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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: 
February 11, 1938
Name: John Mounts
Post Office:
Muskogee, Oklahoma
Residence Address:   
Date of Birth: 
February 26, 1880
Place of Birth: 
Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation
Father:  
David Albert Mounts
Place of Birth:  
Information on father:
Mother: 
Carrie Thompson
Place of birth:   
Information on mother:
Field Worker:
James S. Buchanan
Interview #13649

I was born February 26, 1880, at Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation. My father was David Albert Mounts, a native of West Virginia.

My mother was Carrie Thompson, Cherokee, a native of the Cherokee Nation.

My father came to the Indian Territory, stopping at Fort Gibson in 1877, and in that year went to work for O. W. Lipe in a general store at that place. He did not receive a stipulated amount of salary for his work as the agreement between he and Mr. Lipe was that Father was to receive one half of the profits of the business for his services in the store.

In 1881, Father accepted a position with John S. Scott as head clerk in a general mercantile store at Fort Gibson. He remained with Mr. Scott until 1888, when he associated himself with William S. Nash in a general mercantile store at Fort Gibson, the firm being known thereafter as W. S. Nash & Company. Father and W. S. Nash conducted this business in partnership about two years. When they dissolved partnership and Father went to work for C. W. Turner as manager of the Choska Trading Company, which consisted of a general mercantile business, a cotton gin, and a sawmill situated in the Choska bottoms north of the Arkansas River, where C. W. Turner also owned one thousand acres of farmland. At that time, C. W. Turner was the largest planter in the Indian Territory in addition to having extensive business holdings. Father remained with C. W. Turner about six years at Choska, then came to Muskogee and worked for Mr. Turner about one year. 

He went to Caddo, Choctaw Nation, where he went into a general mercantile business for himself. He conducted this business with wonderful success for two years; then, due to ill health sold out the business at Caddo and moved to Oakland, California, where he engaged in the mercantile and real estate business, which he conducted until his death, which occurred in 1932.

C. W. Turner and my father formed a friendship in the early part of their business life that lasted as long as they lived. After they severed their business relations, they carried on a personal correspondence until the death of Mr. Turner, which occurred shortly before that of my father. In fact, I do not believe there was any businessman in the Indian Territory that had more friends than C. W. Turner or my father.

Father did not only have the confidence and respect of those who had business dealings with him, but the lawless element of the territory as well; and, they were of no exceptionally small minority in those days. He had a wonderful personality and treated every person in the same courteous, cordial manner; though he never feared any man, regardless of his reputation.

John Fields, a half-breed Cherokee who had the reputation of being one of the worst gunmen of this part of the territory in those days, had a habit of getting a few drinks under his belt and shooting up the town, riding his horse into the business places and running everyone out of the place. One day he was in Fort Gibson on one of his sprees and rode his horse into John Scottís store while Father was working for Mr. Scott. As he rode into the door, he shouted at my father, "Dave, I have run everybody else out of this place before; now, it is your time to run."

Father replied, as he walked towards the rear of the store, "I guess itís my move, John." For some reason Fields turned his attention to something else for a moment and when he looked in Fatherís direction the next instant, Father was standing behind the counter with a Winchester rifle aimed at him; and, then Father said, "I guess itís your move now, John." Fieldís only reply was, "I think it is too, Dave," and put his gun in his belt holster and backed his horse out of the door and never bothered the place again.

Another instance that proved the respect the lawless element had for Father was when he was in charge of C. W. Turnerís business at Choska. During the six years he was there his place was visited many times by gangs and different outlaws. They would buy what they wanted and sometimes spend two or three hours in the store, knowing that Father generally had large amounts of money in the place; but, never molested him while he was there and treated him with as much respect as anyone could expect even from law-abiding citizens.

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Marylee Jones Boyd, August 2001.