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: June 5, 1937
Name: W. S. Maples (Mrs.)
Post Office: Route 1, Duke, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Father: Joseph Guess
Place of Birth: Georgia
Information on father:
Mother: Julia Margaret Groley
Place of birth: Georgia
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Ethel D. Pfeiffer
My parents were born in Georgia. They reared a family of six boys and four girls. My four brothers, Jackson, Abram, Henry and Thomas, were all Civil War veterans. Abram died during the war, of pneumonia. My parents died in Texas. Father was sixty-five, and mother was fifty-eight at the time of her death. They were both buried at Omaha, Morris County, Texas.

My Marriage

I met and married William Starnes MAPLES at Glen Rose, Texas. We reared four children. We came to Greer County, Texas, on the 5th day of May, 1892. We came here in two covered wagons, and drove a bunch of cattle. We had to ford the rivers, and when we crossed deep Red River, the water ran into the wagon boxes, and damaged some of our groceries. Some of the men in our crowd rode horses and went ahead of the wagon to show the way and to see how deep the mud was; also to see that we didn't drive into water holes that had quick sand. These were very dangerous to the travelers from the East as they didn't know anything about quick sand.

We saw plenty of deer, wild turkeys and prairie chickens. There were lots of buffalo bones over the prairies, but few lived and were left. This had been a good stock country. The Government sent some inspectors over Western Oklahoma and decided to open it up to settlement. This forced the cattlemen to go out of business, or to go to other states where they could have open range. This part of the State was then cut up into 160-acre tracts for settlers, and this was open to settlement May 4th, 1896. We saw lots of big herds of cattle when they were rounding them up and taking them to market. Sometimes they were a moving mass as far as you could see.

On March 16, 1896, my husband filed on the NE1/4 of Section 9, T-2 North, Range 23 W, located two and one-half miles west of the present town of Duke, Oklahoma, which consisted of one general store and Post Office. Our land was only a claim before we filed, and had a one-room house on it.

Water and Fuel Supply There was a well of gyp water on the place. We used it for stock water, and we had to haul our drinking water from a spring on Turkey Creek, some three miles away. We had a cook stove that we used to cook on and for heating purposes. We burned mesquite grubs.

I remember one year we raised such a big corn crop that we couldn't sell it for enough to buy coal so we burned the corn for fuel that winter.


The neighbors went together and built a one-room school house. They called this "Cottonwood", and it was one and half miles from our house. This was where we sent our children to school, Sunday School, and Church. We had big meetings here in the summer time. The school terms were held in the fall and spring to avoid the blizzards of the winter. This school district was later consolidated with the Duke District, and the building moved away.


When I was a girl I spun and wove the cloth for our clothes, dyed it with the dyes we made from barks and sumac berries. I made the cloth into garments by hand. I continued to make our clothes by hand until 1900, then I bought my first sewing machine. I knitted all the stockings, gloves, capes and caps for my family. We wore shawls with fringe all around them for wraps and always wore flannel underwear in winter. My sister and I knitted for the United States soldier boys during the World War. My sister died since, at the age of ninety years.


We traveled in wagons, hacks and buggies in the early days. These were drawn by one or two horses. When we came from Georgia we had two ox wagons and a two horse carriage for the family to ride in, but I have ridden many times in an ox cart, and ox wagon.


We hauled our supplies from Quanah, at first. We made about three or four trips a year. We raised our meat, lard, and from the trimmings I made my own soap with lye. I made lye in an ash-hopper from wood ashes. We made our syrup from sorghum cane. We would haul the cane to the sorghum mill and have it made into syrup. We picked wild plums on the rivers; and we always had plenty of milk and butter; and too we had lots of chickens and plenty of eggs. I also raised ducks and made my own feather beds, and pillows.


The Indians came through the country on several occasions, but I never saw them except in parades. They would be dressed in their very best clothes, with bright colored shawls, their hair in long braids tied with bright colored strings or ribbons. The man would also have their hair in long braids.

My husband died in 1917, and was buried at Rock Cemetery, three miles north of Duke, Oklahoma. We continued to live on the farm and carry on, as my two daughters were still at home with me. My two sons died many years ago and are also buried in the Rock Cemetery.

I went through so many hardships, that I can't say I enjoyed the pioneer days or life, but I came to get a home, and about the only pleasure I got out of it was the fact that I had a good home. Despite the many, many difficulties that confront a pioneer father and mother, we had the pleasure of seeing our children get a good education. Our two daughters have each taught school, first in the one-room schools, then in the Union Graded five or six room schools, and then in the larger, more modern type of school. I have realized a great deal of pleasure out of their success.


William S. Maples' mother, Melvina, daughter of Elias WELBORN and wife, Elizabeth STARNES. Melvina is sister of my gg grandfather William Starnes Welborn. Melvina married John Maples.

TX vs. U.S. claims settled in March 1896, is that why she tells of May 1896 arrival for the family? Bill of Sale of 1894 shows he was in area by then.
Bill of Sale, Greer County, Texas, microfilm roll 24, Greer Co. Genealogical & Historical Society, Mangum, OK.

The State of Texas, County of Greer,
... that W. S. Maples of the county of Greer, state of TX ... in consideration of $160 to me in hand paid by M. C. Maples ... Quitclaim unto M. C. Maples of the county of Greer ... all that certain lot ... described as the east half of section 9, block 65, Greer County, TX together with the following described personal property to wit:

one bay mare and colt mare, branded (looks like WH joined?) on left shoulder 11 years old, one bay filly two years old and branded X on left shoulder with all improvements on said land of any kind whatsoever. Together with all and singular ... appurtenances to the same belonging .... unto the said M. C. Maples and HER HEIRS ... 25 July 1894.
Filed for record 28 July 1894, 9am, recorded 30 July 1894 10am, J. W. Logan, County Clerk, Greer Co, Texas (Logan Teagarden, Deputy)
1900 Census, Duke Township, Greer County, OK. Terr., page 158 (abstract for WTGS)
William S. Maples, 48
Martha C. Maples, 51
Walter W. Maples, 25
Laura B. Maples, 14
Henry Maples, 13
Anna L. Maples, 7
Greer Co, OK kept death records 1912-1918
William S. Maples
born Alabama
Date of birth: 26 Aug 1851
age 66 yrs, 1 mo, 19 days
Father: John Maples, Alabama
Mother: Melvina Wellborn, Alabama
Informant: Laura Maples, Duke, Oklahoma

Medical certificate:
Date of death: 15 Oct 1917
"I hereby certify that I attended deceased from May 23, 1917 to Oct 14, 1917, that I saw him alive on Oct 14, 1917 ... Cause of Death was Chronic Interstitial Nephritis <(interesting ... Nancy Welborn Cabaniss had kidney trouble on her death certificate)>
Signed, J. S. Merideth,M. D., Duke, Oklahoma Oct 30, 1917.
Burial: Rock Cemetery, Duke, Oklahoma
Buried: Oct 15, 1917, Undertaker B. C. Rose
Rock Cemetery, Duke, Oklahoma 26-T3N-R23W
Maples, Martha C. 1849-1941
Maples, William S. 1851-1917
Maples, Henry J. 1886-1911
Maples, Walter W. 1875-1925
Guess, Mary H. 1842-1933
Maples, Elton K. 1912-1935
From Cemetery Records of Jackson Co, Okla by Claudine Dollar, 1979.
April 1999, Susan Bradford visited the cemetery and viewed the graves. Nice low slab type granite markers. West side of cemetery.

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Susan Bradford smcb0824@icqmail.com March 2000.