Indian Pioneer Papers
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Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: August 23, 1937
Name: Oscar T. Richey
Post Office: Lone Wolf, Oklahoma
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Information on father:
Place of birth:
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Ethel B. Tackitt
My parents were Natives of Arkansas and grew up near Fort Smith which is just across the line from Indian Territory. Both come from pioneer families.
After they were married in the year 1872, they moved into Indian Territory and settled in either the present Sequoyah or Leflore Counties. I do not know on which side of the Arkansas River they lived, but I remember very clearly hearing my mother say that the territory was like a wilderness and that they had to go back to Fort Smith for everything they had to buy and that when they needed protection all the officers of the law had to come from Fort Smith.
Mother never ceased to tell us children of an experience which she had while living at that place. Two White men and Two Negroes committed some kind of a crime in the Indian Territory, were taken to Fort Smith tried and convicted and were sentenced to be hanged.
When the day of the hanging came, she and Father like everybody else in the country started early for the hanging was to be a public affair, and they traveled all day through the woods and across the streams and when they reached Fort Smith there were literally a thousand people which was a great number at that time, gathered as if at a picnic to witness the hanging. Mother watched the hanging and it was so horrible to her that she regretted attending such a thing all the remainder of her life.
My parents then moved to Texas where there was more settlement and I was born in Denton County, September 10, 1881.
In 1889 we came back to Indian Territory and Father bought a 10 year lease, from a Squaw-man named Clint Murcus. Our lease was East of the present town of Duncan in Stephens County, on Mud Creek.
Living was pretty hard for us as we were poor and the land had to be cleared and broken before we could plant or grow any crops. Everything had to be hauled by wagon from Nocona, in Montague County, Texas and the roads were only wagon tracks with no bridges on the streams to amount to anything and the bridges which were built would wash away every time there was a flood on the river or creek.
At first we depended for our food mostly on rabbits, squirrel, fish and other small game. These animals furnished us with meat and we raised a little corn on land which we were able to clear out. The brush had to be cut by hand or with ax and burned. The larger trees had to be girdled or out all round and left to die, so the tree could be gotten off the land and if the would not burn they had to be dragged off the land.
For plowing we used a Georgia Stock which is a walking plow drawn by one horse and in the stumps that was slow work. As we cleared more land and got it into a state of cultivation we planted other things, vegetables, some cotton, and some feed for our stock. In that way we lived much better and built more log houses and sheds and fenced in more lots.
After the rock Island Railroad came through the country living conditions improved for w e could buy our necessities and sell our produce at Duncan instead of being forced to go to Nocona, Texas.
People settled in communities and built small school houses at their own expense and all teachers from one dollar and a half to two dollars per month for each pupil and the school ?year? would last from two to three ?months? a year.
The little school houses were __?__ and for churches. The first minister I remember was the Reverend Mr. White. When the Comanche Reservation was ???, Mr. White drew a claim west of the town of Comanche and built a dugout on it. The dugout was not built well and fell in killing him and his family.
I remember a Holiness Minister, we called him Stammering John. His name was John Fry.
As the years passed I continued to farm using the improved machinery. I later moved into the Kiowa Country, settling North of Lone Wolf, where my family and I now live.
Contributed by Vance Hawkins, email@example.com August 2003, great nephew of Oscar Taylor Richey & Emma Price Richey.
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