Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
History Project for Oklahoma
Date: January 11, 1938
Alice Neeley (Mrs.)
Post Office: Cordell,
Residence address: West
of the old Christian College
Date of Birth: January
Place of Birth: Wise
Father: W. W. Neeley
Place of Birth: Indian
Territory, Chickasaw Nation
Information on father:
Lawyer & Preacher
Mother: Margaret White
Place of birth: Missouri
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Ida R.
I came to Cordell, Oklahoma
Territory, from Wichita Falls, Texas, September 19, 1892. We crossed the
Red River and came with two covered wagons and were ten days on the road.
We were in one sandstorm when we could hardly see where to go.
We filed on land one mile
west and one-half mile south of the present town of Cordell. We also a
half dug-out and a one room cabin. We also dug a well on our place and
the water was so hard that we could hardly use it.
In planting we used two
old sod walking plows and a team of horses. We walked and broke our land.
We sodded fifty acres of land and put it in corn, cotton and sorghum cane.
We would sell ear corn for 20 cents a bushel and our cotton for 5 cents
a pound after it was ginned.
The men would freight
from El Reno to get our groceries and dry goods. We did not have many clothes,
we had three school dress and we also wore these dresses to church and
other entertainment’s; they were made of calico and father paid 5 cents
a yard for the material.
We burned green cottonwood
poles and dried cow chips and after we made a crop we would burn corn;
we had a fireplace and it was very dangerous for there were no bricks around
it. The fireplace was just made of dirt.
The fleas were so bad
at times that we could not live in our dugout so we had to move our beds
into the log cabin. I have seen my legs black with fleas. We had many mad
cats and rattlesnakes.
I had to herd cattle for
three years and I rode in a man’s saddle or bareback. I could ride almost
any kind of horse whether it was tame or whether it never had been broken
We had biscuits once a
week and that was on Sunday morning for breakfast and some-times we would
have them for Sunday dinner.
I remember many times
I have had to shell corn, then go to the mill to have the corn ground.
I would go about 20 miles to the mill on horseback with a big sack of shelled
corn thrown on the horse behind me; if the wind didn’t blow the windmill
would not turn and would not grind the corn and I would be gone for two
or three days and sometimes for a week before my turn would come.
We had hard times but
happy ones. We had church in dugouts built up with sod and our benches
were made of cottonwood poles. We would meet on Wednesday night and have
our prayer meeting and on Friday night we had a social meeting and entertainment’s;
on Sunday and Sunday nights we had church; we really enjoyed all these
meetings and we had school in the same place and a teacher could teach
with a 7th grade education.
My father was a lawyer
here in Cordell for a long time; he was Justice of the Peace, the first
one that Cordell ever had. He tried the people who were in shooting scrapes
and tried the Indians for stealing.
I well remember when the
Indians got on the warpath and there were 21 families who had to hide in
Center Point Schoolhouse at night till the soldiers could come from Fort
Sill to quiet the Indians. The white man and Indians got into trouble.
The white men were stealing the Indians wood and [unreadable]. The Indians
got on the warpath and would have “cleaned up” the white man if it had
not been for the soldiers from Fort Still.
The old gray Lefer wolves
would chase me for miles when I was on horseback and I would certainly
I remember going to a
big Indian dance and barbecue. I remember the Indians would come and camp
around our place; they would put up their Tepees. Father would sell them
beef & chickens. The Indians were our friends.
We could not wash clothes
in the “gyp” water so we would lead our wagon with our tubs and wash tubs
& pots. We would go four miles to a spring and do our washing, then
we would dry our clothes on bushes and sometimes the spring would be so
muddy that we would have to clean it out, then wait until the water would
run off. It would take us all day to do our washing.
In 1896 there came
a big rain, almost a water spout, which washed our crops out and we had
to leave here and go east to find work. We cut cord wood and picked cotton
for our living. The winter of 1896 we stayed in the eastern part of OK
and picked cotton with ice on the ground and after the cotton was picked
we still cut cord wood until March, 1897. Then we came home to start another
crop and that year we had a good crop. Also in the same year in the summer
there came so many big rains that we could not get to town to get anything
to eat so we lived on clabbered milk and eggs for three weeks and many
a time we would boil kaffer corn to eat.
Many times one would be
riding across the prairie and the grass would be so high that a person
would ride right over the top of a dugout, especially that was dug deep
into the ground.
Our chairs were made of
cottonwood poles. Our beds were made of larger cottonwood poles. Our bed
clothes were made of goods sewed together and we called them our bed ticking
we would take a scythe blade and cut grass to fill the bed ticks.
We would have candy breakings
in our home and a crowd would gather in our home and have a big time. We
would take gallons of sorghum and make candy.
Submitted to OKGenWeb by Pauline Phelps