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South Pioneer School District #31

South Pioneer School in1965
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SOUTH PIONEER COMMUNITY

BY:   ALICE RATLIFF

The South Pioneer community in Caddo County has always been a leader in civic affairs. The old school building erected in the summer of 1902 is still standing and is in use as a community center at its location four miles west and two and a half miles south of Ft. Cobb, Okla. Mrs. Mont Churchill, who has lived in this community for many years has preserved the early records of South Pioneer School District #31. These records show the district was organized at a meeting held October 26, 1901. Another meeting was held April 9, 1902 at which time the following school board members were elected:David K. Meador, Director James E. Calvin, Clerk S. P. Ratliff, Treasurer

The records further show that the first warrant issued by the board treasurer, Mr. Ratliff, was dated October 20, 1902 and was payable to the Hite Lumber Co. for the material used in the school building.

I was born Alice Wilson in Hunt County, Texas, in 1892. My parents moved to Chickasha, I.T. in 1898 and to the South Pioneer community in the early winter of 1902. My father bought a relinquishment, but we first lived in a tent pitched on Indian land belonging to a Kiowa, DeLos K. Lonewolf. While we were living in a tent on this land another Kiowa Indian named Gawky, who resented having white people in the area, tried to scare us away by claiming we were on his land. However, Lonewolf befriended us and we camped on his land until father built a barn on our homestead. We lived in this barn for some time until he was able to build a house. Our homestead was the southeast quarter section 25, T 7 N, R 12 W, I.M. This was three miles south and four miles west of the town of Ft. Cobb. Our post office was at Neola, which was five miles southwest. We children often walked to Neola to get the mail.

School District #31, South Pioneer, covered a lot of territory because there was so much Indian land in the area which could not be taxed to help support schools. This large district forced some of the children to come long distances to school. I started to South Pioneer School in the fall of 1902, and I remember the following as some of my school mates:

Ruth Harriman, Mont Churchill, Ralph Calvin, Cliff Harriman, Alton Churchill, Russell Calvin, Edgar Harriman, Gladys Combest, Vance Calvin, Gussie Ratliff, Elmer Combest, Melvin Bell, Elza Ratliff, Wytte Wilson, Arch Bell, Ralph Ratliff, Anna Wilson, Phocion Bell, Inez Ratliff, Martha Wilson, Marvin Bell, Martha Ratliff, Alice Wilson, Phronia Bell, Frank Ratliff, John Wilson, Blain Hall, Anna Ratliff, Oscar Wilson, Pearl Hall, Marion Wilson, Ernest Wilson, Fern Hall, Jsff Wil son, Maggie Wilson, Madge Hall and Ronald Calvin

Only one Indian pupil ever attended South Pioneer School as far as i know. She was Hazel Lonewolf, now Mrs. Matthew Botome, who still lives in the community. She is presently pastor of the Wetseline Indian Methodist Church. There were no Negro farmers in the South Pioneer community.

I can remember the terrible cyclone of May 1905 which destroyed the town of Snyder, Oklahoma and came across the South Pioneer community doing but little damage, as it was about blown out by that time. We found pictures and other small articles on our farm which had been carried by this tornado for more than 50 miles. Some of the pictures were identified as having belonged to people in the town of Snyder.

I recall some of the teachers at South Pioneer School. Among them the first teacher, Clyde Davis. Others were: Miss Davis, Elsie Crellian, Pearl Scribbins, Sara Carson, Mattie Warford, W. T. Hughes, Miss Marshall, Roberta Roddy, Pearl Hall, Marietta Ball, Ocie Cowley, Ruth Meek, Theola Bergdorf, Marjorie Rackley, Emma Churchill, and Martha Ratliff.

Dr. Hariman, on whose homestead South Pioneer was located, was the community doctor for many years. I married Elzie Ratliff in Anadarko, in 1912. We farmed until 1920 at which time Mr. Ratliff took a job as rural mail carrier., He retired from this position in 1959.

copied from: Prairie Lore, July 1966, vol 3 number 1

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