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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: May 28, 1937
Name: William Hubert Aaron, M. D.
Post Office: Pawhuska, Oklahoma
Residence Address:  Triangle Building
Date of Birth: May 26, 1874
Place of Birth: Adams County, Illinois
Father: Caleb Aaron
Place of Birth: Delaware
Information on father:
Mother: Mary Catherine Judy
Place of birth: Adams County, Illinois
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 from Illinois.

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, all deceased.

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 lives.

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.