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"My mother, Carolina Jones, was born in the state of Tennessee and is buried there. My grandmother on my mother's side, Nancy Jones, was born in the state of Mississippi and is buried in White County, Tennessee. I was born April 3, 1849, at Stagestand, White County, Tennessee... " [1]

This paragraph begins a fourteen page interview of William Perry Earles of Ringling, Oklahoma, 1938, as part of a project called The Indian-Pioneer Papers . In 1936, the Oklahoma Historical Society and University of Oklahoma requested a writer's project grant from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in which interviews would be conducted with early settlers in Oklahoma who had lived on Indian land. More than 100 writers conducted over 11,000 interviews and were asked to "call upon early settlers and (record) the story of the migration to Oklahoma and their early life here."[2]

The University of Oklahoma Western History Collection has digitized the Indian Pioneer Papers which consists of approximately 80,000 indexed entries arranged alphabetically by personal name, place name, or subject. [3] An index to the Indian Pioneer Papers may also be found at OkGenWeb Oklahoma Genealogy. To view a separate index of the “Indians in the Indian Pioneer Papers” click here.


  1. University of Oklahoma Libraries Western History Collection Interview with William Perry Earles of Ringling, Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma, 1938. Interviewer: Ethel V. Elder. Interviewee: William Perry Earles (ID - 10654)
  2. A.M. Gibson, ed., The West Wind Blows: The Autobiography of Edward Everett Dale (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1984), 346-347; Grant Foreman, "The Oklahoma Historical Society," pamphlet, Vertical Files, Library Resources Division, Oklahoma Historical Society (hereafter cited as OHS LRD); "Indian-Pioneer History Project, W.P.A. 131," The Chronicles of Oklahoma, 37 (Winter, 1959-60), 507-509. As reported on okhistory.org/battlecry.html
  3. The University of Oklahoma Western History Collections http://digital.libraries.ou.edu/whc/pioneer/
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