Field Worker: John F. Daugherty
Date: October 19, 1937
My parents were Ephraim Fraley and Jane Ramsey Fraley, both born in Virginia, dates unknown. Father was a farmer. There were seven children in our family. I was born in Virginia, September 2, 1874.
I came to Texas to visit an aunt when I was just a lad and met a cowman by the name of Harris, whom I liked very much. In 1887, he drove about four thousand head of cattle into the Territory to winter them, and I came with him at that time. I was general roust-about, doing whatever they told me to do, sometimes helping to cook and sometimes caring for the horses. I received twelve dollars and fifty cents for this work. We stayed at the old Gum Springs at Sulphur and at Grub Prairie on Wild Horse Creek west of Davis. We had a chuck wagon and a tent which was lined with buffalo hides in which we slept. Our beds were buffalo hides thrown on the ground. We stayed here two years and the cattle were sold to a St. Louis commission man.
Then I worked on ranches where I could get a job until I put in a ranch of my own near Three Mile Spring at Mill Creek. There were no fences until Susan Brown, a full blood Chickasaw, built a two wire drift fence east of Mill Creek, about ten miles long.
I built a double log house on my ranch. One day an old man came walking in to my house and asked if he might stay with me for awhile. In those days old men tramped around through the country and stayed anywhere they could. I was a bachelor with two hired hands who lived with me and we told the old man he was welcome if he could put up with our fare. He stayed with us a month or so. One day he said, "I'm going to dig a well for you". We had to haul water from the spring. I didn't think he could get the job done alone, but I was busy with my cattle and I told him he could try it. In three days he had a fine well of water, and we all walled it with rock. I few days later, he went away and we didn't hear of him again.
I had many hogs and had to drive them to Davis to market then. That was a slow and tiresome trip. The hogs were fat and they had to travel very slowly. I had a chuck wagon and an empty wagon in which we hauled hogs which became too tired to travel. We always took a wagon to haul calves in, also, when we drove a bunch of cattle.
After we got our hogs to market we sold them for three and a half cents per pound.
I raised some cotton and had it ginned on Blue River, east of Mill Creek, at a gin which was pulled by steers. The cotton was put into baskets from the wagon and carried upstairs and fed by hand.
When we killed a beef we drew the meat to the top of a twenty-five foot pole and flies wouldn't bother it. It would keep for some time up here even if the weather was not cold.
The town of Mill Creek was laid out in my pasture.
I married Josie English in 1902. We have no children.
Transcribed by Brenda Choate and Dennis Muncrief, April 2001.