This is an excerpt from an interview of Mr. Tallon, in 1937.  It is part of a Works Progress Administration project conducted in Oklahoma. The interview is included in a book series of Indian Pioneer History Interviews of Ottawa County, Oklahoma, conducted by Nannie Lee Burns.  The series of books, by former Aftonite, Fredrea Gregath Cook, was launched February 1, 2013.


M. A. Tallon

Reproduced with permission of the Oklahoma Historical Society

 I came to Afton in 1887, and hired to J. F. LaBoyteau, who had opened a liveried barn.

So many people who came here would go on to Miami that it set me wondering why they went. So I made a trip to Miami to see the town and, if possible, to find out the reason for their moving. In those days Miami did not have a railroad, and if you reached that city you had to drive either from Baxter Springs, Kansas, or from here. I found that Miami had cafes. We did not, and it gave me an idea. I would start one here in Afton.

 The First Cafe

 I secured a small building and provided myself with a gasoline stove and started in business. I made the trip to Neosho, Missouri, and arranged to have twenty-five pounds of steak sent me from there each day, and bought my soda pop from there, fifty cases at a time. My steak came each day on the 11:13 passenger train. The train did not change its schedule for twenty years. Ice and gasoline I bought from Vinita and would drive for it. Ice I bought in large quantities, and would pack it here to keep it. I bought gasoline by the five-gallon can.

 Once I went down for gasoline and they filled my can with coal oil, and I did not know it until I wanted to use it. Then I had to build a fire in the old wood cook stove instead. I made twenty gallons of ice cream each day. I did all of my own work at first.