A Weekly Publication
Vol 20 Issue 995 Circulation 5,000 February 18, 2016
PO Box 11
Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402
email address: email@example.com
Carter County lost a history buff extraordinaire last week. Mary Wilson of Lone Grove helped me numerous times over the years when I was stumped at a piece of history I couldn't quite put my thumb on, but to my rescue came Mary Wilson with her vast knowledge of Oklahoma history. She had a wealth of history at her beckon call, and even though up in years, her memory was good and recalled things from the bygone years that many had already forgotten, or had never even heard about.
I remember back in 1999 I stumbled upon a Love County Deputy Sheriff's killed in the line of duty back in 1919. I went to the Love County cemetery to see where he was buried and found his grave marker was no longer attached to it's base. I was talking to Mrs. Wilson about it and, well here it is from my September 1999 newsletter:
1999: Last week I talked about Love County Deputy Sheriff Walter Tate being killed in the line of duty in 1917. I went to Oswalt last Saturday and found his grave. South of Ardmore about 12 miles on I-35 is the Oswalt Road exit. If you go west about 11 miles you find the intersection of Oswalt Road and Hembree Road. Turn north and go about 1/4 mile curving back to the west is Oswalt cemetery. It was there I found Walter Tate's tombstone near the south end of the cemetery. His marker was not resting on it's base, but was laying flat on the ground. I asked myself how could I get his marker back to it's base. A couple days later at a local auto parts house I met Mrs. Mary Wilson, owner of Wilson Monuments in Lone Grove, Oklahoma. I told her the story and she ask me to draw her a map where Walter Tate is buried. She said her son Billy Wilson had a monument to sit in Leon, Oklahoma and would drop back by Oswalt cemetery and repair Deputy Tate's tombstone free of charge.
True to her word and her willingness to help, Walter Tate's grave marker was repaired and reattached to its base.
A little over three years ago Mary Wilson called me and said she was going through an old purse she was going to throw away and found a Dr. Boyd sugar pill bottle from the 1950s. She had taken her son to Dr. Boyd in the 50s and this was a left over bottle she still possessed. When she asked if I wanted it, I jumped at the chance since I had taken many of those sugar pills as a kid when I was ailing.
A piece of Carter County passed away last week, but I will never forget Mrs. Wilson and her knowledge of history from long ago.
I heard an effort is underway to restore the hot and cold water towers in Okema, Oklahoma.
Okema may be the only city in Oklahoma outside Dickson, Oklahoma that has hot and cold water towers.
A GLIMPSE INTO THE PAST
The Daily Ardmoreite
August 12, 1946
JAIL BREAK FRUSTRATED BY JAILER'S MUSICAL EAR
A strange accompaniment to the gospel singing at the county jail Sunday afternoon caused J. L. Sloan, jailer, to go upstairs and take a look. He stopped a jail-break attempt.
Sloan was sitting in his office with his wife during the services. Above the music of two guitars, a mandolin, an accordion and the voices of the singers, who were in the hall of the jail near the front door, Sloan heard someone upstairs apparently keeping time to the music with a heavy foot.
When the singing stopped, the tapping upstairs stopped. This continued through several songs until the jailer went up to investigate.
He found an inmate who was well on the way out. The man working on the upstairs window was Ozy Johnson, who is being held pending an investigation for insanity.
Johnson had removed a large quantity of wood from the window frame, extracted the large iron window weight and was beating away at the brick wall around the window in time with the music downstairs. Three bricks were dislodged and removed, starting a hole around the edge of the iron bars across the window.
Water was used to soften up the mortar between the bricks. Two blankets had been fastened together securely with twisted coat hangers to provide a means of reaching the ground safely from the high second-story window. During his operations, the inmate had closed the door to his cell so he could not be seen from the hallway upstairs.
Johnson denied attempting to escape.
The cell in which Johnson was locked is located on the second floor on the southeast corner of the jail. The window where the bricks were pulled out is on the east side of the building.
The Daily Ardmoreite
August 13, 1946
SECOND ATTEMPTED JAIL BREAK IN TWO DAYS FRUSTRATED
Second attempted jail-break in two days was frustrated at the county jail at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday when Ed Newton, night jailer, came upon three inmates engaged in the last stages of cutting through the west wall of the county prison.
The trio, using a hacksaw blade which had been smuggled in to them, had already severed two bars of their cell and were out in the run-around and busy digging brick from the wall when the breakout was discovered by Newton on his regular rounds of inspection.
John Smithers, deputy sheriff, was asleep in the jailer's room on the southwest corner of the jail. Newton aroused him and the two officers herded the three would-be escapees back into the cell block and locked them tightly in place.
The trio provided information and the hacksaw, broken in two parts, was found.
The three prisoners, ranging in age from 17 to 21, are being held in connection with car theft charges. They were captured recently at Sanger, Texas, and returned to this county to face trial.
They are Joe Startz, Donald Young and Ronald Snyder.
Smithers said that Newton was on duty by himself. Newton makes regular rounds, every 30 minutes or so through the cell-block portion of the jail and checks up on guests. This time, when he made his start into the cell block, he saw the three men digging away busily at the weak west wall. They had already removed a layer or two of the inner brick and were rapidly getting to the point where only the outer wall remained to be broken.
The three men gave Smithers and Newton no difficulty when they were apprehended and were placed in a stronger cell where an eye could be kept on them.
Smithers said that relatives of one of the men recently visited the trio and it is believed that he was the one who provided the convenient hacksaw blade.
After posting a few days ago about Picks Hot Tamales being sold at 112 Main street, they sold out in 2 days. I'm sure they got more now.
Leon, Oklahoma gas station from bygone years.
You can find current gas prices for a particular Oklahoma town by entering the name or zip code in the GasBuddy search box.
My regime of Coconut Oil in my hot tea and coffee along with my Probiotic I have been taking everyday is working great. My blood pressure is really down since taking a teaspoon a day in my hot tea. Plus it has been working a miracle on my skin blemishes, etc. the past month.
If you are like many and have an all electric home, you're electric bill may be higher in the winter than in the summer. The Okie Power Saver takes difference of the watts you are being billed for, and what you are actually using, and recycles those watts. Several friends are finding out my Okie Power Saver is a great way to reduce that electric bill and save money year round.
Q. Where is the Timberlake Rose Rock Museum?
A. Noble, Oklahoma
Q. In what Oklahoma town did a tornado once picked up a house with a man and his wife still in it and set it back down in one piece?
A. (answer in next week's T&T)
From This and That newsletter archives of February 9, 2002:Back in the 60s when I was a teen and accompanying my grandfather Carmon to building sites during the hot summer months, one thing we always took with us was this tin water can with a block of ice inside. We'd either get the block of ice from Roy Pylant or from the ice plant at the railroad tracks and "D" street Southeast. With temperatures over 100 degrees many summer days, we all got a drink from that tin water can to quench our thirst. I still have that old tin water can in the rafters of my garage next door. I told in my T&T last week about Wayne Vaughn going to work at the courthouse. This week we were talking about things long ago and Wayne mentioned how he used to work for a man who made water cans in the late 40s when he was a teenager in Ardmore. The sheet metal shop was located catty cornered from Cashway Lumber Company at 3rd and "A" Street Northeast (NW corner - north end of the building). The proprietor of this tin shop was an Indian named Garvin Shi and his motto was, "The World's Largest Indian Sheet Metal Company in the World." Mr. Shi operated his tin shop in Ardmore from about 1947 to 1953. In 1953 he closed his operation here and moved it to Sulphur, Oklahoma where he continued business just a block or two north of Highway 7 and Highway 177. I'd like to get a photo of Mr. Shi and his tin shop for scanning if possible. Garvin Shi lived south of Sulphur on Highway 177 near Buckhorn Road. Here is a pic of a Shi Water Can that was made in Ardmore.
In last Sunday's Oklahoman newspaper I read Kathleen Parker's column about the loss of common sense at airport security since 9-11. After reading Kathleen's horrible flying experiences since September, my mind flashed back to March 23, 1775 when Quaker and U.S. patriot Patrick Henry asked at what price safety and peace? Here is Kathleen's story that was in last Sunday's newspaper. http://www.jewishworldreview.com/kathleen/parker021102.asp
"Hi!! I really enjoy t and t !! Wish I took pictures like you!! Johnny's BQ down at the RED RIVER was popular when I was a kid and actually I ran in to him at the Elks at Gainesville with Dad and Mom. Knew me cause I look so much like my mom!!"
"Hi Butch I saw June Maxey's note about the tamales Mrs. Bennett made. If June knows anything more about Mrs. Bennett I would love to hear the information, thanks."
"Butch, in one of your recent T&T's someone mentioned "1000 acre rock", from which part of the OK State Capitol Building was built. It is actually the "Ten Acre Rock" and is located in Johnston Co, in the Troy OK area. My mom and her family grew up in that area and we have a number of "kin" buried in the Troy Cemetery. When I was a child we used to look forward to regular trips to the cemetery to "visit" the family. We would take a picnic lunch or go into Millcreek and stop at the little store there and buy food to eat for lunch. Anyway, when we got thru at the cemetery, we would drive east from the cemetery and about a half mile down the road (maybe a mile) there was Ten Acre Rock. We would eat on top of it a lot of times. The place is pretty grown up around it now and you have to be careful because copperheads and rattlesnakes love that area...all that brush and the rocks. Just before you get to the rock, there is a concrete slab crossover that goes over a little brook. When we were little the water was clear and off to one side it was about knee deep with a clear sandy bottom. We would get to wade around in it during the summer and looked forward to those romps in the water. It, too, is in bad shape...green, murky water - probably full of cottonmouths. Anyway, many years ago, there was a cotton gin (or something like that) right next to Ten Acre Rock and someone built a rooming house so that travelers could have a place to spend the night. I don't think it was used much and there isn't much left of either of those. All this reminiscing brings back fond memories that are dear to my heart. Thanks, Butch, for your interesting columns each week. God bless and take care. Your OLD friend, Di."
"Hi Butch, Here I am again. The Hole-in-the-Wall north of Marietta belonged to David Shellenberger, former rodeo contestant and a member of the Shellenberger family in Marietta. He died almost two years ago. Camp LeGrande was located on the corner of Myall and Hwy 77 which is now S. Commerce Street. The "tourist cabins" formed a U shape with the office in front. While going through my tapes I found the one of Cowboy Slim Rhinehart. If the person interested in it a few months ago will let me know I will be glad to make a copy of it. It is a tape of several of his radio programs. He was singing and promoting the sale of his latest and possibly last song book. Since people have been reminiscing about the "bars, clubs and honky tonks" does anyone remember the Green Frog next to the First Methodist church. They would not allow that now. Parking was in back and car hops took your order.
To the person that asked if anyone remembers the bakery on N. Washington. When you went to school at the high School or Jr. High how could you not remember. Sit in class and smell the bread about 10 am and you could just taste it. Many times someone would collect nickels and go and get donuts."
"I have been doing family history and I just found out I have family links to Ardmore , Ada and several other places in Oklahoma. I would enjoy receiving your newsletter. I have been told that the town of Cornish Oklahoma was named after a relative John H Cornish. Don't know if that's true or not. Sincerely, Crystal (Cornish) Craig. High Ridge, MO."
"Hi Butch. Thanks for the tidbits on Fittstown. I grew up in Fittstown and graduated from McLish HS. There wasn't much to do there -except play basketball - and it was a big deal on Saturday nights to get to drive to Ada and drag Main Street. I wrote a feature length screenplay and several short stories in which the setting is Fittstown (I called it Fire Creek in my movie script). Many of the colorful characters who lived in Fittstown are represented in the script and short stories. There was Rufus and Fanny Lee, who ran the local mortar and rock swimming pool, which was called Lee's Park. And the Spit and Whittle Boys and Hannah, the Fire Creek Witch - she is a character in the screenplay that is a combination of my first grade school teacher, Mrs. Doolittle, and my bus driver - Homer (who didn't have any ears..just holes in the side of his head!!). Hannah's character is scary...but lovable. The pool was filled with water from the creek. Rufus was in charge of pool and grounds maintenance and Fanny ran the concession stand and rented inner tubes. I lived across the road from Lee's Park and every morning Rufus would shoot the turtles and snakes swimming in the pool. I'd fish them out with a long pole. I also helped whitewash the pool with a lime mixture every two weeks. This was our only method of algae control. For my work, Fanny would let me swim free all summer. I have many many wonderful memories of Fittstown. Funny though, when I was young, I couldn't wait to get out of Fittstown...now I want to buy a retirement home there. I'm tellin ya...Fittstown was awesome." -Joh Mann, Ardmore
"Just been reading through your T&T earlier (last week's) and the thought struck me... Do you not have roundabouts over there to help you through busy junctions, rather than every man for himself. If there is no traffic light's there, then you give way to traffic approaching you from the right of the roundabout, and it all works out pretty ok." -Judith in the UK
"Dear Butch, We would drive to Gainesville in our Buick touring car to visit my father's family, the Woodson Stonums, when I was a little girl. When it rained my father would snap yellow curtain like protectors over the windows to keep the rain out. Mainly I remember the sandy road before we got to the Red River. Many a time we would get stuck in the sand. I think this road later became Hwy 77. I remember how scared I was everytime we crossed the rickety old wooden bridge that joined Texas and Oklahoma. One time I remember a cow had gotten stuck in some quicksand and men were trying to pull it out with ropes. The Stonum home had a storm cellar where everyone took refuge if a cyclone was coming. These storm cellars had other purposes; they were also used to store meat and canned goods. When I was a teenager a fun thing to do on a moonlit night was to cram as many couples in someone's car as we could and drive to the new bridge on Hwy 77. We would turn on the car radio and get out and dance all over that bridge! Not much traffic in those days!" -Tweed Stonum Machock
Some mail from this week's MAILBAG....."Butch, I found this in some of my mother's stuff after she passed away! I thought some of your readers might be interested! Betty Jean was my mother's oldest sister who died at the age of 14-16 years of age? My grandparents were Levi and Myrtle Pearl Lankston Gilliam! At the time of Betty Jean's death they were told it was diabetes, and wanted to do an experimental drug! My grandparents said no and shortly after she passed away! The family always thought they used the drug anyway. Note the date of the certificate! I did not find the exact date Mt Washington school was built but looked to be about the same time! Again thank you for your efforts with your T&T newsletter, and keeping us informed!" -Mike Pennington. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
2-11-16, Exploring remnants of the old Ringling Road (originally Oklahoma, New Mexico & Pacific) that ran west from Ardmore to Ringling, Okla. as my new rail buddy keeps an ever vigilant eye for varmints. This bridge was completely submerged by the waters of the 2015 Spring Flood. -C. Dwane Stevens
Before & After:
SB Heartland Flyer #821 passes the remains of the Rock Island Trestle where it passed over the GC&SF Red Rock Sub, Ardmore. 2-11-16.
2nd Photo, one of the last Santa Fe trains over the trestles (same spot, camera facing opposite direction).
Blue Haus Revival in downtown Ardmore Oklahoma
"Butch, the old bell in front of the church in Butler is from my church there - First Baptist Church of Butler, Ok. Kids and some of our "adults" still enjoy ringing it from time to time! Also in reference to the comment about American Bandstand, I remember in the early '60's when John Paul Hubble and Cree Cree Marchesani got to be on the show and a lot of us got together and watched them on the show - they were quite the celebrities when they returned!" -Judy F.
Benjamin Harrison Holcomb
Mr. Holcomb was born July 3, 1889, in Brown County, Kan. He died Dec. 2, 2000, in Carnegie, Oklahoma. Burial was in Fairview Cemetery (Caddo County) under the direction of Crews Funeral Home. Mr. Holcomb farmed in Caddo County until he was 105. He worked in civil service at Fort Sill until he retired. He married Katherine Darnell on Feb. 3, 1954, at Chickasha. She preceded him in death on April 25, 1993. Mr. Holcomb was recently named the World's Oldest Living Man by the Guinness Book of Records. He made a profession of faith and was a member of the Masonic Lodge. -Jo Francis Aguirre, Texas
The Wilson News
February 2, 1917
New Healdton is a wildcat town. Located midway between two thriving little cities, it cannot hope to be more than a make-shift for a town. The most of those who have purchased lots there have been influenced by the success of New Wilson. But New Wilson is not a townsite any more - it has experienced the reaction that follows the lot-sale boom and come nobly to the front. With a vast farming territory on all sides, it is destined to be the trade center for the northern part of Carter County.New Healdton is being boomed for a purpose, and that purpose is to make money for the promoters. When this is accomplished it will be abandoned like all other dry holes. We have thousands of obituaries in our genealogy library and the museum has a whole new look. Come see us or visit us online at www.wilsonhistoricalmuseum.org Open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
John Paul Jones 1747 - 1792
September 23, 1779 - As his ship was about to sink, after having been asked whether he had lowered his flag:
"I have not yet begun to fight."
See everyone next week!
Butch and Jill Bridges
PO Box 11
Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402
Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
Bells of Oklahoma
Carter County Courthouse Paver Project
Ardmore High School Criterions Online
Oklahoma Bells: http://www.OklahomaHistory.net/bellpage.html
Bill Hamm's Cemetery Database
American Flyers Memorial Fund - Administration Webpage
Official American Flyers Memorial Website
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Base Website
Mirror Site of the Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
Carter County Government Website
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