Stories & Queries

  • From: Larry Wilcox

    Good Morning Paula,
    (Comment tags are from a previous email from Paula to Larry)
    >Yes, that is the site I found. If the site will be there for a while I
    >will just link to it... though since there is so much information there
    >about Fred Chapman I might want to use a few of those stories with credits
    >linked back to the site.

    Either way is fine. My late uncle's wife will probably leave the website there for a long time. However, if she for some reason pulls it, I have a complete copy of the website. Just let me know and I can send it or any part to you.

    >Yes. Who is your sister?

    This sister is Helen Prior and she lives in Tishomingo.

    I have one other sister who also lives in Tishomingo. Her name is Louise Harrell. Louise was born in the old house that we keep referring to on 6/30/1944. In those days doctors still made house calls. The old house was still a one story house then and had only two bedrooms, one of which also served as a living room. My brother Thomas, sister Helen and I sleep in the room that faced to the east side my mom and dad sleep in the one that was on the south side. Funny thing how I woke up at the normal time with daylight coming through the window and had a funny feeling something unusual was going on. I could hear my mother making painful groaning sounds and looked outside and saw a strange car in the driveway. Helen and Thomas woke up and wanted to get up. I made them wait and stay in the room. After a while my father came in and told us we had a new baby sister. I was ten years old at the time and later helped dad carry out the tub that contained the soiled sheets from my mom giving birth.

    As I understand it, the old house was moved by Mister Chapman from Ardmore to Russett. He moved a lot of houses. Later when I worked for him during the summers when school was out I got my share of moving houses. Anyway, I believe it was sometime after WWII was over and prosperity was upon us that Mister Chapman decided to remodel the house. It was one of the old fashion houses that had very high ceilings. I am told that there were built high to help with the heat in the summer. Because of the high ceilings he was able to remodel it into the two-story house you knew. He had men go out and cut down large cottonwood trees and sawed them into large timbers at his sawmill north of the schoolhouse. These timbers were huge. When they were finished, they had added upstairs three large rooms, a small room and a large walk-in closet. He at the same time built the concrete cellar whose top was the back porch. I think they did a poor job of pouring the concrete because it always leaked.

    The water well was at the southwest corner of the cellar and had a hole through the wall into the well for someday putting in a pump, which never happened. We were always afraid the rainwater leaking into the cellar would contaminate the well water. If you recall, it was quite a nice cellar with two rooms. Before the cellar was built, the only other "fraidy hole" around was a dirt cellar at the school janitor's house right across from where you lived. We would go to it and had the same feeling you had. With all the creatures in that "fraidy hole", we weren't so sure which was more dangerous. There were snakes, scorpions, and spiders.

    >Yeah, we lived there WAY after that. We moved there in 1974 I think.

    Oh my that was a while after I left. My parents lived in the old house for some time after I left and then for some reason moved to a house near where you lived. Then my father had another "fallin out" with Mister Chapman and was fired. They then moved to Gene Autry.

    >That is WONDERFUL. :) You may use whatever pictures you find. There
    >aren't many for Russett on my site yet but I am still digging.

    Let me know when you find some more. I am bugging Helen to come with more photos. I raided her collection that she inherited from mom. They are mostly relative pictures and I don't recall any Russett pictures.

    >Yes. In fact I wrote a quick story about Russett for some guy who was
    >looking for information a few weeks ago... Who was this fellow? Was he an old Russett resident?
    >I would love to know any and everything you remember about Russett and the
    >houses that were still there 20 years later when I came along. As a kid I
    >would go into those old houses and just sit and daydream about the people
    >who used to live there... that is, when I wasn't telling the other kids
    >about the ghosts that haunted those houses at night. I have a silly story
    >about the house you grew up in ... I can tell you that one later.

    I would love to hear it. After the old house stood abandoned for some time, the Capital Democrat published a picture of it and called it a haunted house. Of course it wasn't a haunted house to me. It was my home during my formative years.

    Funny, I have lived at a lot of other places longer than I did there, but it seems like I lived there longer than any other place. It was the home of my youth. As I sit here writing this, scenes and scenes of that time roll through my mind.

    >On a sad note, I'm sure you know that house burned down in the early
    >1990s. I was so sad about it but glad that I had taken the time a few years earlier to
    >shoot those pictures of it.

    I am too.

    Larry Wilcox