Aunt Sippia, with Three of Her Daughters and an Old Friend
Here's the second part of my great great aunt Sippia's "Reminiscences" as she called them. The first part was posted June 11, 2011. I'll put in some explanations in parentheses when they seem necessary.
Reminiscences of Mrs. Sippia Hull
July 2nd, 1929
For quite a while after the war, we were the only settlers in this section of the country. My father hired us a private teacher. It was not easy to get teachers to come and live on this frontier, so our education was quite limited. (Aunt Sippia got some additional education at Fort Sill but her brother Sam only got through the fourth reader. In spite of this limited formal education he learned to speak 8 different languages, was a Chickasaw senator, edited two newspapers and became a practicing attorney) At the early age of 16, I was married to Jim Arnold, a Texan, and one little girl was born to us, named Tamsie. (Sippia named her daughter after her grandmother, Smith Paul's mother.) After five years I was left a widow (The story my great uncle told was that Arnold borrowed some money from Sippia's father Smith Paul and left, saying he was going to Sherman, Texas for supplies. He never returned. Sippia always thought he had been bushwhacked, but rest of the family thought that Arnold took the money and ran.)
Knowing they had a school for Indians at Fort Sill, I decided to go up there to school. I boarded with a Mexican woman who had been ransomed and married and raised a family. She was ransomed by a soldier by the name of Chandler who afterwards married her. I took my little girl along with me and Mrs Chandler took care of her while I attended school. (See Hitchcock and the Chickasaws, Posted 1/1/11 which describes the lucrative trade in hostages developed by some of the plains tribes) While I was there I met William Hull an Englishman, who was employed by the government to work under the Indian agent Tatum. After he met me he decided to come down and live near my father. He was a professional black-smith. This was on the main travel road of the freighters to Fort Sill and Fort Cobb. He accumulated quite a fortune at that business. Then we were married. (Smith Paul's farm was one of the main stops for lodging and supplies on the way to Fort Sill and Fort Cobb)
The school I attended in Fort Sill was under the supervision of the Quakers. Of course I attended their church, it all seemed very strange to me, for when they went in the church they usually sang a song first, then they sat and waited for the spirit to move them. Sometimes some one would pray or talk and then again there were times when no one would either talk or pray, they would sit quietly for a while and then leave. (In 1868 after his inauguration as President, Ulysses Grant met with Quaker leaders who proposed approaching hostile Indian tribes peacefully. Grant was impressed and allowed them to establish schools and missions in Indian Territory. His comment was, "If you can make Quakers out of the Indians it will take the fight out of them." Agent Tatum whom Aunt Sippia mentions above was one of these Quaker missionaries and agent to the Comanches. It sounds like it was the peaceful Indians that took advantage of the schools rather than the Comanches.)
Footnote Oklahoma, A History of Five Centuries, by Arrell Gibson, P 252
While my father was not a religious man he realized that we must have the uplifting influence of hearing the gospel preached. So he hired a preacher by the name of E. Couch from Texas, to preach to us regularly every Sunday, he made his home with us. By that time there was more people living in this part of the country but miles and miles apart, but they would come to this service and my father and mother always arranged to have a splendid meal for the entire congregation, as that was one of the pleasant occasions that we looked forward to. Then later my father built a frame church himself, having the lumber freighted from Atoka. We had many other ministers of other denominations, but I do not remember their names now. It was not a matter of choice to him as to the denomination. J. M. Hamill Superintendent of Colbert School and pastor at Ft. Arbuckle also preached to us. (The last sentence was added later.)
About this time my husband had lumber freighted from Atoka to build us a home. By this time my father had accumulated sufficient wealth to build him a huge log house a story and a half high, which was about three quarters of a mile from the present town of Pauls Valley. It was there he had a large fruit orchard set out. When the fruit began to bear he gave away to everyone that wanted it and some came and hauled it off by the wagon loads. It was at this home that my mother died, in 1972.
In about five years my father married a young woman by the name of Sara Ann Lily, her family lived in this locality. Then he built the rock house which was about a quarter of a mile from the log house. (See story about the rock house Smith Paul built in Roots, posted 9/18/2010.) My father died in 1893, at White Bead, and left a widow and two children by the name of Steve and Tamsie.
During the Civil War we had to spin and weave all of our cloth to make our clothes, and knit our hose. I was anxious to do what every one else did and they let me, although I was only about nine years old, I wove enough cloth to make me a dress, even though it looked rather knottie, they made me a dress out of it. The cotton from which we spun the thread had to be picked from the seeds with our fingers, we usually did this work at night. The pecans grew in this locality in great abundance as they do today, and we ate nuts and picked the cotton off the seeds and my mother would tell us Indian legends. We learned by putting the cotton down by the fire and getting it warm, it was much easier to get the seeds out. It was during those early days that a man came through the country with what he called a miniature gin, similar to a clothe's ringer of today, and this helped us to get the seeds out faster. Of course people came in to see how it worked and every one wanted to try and turn the handle and my brother boy-like turned it and broke the handle off. My mother used to make straw hats for the boys out of wheat straw and in the winter they would catch coons and she would make them caps out of the skins. My father would make us shoes out of cow-hide, he could do a little of everything, but this was only in war times. How I disliked them, how glad I was when we could buy shoes ready made.
When it was hog-killing time the men dug a large pit and they brought up right near the pit dead wood for a fire and rocks. Then they would fill this pit nearly full of water, and then roll the rocks that had been heated by this fire into the water, making it hot enough to scald the hogs and usually they were able to take care of about fifteen at a time. All the neighbors would come to help. They would have great fun with each other in the work and broiling the meats to eat. We made sausage but we had no sausage mills in those days, we had mortars and beat it with a pestle.
When they first began raising wheat in Pauls Valley, after they had the wheat shocked, they would first cut off the heads, get it in a low pile and drive the oxen around and around on it, then it was taken up and fanned. The husks were removed and the wheat sacked up. The nearest mill to grind the wheat and the corn was what is now Franks, Oklahoma, it was there that Gov. Cyrus Harris built the first mill, after the war. It was built on Mill Creek. It took them days and days to go and come. (Cyrus Harris was the first governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1856 after the Constitution was written and also was governor from 1866 - 70 after the Civil War.)
Footnote: The Chickasaws, Arrell M Gibson
And one of the things I remember which made such an impression on my mind was the dreadful epidemic of Small-pox. There was two kinds, the Black small-pox, which was usually fatal, and the red small-pox which was a milder form. My brother Sam was on a scouting expedition among the wild tribes and took the small-pox. My father heard of him being sick, and when he located him he was almost dead but he nursed him until he got well, and brought him home. That was the way the small-pox was brought to our family, and we all had it. But we knew how to doctor ourselves and all of the family lived. The plains Indians had caught it by this time too and died in great numbers, some times an entire family died, because there was not one left to wait on the other. They did not understand how to take care of themselves and would go out and take cold. They were buried up and down the river and where the town of Pauls Valley now stands.
In the year of 1874 my husband and I moved to the Washita River near White Bead Hill now called White Bead, where we erected a very commodious and comfortable home. We put in a farm of several hundred acres. It was at this home that my husband died. We had six children born to us, four girls and two boys, William Hull, deceased, La Vina Hull Merchant, Jessie Hull, Melville Hull, Lucia Hull, deceased, Flora Hull McSweeney, Bessie Hull Brim. A few years before my husband's death I went to California with a son for his health, but he soon passed away and I returned to Oklahoma. I had learned to like California and did not feel satisfied in my old home without my husband, and I returned to California with one of my daughters and I have made my home there every since, and I am quite contented there as all of my children have come there to live with the exception of one. I cannot say I love California better than my own state and country but I like the milder climate better, and I know that it is best for my health. I will always love to come back as long as I can and visit my relatives and old friends.
Aunt Sippia and her daughters moved to California near Bakersfield, and unflrtunately we have lost touch with them.