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Garvin County

County Seat - Pauls Valley

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According to Indian Legend, a Caddo Indian woman named Salvania and her son set up temporary camp west of Pauls Valley in the 1800's. Salvania was leader of a band of Caddos traveling from Louisiana through Oklahoma. As other tribes came to make trades, they first had to be approved by the Indian woman who wore the white beads. They began to ask for her by that name. She died at the age of 95 or 96 and is believed to be buried near the old campground. Her son, known as 'son of Whitebead', continued to use the campsite.

Her son, possibly Chief Whitebead, married a woman named 'Winhoot'. They later moved around Walters Oklahoma where he was known to the Comanche as 'Man with a lot of horses'.

The earliest record of settlement at Whitebead is the Cemetery, started approximately in the early 1920's.  W. G. Kimberlin came to the Indian territory in 1868, after the Civil War and settled in the local area. He later married a young Indian woman who gave him right to a large portion of the land which officially established Whitebead as a community.

The town soon had as many buildings a any other small town and was much larger than Pauls Valley, wit stores, a post office, a blacksmith ship, and a church. The church was organized and built by Kimberlin and John C. Powell in 1879 as an Indian Conference Mission. It was used not only as a church but also as a school. The building soon became known as Pierce Institute, in honor of Bishop Pierce, who presided over these conferences. The Pierce Institute was built east of the Whitebead Cemetery. This was also a boarding church school, the first school and church in the Whitebead area. It was built in 1879 with money raised by Kimberlin and Powell. In 1905, a storm damaged the two story building. It was torn down and some of the lumber used to build a school where the present school is located. The rest of the lumber was used to build the Methodist Church at Whitebead.

The first School was built in 1906, after the Indian School, Pierce Institute was torn down. The school was one long room divided in the middle by a red flannel curtain. Mr. Hayes was the first principal and taught upper grades. Miss Bertie Johnson taught the lower grades. Mr. I. R. "Ike" Tolbert took Mr. Hayes place and taught at Whitebead for 20 years. He retired in 1930.

The school now is use (the main two story building) was built in 1919. W. G. Kimberlin, who had served on the school board since the beginning, G.W. Southern, and M. C. Powell were board members. Whitebead had a high school from 1925-1947. Carbide lights were used until electricity was brought into the community in 1935. The south half of the upstairs building was used as the auditorium. Each year an old fiddler's contest was held which included all types of entertainment. Prizes were given by the merchants.

The first gym, which was built out of sheet iron, was located just west of the two story building. Coal stoves in each end of the gym were used for heat. All the children came to school on horseback and a large stable existed to the west of the auditorium. The children kept their horses in the stable and went out to water them at lunch.

There was also a one room school just west of the Whitebead Community called "Bug Scuffle", which was run by the Whitebead School board. It was an elementary school. Some of the teachers there were Lara Ward, Ida Whitfield, Nola Grimes, Clara Jo Holt, and Mary Spradling. It closed in the early thirties.

Due to the small enrollment, Whitebead lost the high school with the high school students going to Pauls Valley, Maysville, and Elmore City.

Whitebead School today is still in a rural setting with a thriving enrollment. It provides an opportunity for parents to be involved in their child's education. The philosophy of the school is to provide a very positive atmosphere where emphasis is on self-discipline and to provide a safe environment to learn and grow both physically and emotionally. enrollment is kept small by choice and the commitment to excellence is made by every staff member.

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