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Pioneer Days in Oklahoma <

The day of the race into the different districts witnessed many, many interesting incidents, some humorous and some pathetic. Here and there a well-bred racer might be seen losing ground to a hog-backed cow pony; conveyances of all kinds were racing for homes. Wagons were broken and overturned, and horses killed; prairie fires were started in some places, which added to the confusion. The next day presented a moving picture; cities of tents, eating houses, grocery stores and places of amusement, had sprung up as if by magic overnight. Covered wagons here and there marked the location of the claim holders. Some of these had brought all of their earthly possessions in one load and had come to stay. Hard times necessarily followed and then some wage earner of the family was forced to go back into the "State" and earn a "grub-stake" for the family. Sod and picket houses were common. The bill of fare usually consisted of bread, port, beans and molasses. In the early days trading points were sometimes sixty miles away and water had to be hauled long distances. However, small stores soon found their way to these remote districts and wells were dug. Many of the early schoolhouses, which were also used for church services, were made with sod walls and a dirt roof. Where there was timber the walls were constructed of logs set endwise into the ground.

Each little community started its public school, which became a sort of a social center through its Sunday church and educational gatherings known as the "literary". And so we see the gradual change going on from the sod shack to modern homes, from the frugal fare of the pioneer to overflowing tables of the Oklahoma farmer, from the schoolhouse with the sod walls and its earthen floor, rude benches and grasshopper stove to the up-to-date consolidated building.

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Ann Maloney, Bartlesville, OK.
Copyright © 1998 Ann Maloney all rights reserved..