Biography of Angus A. Spring

In 1937, shortly before his death, Angus A. Spring responded to a questionnaire from the Works Progress Administration for project S-149, the Indian Pioneer History Collection. This project was jointly sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Historical Society. It was conceived and carried on primarily with the view to collect from living witnesses vital facts and impressions of pioneer life in Oklahoma. The field worker, Waren D. Morse then took this information to the editors who insured two copies were made, one for each of the sponsors.

Field WorkerWaren D. Morse
April 12, 1937
Biography ofMr. A. A. Spring
Ryan, Oklahoma
BornLouisiana, 1854

Questionnaire Response of A. A. Spring

I came into the Indian Territory in 1884, and settled east of Ryan about twelve miles. I started a ranch out there using the letter “S” as my brand. Every thing was under the Indian rules then for governing what little law we had. Until Congress passed a bill dividing the parts equal. The nearest white U. S. Court was Paris, Texas. None here except Indian Courts.

There were very few people, it was all open cattle range. The white man just gave a little fee to hold the land. Some land held for as low as three cents an acre.

We drove our cattle over the old Chisholm trail until Ardmore over on the Santa Fe railroad started. Then we drove our cattle there for shipping. After the Rock Island built south Duncan became the point later they built the road on through here.

At that time Mr. S. W. Ryan had possession of all the land around this place. I do not think he ever bought it out right, he was given control of it by the Indians.

The first business was started by Ryan himself. I think we would have gotten the switches here if Ryan would not have held the price to high.

There was an old Government trail that they used to haul supplies from Gainesville to Fort Sill. It was used many years before the railroads came through.

We did not have much trouble with the Indians. Oh, they demanded a beef once and a while. This happened when we were on the trail to market mostly.

There were many big ranchmen here then. Captain Morris of Gainesville, John Stone, Standifield, Suggs, Bill Washington, Wade Brothers, Press Addington, are some of them.

My ranch house for a long time when I could get lumber I built a 14×14 boxed house.

After the country began to settle a man came and started a store. The people wanted a post office there. He was Claypool. I went on his bond to get the office which was named after him. It has now been discontinued.

Bill Balion was the Captain of the militia at that time. We had to pay a kind of tax so much a head for grazing our cattle. When they came to count we had to help them do it. They counted about three times a year. If any one failed to pay the militia drove the cattle back across the river and let them go. It was up to you to go look after them. Some times people brought the cattle right back. They came into a certain part and made camp and stayed here until all were counted and then moved over on another space. Oh, they were accurate all right. You see they would let us know when they were coming then we help them count.

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