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Nancy Bellzona's Picture Book
The Collins -
Adah Gertrude Jones Wadley


Adah Gertrude Jones WadleyADAH GERTRUDE JONES WADLEY, MRS. DAN T. WADLEY Born, March 11, 1890-Died, July 13, 1986 March 5, 1991. These are Gertrude's handwritten notes from Paulagean Wadley King, daughter of Gertrude. They were written and signed April 16, 1968. At the top of the page a note saying: Mrs. Rodney, Donna Jones, Flood. Rodney is an electronic technician with Will Rogers Air Base with the government. He has a very good job." These are her notes; written for her niece, Donna Colleen Jones Flood, twenty-three years ago. July 1986.

HIGH LIGHTS OF LAND PIONEERING
By: Mrs. Dan T. Wadley

I was born in 1890, March 11, in Oklahoma. I am an Oklahoman by birth, born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma territory, in the Osage Nation. My father was Joseph Hubbard Jones of Welch ancestors and my mother was Nancy Bellzona Collins of Scotch-Irish and Cherokee Indian blood. I was born northwest of Bartlesville, Oklahoma just out of town at the foot of the Osage hills on Big Caney River, close to Hogshooters Creek in a tent. I would need a map to verify the location.

1890, PETERSBURG, OKLAHOMA

When I was a baby my family moved to Petersburg, Oklahoma across the Red River from Nocona, Texas, north of Jefferson. My father established, or bought a general merchandising store and had the U.S. Post Office. Dad and Mother worked in the store. I would get tired at the store and go to the house to play. We lived a few blocks away. I had a little girl and boy play mate there. Her name was Marnnie Lovitte and her brother's name I forget; seems like it was Jimmie.

Oklahoma strip - 1893

The strip of Oklahoma was to be opened for homesteads in 1893, September the 9th. My Dad sold his store, loaded up a covered wagon with their house hold things and with a two seated covered, fringed, scurry, buggy, which my mother drove with a buggy team, Dad took his wagon with its team of work horses and also a race horse, to make the run.

To get a home stead you had to make a run for them, putting up a stake, calling it "staking a claim, with a flag on it." When you found the place you wanted, if someone else had not beat you to it, of course, you filed on it. I can't remember if the filing place was Oklahoma City or Guthrie, but I believe, it was Guthrie. We came to Guthrie, crossed the Cimarron right north of town and camped there to wait the day of the race.

Coming through Oklahoma City, right down main street, my mother's team ran away with her. Some boys had stretched a rope across the street, jerked the rope up in front of the horses and frightened them; so we went through the city in a hurry.

Gertrude writes on, "But Mother kept them under control without anyone or anything being hurt.

A family was traveling with us, by the name of Ambrose Stanton and wife and five children: Bertha, Bessie, Clara, Willie and Auther. The Sooners [squatters] who had come into the country too soon, before it was lawful, gave the settlers a lot of trouble. They were the people who thought the world owed them a living, mostly cattlemen, who wanted the range.

When the morning came for the run, Dad and Mr. Stanton left at sunup or very early for the starting line, which was a few miles distance of Guthrie, north. The line was east and west, they ran from the line north to the Kansas border. I can't remember the length of the line, but Enid was the county seat of Dad's homestead. Mr. Stanton staked his claim a mile north of ours.

When the time came to start that morning, they fired a gun or guns, to start the run signal to go. They all started, some on foot, on horseback, carts, buggies, wagons, and the line was very crowded. There were, no roads to follow just go across the country north, anyway you could make it to the Kansas border.

My father knew where he was going, for he had traveled through the territory many times with herds of cattle, from the south. He was a cowboy from the time he was fourteen years of age. He wanted land up around Enid which was called the Antelope Flats. But when the guns were fired it scared a horse next to him which ran into Dad's horse with a wagon tongue. His horse just took out and he couldn't hold him back; so he left the others behind him. Dad, Mr. Stanton, and a young woman traveled together, all three riding race horses. She wanted to go to the Antelope Flats also. There were branches, creeks, and rough places to cross. She never did get out of her saddle where Dad and Mr. Stanton got off and led their horses, she jumped the places with her horse. She got what she was riding for. Her horse died that night and she the next day.

Dad had been used to bottom land along the river and he rode his horse harder than he intended to in order to stake some river land, and he did. The 4-D River forks on my Dad's homestead. They had to stay on their land that first night, where they put up their flag.

The next morning when they were going back for their families, Dad pulled off his coat. There were some big rocks near. He laid his coat on a rock, then put one on top to hold it there, and he left it there to come back to Guthrie for us.

I was, three and one half years old and I don't remember too much about it. Some things though are vivid. Somewhere they got some watermelons, we stopped on the way to eat. I thought they were the biggest and reddest I had ever seen and they were, oh, so, good. I don't know how long we were with the wagons, getting to our new home, but on the way we had to stop and fight prairie fires in order to get through.

When we got to our place, a fire had passed over and burned Dad's coat up, all but what was under the rock.

The homestead was one hundred and sixty acres, the same for all.

IMPROVING THE LAND

A tent was set up to live in. It was small with boards around the bottom, dirt banked around them. The tent kept us very warm. This was in September. Dad immediately built a one room house; then he started hewing logs for a house. He and Mother, with an axe, crosscut saw wedges, hammers and chisels got enough logs hewed by spring to build a two-story house. [It remains there, to this day.]

He didn't like the first location so he moved to a new location north of the north branch of 4-D creek. He moved the one room house for a smoke house, where he cured all our meat he butchered when the weather was cold enough.

Next, came the getting the land ready. It had never been broke [plowed.] A plow was used for turning sod, made for that purpose. It was called a sod plow. The sod was turned about four or five inches deep and about twelve or fourteen inches wide. This sod was used to build homes. Dad built our chicken house of sod. Sod crops were: corn, caffer, watermelons, cantaloupe, muskmelons. The crops were real- fine. The next year the farming of the new land was done with turning plows, cultivators, planters, go-devils, etc.

For the first crop with the sod plow, Dad turned the sod and Mother and I followed behind and dropped the grain in the furrow. When he came around the second time it would cover the already planted seed and make a new furrow where we would plant the next row, and so on, until all was done. The crops after the first year were: wheat, corn, caffer, oats, castor beans and cotton. We found out it was too cold there for cotton. Castor beans were too poisonous to work with by hand so Dad discontinued them. We lived on the homestead until we proved it up. This was seven years.

BUILDINGS

There were no church buildings. Our first school house was a half dugout. A frame building was built where we had school, church and Sunday school. There was singing in the afternoon. Literacy was on Saturday night when children sang gave speeches, plays, etc.

ENTERTAINMENT

For entertainment in those early days there was picnics, parties and dances. My mother and my father both played the violin. Mother's two brothers, John and Bill Collins, were both violin players also. When the young people wanted to dance, they would all get together and come to our house. So many times, when Mother and Dad came in from the fields from work of evening and the young folkswould be waiting for them. Then, when Easter or the fourth of July or any tine they chose to, they would gather together for a big dinner. Swings would be put up. There were ball games, races and so on. Everyone would come from far and near. They would spread dinners on the ground and everyone helped themselves. we had a big grove of trees in the forks of the river and this is where the people all came for picnics.