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Vol 12  Issue 610  October 9, 2008





The ten cheapest places to buy gas in the Ardmore area.


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


Q.   To whom did Spain sell Oklahoma in 1800?
A.    France

Q.   Who was Bryan county named after?
A.    (answer in next weeks T&T)

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“Bois d’arc (I think that’s right) for ‘bow dock’ trees and watch out for the thorns. They are a very hard-wood tree and if you try to burn them, the fire should be in an enclosed wood-burning stove because they’ll pop and crackle (explode like fire crackers). I had a row of them used as a wind break near the farm house where we lived a few years ago. They were tough trees and quite tall. The thorns that had fallen on the ground were sharp and long enough to be hazardous to the tires on my riding lawn mower.”  -Roy K

“I am writing in reference to the question by Don G, namely “What is the name of the tree that produces Horse Apples”? The Osage Orange Tree produces these apples. The tree is known by numerous names. Some of them are Bois D’Arc, (Spelled various ways & pronounced “Bodark” with a Long O),Mock Orange, Osage Apple, & Hedge Apple to name a few. The Osage Orange Tree is native to Southern Oklahoma & Texas along the Red River, and a portion of Arkansas. For anyone interested in reading an excellent history of the Osage Orange, there is one written by Jim W. Grace who lives in Texas. Search for “The Enduring Osage Orange”, or go the the following website on the computer: http://mdc.mo.gov/conmag/1995/11/06.html . This writing is an interesting history of this tree.” -Douglas Morris, Ardmore, OK

“Jerry Holley is a really lucky guy. I hope he cleans up and actually uses the planes he found. The plane is used to make decorative beads or edges, as well as for making grooves and dadoes. Here’s a web page with good pictures and descriptions http://www.whitemountdesign.com/Stanley45Info.htm .The name of the tree that Don G. was looking for is Bois d’arc (pronounced bow-dark, French for “bow-wood”), or Osage Orange. Here’s a wikipedia entry for it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osage-orange . We used to play softball with the fruits. Had to be careful not to get one that was too ripe (grin). The wood is prized by woodworkers, and is in some demand. I’d love to have some if anyone cuts down a tree.”

“Butch, That Bow Dark tree is a Bois D’Arc tree.   Years ago the trees were used to make the piers under houses.  The older they got the harder they got.  We used to call the green knobby fruit “Horse Apples”.  I don’t know about here in America but in England, Bows were made from Yew trees.” -Herb Linder

The tree’s official name is “bois d’arc” (pronounced bow-dark) but it’s most often known as the “Osage orange” because of the resemblance of its fruit to an orange.

It was one of the fast-growing native varieties that formed the heart of the “shelterbelts” planted throughout the prairie states including western Oklahoma in the last half of the 30’s. The planting was done by a special Forest Service group known as the Plains State Forestry Project, started about 1935 and continuing up through 1941.

My father was an area supervisor for the project, and for most of the time we were based out at Elk City although we had brief stays in Clinton and in the state office at Oklahoma City. The project was shut down in ’41 or early ’42; however by the end of 1942 most of the participants were called back into government service to staff the Emergency Rubber Project, which grew guayule sagebrush on huge plantations in Arizona and Southern California to extract its latex, since the Japanese had conquered the rubber plantations of southeast Asia and submarines were making import of latex from South America difficult.

The shelterbelts were plantings of trees along section lines (mostly) and involved a variety of species, chosen to create an aerodynamic profile that would lift the dust-laden winds over a farmer’s crops and thus mitigate much of the Dust Bowl’s crop damage. In addition to Osage Orange, they included catalpa, black walnut, honey locust, and a number of other kinds. Sadly, almost all of them have now died off — but through the 40s and 50s, and even into the 60s, they were real tourist attractions in those formerly tree-less areas.

And if “Don G.” who posed the question is Don Gwynne, pass along to him my regards — his dad was my first boss back in the late 40s when I went to work at Oklahoma Photo Supply! Small world.” -Jim Kyle   [email protected]

“Butch: I have always heard the trees horse apples grow on were Bois D’arc or Bowdark. I have a couple of trees in my pasture. I’ve also heard them called Osage Orange. They have a nice yellowish wood and I understand a very hard wood that resists rot. My elders have told me that the sticky white sap in horse apples will repel mosquitoes and bugs. I don’t think I’m going to test the mosquito repellent theory on my body as that is some of the stickiest material I’ve ever seen.” -Rick Maxwell, Holdenville, OK

“One of your readers asked about the Bodark tree. It is also known as the Osage-Orange. It was the Indians favored source of wood for their bows. The French Trappers called them Bois du Arc meaning “wood of the bow”. It’s not hard to see how they got their name from that. These trees are pretty well confined to southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. Those big green ‘apples’ are pithy inside and have edible seeds (so they say). I have not tried any and never will. When ripe, they have a slight citrus-like smell. Squirrels love them, so let them have ’em. We had one of these trees in our yard when I lived in Ardmore a century ago. We called them horse apples, and liked to throw them like baseballs.” -Bowden Miller, La Vernia, TX

“Hi Butch, When Don G. asked about horse apple trees I had to laugh.  My wife tells a story on me about knowing ‘horse apples’ when I see one.  However, she was thinking ‘road apples’ not ‘horse apples’ but I still come out the loser when she tells the tale! This did put me on the search to find proof that I did know what I what remembering growing up in Oklahoma.

What I found was the tree’s official name is Maclura pomifera but commonly known as Osage Orange or hedge apple, or Bodark.  I found this information also:  ‘The trees are a common sight on the Great Plains today although they were not a widespread member of the prairie community originally.  Found primarily in a limited area centered on the Red River valley in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas, they were planted as living fences – or hedges – along the boundaries of farms, and have spread widely from these restricted, linear beginnings.  The trees are easily recognized by their glossy, lance-shaped leaves and their short, stout thorns.

The name of the tree comes from the Osage tribe, which lived near the home range of the tree, and the aroma of the fruit after it is ripe being slightly orange in smell.  (Find one of the fruit that has been sitting in the sun on a balmy Indian Summer day and notice the pleasant, orange-peel smell of the skin.)  Not all of the trees will have fruit because Osage Orange are either male or female, and only the females will bear fruit.’

However, I found that the oldest Osage Orange tree grows in Virginia and has a span of ninety feet and stands fifty-four feet high; estimated to be over 300 years old?!!

Named after the Osage Indians who used the wood for bows, which in French is bois d’ark, or Bodark as our Healdton High School basketball coach in the 1050’s, Coach Moore, referred to his paddle made from Bodark wood, ‘A wood so hard you don’t want it used on you!’ warned Coach!

In talking with my Aunt Hazel Hammonds/Welcher, who grew up in Pauls Valley, I asked what Bodark wood was.  She didn’t know either but found it in a dictionary spelled Bois d’ark. Other very interesting information:  ‘Before the invention of barbed wire in the 1880’s, many thousands of miles of hedge were constructed by planting young Osage Orange trees closely together in a line.   The saplings were aggressively pruned to promote bushy growth.  “Horse high, bull strong and hog tight.”   Those were the criteria for a good hedge made with Osage Orange.  Tall enough that a horse would not jump it, stout enough that a bull would not push through it and woven so tightly that even a hog could not find its way through!  After barbed wire made hedge fences obsolete, the trees still found use as a source of unbeatable fence posts.  The wood is strong and so dense that it will neither rot nor succumb to the attacks of termites or other insects for decades.’ (…or in other words makes a great paddle!).Well, more than you probably wanted to know, Don!  I plan on visiting my dad, Frank Welcher, in Healdton and might go out on the airport road and pick ‘horse apples’ from a tree I know of there and bring them back to my wife!” -Vaya con Dios, John Welcher  [email protected] Bayfield, CO

“I am asking for your email/internet help. My siblings & I have recently learned that we have a half brother.  We don’t have much information, and I know it is a long shot, but I have to TRY!! I pray this will be enough information, it just has to find the right person that knows him …. and I’m praying for a miracle!! PLEASE write back to Janet @ [email protected] if you think you know him or his mother.  (put “LESLEY” in the subject line)”

“I was reading Bob McCrory’s E mail regarding his serving on the Franklin School Jr Police in the Early 30’s.  I must have been one of his comrades.  As I recall we had the Sam Brown Belts with “Jr Police” stamped on the front.  Also, we stopped traffic on E Street (then part of High Way 77).  I recall being stationed on the North side and was instructed to stop all traffic except buses.  We also acted as hall cops and the only exciting thing I can remember is when I attempted to break up a fight between two girls, a real mistake. As I recall the Jr Police system continued in Jr High and even in high school where some of them wore uniforms, directed traffic on Washington Street and at football games.  It seemed to work.  Talmedge Moore, class of ’43, served in this capacity all during high school, also did a lot of repair work in the high school during WWII, and later became an executive for the Coleman Corporation in Wichita.  I believe the sam brown belts were furnished by a local civic club.  I think it would be a good, clean, worthwhile, inexpensive, activity for our youth today.”   -F. Miller

“I grew up in and around Pottowatomie County. It has more gravel than any other county. I had an uncle,  Bill Guinn, who sold gravel to the county and made a darn good living selling it. Even the City of Oklahoma City still today buys their gravel from Pottowatomie County.” -Herman Kirkwood

“You can get pea gravel on Highway 377 north of Tishomingo about 4 or 5 miles on the right side of the road .I haven’t seen any better. I have wildflowers –  scarlet sage that is in bloom now – lemon bee balm that smells good enough to eat and they are a member of the mint family – also purple coneflower that is one of the Native American’s most important medicinal plants.” -DeWayne

“Some one touched my history when they mention B.L. Owens in Ardmore. My wife and I were married in Ardmore, May 26, 1951 and B.L. Owens sold furniture, five dollars down and five dollars a month. So our first furniture came from his store. Seems like we paid for several years but finally got it paid off about the time it all wore out. We were very grateful to the Owens family for the store and their making it possible for us to have the furniture. On another item in the T&T this week (Sep 24, 2008)…there was a mention of a Bois D’Arc tree…(bow dark) and horse apples…that is the name of it and I know, since I am an Okie…born and raised there. I remember my Dad had the trees around his place in Bryan County and he used the wood for fence post since that post would last close to l00 years. They were tough and only horses and squirrels would eat the fruit or horse apples they produced. The gas price page is great Butch, thanks, we do make it back to Oklahoma occasionally and its nice to know where the best price is located. Thank you and keep up the good work on T&T…I look forward to receiving it each Thursday….I salute you.” -Preston Jameson…Texas

“The picture of the marker at Davis is in the old Howell Cemetery. I know it and the family very well. I even lived on the nearby Howell ranch for a period of time. The Howell’s are direct descendents of Peter P. Pitchlynn, Chief of the Choctaws. Dr. Thomas Pitchlynn Howell is buried there with Tom, Jr. and Tom “Peachy” as well. I went to school with Curt, engineer in Ardmore and Tom IV (Lynn Howell), an attorney in OKC. It is not very likely that Nelson Chigley, President of the Chickasaw Senate and one time acting Governor of the Chickasaw Nation is buried there on land that he never owned with people that he is not related to in any way. There is a lot of history on that cemetery and plenty of living people to tell most of it.” -Mickey Shackelford

Two photos of bell at the Arnett, Oklahoma Methodist Church.https://oklahomahistory.net/bellphotos/ArnettMEchurch8a.jpg


Fargo, Oklahoma Methodist Church bell (their new one in the last 5 years)https://oklahomahistory.net/bellphotos/FargoUMchurch8a.jpg

“Butch; Re Bruce Suggs – This is a few sheets handwritten by (I do not know) and I have had these pages since childhood; —came from South Carolina, Newberry or L—-(?) Dr. James Suggs and family lived near Tupelo —-RECORD shows they were here as early as l856. Colonel Sidney Suggs, Hugh Suggs, others lived afterwards in Ardmore, Okla. Col. Suggs was the editor of a paper there “The Ardmoreite” – Ella Suggs, daughter of Sidney Suggs, married J. Bruce Suggs (Dale?s grandfather)-daughter, Anna Bell Suggs married Tom Hickey.  So, Sidney was my great grandfather – J. Bruce Suggs married Ella Suggs (unusual!) and my mother Annabelle was born in 1903 in Ardmore Indian Territory) and died in Memphis, Tennessee at age 36 in 1939. Sidney?s plaque was placed on wall of Oklahoma Historical Building – do you know if said building still stands? Ardmoreite newspaper should have something about Sidney Suggs who bought paper on June 18, 1897. But I still know nothing of grandfather?s life there in what was Indian grounds. Have you any suggestions? Your Web is delightful! Thank you for listening to me! If any one can help me trace down my Suggs Line, please email me. -Dale Hickey   [email protected]

“Hello Butch. I am writing about the hurricane Ike. We live in Clear Lake TX. about 25 miles from Galveston. We packed up our RV last Thursday the 11th of Sept. and drove all the way out to Junction TX. and stayed in a KOA park for the next week. We stayed in contact with our one neighbor from next door. When they finally returned home we called them and asked if the Electric had come on, before we went back home. We got Elect. fast( the next Tue, the 16th) and this last Thursday the 18th of Sept. after our elect. came back on we drove back to Clear Lake and to our house. The only damage we had was the two side fences were bent over and rippled. Really a strange way for the wind to blow them. But our house was ok. Some debris and limbs off our pine trees were all over the yard but all else was ok. We had just put a new roof on our home in April and it held up really good. It was a scary thing, but we are ok and our home is ok. Thanks to God we still have a home!” -Bobbie Diiorio, Houston(Clear Lake TX) [email protected]

Birthday Calculator   http://www.paulsadowski.com/birthday.asp

“Well, it’s that time of year again…all my little fellows are leaving and the yard is growing quiet…will soon be taking in all the hummingbird feeders.” -Joh Gainey

Sulphur, Oklahoma

I know you?ll all be leaving soon
And I wish you well in your flight,
For your ruby throats have flashed like jewels
And made each day more bright.

You whisked about in your endless flights
Checking the nectar in flowers,
And your chittering voices never ceased
Throughout the daylight hours.

I?ve laughed at your silly antics
And provided the sugary treat
That you guzzled all through the summer
Along with the nectar you eat.

But now it is time to say goodbye
Although with a tearful ring
But I wish you well on your journey south,
And I’ll welcome you back in the spring

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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