Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: August 8, 1937
Name: I. T. Dodd
Post Office: Lexington, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: July 12, 1859
Place of Birth: Tennessee
Father: Place of Birth: Information on father:
Mother: Place of birth: Information on mother:
Field Worker: Robert H. Boatman Interview: #8209
Mr. Dodd was born July 12, 1859, in the state of Tennessee; when a small boy he removed from Tennessee with his parents to Missouri and here he remained for some years and in 1889 at the age of thirty years came to the Indian Territory with the opening of Old Oklahoma.
Mr. Dodd did not file any claims as he had never farmed any in his life but he settled near where Crowder City and Indianola are now located. There were few white people there when he came; the country was just big wide open spaces with an abundance of grass and water and there were lots of game such as deer, turkey, prairie chickens and almost all kinds of fish and there were a few buffalo. There were lots of Indians in that part of the country, mostly Choctaw. When Mr. Dodd settled near Crowder City he established a shoe repair shop and small grocery store and has had many dealings with the Indians.
There were law abidings and peaceful Indians among them, though most of the Indians were treacherous and warlike.
Nearly all of the Indians could talk the English language if a person could persuade them to.
Most of the Indians were habitual drinkers and often came out in war paint, drunk and very savage like. The Indians carried for weapons, a bow and bundle of arrows and a tomahawk.
The arrows were almost always pointed with a flint stone which the Indians made and shaped from a hard stone.
The tomahawk was a small hatchet-shaped axe. The men wore nothing at all for clothing in summer only breech clouts and a pair of mocassins made of the skins of the animals they had killed. These mocassins were nearly always made from deer hide.
The Indians were very slothful and lazy; the women wore only blankets and mocassins and the papooses or babies were kept strapped to boards with pockets made of rawhide.
The babies would be stuffed into the pockets and the boards would be placed against the walls of the tent while the squaws went about their tasks with leisure.
The squaws nearly always had from two to five strands of beads around their necks and bracelets on their arms and their hair hanging loose down their backs.
Their cook stoves were generally made of three sticks tied together at the top with the other ends on the ground. A small fire was built in the center a pot or small vessel was swung from the top of the sticks which supported by a wire and so it hung. Bread was cooked on the flat fire in a small skillet or sometimes on the lid of a bucket.
On one occasion a buck got on the warpath; all the other Indians seemed to be in good temper and he couldn't get any of them to help him so he started out alone, gave the war cry and gobbled a few times.
A few miles down in the country lived a peaceful family of white settlers; they were all gone except the woman and that Indian deliberately murdered that woman with his tomahawk and went his way.
The people all were very much stirred up and they formed a mob for him; they watched the roads for him for three days and then when he did come in he was just overpowered and tortured to death; this occured near old Sacred Heart and seemed to put the rest of those bad Indians to thinking more about minding their own business.
The Indians were always honest and reliable in their business dealings but always wanted to buy on time and many times the merchant would have to take blankets or whatever they could get for the accounts the Indians owed.
Mr. Dodd has in his posession at this time a beautiful blanket that he took on an account at $15.00 in 1898. The Indian never did redeem it.
Those Indians hardly ever had much money only when they were paid off by the Government and then most of them would go to Fort Smith and spend it for fire water (whiskey) and trinkets. In fact the Indians were a very peculiar people.
Mr. Dodd has some old relics of interest in his possession, among which are his mother's wedding shoes, which were bought in 1855; also a ribbon of the same date. He also has a brandy bottle that his grandfather brought from Dublin, Ireland, sometime prior to 1800.
Mr. Dodd now lives alone in the town of Lexington and still works at his old trade as a shoe cobbler.
(NOTE: It is clear today that Indian culture was misunderstood by the early pioneers.This interview is intended to help gather facts for further genealogical research.)
Date: February 25, 1938 Name: I. T. Dodd Post Office: Lexington, Oklahoma Field Worker: Robert H. Boatman Interview: ##10124 My father, Melton C. Dodd, was born in Tennessee, June 20, 1818, and there he remained till about 1850, at which time he came to the Indian Territory. In those days there were only a few white people to be found here and a man's gun was the law. There were no roads or bridges, in fact, there wasn't anything except a large open country of range land filled with wild game, turkeys, deer, antelope and wolves, also prairie chickens.
Steamboats came up the Arkansas River to Fort Smith, many supplies were brought up on boats for the Indians. There were many Indians here and they were then very uncivilized. They wore the breech clouts then and the men all had long hair, wore rings in the ears and had many peculiar ways. For weapons of defense they had bows and arrows, of which they kept a good supply. The arrows were pointed with flint stones called arrowheads. The Indians lived mostly in the open in tents, or tepees they were called. There were no houses to speak of at all, only a very rude log hut could be found. Many traders came and went. In order to trade with the Indians these men would bring blankets and collections of trinkets. The Indians had little money then but always had lots of horses and these traders would trade for the horses and in this way many men have become rich.
In cases of sickness among the tribes they used their own doctor. Medicines were compounded from herbs and prepared in various ways. Some would be dried and then pulverized in powder form for teas. Each family had it's own burial ground which was always very close to the home.
Father established a trading post in the Choctaw Nation and the Indians would always come to trade in bunches, generally on horseback, and would have bunches of arrows tied to their saddles. Once father stole a bundle of arrows from an Indian and this came near to causing a riot. Quick action on his part and by much explaining and returning the arrows to the owner, restored peace and quiet.
Father continued to operate this post for sometime, then tired of the ways and customs of business among the early Indians, so abandoned his place of business and moved to Missouri, where some years later he died and is buried in Missouri.
I have spent the better part of my life in the Indian Territory and Oklahoma. I now live in Lexington.
[NOTE: This interview states I. T. Dodd's father was Melton C. Dodd. This is clearly a mispelling. I. T. Dodd's full name was Isaac Tracewell Dodd.] See http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Falls/5516/index.html for more information about this family.]
Transcribed and submitted by Shirley Dunn <Quest4family@aol.com> 07-2000