Field Worker: John F. Daugherty
Date: August 31, 1937
When I was just a lad I decided to come to the Indian Territory. I got a job as a cook for a ranch west of Chickasha which handled government steers. These were issued to the Indians through the Indian Agencies at Anadarko and Fort Sill as beef.
I went to Oklahoma City the second week after the opening in 1889 and worked in a brick yard. Oklahoma City was a tent city at that time, but there was much building in progress and a good demand for brick.
One night I was down town and I met a man who was hauling wire for the N.B. Warshaw Cattle Company. This company was going to build the first line fence in Indian Territory, thirty miles north of Anadarko. It was forty miles in length, and it ran east and west to hold the cattle to the south. This man asked me to drive a yoke of oxen back for him. This I decided to do, so I gave up my job and we started west. We had only a trail to follow and it took us about ten days to complete the trip. I stayed on the ranch for two or three months and got a job freight supplies from Pauls Valley to Fort Sill and Anadarko for the United States Government.
I had three wagons tied together and nine yoke of oxen to pull them. I was on the road all the time, making about two trips a month. I went from Pauls Valley to White Bead, then to Rush Springs and thence to Fort Sill. When I went to Anadarko I followed the Washita River. I drove from seven to ten miles a day. I was heavily loaded and the oxen traveled slowly.
The supplies which I hauled were issued to the Indians (Comanches, Kiowas and Apaches) once a month. Twice a year they made payments, which was the rent or permit money received from cattlemen for the western plains country for grazing purposes. They always paid money. The Indians would not accept checks. They were paid in gold or silver or currency. When these payments were being made there were numerous teepees covering two sections of land or more near the agencies at Fort Sill and Anadarko. The Indians usually camped a week or two before and after the payment was made. This was a gala time for them. They spent their money freely. There was much gambling.
I drew my pay every three months. Sometimes I was paid in silver. Then I had too much money to carry. I hardly knew what to do with it. Other times I was paid in currency.
I camped on the creeks and had only creek water to drink.
After the Rock Island Railroad came through Chickasha about 1892 all freighting to the Government Agencies was stopped. They sent an Indian with a team of ponies to Chickasha for their supplies.
I then sold fruit trees for awhile. Indians traded trees for ponies or whatever they had to trade. I sold sixty-five dollars worth of these trees to Quanah Parker, Chief of the Comanches. he lived near where Cache is now, about twelve miles from Lawton. He was living with his seventh wife, named "Too Nicey". When I sold him these trees I stayed all night with him. The Government had built him a beautiful home, but he refused to live in it. He lived in a tent which was beautifully furnished with plush carpets and fine furniture.
Three or four of his wives had tents near his. When he went away to Washington or elsewhere he wore a fine suit of clothes and diamonds, but as soon as he returned he would put on his blanket and moccasins. He spoke English fluently and was one of the finest looking men I knew.
I went back to Texas about 1894 and made several trips back to White Bead, west of Pauls Valley that fall, hauling corn. We bought it for eight or ten cents a bushel. We followed Wild Horse Creek for some distance. The houses were far apart, but most of them were along the creek. I rode on the last wagon. There were several wagons each time. I tied a grain of corn to a string and let it drag along behind the wagon as we passed the houses. If they had chickens, an old hen usually would follow the grain of corn, as we drove along, and then I would get off the wagon and catch her. We would have chicken for our supper.
I was married November, 1917, to Mrs. Adeline Story in Wichita Falls, Texas.
I moved to Murray County in 1936.
Transcribed by Brenda Choate and Dennis Muncrief, August 2001.