Field Worker: John F. Daugherty
Date: January 15, 1938
My parents were James W. Ford, born in North Carolina, and Betty Geno Ford, born in Mississippi. Father was a farmer and practitioner. There were six children in our family. I was born in Arkansas, February 22, 1875, and moved with my parents to the Indian Territory in 1888.
We settled at Thackerville, in the Chickasaw Nation. We lived in a double log house chinked with red mud. We had a six shooter chimney. This was made of sticks and dirt for the lower part. The stem was made of sheet iron made into a pipe. It was placed on the lower part of the chimney, and was fastened with mud and stay wired, fastened to the logs to keep the wind from blowing it down.
Father built a small log room in the yard for my brother and me to sleep in. Many a morning in the winter we awoke to find our bed completely covered with snow. We crawled out of bed and ran barefooted through the snow to the main log house where a cheery fire in the fireplace awaited us. Here we warmed our feet and put on our shoes.
There were very few doctors in those days, although there was no law regarding medical practice and anybody who desired could call on those who were sick. The few doctors we had were uneducated. Most of them just read 'doctor books' and prescribed according to tem, carrying their medicine with them. One day a neighbor became very ill. A man who pretended to be a doctor was called. I happened to be there and as the doctor came out I asked him what was the matter with the man. He replied, "He's sick". But he was unable to tell what was the matter with his patient.
Another incident which I remember was when a neighbor had a sick child. They sent a grown son for the doctor, and the doctor was so drunk that thy boy had to drive his horse for him. When they arrived at the house, the boy got out of the buggy, helped the doctor out and the doctor couldn't stand. He fell to the ground, crawled to the house and then through it on his hands and knees. He crawled out the back door and to a shade where he lay down and slept for three hours. When he awoke he asked what he was there for. Somebody told him there was a child inside the house who needed his attention. He got up, went into the house, gave the child some medicine to be taken as he prescribed and departed. The child recovered. Incidents like these were common, so people preferred to doctor themselves when they became ill.
Father moved south of Ardmore in 1891 and had a running lease for ten years under a Chickasaw Indian. This was a lease which required that a certain number of acres be added to those already in cultivation each year of the ten, thus enlarging the amount of cultivated land each year.
I married Gertrude Hodges at Ardmore in 1907 and we moved to Hickory in Murray County. Here we have resided since.
Transcribed by Brenda Choate and Dennis Muncrief, April, 2001