PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 580-490-6823
On November 15, 1911 William Ballow AKA Wobblin’ Willie was a defendant in a murder case in the Carter county courthouse. Wobblin’ Willie did not like the way things were going, so he decided to shoot the county judge, Jimmy Mathers, who was presiding over the trial. When the judge saw what was about to happen, he grabbed a gun from a man, returned fire, and killed Wobblin’ Willie.
I’ve seen several articles where Willie’s last name was spelled Ballew, Balleu and other variations.
Willie is buried beside his mother, Gemmima Ballow, in the family plot in Lone Cedar cemetery (row 9) north of Ada at Francis, Oklahoma.
William M. Ballow 2/11/1871 – 9/15/1911
Gemmima Jane Smith Ballow 3/25/1840 – 8/10/1918
David Ballow 1/28/1869 – 2/6/1939
Walton A. Ballow 10/23/1873 – 12/6/1939
In February 2001 we talked about (first time) an unidentified man buried 26 paces straight north of the Main gate in Green Hill Cemetery at Davis, Oklahoma. David Fred Hagler, Jr. of Ft Worth was charged with the murder in an insurance collection scam. This all took place in 1945 and to this day the grave remains unmarked in the cemetery. This week I received an email with some follow-up info on this murder that took place near Prices Falls south of Davis. More in the Mailbag below.
Springer Oklahoma May 31, 1909: John Reeves shoots John Finley to death.
I see the old Pepsi Cola Bottling company at Caddo and East Main is being razed.
I had a request today from a lady searching for a Dorice (Doris) Palmer. I think she has been found (now deceased) in California. Maybe someone remembers Dorice?
A Reader brought me an old 1930 document last week. It is an Organization Certificate. To me this is kind of like what today would be called an Articles of Incorporation document, and a listing the Founding Members of the newly organized association. The group includes Ardmoreites along with several members from other parts of Oklahoma who formed the association on April 6, 1933. The document states members paid $20 per share, and lists the members and the number of shares bought.
In looking at this document there is some interesting historical information that many people might miss. This document was signed in the middle of the Great Depression. The association was formed just 120 days after President Roosevelt closed the banks from March 6th to March 13, 1933 to try and stop a panic and the rush of people to withdraw their money, money the banks did not have on hand. In fact, it was March 3rd when the governor of Washington state saw the impending emergency and declared a Bank Holiday in his state.
But let’s back up here about 3 years. The above “bank holiday” was brought about by an event called, Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929. By 3:00pm that day stocks had fallen 12 percent (13% fall the day before) and thus the start of the Great Depression.
What I find even more interesting is this: back in those days they didn’t have the computers and communication technology of today, and things happened at a much slower pace. It took over 3 years for things to deteriorate to the point in 1933 when the president declared a national emergency and closed the banks “for 3 days” (ended up being 13 days).
If the above events happened today it won’t be 3 1/2 years until the banks close. It will happen in a matter of hours, maybe minutes. It won’t take long for someone in a high place to click his mouse about 3 times, and the “bank holiday” begins nationwide minutes later. Just look at what happened last week in Cyprus.
This afternoon there was a wonderful retirement party at the Carter County Commissioners office for Phyllis Russell. There were lots of friends who stopped by and wished her well in her new life as a retiree. Phyllis worked for the county 30 years and we will sure miss her around the place.
I made an engraved brick as a present for Phyllis using my sandblast unit. The brick is probably 80 years old and was made at the old Ada Brick Company with ADA on the back. I told Phyllis after we are all gone from this earth this brick will probably still be here, and her grandkids will be fighting over who gets it. lol
Last week we talked about an unexplained increase in search requests on my website in January 2009. But an alert Reader has probably came up with the answer. This is the same time period I joined Facebook and increased my readership 10 fold. With the influx of ‘new readers’ there is good reason to believe this could have caused the increase in website searches.
Here is last week’s mention on the increase. SEARCH REPORT
“Hi butch! I’m a regular reader of your newsletter and couldn’t help but put some input on a possible reasoning behind your increased searches on your website starting in and about September 2008 and peaking early January 2009. After reading this I began to consider the publicity Facebook has on potentially exposing your website to many that had not known before about as was the case with me through sharing/ likes and news feed articles. I then went to your Facebook and realized at the bottom it shows you became a member in September 2008. This is just a possibility of a reason that your website was exposed to many more purple through Facebook when you joined it resulting in the increased searches in and around that time period. -Chris Cox
I had several replies to my request last week on the no-longer-in-existence town of Holder, Indian Territory (Love county). The replies are in the Mailbag below.
Holder, Indian Territory (Oklahoma). In Love county, 4 miles west of Lebanon. A post office from June 15, 1891 to March 30, 1897. No longer in existence, it was named for Lottie Holder, local rancher. -Oklahoma Place Names
Q. How many eagle feathers adorn the current Oklahoma state flag?
A. Seven. Does any one know what the feathers represent? I could not find a good answer in my google searches.
Q. What President was born in Oklahoma?
A. (answer in next week’s T&T)
From This and That newsletter archives of March 25, 2000:
I received a lot of emails about “the man with a beard who rode the bicycle”. He was Coleman Jones and I remember him well. Years ago I had bought my first new car….. a 1971 Buick Skylark. Boy, I loved that car. It had a 350 V-8 engine and would do over a hundred miles an hour! Not like these whimpy cars of today. A couple years later I had been to a meeting one evening at the Convention Center in Oklahoma City, and while my car was parked there, someone stole the tag. I had to get another tag a couple days later. So, I decided to place it on the back window, inside, instead of on the back of the car, beneath the bumper. A few weeks later I had my car parked in front of my house, and Coleman Jones came by riding his bike. He look and thought I didn’t have a car tag. So he stops, knocks on my front door, and says, “Sir, did you know you don’t have a car tag?” I explained what happened and the tag was behind the back glass. He looked and said, “well I’ll be, you do don’t you?”. That was one of my few experiences with Mr. Coleman Jones.
“Coleman Younger Jones was the bearded man on the bicycle. He and his mother lived across the street from me on Douglas Blvd. His mother was reportedly a member of the famous Younger family. Her second husband was named Charles Carter and he was the early U. S. Congressman from Oklahoma and member of the family for which Carter County was named. Coleman Jones’ aunt owned the Whittington Hotel.”
“I remember that man. Always saw him at least once when we were in Ardmore. He really got around on that bike. One time, I was with my Uncle in Ardmore when we saw him. My Uncle told me that he was Santa Claus and that is where he spent his time when he wasn’t at the North Pole. I didn’t say so but I didn’t believe him… the guy just wasn’t fat or jolly enough!”
“Well it just happens that I knew Coleman Jones practically all of my life. Mrs Jewel Whittington was his aunt, I believe, and & after her husband was deceased she became the sole operator of the “New Whittington Hotel” Before the explosion in 1915 the hotel was known as the “Whittington Hotel” but when it was rebuilt it was named the “New Whittington Hotel”. The hotel was very elaborate in its early days & retained that air throughout its existence. Coleman Jones worked at the desk of the hotel – he was clean shaven & rather nice looking in his younger days. Reportedly he was a graduate of Dartmouth College and was very well educated. He was articulate and could hold your attention with his very interesting observations. He certainly was no kook, yet for some reason, perhaps know only to himself, he assumed the role or appearance of a very eccentric person. When I came back to Ardmore, I was amazed by his appearance and I speculated that he had taken on the roll of some character he had read about. To me, Coleman Jones was a gentleman not to be feared or made fun of.”
“The man with the long white beard that used to ride a bicycle all over town was Coleman Jones. He was a nice fellow, but certainly a little eccentric. He lived in the old family home of his parents at Douglas Blvd and about 7th s.e. It was a white frame house. The house is gone now, and there is a red brick home in its place. I believe he was a member of St. Phillips Episcopal Church, but seldom went.”
“Thanks to Bill and Boots Hamm the mystery of “Dude” Rickey buried on the Goddard Ranch has been solved. I am a Rickey descendent so of course the paragraph caught my eye. “The Hunt Began”. The only info the Rickey Family Tree had was his birth in Portsmouth, OH. Bill Hamm researched him at the Library, then at the funeral home. Boots did all of the neccessary scanning and pc activity. He apparently was a prominent citizen, as the Governor came for his funeral. L.D. “Dude” was a first cousin to the well known baseball legend Branch Rickey. It seems “Dude” left OH in 1906 and never looked back. His passion for the Ardmore area was very strong. He his buried on the Goddard Ranch by his own request. The researcher of the Rickey Family asked me to send you and the Hamms his gratitude and appreciation for all the information he received. I thank you also!!!!! No info on Little Joe, the horse.”
Gas prices today in the Ardmore area……
Check gas prices by town or zip code anywhere in U.S.
Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..“Although, I thought the caf? was “Edie’s”, I remember it fondly. Sometimes for lunch us kids would walk from the old junior & senior high and if Hamburger Inn was swamped we’d go to Edie’s instead. I remember their hamburgers were just as good as Hamburger Inn’s, just not with the grilled onions. Just curious as to when they went out of business.” -Kathi G., Fayetteville, Arkansas
“Butch, Ann Kerr’s post in T&T about Eddie’s Cafe brought back a lot of memories for me. The eatery was owned by Eddie and Ludie Pruitt and was unique for a lot of reasons. It didn’t have a telephone so hungry patrons would usually call Tom Wilkes, who owned Wilkes Cleaners next door, to see if the cafe was open. No one knew if and when the cafe was operating. The ever patient Wilkes, a real gem, never tired of giving out the information. The only way someone knew the place was open (without calling Tom) was to drive on No Washington and note whether the neon light above the door was lit or not.
On open days, Eddie would arrive early and Ludie would follow in her 3-door car. That’s right – there was no driver’s side door or seat belt on her 4 door automobile. Eddie’s, when open, would serve mouth watering breakfasts beginning around 5:30 a.m., with a host of local railroad workers enjoying delicious meals.
Disagreements about trivial things, sometimes amounting to outright fights were the order of the day between Eddie and Ludie. Further, Ludie’s extreme right-wing politics were well known and some patrons (Jim Bartel, for instance) would often prod her with some anti-Nixon comments that would get her going. It was hilarious. Delicious lunches were also in order. No place in Ardmore offered their type menu.Two other unique comments about these two extraordinary people:
1. Eddie’s was probably the only establishment in the country that openly defied, and defeated, the federal government. The cafe initially refused to serve African-Americans and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department would threaten Eddie and Ludie with a shut down order. In response, the Pruitts would simply shut down. After a while, the frustrated Justice guys simply gave up. Finally, Eddie’s began serving all patrons. It was a welcome change.
2. Ludie Pruitt didn’t actually exist. There was no record whatsoever of where or when she was born, no Social Security number, no date of birth, no data whatsoever. On several occasions I tried to research something that would hopefully inform her something about her upbringing, to no avail. It was hopeless. Ludie couldn’t add anything important to my efforts.
Regardless, Eddie’s Cafe deserves a prominent role in Ardmore’s history. Interesting place with great food and good times. There’ll never be another like Eddie’s.” -james clark, Ardmore
“I remember Eddie’s on N. Washington. They were Eddie and Ludie Pruitt, and yes they did lunch only. Sometimes Eddie’s retired Mom, Tressie Frensley, would come down and run the cash register. She told me that Ludie made all the home made pies, but both Eddie and her prepared the lunch.”
“Butch, I remember the dam at Rock Crossing well. I lived at Marsden, not far away and that was a popular meeting place for young people on Sundays for swimming. That was 65 years ago. They later turned the sewer into it and ruined it. Across the road on the east side were some good fishing holes and I think they baptized over there too.” -Nellie
“Butch, according to my Uncle Roy, in an article in the Daily Ardmoreite dated August 30,1981 Holder I.T, was established by my Grandfather, Issac Bledsoe Holder and his three brothers. They had moved from Denison, Texas to what was then Pickens County, Indian Territory. As a child I was taken to the old town site and there were only evidences of building sites. I have heard there were several businesses at one time in the town. This was the birthplace of my two Uncles (Roy), (Gene) and my dad the youngest (Oliver) born there in July 1895.” -Dan
“Hello Mr. Bridges, I have enjoyed your newsletter and website. You do an amazing job. I am writing in regard to the unidentified torched person and Fred David Hagler. I remember some about the incident. I never knew the body wasn’t identified or what happened to Mr. Hagler. I was young and I was told he took an already deceased body from a medical school. I didn’t realize it was a murder or an unsolved mystery, that there was never an ID or that the body had been buried in an unmarked grave. I was touched that you found it and left the flowers. All these years I thought it was about stealing a body, insurance fraud and other white collar crime. I vaguely recall Mr. Hagler did go to jail but never knew what his convictions were about, the time he served or did he die in jail or is he still living. He would be very old now. I knew of his ex-wife, as I understood she was a lovely woman, a very strong survivor and hard worker. My impression from that time was that his mother was well to do and he was spoiled by her and self centered.
I tried to find more information on-line. My search skills are limited. I could never find where Mr. Hagler was sentenced. There were somethings from 1956. I did find some more information. I don’t know if you have anymore since your 2007 article. You may be interested in some of what I came across. One showed a poor quality picture of a news paper photo.
Sweetwater Reporter (Sweetwater, Tex.), Vol. 57, No. 247, Ed. 1 Thursday, October 21, 1954 (photo) http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth284265/m1/1/zoom/?zoom=3&lat=4289&lon=4560.5&layers=BT
Breckenridge American (Breckenridge, Tex.), Vol. 34, No. 215, Ed. 1 Thursday, October 21, 1954
Breckenridge American (Breckenridge, Tex.), Vol. 36, No. 64, Ed. 1 Friday, March 30, 1956
EX PARTE DAVID FRED HAGLER (04/20/55)
Breckenridge American (Breckenridge, Tex.), Vol. 35, No. 237, Ed. 1 Friday, December 2, 1955
Breckenridge American (Breckenridge, Tex.), Vol. 36, No. 78, Ed. 1 Thursday, April 19, 1956
At the time this was a huge case and caused quite a stir. He was known as a playboy and as his associate at the U.S. Asphalt Corp. described in one of the articles. His treatment of his ex-wife and family was unheard of. Not exactly like a Scott Peterson but the talk and all for the time was a major source of local talk. I would think the Ft. Worth newspaper archives would have extensive coverage of Mr. Hagler but I can’t access. I didn’t find an obituary for him or Elisabeth Marie Bergmann Hagler. Divorced, remarried? She may still be living. It is likely she knows how he managed these crimes. Why would she want to take these secrets with her to her grave?
If you or others have learned anymore I would be interested. I hope I am not sending you repeats of what you already have. The names of attorney’s brought up more articles.
This was so long ago and I was young, this incident was not something I thought about. From time to time it did come up but not so much from the perspective of a murder case or even what happened to Mr. Hagler, I did not even know his first name. It is mostly childhood impressions. We lived near his ex-wife and from my perspective something horrible happened and there was concern for her and her family. I do recall her name was Doris. As I said, until now I did not know murder was suspected. I knew it was gruesome even to steal a deceased body to burn for insurance and that he ran off with another woman. I thought this was more like a one time thing a troubled spoiled person might do. Not the underworld criminal lifestyle or connections. I don’t need to go into my surprise in learning there is so much more to this incident that did impact my childhood. It is insignificant, but an odd coincidence, that in the past month while looking for people I grew up with I learned someone who meant a lot to me had been questioned by the FBI about Lee Harvey Oswald. I misspelled a name and it matched a site that misspelled the name, I ended up reading about LHO’s childhood. That was his connection to the person I knew and why the FBI wanted to hear from them to learn about a brief part of his childhood. What a small world it can be. I also have family from Oklahoma. I don’t recall just how I ended up at your site but It had nothing to do with JFK or LHO. I know that Ardmore is a name I recall hearing often from my relatives. That is not where our family was from but they must have had connections. I was awe struck with Turner Falls as a child. It was breathtakingly beautiful and I always wanted to return.
I don’t know if anyone is still interested in this but I will send you a few items I came across. Some of it isn’t much. I don’t know what this is exactly, you may know but it looks like a pamphlet someone put together about Orville Chambless:
– City Delivery Boy, Night Shift Orville Chambless- May 1955 ? July 1956 “He was a fine man and a kind mentor to me.”
Also there was this (from when he had a quasi-legit business):
249 F.2d 85 Fred Albert CARLSON, Appellant v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee. https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/249/249.F2d.85.5649.html #2
The first count charges that during the period October 5, 1955, to March 5, 1956, Carlson, Orville Lindsay Chambless, Mary Lou Chambless, and James Cullen Hodge conspired with each other, and with other unknown persons. The object of the conspiracy is stated thus in the indictment:
In regard to the charred mystery person an article stated that he was 6’2 and 190-200 lbs. That would be a large man. I don’t know if that was the size of Mr. Hagler? You would think if he had it together enough to do all he did he would find someone to match his physical traits. Another article stated how Mr. Hagler was driving the chemists at U.S. Asphalt nuts when he was in his “inventor” stage. Whatever burned the vehicle was extreme, he may have expected nothing to remain. I don’t see how or why the Jury would acquit him.
Missing person D.W. Stanley of Fort Gibson, Okla. is mentioned here: October 21, 1954
Hagler Surrenders to Oklahoma Writ
There was another man they thought may have been the victim. Kurt Meyer or something like that? Does anyone know what happened to him? Has Porchlight kept up any interest in this case?
Sometimes the articles say the victim was alive when burned. I also read he was embalmed before death. Was that information ever conclusive? The FBI would have information, as well as court transcripts and newspaper outlets, has anyone requested a FOIA?
Did the lady who recalled Mr. Hagler and a plane incident in the Gulf of Mexico find out anymore? This has taken up more space then I thought when I started. I do have more to send. Are you still interested in this? Or know others who are? I am a little surprised there are no Texas historians that haven’t done something.
At GangstersInc there is a little mention of James Dolan aka James Bradley, Dolan, Goerge Fuqua and Betty Lee Johnson, ?The flying bootlegger? Orville Lindsay Chambless disappeared 8 august 1956. Trafficante family. James Dolan aka James Bradley and George Fuqua robbed small time poker games.
Didn’t Mr. Hagler mention someone named Betty? Betty L? Betty Lyn?Thank you for your site and all you do. I am looking forward to your next newsletter.” -Marty
“Friends, Please forward the attached Press Release to all media contacts to get the word out and our fallen law enforcement officers will not be forgotten. Thanks.”
Dennis L. Lippe, Chairman
Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial, Inc.
When I listen to this song I can not help but think how in 1632 my ancestors left England because of religious persecution from the Church of England. I am thankful for the First Amendment in this country, how my ancestors in England did not have that freedom and the courage it must have taken to leave to come to the New World.
Christ The Lord Has Risen Today by Charles Wesley
Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!
See everyone next week!
Butch and Jill Bridges
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443
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Ardmore High School Criterions Online
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American Flyers Memorial Fund – Administration Webpage
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Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Base Website
Mirror Site of the Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
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Carter County Government Website
Ardmore School Criterions
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