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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: September 15, 1937
Name: Mr. J. D. Miller, Sr.
Post Office: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Residence Address:  
Date of Birth: October 6, 1864
Place of Birth:  Georgia
Father:   J. L. Miller
Place of Birth:  Georgia
Information on father:
Mother:  Anna Kirkpatrick
Place of birth:  Georgia
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
Interview #: 8406

Mr. J.D. Miller, Sr. was born in 1864 in Georgia. I left Texas in the Spring of 1888 for the Indian Territory. I had been farming in Texas but the drought hit Texas in 1885 and for two years it never rained and my cattle died and I lost everything I owned. After paying my debts I had two horses and a hack, so my wife and I loaded up our feather bed and with only a frying pan to cook in, we started for the Indian Territory. 

I came over the old Whiskey Trail, crossed Red River near Burlington, Texas and followed the old trail over the Arbuckle Mountains. This trail went on out by Beef Creek, now called Maysville, and on into Kansas, joining the old Chisholm Trail near the line of Kansas. I left this trail after crossing the Arbuckle Mountains and forded the Washita River south of Wynnewood. 

We stopped at a little town called Washita. This was a little western town and was owned by Matt Wolf, a Chickasaw Indian. There were three stores, a doctor's office and the post office was in one of the stores. This little town was on the Santa Fe Railroad, about five miles south of Wynnewood. There was a depot and a cotton gin and this little town was doing good business when I came there.

I had done some blacksmith work back in Texas so I started a blacksmith shop at Washita and leased a farm from Mr. Davis, south of Washita, about four miles. The first year I raised cotton and where Davis, Oklahoma, is now, I had that land in cotton when the first store was built there. In fact it was nut (right?) in the center of my cotton field and I hauled the lumber for this store, from Pauls Valley. I saw that this was a good location for a town and Mr. Davis and myself set out making a town out of the site. We got the railroad company to make this a flag stop and then we set out to get a post office. We had some trouble in deciding what to name the new town, finally we sent in the name Davis. We went to Matt Wolfe and tired to get him to move Washita to Davis, but he wouldn't see to it, so there we were with a town started and only one store. 

I built a blacksmith ship and in a short while there was another store put there. At that time the road to Sulphur was only a horse trail, so by building a road and putting a bridge across Sandy Creek between Davis and Sulphur we finally pulled the trade away from the town of Washita and in a few years we had a good little town started, and then the town of Washita died out.

When I came to the Indian Territory I had to pay a five dollar permit to live in the Chickasaw Nation. A Chickasaw Indian named Chip Harris did the collecting in the district I lived in. The first steel bridge on the Washita River was built west of Davis across the Washita River.

My brother and I owned the first livery stable at Wynnewood. We were in the livery business there when John Walner killed Bill Lewis. John Walner at one time had been a deputy United States Marshal and under the Indian Law or belief if you were a deputy marshal at one time you were always one. John Walner was called the bull of the range and he was a dangerous man to mess with. Andy Roff was a dangerous man but they died with their boots on just like they lived. 

I now run a blacksmith shop at Pauls Valley.

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Brenda Choate.