Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
History Project for Oklahoma
Date: May 28, 1937
William Hubert Aaron, M. D.
Post Office: Pawhuska,
Date of Birth: May 26,
Place of Birth: Adams
Father: Caleb Aaron
Place of Birth: Delaware
Information on father:
Mother: Mary Catherine
Place of birth: Adams
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Leone Bryan
I came to Pawhuska, September
19, 1902. I was twenty-eight years of age at the time. I came
here looking for a location and stayed. There seemed to be a good
opening for a doctor here and so I have been here since. I came here
My first home was the
Pawhuska Hotel, which was a very good hotel for that time. I lived
there two years, and in 1905 I built a modern home.
My first business of course
was in the capacity of a physician.
Pawhuska was at that time
a town of about 200 people. There was only one bath tub in the whole
town. We received our mail daily from Elgin, Kansas, by wagon.
There was a stage that
went to Elgin, Kansas, daily and if one wanted to catch a train it was
there he had to go. This stage was usually pulled by one or two teams
and it took most of the day to make the trip. There were only two
or three bridges between here and Elgin and the rest of the streams were
forded. The road was only a trail road and was not worked.
When I came here the only
other Doctor here was the Government Doctor. The Indians had to be
taught to take medicine. They were afraid of the white man and his
ways. I practiced medicine for two years, horse-back, and came in
direct contact with the Indians.
The Indians lived mostly
in wig-wams and tents; however, numbers of them lived in houses built by
and for them by the Government.
The Indians were all my
friends. Among some of my best friends were, Blackbird, Bacon Rind,
Bigheart Brave, Sophia Little Bear, Mary Brave and Arthur and Annie Bonnicastle,
Game was abundant.
There were lots of deer, wild turkey and prairie chicken. The streams
were filled with fish.
There were numbers of
large cattle ranches. The cattle were shipped here from Texas, fattened
and shipped to market.
Most of the established
churches were already here when I came here.
The class of citizenship
here was very high, teachers, preachers, merchants, etc. Most of
the people living here had to have a permit to live on the reservation.
The year before I came
here, there was a siege of small-pox among the Indians that cost lots of
The Indians in that day
were not buried underground, but were laid on top of the ground and rocks
piled around them. J. L. JOHNSON, deceased, taught the Indians more
than anyone else about burial.
Some of the Indians and
whites had farms. Jim BIGHEART had a ranch near the present Barnsdall
where he had more than a thousand head of horses and many more cattle than
horses. SHEPPESKINAH had a farm about seven miles from Pawhuska that
he farmed on a large scale. He had large herds of cattle and horses
and his word was good for any amount. There were ferries at Cleveland
and at Blackburn; however, I have never seen them.
There was not much trade
in furs and hides in the early day.
The Indians had horse
races. As many horses could run in a race as they desired.
Sometimes from forty to fifty horses would be entered in a race.
They had no tract, but would find a fairly level place between two hills.
The distance raced varied from ½ to 2 miles. They all rode
bareback and guided their mounts by means of a leather thong around the
lower jaw of the horse. They ran these races for prizes, usually
horses. Women sometimes participated in these races and sometimes
a woman’s race was held.
There was always a ready
sale for crops to cattlemen who wintered stock here. There was also
a ready market here for all produce raised. The first oil well drilled
in the county was near Bartlesville in 1896. At that time the north
half of Osage Nation was leased to the H. N. FOSTER Company, now known
as Indian Territory Illumination Company, the term of the lease being ten
years and an extension of ten years if agreed by the council. One
of the first wells drilled in the Pawhuska community was in 1903.
When I came here the only
newspaper was the “Osage Capital”, printed and edited by C. B. PETERS,
now an independent oil operator in Tulsa.
The Midland Valley Railroad
was built through Pawhuska in 1904. The Katy Railroad through Nelagony
in 1903. Then the Santa Fe through Ralston from Caney, Kansas.
For recreation we had
hunting, fishing and ball games. There were lots of societies, history
clubs, lodges, art clubs, etc. that are still in existence. We also
had a golf course established at an early date.
Osage County was attached
to Pawnee County for Judicial purposes only. The only tax paid was
personal tax, there was no real estate tax until after allotment.
The only school here in
the early day besides the Catholic school and the Government school for
Indians was a private school taught by Mrs. TUCKER. This school was
maintained by a monthly stipend from each student and was held in the Methodist
Church. There was a Catholic day school and also a Catholic school
for girls, a boarding school. The Government school on the Hill had
both a boys’ and girls’ Dormitory.
Paul Harris put in a private
telephone system in Pawhuska, Hominy, and Gray Horse in 1902 or 1903.
Submitted to OKGenWeb by Jacque Hopkins Wolski May 1999.