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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: April 20, 1937
Name: Mrs. Maggie Ringer
Post Office: 302 West Lincoln Street, Mangum, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: May 17, 1870
Place of Birth: Winchester, Tennessee
Father: Andrew Sutherland
Place of Birth: Tennessee
Information on father: 
Mother: Melvinia Tankersley
Place of Birth: Tennessee
Information on mother: 
Field Worker: Ruth Kerbo
Interview # 1366

Mrs. Maggie Ringer came to Greer County with her husband, March 15, 1891.

Mrs. Ringer's father and mother played together when children in Tennessee. Their childhood acquaintance developed into romance and the couple was married in Franklin County, Tennessee.

It was during the Civil War that her father, Mr. Andrew Sutherland, was killed, not in battle, as he was too old to fight, but was left at home to help protect the aged and women whose husbands were in battle. He was killed by a spy or someone who had mistaken him for a spy. After his death, Mrs. Sutherland sold all their possessions, boarded the train with her children and went to Rockwall County, Texas, where they farmed and struggled along for existence.

Mrs. Ringer was married in Rockwall County in 1891, and came to Greer County to get a home. In preparing for their trip, Mr. Ringer bought some duck to make a wagon sheet and tent. Mrs. Ringer recalls making them by hand, as they had no sewing machine. They brought all their possessions, which consisted of a bedstead, springs and mattress, a small cook stove, and some ducks, which she prized very highly.

Arriving at their destination, which was a quarter section of land five miles north of Mangum, they pitched their tent, which served as their abode for six months, and began to dig a well as they had to haul water from Mangum or get it from a pond near their settlement.

Later, Mr. Ringer bought a quarter section of land, which joined his claim on the north and began to make more improvements. He dug limestone rocks from beneath a hill south of their settlement and constructed the first house of its kind in the country, and lived there until his death three years ago. The house has been torn down and a new one constructed there. Mrs. Ringer recalls that the Chisholm Trail passed by their place and that she had seen thousands of head of cattle pass when they were being driven to market.

Mesquite roots were used for fuel in those early days and Mrs. Ringer recalls that they burned buffalo bones, also. Wolves were very numerous, and a few antelope would come to the creek near the Ringer location to get water.

Raising chickens had become a successful task by this time and Mrs. Ringer recalls that she raised a large number of chickens and sold eggs at 5 cents for two dozen the second year they were in the country.

The family got their supplies from Magnum and occasionally when Mr. Ringer hauled freight from Quanah, he would purchase the necessary things there.

Mrs. Ringer recalls that she used the material of their tent to make her husband some overalls. The material had been smoked by the fire from their stove until it was a blue gray color, so it was not necessary to dye it.

The Indians came through the country occasionally and, as the trail led by their location, Mrs. Ringer recalls that on one occasion she saw two Indians coming on their horse. They rode up to their tent and asked for a watermelon that was lying on the ground near the tent. She gave it to them, then they asked for a knife with which to cut it. Mrs. Ringer was very much frightened but gave them a knife, and after the melon was cut they gave her one half and ate the other, then went on their way.

She recalls seeing an Indian squaw make her bread, and that she made it in about the same manner in which a white woman does, mixed it with her hands, pinched off a small portion of the dough, patted it very thin with her hands, pinched a hole in the middle and fried it in meat grease.

Mrs. Ringer recalls that pioneer days were happy days, and that she does not regret the hardships in which they had to withstand to secure a home in Greer County.

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