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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: March 21, 1938
Name: Janie Elizabeth Ray
Post Office: Lindsay, Oklahoma
Residence Address:  
Date of Birth: April 7, 1965
Place of Birth:  Texas
Place of Birth:  
Information on father: buried in Texas
Place of birth:   
Information on mother: buried in Blanchard, OK
Field Worker:  Robert H. Boatman
Interview #: 10337

My parents came from Alabama to Texas in an early day and in that state I was born, April 7, 1965. My father died some three months before I was born and I was brought up by my mother and lived in Texas till I was eighteen years old. At that time, 1883, with my mother, I left there with a team and covered wagon on our way to the Indian Territory, and I was introduced into this new country with little or nor convenience.

The country was then just a big open space where the Indians were content to live in the peacefulness of leisure which then existed. They seemed to hate or fear the coming of the white people. Once one Chickasaw explained to me how his tribe had been driven from place to place. He said almost ever since there had been a country known, the Indians had been driven by removals and promises, which later were broken, and soon they feared the white man would again invade their homes and again destroy their game and peace, which they so dearly loved.

The Chickasaw Indians were a very friendly tribe of people and were very honest in all their dealings. The word of a Chickasaw Indian in any business deal was all that was necessary. The Choctaws and Chickasaws were the more friendly of the tribes.

The Comanche Indians were of a hostile tribe and many times they would come over into the Chickasaw Country and steal horses and cattle, which seemed to be their greatest desire. Sometimes they would get away with the stock then again the Chickasaws and Choctaws would run them down and fight it out with them and at such times nearly always regained possession of the stolen stock. The Comanches generally came in small bands and for this reason could usually be beaten down or driven back to their country if overtaken before reaching the boundary line of the Chickasaw and Comanche countries but the Chickasaws would nearly always give up the chase when reaching the Comanche line.

When I first settled in the Indian Territory it was in the Chickasaw Nation at old Walnut Bend on the Red River, just across the line from Nocona, Texas, where I rented a small tract of land from a Chickasaw Indian named Bolen.

The house was a very crude log hut and our only furniture was what little we had brought along from Texas. Our food consisted of corn bread and bacon with biscuits about once a week, providing it could be secured.

There were no roads and no bridges and no towns this side of the river. I had to get all my supplies from Nocona, Texas, and the river could only be forded at intervals, although a ferry boat was finally built and used to a great advantage in crossing the river. After the boat was put into practical use a permanent crossing was then established and became known as Walnut Bend Crossing of Red River. With this came the opening of a route from the Territory leading to St. Jo and Nacona.

In the 80's, I established one of the best of friendships that I have ever known among the Chickasaw Indians.

Since first I came in 1883, I have continued to live in the Territory and Oklahoma and as time passed conditions changed. In my mind the building of the railroad has been the greatest step ever taken in the development of the Indian Territory, for that was the beginning of permanent roads, bridges and towns.

I have always been engaged in the business of agriculture and advancement of better farming conditions, and have seen Oklahoma advance from a vast hunting ground to one of the leading agricultural states of the Union.

My mother died sometime after coming with me to the Territory and is buried at Blanchard. My father, whom I never knew, is buried in Texas.

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Brenda Choate.