History of Woodford and the Surrounding Community/Early Occupations and Industries of Woodford Community
Before statehood there were very few homes in this community. What few homes that were located here were very rude little huts or cabins. These were built of logs cut and hauled out of the Arbuckle Mountains. The logs were notched five or six inches from the ends so that they would fit closely together. The cracks between these were daubed with a mixture of sod and water. These houses were usually just one-roomed but sometimes a two-roomed house was built with a hall between. In the one-room house there was usually one door and a window while the two room houses there were more. These homes were covered usually with very rough lumber but it was often the case to see them covered with sod or sheet iron.
The furniture which was used in these homes was as rude as the homes themselves. The average family’s furniture consisted of one or two wooden beds, three or four chairs, a homemade dining table, a mirror which hung on the walls instead of a dresser, and sometimes a wood stove on which they cooked their meals, but usually though cooked on fireplaces.
During this time the people were not definitely engaged in farming or any other occupation. Cotton and corn were their most common crop. Cotton sold for only three or four cents per pound. Cottonseed couldn’t be sold at any price so this enabled the farmer to haul it back home for cattle feed. They would very often have more seed than they could make use of. When this was the case the seed was burned or destroyed in some way. Corn sold for twelve and one half cents per bushel. Most of the land around Woodford is well suited for both cotton and corn.
Ranching was another important industry here at this time. There were only a few ranchmen here before statehood. Some of these owned their ranches and others rented them. Stock law hadn’t been organized here at this time. Most of the stock ranged on the outside. When branding time came the ranchers and cowboys would round all their cattle up in small rail corrals, which had been built for this purpose. Three or four men would be at the corrals ready to brand the cattle. When the cattle were ready for shipping they were rounded up and driven across the mountains to the nearest shipping point. When this required more than one days’ drive the ranchmen would camp on some creek for the night. Sometimes the cattle wouldn’t be very worried from traveling and would give quite a bit of trouble during the night. In these days cattle were allowed to run in stalk fields and pastures during the spring and winter time until branding time. It was often the case that someone came along and caught the calves and took them home to their ranch and pasture and claimed them.
The farmers were all poor people. They would usually put in an average crop, which never produced an enormous amount of products. These crops were a lot more difficult to raise and gather than they are today. This was due to the lack of improved farm machinery, with which we are now equipped. The highest and best grade of seeds were not in use then. The crops were then fenced with rails split by the farmer himself. The farmers very often owned a herd or at least had a few hogs. Since the farmers were well-supplied with wild hogs they had to keep their hogs closely confined. This was very difficult. The farmers finally developed a method of fencing which proved to be very successful. This was a fence built of rock and clay. Trenches were dug about one foot deep, large rocks placed in this and smaller rocks and clay were put on top of this to make it secure. These rock fences usually were about three or four feet high and on top of this two or three barbed wires were placed.
Mr. Sheridan Joines began a ranch in the Arbuckle Mountains about the time of statehood.
Mr. George Faulkner established the first dipping vat in this community for the purpose of getting rid of ticks which were a very dangerous pest to stock.
Labor was also cheap in early days. A girl by the name of Mary Spencer washed dishes for a family in Woodford for fifty cents per month.
Mr. McLish owned a ranch and homestead at this time, about four miles northwest of Woodford. It is now the “Morrow Ranch”.