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Vol 12  Issue 593   June 5, 2008

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

Email: butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net, Phone: 580-490-6823

Walmart greeters, move over.  For over 10 years there has been an unofficial greeter at the Ardmore post office almost every morning between about 7am to a little after 8am, Monday through Friday.  He’s always got a hello or good morning to everyone who comes into the building to get their mail, as he waits to pickup the mail for Noble Foundation.  He seems to know nearly everybody who walks in, or will before they leave if they stop and talk. And Chan has a mind as sharp as a tack when it comes to recalling things around Ardmore the past 30 years, things I had already forgot it has been so long since I been there, or done that, or bought there, and he reminds me.  He is really quite a history buff in his own right when it comes to the 1960s forward.  When I got to thinking about this unofficial greeter the other day, I decided to snap a picture of him in front of the post office. That’s Ardmoreite Chris Ridley in the picture with him. Meet Chan Brewster….


Traveling from Lone Grove to Ardmore nearly every day of the week (7 miles) sometimes I think how 100 years ago people only had oxen and wagon to get from the west part of the county into Ardmore. There were no paved roads into Ardmore like Highway 70 is today, only dirt cow trails and wagon ruts.  Just to get from Wilson to Ardmore required travelers to go through two gates because of private property lines.  One and one-half miles west of I-35 on Highway 70 is a place the old timers 100 years ago called the Devil’s Backbone.  This is a very high point between Ardmore and Lone Grove as you will see in the photos below.

One hundred years ago during the rainy seasons the slopes of the Devil’s Backbone were so steep, it was almost impossible to get over the top. Travel by wagon and a team of mules or oxen was slow going. On a dry day it was a full day’s travel to get from Wilson to Ardmore, a distance of 18 miles, by a team of oxen or mules pulling a wagon. So I can imagine the frustration by travelers trying to get over that hilltop with mud everywhere. Times were rough.

As a little side note, I would imagine when the congregation of the First Freewill Baptist Church of Ardmore decided to build a new church west of town and picked this hilltop just west of Ardmore, they never knew they were building on what was called the Devil’s Backbone years ago. Of course the location is only a name given to this hill by old timers, but I found it interesting.  If you pull north off the Highway 70 down a gravel road and go to the top of Devil’s Backbone, you will find a beautiful spot overlooking the entire area. The good people of First Freewill Baptist Church sure picked a beautiful place to build with a fantastic view in all directions.

I took this picture from the bottom of the hill on the east side, looking westward at the new First Freewill Baptist Church buildings.


Here we are looking down Highway 70 toward the west and Lone Grove. You can barely see that big huge American flag in front of the American National Bank.


This pic is looking east toward Ardmore


And this is looking south from the hilltop


Speaking of times of long ago, I clipped this article from The Daily Ardmoreite sometime in the late 1960s about a lady named Florence Sonntag who lived in Woodward, Oklahoma in far NW part of the state who could witch for water (not Woodford, OK). I know my great grandmother Ida Murphree Miller witched for water using a willow tree just like Mrs Sonntag, but Ida was born on October 2, 1874, not October 8th or 10th as a requirement told by Mrs Sonntag.


I received a phone call this week from a Johnny Hilton of Marietta, Oklahoma. Johnny was born in the Oil Springs area NE of Marietta (not to be confused with Oil Springs north of Dickson, OK) and is putting together some historical info on Oil Springs and Love Cemetery areas of long ago.  He said before statehood there were hotels and schools and stores at Oil Springs, but now that is all gone. Remains of one of the hotels was still visible as late as 1982, but it was bull dozed by an oil company. If anyone has some history to share with Johnny, let me know or give him a call at 580-276-3944. Johnny address is: Johnny Hilton, Rt 2 Box 237, Marietta, OK 73448.

Ardmoreite Dwane Stevens sent in some interesting links to photos he took of railroad bridges near Healdton a few years ago………

“Butch, attached are the photos of the bridges on the old Ringling Road RR ( originally the Oklahoma, New Mexico and Pacific RR ) that I promised you sometime back. I finally found them. These were taken at what was called Cobalt Junction which was the point where the trains turned north to go into Healdton from the line that ran West from Ardmore to Ringling. The Junction was located about a mile West of Zaneis School and about 1/2 to 3/4 mile south of Hwy 70. There are two bridges out there, one on the “Y” track at the Junction and another one about a quarter mile north of the “Y”. I found these interesting in that they are completely enclosed with timbers. The water through the bridges runs across a timber floor and as you can see from the photos the timbers are still in very good condition as of the date of the photos, 2004. The last train over the old line was in 1976. I have more area RR bridge photos I’m putting together for you at a later date that your readers might enjoy seeing. I’ll send them as soon as I get them all together.”  -Dwane Stevens

Photo 1     Photo 2    Photo 3    Photo 4

Photo 5     Photo 6    Photo 7   Photo 8

And another email this week sent in by Chuck Stallcup in Texas explained the mystery photo shared by Bob Kerr last week…… “Butch, The flag in the mystery photo last week is definitely a Salvation Army flag. The design is one used prior to 1882, but the flag could have been old when the photo was taken.  I also found mention of the small US flag in the corner, but did not find an image of it. “Landing at Castle Garden in 1880, English Salvationists carried an Army flag with a small U.S. flag in the upper left corner.” -Chuck Stallcup




The first part of the week a Reader mentioned to me that another building in downtown Ardmore was coming down. The drive-in bank across the street catty cornered from the First Baptist Church. The only thing left on the entire block now is the old Gene and Frances McFall homeplace (315 Stanley SW – now owned by the First Baptist Church). Frances’ maiden name was Owens, daughter of the famous B.L. Owens Furniture store on East Main years ago. Here’s a pic I snapped of the bank drive-in about to be demolished.


Speaking of downtown Ardmore, I saw an unusual setup on the west side of the old Reavis Drug Store on West Main and B Street. I knew it was hot this week, over the 90 mark, but I guess the workers inside this building lost their cool air and had to call in backup or melt.  It was a trailer with some portable air conditioning equipment, piping cool air into the building.



From the 1923 Journal of Carter County Schools by Kate Galt Zaneis, County Superintendent of Schools:  Schools Maintained in Carter County For Negro Children.   All of the schools in Carter county maintained for Negro children are designed as separate schools, except Tatums, District 50, which is the only district in Carter County that has more Negro children of school age than there are white children of school age. There are in this district, according to the enumeration of January 1923, twenty white children and two hundred fifty-one Negro children.  There are two buildings in District 50, a four-room concrete building at Tatums and Franklin, a two-teacher school, three miles south of Tatums to accommodate the Negro children in the extreme eastern part of the district. District 50 is strictly a farming section and the work of the vacation agricultural teacher, is not only a help in reaching the boys scientific farming, but this department also gives instruction to the adults of the community.  The department of vocational agriculture is equipped with laboratory for seed testing, and germination, and also has a workshop where the boys are trained to do such work as will qualify them to meet the needs of the farm.

Jill and I were over at Wilson, Oklahoma last weekend, trying a hamburger mentioned to us a couple weeks ago. For years this place was known as Dusty’s and was located just south of Highway 70 at the west entrance to Wilson. Marlin Isaacs and Tommi Sue Idleman own the convenience store today and put out a really good hamburger.  It had a big thick piece of meat, crisp lettuce and pickles, and onion.  I guess the only thing I can say I wished, is the buns were browned a little more.  I could hardly tell the buns touched the grill. Outside that, this burger was a good’un!


Here’s a pic of the Wilson, Oklahoma burger……


I finally got a picture of all 3 dogs this week who visit us almost daily.  They won’t hardly stand still long enough to get a pic of the group, but after about 5 tries, I finally got the pic below. That’s Bigboy in the foreground with Repeat on the left and Pete on the right.  Pete just recently received a summer hair cut, and I can tell he is not used to it yet.


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


Q.  What governor added the State Crime Bureau to the state agencies?
A.   Marvin Trapp

Q.  What group of Oklahoma workers went on strike in 1919?
A.  (answer in next week’s T&T)

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“Hi Butch and Jill, I remember Mother, my sisters and I going to JC Penney’s to buy clothes for school and the sales lady would put money and their copy of the sales receipt on the pulley, back it came with our change. I also remember the swoosh tube. The sales lady would send it off with their copy of the receipt and money. Soon it would be back with change. I was so fascinated by that gadget. I use to watch if go off and wait for it to return, wishing I could get a hold of it and have a look to see how it worked. I use to chuckle when my boys were fascinated by the swoosh tubes at the bank drive by window. They use to get a kick out of it swooshing off and wait with their face against the car window for it to come back. Their fascination was more for fun than my curiosity.”  -Leona M. Mars, Goldsby, Oklahoma


“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bridges, I am sure that you both are very happy in your new home, I see that Jill are planting a lots of flowers and vegetables and she is really very happy, enjoy and live. The reason of this E’mail is because one of your readers ( Mrs. Joanna Smathers ) said that one of her neighbors played for McAlester in the fifties and I got some records with someone with the name of Tuminello, but the name she gave was Trumenella and was a pitcher with the record of 17 and  9 and I don’t know if the same one, but anyway here are some records and I am sure he will recognize some of the players and will remember the good old times. Have a pleasant Summer and enjoy life.”  -your friend Ernie 



A few sites that you might enjoy….

American West, State by State:

American Heroes of the Klondike Gold Rush

Native Americans – Biographies

Law West of the Pecos – Judge Roy Bean:

Discoverers of the Oregon-Trail


“Butch, if anyone has the recipe for the deer meat casserole as seen at the Healdton Chuck Wagon Day, I would love to have a copy of it.  Thanks for all the fun things you write about.” -karen Jones

“In the 1948 Berwyn School picture that Mae Scott sent in a couple of weeks ago I would swear the fifth person from the right on the top row is Marshall Mills my 5th grade teacher at Charles Evans.” -Greg DeBerry


“Your article on lost cities of Oklahoma was very interesting. I travel Hwy 69 North to Grand Lake quite frequently hauling boats and there is a state highway sign near Lake Eufaula that shows Oktaha. I assume it is still there. Never turned off to see. You also mentioned how good rose petal jelly is. Well, I have made rose petal wine several times and it is delicious. It is a very pale pink color. Just like a fine Rose’ wines. The first time I made it I picked the petals from my wife’s rose bushes. After it had been fermenting a couple of weeks my wife mentioned that she had sprayed them with a herbicide before I picked them. Had to dump the whole 5 gallon batch. Learned a good lesson.”  -Carl Garrett

Carl @ Boats 4 U
Home: 580-564-4560
Cell: 580-795-6504

“It just occurred to me that your sweetie-pie might not know about chiggers yet! Here are some things she can do to keep them at bay when working in the yard:

Spray around her ankles, on socks and shoes as soon as she steps out the door. I use Burt’s Bees cause it is natural, but skintastics is not too bad either.

Wear boots instead of tennis shoes. I prefer cowboys boots as they have excellent arch support and the snakes can’t bite through them.

Keep a wash cloth near where she comes in the house (I keep mine on the bathroom sink) and wet it down and wash her legs all the way up EVERYTIME she comes in.

And, learned from my granny and old aunties – wear a long, loose dress without undergarments. Chiggers need a place like a waist band to burrow into and this outfit provides them no home to go to, it is also very cool.

If she is going to pick black berries (she is welcome to come with me sometime if she likes) she should wear overalls, a long sleeve shirt, no unders and knee-hi rubber boots.

Once she gets the chiggers, and no matter how hard one works at it, one will eventually get some, she can put fingernail polish on each one.

Of course, all of these methods would work for you as well, but I thought of her cause she is probably out more.”

“Hi Butch, I came across your site recently when searching for some information on a relative of mine who left Australia some time ago. The site is certainly something with a wealth of information about your area with a huge range of topics and points of interest and more importantly oral history.

The person I was researching was Anne Ellen Riordan who was born in Wyrallah, New South Wales, Australia in 1871 the daughter of Irish settlers in Australia (1 of 9). All I had heard about her was that she had married a Dr. Hardy and moved to Oklahoma. As for when they met or how they met, I am still to find out. So I believe she may have married Walter Hardy but the only link I have at present is a photo on your website of the headstone in Rosehill Cemetery. It has the correct birth date but the name does not match although the spelling of her name is very close (Reirdon)

My question is – can anyone put me in the right direction to gather any further personal information on Walter Hardy and his wife or family if they had one? Any help would be appreciated.”  -David McCallum in Australia



Watermelon Time by Leland B. Jacobs

Now watermelon time is here.
And when the day is warm and clear,
Our uncle thumps the green balloon
And says it’s ripe and very soon
A splash of pink comes into view.
We know exactly what to do.
We take a bit. We take a bite.
We eat and eat
And taste the summer pink and sweet.

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Nashobish Ikana
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

Save on long distance calls, just a couple cents a minute!
Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
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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