This and That Newsletter

Vol 11  Issue 528     Circulation 5,000      March 8, 2007

Ardmore, Oklahoma

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.

Some 1922 Ardmore Businesses:

Last week I talked about needing to borrow a hard drive to do some 'repair' work on my computer at home. Several of you wrote in offering to help, and I appreciate every one of you. And in the true form of my amazing T&T Readers, one in Illinois wrote me within one hour after my T&T went out last Thursday evening, to say he had a drive he wasn't using and I could have it for free if I wanted it. Within 72 hours after last week's T&T, I had a brand new 80 gig Seagate drive in my hands! My T&T Readers never cease to amaze me!  Thanks John!

Last week I was in a wood working mood, so I built a bird house and it turned out pretty good.  I even modified the original plans a little, making one side panel on a swinging hinge so if the bird house needs cleaning out sometimes, I can just remove this one screw in the front and the side will swings out for easy cleaning.  Jill hand painted the roof with some nice yellow and green flowers, so its got a woman's touch, as every house needs.  lol

Here is a link to the website where I found free plans on building the basic traditional bird house. You will need the free program Adobe Reader to look at the actual plan.

I plan to make several more using the 6 inch wide boards as used on stockade fencing (privacy fence) in backyards. I need to look around and see if I can find some used red cedar fencing locally, that would be ideal.

And here is a pic of our bird house.  Not bad for my first attempt.

Here's a website where you can download 1,000s of full-text books for free.  I noticed many books have history is the theme, etc. on the website.

I remember back in the 50s and 60s a cartoon character named Gabby Gater appearing on the Woody Woodpecker show. It seems like Gabby always had this little didy about sweet potato pie. In 1989 the country group Alabama in the song, Song of the South, mention "sweet potato pie and shut my mouth". This week Jill made a sweet potato pie (I found the recipe on the net). But I sure didn't shut my mouth. I opened it wide and shoveled it in there. ummm good!   lol

If there are any couch potatoes out there, you will love this website to find out what's showing on TV. Whether you have cable or satellite, or whatever, this is an awesome TV guide!


"A friend of mine has an old Colt .45 and he has heard that it belonged to a Carter County lawman around the turn of the century. Professionally engraved on the backstrap is the name "W.R. Light" and on the inner strap of the butt is engraved the name "Holt" (no first name). He thought these may have been the names of an Ardmore Chief of Police or an Assistant Chief. Have you ever heard of anybody with these names involved in Carter County law enforcement in the late 1800s-early 1900s?"
"The Ardmore Beautification Council which I am a member, had flowers planted in the downtown flower beds last year, here are the results.  Enjoy." -Doug
"I don't know if anyone can help me or not but here goes. I was born in Stroud Oklahoma in the same bed my uncle was born three months later. My grandfather worked for the railroad even the. I would like to see some picture of that area if you could direct me in the right direction I would be gratefully. My Grandfathers name was Charles Calvin Bolerjack. Thank you." -Wallace Duggins
Plans are being made for the annual Berwyn School Reunion at Gene Autry.  The reunion will be held at the old school house in Gene Autry, which is now the Gene Autry Museum.  Not only will attendees have a chance to visit with old friends, but they will have the opportunity to tour this great Museum.  The reunion will be held on Saturday July 7th. We are attempting to locate everyone who ever attended school there, lived there or was a friend of those people and would like to attend the reunion. Invitations will be mailed in late May.  If anyone would like to be placed on the invitation list please let me know.  You may contact me at  -Richard (Butch) Haney

Old gas stations.
"Be sure and catch my Granddaughter on TV! She loves science and dinosaurs, is 7yrs old going on 30yrs. Her Moma sent me the photo of Skye and her crazy Papa (me) did the rest." -dwane stevens
"The Burger Shop, in Kingston, is definitely one of the best. For many summers, our golf group  has made about 4 outings each summer to the old course at Lake Texoma.  I hope it's still there after all the re-do!  After a game of golf, we always stop at The Burger Shop on the way back to Ardmore.  Everyone orders something different, and it is all very good. "Ernie in NJ", as a young boy with a lot of friends, I spent a lot of summer evenings back in the 50's at the Ardmore Indian Baseball Park.  We would go out to the park at about 4:00 to watch the warm ups and batting practice, and stay until the game was over about 9:00.  I still remember some of the player names. Many Cuban players were on some of the last teams. I don't know anything about a movie, but I'm sure there is a chance of one. Apple Dumplings at the Chuck Wagon, what a good memory!  Probably as good as the hot rolls at Bill and Barb's!  You can still get an Apple Dumpling that tastes as good as the Chuck Wagon's at Two Frogs, here in Ardmore." -Dennis
"We are seeking a listing of the literature books students' families were required to buy in the decade 1930-1940.   My 85-year old mother (whose email address this is) memorized many poems from those books and she would like to read them all again.  She came from a large family and the books were read across the entire decade.  Much sentimental value to finding them.  Can anyone provide a website, address or other source for such a listing?  Thank you!" -Susan Clarke for Hazel Michael Clarke (of Temple, OK).

"The Ringling Railroad served as a training ground for athletes at AHS when I was a student there.  Our Practice field, which was a tad smaller than a regulation football field, sat astride the old rail -road bed.  The field was across the street, west, from the Station House and the road bed (the rails and ties had been removed) made a very good running track.  A "warm-up" run to the "Round House", and back, preceded every practice.  As I remember the round trip was three miles and  we were expected to do it in about 20 minutes.  It was not pleasant to be among the stragglers.  Our Coach, Paul Young, had a bicycle and he would often ride along to make sure no one "cut across".  I wonder what now occupies the area of the old Round House?  Is the old road bed now a street?" -Tom Meason, Tulsa, OK
"I've taken up the family history and one story that keeps coming back around is the bank that was robbed and it is family rumors that my uncle, Luther Burlin Johnson was one of the robbers and actually did time.  Everyone believes it was Huntsville,  Luther was born May 13, 1908. He was reported to be around early 20's.  My father always told the story about how is brother robbed the bank of orr and got caught. Do you have any information on what year the bank was robbed?  We were from Carter County and have a lot of years of history in that area." -Linda Johnson

"Hey Butch! Man I enjoy your site.  I grew up in Healdton and now teach in a public high school in Maryland.  My dad forwards me your issues.  In the last one, you took a picture of a burger from the Kingston Burger Shoppe.  My fifth period class came back from lunch and I just on the spur of the second pulled it up and showed it to them.  They got a real kick out of it and we had quite a conversation later on about the best burgers they've ever ate."
"I don't know when this was actually wrote about Patty Jo's Hamburgers in Wynnewood. I just wanted to tell you that if your ever back by Wynnewood, Ok and want to get into Patty J's, good luck!! I just went home and had to go see Patty and get a burger. It was 1 p.m.  still a crowd!! I understand that Patty Jo's is small but it was packed. Now they have a Mardi Gras theme too!!! Fat Tuesdays with red beans and rice!!! Well have a good day and I really enjoyed the article!!"
"I have been told that my Grandmother Willie Mae Harkins, attended a reservation school in Ardmore Oklahoma. Her Father was Willie Harkins, her Mother was Pollyanna Lunsford. I would love to review some history of Ardmore Oklahoma and possibly visit. Can you give me any information or ideas on how to approach this. Thank - you so much for your time." -Catherine McCarter Warner
"Butch, One of your readers asked about a movie made in Pittsburg County.  I grew up in McAlester and was about 5 or 6 years of age when that movie took place.  My father had a live radio show at the time and was able to get he, my sister, and a young man my sister sang with to perform at a banquet held in the Aldridge Hotel for the cast of this movie.  My sister, who still lives in McAlester, has pictures of her and her singing partner, Kenny Minyard, taken with Chill Wills, the star of the movie.  I cannot recall the name of the movie.  She was about 11 and Kenny was about 12, so the movie would?ve been around 1951, give or take a year or two.  Next time I talk to her I?ll try to get some more info.  By the way, Kenny Minyard has been for many years one of the top rated radio personalities in the large market of Los Angeles." -Rusty
"Love the pick of the horseshoe curve.  You may not remember but back in the early to mid 50's a semi-trailer rig lost control coming down the curve traveling south to north on 77 and went off the road just after coming off the top off the horseshoe. The rig was almost burned beyond recognition and for many years folks would try to see the wreckage lying down in the gully." -Poss
"Butch: Danny Hull (580-668-3318) at Wilson has written his life story, THE HULLS AND THE SMITHS, Growing Up In Rural OklahomaIt's a fascinating story of Wilson in the 40's, 50's etc. It's a good read."
"Hello Butch, I love your site!! I want to make sure that you are aware of a true treasure of southern Oklahoma history. It's.....

Mathers, J. H., & Houts, M. (1954). From Gun to Gavel; the Courtroom Recollections of James Mathers of Oklahoma. New York: Morrow.

If you don't already have it, get it and prepare to enjoy."  -Ed Garrett has several copies listed

"Hi Butch, As always I enjoy your editions of This and That. Last Saturday, February 24th was a wild wind storm wasn't it?  In your photos from Madill and Kingston I notice blue skies. You were lucky. That day my wife and I drove to Sweetwater, Texas.  The winds were kicking up when we left OKC about 10am and by the time we got south of Lawton they were howling, but not very much dust... yet. As we got west of Wichita Falls, TX the sky rapidly changed to brown.  The first two attached photos were near Seymour and Haskell, Texas, sometimes we had near zero visibility where plowed fields were blowing across the road.  It was a harrowing trip that took about 90 minutes longer than the normal 4 hours and 45 minutes. By the time we got to Abilene the winds had diminished enough the visibility was  more like 2 miles and that evening in Sweetwater it made for an interesting sunset as seen in the last photo taken from the second floor of the Holiday Inn Express. The next day was gorgeous and our return to OKC was normal. It sounds like the married life agrees with you.  We've managed 26 years of it here and are still going strong.  I wouldn't have it any other way." -Earl in OKC

By the way, the trip to Sweetwater was so I could partake of a Christmas gift my family got me, 30 minutes in the air in an old North American AT-6 single engine trainer.  It included aerobatics which I was leery of but after the first loop or two I had the time of my life up there. Attached is a photo me next to the plane shortly before flying.  That was last Sunday morning after the dust had cleared.  The pilot even let me take the controls part of the time and she coached me through a couple of loops.  A pilot friend of mine told me to strap in very tight so the g forces wouldn't bother me, she said as long as my butt was firmly planted in the seat they wouldn't bother me and she was right, it was a terrific 30 minutes.  Here's the web site of the firm that offers the rides. -Earl

"Butch, as a native of Love County who has resided in Nashville, Tennessee for 39 years, I recently visited the Love County Historical Society Pioneer Museum in its new home just south of the Court House in Marietta.  I was greatly impressed and hope anyone with a connection to Love County will put it on their "to see" list. Items from early Love County homes, businesses, and organizations are beautifully organized and identified.  The museum is open each Friday from 10 to 4 and at other times by appointment. I was told that additional hours will be added this spring and summer. If you haven?t visited the museum, please do so.  I?m certain you will find it well worth your time." -Tom McAnally, Nashville, Tennessee
"Glad to see the bridge pictures -- here's one of my favorites, the Mannsville Bridge on the way to Norton Cemetery (north of Mannsville, OK)." -Claire

"Here is a "Welcome To Oklahoma" sign for your collection. Its located after you crossover the new bridge south of Wilson, coming home from Bowie, Nocona or Spanish Fort. Butch, if you enlarge it you will see that the next road on the right, going east is hwy 32. I just thought it was humorous, with the metal sign and the mobile home. I don't know why they didn't put it at the end of the bridge as they usually do, but they put it at the junction of hwy 32." -Susie
"Butch, I was a young Game Warden in Carter county in the winter of 1971.  Blue River had just been designated a trout stream along four scenic miles of stream in Johnson county.  I had fished it a couple of times with great luck and lots of fun.  I had a friend who liked to fish and he and I had conversed a few times about fishing and hunting.  His name is Preston Jameson.  Preston was a news anchor at a Wichita Falls, TX. television station.  I called him and told him about the beautiful new trout stream and he got really excited.  We planned a trip there for the following weekend.  We packed up our camping and fishing equipment and headed for the river.  The weather man must have been miffed at us for not inviting him, because he sent cold weather and snow.  The fishing was great, however, and the scenery, wonderful, as we managed to get our limit of 6 each day.  Preston was filming the entire trip, in between shouting with glee as he caught a beautiful stringer of rainbow trout.  When the TV viewing audience saw the beautiful footage, they came to Blue River in droves.  We sold several hundred trout stamps to people the next week end from across the Red River.  The original fishing area started with just four miles of stream, but the Oklahoma Wildlife Department now owns or manages several more miles along the Blue River, along with pristine wilderness Rainbow and German Brown Trout fishing on the beautiful Mountain Fork River below Broken Bow Lake dam in McCurtain county.  I invite your readers to take advantage of the wonderful angling opportunities of Blue River Public hunting and fishing area and the Mountain Fork trout fisheries." -Rome Ingle, Tulsa

Song of the South

by Alabama, 1989

Song, song of the south.
Sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth.
Gone, gone with the wind.
There aint nobody looking back again.

Cotton on the roadside, cotton in the ditch.
We all picked the cotton but we never got rich.
Daddy was a veteran, a southern democrat.
They oughta get a rich man to vote like that.

Well somebody told us wall street fell
But we were so poor that we couldnt tell.
Cotton was short and the weeds were tall
But Mr. Roosevelt's a gonna save us all.

Well momma got sick and daddy got down.
The county got the farm and they moved to town.
Pappa got a job with the TVA
He bought a washing machine and then a chevrolet.


See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

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American Flyers Memorial Fund - Administration Webpage
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Carter county schools, past and present
Carter County Government Website

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