perry. This furnished claimants throughout the country with the information that enabled each claimant to arrive at about the exact day he could return to Perry and file his claim. [Editor's Note: Grandpa Manley filed on October 19, 1983 -- Application # 2566].

Eight days later, September 24, I moved my family and stock to the claim. As we drove down between Duck Creek and the Chikaskia River, my wife was looking around and said "Ed, this is the prettiest land I have ever seen in my life", I said "I am not sure, but I know mine is just as good". I soon found my stake at a hole I had made for the landmark and found we were on my claim at the time she made the remark. After 46 years, she still contends she has never seen anything that suits her better. We pitched our tent and went to living on a place we could call our own.

The first work I did was to build a pen for my calves in order to keep them separated from the cows; this pen was built of poles cut from timber on a nearby Duck Creek. I next dug a well 14 feet in depth, striking sheet water, which we found out later was 14 feet deep. It furnished water, it abundance, at all times. A rain had fallen and moistened the dry, parched earth so I broke sod for a house. It was built entirely by my own labor on top of the ground, walls 8 feet high, board floor, two full glass windows, shingle roof, ceiled (sic) with our tent, plastered and white washed the walls on the inside. We completed our new home and moved into it on Thanksgiving Day. My wife and I agreed then, and we are of the same opinion still, that if we should own a $10,000 mansion, we couldn't be as proud of it, as we were of that house. The material we used in the construction, cost us $35.00. Afterwards, I built a sod hen house and a shed for my stock. Both of these had sod walls and straw roofs, and since I had built so many building constructed of sod, I decided to call our place "Sodom".

"Lottie" had brought 8 hens and a rooster to the new claim and by the following spring, 1894, she had raised 100 chickens. In addition to this, she carefully used the milk from our cows to made butter for the family use, and had some to spare for market. With the surplus eggs from her flock of chickens and the cheese made from the milk, we traded for groceries at Cross [Editor's Note: Cross is now a part of Ponca City, lying at Union and Hartford Streets]. Occasionally, after getting what supplies that we needed, and if a few cents were still due from our produce, we would usually spend that on postage stamps. We had looked forward to just such times as experienced on this new claim, so some wearing apparel and other various articles had been laid away for use during these first years and as we molded this quarter section of raw barren prairie land into a farm. This wise provision necessitated a minimum of expense for such needs during the first year or two.

In the spring of 1894, I commenced breaking sod. I planted some few acres of land in corn, a few acres in kafir and the remainder in sorghum cane. The late spring and early summer months were hot and dry, and by the 1st of July the crops were looking 'sickly'. We went into Blackwell for a July 4th celebration and on our return home in the afternoon, my corn was most all lying flat on the ground, because of the lack of moisture and the heat. No corn was raised that year because it all 'burned up' by the 4th of July. But, a few heads of the kafir did mature and made enough feed for our stock. We raised some cane and we made 5 gallons of sorghum from it. I had some potatoes planted, but made nothing from them. I sowed some turnip seed in late July and it came up, but the grass hoppers ate every plant that peeped through the soil. I had lost one of my horses, but still had the others to work. I borrowed seed wheat, from a Kansas farmer to seed my ground, that fall. I sowed about 25 to 30 acres of wheat on top of the sod and it came up and made some good pasture for the cattle, during the early fall. By Xmas, it had turned off cold and dry and the 'dry freeze' killed the wheat completely. I planted this wheat land to brown corn the following spring (1895), and it made a good yield. The price of broomcorn was so low after harvest, that I lost five dollars per ton in cash, which was paid out to get it harvested. We raised some vegetables and a considerable crop of kafir corn was made that year. During the summer months, I went to Elk county Kansas to husk corn during the husking season. I was gone for a period of 25 days, working long hours from day light till dark. Seven days were spent in coming and going and looking for work, but I made eighteen dollars, in husking corn at two cents per bushel. I prepared some ground, and borrowed seed wheat from the Arkansas City Milling Company, and planted 25 acres in the fall of 1895. In the summer of '96, we harvested 14 bushel of wheat per acre from this crop. Out of this, I had to pay for the seed which was sown during the two previous years, and kept enough to seed my ground again. Wheat was worth 35 to 40 cents, so we made a little money on it.

During these early years, food, clothing and all the other necessities of life were cheap. Rice was sold at 4 1/2 cents per pound and we received 20 to 21 cents per pound for our butter. We also made some of our money by receiving a fair price for cheese. I was very fond of 'ginger bread' and partook of it very liberally. I encouraged my good wife, 'Lottie', in the art she displayed by making it so 'tasty'. We were starting to get ahead some, and our thoughts turned to the children and community life. In the summer of 1897, I had a crop of wheat that only lacked a fraction of making 40 bushel to the acre. This was a bumper crop and the prices were good. We got from 55 cents to over a dollar per bushel for this crop. Joe LEITER, who did some speculating on the Board of Trade, sold some wheat for as high as $1.16 per bushel. I built my barn first, discarded the 'sod house' and built the frame house, practically as it stands today. Material and labor for the building was till cheap at 14 to 16 dollars per thousand feet.

The first school taught in our district, was taught by Mrs. Tom CONSTANT, now deceased, in their own home. Mrs. Constant was paid $25 per month, for a 3 month term. In 1896 we voted bonds, in the amount of $300, to buy material to construct a school building. Several men in the community were good mechanics and carpenters and everyone agreed to donate their services in helping construct the building. Lumber, at that time, was selling at $10 to $12 per 1000 feet. The Excelsior School District #58 school house was soon built in a substantial way; so much so, that it is being used for school purposes to this day and may last for years to come. W. R. HEAGY was the first teacher to teach in the new school building.

Our first Sunday School was in the grove on what is now the SIEGERT place on the Chikaskia River. Later a Sunday School was held in a board tabernacle on the E. G. DRAPER farm. After the new school building was built, a revival meeting was held in it, and afterward, Ed MAVITY, E. G. Draper, and I gave about six months of our time in soliciting donations to build a church. I was Secretary of the organization and still have in my possession the old book containing all the minutes of their various meeting, etc. The church was built in 1900, and dedicated in the spring of 1901, free of all debt and was named the Excelsior M.E. Church. I was elected Sunday School superintendent in 1901 and served continually for 14 years. A regular pastor was procured for work in the community in 1898. The church became a community center, and was for 15 years, until the day of the auto and all the active members moved to town, one by one. Later the Methodist Conference moved it to Pawnee, Oklahoma.

I began to sell my big crops at good prices and began the construction of new barns and additions to our home and today have good buildings of various kinds on my old homestead; however, after living on it for 28 years, we moved to Tonkawa in 1921, where we have lived since, with the exception of 4 years while in Texas. The Manley home is presently at 304 West Grand Avenue and is a 7 room house, luxuriously furnished with every modern convenience. On May 16th, 1937 we celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary on which occasion 150 guests were present, most of whom were old pioneer neighbors and early day settlers, all of whom will long remember this happy reunion of so many old timers at our home.

Kay county was originally Republican on State and National affairs, but in county we laid aside politics and elected men and women for county offices who were honest and capable. So I feel free to say that it is not only the best agricultural country I have ever known, but also from the stand point of good government. We have traveled from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico, and have always come back here perfectly satisfied. There has been hardships due to floods and drought and insect pests, but the pleasure from association with friends and neighbors and our church relation have so far over balanced the other, that we feel we have nothing of which to complain.

[Submitter's Comments: The following sketch was written by Edwin Manley in 1937, while living in Tonkawa Oklahoma. Selected portions of this article were published in The Last Run, Kay County, Oklahoma, 1893, with stories assembled by the Ponca City Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Copyright 1939. Edwin Manley mentioned their two children who came to Oklahoma with them at the time of the "Run", John Manley (1888-1952) married Bertha Belle BITTLE; and Mabel Manley (1890 -1961) married Fred MITCHELL, who resided in Alamo Texas most of her life. Also three children were born in Oklahoma, Alice Manley Vanslyke (1896-1986); Ida Manley GILBERT (1899-1988); and Lucile Manley BRADFORD (1906-1932). This paper has been transcribed from the hand written pages of Edwin Manley's story. The land 'homesteaded' by Edwin Manley in 1893, has passed through three generations of ownership -- son John and Bertha Manley (1945 to 1986) and presently grandson, John E (Eddie) and Myra Manley. Original patent of homestead Certificate #2315, Application #2566, registered at the Land Office in Perry OK, 12 Aug 1902, on the NE 1/4 of Section 9 in Township 26 North, Range 1 East of the Indian Meridian in Oklahoma. A copy of the original application papers which is first dated, 19 Oct 1893, and recorded at the US Land Office, Perry O.T., were obtained from the US Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management P O Box 1449, Sante Fe NM 87501. This copy was received 24 Jun 1978, and are currently in possession of the submitter. In addition, the 'original' land patent, issued in 1902, is in possession of the submitter.]

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Eddie Manley <jema@concentric.net> 12-1999.