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Denton, James P. Interview

Etta D. Manson
Feb. 14, 1938

An Interview with James P. Denton,
Stringtown, Oklahoma.

I was born in Arkansas in 1872. My father was W. F. Denton and my mother was Adaline Geer, both from Texas. My father came to the Indian Territory when I was very small and located at Boggy Depot. He was a tenant farmer and rented the land by permit. We were only allowed a certain amount of stock but were not restricted on the kind of crop we planted. Father raised more cotton than any other kind of crop, for cotton was the main money crop. We rented our land from Peter Matubby.

Cyrus Kingsbury's mother taught a school three miles from Boggy Depot and a few white children were allowed to attend. I attended this school. I remember one incident connected with the school. There were five white children in the school and each morning the whites and Indians would have a real battle before Mrs. Kingsbury arrived. One morning one o fthe Indian boys grabbed my new hat and tore it in two pieces adn threw it on the ground. Of course there was a fight adn Mrs. Kingsbury arrived in the middle of the fighting. She took me into the house and with great care and many small stitches mended my hat and told me that there would be no more fighting. We wondered how she knew, but the next morning when the fighting began a tall muscular Indian stepped out of the bushes beack of the house with a long cane in his hand. He seized the first boy in reach of his arm and shook him then gave him one stroke with the cane and said in a calm voice, "Boy, behave yourself." Each boy who was fighting, whether white or Indian, received the same advice. That was the end of the fighting.

Julius Fulsom owned the tall (toll) bridge over Boggy at Boggy Depot and my father operated the bridge for him. Father got half of the profits from the bridge. Later he was killed by Fulsom. No one ever knew why. There were no witnesses.

After the shooting, Fulsom went to Joe Wards and told Joe that he had shot Denton. When Ward got to the bridge Denton was dead. Friends of my father said that Fulsom cried all night after the shooting because he had killed his best friend. Both men were bad tempered and Fulsom claimed they disagreed about the money.

From the Indian Pioneers Papers WPA Project

Submitted by Claudia Denton, Great-granddaughter of W. F. Denton. Taken from the LDS FHC in Dallas, Texas.