This and That Newsletter

Vol 21  Issue 1047     Circulation 5,000      February 16, 2017

Ardmore, Oklahoma

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The Evening News (Ada, Oklahoma), January 11, 1906
MYSTERIOUS DEATHS THAT APPEAR TO BE MIRACULOUS The uncanny story given below might be passed as a piece of "yellow journalism" rot, but for the fact that a citizen of Ada happens to know several of the unfortunate persons who figure in the chain of tragedy. Mr. W.H. Grammar who has lived in North Ada for two years, a baker by trade, formerly lived with neighbors in Texas with Smith and the Daileys, and was familiar with the controversy referred to and knew of the other people mentioned below. He has written his daughter at Galveston for corroboration of the miraculous occurrences. The following strange story was sent to the Chicago Record-Herald from Galveston: "Death from a strange malady which physicians say they have never before seen or heard of has overtaken ten men who were connected with the suit over a piece of property given to an undertaker by a widow in payment for her husband's coffin. The belief is widespread in this vicinity that the deaths are a judgment from heaven. So terrifying have been the manifestations of what is believed to be the divine wrath that even the county officials refuse to have anything more to do with the case, which probably never will be adjudicated, at least in the present generation. The case is that of George E. Smith against John Daily. Both men died soon after suit was brought of the strange disease which specialists were unable to diagnose or treat. Then Thomas Brick, the district clerk who filed the suit fell a victim to the same mysterious avenger. Three lawyers participated in the "widow's coffin suit," as it is called--Clegg Stewart, Forester Rose, and William T. Austin. Within a few days all three became ill and died the peculiar disease for which no remedy could be found. Then Judge William H. Stewart, who tried the case and who but a few days before had rendered a decision in the case and granted a new trial, fell a victim, and in a short time expired. Alexander Bartlingcock and C.A. Sias were employed to survey the land in preparation for the new trial. Scarcely had they completed their task when they fell ill and died. J.F. Simmons, the district clerk laughed at the fears of the superstitious and made preparations for the new trial, on Thursday last he died."

Photo of snow on the Norton Bridge north of Mannsville, Oklahoma. The bridge washed away in June 2015 during a rain storm.

January 1932
Claude Oliver, 28, and his nephew George Oliver, 18, are in the county jail, after confessing to the murder of Claude Oliver's wife who was 15 at the time. The two men said they planned the murder to secure $5,300 in life insurance on Mrs. Oliver. The confession shows that Claude Oliver married her in August with the one thought of getting her life insurance. She was clubbed to death. The men put her in an automobile and the machine was driven over a bluff southeast of Davis to make it appear she had been killed in an accident. No foul play was suspected in the beginning, but later it was learned that Oliver himself had secured the insurance on his wife. The pair are now being held in some jail in southern Oklahoma after being spirited out of Murray County late yesterday afternoon. It was said the two men flipped a coin to see who would marry her.

January 1932
Okay Darden County Commissioner said. "I fail to see where a beer joints will bring any prosperity to the people."

January 1957
County attorney H. A. Stanley filed a civil suit against County Sheriff Enoch Watterson and American Employees Insurance Company seeking a judgement of $26,497.91 for a delinquent tax collections. Sheriff Watterson fired two of his deputies, Elmer Leroy Baker and James L Woodley last year after both were charged with delinquent tax checks. Woodley was found innocent and the complaint against Baker was dismissed.

January 1962
If robins can get hangovers, thousands of them may have the classic symptoms today, splitting headaches and turbulent tummies. Giant flocks of robins descended over the weekend and stripped pyracantha bushes of their berries. Well ripened berries apparently takes on an alcoholic charge through fermentation. After the gorging, birds begin falling off rooftops and wondering drunkenly in the streets.

You can find current gas prices for a particular Oklahoma town by entering the name or zip code in the GasBuddy search box.

Q. Where does the oldest person in Oklahoma reside?
A.  Mary Erbin was 109 years old living in Harrah, Oklahoma but last fall she passed away. After several searches I was unable to find the oldest living person in Oklahoma. Maybe someone has the answer.

Q. Where in Oklahoma was a woman hit by falling space junk?
A. Answer in next week's newsletter

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of February 9, 2005

"Butch, Your story about Gray's Liquor Store brought back some memories for me. When I was District Attorney we had an armed robbery there around 9:45 p.m. one evening. The man behind the counter was an older gentleman and he didn't resist the robber in any fashion. He kept his old eyes open, though. The robber got away with quite a bit of cash without harming the old man. A.P.D. detectives arrived within minutes and interviewed the clerk, who gave detailed information about his assailant. The robber was caught the next day and confessed to the crime. What made the case so unusual? Well, on the incident report are little blocks where the witness/victim's descriptions of the robber are filled in, and later when a suspect's arrested, the actual physical characteristics are completed just below the witness' account. In this case the descriptions, in each block, without exception, matched perfectly. The age, height, weight, hair color, etc., all filled in at the scene by the investigating officers on the incident report matched up to the letter with the information later taken from the subject. Although initially denying guilt, when shown the precise matchup of the description by the victim, the criminal quickly changed his mind and confessed. The resulting conviction and lengthy prison sentence was easy. I thought of that case every time I drove past Press Gray's place." -james clark, Ardmore

"Very interested to see mention of Ritz Cleaners. I don't know whether or not my granddad started the cleaners in 1919, but he did own it in the 1940's. His name was Raybon Wilkes and he lived at 911 West Main, the house just west of the cleaners. I spent many an hour in that building, following him around. He later had the Vogue Cleaners, on Broadway, and for many, many years ran the Wilkes Towel Service, furnishing clean towels to beauty shops, service stations, mechanics, etc. (Boy, that goes back aways!)"

"Butch seeing the picture of the Mt Washington school class, brought back lots of memories, and also reminded me that I had a picture of the Springdale School graduating class, 8th grade of 1956. This was a 2 room school house at the time. Mr and Mrs M. L. Emerson were the teachers at the school. Mrs Emerson taught the 1st 2nd & 3rd grades, and Mr Emerson taught the 4th through the 8th. Then about the middle of the year they hired a new teacher named Mrs. McTeague, and she took over the 4 grade and I was in her class, they put that class in the lunch room. Her son is the Vet, Larry McTeague. I would sure like to hear from anyone else that has pictures of the school or teachers that were at the school. I have lot of really great memories of that school and all the teachers there, Mr. & Mrs James Miller were there many years and may have been the last people over the school. I am send the picture of the 8th grade graduating class. Standing in front of the school house,, first on the left is Mr. Martin Luther Emerson the principle, Leroy Willis, James Johnson, my brother, Royce Thurmon, and Joyce Parrot. Hope this brings back memories to people that went to school,,as all of my memories are wonderful, and would like to see more of the these pictures, and hear memories from other that went there and knew the Emersons, There is also a Mr. Boring from Blue, Okla that taught there. maybe for only a year or 2. Keep up the good work, your newsletters are the high light reading of my week." -Karla
June 10, 1911
This morning a fire, evidently of incendiary origin, destroyed seven business buildings in the town of Stratford. The fire was started between two frame buildings one of which belonged to Mr. WATT and the other to T.J. CHAMBLESS. It spread rapidly and in a very short time nothing but smoking ruins marked the site of the block of business houses.
Following is a list of the losers:
Watt building $500 insured
Garner Bros., groceries $700
Gregg barber shop in Chambless building $200 insured $250
Meat market Total loss
G.B. Tiffin, general store, loss on stock, $1,500, insurance $2,250
Radcliff building and stock, $5,000 partially insured
W.W. Goodwin & Son hardware $15,000 insurance $6,000

Some mail from this week's MAILBAG.....

"Butch, in last week's This & That, you had an article about a broom manufacturer in Ardmore. Well in the summer of 1955 (Between my Jr and Sr year in high school) word got back to Wilson that they were looking for field hands in Lindsay, Oklahoma to cut broom corn and it paid $1.00 per an hour and that was a lot more that hauling hay for one penny a bale, so 4-5 of us headed to the broom corn field. We got hired very fast and started our first day at day break. We finished our day 17 hours later. (We were paid cash at the end of each day) long story short, if you have never worked in the broom corn fields DON'T unless you like torture. We lasted only 4 days and one penny a bale for hay looked pretty good. When we got home on Friday my dad told us we had lasted 3 days longer than he expected." -Ken in Whitesboro, Tx
"I was watching the Today Show Friday morning, you know how Smuckers sponsors centegenarians' birthdays with a picture on a Smucker's jar? There was our Kenneth Eck being celebrated! I'm going to look this up in order to perhaps find the picture shown yesterday."
Ardmore's fashion show parade in 1916.
"Butch, looking at the latest T&T prompted these comments --

Sally Gray's book was popular as was her presentation to our class of 1941 reunion just after it was published. Haven't read it since but at the time I wished I'd seen it in draft form, in time to give the other side or complete version of some stories.

Books & much history are a collection of people's memories subject to questionable accuracy & purposeful spin.

Congrats to Michelin finding you to manage some of their computer issues. Walking a mile a day will be good for your health. I probably averaged half that the past 25 years but helped me to 93 recently. Will walk again today, recovering from the flu.

As a kid 1930s there was a broom factory in Springer, galvanized barn-like on West side of 77. I often heard Springer was "broomcorn capital of the World".

I keep looking in the postcards file for one of my Dad's shop showing the cannon the roof. In 1960s at So. Commerce & Myall, it looked real but we made it from an old wagon axle & a dummy barrel made at Jinks Berryhill's Tin Shop."

Best, Bob McCrory

"Butch, This morning I found this tree. Beavers have really been doing a number on it. Be interesting to see how long it takes them to finish the job. Notice the old tire on the left (barely in view) for size comparison."
Q.  I'm writing about the Beatles and I'm sure you know about the association between the group and American Flyers - Reed Pigman was the group's pilot during their 1964 U.S. tour. It's often reported the plane involved in the 1966 crash was the same aircraft used by the Beatles, but I'm not certain whether or not this is the case. Do you know whether it was the same, or another aircraft? Thanks for any help you can provide.

A.  Hi Butch. It's Larry Starr. American Flyers Flight 280 was indeed the same Lockheed Electra L-188C with the civil registration N183H in which Reed Pigman flew the Beatles around the US during their 1964 tour. One of the Stewardesses who was on Flight 280 was on the 1964 tour with them and toured NYC with Paul McCartney who gave her a teddy bear. I will post a couple of pictures that I am sure you must have seen before. The small plane in the picture was Pigman's plane that he used to fly the Beatles to his private ranch during a break in the tour.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Written by Shel Silverstein 1930-1999

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Bells:
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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