Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
History Project for Oklahoma
Date: June 29, 1937
Eliza J. Sullivan (Mrs.)
Post Office: Elk City,
Residence address - Route
3, Box 5
Date of Birth: April
Place of Birth: Illinois,
Father: E. W. Bullard
Place of Birth: Illinois
Information on father:
Place of birth:
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Ethel Mae
Western History Collection,
University of Oklahoma
Page 329 thru 335
My father and mother were
married in Illinois in the year 1858 and moved to Texas when I was seven
years old and settled on a farm near Fort Worth. I was married to
Mr. D. D. SULLIVAN in the year 1888, and we lived in Texas until 1897.
Then we moved to the Indian Territory. We were on the road seven
days; camped out at night and made our beds down on the ground and cooked
on camp fires. We crossed Red River by ford at Nocona and settled
on a little farm near Pauls Valley. Our post office was at Elmore
and we lived in a little log house and rented our place from a Mr. REINS.
Mr Reins was a white man
who had had a Choctaw Indian wife but had accidentally killed her the year
before. The neighbors said that one stormy night a boy had come to
Mr. and Mrs. Reinsí dugout to seek shelter and was hanging onto the door.
Mr. and Mrs. Reins would ask him what he wanted but he was deaf and dumb
so they received no answer, so they just supposed that he was a burglar.
Mr. Reins got the gun and told his wife to stand still but she slipped
over to the window and pulled the shade down and when she did that Mr.
Reins thought burglars were breaking in and shot her. There were
not many white people in the Chickasaw Nation then. The land was
mostly all owned by the Indians, and the whites came in and took leases
from the Indian Agents.
Our school house was a
dugout but our children did not go to school there as they were too small.
The farms were very small
and people farmed mostly with Georgia stock plows with one horse.
This was a good farming country with free range, lots of wild fruit such
as plums, grapes and berries, pecans, black walnuts and hickory nuts but
it was so sickly that we just couldnít live there. Most of the settlers
in that neighborhood had chills or malarial fever. My father had
come west near Harmon so my husband put me and the children on the train
and sent us to my father who met us at Weatherford which was the nearest
railroad town and my husband came through in a wagon. This was in
the year 1897.
Mr. Sullivan filed on
a homestead in Roger Mills County, near Harmon which was a very small place
at that time. It had a few dwelling houses and two stores; one of
them was owned by Mr. SISSON who lives in Elk City now. Our first
home in the west was a sod house, and this was the way it was built.
They would take planks and stand them up and plow sod with the grass in
it and they would take this and stack it against the plank for walls and
take poles and put on top and cover them with sod for the roof. I
was always scared when it started raining as I was afraid the dugout would
fall in on us.
A little later the neighbors
got busy and helped us build a dugout which we dug down in the ground and
made three logs high. The first school my oldest boy went to was
in a little box school house that was called the Kiowa school house and
is still standing. We lived on what was called Dry Creek, back one
and one half miles from the Washita River close to the Cheyenne Indians.
The Government would give
the Indians blankets, cooking utensils and clothing and they would bring
them over and trade them to the white people for chickens, vegetables,
pork and beef, but they liked beef best. If a cow got in the bog
and died the Indians were right there to get it. Nothing went to
waste around the Indians, whether it was killed or died of disease.
There was some kind of a row and some way the cowboys shot an Indianís
wife and this Indian came to my brotherís house. My brotherís name
was Jack BULLARD and he was deputy sheriff at that time. The Indian
whose wife had been killed came to get my brother to arrest the boys but
Jack had gone to Cheyenne, so this Indian went on and swore out papers
for the boys and they arrested all but one and he got away. The boys
who were caught swore that the one who got away was the one who had shot
the Indian woman. Later my brother was elected sheriff of that county.
There were some men who had come in on Dead Indian Creek with a herd of
horses. My brother not knowing that the horses had been stolen thought
that he and the deputy would ride over and see what the men were doing.
These men with the stolen horses were outlaws and thought Jack and the
deputy sheriff were after them and shot and killed my brother and the deputy,
too, and then made their getaway. The names of these outlaws were
Sam GREEN and Pete WHITEBREED.
I am the mother of ten
children and all of them were raised in the Indian Territory and Oklahoma,
and were all born here but four. I surely went through some trying
times in the pioneer days.
Transcribed by Donald
L. Sullivan <firstname.lastname@example.org>