This and That Newsletter
Vol 25  Issue 1,275   Circulation 5,000      July 1, 2021
Ardmore, Oklahoma
My email address:

"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us,
What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."

A Glimpse Into The Past

I remember growing up as a kid back in the 50s and 60s, if you had a piano, there was only one person in Ardmore you wanted to call to come tune it. His name was Jesse Lyons. Everyone said he was the very best. A natural for it. And he tuned pianos for everyone, including churches in the area. I never met the man that I can remember, but he was known throughout the land. The article below is taken from the Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers Book.

William Jesse Lyons, Ardmore's best known and loved piano tuner, was born in 1914 in Montague county, Texas (died in 1999). His parents were: James Jefferson and Malona (Fesmire) Lyons, who were from Tennessee and Mississippi. Malona had a brother, Allison Fesmire, who has lived in this area. The Lyons came into Indian Territory just before Statehood (1907), settling near Duncan, Pickens County, where their daughter Mary Luvena was born in 1907. Their children other than Jesse and Mary were James Burton Lyons, and Ella Frances Lyons. In 1917 James J. died, so Malona moved her family to the Springer area where her relatives, the Burches, lived.

From age 8 (1922) to 1934, Jesse and his sister Ella attended the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee. It was there he learned the piano tuning profession, a work that he has enjoyed immensely for nearly 50 years. When Jesse graduated in 1934, he came immediately to Ardmore, where Emanuel Lowenstein (an early day piano teacher) took Jesse under his wing and provided work for Jesse among his acquaintances. When Mr. E.B. Luke retired from his tuning, Mr. Lowenstein presented Jesse Lyons to him and assured Mr. Luke he need look no further for a tuner.  This started a business relationship that lasted until 1977, when Jesse first retired.

Jesse was first married to Marie Lewis, a descendant of the well known Creek Indian, Jackson Lewis, who served in the Creek House of Warriors. She and Jesse had one child that died in infancy.  Marie died in 1977.

In 1978, Jesse came out of retirement and was asked to teach his profession at Grayson County College in Denison, Texas. He was there for 2  1/2 years and has now retired again, back in his beloved Ardmore. Jesse is now married to Mary Lyon (Giddens) Lyons. They make their home on "B" Street NW and are a lovely couple. Jesse has tuned pianos so long he just can't resist doing some work, but tries to keep this to a minimum. He recalls that he and E.B. Luke together have tuned for just about 100 years.

-From the 1983 Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers Book

Jesse Lyons is buried at Hillcrest Cemetery in Ardmore, Oklahoma

Photograph of Jesse Lyons from the above mentioned book.

May 1968
Construction crews are at work carving interstate 35 through the Arbuckle Mountains. Engineers forecast completion by 1971, including all the 68.5 miles of roadway under construction from Purcell to Love County. Amis Construction is doing work of blasting the way thorough solid limestone in the Arbuckles and will move more than 3.2 million cubic yards of excavation material.

Ardmoreite Cedric Bailey has made a couple history videos interviewing Yours Truly and uploaded them to Youtube.

Some of you will remember the old 1913 swinging bridge at Tishomingo over Pennington Creek. It washed away in a flood in 1981.

The Turner Falls curio shop back when it was a Skelly gas station.

We've gone over the $918,000 mark, so we are making progress locating people or their kin with unclaimed property at the State Treasurers office in OKC. As of today we have reached area people about unclaimed property totaling over $910,357. And the search continues....

So with the above being said, how long has it been since you checked your name or a family member's name? Its easy to do a search at the Oklahoma State Treasurer link below. I think every state in the union has a unclaimed property website through the respective state treasures website.

Q.  What kind of bones has been found in Caney and Tushka, Oklahoma?
The first dinosaur bone discovered in Oklahoma was found in 1908 a few miles south of Tushka in Atoka County. It was a piece of the shoulder blade of an Apatosaurus-like animal, and it attracted a lot of attention, since it was the only bone of that kind from that time period found in North America.

Q.  Where was the first oil boom town in Indian Territory?
A.  Answer in next week's newsletter

Some sent me a message/email a week ago inquiring about a couple graves at the McAlister cemetery at Overbook. I guess I've lost that email, please contact me again.

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

I took this picture on I-94 close to the Montana North Dakota state line on a trip to a dinosaur dig near Dickenson, ND. -Cameron in MT

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of July 2, 2009

This week I have added Volume 6 of Betty Carroll's "Once Upon A Time" audios to the website.

Speaking of bloody Caddo, in 1970 local writer and Ardmoreite Louise Riotte published an article about bloody Caddo in a national old west magazine.
"These pictures were sent to me, from Charlie and Maita Ruth Paynter Smith. I know some of you didn't go to Charles Evans but maybe you can fill in the ? marks cause they would have been in your Jr and High School classes Thanks to Charlie and Maita Smith for share these pictures Charles Evans 3rd grade 1954 and 6th grade 1957." -Terry
"Butch, I was doing research on the old Lee-Bankhead Highway and I found out about this bell in a church near Blue, Oklahoma.  "The bell now in use in this church was brought from the old Choctaw court house at Armstrong Academy. "   Now how cool is THAT?  The original reference is towards the bottom of the document at it was written in 1935 - I hope the bell (even the church) is still there."  -Don
"Butch: Here is a picture to go with my last email just scanned it. It was me in 1936, one of my first photos. I also scanned the back, has date and place. Best regards." -H.L. "Hoot" Gilbert in Healdton
The Daily Ardmoreite
Ardmore, IT
date: Wednesday, February 4, 1903

Willis, Jan. 31
The town of Willis is situated on the north bank of Red River, in township 8, south range 4 east. It is surrounded by a large body of fertile land, larger amount in cultivation. We have a first class cotton gin and saw mill owned by H. WILLIS and ran by LEE POWELL, a first rate mill and gin man. A two forge blacksmith shop owned and ran by J. G. WILLIAMS, a drug store by FLOWERS & WILLIAMS, general store owned by WILLIS & THOMPSON. R. C. THOMPSON is the postmaster, assisted by ROGER COOPER, a popular young man with friends. We have a splendid school of 40 pupils, conducted by MISS HENRY of Gordonville, Texas. J. P. COLLINS practices medicine. For churches, Rev. JOHN L. SULLIVAN of the Methodist Church and Rev. HARPER of the Baptist Church. There is a telephone connection with Woodville. The people, both citizens and non-citizens, are anxiously awaiting for the allotment. We had four weddings the past two months. JOE WILLIAMS had a new arrival at his home on the 27th, a girl. J. W. SMITH was in town representing the Ardmoreite and got several subscribers.
[ Willis is/was in Marshall county, Okla. ]
The Daily Ardmoreite
Ardmore, IT
date: February 2, 1903

Hart, Jan. 31: Hart is a small town 20 miles east of Wynnewood and 12
miles northwest of Roff.  We have a fair school with Prof. J. L. DAVIS as teacher and MRS. DAVIS as assistant. We are badly in need with a cotton gin and grist mill. It is a good location with water and wood plenty.

[ Hart is/was in Pontotoc county, Okla - 19 T 3N R4E
Hart, Pontotoc, Okla - 19-20 3N 4E ]

"Would anyone happen to have any information on an Irene Ozell Clay Gentry? She is suppose to be buried in the McAlister Cemetery, but I don't see her listed on any of the sites I have searched. She was born 7.14.1922 and died march 4, 1957 any help is appreciated." -Kim
The Daily Ardmoreite
Ardmore, IT
date:  February 4, 1903

Isom Springs, Feb. 1
This is a new town, but quite a business place with two general stores, blacksmith shop and a cotton gin which has ginned about 76- bales this season. The firm of FINLEY & MANLEY, both young men, are doing a nice business. Manley looks after the business and Finley teaches a school of natives. MR. ADAMS is the gin man. The town of Brownsville was absorbed by this town. Dr. BELL is the physician. In driving from Isom Springs to Woodville, one passes through a fine farming section as can be found in the country, but roads are bad.

Isom Spring. In Marshall county 6 miles south of Kingston. A post office from February 6, 1902 to November 15, 1924, and named for Isom O'ky-um-ba, local Chickasaw. -from Oklahoma Place Names by George Shirk 1966 2nd Edition

Dinosaurs may be extinct from the face of the planet, but they are alive and well in our imaginations.

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

"Friends Make Life Worth Living"
Ardmore, Oklahoma

Oklahoma History Website #2 (backup website)

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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