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Vol 13  Issue 669 November 19, 2009

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

Email: butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net

Jill and I were at Sulphur last Saturday and walked to the top of what long ago was called Lovers Leap by the locals in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.  Its now known as Bromide Hill on the map below of the area.  I think it is a 1/2 mile walk from the bottom of Bromide Hill up a zigzag rock trail to the top and back down. Going up is taxing on the body, but walking down is a breeze.  And if a body is not up the walk, you can drive around on the back side of Bromide Hill, and walk a few feet to the lookout point.

This is a map of the area.


This is a picture overlooking Sulphur from Bromide Hill.


Before 1906 Platt National Park was Sulphur Springs, I.T. I found Dennis Muncrief’s link to some great historical photographs of Platt National Park before statehood. Platt National Park would change names to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in 1976.


Of course we couldn’t visit Sulphur without stopping by our favorite Chinese restaurant, the New China Restaurant and eating their lunch buffet around noon.

The Wilson Post, Wilson, Oklahoma. February 29, 1968

Flying Saucers Here!

Flying saucers, UFOs or whatever you may call them, are back in the news this week. This time it didn’t happen in New Mexico, or Texas, but in southwest Healdton, right in our own backyard. The saucer looking apparatus was spotted on two different occasions, once last Wednesday night and again in the same vicinity on last Friday night near the Bill Claxton home, southwest of town near the Wirt community.  On Wednesday night the UFO was first discovered in the pasture area about two blocks from the Claxton home.

Mrs. Claxton said she accidentally spotted the brilliant light and in a few minutes it took off.  The light grew smaller as it disappeared in the sky. She related how she told her husband, Bill, about the strange object but she said he apparently didn’t think much about the idea.  On Friday night Mrs. Claxton told how her dogs barked and barked.  She decided to get up and see what was going on and as she was looking through a window the saucer like object swished through the sky at a very low altitude. She said it to almost touch the Roy Withers home.  The Withers’ are neighbors living only a small distance the from Claxton home.

She said she is almost certain it landed near the same location where she first spotted it on the previous Wednesday night.  Trees prevented her from seeing it again.  The next day they visited the spot where the UFO was throught to have been when it was first seen, but there were no visible signs of any landing on the ground.  Mrs. Claxton said the UFO had the appearance of a white round squash and was “full of brilliant lights”. She said she thought of calling the police or sheriff and then decided it would probably be gone by the time they arrived.

The Wilson Post, Wilson, Oklahoma. March 7, 1968

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) are still reported flitting around in the Healdton air space. The latest report comes from a Healdton woman, Mrs. Robert Finley and her daughter, Lawan, who were “escorted” for almost a distance of five miles last Friday night by the object.  The two were enroute home after visiting some folks in the Ardmore Hospital. Just before they reached the turnoff near the Healdton “Y” on U.S. 70 Mrs. Finley notice a saucer looking object over the highway near the drive-in theater. It was going south, but all of a sudden the object circled around and started following the Finley vehicle as they started on the five mile road to Healdton going north.  This was around 11pm.

The flying object flew barely above the tree tops, said Mrs. Finley, always staying on the west side of the road.  There was a brilliant light that blinked sometimes, she said, and she could see the object was round. Mrs. Finley was driving the car and her daughter, Lawan, had time to keep close watch on the object.  “It definitely was not an airplane,” agreed Mrs. Finley.  “I don’t know what it was but it looked like a saucer flying through the air. I was driving pretty fast about that time, but soon as we reached the city limits it disappeared somewhere.” Mrs. Finley said she was scared to death. She didn’t know what would happen next.

Link to the Ardmore sightings 3 years earlier in 1965


Chicken Update: Our 4 Barred Rock hens are in full production…..  2 to 3 eggs everyday. They get to free range everyday for a few hours a day.

Joe Hock in OKC sent in an interesting 1930 Oklahoma Highway Map. Its an Adobe Acrobate Reader file and you can zoom in for more detail.


A Reader took the photo below of a deer caught in a barbed wire fence near Gene Autry, Oklahoma where it died.  So sad.  Jill and I are animal lovers, and were sadden to see this terrible death of such a beautiful animal.


Thanksgiving Day will be here next week.  We hope everyone enjoys the holiday with friends and family, and pauses to give thanks for all the blessings received the past year.  I know Jill and I have so much we can be thankful for, a good warm home and place to live, a good job and co-workers, good health, and the good friends we’ve made through the years with this newsletter.  I wish we could sit down with everyone of you to a platter of turkey and dressing and all the trimmings but I know that is not possible. Nonetheless, our thoughts will be with you all Thanksgiving Day as Jill and I will be having a quiet Thanksgiving here at home.

In the early 1600s, Dutch settlers brought the Netherlands folk hymns to the “New World” and they became a favorite in the colonies and today are still traditional hymns of Thanksgiving to God.


Gas prices today in the Ardmore area……


Q.   To whom did the Free Homes Bill grant free homesteads?
A.   The Native Americans

Q.   Who established the first trading post in Oklahoma?
A.    (answer in next week’s issue)

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

“When I asked, several years ago, why the Santa Fe lake was drained, I was told that it had filled with silt and was more a mosquito hatchery than a lake.”


“Hello Butch! I really enjoyed your Traveling Oklahoma’s Hamburger Highway and have enjoyed many of the hamburgers noted in your summaries. While reading it I watched for a particular little place in rural Oklahoma that, if still there, would deserve noting in any “best hamburger” summary.

The last time I was there was about 1988. The old wooden floor country store with a four seat counter at the front door was long gone but the owners had kept their grill and were still selling their fantastic burgers from a newly built business. It is located in Spencerville. A town between Oleta and Sawyer in Choctaw County. It was still on a dirt road in 1988, but I believe they were getting ready to blacktop the main road into the community, east of State 93. The population of the community was probably about 50, but all one could count while at this one stop business district was maybe two houses.

It would be very worth your while when in the area to take a detour to see if the business is still there. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ll be looking for an excuse to get down there myself.

The Burger – It was a traditional country home made burger that was still just the right size to need two of to fill up with. No flair, gimmick, or one-pound patty was necessary. A bun that was toasted on the grill, of course, which might have shined a little when it was served from the spatter of nearby searing burgers. The burger was cooked with salt. I don’t recall lettuce or tomato on these burgers, but I didn’t feel like anything at all was missing since the required onion and pickles were placed carefully on the burger. I knew I was in for the real thing when the lady behind the counter, almost embarrassed, asked if I wanted mustard or mayonnaise. When I answered, “mustard of course”, she smiled real big and welcomely said, “Oh, you know hamburgers!”. When I ordered my Root Beer, she pointed at a refrigerated cooler behind me and told me to help myself. I think I made the mistake of ordering fries and they told me they had potato chips. After this point I was in suspense and I have never been farther from disappointment when my burgers were served. A true masterpiece in burgerology! I rate this burger a 9 on my personal Hamburger Evaluation Criteria scale, which was recently made “official” by the way.

Between Antlers and Atoka, at Centerpoint, there is a pretty serious burger also. I’ll share that story another day if you’re interested.”  -Lew, Hamburger Lover!

“Butch: This link is from the television section of the Prelinger Archives. Fourteen (14) Gene Autry Westerns that are public domain. You can watch them on the website or download them.”

Gene Autry Movie Downloads:


“I was introduced to Johnny Standley’s sister Martha Knott by Mack Scizm, our director at the “Mummer’s Theater In The Round” when I remarked to him, “It’s In The Book” (the title of the other side of the record, Grandma’s Lye Soap”). Martha and her brother Johnny had been members of the “Standley Family Players” which toured the country-side with the Chautauqua circuit in earlier days. Thanks for the memories Butch!” -Roy Kendrick, Perry, Oklahoma

“Fire Ants have really become a problem in Sulphur. We found the Bengal Fire Ant Killer at Diacon’s Hardware Store here in Sulphur. It works well.”

“I just looked at Nelda Keck’s great bell photo in your Oklahoma Bells Archive. You do not have a photo of the address side of the postcard that shows a wonderful watermark. Please add the attachment to the Nelda Keck entry.   I have attached my jpeg copy of the DAR postcard. I’m sure you know that the DAR printed thousands of these wonderful postcards.” -Patricia Adkins-Rochette, 580-252-2094  http://www.BourlandCivilWar.com


“American Indians early 20th century photos by Edward S. Curtis – I loved this and I think you will also Butch. I noticed that many of these photos were taken around 1906 which was the year my father was born at Oswalt, Indian territory.” -Donald Greenaway

Note: this file is a large MS Power Point file and takes several minutes to download with fast internet


“Butch, When checking the Zippo website, the Harley lighter, pictures submitted by Doug Williams, shows the lighters was made in November of 1999.  On the bottom of the lighter, the “K” is the month and the XV is the year.  He can go the Zippo web site and check this out himself.  Also the site is fascinating to look at.”  -Tom Landrum, Southern California



“Butch, you mentioned the company you use for hosting your website several months back. Could you supply me with that information again. Thank you.”  -David


“Butch, I was 15 when the El Paso 10 were arrested, but remember what a big deal it was and how shocked everyone was that they got off.  I enjoyed reading about it on your website.  I came across an interesting PDF (too big to attach) during a google search at the following website:


I was not aware the pilot went on to be the Soloflex founder. Keep up the interesting work.”

Dwain Fuller, D-FTCB, TC-NRCC
Board Certified Forensic Toxicologist


“Butch, This is the photo of the bell I told you about….and I have the name of the flea Market that we saw it at …. Hope you like it… Mary’s Flea Market @ 23rd and Midwest Blvd OKC.”


The Daily Ardmoreite
August 13, 1918
Steam Fire Engine Put Ardmore On Map
Back in a corner at the central fire station there sits an old time, horse-drawn fire engine. When motor equipment was installed in Ardmore, and horses no longer used to transport the machines, a short tongue was fitted to the old steamer so that it may be hooked onto a motor truck and taken to a fire.
The steamer throws 500 gallons of water a minute and works just as well today as it did when it was purchased. This steamer was one of the first if not the very first brought into Indian Territory.
The man who sold the steamer to the city came here to see it installed after it had been tested and accepted. There were a number of wells in the business section from which water was drawn. The salesman told the Ardmore officials that they were all right now, if they just had some kind of fire alarm. One of the officials stepped into the street, pulled his six-shooter and opened fire. In a flash the horses with the engine came dashing down the street, almost running over the man who had sold the engine. On his way back east the salesman repeated the story until it found its way into the newspapers and traveled. It was the story of the frontier fire alarm system and for many years Ardmore held the credit for originating it and its novelty kept the story alive.

The Daily Ardmoreite
September 4, 1918
Harvesting Grasshoppers
Indianapolis Sept. 3 – Grasshoppers are now being harvested in Indiana, the highest yield reported averaging about one-half bushel to the acre. A special harvesting machine about sixteen feet long and known as a “hopper dozer” is used. The grasshoppers destroyed so much of the growing crops that Indiana farmers and land owners appealed to the agricultural experts for assistance. A trap, constructed of metal was devised at Prude University ( I think this is Purdue) and tried out first in Shelby county. It consists of two slick metal pieces set parallel, the back edges being much closer than the front edge. The rear of the trap has a receptacle in which the grasshoppers are carried when caught. A horse is hitched to each end and the “hopper dozer” is dragged across a field. The grasshoppers jump upward and fall onto the matal slides and then slip into the other receptacle at the rear. The trap is said to be very successful.

Photo of Grasshopper Catcher

“Hi Butch, As to Pretty Boy Floyd, the following is taken from “A History of the Tatums Community”, a thesis written by Jewell Carter Varner in 1950 and refers to Mary Mannings who owned a hotel in Tatums:

“In 1929, 1930, and 1931, when the oil fields were booming, many whites stopped with “Aunt Mary” as they called her. It was during this time that notorious “Pretty Boy” Floyd and a friend of his came to the hotel. Aunt Mary didn’t know who they were because they had told her they were looking for jobs in the oil field, and in those days many young fellows came thorough looking for work. Floyd said they were tired and wanted to rest.
Aunt Mary assigned “Pretty Boy” Floyd and his friend to one of the rooms reserved for white folk. On the third day of his stay, Arthur Fletcher, a Carter County Deputy Sheriff, came by to rest at Aunt Mary’s. Floyd was sitting out on the porch and saw Fletcher coming. He asked Aunt Mary who it was. She told him it was just a deputy law officer from the County. He told Mrs. Mannings to get him a glass of water and bring it to his room. When Mary Mannings left to get the water, he and his friend left the porch and went to their room. When Mary Mannings went into the room with the water, Floyd was sitting on the side of the bed polishing and rubbing a machine gun. Mary Mannings said it was the largest gun she had ever seen.
Deputy Arthur Fletcher did not do as he usually did. Usually he would go by and chat with the landlady, but this particular day he wnt into the room assisgned to him when stopping, and went to sleep. After a short while he got up and left in his car. Mary Mannings did not have time to wink at him or let him know anything because Floyd was watching her all the time.
Soon after Arthur Fletcher had left, Irene Mannings, the daughter of Mary Mannings came home from shopping and said that pictures of the man in the room had been posted in the post office as “Pretty Boy” Floyd. Floyd and his companion left soon afterward.”   (Personal interview with Irene Mannings Winslett – September 11, 1948)

Tura-Lura-Lural (an Irish Lullaby)

Over in Killarney
Many years ago,
Me Mither sang a song to me
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good ould Irish way,
And l’d give the world if she could sing
That song to me this day.

“Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don’t you cry!
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that’s an Irish lullaby.”

Oft in dreams I wander
To that cot again,
I feel her arms a-huggin’ me
As when she held me then.
And I hear her voice a-hummin’
To me as in days of yore,
When she used to rock me fast asleep
Outside the cabin door.


See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

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