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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: October 27, 1937
Name: Rachel Neeley
Post Office: Cordell, Oklahoma
Residence address: East Hill Addition
Date of Birth: November 10, 1881
Place of Birth: Archer County, Texas
Father: W. W. Neeley  [Bill]
Place of Birth: Fort Smith Arkansas ?  [Indian Territory, Chickasaw Nation.]
Information on father: Farmer
Mother: Margaret White
Place of birth: Missouri
Information on mother: Housewife
Field Worker: Ida B. Leakford
Interview  # 9015 pg 216-220

We came from Wichita Co., Texas, October 1889. We brought two wagons loaded with household furniture and were on the road five days. Settled on a farm, one mile west and a half south of Cordell near Center Point School.

We lived in a sod house; our chicken house was also of sod and a crib was made of poles.

The first year my father and we children went to Duncan to pick cotton. The second year was 1890, we made a fair crop of cotton, cane, and corn. Markets were at Duncan, In-dian Territory, and Vernon Texas. We sold our cotton for 5 and 9 cents per pound.
It was very cold in the winter time and we milked nine cows and took care of them, be-sides the horses and hogs.

In 1891, my father went to Vernon Texas, to work in the harvest. He brought our clothes, food, and materials back with him. Our dresses were gingham and heavy shirt-ing.

March 4, 1899, the biggest prairie fire and sand storm came. We plowed around or dug-out, chicken house, crib and feed stacks.

After I married, we lived one mile and a half west of Cordell. My husband worked at the gin. I took of the first crop we made. My husband hired a man to break the sod and while he was doing this I sharpened the stick, punched holes in the ground and dropped the cotton seed into the holes and stepped on it to cover the seed. I would tie my baby on the bed and leave her for two hours at a time and never see her while I was working in the field.

Our hog pens were dug into the banks of the creek and slats put in the front of them and I carried water for eleven head of hogs every morning and night.

We would dig a hole in the ground put poles in the hole, drop turnip, beets and potatoes in the hole, cover with straw then sod. We put beans and okra on a string, put our plums in a keg and weighted the top.  We canned berries in bottles and sealed the bottles with sealing wax. We parched wheat for coffee, our corn bread and cereal were made out of keffir corn. We would get 5 cents for a dozen eggs and 5 cents a pound for butter.

Crowds would gather and have singings, I went to one candy breaking, also to a big dialogue. Hugford ? and Center Point schools were our meeting place for entertainment.
Our beds consisted of poles and slats and the ticks were stretched over the slats with no mattress nor sheets. My first baby was born on this kind of bed.

The first move we made was done on horseback. After our move my husband swapped my gun for two bedsteads, three comforts, four chairs, a rocking chair, a small cook stove and a straw tick, then I traded my saddle for a bushel of sweet potatoes and a rooster.

H. D. YOUNG had a store one and a half miles east of New Cordell. The groceries, dry-goods and post office were all in the same building.. [ Sallie ?] SMITH  ran the post of-fice. This New Cordell was all sage grass, rabbits, quails, prairie chickens and I two mountain lions.

We had lots of skunks, snakes, centipedes and fleas. The fleas were called Indian fleas and the skunks were called “stim”? skunks.

The Indians were nice and kind, excepting one time when they killed ? Bill Breeding? and burned him. During this time there was a large group housed at John RUNTALS? house for four days and nights until the soldiers from Fort Sill could come and quiet the Indians.

There were also several saloons during this old period but I have never seen as many drunks as I have today.

I have seen New Cordell when there was only one house and I saw old Cordell burn and a New Cordell rebuilt. Cordell burnt in about 1900.

My first writing ink was indigo, my husband gathered little balls off trees that had blue water in them and he used the water for ink.

In making our first beds we used to burrow holes back in the walls of the dugout and put large poles in the holes, then lay smaller poles on the larger ones and put the ticks on the small poles.

We raised a family of ten children, enduring all the hardships of these early days and we are now living in a dugout, located in the East Hill Addition of New Cordell.

Note: Alice Neeley married Edward Charles Neeley her cousin so George is her cousin & brother-in-law. Her sister Rachel Neeley married, Nathaniel Neeley their cousins which make them all double cousins. Their father William Wallace Neeley is Jesse Neeley’s brother, father of George C. Neeley.

Rachel Neeley’s siblings;
1. Rachel Lee Neeley - 11/10/1881 - Archer City, Archer Texas
2. Alice May Neeley – 1/27/1884 – Wise TX see bio.
3. Magnolia Nay Neeley  - 11/25/1888 - Electra Wichita Texas
4. Wadden Wallace Neeley – 7/1891 – unknown  not sure if he lived
5. William Henry Neeley – 7/12/1894 – Cordell Washita Co., Oklahoma
6. Nadis N. Neeley  – 7/1897 - unknown  not sure if he lived
7. Dewey Albert Neeley – 5/14/1899 – Dill City Washita Co., OK

 Submitted to OKGenWeby by Pauline Phelps, May 1999.