PRECIOUS MEMORIES

PIONEERS OF GARFIELD COUNTY, OKLAHOMA

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I-ps2.gif - 684 BytesThe Irey FamilyI-ps2.gif - 684 Bytes

By Ellen Roelse Roberts


Simon and Ellen (Cutter) Irey, with their two daughters, Mabel and Maude, came to Oklahoma to Orville Cutter's place that he had settled in 1889, south of Marshall. The line was just north of Marshall for the opening of the cherokee Outlet. They stayed with Orville, (Ellen's brother) until the opening of the Cherokee Strip in 1893.

The surveyors came in ahead of time and laid off sections and miles, placing corner stones and a "dead man" or big rock buried in the middle of the road of each mile for the surveyors to go by. While they were staying with Uncle Orville, grandmother had a son born named Harry and a daughter, Lula. Mother (Mabel Irey) was 4 or 5 years old. They came in a covered wagon with things to start a new home in the new country. They had such things as cows, chickens, grain, etc. There wasn't anything here, only Prairie grass, no roads.

This line they were to be along for the race to claim land, was just on the north edge of Marshall to the Kansas Line. People lined up on the North Line and some came from the South Line. They ran the run with horses, or used covered wagons, horse-drawn, to stake their claims. They carried stakes with flags on them to put on the corner and center of the section they claimed before someone else tried to claim it.

At 12:00 Noon, September 16, 1893, when the guns sounded, off they went. An Uncle of ours, Joe Gibson and family, had come to Uncle Orville Cutter's to make the run also, so he and our grandfather staked claims eight miles straight north of Marshall, Oklahoma in Garfield County. Grandfather rode a white texas pony while Uncle Joe rode a sorrel mule. Grandmother Irey and children followed in a covered wagon. Grandfather had told her he would keep going straight north. There were no roads, fences, bridges, just buffalo wallows and cowboy trails where cattle had been driven from Texas to Dodge City, Kansas, to market. Grass was real tall. That year was so dry that there were a lot of prairie fires and dust so bad they could hardly see where the markers, corners and center of the sections were laid out.

Grandfather put his stake at the corner and then at the center of Section 27-21-4, Garfield County. They had to sleep by the stake to keep others from trying to steel their claim and some people were killed. Uncle Joe got the section south of grandfather. They stayed with the claim until they could go into Enid at the county seat to file their claim to homestead the next day. They would take the wagon and go back up to Kansas to get things along that they needed, such as grain to plant after they got the sod broken. Some lived in dugouts. My Uncle Joe had two dugouts. I don't know if Grandfather used the one or not. He had one on each quarter. I don't know how long it was before grandfather got lumber and built a small home and added to it later on. He also added larger rooms, then added the upstairs. By this time, trains were hauling in wood and supplies through Enid south and over to Perry east. They would make trips with a wagon back to Kansas. They would have to ford the river up by Salt Fork, or Tonkawa, Oklahoma. Some times water would be high and hard to get across. Aunt Maude said one time grandfather had the wagon box tied to the running board or they would not have made it. The water was up. To keep from turning over when the wagon would sway, they would lean to the opposite side to help keep it straight and keep them afloat, till they could find a place where the horses could climb the banks. These years were hard. They brought hedge apples from Kansas, soaked them in milk, planted them around fields and pastures to grow to make posts. They were so close they used them as a fence. Later they stretched barb wire fastened to these trees making the second fence. Most of the trees grew over the wire. Now I am second generation, we are cutting out these trees between sections (1980) and making corner posts and fire wood. This makes the third fence since the opening of the Strip. There were very few trees when this land was opened for homes. So these trees had to be planted. Now our state has all kinds of trees; cedar, elm, hackberry, oak, hickory, cottonwood, etc. We cut the hedge for the corner post and buy steel posts and steel barb wire to make the fence. These posts we are making, when set, they probably will last the next generation, thay are so large. When the cellar was dug they hauled the sand rock that the cellar was walled up with from over by Perry, Oklahoma, that is about 18 miles to the east of the homestead.

Just certain towns were set up in the counties for County Seats where supplies could be bought, such as lumber, etc. and hauled by wagons. They started building barns, granaries to store grain in. Each year they would tear out more sod to farm and plant more ground. Some of the Cutter relatives of ours began to buy land that some of the homesteaders had starved out and sold. There was quite a few within a mile or so from grandfather's home. Cousins all grew up together as neighbors going to the same schools. At first they had to go north of Douglas which was the little town 2 1/4 miles west of frandfather. Later a nice one room school was built on a corner of Uncle Joe's east quarter, so that was only a mile east. They saw cousins almost every day at school or working together. One day when grandfather was in the field, grandmother came out to tell him the cows had gotten in the corn. She saw smoke coming out of the barn and when she got there, Mabel, Maud and Harry were setting in the manger watching straw burn that they had piled up to light. If it had been a little longer they would have been burned up. So they got a good whipping. Their brother, Harry, ran in the house and hid under the bed; he was 2 1/2 years old. They were old enough to know better but it did happen. (Aunt Maude Irey Daugherty told us of this.)

ENID MAN LEAVES FOR SOUTH AMERICA
From a newspsper dated 22 Sep 1935

Ray Irey, son of Mrs. Ellen Irey, 720 East Broadway, will leave Monday for eastern Venezuela, South American, to spend a year witht the Gulf Oil company research department. He will drive a truck, equipped for core drilling by George Failing of Enid, to New Orleans, where the truck and equipment will be placed aboard a vessel which will sail March 2 for Venezuela. Irey attended Enid high school and has spent almost two years with the Gulf company in Texs doing core drilling work.

RAY IREY
From The Cutter Family - Four Hundred Years, Volume 2

Ray Irey worked in Venezuela in 1935. One letter he wrote from there to Mr. and Mrs. Chester Hubbard reads as follows (extracted verbatim): "Dear Mr.Mrs. Chester Hubbard. Well I landed March 16, at La Guaira and am now in Caracas which is the capital of Venezuela. It is just 30 miles from La Guaira. It takes about a week to get trucks through the Customs house so will be here a week. I was on the water 14 days I sure got all the water traveling I want but sure had a good time. Well I have a 400 mile drive from here where I am going. I have six natives so won't have anything to do but boss. I am going to Sindad (?) Bolivar it is a town about 30,000 in eastern Venezuela. We made 3 stops on the way down here. Port au Prince, San Domingo, which are both on the same island, the island is Haiti that is where Columbus landed in 1492. Columbus tomb is there I seen it and also the tree which he tied his boat to it is a mahogany tree about 12 foot thick. I taken some Kodak pictures but havent gotten them developed yet. The next stop was Williamsted on the island of Curacao it is a Dutch town sure was a pretty place. Well we could buy the best scotch whiskey on the boat for $1.50 a quart I drank some I thought your kidneys might need it see. ha ha. Well I got the gun through O.K. I carried it on me they don't search your person. Well, I don't have much time two write so will sign off hoping to hear from you soon so Bye Bye until later. Yours, Raymond" Address: Aptardo 35, Sindad Boliver, Venezuela, S.A. c/o Venezuela Gulf Oil Co.

ESTHER IREY
Esther is an RN, graduating from University Hospital School of Nursing. She belongs to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bison, Oklahoma. She currently lives in Waukomis, Garfield County, Oklahoma.

OBITUARY From the Enid Morning News, 13 Oct 1982 (Died 10 Oct 1982):

Rosary will be at 7 pm Tuesday in St. Joseph's Catholic Church at Bison for Raymond A. Irey, 73, who died Sunday evening in an Enid hospital. The Rev. Jerome G. Talleon will officiate.

Funeral Mass will be at 10 am Wednesday in the church with burial in St. Joseph's Cemetery under direction of Henniger-Allen Funeral Home.

Irey was born May 15, 1909, at Douglas, to Simon and Ellen Irey. He first attended the Crackerbox School, east of Douglas, and later attended schools in Waukomis and Enid, graduating from Enid High School. On Oct. 24, 1936, he and Esther Felber of Bison were married. From 1931 until 1947, Irey was a driller for Gulf Oil Co. and worked for that company in South America, Louisiana and Texas, returning to Oklahoma in 1947 to the Waukomis area where he farmed.

While residing in Waukomis, he served on the city council for several terms and was a retired member of the Waukomis volunteer fire department. He was also a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church at Bison. Survivors include his wife, Esther; three children, Mrs. Robert (Jane) Roberts, Winston-Salem, NC, Thomas Irey, Norman, and Mrs. Judith Winchester, Enid; three grandchildren; and two sisters, Mrs. Harold Brown, Joplin MO, and Maude Daugherty, Waukomis. Memorials may be made in his name to Garfield County Diabetes Association with the funeral home serving as custodian.



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