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Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Name: Thompson, C. B. 
Feb 26, 1938
Address: Sulphur, OK
Born: January 15, 1875
Place of Birth: Virginia
Father: Frank Thompson, born in Virginia, Farmer
Mother: Jennie Morgan, born in Virginia
Field Worker, John F. Doughtery
Interview #10101

My parents were Frank Thompson and Jennie Morgan Thompson, both born in Virginia. (Dates unknown). There were six children in our family. Father was a farmer. I was born in Virginia, January 15, 1875. I came with my parents to the Indian Territory in 1883, settling at Arnoldville, north of Marietta, in the Chickasaw Nation. We lived in a log house with a cat chimney which Father built. The people who lived there before we came built fires on the dirt floors of the cabin. We got our mail at Arnoldville. The mail came from Gainesville once a week. The mail carrier went as far north as Pauls Valley. He left Gainesville each Monday morning and returned there Saturday evening.

We lived on a place belonging to Bill Washington. He was a friend to one he liked but when he disliked a person, that person had better stay away from Bill. I well remember one day he and I went to the store at Arnoldville together. As we were returning we met a man who had recently moved in with about fifty head of cattle. He was just camping near where I lived. He looked at Bill and remarked, "Bill, I hear you are going to run me off." Bill made no reply, but got down off his horse. The stranger also dismounted. They went together and fighting was quite lively for a short time, but Bill saw the stranger was too much for him so he got on his horse and rode away. That was the last we heard  about Bill running the stranger off. He finally left in the night as mysteriously as he had come.

The store keeper got a paper each week. This was the only newspaper received in the whole community and people would gather at the store once a week to listen to the reading of the news by the old store man. That was the only way we heard of the outside world. Later I moved to Gilsonite, south of Sulphur in the Chickasaw Nation. After the Santa Fe Railroad was built, some of the citizens of that community met the train almost every day and bought a paper. This was brought back to the settlement and each night everybody in the neighborhood met at the log schoolhouse to hear the reading of the news. This was especially a favorite pastime during the Spanish American War.

One of the greatest events in our lives each year was the Farmer's Union Picnic. People would come from a distance of many miles for this one day event, which usually took place in August, after the crops were laid by. There was usually a merry-go-round or swing pulled by mules. There were races of all kinds. One which I especially enjoyed was run on horses. A pole was set up and another pole was nailed to it. The second pole extended out like an arm and iron rings were hung on this. A piece of duck was hung on the end of the arm and the rings were taken from this. They were small, not much bigger than a dollar. Each rider had a small stick which he stuck into the ring as he passed, jerking it from the piece of canvas. The horses were driven on a fast run past the pole. The rider who took the most rings from the pole received a small money prize. Another favorite sport among these cowboys was trying to catch a greased gander. Feathers were pulled from the neck of the gander and his head and neck were  well greased with lard. He was then hung to a pole or limb of a tree by his fee. Riders raced past him on horses and tried to pull his head off. He belonged to the one who was successful in performing this feet, which was seldom accomplished. The greased head usually slipped through their hands instead of separating from the fowl's body. 

At noon the women brought out their large white tablecloths and spread them end to end on the ground. The food was then taken from baskets, boxes and tubs and spread on the cloths and the feast was on. There was frequently barbecue to be added to the lunch and lemonade could be bought at small stands under the trees. The picnic lasted until late evening, usually ending with a dance. There was dancing all day, but more took part at night after the games and races were over. Everybody returned to their homes tired but happy to remember a grand time had at the picnic and look forward to one the following year.

If one minded his own affairs in those days he had nothing to fear, but if he talked about his neighbors and pried into their affairs he was liable to be found missing.

I married Mary Ferguson in Sulphur in 1910. I have been in Murray County since 1892.

Bill Washington had thirty miles of fence, which was strictly against the Chickasaw law. One night the Militia cut all but four miles of this. One was allowed four miles of fences but no more. Bill was very angry and he searched for the camp of the Militia until he found it one night. He shot twenty-eight of their horses. Afterward he became frightened and decided to go to the Governor and report his crime before any of the Militia got there. He hitched a team to his buggy and drove in such haste toward Tishomingo that he killed his team. He took two horses away from some travelers and killed one of these before reaching the Capital. He got there, told the Governor what he had done and paid for the horses before any of the Militia got there.

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Brenda Choate,  September 2003.

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Updated:  08 Apr 2008