PIONEER DAYS AT MIDWELL, OKLAHOMA
In the year of 1906 my father, W.A. Hutsell, homesteaded near Midwell, Oklahoma.
My father and stepmother and seven children started for his claim in March of 1906.
The seven children were Winnie, Lula, Clifford, Clyde, Bob Bradley a step brother, Mary and Raymond.
We drove through in covered wagons, a Surrey with fringe on top. It was 500 miles and took us five weeks to make the trip on account of rain and bad roads. Every night we'd camp out in a tent. Sometimes we'd make it to stay in wagon yards. Once in a while we'd see Indians; however, they were not too bad.
We would cook over a campfire; we also had an oven to bake biscuits outside. Making the biscuits was Winnie’s job. Everyday she would bake 125 biscuits to be eaten up. They were baked in an Iron Dutch oven out in the camp, and oh how good they did taste to a bunch of hungry folks. This was the good old days.
We crossed Red River on dry sand, and we crossed the Canadian River on a Ferry.
We had a Baptist Minister, Reverent McRight from Carrolton, Texas to travel with us part of the way. He had a covered wagon too. He had homesteaded in Beaver County in other parts, so he left us before we got to our homestead. After five weeks of traveling in mud and rain we landed on our claim.
We unloaded our wagons but the next day to our sorrow; found we had settled on the wrong claim.
We loaded up again and moved, however, it wasn't too far just across the road. We had some wonderful neighbors that lived just south of us. They were Mr. and Mrs. Krull and their two small children, Sidna and Fred. They to had homesteaded. They were so good to me.
You see my stepmother died of Cancer a short time after we homesteaded and my older sister, Winnie left home. So it was up to me to keep house for my father, brothers and one sister. But when I'd get into a stew Mrs. Krull would come to my rescue. She taught me how to make cooked starch and many other things, "God Bless her in Heaven.” Mrs. Krull used to have me come and stay all night with her and Sidna and Fred when Mr. Krull would go to Texhoma for supplies. It always took two days to make the trip and I thought it was a big treat to stay all night with them.
Mr. Krull had a bunch of pigs and he used to tease me and say “Lula when you get married I'll give you these pigs for a wedding gift.” So when I did get married, at the age of 18, I went over to his house and said "Mr. Krull I came after my pigs" and to my surprise he gave me the ten little pigs, but not the mother. My husband, John Maness, and I put the pigs in the back of our buggy and took them to Texhoma to the market. We sold the pigs for a $1. 00 each and bought us a wedding gift from the Krulls.
In those days, before people got wells, they had to haul water from the cattlemen’s’ wells and when the wind didn't blow to pump the water we'd dip it up out of the tanks, that the cattle and horses drank out of. That was awful to us. We also had to pick up cow chips to burn for fuel, so it was nothing in those days to see a big pile of cow chips piled up by everyone’s house. Winnie and I vowed we'd never eat anything cooked with cow chips, but we had to come to it. Us kids would take the wagon and go over to the pasture to hunt for cow chips. We were always happy to find them thick on the ground and dry ones because the green ones would not burn.
One day we were hunting for cow chips and ran onto our neighbor’s boys, the Dooley boys who lived nearby, when we ran onto these boys were our faces ever red. But they were picking up cow chips too.
There were some more wonderful people who we should not forget. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson or Uncle Billie and Aunt Mollie as everyone called them. And they had a wonderful son named Glenn. They lived nine miles east of the Hutsell homestead. I used to ride horseback on a side saddle, to their place to get our mail. Before there were any Post Offices in the country different people would bring mail from Texhoma to the Nelson Ranch then I'd go to the Nelsons for our mail. We surely loved the Nelsons as we did the Krulls.
The Hutsell Chapel was built in 1907. The Chapel was built with donations taken up by my stepmother, Ora Lee Hutsell. She traveled by train from town to town in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma asking for donations to build the Church.
My stepmother was a good Christian woman and wanted a place for the people to worship God was the reason she sacrificed to have a Church. She is buried in the Hutsell Cemetery at Midwell.
The Church was dedicated to the Southern Methodist. Different Ministers were called there to preach, also to hold funerals. I do not remember their names; however, I do remember that I always had to cook for all the Ministers that came to preach because they stayed at my father’s house always over the weekends.
My father W.A. Hutsell and his wife, Ora, always led the song and prayer services. She played the organ and he led the singing and prayers. There was a croquet yard also at the Church where all the young folks would gather for croquet parties at the Church Yard.
Before the Hutsell Chapel was built Sunday school and Prayer Services were held in a tent at the Hutsell residence with Mr. and Mrs. Hutsell conducting the Services.
After W.A. Hutsell sold his claim or homestead the Church was sold to Midwell for a School House and I've been told a Tornado blew the building to pieces. I think that was God’s Will because Mrs. Hutsell worked so hard to have a place to worship.
I attended the first School at Midwell in 1908. It was a summer school that was held in a tent. John Cole was the teacher. This school was held before the first store was built in Midwell. The Horne Keuyon and Guy Cursman Store.
To this day, and I am 74 years old, I never make cooked starch that 1 don't think of Mrs. Krull "God Bless Mr. and Mrs. Krull in Heaven. “I will never forget the good Krull family.
Written by Lula Hutsell Maness Smith Byers, Colorado January 1966
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