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Interview with Miss Cora Carson

Erin Springs, Oklahoma
April 2, 1939

Jerry Carson, the father of Miss Cora, was born at Ft. Gibson. His mother was America Monk and his father was Lindsay Carson, a brother of Kit Carson.

During the Civil War, Jerry Carson was a scout connected with the army and bartered with the Comanches for the return of captives from Texas and the Indian Territory. He was stationed at Fort Arbuckle and Fort Cobb.

He worked for a time after the War for Mrs. Sophie McCaughey, at her home near Ft. Arbuckle. She had quite a herd of cattle at that time and when, in 1867, she moved to Elm Springs, Jerry Carson went along as a cowhand. Later her married a daughter of Mrs. McCaughey, Talulah, who became the mother of Miss Cora and the other Carson children.

Mrs. Susan (Moncrief) Garvin, widow of Samuel Garvin, told Miss Cora that the only education she received was thru the efforts of Jerry Carson. At that time (in the 70's) they (the Moncrief family) resided at Fred. Mr. Carson was a cowpuncher, and Miss Moncrief, when a girl, rode ahead of him on horseback, to the school near Fort Sill, where she attended for some months.

Mrs. Garvin also told of several times when the ranchers located near Fred, on the Little Washita, and the extreme western edge of the Chickasaw Nation, would, when threatened by the never-too-friendly Kiowas, Comanches and Caddoes, take their familmas to Erin Springs. After a hurried trip in a wagon, or a buggy to the latter place, the ranchers would return to their homes and, with the help of the faithful and fearless cowboys, endeavor to protect their homes and their cattle as best they could from the hostile Indians.

For a long time after Elm Springs was settled no farming operations of any extent were carried on. Most everyone had a small patch enclosed with a staked-and-ridered rail fence. In this field they would plane a garden and some corn for their horses. The cattle ranged anywhere the desired. Cowboys rode over the country and kept them in the general vicinity of the range being used at that season. Many of them strayed off, though, and had to be sorted out from the band rounded up on the big spring round-up. All cattle were supposed to bear the brand on their owner. After the advent of barbed wire ranges began to be fenced off and the cattle were confined to their owners fenced pasture, some such pastures containing thousands of acres.

The first store at Erin Springs remembered by Miss Carson was Miller & Green. Later Frank Lowe & Clayton had a general store.

Mrs. Jerry Carson, (Talulah McCaughey) was one of the charter members of the Erin Springs Methodist Church, along with her mother, Mrs. Sophie McCaughey, and the mother of Jerry Carson, then Mrs. L. F. (Grandma) Rounds. This was the only church established at this place. Some ministers were: Stuckey and Davis.

Miss Carson remembers as being at Erin Springs Doctors McMurtry; Bain; Scalley and Ryan. (Hyan probably did not ever reside at Erin Springs. He practiced in that area but lived at White Bead Hill. CWJ.)

Jerry Carson worked for a time for the Moncrief family at Fred and assisted them in bringing the women and children and sometimes even herds of their cattle to Erin Springs to escape the depredations of the Comanches.

Miss Cora is of the opinion that the negro that was hung near Erin Springs was being taken by the U. S. Marshall to Fort Smith for trial, when he was taken away from his escort by some irate white citizens and hung to a tree about a mile west of the Murray home. The location of the execution was about 1/2 mile north of the Emmett McCaughey home, not very far from the Washita River.

The stone house built by Murray was made from native gray stone secured some miles up the valley of Rounds Creek and hauled to the locatmon by Murray's ranch hands. The building was constructed (in 1883) by John Coyle and a Mr. O'Brien.

No schools were provided in that section by the Chickasaw tribal government. This is accounted for by the fact that most of the early settlers of Elm Springs were whites, intermarried citizens, or Indians that were nearly all white. (Mrs. Sophie (Dibrell) McCaughey was only one-eighth Choctaw and her children were only one-sixteenth blood. CWJ) The first schools were subscription schools. Many of the boys and girls of that place attended no other school. One of the teachers Miss Carson recalls was a Mr. Isley. She also remembers a Miss Fox and Mrs. Sam Wallace who taught there. Mrs. Wallace was a part Choctaw and now (1939) has a son, Mr. Harold Wallace, who resides at Ardmore, Oklahoma.

This statement made by Miss Cora Carson to C. W. Johnson on April 2, 1939.