This and That Newsletter

Vol 12  Issue 590     Circulation 5,000      May 15, 2008

PO Box 2

Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

email address:

Toll Free Number in Oklahoma:  580-215-4333

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.

Speaking of Healdton, Jill and I are planning to attend Chuckwagon Day at Healdton on Saturday May 17th.  This is going to be an event like never held before in this area since I can remember... going to be a lot of fun.  Let's see, admission is $5 at the Healdton Lake and you can sample the good eats you want from the 6 chuckwagons that will be set up.  Then there are cowboy singers, horse shoes, washer pitching, draft horse and mule log pull, wagon driving, rope machine for the kids, and much more. The fun starts about noon.  If you live near Healdton Lake, this will be worth attending!

Last week we bought a coffee bean grinder, the burr type, as we wanted to grind our own coffee for use in the mornings.  Not having any coffee beans, Jill traveled over to Wilson to our friends Susanne and Dan Jolliff at Coffee Professionals in Wilson and picked up a bag of Columbian coffee beans.... and the beans were a perfect roast!  We can now make a rich deep coffee grind using our burr grinder for that early morning coffee, and when you grind it yourself, oh the flavor is all that much better.

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

There are several mentions in the Mailbag below about the Oklahoma mill coinage.  Here is a pic of the mill from Oklahoma.

There was some excitement in the courthouse rotunda this week, a group of local volunteers manning a table to introduce passersby to an organization by the name of Divided We Fail. The Divided We Fail organization is an endeavor by the AARP to reach Americans about the need to hold accountable politicians for long term financial security and health care. My wife is one of those 50 million Americans (another 100 million have limited health benefits) in need of health insurance. To add her to my HealthChoice insurance policy would mean a $462 deduction from my county check. Needless to say we can not afford $462 out of my check each month, so Jill is still waiting for affordable health insurance and praying she doesn't have a major medical emergency before.  Maybe this Divided We Fail organization can get something done, I for one sure hope so.

Visit the Oklahoma History Boards, start a topic if you want too!

Q.  Name the son of Daniel Boone who traveled through Oklahoma.
A.   Nathaniel Boone

Q.  What is the title of the state poem?
A.  (answer in next weeks T&T) 

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

"Hello Butch and Jill, Your T&T letters are always interesting. I wanted to tell Donald Bridges that I'm an old Whippersnapper from Oklahoma and I was there when we used the mils. I'm not sure, but I think it's value was one-tenth of one cent. Also, I think it was not used to pay taxes but a means to help the old folks in Oklahoma. It came before the event of Social Security. Oklahoma called it for "Old-age assistance". We were all very, very poor and this small amount of income was a God-send for my grandparents who were too old to work. I will always love Oklahoma. It is good to know of someone else who remembers the mil." -Wilda Stephens
"During World War II Mils were made out of some kind of pressed paper, sort of like a molded cardboard, due to metal allocations. As I recall, the lettering on them read "for old age pensions" or something like that. I imagine there are collectors and catalogs of such things. They were used to pay sales taxes and there was some dissension when they were discontinued and you had to pay a full cent when the sales tax came to more than a half cent. The mills were in one-mill and and five-mill coins or tokens and in those days of lower prices and lower tax rates you could have sales tax of maybe 5.7 cents or 8.3 cents or whatever on a purchase." -Wes Leatherock
"Interesting reading today. When reading the piece from our Uncle Donald Bridges it brought back memories of my childhood and growing up in Davis. We use to go to Wacker's 5&10 there in Davis with 10 mill and be able to get a piece of bubble gum. We knew that it cost more but they were always nice enough to let us spend our money (knowing that mills were no longer the currency of the day)." -Poss in Korea
"I am looking for photos or memorabilia about the Sooner State League teams: Ada Herefords, Ardmore Indians (1947-1953)/Cardinals (1954-1957), Chickasha Chiefs (1948-1952), Duncan Cementers (1947-8)/Uttmen (1949-50), Gainesville Owls (1953-55), Greenville Majors (1957), Lawton Giants (1947-51)/Reds (1952-3)/Braves (1954-7), McAlester Rockets (1947-1956), Muskogee Giants (1955-57), Paris Orioles (1955-57), Pauls Valley Raiders (1948-1954), Seminole Oilers (1947-1950, 1954-56))/McDuff Ironmen (1951)/Athletics (1957), Shawnee Hawks (1951-57), and the Sherman/Sherman-Denison Twins (1952-53). Also, there is a chapter on the 1961 Ardmore Rosebuds. I really need good photos of Ardmore owner Art Willingham (1950-1951), A.P. "Pink Shuman (1954-1957 and 1961), and Otto Utt, owner and manager of the Duncan club (1947-1950). Former batboy and Ardmore attorney, Derril McGuire, has been very helpful as has been Betty Anderson, former wife of the late Tom Anderson, the Cardinals' trainer and driver. Anna Sollars, the late Red Sollar's daughter, provided a photo of him. I plan to post photos not used in the book on a website about the Sooner State League. Of course, I'd be glad to hear from any former players or relatives with remembrances."

Pete Pierce
Norman, Oklahoma
"Here are some photos I took recently of a tree that's growing out of the engine compartment of an old car in Springer (also an old cattle chute nearby). If you turn off of Hwy 77 and head west toward Gravity Hill (also called Magnetic Hill) (where you can roll uphill) this car is on the left hand side about halfway down."  -Rob Carter

Sons of Confederate Veterans
Clem Vann Rogers Camp 481
Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp 513 host

Memorial Day Observance
Confederate Section, Rose Hill Cemetery
Ardmore Oklahoma

Monday May 26, 2008 2:00 PM

Our program will last apx 1 1/2 hours
The presentation will be given by Oklahoma Division Commander
Col. John Priddy, USMC Ret.

Contact information and directions to cemetery
Terry Pierce
(405) 685-1158
"In the latest issue there is a communication from Keith Ward from Oklahoma City who  recently discovered one of Southern Oklahoma's greatest treasures--Mrs. Mary Wilson of Lone Grove.  I note that you've talked rather frequently about Mrs. Wilson over past years and certainly are well acquainted with her good works, her generosity with her time, and her substantial knowledge of the history of that region of Oklahoma.  She's been very helpful to me in recent years as I've worked on the history of the O'Savior School and community, as well as the Orr School and community.  One can't say enough good things about this great lady right there in Lone Grove.

Donald Bridges from California wrote you about his recollections of the mill that was used years ago for paying sales taxes.  He thinks that the mill was worth 1/100th of a cent.  Actually, it was worth 1/10 of a cent.  I can remember it being used in the early 40s by the five and dime stores in Ardmore, one of which was Kress's.  Those stores had lots of small sales and apparently found it necessary to use mills in order to be able, in a practical way, to collect sales taxes on small sales.  I believe the sales tax might've been around two per cent at that time.  If a customer bought something for ten cents, the store couldn't charge that customer a penny on that ten-cent purchase because it would've resulted in the store levying a 20 per cent sales tax.  Neither was it practical for the store to forego the sales tax on small sales because the store would end up having to pay the tax on many of its sales itself.  Therefore, when one made, say, a ten-cent purchase, he was required to pay two mills in taxes.  As a kid I was never particularly happy about buying something for a dime and having to shell out eleven cents and receiving eight mills in change, but today I can certainly see the rationale.

The mills, as I recall, were fairly close to the diameter of a nickel and had a hole in the middle.  I believe they were made of aluminum--not sure about that though.

At least one of the five and dime stores in Ardmore had a rather unique way of making change.  It had only one cashier who made change, and that cashier was located upstairs in the back of the store.  I believe there were several stations around the store that a clerk could go to to complete a transaction.  When a purchase was made, the clerk would write up a ticket, put the payment and the ticket in a small tube, and then pull sharply on a cord to send the tube on its way to the cashier.  Pulling the cord resulted in the tube attaching itself to a small belt that was constantly in motion running to and from the cashier.  The belt was pulled and guided by a series of small pulleys about two inches in diameter.  The tube would first go straight up and then make a series of 90-degree turns in order to end up at the cashier.  The cashier would take the ticket and money from the tube, put the proper change in the tube, and send it back on its way to the clerk.  As one can imagine, there was much whirring and clattering as the tubes went back and forth.  As a kid, I was absolutely fascinated by the process, and would spend much time in the store watching this mechanical wonder at work.  This is the only place where I've seen such a system and, even though I've told many people about it over the years, have never run across anyone who'd ever seen a similar operation. Today many banks, in their drive-through operations, use pneumatic tubes to serve the same purpose." -Charles Walker, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Well good news, I found the old maps, they had moved.
Start here:
Then you could go to "maps" on the right.
Then "county pages"

"In reading prior issues of "This and That" I see that there have been several requests for pictures of the old O'Savior School in Love County; also for the location of the school.  Several people seem to have responded with general descriptions of location, including my friends Edgar Wallace and Mrs. Mary Wilson, also an unidentified person who told about growing up on a 1,000-acre ranch south of Post Oak.  I'm pleased to be able to provide maps that will show the exact location of the school; also a picture of the school building and a couple showing school students.

The official name for the O'Savior School was the Simon Valley School as is shown on the document setting forth the formation of the school district, dated December, 1907.  This district was one of the original school districts established in Love County after statehood.  The school building was built on land allotted to and owned by Frank O'Savior, a Chickasaw Indian.  It was located 4-1/8 miles east of Orr and 3-1/2 miles west of Simon in Section 13 (3/8 of a mile west of the southeast corner), Township 6 South, Range 3 West, of the Indian Base and Meridian.  It probably was commonly called the O'Savior School because it was located on Frank O'Savior's land, and to distinguish it from a prior "subscription" school called the Simon Valley School that was located on Simon Creek approximately 2 miles northeast of the O'Savior land.  The location on Simon Creek was probably on what was commonly called the Alexander Farm, a large property that was divided into a number of separate parcels, each farmed by a different tenant farmer.  The "Alexander Farm" is with little doubt the same property referred to above as a 1,000-acre ranch.

In the 1916 O'Savior School picture is a little girl by the name of Emma McMillan.  Emma now lives in Wilson and recently celebrated her 100th birthday.  I'm attaching a newspaper ad about the event that was sent to me by Mary Wilson.  Emma, when she was 96, identified every person shown in the 1916 picture.

Someone wrote you whose father was R. O. Stubbs who, it was said, taught at O'Savior 1915-1917.  Information that I have is that Stubbs taught at Orr in 1915-16.  It will be noted that there were several Stubbs children in the 1916 O'Savior picture, whose parents were Edward and Florence Stubbs.  The Stubbs family lived on a farm about 1 mile east of the O'Savior School; also had a store at that location.  One of the Stubbs descendents had a store on Main Street in Ardmore for many years.

I would be very interested in communicating with the Stubbs descendent who communicated with you.  Hopefully this person will read this and contact me." -Charles Walker, Fort Lauderdale, Florida'SaviorSchoolDistrict1.jpg'SaviorSchoolDistrict2.jpg

"As I was reading your listing of Carter County "Grocery Stores" I wondered if you were aware of an old store that years ago was called "Red Everetts Grocery Store" was located on Hoxbar Route....which is now called Sandy Creek Road. Red Everett's store had 1 gas pump outside, and a kerosene pump inside the store...thank goodness for OSHA today...on the east side of store was an attached room that held the "feed" and on the west side of the store was another attached room that was the "pop" room...this held all the different flavors of soda pop and scorpions also...the inventory seemed huge for a small child like myself, the inventory included things like materials for sewing, groceries (of course) a couple of pop-boxes that were app. 6' long and were eye level for a 6 year old girl.  There was also a deep freeze in the back that held the ice cream. And of course a sheep dog named "Shep" that ate breakfast with Mr Everett every morning...this landmark was also a bus stop for one of the Dickson School buses." -Sharon Jones, Ardmore Ok
The Legend of Lonz Pennington - Kentucky fugitive makes his mark in Johnston county history.

My records show that another Ardmore student died in The Great War, James Edward Duston, Jr.
I noted "Inscription on tombstone (memorial). Co. B 141 Inf 36 Div, Killed in action near Etienne,  France. Buried in France.  In Greater Southwest Museum of History in Ardmore, there is a section of four square memorial tombstones, one each for the four members of Ardmore Highschool who were killed in World War I."
In an undated clipping in family records is the following - THE LATE PRIVATE DUSTON IS AWARDED THE CROIX DE GUERRE WITH PALM - The French War Cross posthumously awarded Private James E. Duston, who was killed in action Oct. 8, Has been received by his father. The decoration of the Croix de Guerre bore the palm, signifying an additional honor. Accompanying the decoration was the following letter, signed by Petain Marshall of France: "With the appreciation of the Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary Force, the Marshall of France Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary Force, the Marshall of France, Commander in Chief of the French Armies of the East, cites in the Order of the Army. First Class Private James E. Duston Company E, 141 Regiment Infantry, 'A remarkably brave soldier. During the operation of October 8, 1918, near St. Etienne, he advanced over a terrain swept by a violent bombardment. By his courage he largely contributed towards neutralizing the fire of enemy machine guns and destroying their emplacements. Killed during action.' "
I believe this to be from The Daily Ardmoreite.  I will send by mail some other articles and pictures. Duston is also listed on the WWI memorial in Rose Hill Cemetery. Ardmore has certainly remembered him and his service ! Good luck in your new location and keep the news coming." -Barb Hunt
"Butch I really enjoy your newsletter, Thank you. Have you or anyone ever had a story about the tunnels??? If so I am very interested. I had ask a lady in Davis to write a book on the history of Turner Falls area for the tourist who ask so many questions, her response was, Ardmore has more history! The illegal gambling, rooms that vanish behind bookcases to hide the notables in gambling houses, tunnels.........of course her response was there were still to many of those alive it would hurt.......... but that has been a few years back. Anything on the likes of this?"
"My son Devin is now one of the helicopter reporters for KOCO channel 5 in OKC, he is really liking his new job and this is a great thing for him to fly and run the camera and do live shots." -Doug Williams
"I was thinking if there is enough metal detectorist in this area we might have a get together and discuss some of our finds. I have access to a very large supply of Indian territory maps of this area and old maps of the surrounding communities. I and a friend from Purcell Ok, having been getting together every other weekend and hunting the Red River area and finding several relics from the French-Indian cultures including battle memorabilia from the Spanish defeat. Please if you know anyone in the area that is interested have them email or call me (580-223-7722) would be better. I work at Pettit Machinery in Ardmore in the parts department. I usually have finds with me all of the time if anyone is interested in looking." -Evan
"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."
"Haven't written you in a while Butch. I always think of your cousin Roberta "Bobbie" Carmon Tilley, when I read your newsletter. The photo of Berwyn, I have 3 cousins in that one. 2nd row setting 6 from left is Narshalla Day. Next row directly behind her, Lynn Day. 2nd row standing from right #4 is Nelda Day. That was a very long time ago. Still reading at 75." -Jo Evelyn Barton
Oklahoma 1871 and 1899 surveys were recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on the Internet.   Some Oklahoma counties were surveyed in different years.
The setting that yours truly uses is the "JavaScript Viewer" at 25% magnification with the ?cross with arrows? tool to "drag" the township map around seems to be the best.  Thus far, I have posted the legal descriptions of some places in the surveys of Caddo, Carter, Garvin, and Murray counties.  Eventually, I hope to post analogous data for the Oklahoma counties addressed in my 1,046-page book, so you may want to check my web site from time to time.

Cherokee Town,  twp 3N ran IE sec 25, near Pauls Valley, Garvin County, is cited to illustrate why this is a valuable primary research resource.  Cherokee Town was an important community during the Civil War era since it was located at Cherokee Crossing, a rock bottom section of the Washita River that served as the juncture of five (5) roads.  It was located on the ?Little Sandy Creek? in the 1871 map that was named the ?Cherokee Sandy Creek? on the 1899 map.
Mike Tower of Elmore City OK, and friends, posted a rather substantial study of ?Cherokee Town? on:
Patricia Adkins-Rochette, Duncan OK 580-252-2094

?Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory During the Civil War: Fort Cobb, Fort Arbuckle & the Wichita Mountains.?

'He's Got the Whole World in His Hands'

An old spiritual made popular in 1958 by Laurie London

He's got my brothers and my sisters in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got the sun and the rain in His hands,
He's got the moon and the stars in His hands,
He's got the wind and the clouds in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got the rivers and the mountains in His hands,
He's got the oceans and the seas in His hands,
He's got you and he's got me in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got everybody here in His hands,
He's got everybody there in His hands,
He's got everybody everywhere in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

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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