Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: March 24,
Name: Mr. James R.
Post Office: Pauls Valley,
Date of Birth: December 9, 1875
Father: John Reed
Information on Father: born in Missouri
Information on Mother: born in Missouri
Field Worker: Maurice R.
I was born in 1875 in Texas, and worked on the
YOUNG Ranch in that state prior to 1895, at which time I came to the Indian
My father and mother had both passed away before I was
fifteen years old and this left me to shift for myself.
During the five years I worked on the Young Ranch I
saved enough money to buy a team and wagon and a few plow tools, including a
turning plow and Georgia stock. There were some walking cultivators
then but very few people owned one.
I settled a few miles south of Pauls Valley in the
Chickasaw Nation where I rented a small farm. I had to live in my wagon
until I cleared up part of the land and built a one-room log house out of the
timber I had cleared off of the land.
I had heard so much about the Indian Territory I
loaded up what few things I owned and came to Pauls Valley and after renting a
place I went to Mr. Zack GARDNER, a Chickasaw Indian, who owned a grist mill
on the river east of Pauls Valley. Mr. Gardner let me have enough corn
to run me until I made a crop and Mr. C. J. GRANT stood good for my
That year I cleared up about ten acres and built a log
house and made a cotton and corn crop with no one to help me. I was out
in a strange country and it was do or die. I planted about ten acres of
corn and four or five acres of cotton and that year I made about five hundred
bushels of corn and three bales of cotton.
After paying my grocery bill, which wasn't very much,
I had so little money left I lived on cornbread but there was plenty of wild
game at that time so I always had plenty to eat. Rabbits, squirrels,
quail and turkeys were plentiful then.
I paid Mr. Gardner back in corn what I had borrowed
from him and that fall I traded him fifty bushels of corn for a milk
The only taxes we had to pay then was a permit to live
in the Indian Territory, which cost five dollars ($5.00) per year. I
only paid this two times and they never came around any
I farmed in the Indian Territory for five years then
sold out and went back to Texas and learned the barber trade. I put in a
barber shop at Gainesville in 1901 and worked in that place for ten
years. After leaving there I came to Ardmore, Oklahoma and went in the
barber business and lived there until I came to Pauls Valley a few years
Submitted to OKGenWeb by
Brenda Choate <email@example.com> November 2000.