Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: February 21,
Name: W. H. O’Gwin
Post Office: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
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
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
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 <email@example.com> December 2000.