This and That Newsletter

Vol 12  Issue 586     Circulation 5,000      April 17, 2008

PO Box 2

Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

email address:

Toll Free Number in Oklahoma:  580-215-4333

Its Thursday evening and the rain has started falling outside.  A much needed rain too since this county is so dry.  I am a little later than usual getting this issue out since I had a technical problem with my Mailer program, GroupMail.  I don't know how or when it happened, but some time within the past week the program was deleted.  Thankfully I backed the program up to my 2nd hard drive, so I've restored it.  But the T&T mailing list is a week or so out of date, so if you sent me your email to add in the past 2 weeks, please resend it.

Last weekend Jill and I were in Bromide, Oklahoma tromping around. Bromide is in northern Johnston county about 20 miles NE of Tishomingo. Bromide has national recognition given to it by nearby 2,000 acre Boy Scouts of America's Camp Simpson. 100 years ago Bromide was a thriving town, people traveling for 100s of miles around by train to come to bath in the mineral springs that bubbled up from the ground.  Supposedly the mineral water was like medicine for what ever ailed the body. But by around 1920 Bromide, Oklahoma was on a decline, and the springs would never again draw the people like it did in the preceding years.  Today is just a small community with a convenience store, a volunteer fire department, a few other buildings, and residents.  The magnificent buildings of its heyday are now in ruins as you will see in the picture I took below.

Just out of the picture above to the right is what's left of a building, and I noticed some red bricks were still there on the ground by where the front door would have been.  The bricks read: CLEVELAND BRICK CO OKLAHOMA CITY.

But if you walk north up that grassy path to the left of the building you will come to a spot where the a spring still flows from the earth. If you were just a casual passerby you'd never know these remnants of a bygone days was there.  As you can see, there is a mineral layer of sediment, sulphur mostly, that still there in the running waters.

Directly behind the old buildings more baths and ruins are still visible.  The name below the 1910 is W.H. Jackson, with the 's' backwards.

One of the residents we met on the north edge of Bromide was Bill Sandusky. At nearly 80 years young, Bill has many a story to tell about his Bromide.  But even more interesting then his stories is his handworks all around his yard.  Bill is one heck of a welder and metal worker, and has made 1,000s of unusual and one of a kind pieces of art from all kinds of metals. Below is just a few of the pieces I snapped pictures of.....

But one of his most unusual works of art were his bats.  Bats made from the backbone of a cow.  He made over 200 and sold them like hot cakes at Sulphur.

Bill even had a bell mounted on a pole in front of his house.

But Bill had me hooked when I saw a heavy brass bell he had for sale. He was told it came from a tug boat down in Texas.  You talk about a beautiful ring. The picture doesn't do it justice.  The bell is bigger than it looks in the photo, and super thick.  Bill attached the deer antler for a handle.

Of course, I had to snap a pic of this one in a million guy, and the creator of those 1,000s of pieces of artwork, Mr. Bill Sandusky.

And just a little further north of Bill's house down a very narrow, dirt road, covered with trees and vines you come to a hill.  The locals call it Cactus Hill and if you could see all the cactus growing on it, you'd know why they call it by that name.  There is MUCH more cactus than this picture shows.

And on the west edge of Bromide still stands a 2-seater outhouse.

After looking around town, we traveled east of Bromide on a dirt road a few miles to the Consolidated Stone quarry.

In Bromide's heydays, it was the primary source of income, people working at the quarry.  We parked at the gate and walked about a mile to the quarry.  We've been told that a new company has bought the limestone quarry, and hopefully 3 or 4 weeks the quarry will once again be operational.

Just before reaching the quarry there was an outcropping of rocks and it looked like someone had made an alter or whatever in a cavity in the rock wall.

After touring the quarry we left and traveled back through Bromide and drove a few smiles SW on a dirt road outside of Bromide to an area known many years ago as Viola, Oklahoma.  There on a hill side just a few hundred feet off the dirt road was a beautiful waterfalls. As we stood there talking to the owner, Derek Owens, the sound of water falls was almost a roar, but so soothing. Derek graciously told us a lot of history about the area.  Thanks Derek.

I noticed down stream near the Viola Falls was some wild poke.  Boy, I sure started to pick that poke and bring home, make some poke and eggs.  I haven't had poke and eggs since I was a teen.

We've talked about Ft Arbuckle several times lately, and how there was an "old" Ft Arbuckle NE of Pauls Valley. Then a second Ft Arbuckle west of Davis.  I was looking at a 1900 map and there along the Frisco railroad line just south of Dougherty, Oklahoma was a town named Arbuckle, Indian Territory.

Remember, this Saturday is the Oklahoma Outlaws Lawmen History Association Rendezvous at Ardmore (April 19th).  There are going to be some great guest speakers that morning. Starting time is 8am. Free to the public!  Location:  107 1st SW (OSU Extension Office Conference Room)

Herman Kirkwood, in OKC at  for more info.

You can find more updated info on the April 19th meet on the Oklahoma History Boards....... come on, sign up, and join in!

Anna Marie Wilson at Lone Grove sent me a newspaper clipping from the October 23, 2000 issue of the Lone Grove Ledger.  The clipping talks about only 7 one-lane pony bridges still existed in Carter county at that time.  Most of you will remember we talked 3 weeks ago about one of those bridges being removed on Concord Road.

Q.  Where in Indian Territory was the first Civil War battle fought?
A.   Round Mountain

Q.  During WWII the 'WAVES" had a training 'ship' on what campus?
A.  (answer in next week's T&T)

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

"Thanks Butch for your concern about the "CCC" Civilian Conservation Corps.  I know a lot about this organization and what a wonderful thing it was for this Country.  You can find out more about this at You can click on a lot of information and also see a list of all the CCC  camps in the USA. They also have a Museum in St. Louis, Mo.  Plan to spend a lot of time on reading about this subject. I knew a lot of boys from Oklahoma who were in the CCC camps."
"Butch, This Albino Pigeon showed up in our yard today and hung around most of the day. I managed to get some close shots of him as he is very tame. You can see the pink eyes and feet and the ruff of feathers around his neck. Quite unusual." -Dwane

"I'm really enjoying your Southern Oklahoma History lessons. I don't mean to be picky but the fellow picking up scrap metal from Oscar, OK was called Screwdriver Bill not Scrap Metal Bill. As far as is known his real name was a mystery but he was called Bill Smith by some and rumor had it that he did have a family that he had left some place. He wore several layers of clothing year round and his pants were bib overalls, all well crusted from the oil field and ???. His money was in Bull Durham tobacco sacks and it was said every pocket had money. He wasn't known for bathing so anyone giving him a ride required that he get in the back of their pickup or "turtle hull" of the car. They said in winter he slept in an empty oil tank down in the oil field, in summer out under the stars where ever he got sleepy and if it was raining he covered with a piece of tin. He went through the trash bins of the grocery stores to glean their discarded fruit, vegetables, whatever he could salvage to eat. When he was found, at least a couple of days deceased, some of my relatives dug his grave and they buried him at night. His grave is in the Ryan Cemetery as Will Smith 1895-1963, the name "Screwdriver Bill" is included on the marker."
"Butch, I found out more information about the old one lane bridge North of Byars, Oklahoma and South of Waynette, Oklahoma.  An elderly man told be the bridge was originally built by the Rail Road as a way for the local train to cross the South Canadian River.  The rail road, now abandoned, hauled cotton bales from the Cotton Gins in the area.  The locals call it the rail road bridge.  You can still see sections of the abandoned track in the area. The original bridge was totally made of wood.  You can still see some of the old poles in the river below. The floor of the bridge was replaced by wood after the rails were taken out. The wooden floor was set on fire by local teens, burnt, and replaced by the concrete."  -Charles Smith

"I found these Luna Moths in SE Ardmore on a tomato cage we had sitting down by the garden.  I was amazed at their size and the colors they have.  They were beautiful, you can only see one as they were sitting face to face, I assume they were mating but they stayed there for several hours.  I ran home and got my camera, today they were gone.  I hope to find the eggs they lay (on the underneath part of a leaf).  I wish I could watch for the caterpillars too hatch but who knows?  I'll be watching to see if I can find them.  I looked them up on the net and it is very interesting to read about them."

"Jerry Westbury and Wife Nila put together a very interesting article about Calvin H. Foster. Jerry was a former Pastor of the Wirt Baptist Church and former Sec of the Healdton Masonic Lodge in Healdton.  Calvin has worked in and around Lone Grove in the chemical business. Reading this article really brings back memories of my early childhood!"  -Hoot Gilbert

"Butch, do you still have the aerial photo of the old Safeway Grocery at Grand and N. Commerce?"

"Butch Bridges!!  Don't you dare kill another tarantula!  They are perfectly harmless and actually eat some other bad bugs.  Remember the old children's book "Be Nice To Spiders".  I think I'll get you a copy."
"Hi Butch,   My mother had two cousins who went to the CCC camp.  I was a small kid back then.  When they came home they had their army wool blankets.  Their father died of cancer and they were going to butn all those things, but my mom brought them home with us and she washed them in her cast iron pat out in the yard to sterilize them.  I still have the blankets .  My Mother died last year in March at age 96 and I still have all of her things here."  -H. Letterman , Madill
The Oklahoma Historical Society will have its Annual Meeting in Ardmore OK on the April 16th, 17th, and 18th, 2008 at the Ardmore Convention Center, 2401 North Rockford.   I am scheduled to speak about "The Civil War along Red River" in Session VII at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, April 18th.  
My 1,046-page book, with a 150-page Name Index, BOURLAND IN NORTH TEXAS AND INDIAN TERRITORY IN NORTH TEXAS DURING THE CIVIL WAR: FORT COBB, FORT ARBUCKLE, AND THE WICHITA MOUNTAINS, is about the Civil War era between Oklahoma City and Dallas and Texarkana and Childress TX.  Patricia Adkins-Rochette of Duncan OK, 580-252-2094,  You are invited to download a copy of my handout from:

Patricia Adkins-Rochette, 580-252-2094
1509 Shadybrook Lane
Duncan, OK 73533,

The Wilson News submitted by Mindy Taylor
As Others See Wilson
Below is an article clipped from the Ardmore Statesman:
   A visit to New Wilson during the past week was quite a revelation. That city had been counted by many as among the down-and-outers last spring when the oil industry was at such a low ebb, but its present appearance is far from that of a waster.
   The streets on last Tuesday were thronged with vehicles and people, the stores were doing a lively business and the town bore a strong resemblance to "the days of 1913".
   As an evidence of its enterprise and thrift, a number of new dwellings have recently been erected and others are said to be under contract.  The city recently voted a bond issue of $25,000 of which $20,000 is to be used in putting in water works and $5,000 for providing lights.  Water will be obtained by means of deep wells and the opinion of experts is that an abundant supply can be gotten through this means.  Another evidence of prosperity and business energy is the formation of a Commercial club, which was perfected the past week.
   Wilson is surrounded by an excellent farming country, and is near enough to the oil fields to draw a large trade there from.  A big tank farm is building two miles east of the town, and a well is being drilled two or three miles south.  Should the latter be a producer, New Wilson will at once become the metropolis on the Ringling road.  But "take as she lays" Wilson is a good live enterprising burg with a bright prospect before her.

Wilson Historical Museum Hours: Tues. Thurs., Fri., Sat. : 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Great place for a field trip!

"Butch:  You seem to have a real sense of history and an affinity for old things, including music.  A song very popular during the Great Depression was "The Big Rock Candy Mountains".  It was the opening theme song for the movie, "O Brother, Where Art Thou" with George Clooney, a funny comedy.  It was a song I played as a kid over and over in the 1930's on an old broken hand wound phonograph player that I had to turn a 78 rpm by hand."  -Don Davidson, Brenham, Texas

The lyrics are:

One evening as the sun went down,
And the jungle fire was burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,,
And he said, "Boys I'm not turning,
I'm headed for a land that's far away,
Beside the Crystal Fountains,
So come with me,  we'll go and see
The Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
There's a land that's fair and bright
Where the handouts grow on bushes,
And you sleep out every night.
Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
On the birds and the bees
And on the cigarette trees.
The lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
All the cops have wooden legs,
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth,
And the hens all lay soft-boiled eggs.
The farmers' trees are full of fruit
And the barns are full of hay.

Oh, I'm gonna go
Where the rain and sleet do not fall
And the wind do not blow
And it do not snow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks,
And little streams of alcohol
Coma trickling down the rocks.
The brakemen have to tip their hats,
And the railroad bulls are all blind.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
There's a lake of stew
And of whiskey, too.
You can paddle all around 'em
In a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
The jails are made of tin,
And you can walk right out again
As soon as you are in.
There ain't no shorthandle shovels,
No axes, saws, or picks.
I'm a going to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the jerk
That invented work.

I'll see you all
This comin' fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

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Oklahoma Bells:
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 schools, past and present
Carter County Government Website

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