Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Name: Mr. C. L.
Residence Address: Pauls
Date of Birth: March 16, 1875
Place of Birth:
Father: R. H. Thompson
Information on Father: born in 1845
Information on Mother: born in 1857
Field Worker: Maurice R.
My father and mother and myself left Kentucky on a
steamboat to St. Louis, Missouri and took a train from there to
Arkansas. We lived in Arkansas nine years, then we moved to Texas in
1889 and farmed there one year. My father wanted to come to the
Indian Territory, so in 1890 we started out in a wagon working two mules.
We settled on Wolf Creek, about 15 miles south of Ardmore, Indian
Territory. The first year we farmed, or we tried to farm. We had
to plant our crop over seven times because every time a hard rain came, Wolf
Creek would rise and wash away our crop. After all this hard luck, we
made an average crop, corn was our main crop.
I lived with my father and mother until I married in
1897. Before I was married I had bought a wagon and team, so I decided
to start out on my own. I loaded up the household goods we had, and my
wife and I started to the Washita River near Berwyn, Indian Territory.
We had to wait there three days until the river went down, so we could get
across. The man who ran the ferry was afraid to try to take us across
until the river receded. I had no money at all. We had only beans,
cornbread, and squirrel to eat. After the river went down, I gave my
razor to the ferryman to take us across.
We located near Ashland, about thirty-five miles from
McAlester. I made a living that first winter and saved some money by
hunting and selling furs. I owned a good hunting dog. I have
caught as many as fifteen skunks in one day with him, and would get about one
dollar for skink hides and thirty cents a piece for opossum. There
were lots of opossum, skunk and coon in that part of the country. I
saved up some money and the next year, 1898, I made my first crop by
myself. I rented twenty acres and the land-lord wanted it planted in
cotton. I planted fifteen acres of cotton and the five acres besides my
garden, in corn. I made plenty of corn and several bales of
cotton. I had to haul my cotton thirty-five miles to a gin at
McAlester. It took about three days to go to the gin and back
I farmed around Ashland until 1903, then I decided to
sell out and go back to where my father and mother, and my wife's parents
lived, near Ardmore. After starting out I had a man to take us to
Woodsville. It was on the day the first passenger train was to leave
Woodsville for Ardmore so they didn't charge any fare. It was about
fifty miles distance. We left there at 10:30 a.m. and arrived in Ardmore
at 6:00 p.m.. We stayed in Ardmore all night and the next day a livery
hack took us out to my father-in-law's home about fifteen miles and I paid
five dollars for the ride.
We stayed there awhile and then we went to Lindsay and
stayed there about six months, working for wages by the day. Then I
decided to go back to Ashland. At Ashland I bought one horse and rented
a small place and started farming again.
In May 1904, I saw my first big cyclone, and immediately
following that a cyclone came every week for five weeks. That year I
made only about thirteen hundred pounds of cotton, but the next year I made a
good crop. On March 16, 1907, my thirty-second birthday, my wife and I
became the parents of a nine-pound baby girl.
I lived around Ashland until 1924, when I moved to Pauls
Valley, where I now live. I am the father of ten children, eight girls
and two boys; six of my children are living. My father and mother have
been dead several years.
Transcribed for OKGenWeb by
Brenda Choate <email@example.com> November 2000.