Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
Indian Pioneer History Project for
Date: October 20, 1937
Name: H. L. Staples
Post Office: McAlester, Oklahoma
Residence Address: 13th and Wyandotte
Date of Birth: January 11, 1868
Place of Birth: Boone County, Arkansas
Father: Benjamin Franklin Staples
Place of Birth: Jefferson Co., Tennessee
Information on father:
Mother: Martha Levinie Greer
Place of birth: Arkansas
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Charline M. Culbertson
I was born in 1868, in Boone County,
Arkansas, seven miles from the Harrison County Seat, on Crooked Creek.
My parents were Benjamin Franklin Staples
and Martha Levinie Staples. Both are buried on the old Bond place, three or
four miles from Haywood.
I came with my parents and Uncle Joe
WALLTRIP to the Indian Territory, when I was eleven years of age. We came in a
covered wagon and first located three miles south of Kiowa, on the Tom
THOMPSON place, where we stayed one year and my father made a crop.
We were on our way to Texas but as Father
had a sister and a brother here in the Territory, we stopped here. They lived
over in Bryce Valley, southwest of Pittsburg.
Our first home was a little one-room box
After living here one year, Father moved
his family to Savanna, where we had lots of Indian friends such as Alvin
LEWIS, Res CHUNN and Hagen ANDERSON.
It was here in Savanna that I went to my
first school. The box house school building was located east of the main
street, on the hillside. Indians and whites both attended. The school teacher
was a man by the name of KILEGORE. The Indian children were taught English. We
didn’t use the Blue-back speller but had more up-to-date books. We had long
desks with three or four scholars in each seat. We did our work on the black
board, not on paper.
Our first home at Savanna was a double log
house, a little southeast of Savanna. It had a fireplace at one end with a
chink and daub chimney made of sticks and clay. The floors were rough lumber
and the roof was board. There were thirty-five acres with the place and father
planted it all corn.
I loaded and hauled coal from the first
mine in Savanna to the railroad switch. It was one mile to the switch. Father
later got the timber contract and I drove a team for him.
There were many deer and wolves. I have
seen as many as fifteen or twenty wild turkeys in a flock.
At this time we used what we called the
cap and ball rifle; I have my father’s that he brought with him to the
Territory. I killed my first deer and turkey with it.
I stayed occasionally with an Indian
family by the name of Anderson. In the evenings after supper they would sit
around a fireplace. They never talked much, just sat and looked at me.
I recall a few United States Marshals such
as George POUNDS and Baz REEVES. There were lots of United States Marshals in
the Territory, as this seemed to be a hiding place for the outlaws. The
prisoners were carried in wagons. There were always five or six deputies and
I have attended several Indian camp
meetings and, also, their rough ball games. Often a player would be killed.
We did most of our trading at Stringtown;
we also took out corn there to be ground.
Our community church house was located on
the hill east of the main street.
I recall several cattle ranches such as
the Hill Ranch near Brewer, which handled about nine hundred head. The Dr.
HARRIS’ Ranch was near Boggy and handled about eight hundred head. The Sloan
Ranch at Big Prairie handled about one thousand head as did the Cob-Barnett
Ranch. I worked on the Hill Ranch for a short while.
[Submitter’s Comments: Harvey Leander
Staples married Mary A. DeShane on January 26, 1897 in Indian Territory. Mary
("Mollie") was born July 28, 1877 in Grayson County, Texas. They had
nine children: Harvey Orcenith (my grandfather), Martha E., Frances A. D.,
Benjamin A., Monnie E., Edward Burk, Malissa A., Charles Thedford, and Hugh
Robert. H. L. died April 29, 1952 in McAlester and is buried in Oak Hill
Cemetery next to his wife.]
Submitted to OKGenWeb by
Kelli Staples <firstname.lastname@example.org>