This and That Newsletter
Vol 24  Issue 1,216     Circulation 5,000      May 14, 2020
Ardmore, Oklahoma
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A Glimpse Into The Past

Wirt - The Town That Was Always Burning

The little combination justice of the peace-insurance agency office of Judge O. B. Orr in Wilson is a peaceful looking place. The judge himself has always been a peaceful man and the town of Wilson itself is peaceful.

But the tenant of this office can really relate some hair-raising accounts of things he has seen in the post if a person can find him. He's usually at his office, the post office, the Wilson Hotel which he owns or visiting with a neighbor along Wilson's main drag, but he moves pretty fast and is sometimes hard to catch.

The judge, everybody calls him that because he has been a justice of the peace for 24 years, came to Wirt in 1916 to work in a tailor shop. His boss, an old-timer who had been there about three weeks, immediately started telling him about all the killings taking place. The judge had been in town but half an hour when he saw a character shoot a man who was sleeping in car.

Ruinous fires were forever wiping out the business district of the lusty Rag Town, as Wirt was often called. But folks can eventually learn to adopt themselves to almost any environment. For instance, the judge tells of the time a fire was raging through the shack businesses. A gambler walked into the street and took a look. He knew the flames would eventually reach his place. "About three hours away," he remarked as he strode leisurely into his busy casino, picked up the phone and ordered enough lumber to build a new building. Then he rounded up a crew and had them set his furnishings in the street at the last minute. Came the fire. The crew then went to work raking the coals off the lot and worked all night the throwing up the new building. The gambling hall opened at six the next morning.

Judge Orr lived through these wild days without ever getting into trouble himself. He attributes that good fortune to the fact that he did not drink or gamble and to a large amount of good luck. He doesn't want to see the old wild, free-wheeling days again. "Prosperity just isn't worth it." He likes things as they are now. "Only had two fines so for this year and they were for minor offenses."

The judge moved to Wilson in 1916 as an express agent and soon became justice of the peace. He's happy he stayed in Carter County- and so are many many other people. -from The History of Carter County book 1957

Where is the Buster Ned Painting?

This week I received the following information from the Ned family:

"The picture of Buster was in the family but was sold by accident by the storage place when they sold the unit. So we donít know where it is now. Iím checking with the elders to see if anyone knows who painted it."

I wish we had better answer to the above question, but I am still holding on to hope the painting will be found. I believe itís out there somewhere. I know my Facebook posts goes to several thousand people all over the U.S. and the world. Maybe someone somewhere knows where this invaluable painting to the Choctaw Nation can be found.

We would also like to know who painted this portrait of Buster.

Should someone know and would like to see this painting back where it belongs, please get in contact with me, either by private message or an email. All correspondence will be confidential and no questions will be asked.

I hope this mystery will be solved and the painting can find its forever home for the world to enjoy in the soon-to-be-opened new Choctaw Nation Cultural Center in Durant, Oklahoma.

February 1952
Southeastern Oklahoma got the biggest chill in history, 11 degrees below zero. County farmers and stockmen are feverishly working in the bitter cold during the past 4 days to provide stock water for animals. The hard freeze left stock tanks and ponds frozen solid. There are many reports of cattle breaking through the ice after owners cleared the area. Rumors are circulating that ducks and geese became frozen in the icy waters and died there because they were unable to get free.

February 1952
In the meantime some birds flying south for the winter didn't fly far enough. When the ice storm broke, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Payne came to town to stay with friends. Yesterday they returned to their home to check up on the premises. On opening the front door, they were greeted by swarms of birds which had came in through the chimney. The flock had roosted on venetian blinds and other places around the house and the couple report the task of cleaning up is a major project.

February 1952
In Chicago the deep-freeze woman continued her remarkable recovery and doctors say she may be able to keep her hands and feet. Mrs. Dorothy Mae Stevens, 23, was found outdoors frozen stiff 2 days ago and brought to a hospital with a temperature of 64 degrees. Her blood was slick as a sludge like substance. She is currently in satisfactory but still critical condition today.

February 1952
For the first time in history the citizens doing business at the Carter County Courthouse will not have the tiresome trek up those winding slick, marble steps. A new, completely automatic elevator was put into service Saturday February 4th which will carry people to all three floors. The sheriff's office is also being transferred to the new jail building next door which will result in extra room.

February 1927
Bailey Overstreet, who was arrested last night in Brock by Victor J. Buford, day officer, Cecil Crosby, deputy sheriff, and Tom Horton, constable, waived a hearing today and was held on $1,000 bail. Officers said they found 17 one-half pint bottles of moonshine whiskey in a Ford car Overstreet was driving.

February 1927
A jury took 20 minutes to agree that Dr. J. V. Jenkins, a Gainesville dentist, was honestly mistaken when his deathbed statement said Tom Choate fired the shots that killed him. Tom Jefferson, another man charged with the murder, and who had given authorities a statement filled with gruesome details about the murder, was released by the District Attorney's office. Following Choate's testimony on the stand, Sam Carpenter, a former employee at Dr. Jenkins' ranch, was held for Jenkins' murder.

February 1927
First efforts to get before the voters of Oklahoma a Constitutional Amendment which would allow women to hold major elective state offices failed to receive a majority vote in the legislature.

Q.  Who was Oklahoma's first native born governor?
A.  Robert Samuel Kerr was Oklahoma's first native-born governor. He was born near Ada, Indian Territory, September 11, 1896.

Q.  Name the son of Daniel Boone who traveled through Oklahoma.
A.  Answer in next week's newsletter

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of May 15, 2008

I received an interesting call this week from Healdton, Oklahoma.  The lady was inquiring if I had heard anything about a group of gypsies supposedly putting a curse on Healdton back around 1953 or 54.  It seems every year about that time a group of gypsies would come into Healdton and stay a month or so working and doing odd jobs, etc.  On this particular visit their "king" died in Healdton and for reasons unknown, the group put this curse on the town. The caller did not know if the king died naturally or maybe even killed. But whatever it was, it was a commonly repeated story among the citizens. The funeral was held at Collier Funeral Home and gypsies came from every part of the country to be there, camping out all on the grass and curbs in Healdton. Years ago gypsies (also known as Roma) were sometimes a misunderstood band of people. Anyway, this person that called me was wondering if anyone else remembers such a happening in Healdton in 1953 or 1954, and maybe who the 'king' was, and where he is buried. If anyone recalls this incident from the 50s taking place at Healdton, send me an email.
Ernest Martin came by last week and told me a story about he and his in-laws digging a water well back in 1939 south of Lone Grove. I thought it was such an interesting story I asked Ernest to type it up in an email to share with everyone, so here it is in his own words:

"The location of the old Heartsill farm is located south of Myall road and borders on the west by Meridian road. Edwin Taliaferro bought the property many years ago from Dewitt Heartsill when Dewitt went out of the dairy business. Dewitt was my Brother-in-law and through the seasons I lived with Dewitt & my sister while I was finishing my high school classes at Ardmore High School. Since I worked on the old farm in my spare time the place became much like my second home and I became acquainted with the kids at Lone Grove. The old Heartsill house & barn are now gone and there have been many houses added to the land that completely changes the very appearance of the property. Ed Taliaferro is like me, he is not young anymore but I visited with his wife by phone and she gave me an update on the old well which is still there and is being used for limited irrigation. They are using Lone Grove water. The old well still furnishes water but she tells me that it very hard. Dan Heartsill & I scratched off o circle & started digging. The ground was almost like sand stone and we used a sharpened buggy axel to make a place to set off charges of dynamite. We rigged up a windless with a bucket & rope to haul the shattered bits out to the surface. Although the ground was hard and the digging was slow we never gave up that we would encounter water. It took us about a year to strike water and although we were only 60 feet deep when we hit water it was a good supply of water. Later Dewitt contacted a Mr. Berry that had a well drilling rig and he dug down further before we walled the old hole with concrete. Since we had no electricity Dewitt bought an old one-lung gasoline engine at the sale barn and mounted it on the concrete cover and put over the well with the pump jack in place. We needed a method to transfer water to the barn & the house so we fixed a platform up in the twin trees that were close by. The platform was 2 vinegar barrels stubbed together with a 1 inch pipe so that the amount of water in the barrels would work for a water tower. We plowed a ditch down where where ever we needed to go and it worked for the time being. Through the years before, the only water we had was captured in a cistern which usually had wiggle tails included. This cistern was located mostly under the old house and a pitcher pump was used to use in the kitchen. Mrs Taliaferro told me that sometime later they had another well drilled but it was not very productive for home use. The old well is still producing water (hard) but thery are now using Lone Grove water in their home." -Ernest Martin
Another subject Ernest Martin told me later, that I found very interesting I must share. I am sure few people remember this remedy for water well problems from hard water, rust, etc. Ernest had a stopped up water well problem this Spring and..... well, Ernest can tell it better than I can:

"Butch: When we came out here on this old hill in the Springdale area ,we had no grass or trees - and certainly no water. We hauled water to mix our concrete & mortar with. That was around 1953. We needed water so I contacted my friend "Harold Epperson" and he used an old Ft Worth spudder to do the drilling. The resulting well turned out to be approximately 150 Ft. deep but produced a good quality of water in great supply. I think this was in the days when PVC was not yet available so Harold got some used oilfield casing to use for well pipe. This resulted in pretty rusty/oily water but we keep pumping it out until it was usable for domestic purposes. Through the years we found that by pouring a box or two of Calgon into the well that we could keep down the formation of rust. Calgon is a (commercial) water softener and can be safely used. After several years Ardmore ran a water line out this far so we tied on to city water but we still used the well for irrigation of our garden and other plants. Trouble came about when we did not use the well last winter and the rust accumulated to the degree that our well stopped up with rust and silt. I was afraid that the well had caved in but I thought maybe if I could get some dry ice or even a good water softener down in the well that it may unstop the clog. I found the Calgon in town & poured the material into a gallon jug followed with enough water to make a strong solution. After figuring out how to get the solution into the well I gave it some time and then turned the faucet on to permit a small stream. As the stream became larger the old well recovered and is back to normal." -Ernest Martin
The Legend of Lonz Pennington - Kentucky fugitive makes his mark in Johnston county history.
"If you travel hwy 64 West of Alva, OK (Woods county) and past the turn for Freedom and keep going West on Hwy 64 past the road to Cargill plant a few miles it seems you make a curve to the northwest on the highway ... there is an historical marker with mention of Nathaniel (Nathan) Boone."

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

Butch, The Stolfa picture looks like what could be used as a form for wagon bows. Common practice was to wrap the wood around a wagon wheel to form it. Maybe someone made something a bit fancier. -Willis
Does anyone know of a "Rock Springs" around Ardmore in the past... Don't know if it was just a school or a community. Thanks
Butch, my grandpa Kimberlin told me about the Dalton's changing their names to Brown and living near Graham. He told me that in the early 50s near Zanies. Grandpa was a natural historian, born in the 1880's. He had story after story from the old days. All were listened to and enjoyed. -Vince
We are having our Memorial day service on the 25th. Service begins at 9:30 AM at the Confederate section of Rosehill in Ardmore. Asking everyone to bring a law chair if they have one, we will have some spares if not. -Terry Pierce
We just passed another anniversary of the American Flyers crash in Ardmore on April 22, 1966 - you have listed the URL on your Web site. Having been to the Memorial Site and talked to two ĎArdmoreritesí who were in Ardmore at the time I have put a paper together on the crash.
There were actually six tribes that walked the Trail of Tears. One tribe, Chipachawamie, died of famine early on. The tribe was small and only consisted of about 1,000 members. Those that survived were accepted into the Choctaw tribe. For whatever reason, this is largely ignored by history books. In 1838 and 1839, roughly 15,000 Cherokee were forced to leave their native lands east of the Mississippi River and settle in parts of present-day Oklahoma as part of then-President Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy. Native Americans called this journey the Trail of Tears. About 4,000 Cherokee died from hunger and disease. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in Oklahoma follows the path the Cherokee took.

Extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.

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
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
Carter County Government Website

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