August 13, 2011

Writing History is Like Putting Together a Puzzle

Miller and Green Store Pauls Valley, Indian Territory

Although the sign says it is the C. J. Grant Store, the building was the original Miller and Green store and initially operated by Frank Miller before he took on a partner named Thomas M Green. 
I know this because of the trip that I have been on --- lost in Pauls Valley, Indian Territory before it became the state of Oklahoma, traveling through time and space from Winston, North Carolina, before it became Winston-Salem, To say that that it's been an amazing trip, is not the least, because I have also met several wonderful historians and writers whose knowledge of the west and its settlement have fueled my research and detective work. The problem is, my puzzle is growing at the same time the pieces are falling into place. The picture above was forwarded to me by OK historian Mike Tower and courtesy of the Pauls Valley Depot Museum. The photograph was taken after 1888, before the building burnt to the ground. Mike tells me that the only reason the picture of the store exists is because C. J. Grant had it moved parts by parts on wagons from its original location, which was located on the confluence of Rush Creek, about a mile south of where the present town exists. 
I already knew that Frank Miller sold the business to Grant after Green was killed in 1886. But what I didn't know was from early Garvin County Historical notes that Miller gave half of the business to a Tom Martin who was a nephew of Miller or Green. But then it hit me from already tons of my local Winston Research, Tom Martin was the son of Dr Samuel Martin of Winston, who married Miss Limmie Miller in 1856, daughter of Harmon Miller Esq, and Frank Miller's oldest sister.

C. J. Grant is Calvin Grant, son of Colonel Thomas Grant who was one of the first settlers in Pauls Valley. The Colonel is the first cousin of Ulysses S Grant. A co-incidence is that the house the former president lived in before and after the Civil War, in Galena, Illinois, is identical to the home that my husband and I restored in DeKalb, Illinois, for JJ Kingsley who is considered the father of Hybrid corn. But before I go off on a tangent and another story I need to write, I need to finish the one I am on, which is an amazing saga spilling from two Victorian trunks, and pieces of papers and letters spanning 200 years.

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