This and That Newsletter
Vol 21  Issue 1,090     Circulation 5,000      December 14, 2017
Ardmore, Oklahoma
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From 1935 to 1943 the Works Progress Administration (WPA) sponsored the Federal Writers Project. The project employed over 6,000 writers around the U.S. They wrote on every subject imaginable, including a famous series of travel guides for the 48 states. The following article was published by the Writers Project in 1936.

"The Ghost of Ardmore"

Half a century ago when trains of the Santa Fe Railroad first began to run in the vicinity of Ardmore, Oklahoma, one was held up by bandits seven miles from town where the tracks cross Caddo Creek. Afterwards, the robbers retired to an old house, where they divided and quarreled over the spoils. One robber was shot and killed. It is a tradition that part or all of the booty was hidden for a time in or about the house. People soon began to say that the ghost of the murdered bandit walked about the place trying to find where the money was hid and for many years nobody was willing to live there.

However, about seven years ago, a family named Lynch moved into the deserted building and for several months remained in peaceful possession. One afternoon, along in the summer, Mrs. Lynch left her two oldest children at home and crossed the fields to visit neighbors. Perhaps an hour later, she heard her children screaming and ran out with her friends to learn the cause. Almost in hysterics, the youngsters came flying along shouting that someone was tearing the kitchen to pieces and that the teakettle was laughing and singing.

Mrs. Lynch and others attracted by the excitement went to investigate. They found the teakettle steaming in the middle of the kitchen floor. A fire was burning in the cook stove, though none had been burning in it when Mrs. Lynch left home.

The mystification of the onlookers was changed to horror when they observed that drops of blood were sprinkled all about.

The next day, the Lynches moved out and no family has lived in the building since.

This queer story was related to writers who are preparing articles for the American Guide, the forthcoming travel handbook for the Works Progress Administration. No one knows when the house was erected, though it is supposed to have been put up sometime in the late 70's. The best hewn rock and heavy timber were used in its construction and its roof consists of hand-made shingles. The whole lower story is devoted to one large room with two huge fire places. Upstairs, there are four rooms.

Ellis Perkins, who lives in the vicinity, had the latest known uncanny experience in the old dwelling. One afternoon, about four years ago, he was caught in a heavy rain storm while hunting. The only shelter, he told the Guide writers, was offered by the old house, so he and his bull dog ran into it to get out of the rain. The place was entirely vacant. He walked up the stairs and looked around the second floor, but there was no sign of recent occupancy. He shut the door at the top of the stairway and descended to the ground floor.

As his foot left the lowest step, his dog sprang around and looked toward the top, his hair bristling; then began to bark as though he scented the presence of a stranger. Mr. Perkins said that he also looked back toward the top of the stairs. Under his gaze, the doorknob turned. The door opened, as though to permit someone to pass on to the stairway, and closed noiselessly. The hunter waited for nothing more. Followed by his yelping dog, he sprang to the front door and rushed out into the downpour.

The wind must have blown the door open, friends tell him, but his invariable retort is, "How could the wind have turned the doorknob?"

October 1933
600 Carter County men were put to work on the Lake Murray project this morning. At least 1,500 men are on the job at present, from the four counties participating in the work.

October 1933
L. B. Tatum, pioneer Negro citizen of the northwestern part of the county for whom the town of Tatums was named, died at his home. He was a progressive citizen and a leader among his people. He was foremost in every movement for the uplifting of the Negro race and was respected by the white citizens for his efforts.

October 1957
The new Soil Conservation service agent for Carter County, who succeeds Herbert Young, has arrived to take over his duties. He is Archie Welch of Boise City, Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Bromide High School and Murray College. His education was interrupted by World War II which he served in the medical corps and transportation service in North Africa and Italy. After the war he returned to A&M college and finished work on an Agronomy degree. He taught at Allen, Oklahoma and later went to Bristow as a soil science trainee. He was in Cimarron County before transferring to Carter County. Welch was married to Miss Neva Paxton of Stillwater in 1943, they have one child Dickie, four.

Isn't it a wonderful surprise when you receive a box in the mail you didn't expect? Today the mailman brought us a box of grapefruit from The Valley from friends as a Christmas gift. "The Valley" is south Texas (Rio Grande Valley) where delicious oranges and grapefruit is grown. I spent a month living with kinfolk in The Valley at McAllen, Texas when I was a teen. A big thank you to our friends for the Pittman and Davis fruits located in Harlingen, Texas! Like I put at the end of each newsletter, Friends Make Life Worth Living!

A flagstone I sandblasted the other day.

I received my "flu shot" from Amazon this week. I'm ready!

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 is the world's largest deposit of alabaster?
A.  In the NW part of Oklahoma near the town of Freedom.

Q. What county on Oklahoma is the only county in the U.S. that touches four states?
A. Answer in next week's newsletter

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of December 15, 2005

Last week we had our Christmas Dinner at noon for those of us in the Annex Building next door to the courthouse. Commissioner Dale Ott offered to provide the brisket and ribs if the rest of us would bring the trimmings. Needless to say he didn't have to ask us twice. Boy, I'm telling you it was a feast fit for a king. Here are pics of the delicious brisket Dale prepared in his smoker.

This is a photo of my plate. I hate the whole thing!
Last week Ardmoreite Bob Kerr brought by a couple of old black and white photographs that were originally in his mother's collection. Bob was wondering if anyone might now what model cars these are, and, hopefully, who the people in the photos. The photos were probably taken at Dornick Hills on the north edge of Ardmore. I don't know if it was a sign of hard times or what, but that cow behind the one car is one of the skinniest cows I've ever seen. lol Does anyone recognize what make and model cars these might be?
A T&T Reader by Lone Grove has some bois d'arc wood, estimated at least 40 years old, laying in their backyard and decided to do something with it last month. They gave the extra hardwood to a man in Tulsa to make a writing pen out of it. When they received the handmade pen, it was beautiful.
"Look at the first photo and you may think you have "double vision"! I was "touring" the big town of Dougherty today (Dec 15th) and shot these photos of the old and new bridge southeast of town. It's just about a mile or so out of town on the road that runs from Dougherty to the Dolese Crusher and then on to Nebo, Oklahoma and intersects with Hwy 177. Classic old iron side (iron top) metal bridge of a bygone era. Not much support on the roadway part. I walked across it and there are numerous holes in the bed revealing the relatively thin (as compared to today's standards) wooden planks supporting the thin pavement. Apparently it served it's intended purpose for many years though before being replaced with the modern concrete bridge next to it." -Dwane Stevens

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

Hi Butch -- I found my 1930s file dating from the 1980s this item may be of interest --

I wonder if other people have random memories racing on all the time. I decided to write down some of it.

Somehow horses come to mind. I didn't have a lot to do with horses. My uncle had a ranch out near Graham and I would go out there with his father-in-law, E.R. Poole early Ok pioneer, in his 1925 Dodge coupe. Took about an hour. I was allowed to ride his horse Shorty. Cautioned not to run him because he was an old horse. About 10, I couldn't reach the stirrups so I stuck my feet in the straps holding the stirrups. I remember thinking my eyeballs about to fall out with his rough trot.

Side saddles for women were still seen then in which the lady had her left foot in a stirrup, sitting sort of sideways, with her right knee around a sort of centered 'security post', with her right foot toward the left side. I guess it was a holdover from Victorian modesty - days gone by. I recall two ladies, thought to be sisters, living on C st SE about 500 block, were a dignified sight, often seen riding around town dressed in their English riding habits.

At one point the US Gov't was shooting cattle in an effort to keep the beef price up. They paid an owner for his herd, bulldozed a trench, shot the cows and covered them up. Alert workers were able to carve out some steaks during the event. I remember my Dad
brought home a lot of meat we canned in the pressure cooker - that we ate on all next winter.

My Mother's sister was married to Frank Cardwell (insurance), lived at 1210 W Main. They were a horsy couple with no kids, kept horses in the back, rode in parades, he played polo, etc. They bought a farm about half mile East of the turnoff to go to Gene Autry (then Berwyn). The house had burned down so when we stayed overnight we slept in the hayloft. I remember fondly that hayloft.

In the depth of the depression everyone was raising vegetables. My uncle plowed up an acre or so and I can still see my mother, grandmother and aunts working their garden, dressed in their long skirts and sun bonnets, looking like a century earlier.

They had a cow Clara that I would ride. About all I did was sit on her back as she walked where she wanted to. She was a fence breaker and had a iron yoke on her neck with prongs that would stick when she pushed into a fence. Once I was sitting too far forward and she put her head down. I slid down and one of the prongs gouged me in the chest. Anxious moments with my uncle and grandfather deciding if it was serious. I still have a scar.

Frank was a lifelong friends with Floyd Randolph (Sheriff 1930s) and his wife Florence who was famous as a rodeo performer. I remember Floyd recalling early days when he 'cowboyed' with later western movie star Tom Mix. A lot of people recall Randolph's saddle shop in the 1950s, corner So. Commerce and Myall.

A modern day thought -- lately TV news has carried a story about a wanted fugitive out in Idaho who, among his other misdeeds, was known for eating squirrels. When I was a kid everyone who could ate squirrels, and rabbits, and quail and ducks ----

Things do change with time. -Bob McCrory
Memorable Christmas Tree
In the '50's the dirty dozen had an annual Christmas party. It was always held at the old SP-11 dining hall at Lake Murray. My Dad, Freeman Baker, was not a member of the dozen but was friends with them all and so my parents were always invited to that little get together, and though way out of place I had to go. Always very boring to me ( their conversation and jokes were over my head). I remember that it was always very cold, the building was mostly dark and the only warm place was in front of that huge fireplace. The tree though, was always very amusing. Cut from the woods around the area, it was a bare, crooked, dead ugliest blackjack tree they could find. Decoration----- toilet paper only. I always suspected Ancel Graham was the resident tree cutter. Even though the whole affair was boring to a child I can still remember much loud laughter as those folks enjoyed each other's company and of course I did get my share of fudge, divinity, cookies, etc. -Joe Baker
The article by Bill Spearman brought back memories of the Frisco Dinky train. In the mid 1950's I was a teenager and lived in Pirtle, OK which is a community about eight miles east of Durant, OK. The Frisco Dinky train had a small shelter for passengers about a half mile south of Highway 70 and about a half mile north of our home on what is now named Pirtle Road. My Dad, Raymond Whitfield, would walk to that shed and flag the train down to ride to Durant where he was the manager of Western Union. The shed is now rotted away. The timing of the Dinky was such that he could also ride back to Pirtle after he got off work. -Donald Whitfield
It's interesting that in last week's blog began with a story about Sies Machine Shop because I was in Bozeman, MT yesterday to have lunch with the owner of Sundog Fine Arts and one of the area's fine gun smiths walked in and we began talking about machine shops and he described his shop. I mentioned Sies Machine Shop because I loved to visit that place growing in the 1950s because of the overhead drive system they had in the shop to operate the various equipment.

Because he is the most knowledgeable gun smith in this part of Montana, I asked if he was familiar with Dubiel Arms. He responded yes he was and considered the guns they manufactured as some of the finest hunting rifles ever produced. He told me that, in fact, he had a Dubiel rifle barrel that he was going to take to the gun show in Bozeman this weekend to sell. He even knew Joe Dubiel's history beginning with his employment by the Colt Firearms Company.

I got to know the owner of the art gallery because we know several of the same people in the art world. I told him about Robert Taylor who has a show at the Fred Jones Jr. Art Museum in Norman through December 30. He attended the show when he was in OKC in November for a show at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Last week THE OKLAHOMAN ran a story on Robert in the Sunday edition and you can access that by going to Facebook and entering THE OKLAHOMAN ROBERT TAYLOR to see the article and the video that goes with it. -Monroe Cameron
Here is a rare photo from Marietta , I.T. in the year 1900 with Snyder Photography studio in the background (note the photo display board behind the man sitting on the ground between the two cowboys on horseback). -Robert Hensley

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" is a Christmas song written in 1951 by Meredith Willson. Without hesitation, I believe Christmas time really is the happiest time of the year. It brings together peoples of every nation from all over the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the enjoyment of fun, food and families all through the holiday season.

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges
"Friends Make Life Worth Living"
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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