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Vol 15  Issue 749    June 2, 2011

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

Email: butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net

Phone: 580-490-6823

The past couple of issues I had a pic of what I was told was a Bull Nettle (took pic at Frederick).  And since then we’ve had plenty of emails on this plant.  I’ve even seen it spelled thisle, and thistle. I have received several emails on if this was a Bull Nettle or a Thistle. The preponderance of evidence says its a thistle.  I think Larry Pulliam summed it up quite well:

“Butch, Regarding the Thistle. It is a persistent and aggravating weed in pasture lands now. However, as Timothy Egan describes in his book “The Worst Hard Time“, the Russian Thistle was brought to our part of the country by pioneers settling the western U.S. They thought it was a pretty plant and it reminded them of their home. It thrived. Importantly, it became a last-resort food source for farmers during the worst of the dust bowl days. Anyone interested in a very personal account of the dust bowl days should read Egan’s book.” -Larry Pulliam


Speaking of plants, our 3 grapevines are really loaded right now with grapes.  Not sure what kind, but I know one type is the green grape variety and the other is purple grapes. Any grape stompers out there?



May 28, 1951: Little Butch (8 year old Richard Haney) was playing with his pet kitten in the front yard of his Gene Autry home. He had just finished swinging on the chain swing that was strung from a hackberry tree. As he reached down to pick up his cat, lightning hit the swing. The boy was knocked to the ground unconscious. His clothes were scorched and torn. When asked if he was hurt, he said, “Nah, just burned a little, but my cat is dead.” His mother took down the chain from the tree. It will not be replaced.

Carter county’s Emergency Management director, Paul Tucker, smiled a little bigger this week. The public warning sirens approved by the county commissioners finally arrived, and Paul’s eager to get them installed at strategic places within the county soon. Only 4 sirens will be installed at this time at pre-determined places (based on population density) so the most people can be notified in the event of an emergency. Hopefully more money can be allocated for the purchase of additional sirens as funds become available in the future.




A friend’s mother has been approved for a Palm Harbor Home, but is in need of an acre of land to put it on.  She wants it just outside Ardmore… like Dickson, Springer or Lone Grove areas. If anyone knows of an acre or two for sell, let me know and I will pass the info on.

I’ve been testing out a new anti-malware utility called ComboFix this week.  It seems to do a great job cleaning up computers that’s bogged down with all that nasty stuff.


From This and That newsletter archives of June 6, 1998:
Around 7:30am on Monday morning, March 21, 1949 an 11 year old Healdton, Oklahoma boy died mysteriously of a gunshot wound between the eyes. His mother found her son, Artie Francis Walk, when she went to get him up for school. He was the son of a prominent Healdton family, Mr. and Mrs. Artie Walk. The young Artie died near Davis, Oklahoma in a Bettes ambulance speeding him to Oklahoma City. Questions surrounded the boy’s death when family members found a .22 rifle, believe to be the death weapon, behind a bedroom door. Deputy Sheriff Emet Chase and Police Chief Bill Ratliff were investigating the incident. Sheriff Howard Johnson said his office would cooperate wholeheartedly in the investigation.

Q.   What town is the antique capital of Oklahoma ?
A.    Jenks, Oklahoma

Q.    What Oklahoma town is billed as the Deer capital of the world?
A.     (answer in next week’s newsletter)

Gas prices today in the Ardmore area……

https://oklahomahistory.net/gasprices.htmlSome mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Media & Public Relations Division
Traffic Advisory
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Big changes Wednesday for school traffic as construction starts on N. Meridian Lane in Lone Grove, OK

Beginning 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 25, drivers will no longer be able to travel southbound on N. Meridian Lane between Cody St. and US-70. Additionally, N. Meridian Lane will only have one northbound lane open until mid-August.

This is a big change for traffic, especially during the last days of school. Drivers should expect congestion and allow plenty of extra time.

The reason construction is starting before school is out is because the school year was extended due to snow days. Due to an extremely tight deadline to have work completed by start of school in August, the contractor is unable to delay construction any further and must start work Wednesday.

The $1 million project awarded to Silver Star Construction involves drainage improvements and widening N. Meridian Lane to a two-lane roadway with a center turn lane and an improved traffic signal at N. Meridian Lane and US-70.

Hi Butch: I was doing some digging on the web and I ran across a site you or your readers might like to check out. The article is about a great uncle of mine. He was one of the true old time Marshals. His name was Oscar Morgan and he was the town Marshal of Blanchard, OK for 23 years. He was written up in the Oklahoma City times several times. I remember him quite well. He was relentless when he got on a case. They called him the Bloodhound of Blanchard. The link is http://genealogytrails.com/oka/mcclain/marshalls.htm   -Frank Lightsey, a transplanted Okie.

“Just seen an article on news 9 internet called shelterfinder.org, figured you may want to add it to your newsletter.”   -Russ


Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame
For those of you who might have missed the news, on November 4, 2010, I was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. This is greatest honor I could receive since Oklahoma is my home state and my name is now included among many of the greats in the music world. The Oklahoma Hall of Fame doesn?t recognize just Country, Cowboy or Western Swing Music, but gives recognition to Oklahomans in all forms of music, such as Jazz, Blues, Rock, Pop, Folk, Gospel, Opera and even Native American Music. But it does feel pretty good to be listed with folks like Woody Guthrie, Patti Page, Merle Haggard, Gene Autry, Albert E. Brumley, Bob Wills, Johnnie Lee Wills, Hank Thompson, Wanda Jackson, Roger Miller, Roy Clark, Cal Smith, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Joe Diffie, Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, just to name a few in our type of music. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Muskogee, Oklahoma, please stop by the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. I think you will enjoy the experience.

Next CD
It may come as no surprise that my next CD will be a tribute to the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. It will include some new material plus songs that were originally recorded by folks who have been inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. The new CD will be released on or around August 31, 2011. That day, by the way, will be the 55th wedding anniversary for me and my sweetheart, Martha.

2011 Public Bookings
All our bookings and my email address are shown on my website www.lesgilliam.com. If you have access to the Internet and have an email address, please send your email address to me because I send out other newsletters from time to time, in addition to this annual printed newsletter. The list below shows only the public bookings as of today but new dates are continually being added. Call me at 580-762-4837if you need more info on our bookings.
June 11 Grove, OK – Grand Lake Festival with Jana Jae 918-786-8896
June 25-26 Kenton, OH – Gene Autry Days Hardin County Fairgrounds 419-673-4131
August 13 Benton, KS ? Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper 6:30pm 316-778-2121
September 8-10 Hastings, NE ? Miles of Memories Country Music Festival ? Fairgrounds ? For more information, check their website www.texandmary.com
September 17 Gilmer, TX ? Arts Council Concert – 7:00pm – Civic Center (Hwy 271 North)
For reservations, call 903-843-3219 (band)
September 24 Gene Autry, OK ? Gene Autry Birthday Jamboree – No Admission Charge
Music 10:30am to 6pm & Auction
October 2 Sandstone, MN ? Open for Gene Watson ? Midwest Country
Two Shows – 2pm/7pm Call 888-729-1033 for reservations
October 12-29 Branson, MO ? Silver Dollar City – Missouri?s Biggest Barn Dance
Wed?Sun 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm (band)
November 11 Junction City, KS ? C. L. Hoover Opera House Concert 7:30pm (band)
For more information, call 913-956-8901
November 19 Grenola, KS ? Community Building – Museum Fund Raiser 6pm
For reservations, call 620-358-3241
December 10 Winfield, KS ? Western Swing Christmas Ball ? 7pm For reservations and directions, call 620-222-2154 (band)
December 31 Benton, KS ? New Years Eve Concert/Dance, 6:30 supper followed by concert/dance – please call 316-778-2121 for reservations and directions (band)

The list of available CDs and cookbooks is the same as printed in the 2010 newsletter. They are also shown on our website www.lesgilliam.com  If you need a list of our available CDs and cookbooks, call me at 580-762-4837 and I?ll send a list to you. But please remember that my next CD, ?Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame? will be available on September 1, 2011. Martha and I want to thank you for your friendship and support. Hope to see you soon. -Les Gilliam

“Butch, my husband and I were in Ardmore today and decided to test out Magnetic Hill. We couldn’t do anything but giggle like kids as our car rolled backward and uphill on its own at 14 mph. WOW! That was fun. We decided to try it going forward. It did not go as far or as fast as backward. Doesn’t take much to entertain some of us, does it. Thanks for the tip.”  -Nancy

“The People that grew up in the country and worked in the fields called them Bull nettles. What a lot of People don’t know is that the seeds are good to eat. Each seedpod has 5 or 6 black seed and when you crack them they have a white kernel that is delicious inside .” -DeWayne

“Butch: The plant you took the photo of at Frederick is a “Bull Thistle” according to The Audubon Society Field Guide of North American Wildflowers book. Photo #489 in the book looks very much like the one in your photo. The Guide describes it as: Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) Sunflower Family (Asteraceae) This very prickly plant has a spiny-winged stem and large rose-purple flower heads, composed entirely of disk flowers and surrounded by spiny, yellow-tipped bracts. Flower heads: 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide. Leaves: 3 to 6 inches long, coarsely pinnately lobed and spiny. Height: 2 to 6 feet. Flowering: June to September. Habitat: Roadsides, pastures, and waste places. When I was a kid in Oklahoma what we called Bull Nettles was a small cactus like plant growing mostly among the sandy dunes along the banks of the South Canadian River. It had multiple narrow finger-like branching spines covered with short spiny thorns. It flowered at the ends of the spines and produced small seed pods that when hulled produced small tasty seeds much like pine nuts. The only problem was we had to be very deft picking the pods. Those numerous spiny thorns were prickly and when they pricked our hands while harvesting caused a severe stinging sensation lasting several hours, and with redness and soreness the next few days. But those little nuts sure were good. – Don Davidson, Brenham, Texas

“Here are a couple thistle pics from the neighbor’s pasture this morning.” -Garth



“The Oil and Gas Glossary has the following on their website: Tour ( pronounced “Tower”)
Definition: A working shift for drilling crew or other oilfield workers. The three daily tours are called daylights, evenings, and mornings.

Hopefully this will clear up the subject and show that it is not a mispronunciation due to the literacy rate in the early days.”  -Nona Evitts

“A whimsical account of the May 2011 Big Canyon Photo Session. Crank up the volume! I tried to get shots of all the attendees but I missed some including Barry Byington, Barry Byington II & John Earhart. Thanks to Marsha Goen for shooting the group on Sunday.”  -C. Dwane Stevens


“The members of the Arbuckle Historical Society Museum in Sulphur are always looking for old photos and postal cards about historical scenes in Murray County. For instance, in your “T & T” Newsletter dated 11/23/07 a lady named Norma Lowery sent you several cards of Sulphur and Devil’s Den and the concession stand at Ardmore’s Skyview Drive In. Is she still collecting and sharing such items? If so, I’d like to get in touch with her.” ursm_17848@yahoo.com

“Butch, for many years my family and I have been going to the Gordon Cemetery to decorate and look after my grandfather, Henry Lafayette Willingham killed in the 1915 explosion and my great grandfather and great grandmother, Samuel Marion and Mary Davis Willingham’s grave. My great grand father fought in the war for the confederacy with the 18 Texas Calvary along with a couple of his brothers. My problem is getting onto the now private property to visit the graves. The state law says that a landowner cannot keep a relative from visiting the grave of loved ones that are now interred in an abandoned cemetery.

At one time the section line road down in Love County ran right by the Gordon Cemetery. At some point in time the road was moved, leaving the cemetery on private land. My dad, Joe Willingham showed my brother and me where the cemetery was. In 1992 my dad asked me to take him by the grave one last time. We could not get in because it was locked. I threatened to shoot the lock off but my dad would not hear of it. He asked me to look after the graves. He died a about three months later not seeing his dad’s grave one more time.

I found out that the land was on the old D Joyce Coffee estate and was leased out. One man that leased the land would let us on Memorial Day without a hassle. It changed lease hands and once again we had to fight to get it. I found a ranch hand that worked for Garth Smith and he let my cousin, John Willingham, and me in but then kept a rifle on us from the hilltop above the cemetery the entire time we were there. My cousin grew up with Garth and made arrangements for a key.

Then the estate was auctioned off and Mark and Susie Jackson, from Texas, bought the place. First year they had cleaned up the property, tore down the old fence around the cemetery and put in a new gravel road and left it open so we could go in. The next year they had put a one room school house across the road from the cemetery and there was no problem getting in. The last three years we have had problems. They didn’t want to open on Memorial Day. They wouldn’t return calls. I found the gate open one of those years then they came and wanted to know what we were doing. Last year, 2010, my grandfathers almost one hundred year old tomb stone was knocked over and broken in half. They tried to say that a buck deer had done, but there was nothing but cow poop in the grave yard. The cows also knocked over my great grandfather and grandmother’s tomb stones were knocked off of the concrete base. I took my grandfather’s tomb stone home with me to repair. I tried to call three times trying to get permission to reinstall the tombstone in 2010. They would not return a call. I called a few weeks ago to get permission for Memorial Day. Mrs. Jackson finally answered and I told her that I needed to be there on Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend. She asked if we might could come the day after Memorial Day. I told her why I needed both days and if she had a ranch hand I could call him and not bother them with the graveyard. She said I would have to call her husband, Mark. I called him and he was surprised to hear from me. I explained what we needed. He said he couldn’t talk to me and hung up. He called me back the next day and said he found my number on his phone and when I again told him who I was what I needed he said he may be there Monday and he may not. He also said he was not going to bother his ranch hand with this stuff and hung up.

Butch, I need for anyone who is interested in going to the cemetery or interested in the Gordon cemetery to let me know. 405-826-1964. I also need to know as much information about the cemetery as possible. Things like has it always been a private cemetery or if there are any covenants or easements on the property concerning the cemetery. Thanks for letting me vent. Have a good year.” -David Joe COPWILLI@aol.com

“Butch, I believe the picture was taken on East Main. Next to J.C. Yeatts is the Globe Theatre and to the east is the Globe Confectionary.” -Nona Evitts


“The program was impressive. Removed a lot of stuff. Will let you know what happens next.” -Jerry


“Re: Depot tour starting at Gainesville, Texas. Though born at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1930 I lived in Gainesville, Texas and in other towns in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, and California. As a youth and later as an adult I traveled as a train passenger through several cities and states. To the best of my knowledge, the only spittoon in a train depot I ever observed was at Gainesville, Texas. The spittoon was made of brass material, about 3feet in diameter and at least 1 foot deep. It seemed that it was never empty of tobacco juice. The odor of the tobacco juice permeated throughout the interior of the small depot. During the latter 30’s the depot was a playground for my uncles, cousins and I. And of course us boys, being boys, accommodated the spittoon many times with our sputum during our several depot visitations. In August of 1948, at age 18, I departed for an 18-month tour at an American air base located in Newfoundland and later for other states and countries as an active duty Airman. At the time of my departure from Gainesville, Texas in 1948, the large spittoon was present in the depot for train traveler coming and going to see and smell. Upon my return to Gainesville, Texas in 1957 from Japan I observed that the spittoon had been removed. I ascertained the removal of the spittoon from the depot was because the Gainesville fathers desired to upgrade the depot. Too bad, for had the spittoon had the ability to speak, it would have had many a “sputum tales to tell.”  -Elmer West, an Okie residing in San Antonio, Texas

Pete Pierce will have a book signing on Saturday June 4th at The Bookseller at 614 West Main street. Pete will by autographing his books from 1pm to 3pm.

Territorians to Boomers: Professional Baseball in Ardmore 1904-1926

Indians, Cardinals and Rosebuds: Professional Baseball in Ardmore 1947-1961


“Butch, There are two roundabouts (constructed over the last 4 or 5 years) on Northwest 10th Street, one near each side of St. Anthony’s Hospital. The traffic seems to flow quite well around them.” -Joh

“Hi Butch, It brought a smile to my face to hear you mentioning Roundabouts. I drive around several of them many times a day! sometimes Roundabouts can be the bane of my life.. A local one close by to me has got to be so busy that the traffic approaching from the right that you give way to (in your case from the left) has got so busy, that they have had to install traffic light’s so it sort of defeats the object of the roundabout in the first place! Although to be fair they can calm the traffic most times.

My next sentence is about the Thistle, we have thistles over here, although very prickly they do not cause blisters or any serious harm, just a nuisance. The Thistle is actually the emblem of Scotland, and the bud on your pic of the thistle will open out into a lovely purple head.

So Butch that’s about it from me I’ve finally caught up with all your newsletters, have fun … From a semi warmish England.” -Judith in UK

“Butch, this year marks 65 years since my class graduated from Ardmore High School. I have called most remaining class members within a 100 mile radius. I doubt that anyone living farther away would drive the distance for lunch. We will meet at the Prairie Kitchen at 1:00 p.m. on June 3rd for lunch and visitation and afterwards will go to the old High School to have a picture taken. If anyone in our class or anyone who graduated in the ’45 or ’47 would like to join us, call me at 405/964-2274. If I should be away from the phone, leave a message and I will return your call.” -Frances Long Anthony Dunlap  dpdrinker@sbcglobal.net

In 1931, a new bridge was a source of friction between the Sooner state and the Lone Star state.

Red River Bridge Video

“Does anyone know when it was that President Truman visited Ardmore for his reelection speech?”

“He that has a good harvest must be content with a few thistles? -Spanish Proverb

See everyone next week!

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

Save on long distance calls, just a couple cents a minute!
Ardmore High School Criterions Online
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
Ardmore School Criterions

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