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INTERVIEW OF BASS McGUIRE
By David Phillips
Stigler High School
March 9, 1984
Subject: Bass McGuire
Born: 15 May, 1901
BASS McGUIRE: You wanted to know about the Indian Territory before statehood. I was born in 1901, I will be 83 the fifteenth
of this month. When I was a kid we lived in the county about 15 miles from Stigler. It was called the nine mile stretch,
because the nearest neighbor was nine miles from us. There were no fences except for a pole fence to protect the front yard.
The cows drifted out onto the range.
Everyone traveled by covered wagon. They traveled from one stream to the next. My daddy told me that when he traveled,
that if you could not find a stream you would find the nearest cabin. The farmer would let you camp in his pasture for the
night. My daddy came from Kentucky, when some of the family go sick and died, you would bury them where ever you were camped
at. They may not have a marker to show where they were buried.
They would clear land in the winter and farm it during the summer. Fort Smith was the nearest place of business. When
the crops were gathered the neighbors would get together and go to Fort Smith. They would get as far as Spiro the first night,
and then to Fort Smith the next day. They sold salt and flour in fifty gallon barrels. They would buy coffee still green.
When they need coffee they would parch the coffee in the fire, and grind it up.
We lived mainly off the face of the earth. We would kill us a deer or some other game. If we needed something sweet
we would find a bee tree. You hardly ever saw a doctor. He would travel in a buggy. They would call him to Blaine Bottom.
You would not see him for days. They had a lot of typhoid fever. The doctor would hire someone to drive the wagon while
The way Stigler go it's name from Bill Stigler's daddy. His father came and built a store and post office in this town.
Judge Garland had a house a couple miles from Stigler. His house had 15 rooms. Every now and then he would have a party.
His hired help would kill 15 hogs.
DAVID PHILLIPS: Tell about the time you worked at Oklahoma State Prison.
BASS McGUIRE: I worked at the prison for three years. When I worked there the prison was self-supporting. The prison
had it's own garden, dairy, and ranch. They would can the vegetables and sell them to schools, churches, and other organizations.
DAVID PHILLIPS: Were there ever any escaped during your time?
BASS McGUIRE: No, the only bad incident was when I had to shoot a n----- with a gas gun. He threw hot coffee into the
face of a fellow inmate because he would not slip him a knife. I asked the guy if he wanted to beat the n----- up, but he
said he was afraid. We decided to move the n----- to solitary. He would not move out of his cell, I shot him in the head
with a 12 gauge gas gun. He came out in a hurry. After I had locked him up without a mattress, he stuffed his shirt down
the toilet. He turned the water on and flooded the whole floor. The next morning he wanted me to clean the water out of
his cell. I told him, hell no, he made the mess, he could live in it.
(This concludes the interview of Bass McGuire, by David Phillips.)
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