Mrs. Etta D. Mason,
August 2, 1937
An Interview with Mr. James R. Johnson,
I was a young man when my father came to this country and my wife was just a school girl. We married in a few years and established our home near Boggy Depot.
We did not buy land, for a white man could not have land here, then, We paid a permit and third and fourth to the land owner.
I hauled freight from Atoka to Boggy Depot and to Hester. I hauled with an ox wagon and at times made my own road as I hauled. We traveled what we called a bee line, that was to sight in the direction which we wanted to travel and follow that route.
There were numbers of Indians from Atoka to Boggy Depot but they were all my friends. The Choctaws were always friendly and peaceable. They were not allowed to settle nearer than one quarter mile to each farm. On one of my trips I was giving an Indian a ride to Boggy Depot from Atoka where he had been for several days. We had to pass near his farm and when we came to his boundary line we saw a small plank house that someone had built while the Indian had been gone. The Indian said someone was getting to near his land and had me stop the wagon. I got out with him and as the house was on a hill, we put poles under it and lifted it from the foundation and rolled it down the hill; when the owner came home he moved his house to another place.
The whites came in droves to Indian Territory and after much agitation the Atoka Agreement was signed and the allotments were made. There were disappointments and diasatiafaction at the beginning of the allotment and almost everyday several Indians would come to our house for my wife to read the Atoka Agreement and explain certain parts of it to them. They almost always went away satisfied for they had great confidence in what my wife told them.
There was some trouble with the Indians who would not agree to the allotment, but they were soon forced to take their land . After the allotments this county develope much faster. Farms were established by the whites and the Indians soon began to live and farm as the white man did.
The Indian Territory had all the natural resources to make it a good farming country.
Schools and churches were soon established and the horse and buggy and wagon took the place of the ox wagon.
Men took an interest in politics and improvements going on outside our own Territory.
The first motor car to pass through Boggy Depot was an event and the whole town came out to see the car.
I have owned farms in Indian Territory since Statehood but I do not think there has ever been a time as enjoyable as the days when we drove the ox wagon and lived all together at home. I recently bought a house and two lots in Atoka that were owned by the Catholic Church. The land was given to the Catholic by John Dillon. His wish was to be buried on the lot and his grave is the only reminder that a church was ever built on the spot. The property was sold to me on the same terms it would have been sold in Indian Territory days. That was the only way I could buy it.
The inscription on the grave is
John A. Dillon
August 10, 1830
June 27, 1891
He (John Dillon) gave the land to the Catholic under the condition that when he passed away that he would be buried on the land.