I thought I'd ask persons who have done a lot more research than I have. How reliable have you found newspapers prior to 1907 to be? I do think I read where a historian/researcher said they thought a certain Arkansas newspaper was unreliable.
I would assume that some newspapers were more reliable than others, depending on who was the editor, but I could be wrong.
Thanks for any replies, Martha.
Martha, generally newspapers prior to 1907 reported the facts as they received them, but what they received was not always accurate. They did not investigate and whatever they printed, stood. If someone complained, they would retract or correct in later items; but if no one complained, they did not correct.
Newspapers of the period also invented stories to attract reader interest. There are several examples of that.
When a sensational story hit, newspapers would vie with each other trying to outdo their competitors with the latest. When that happened, they would print the wildest of rumors.
The bottom line is newspapers, then and now, cannot be the only confirmation source. I try to confirm news items through another source or by finding the story in two to three other newspapers. Differences in reports are noted and if I can't find support, I say so.
Thank you so much, Tower. I appreciate your input.
Here's an example: While Deputy Bill Carr was in Paris, Texas, in October, 1887, a newspaper in Gainesville, Texas gave an account of the murder of Carr’s new guard, a man named George Elkins, by Ike Frazier a notorious whiskey peddler and horse thief known to Swain through prior arrests. The report proved erroneous for on the 16th, the Dallas Morning News corrected its sister paper by informing readers… “Carr arrived in Paris from Purcell and states that the whole thing is a mistake and he is at a loss to know how such a story originated. Elkins had Frazier under guard at Purcell as stated in the dispatch, but it was not then his intention to come to Paris with his prisoner. He was holding him and still has him in camp at Purcell waiting to find some witnesses in the case, and then all will come to Paris together…”
That's amazing. Thank you!
Who was "Swain"?
I wish I knew half of what y'all know. :-) One thing I'm curious about is when did people in "Oklahoma Territory?" quit living in holes like gophers? :-) The more I read, the more I know how little I know! LOL. It's true.
I wish I just knew the lay of the land up there, where the timber was, and was not. When I read about ppl who made land runs going to Indians' land illegally to get timber, I have no clue about the lay of the land, where the timber was, and wasn't. I was shocked to read about all the dugouts.& because there was Oklahoma Territory, and Indian Territory, and more than one land run, correct? & Indians didn't recieve allotment until Dawes and Statehood? correct? I am at present confused about some history. I'm going to have to do some more studying and reading.
When I was reading about those dugouts, and what the country was like, I was thinking, " I can't think of one western ever made that correctly portrayed that.", unless the Missouri Breaks, kind of, but then it was about Missouri, wasn't it?
Thanks again, Tower!
Correction: The Missouri Breaks are in Montana.
Regarding where the timber was: Things are different now than in the 19th century. Then, the eastern half of Oklahoma had a lot of trees, hard woods and pine, but the wood lands were also broken by long stretches of prairie. The western half was most prairie with scattered trees along the water courses and in the Wichita Mountains. What trees there were, were mostly cotton wood, elm, willow, and cedar. The cross timbers went through the middle of Indian Territory, it's western fringe about where US81 or the Chisholm Trail lies. The further east one went from that western fringe, the more open the country became. In Oklahoma Territory, which lay north of the South Canadian River to the Kansas Line and eventually jogged down at a point just west of the Chisholm Trail, to be bordered by the Red River on the south and Texas on the west, there were virtually no trees. Soon after the first settlers arrived, those few were incorporated into house, burned for fuel, or used for fence posts. The wood gatherers you mentioned were after wood for all three uses, particularly fence posts, because they could sell them for cash; which was scarcer than wood in Oklahoma Territory.
The dugout came into popular use in Kansas and Nebraska when settlers entered a land without trees. When Charles Colcord, first Chief of Police in OKC and later a multi-millionaire oil man, arrived in Kansas in the mid-1870's, his family put up a multi room dugout, cedar faced, with windows and whitewashed walls and lived in it for years.
The difference in the Kansas dugout and the Oklahoma dugout was size and construction. In Kansas, they were built to last and to protect from summer heat and winter storms. In Oklahoma, they were thrown up like tents and the expectation was to have something more substantial up by winter. Usually, that didn't happen because the means for getting that better dwelling was the expected bonanza from cash crops. But, the inexperienced homesteaders had no idea how difficult dry land farming could be and the cash crops just did not make. The first five years in Oklahoma Territory settlement were tough and about 2/3's of the first farmers left in that period. Those who stayed were as tough as the land and resourceful; traits Okie's still have.
I should have said above: Things are different now because the wild fires which kept tree growth at a minimum are now controlled.
Thank you, Tower! Yes, I didn't realize how hard it was to live there until I started reading. What a hardship it was.
Then in the 1930's? here came the dust bowl.
Thank you so much!
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