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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: January 12, 1938
Name: J. T. Turner
Post Office: 
Residence Address: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma 
Date of Birth: July 26, 1868
Place of Birth: 
Father: Jackson Turner
Place of Birth: Tennessee
Information on father:
Mother: Elizabeth Turner
Place of birth: Tennessee
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson 
Interview #

I was born in 1868 in Texas and came from that state to the Indian Territory in 1894 in a covered wagon.  I had to ford Red River, as there were no bridges, only ferry boats.  It cost $1.00 for a wagon and team and money was hard to get in that day and time, so I forded the river to save that $1.00.

I settled on a small farm at a place called Elk, in the Chickasaw Nation.   Later Elk was changed to Poolville.  I rented a small farm from Jim Eaves.   There were no large farms then in cultivation.  What farming was done, was on small farms along some creek.

There were several large cattle ranches.  Jim Eaves, the man I rented land from, was a large cattle owner and Bill Washington's ranch was located southwest from Poolville.

There was a small school house and church house at Elk when I located there and it cost $1.00 a month for each child sent to this school.

The only taxes we had to pay was $5.00 a year to the Chickasaw Government to live in the Indian Territory.

Meat was something I didn't have to buy in those days as there were plenty of turkey and deer and there were hogs that ran wild and didn't belong to anyone.

People in those days tried to help one another.  It was very easy to start in farming as you didn't have to have the kind of plow tools used today.  My first crop was made with a one-horse turning plow and a Georgia stock which I used to plow both my cotton and corn.  I made nearly a bale of cotton to the acre and fine corn.   Then farmers didn't try to get rich farming.  They only tried to make a living by raising nearly everything they could to live on.  Corn and cotton were cheap at that time.  After the cotton was ginned and hauled to Gainesville, we only received about $25.00 a bale and corn was only worth from 12 cents to 15 cents a bushel.

We only had Federal Law then and Federal Court was held at Ardmore when I first settled in the Indian Territory.

I farmed in that part of the country for several years then moved to Pauls Valley where I now live.

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Brenda Choate.