Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: June 17, 1937
Name: E. H. Tarwater
Residence Address: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1869
Place of Birth: Texas
Father: J. S. Tarwater
Place of Birth: Kentucky
Information on father:
Place of birth: Tennessee
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
I was born in 1869 in Texas.
In 1899 I moved from Arkansas
to the Indian Territory and located at old Ada. I leased a small farm
and went to farming. I lived in a log house with a dirt floor. I
did shoe work in my spare time and at nights. My father had taught me
how to fix shoes back in Arkansas. We used to put half soles on shoes
with wooden pegs and do our sewing by hand. I tried to farm and do shoe
work on the side.
After I got acquainted with
several people I had to quit farming and do shoe repair altogether. I
heard that a railroad was going to be built through that part of the country,
so in my spare time, and on Sundays, I would cut and make ties. I
knew if the railroad was to be built I would be able to sell the cross ties,
and if it was not to be built I would use them for wood.
One evening in 1900, I came
home from a days hard work making ties and my wife said, "There are lots
of people gathered about a half mile from our house". I ate
supper and walked down there and right in the middle of a large cotton patch
there was a tent and two men were selling town lots. I could have bought
a lot for almost nothing but I didn't want any lots. I couldn't see how
two towns as close together as old Ada and this new town were, would ever
amount to anything so I went back to making cross ties.
In a few days some of the
stores at old Ada were moved to the new townsite, but I had a good trade where
I was. My shop was in one room where I lived and I had a good business
and was making a good living for my family so I was satisfied. In a short time
someone put in a shoe repair shop at the new townsite and my business began to
fail and the next thing we knew the post office at old Ada was moved to the
new site one night and this tore up old Ada.
I had good luck in selling my
cross ties and I also went to work for the railroad company, so I quit
repairing shoes, except for a few shoes that some of my old neighbors would
bring in to be fixed.
Word got out that "Old
Snake", a Creek Indian, and his band were going to wreck a bridge on the
railroad. "Old Snake" as he was called, used to be a chief at
one time. I was put on guard at this bridge and for three days and
nights I watched the bridge, but Old Snake never showed up. The first
night I was on guard several Indians came to the bridge but they did not try
to do any damage. I told one of them who could speak English that my
orders were to shoot anyone trying to do any damage to the bridge. They
talked among themselves a while and left. I was given the rifle which I used
in guarding the bridge. The man told me it was full of shells so I did
not examine it until I was called in and told the danger was over, but before
turning the gun in I thought that I would unload it, so I worked the lever,
and to my surprise, there wasn't a shell in the fun. I had been guarding
a bridge for three days and nights without any ammunition.
I was living near Ada when a
mob took three men out and hung them in an old shack. I remember the
names of two of the men were Miller and Allen. They had killed Guss
Bobett and from what I could find out about it someone had had it in for Guss
Bobett and had given the three men $500.00 to kill him. A mob went to
the fail and tied up the sheriff and put ropes around the necks of these three
men and led them to an old shack and hung them. I have heard men say
that if you had it in for anyone and wanted him to be killed, all it would
cost was about $100.00
I have heard Jeff Reed say
that he used to carry the mail from old Ada to old Center on foot. Mr.
Reed established the post office at old Ada in 1890.
I now live in Pauls Valley
where I own a shoe repair shop.
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