Interview #8495 WPA
Field Worker: Maurice R. Anderson
September 17, 1937
Name: Mrs. Charity Hartigan
Residence: Pauls Valley,
Date of Birth: 1863
Place of Birth: Virginia
born in Virginia
Elizabeth Prillaman, born in Virginia
Mrs. Charity Hartigan was born in 1863 in Virginia.
came to the Indian Territory with my father [William
Riley Gray, great grandson of Jacob Prillaman Sr. through his daughter
Anne] and mother [Elizabeth
Prillaman, great granddaughter of Jacob Prillaman Sr. through his son
John] in 1879. My father settled on Wild Horse Creek west of Fort Arbuckle
in the Chickasaw Nation. We came from Texas in covered wagons working oxen.
My father had two wagons and worked four oxen to each wagon. My father and brother
set to breaking land and getting it ready to plant corn. The first year
my father raised two or three small patches of corn and that winter all we had
to live on was deer, bear meat and corn bread. In the spring of 1880 I met a soldier
from Fort Sill named James J. Hartigan and we were married. He was a private in
the Fourth Cavalry then stationed at Fort Sill. My husband had been in the army
ten years at that time and I have heard him say the Fourth Cavalry had fought
the Indians from Mexico to the Black Hills of Dakota. After we were married
I went to live at Fort Sill. A short while after we were married my husband received
his discharge from the Cavalry and we started a dairy farm near Fort Sill on Medicine
We sold milk and butter to the officers at Fort Sill. Chief
Quanah Parker of the Comanche Indians was one of our best friends. Everyday
or so he would come and eat with us. He was only half Comanche Indian.
His mother was Cynthia Ann Parker, who was captured by the Comanche Indians and
was made the squaw of the Chief of the Comanches at that time. Quanah Parker has
told me that he and his sister were the only children his mother had and he said
his mother grieved herself to death over his father who was killed in a fight.
When his mother was taken from the Indians, Quanah Parker brought his family to
visit us one evening and he had a new hearse working two horses to it. My
husband asked him why he bought a hearse to haul his family in and he said because
it was so shiny. Quanah Parker only had two children when I knew him, a boy and
a girl. His girl took ill with some kind of disease and he took her to a
hospital in Texas but she died at the hospital.
Indians were friends to us. Many times my husband would be gone to the Fort
to sell milk and butter and I would be at our home alone. Sometimes two
or three of the Indian men with their faces painted and carrying tomahawks would
stop at our house and try to talk to me. I couldn't understand them but
my husband could, so I would point to a bench in the yard and they would sit there
and wait until my husband came home. When he came home they would laugh
and talk and sometimes the Indians would eat with us. Then away they would
go. They lived in wigwams and slept on bear and deer skins and blankets.
Right in the middle of their wigwams they would place a dug out where they built
their fires and they had a pot or two. This was all the cooking utensils
they owned. Many a time I have seen the squaws set the pot out in front
of their wigwam and let the dogs eat out of it and never wash it.Quanah Parker
has told us that dog meat was better than bear meat. I will never forget
one time my husband promised Quanah Parker we would come and eat with him and
we went. He had a pot of some kind of meat cooked up but before time to
eat I played off sick and had to be taken home. I was afraid it was dog
We were living on Medicine Creek near Medicine Bluff when
the Comanches, Kiowas and Cheyennes held their council meeting to see if they
should lease their land to the cattlemen. The big cattlemen brought several
steers and put them in our pen for the Indians so they could have a big barbecue.
They danced and ate for two days and the cattlemen got the lease. That was
husband sold our milk cows and we went over in the Cherokee Country and thought
we would try farming. My husband knew nothing about farming and this didn't
suite us, so we came to Whitebead Hill, in the Chickasaw Nation where my brother,
A.C. Gray, ran a shoe shop. My husband made a barber chair and opened up
a barber shop in the front end of the shoe shop which my brother owned.
There were two stores and a stage stand there. At that time James Rennie
owned one of the stores and he was postmaster and the post office was in his store.
There was a stage line running from Caddo to Fort Sill. They worked four
horses, and the drivers would sit on top of the stage and the horses would go
in a trot most of the time. They had regular stops where they would
change horses. When I lived at Fort Sill, Anadarko was called the Washita Agency.
husband was the barber at Whitebead from 1884 until he died in 1891. Before the
railroad came through Pauls Valley, Whitebead was the main trading point; but
after the railroad came through Pauls Valley in 1887 Whitebead went to losing
out and Pauls Valley began building since it was on the main line of the railroad.
now live with my daughter in Pauls Valley.
to Brenda Choate firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to publish and also to Dava
Sanders Woodard for supplying the final portion of this document)