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.
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
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
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
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.
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,
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.