My name is Walter NEEL. I am 89 years old. Was the 18th of last January. I was born at Mountain Home Arkansas in Baxter County. My dad was [Charles Alexander Alex NEEL. We moved to Oregon County, Missouri when I was 4 years old. We moved on a mans place by the name of NEWTON. He was a bachelor. He lived with us.
My grandpa NEEL died that year that was in 1901. I can just remember him. [William Calvin NEEL Sr. 1824-1901] They didn’t have any funeral homes then. I remember dad a holding me up to the casket and telling me look at him Grandpa NEEL. He was a soldier when we had war with Mexico. He marched on foot from Missouri [Illinois not Missouri for he was in an Illinois army unit] to Mexico and back. Grandma NEEL [Letica SHELTON NEEL] drew a pension from the government as long as she lived. I think it was 23 dollars a month. Grandpa NEEL is buried at a little place called Calm, Missouri. It was in sight of our house.
Little boys used to wear dresses until they were 4 or 5 years old. I remember the first pair of pants my mother put on me. When we lived on the NEWTON Place my sisters older [Eva and Pearl] than me took me down in the field to show dad.
People use to build smoke houses where they would kill their meat hogs and salt the meat down and when it had took salt they would take it up wash the salt off of it and hang it up and smoke it with hickory wood until it was brown and you had good meat. My dad always killed plenty of hogs that year. He had done all of that and some one broke in our smokehouse one night and stole part of our meat. MR. NEWTON was a bad democrat. Dad was one too. I am too. Dad told MR. NEWTON he bet it was a democrat who stole the meat. MR. NEWTON wanted to know why he thought that. Dad said if it had been a republican he would have taken all of it.
We moved from Missouri to INDIAN TERRITORY. We come through the OSARD MOUNTAINS in covered wagons. There weren’t any roads then. Some of the hills were so steep you had to put 2 teams to a wagon to pull up the steep hills. We moved on a place 6 miles west of TAHLEQUAH. It was the Harry DOBSON place. It is where Wayne DOBSON lives now. Harry was Wayne’s father.
Went to my first school the teacher was Mary DOBSON. She was Wayne DOBSON’S aunt. It was a subscription school. Your parents had to pay so much for each child. The school house was close to where we lived. TAHLEQUAH was a small town. There was just about 6 good stores. The old court house, the first National Bank, a drug store, a hotel, a movie house, wagon yards, livery stables and a boarding house. The streets were dirt. They had a horse drawn sprinkler that ran every hour or two to keep the dust down. The side walks were wooden boards. The fire wagon was pulled by horses. My dad let them have a big sorrel horse to pull the fire wagon. The Court House had a wire cable on three sides of it for people to tie their horses to. On Saturday it was full of horses. In the fall there was a lot of horse trading going on. My dad was a trader. He would bring several horses to town on Saturday to trade.
TAHLEQUAH had a auctioneer. His name was KRAMER. He was a one arm man. Ever Saturday they would sell horses and any thing people had to sell out in the middle of the street. OKLAHOMA became a state in 1907. Jim SANDERS was the first sheriff. Judge PARKS was county Judge. A man by the name SHARP was Chief of Police. My dad use to drink some. We lived three miles west of town for a little while. Dad was in town one day and was a drinking. MR. SHARP the Chief of police got after him. [I guess that he means that he got a little too drunk.] Dad was riding a race mare and he out ran MR. SHARP and got away. My brother Charlie NEEL was with dad. He was riding a horse that my dad was offered 125 dollars for him that day. That was a big price for a horse then. My brother was coming on behind dad riding along slow. MR. SHARP shot and killed the horse my brother was riding . He just barely missed my brother. [Appears that SHARP was chasing them and mistook Charlie for his father and nearly killed him.] SHARP also shot and killed a 14 year old boy. He was Jerry POWELL’S boy. Later on Jerry POWELL became Sheriff. SHARP moved up close to LOCUST GROVE. One morning he was going to the barn and someone shot and killed him.
TAHLEQUAH had some good lawyers. HENRY VANCE was my choice. He was the most honest lawyer that I ever knew. He was a good friend of mine. We moved from here to a place up close to FLINT. [Flint is in Delaware County] It was where Flint Creek emptied into the Illinois River. [the HILDEBRAND/BECK MILL is about a mile north where Highway 33 crosses Flint Creek between the intersection at Highway 10 the road to Silom Springs, Arkansas It was John BECK’S place. John BECK was my grand mother Willora Cleora Josephine Bee NEEL’S half brother. It was 3 miles from the BECK STORE, Post Office and school. This now is called Beckwith on the map. We walked to school. My twin sisters were born that year March 12, 1905. My brother “Callie” Benjamin Calvin NEEL got married that year. [not so the marriage took place in 1907.] He Married Willora Bee, [These two people are my mothers parents.] John Beck’s half sister.
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Notes About this Information:
Source: Glee Krapf Great Granddaughter of Jasper Newton “Tuck” Bee.
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