The Hobart Democrat-Chief
Hobart, Oklahoma, Thursday, June 11, 1942
Final Rites for J.A. Givens Held Here Today -- Funeral services for James Abraham Givens, who died in his home here Wednesday morning were held at 2:30 this afternoon in the Baptist church.
Givens was born Aug. 2, 1862, in Nashville, Tenn. Survivors include: his widow, Mrs. Ola Given, two daughters, Mrs. Nellie Plum and Mrs. Callie Cross of Waldron, Ark., and four step-children, Mrs. Blaine Long, Oklahoma City; Mrs. Bryan Scott, Norman; Mrs. Etta Settle, Hobart and Eugene Killion, Porum. Interment will be in the Hobart cemetery under the direction of Gish Funeral home.
Interview #10187, Givens,
Ethel B. Tackitt
Interview with James Abraham Givens
Memories of Ryan Farm now the town of Ryan in Jefferson County in 1889.
I was born in Tennessee August 1, 1862. My father, Anderson Givens, was also a native of Tennessee as was my mother Harriett McLamore Givens.
In 1889 I moved to the Chickasaw Indian Territory and leased land on the Ryan Farm from Mr. Ryan, the man for whom the present town of Ryan was named. Ryan was a white man who had married an Indian woman and they were people of far above the usual intelligence of the Indians of that time, for the schools for both Indians and whites taught the pupils little more than to read and write.
There was a law observed by the Indians which provided that any one of them could own and control any amount of land which they would plow a furrow around, providing that this furrow did not come nearer to the land owned by some other Indian, than one quarter of a mile.
This man Ryan had under control an immense amount of land
six or eight miles wide and I have no idea how long, as well as other
places. This land was
very productive and he leased it out
to white people free of expense for three years, if they would clear
it and put it into a state of
cultivation, and if they would build, as the building materials were
growing on the land and had to
be cut off and grubbed out before the land could be plowed. Most
of the fences were stake and rider
fences of rails or where the brush was thick and the hogs were needed
to be kept out the patch was
surrounded by a brush fence. This was done by leaving good sized
trees at convenient distances
The big trees were girded - that is cut through the bark all round and left to die if not needed at once for making house logs or boards, and those of the next size were used for rails and if large enough were split into two or four. Rail splitting was quite an art and the best rail splitter in the community was appreciated by his friends as much as the present day foot-ball champion.
This land produced well but hauling so far with teams and
or oxen over unworked
roads and with no bridges was a great disadvantage. There was
no railroad near and we had to haul
across Red River to Henryetta in Clay County, Texas, or Belcherville
in Montague County, Texas.
Sometimes we went to Ardmore in the Territory but the roads were very bad and the Territory market was not very dependable and for that reason we usually went to Texas to sell our produce and buy our supplies, trusting to luck in fording Red River.
During this time the Chickasaw Indians looked with much distrust upon the Comanche Indians who were kept on the Reservation at Fort Sill as there was very bad feelings between the two tribes and the Chickasaws simply would not permit a Comanche on their Territory. At last the trouble reached such a state that in case a Comanche Indian had to cross their boundary he had to carry a permit signed by a United States Deputy Marshal, else the Chickasaws would simply kill him.
The Chickasaw Indians seemed to want the white people to lease
land and I was always well
treated by them. In 1890 the corn crop in this district was
and as marketing was such a
problem, there was soon no market to be found and the corn was
hauled to the present site of Ryan
and piled in ricks a hundred and fifty feet long and as high as a man
could throw it from a wagon
bed, and here the farmers left it with the hope that they might be
able to get buyers. To my
knowledge it remained there in the ricks for three years, then it was
“guessed off” and sold to a
After the railroad came through that part of the country the change was rapid, but the land did not belong to the white people who had put so many years work on some of these places and when they were forced to move off they had nothing to show for their labor. This is the reason so many persons now old have no homes.
I have lived in Oklahoma forty-eight years from the time when
was free open range and the
people could have all the land they could plow around to the time when
we can not even stop on the
road one hour without having to give a reason for the stop. After
the opening of the Kiowa Country
in 1901, I came to Kiowa County where I have since made my home.
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