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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: April 26, 1937
Name: J. S. Tyson
Post Office: 
Residence Address: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma 
Date of Birth: January 1, 1868
Place of Birth: Love Plantation, Chickasaw Nation, IT
Father: Jim Tyson
Place of Birth: Mississippi
Information on father:
Mother: Unknown
Place of birth: Mississippi
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson 
Interview #

Mr. J.S. Tyson, born January 1, 1868, on Love Plantation, in the Chickasaw Nation.

My father, Jim Tyson, and his mother came to this country from Mississippi with the Indians long ago, before this country was a civilized place. He stopped on Red River near Mr. Sebe Love's plantation, where he met my mother, and they became as one until he died.

I was about three years old when my parents settled about three-quarters of a mile east of where Wynnewood, Oklahoma, is now. I grew to be a man there, and our nearest white neighbor was Jimmie Gardner. He was a brother to Zack Gardner, who ran a grist mill and gin by water power, near the east bridge on the river. I have carried lots of corn to mill there. I had to cross on a ferry boat pulled by a big cable rope tied to two big cottonwood trees on each side of the river, until they cut down a steep bank. Then we saved that ten cents on the ferry, which ferry was near Cherokee Town. 

There was only one store at Cherokee Town, where a Mr. Florence now lives. It is still known as "Old Cherokee Town Crossing." 

The first store I knew of in Pauls Valley was Miller and Green. C.J. Grant was one of their clerks and when they moved away, Mr. C.J. Grant took it over and was successful. He and Mr. Garvin; and I used to herd cattle for Mr. C.J. Grant. 

Mr. Noah Lael, Matt Woff, J.W. Gardner, McNiniman, were men I knew. I knew Mr. Jack Florence as a cowman years ago, and Dr. Howell, also. I knew more cattlemen than I can name. 

Mr. J.W. Long helped to develop this country. I knew lots of the old settlers who first began to settle this country and make Pauls Valley the garden spot of this nation. 

I used to push baby buggies upon the hill where the old Paul rock house is now. I used to like to feed and curry two horses he had there. Mr. Paul had two grandchildren who stayed with him and went to school. Their names were Joe and Tamsey Paul. When they came in from school, Joe would want me to wrestle with him, on the rockiest place in the yard. He would always throw me, then give me twenty-five cents, but it was well earned on those rocks.

I have seen corn ricked on the ground from fifty to one hundred yards long, as barns and cribs could not hold it.

I remember all freight and goods, such as groceries were hauled by ox teams. Three and four yoke of steers to the wagon and sometimes ten to twelve wagons, which they called the ox train. It would take them several days to make the trip, as they hauled to different towns and to Fort Sill and Fort Arbuckle. When the wagons would bog down, they would put on enough cattle to pull them out.

This country was first plowed up with steers, and men farmed and raised good crops with steers. They used to go on the prairies or in the bottoms and run off their rows, plant cotton, or corn, then break out the middle while the crops were coming up. They would do this on raw land and make plenty. 

We had plenty of deer and turkey and wild hogs. All of these dry branches and creeks now were running streams, and you could catch big fish out of any of them, more than you catch out of the river today. 

I have seen over a hundred Indians riding in a long line coming up the trail, yelping and singing. Sometimes some stockman would give them a beef and shoot it down, and they would all get on it with their knives, peel the hide off, and begin cutting off strips of meat and eating it raw. Some would even drink the blood.

They traveled in large groups, and as for bad men, there was lots of them in this country. The nearest officers had then were in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Some of the officers who came here were, John Swain, Heck Thomas and White Bass Reed. When they came, something would happen.

Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Brenda Choate.