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Interview with Mrs. M. J. Slayton

Rush Springs, Oklahoma
June 24, 1939

My father, William Moncrief, was about a half-breed Choctaw, and mother was one-eighth. They lived for a time after the removal from Mississippi, near old Skullyville, in the Choctaw Nation, near Fort Smith. Later on they moved out near old Fort Arbuckle. My father was a guide and scout for the army and was with Capt. Massey (Marcy) for a long time. They helped the people going to the Gold Rush in California, in 1849, get through the country from Fort Smith to Sante Fe. Father was with Massey when they established Fort Arbuckle in 1853. When the orders were received by Massey to proceed with erection of buildings to start the fort, he turned them over to my father to carry them out. He often talked of the work and the trips made with Massey and his men. Black Beaver, the old Delaware Indian guide often went along with Massey's men and my father. Moncrief and Black Beaver were friends for many years. Father was one of the real "old-timers". When he and mother first settled near Fort Arbuckle there was not any people living around there at all. For years there was not any one living in the western part of the Chickasaw Nation.

My parents lived near Fort Arbuckle before the Civil War. Father helped at the fort. He was not in the army that I know of, being employeed as a guide and civilian employee of the army. He issued beef to the Indians from Ft. Arbuckle for along time. I don't think he took any part in the Civil War for at that time he was a real old man. He died about 1871 or 1872 after we had moved to our place near the Little Washita, close to the old post office called "Fred".

At one time my parents had a farm and ranch north of Pauls Valley at what they called Cherokeetwon. When we lived close to Fort Arbuckle, John Coyle, was carrying the mail for the government from Arbuckle to Fort Smith.

My folks and I came to the place near the mouth of the Little Washita about 1870 from Fort Arbuckle. This was the first sttlement in that part of the country. At that time there was a stage stand at Elm Springs and that was all. About that time a man named Cloud from down in around Gainsville, Texas located at Elm Springs and got some cattle, and put up a log house. It wasn't long though, until he left and Frank Murray located there. I guess he must have bought out what Cloud had there. That was back in 1872 I think. Mr. Cloud went back to Texas and died soon afterwards. His widow later married James Dibrell, a brother of Emmett McCaughey's mother.

While we lived near Fred, Jerry Carson worked on the ranch for my father, as a cowboy. He was a farly young man then. We all knew him well. My sister, Mrs. Garvin, and I always thought a lot of the Carson, Murray, and McCaughey families at Erin Springs. We knew them all well and often visited them. We even visit some of them yet, as fas as that goes.

Sam Moncrief was my brother. He lived for a long time across the Washita and up north of our home place. The name Moncrief is, I believe, a Scotch name. My fathers people came to this country from Glasgow, Scotland. He was a great friend of Uncle John Coyle until Mr. Coyle passed away. Coyle was born himself in Glasgow, Scotland, I think.

There was some Indian threats after we moved to Fred but never any trouble that amounted to anything that I can recall.