Fair Valley Community

A Sacred History, Part 1 - 18 January 1998

So it would seem that what later became our Fair Valley homes was used by the Plains Indians and the buffaloes.

In 1957 the editor with the Alva Review-Courier had this to say about the Fair Valley community, One of the better known communities in this part of Oklahoma is the Fair Valley community of Woods County. It has always produced individuals of strong character and ambition.

Some people have commented that Mr. Piper's history article is the most blatant piece of "noble white man trying to civilize savage indian." What do you think?

Elbert Piper wrote in his Fair Valley History, The Fair Valley community consisted of all who has ever drunk of the fine, soft water from the Fair Valley Spring, and its surrounding communities has a wonderful history filled with adventure and romance from the beginning.

Mr. Piper goes on to state, ...As we, the sons and daughters of these hardy early settlers and old timers, looks back, it is always with a feeling of love, honor and respect which we have for each of them.

The development and progress of the Fair Valley community reads like fiction in the highest and most imaginative degree.

When this writer was collecting stories from the descendants of the Fair Valley community for the Fair Valley Eagle it crossed my mind that the fond memories of our Fair Valley should never die. it should be kept alive in this generation and the next.

We will try in these next few pages to relight and rekindle the past and make it come alive and anew in our hearts and mind.

Fair Valley Earliest History Dates Back

Earliest history would correspond to that of other Plains Indians, states Elbert Piper.

The Plains Indians like the buffaloes and other common game roamed over this valley before it was settled in 1893 and became a State in 1907.

The Indians made a living hunting the buffaloes and other game. The Indians could not read or write so the history was handed down from word of mouth.

The Cheyennes had a legendary history dating back the farthest of any Indians. They followed the buffaloes from north to south across our Fair Valley Plains.

Many Cheyennes would confide in an Indian agent (John H. Seger) as he worked among them and gained the Indians admiration and respect over some 50 years.

In a conversation with an Indian Chief Mr. Seger suggested, Plant your corn when the oak leaves are the size of a squirrels foot. Plant the potatoes when the elm buds begin to swell. Plant corn when the moon is light (above ground). Plant potatoes when the moon is dark (below ground).

We planted corn before we hunted buffaloes, stated the Chief.

This led the Chief to tell the honoured Agent (Seger) of their early sacred history provided he would never tell his name and that he would put it in book form.

Seger promised to do both, and the Chief proceeded to tell this sacred early history.

An Indians Sacred Vow

In the early days the sacred history of the Indians was entrusted to the Chief after he made a solemn vow and a sacred promise to keep it.

This vow was then made to the Great Spirit that he would never tell the history except in the presence of two others who would agree to every word before the one telling it could go on.

In telling Agent Seger the Indians sacred history the Chief violated his vow and told Seger, The tribe is not making history and I wish it in permanent book form so that earliest history could be handed down in book form to all our generations. Even after they had taken up the white man's ways.

Seger listened with interest and wrote down the Chief's sacred history and considered it no falsehood.

The Indians Sacred History

The Cheyennes lived in the far north. It was exceedingly cold; they had no clothing or houses to live in. They made beds of leaves and lived in caves or logs in very cold weather much the same as wild animals.

They would walk on ice and snow with bare feet the same as a bear or panther would do.

They had no way to get food except with their hands. They ran in herds like buffaloes or antelopes. They were no families, and the mother would care for her children as a cow would care for her calf.

When a woman lost her own baby she would take to raising a young panther, which after it grew up would kill deer and other game. Other women did likewise. This made food much easier to get.

Next they invented sharp flint stones to skin animals. hides replaced the leaves that they slept on. Hides were also used for clothing and shelter.

After centuries of such living, there was a big flood. All panthers and most all Indians were drowned.

They used flint to peel bark off trees for food. They made fish traps. After the flood the people were alone so long that love sprang up when they would meet another lonely wanderer of their tribe. This love for each other caused them to form families.

An old women in a spring gave them food and showed them how to dress buffaloes. They also raised and stored corn while the buffalo was south.

Other tribes would steal at night. They captured and domesticated the wolf to use as a guard and a beast of burden. Tamed wolves were used as beast of burden in following the buffalo south.

A Cheyenne woman would give birth to a child and continue with the tribe the next day.

Finally as they progressed they would store their corn to come back to after following the buffalo.

Upon one return they found other Indians had stolen half their corn. Another time they returned and found that white men had come up the river and took all of their corn. With no Winter provisions they had to catch up with and follow the buffaloes.

The women moved camp and in cold weather would have gone hungry many times when the buffaloes moved faster south when a storm would hit.

Had it not been for dog meat they would have starved many times. Gradually the Cheyennes followed further south and did not return as far north. [to be continued in another chapter.]

In Conclusion of First Installment

This should begin our imaginative picture of how the Indians who originally roamed over the Fair Valley hills and plains lived centuries ago.

We need to remember who we are and where we came from and be thankful for the history that we share with our ancestors and their neighbors. Let us rekindle that same spirit and keep it alive in the hearts and minds of this generation and the next.