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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: January 26, 1938
Name: Edna A. (Mrs. Daniel) Ringer
Post Office: Mangum, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: September 15, 1884
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: C. C. Daniel
Place of Birth: Texas
Information on father: 
Mother: Artie Freeman
Place of Birth: Texas
Information on mother: 
Field Worker: Zaidee B. Bland
Interview # 9800

I was born just across the line in Texas and I spent so much of my early life sometimes north of the river and sometimes south of the river that the real horror of my childhood was crossing Red River and either getting bogged in the sand or having the wagon bed float away and have to be rescued. Father leased land on a big scale and mostly he had Indian leases but we went back into Texas for six months and more at a time to be with or near our kindred who mostly lived in Texas.

I remember once we started to cross the river and Mother said, "That River looks like it is up to me". My father said, "I don't think it is enough to hurt, but to make things safe I will tie the wagon bed to the running gear and the horses will take us safely across".

He got out and took both lariats that were ordinarily used on the horses and tied the front end of the wagon bed tight to the front end of the running' gear. No sooner did the horses get into the river until they both went clear out of sight and the rear end of the wagon rose right up and floated right around and started down the stream. There were several of us small children in the wagon. I screamed and started to jump out into the river. Mother had a baby in her lap but she grabbed me and said, "Stay with the wagon, Child". Mother had to hold my dress, though, to make me stay. The ropes held the bed firm at the front end and the horses pulled us out safely. It was a long time after that before my sister, Ethel, would cross in a wagon; some one had to take her on a horse and ride across with her. There were usually cowboys around, though, who would take her up on the horse in front of them and go safely across. This old crossing was near Fleetwood, but I cannot remember what it was called. I think it was at this point that one of the first ferryboats was ever built for I can remember going across on the ferryboat before I was grown. We lived on a very broad trail that ran north and south and there never was a day passed that cattle, mules, horses or sheep were not being driven by in droves, and sometimes there would be a drove of hogs.

All my early childhood was spent in a double log house. We had a well of good water and two wooden buckets hung in this well and a gourd always hung on a peg for anyone to stop and have a drink who wanted to. Cowboys could stop and water their horses but there was not enough water to water a herd. A big old wood watering trough was always by the well and it was usually full of water and many are the birds that I have watched come to that trough for a drink and bath.

We lived so very far from any settlement that there was never a doctor to be had. Before I had learned to walk good I was walking out doors with a bottle in my hand and fell on a rock, breaking the bottle and severing the large artery in my wrist. Mother had to hold these parts together until the bleeding was stopped. I think she said she held it more than two days and nights. Anyway, I did not bleed to death but there is a scar I have carried ever since from the base of my thumb almost half way to my elbow.

Another time there was a dreadful snowstorm and all the wild cattle wanted to drift around the barns and houses for a windbreak. My mother sent the older boys out to the woodpile to cut some wood and they left the yard gate open. Mother sent me to shut it. The boys had company and thought I was only coming out there to listen to what they were saying so picked up some chips and started to throw at me. I turned to run, looking back at them and ran into the barbwire and have a scar for the rest of my life. I only went to tell my brother that Mother said, "Be sure and shut the outside gate so the out cattle can not get into the feed stacks."

There was a log schoolhouse two miles from where we lived and we went two or three months out of the year. One end of the schoolhouse was almost all a fireplace. The other end was a blackboard and we were taught nearly everything from this blackboard. We did not have many books. We girls played Ring Around The Rosy; Drop the Handkerchief, Going To New York or What is Your Trade? We went hunting flowers a lot in the spring for the woods were full of beautiful flowers. I learned to dance and sing as I learned to walk and talk and every week, either at our house or a neighbor's, there was a singing or a dance and young and old, rich and poor attended and took part. Before I was grown I danced lots of sets with old gray-headed men and have seen cowboys dancing with gray headed women.

When crops were planted there was just one way to make them safe so they could grow that was to herd the cattle or hogs away from the fences. A child is large enough to herd cattle or hogs before they are large enough or old enough to go to school, although you had to pay to go to school and I think everyone of us were started at five years of age and then we did not get much schooling for schooling in such remote neighborhoods depended on some one passing through or maybe visiting in the neighborhood for a month or two. They were seldom very well educated themselves. We lived longer on old Nubbin Ridge than any place I can remember of. Herds of cattle would pass for days at a time and behind the herds would come the skinners. All along the way the cattle would die and these skinners would come behind the herds and skin the dead cattle and pile the skins into wagons to take north to the tanners. I have seen a half dozen wagons hitched one right behind the other, piled so high with skins that the loads would sway with the turning of the wheels. The hides would be piled so high that the hides would have to be tied down. There would be only one driver and all the oxen would be hitched to the front wagon. Some times as many as six or seven pair of oxen would be pulling those wagons. The driver would have only a whip to drive that string of cattle; it was a sight. The most oxen I ever say hitched to one wagon were sixteen; never figured how a man could drive so many without even lines to guide, but he seemed to guide with his voice more than his whip.

My mother died when I was twelve years old and my father put me on a train to send me to my older sister's to stay awhile. Father put me on the train in the care of the conductor and I was to go to the hotel and spend the night and take another train in the morning. I had to change cars. I was so afraid that I would not get dressed in time that when I went to my room for the night I just went to bed with all my clothes on. I had not been in bed very long until a maid came and called my name and said I was wanted on the phone. I did not know what that meant but the maid took me to a room and put something into my hands and told me to put it to my ear and I heard my sister's voice so plain. I was so delighted. I thought she was right in the room with me; I looked up to the ceiling and behind the door and everywhere. At last I said, "O, sister where are you?" Then the maid laughed at me and told me my sister was more than a hundred miles away but had called to be sure I had gotten to the hotel safely for the night. I could never forget that first telephone call.

My dearest possession when a child was a big china doll. The doll had blue eyes and black curly hair.

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Lola Crane coolbreze@cybertrails.com  November, 2001.