Indian Pioneer Papers
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Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: June 16, 1937
Name: Mr. O.I. Lorence
Residence: Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1883
Place of Birth: Arkansas
Father: William Lorence, born in Arkansas
Mother: Delpha West, born in Arkansas
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
I came to the Choctaw Nation with my father and mother in 1893. We left Arkansas in a wagon, working four steers and I remember that trip quite well as it took us three months and twenty-four days to make the trip.
While on this trip I saw my first $20.00 gold piece. My father had run out of money and we didn't have any groceries so he was forced to sell one yoke of our steers and a man gave him the $20.00 gold piece for the yoke of steers, which went for groceries.
We made the trip on to Lehigh and on arriving there my father had about $5.00 left out of the $20.00 gold piece. We camped on a creek near Lehigh and my father cut poles and made a camp for us which was fixed like an Indian wigwam. My mother had plenty of quilts so that was what our wigwam was covered with.
I remember an Indian man named Sampson Roberts coming to where we camped and my father made a deal some way with him. During this time my father couldn't find work and he was forced to sell the other yoke of steers to get money to live on. This Indian gave us a span of horses to move our wagon with, so we moved about five miles to his place and my father and I went to work building a log house with a dirt floor. It was a poor piece of work, but it was a place we could call home.
After we got our house built we started clearing up some land to raise corn. The first year we had in five acres of corn. We always had plenty of meat for the table as deer and turkey were plentiful and when we wanted honey all we had to do was to go and cut a bee tree.
There were plenty of wild hogs and wild horses in the cane brakes on Muddy Boggy. I remember my father and this Indian, Sampson Roberts, went down on Muddy Boggy one time. They were gone two days and when they came back, my father was leading two wild horses which they had hemmed up and caught. It took us about a week to break these two horses to work. In five years after we came to Lehigh, my father had fifty horses broken to ride and work. I don't know the number of them he had sold after breaking them to ride and work.
We never raised cotton while we lived around Lehigh as there was no market for cotton there at that time. The nearest market was at Denison, Texas, and we only raised corn for bread. We did not have to feed our stock as there was plenty of grass the year round.
The Indians around Lehigh were Choctaws and they were very friendly. My father has said the only fault they had was they never paid back what they borrowed.
The wolves gave us lots of trouble. My father would hunt in the winter. I have seen him bring in three or four bear skins a day and at night he would bait for wolves. The wolves would come right into the yard after the meat which my father would hang up for a trap for them and when five or six wolves would get around the meat, Father would shoot and kill two or three at one shot.
We lived around there until 1900, when we moved to Wynnewood, in the Chickasaw Nation. My father rented land and we went to raising cotton and corn for the market. Corn was very cheap then. We have sold corn at 10 cents a bushel.
The first year we farmed at Wynnewood, we raised about two thousand bushels of corn and ten bales of cotton. We made more money that year than we did in five years at Lehigh.
I now live in Pauls Valley where I own a furniture store.
Submitted to OKGenWeb by Brenda Choate September 2003
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