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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
February 21, 1938
Name: W. H. O’Gwin
Post Office: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Residence Address:
Date of Birth:  1868
Place of Birth: Kentucky
Information on Father: 
Information on Mother:
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson

I was born in 1868, in Kentucky. I came to the Indian Territory with my father and mother; we moved from Texas in the fall of 1889; we had two wagons and four head of mules. My father rented one hundred acres of land from Mr. Will LOVE, a few miles east of Pauls Valley in the Washita River Bottom.

There were only three stores and a hotel in Pauls Valley. The schoolhouse was located about one mile south of where the depot is now and church was held in the schoolhouse every Sunday. There was no court at Pauls Valley then. Court was held at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and we only had United States marshals.

The Chickasaw Indians’ Court was held at Tishomingo. A Chickasaw Indian named Zack GARDNER owned the only gristmill and cotton gin at the time in this part of the country. The mill and gin were run by water-power and were located on the river east of Pauls Valley.

This part of the country was more of a cattle country than a farming country when I came here. There were several feeding pens along the river where cattlemen would feed their cattle during the winter months. A short while after we settled here I went to work for Mr. Nath BYARS who was a large cattleman. Mr. Byars paid me $20.00 a month to help take care of his cattle here during the winter. He had several feeding pens, one on Peavine Creek northeast of Pauls Valley a few miles and one near old Cherokee Town Crossing. During the summer months was when I would have the hardest time with the cattle, as there were no fences and the cattle had to be herded on the grass and we would have a hard time keeping them off of the farmers’ crops.

The first year my father made a crop he had seventy-five acres of cotton and twenty-five acres of corn; he only raised five bales of cotton the first year, which was in 1890; the boll weevils just cleaned the cotton fields that year around here. His corn made good; he made about fifty bushels of corn to the acre but corn was cheap in those days. The cattlemen around here would buy all the corn the farmers raised to feed out their cattle. There was no market for cotton here at that time and my father hauled his cotton to Gainesville, Texas. The railroad had been put through here a few years before that time and some of the farmers shipped their cotton to Texas. There was a freight wagon line from Pauls Valley to Fort Sill when I came here. I have seen those freight haulers come in here working from eight to twelve yoke of steers to a wagon and have a trail wagon coupled on behind the lead wagon and they would load both wagons and head back west.

This was the nearest railroad point to Fort Sill and the Indians from that part of the country would haul their freight that was shipped in here by the Government and when they would come after freight there would always be two or three soldiers with them. There would be several wagons and they would always be working from six to ten little mules to each wagon; there were no roads to speak of.

There were lots of turkeys in this part of the country when I came here but not too many deer. We would go back in the mountains below old Fort Arbuckle and there we would find plenty of all kinds of meat to eat for we usually killed one to two deer in the winter.

Several years after we settled here Federal Court was established at Pauls Valley; in 1895, I believe.

The school here was a subscription school until 1898, that year Pauls Valley had its first free school.

I remember the first year we settled here there were nine men killed at different times. My father was a hardworking man; he tended to his own business and tried to make a living for his family and he never had any trouble with the tough men.

John SWAIN was one of our United States Marshals and had killed several men; he got killed near Purcell. Bill LEWIS had killed several men, John WALNER, a United States Marshal, killed Bill Lewis at Wynnewood. John Walner had several killings to his credit while a United States Marshal, but John was later killed by his nephew, Bob Walner, at Wynnewood.

I have lived in the country since 1889; I now run a filling station in Pauls Valley.

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Kathy (Rogers) Linnet, great granddaughter of W. H. O'Gwin  <katielyn564@juno.com> December 2000.