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Vol 12  Issue 604   August 21, 2008

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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

A reader wrote in this week asking if I had any info on where in the Carter county courthouse the county attorney’s office was located back around 1910 to 1920. We know from even some of you out there sending in comments that some offices in the courthouse were located in different locations then they are today.  Around 1945 the Court Clerk was located on the first floor where the County Clerk is today, at least that room in the SE corner of the first floor is where people got their marriage licenses.  I remember back several years ago I had a clipping from The Daily Ardmoreite dated 1911 when the courthouse opened, describing where many of the offices were located.

The reason for the reader’s inquiry this week as to the location of the county attorney’s office, he remembered as a young lad his dad taking him to the 2nd floor and showing him the bullet holes in the door facing at the DAs office.  I had to sadly inform him that, yes, the second floor is where the county attorney’s office was located and has been in that same location since 1911.  But the door facing with bullet holes is no more.  During some remodeling a couple years ago, that door facing was replaced with a new piece of wood, and unbeknownst to the maintenance crew, the door facing held historical memories for many. But I did snap a picture back in 2001 of the bullet hole, so not all was lost during the remodeling.


So in answer of Mike’s question about the location of offices around 1910, below is that article from a 2001 T&T.

The Daily Ardmoreite, December 10, 1911

……upon approaching the building from the west, north or south, where three entrances are located, the visitor is immediately impressed with the solidity and strength of the building, with the great thickness of the walls as indicated by the deep reveals of the windows and doors, the enduring quality of the material of which they are constructed, resting upon heavy Tishomingo gray granite base and continuing to the copper covered dome, of Bedford Oolithic limestone.

The entrances are all protected by the same gray granite. No material is exposed to the weather, except granite, stone, and copper, material that will stand for ages without deterioration. Upon entering the building through massive copper doors, from any one of the three sides, you find yourself in the spacious vestibule lined to the ceiling with beautiful veined Vermont marble in three colors. The floors of the vestibules, corridors, and public spaces are all laid with beautiful white tile with black borders. passing through the vestibule you enter into wide corridors which are veneered, light and on’half feet high with beautiful polished Vermont marble, specially selected in three colors. The corridors are in the shape of a cross and standing in the center you are under the beautiful art glass dome, which is forty five feet above your head.

The corridors lead to the grand stairway, which is constructed of the same Vermont marble, with large marble newel posts, surmounted by beautiful bronze electrical fixtures.

On the first floor will be found the ladies rest and toilet rooms and a large airy room located in the southeast corner of the building which is given over exclusively to the use of the women and babies of Carter County. Across the hall will be found the rooms of the superintendent of public instruction. In the northwest corner is located an assembly room for public meetings and across the hall is the county surveyor and county coroner, with both public and private offices.

In the basement is located a large store room. A tunnel leads from the courthouse to the jail, so that the prisoners may be taken through the tunnel to an elevator, which carries them to the third floor, where held-over cells are located back of the district court room. This tunnel serves a couple purposes of permitting the passage of the prisoners and of carrying the steam pipes. The steam boiler for the heating plant of both the jail and the courthouse are located in the jail, which is an advantage for many reasons. The building is heated by a vacuum heating system, which is the best money can buy, and the installation of both the heating and plumbing are the best in the state.

The visitor will be struck by the beauty of the grand stairway and its easy ascent. Upon reaching the second floor, which is the main office floor, you find yourself in the corridor, which is finished with marble to the same height as below and of the same beautiful marble. Upon this floor is found the treasurers office, with his private office and a large two story vault fitted up with metal fixtures. All vaults of the building being lighted from the outside through wire glass windows and these windows are protected by metal shutters on the inside, making them record rooms indeed and giving perfect protection to all county records. The vaults are fitted with the latest and best metal furniture, designed with special care for books and the filing of papers. The treasurers office as are all others, are provided with private toilets. On the southeast corner is located the county clerk’s office with the same vault space, private office and toilet as the county treasurers office. Between the two is located the county commissioners court room, and is so arranged that the public may pass through the corridor. In the northeast corner is located the register of deed’s office, complete with vault, and private office. In the northwest corner is located the county attorneys office and the grand jury room. In the center of the west side is a large room for the bar library.

The third floor is reached by the second flight of marble stairs, with the same easy ascent. To the left on the south side is the district court room of beautiful proportions and perfect acoustic properties. Behind this court room is located the judge’s chamber, and next to this chamber is the district clerk’s public, private office and vault.

The jury box is so located that the jury in passing out do not come in contact with the public, but file from the jury box to private stairs, which lead to the fourth floor. The jury rooms are accessible from the corridor by private stairs, and also from the county court room. They consist of three large rooms fitted with every modern convenience, such as bath and toilet. With these jury rooms there is another large room to be used as a jury room but is not yet finished. The north side of the third floor is given up to the county court room, with the clerk’s and judge’s offices and large vault. On the east, beside the court room, is a ladies witness room.

The interior of the corridors and court rooms are decorated in pleasing colors. Special attention has been given to the arrangement of the offices to facilitate the work of the officers, and to have time to the public. The furniture is of beautiful plain design of extra heavy constructed quarter-sawed oak, and has been pronounced by the officials as a model of convenience and comfort.

The building is constructed of reinforced concrete and steel and is absolutely fireproof, and a visitor is impressed with the perfect lighting and ventilation of the building.

As to the second branch of its practical duty, which is to teach and record. It is intended to teach honesty and truthfulness; for in this building will be found no shams, no cheap imitations, such as painted iron to imitate stone, or plaster to imitate marble.

In the main lobby will be found a memorial to one of the deceased citizens of this county. In no other building in this state and in few building in the United States, will you find a memorial of this character. It teaches us to remember our neighbors, and draws us closer together. It is one of the most touching and beautiful lessons the commissioners had us record.

Another special request-  Back in March 2004 I received the email below:

“Butch, this is my second request: Does anyone in Ardmore remember Roxie LEEPER, who died in Ardmore, Carter County, Oklahoma, in 1967. Roxie never married, and after her mother, Palinia, died (also in Ardmore), Roxie lived with her sister-in-law, Minnie Leeper, in Ardmore. Louis and Virginia Leeper also lived in Ardmore. Someone must remember at least one of the above.” backpage@semo.net

This week I received the following email:

“Hi Butch, My Name is Roxie Mae Leeper born Genoa Nebr, 1953. But my grandfather’s mother is buried in Muskogee, Ok. She died in 1905, Rozella Meadows Leeper.” -Roxie Leeper McBroom   mcbroom32@hotmail.com

The backpage@semo.net email is no longer a valid email address.  If anyone can help Roxie McBroom, find who wrote in in 2004 email her.

It’s not too early to start planning for the annual Murray County Tractor Show at Sulphur, Oklahoma. This has got to be one of the best area events all year long for only a $2 admission charge (free for kids and seniors). There will be wheat threshing, hay baling, corn shelling, tractor games and tractor pulls, broom making, butter making, blacksmiths, fire engines, and tractors of all kinds, types and ages on display (and for sale). The dates are Sept 19, 20, and 21st. Jill and I are making plans to attend that Saturday (20th), hope to see some of you there!


June 17, 1865 – August 17, 1948 Walter Colbert, the only Republican ever to be elected sheriff of Carter County, died of a heart attack at his home.  He was 84.  Widely known throughout Southern Oklahoma area, Colbert spent a useful, active life dominated by his interest in Indian affairs of which he was a leader for years.

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


Q.  Where was No Mans Land?
A.  The Oklahoma Panhandle

Q.  What governor wore an “Okie” button?
A.  (answer in next weeks T&T)

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“Before Fort Arbuckle there was Camp Arbuckle established by Randolf Marcey 2 miles south of Picket Store Pontotoc Co. on Sandy Creek where the California Road 1849, and Black Beavers Delawares were camped. It has been excavated and documented by East Central University.”

My Upcoming Public Shows:September 25-28 – Gene Autry, Oklahoma Cowboy Film and Music Festival

This will be the 16th year for this great festival with top-notch music on two stages and many cowboy movie and TV personalities. Gene Watson will be there on Friday night. My band and I will headline the Saturday night show. And of course, our hero Johnny Western will join us for a wonderful time. For reservations, call 580-294-3047.

September 28 ? Cowboy Church, Elgin, OK

For the second consecutive year, I will present a concert of gospel music at the Cowboy Church, located on Hwy 62, between Elgin and Apache, Oklahoma. Great food cooked right there by real cowboys. Concert begins at 10am. For more information, call our cowboy buddy Billy Bridges at 580-591-2719.

-Les Gilliam  http://www.lesgilliam.com/

“Hey Butch, I was born on Thanksgiving Day 1943. At where Equal Rights School use to be (close to Lake Newstadt). My Mother Marjorie Johnson Haney Johnson went to Mt. Washington School in the 30s/40s. Another story! My brother and I came to OK to work on our mothers place just off Mose Blair Rd. North of Mom & Pops SW side of lake Murray, anyway we use to walk there for lunch and have bottom less ice tea and coffee. We would walk in and get a self serve ice tea and get 2 coffee cups each, go to a table and sit down with our elbows in each coffee cup. When the waitress/owner/cook and store clerk came over we would order the best grease burgers in Oklahoma. After a few days of this we didn’t even have to order lunch when she saw us.  PS I now have Mom here with me in St Marys, Ga. I have also found out you can take the boy out of Oklahoma but not the Oklahoma out of the boy. Thanx again.”  -Ron Johnson

“Butch, I really appreciate all the information about Oklahoma. I was born in Oklahoma and graduated from Healdton High in 1953. The latest one I got that had the videos of  the Platters, Elvis , and other singers really brought back memories when I worked at the Dollar Drug Store in the early fifties. I worked as a soda jerk and really enjoyed music on juke box. I also have fond memories of Saturday nights when many young people came to drink sodas, listen to the juke box and just good clean fun. If any one remembers these times at Dollar Drug Store and the music. Please e-mail. Thanks.” -Ronnie  ronniemullins2001@yahoo.com

“Hi Butch and Jill, I just finished reading and enjoying your Newsletter for this week and was pleasantly surprised to see several familiar names. One was Minnie Lou Whittington and the other was Jackie Ricketts. Minnie Lou is my husband’s cousin and Jackie is a very dear friend from years ago and a person we have lost contact with. I correspond with Minnie Lou often and I would love to re-new contact with Jackie. His Mother has passed on since we last wrote each other. We use to know his Mother and Dad, Bennie and Frances Ricketts when Bennie worked for Bill Osborne on North Commerce. We use to go by there and visit with them whenever we went back to Ardmore to see family. It brings back lots of pleasant memories of those simpler and not so hectic times. See how much good you do with your column? We also noticed an article about Frank Welcher from Healdton which was written by his son in Colorado. That took me back also. We once rode out a terrible tornado and flood in Frank Welcher’s storm cellar back in 1957. They were neighbors and we always appreciated that so much. My husband was a welder for Blackie Mangrum at that time. Funny how time and years get away from us and we are pleased to see how old friends are still around, and others are gone on already. Thanks for your newsletter as it helps to bring back happier times. God Bless you and Jill.” -Kathryn (a.k.a. Kathy) from Las Vegas. goody2shus@peoplepc.com

“Butch, I’m trying to collect some information on the Linn, Oklahoma area, near Marshall/Bryan Counties.  I’m researching information on Linn and the oil field that came on in that area in 1939 which I believe ended up making changes to how Lake Texoma was built to keep the oil field from flooding.  This would be the area also known as Pure Camp where there was a Toronado that destroyed a lot of houses in the 1950’s,  I’m looking for some pictures of Pure camp or the oil field area after the oil field came in & before it was over grown with trees and brush.”  -Jayson Pruitt JHP@airmail.net  Madill, OK/Dallas, TX

“I am now reading a book that is entitled, “The Worst Hard Time”  It is written by Timothy Egan and is what he relates is the “Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl”  The setting for his story is the No Man’s Land Area and  also the Panhandle of Texas.  While i realize that area was worse than what we lived through in  the main state, i did feel a tinge of jealousy that  he did not talk about most of Oklahoma.  As a child, i vividly remember the dust storm that we had and the constant reminder that  we needed to keep food covered and each day try to clear the dust from our homes and then await for the next day to start over again.  Walter Cronkite did the preface for the book and says that it is a ‘can’t put down book’  Of interest in the book is his chronicles of  our colorful governor at the time who did come from our area, –Alfalfa Bill Murray.  Murray did not agree with anyone it seemed on how to attack the problem.  It also  reviews how the old president’s take–Herbert Hoover–and the new president’s try, Franklin Roosevelt  was  at  trying to solve seemingly an unsolvable problem. You will enjoy reading it.”

“Greetings Butch.  We have lots of bumblebees this year.  Had honey bees & “butterflies earlier in the year working the garden.  Bumblebees are  busy on our cannas, mint, and wisteria.  Interesting watching red wasp either kill or paralyze spiders larger than they are, then while moving backwards, pull the spider up our patio wall into their nest.  Hummingbirds plentiful again.  Found one with her wing caught down in the feeder. Released her and away she flew.  Enjoying 3 light colored dove & 2 dark smaller ones eating corn under the bird feeders.  Dread Sept 2 when dove season begins in Texas.  Wonderful rain blessing us this morning. Looking forward to a wet weekend.  Cooke County is in a no burn mode.  Hopefully this will end the fires & replenish the ponds. Keep up the good work.”  -Carol Kiesel, Gainesville, Texas

“Hi Butch, I have several bird nests on my second floor front porch. The are very pretty adult birds, but very messy and aggressive little creatures. Several of my neighbors say that they are Barn Swallows. Their hatchlings resemble the ones in your picture. Keep up the good work!” -Louis D. Stubbs, De Queen, Arkansas

“Who recalls the jingle: “Pepsi-Cola hits the spot. 12 full ounces, that’s a lot. Twice as much for a NICKEL, too. Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you. Nickel, nickel, nickel, nickel; trickle, trickle, trickle, trickle.”

“Dear Butch,  This past weekend I bought a copy of the McInnes book about Bud Ballew. I have read it through a couple of times and it is a great book but I did notice an error. Since you are listed as having contributed to the book, I thought you could let the authors know about the error.  On page 10 second paragraph, “His abode must have been at least…he was able to accommodate a boarder by the name of William J. Clowdus.” Butch, if you will check the Federal Census 1900 for the Chickasaw Nation, you will find the exact opposite. Ballew was the boarder and Mr. William Clowdus was the head of household.  I realize that this error will not radically change the outcome of the book but I thought the authors would like to know.”

“Butch: Yes I believe you and I have discussed the tunnel under Main Street I went into a few days before the old Whittington Hotel was demolished. At the time I went into it, I remember going a few hundred feet in darkness due to lack of and illumination caused me to go back to the starting point with every intention of returning with a flashlight. Of course things came up and I never returned. I do remember gathering up a few items which had been thrown on the floor, one was a ticket to the 1892 Columbian exposition in Chicago and other items such as receipts for items that had been bought and sold all of which have been lost through the years. There were 2 pairs of men’s western jeans brand new which I left thinking they had just been left there and would be picked up later by their owner. I often regret never returning with the flashlight but at the time it seemed unimportant as far as the history concerning the tunnels. About 6 doors west of the hotel was a drugstore, we discovered that under the staircase leading upstairs was parts of an old whiskey still, I wonder now if booze could have been made there and transported to the hotel and the tunnels. Even if there could have been a trap door leading down to the tunnels. Oh to be able to go back in time and redo our mistakes.” -Rick Feiler

Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor – Lonnie Donegan 1961

Does your chewing gum lose its flavor
On the bedpost overnight
If your mother says don’t chew it
Do you swallow it in spite
Can you catch it on your tonsils
Can you heave it left and right
Does your chewing gum lose its flavor
On the bedpost overnight


See everyone next week!

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

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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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