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Vol 17  Issue 858   July 4, 2013

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402 Email:  butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net Phone: 580-490-6823

I received the letter below several years ago, and just ran across it and the envelope again, thought I’d share it with everyone this evening. Tim Holt was an actor in western movies and eventually retired in Oklahoma. The letter was typed on an old manual typewriter in 1988 by a Phillip Fortune (I do not have any info on him).

Notes  by Phillip Fortune, Pawhuska, Oklahoma 1988


This week I received the interesting email below. I do not know where the info came from, but it is interesting, so I wanted to pass it along this evening.

Coal Provided First Industry For Ardmore Area

When Ardmore was only two years old. It woke up with an industry so important that the Santa Fe railroad Invested several thousand dollars in a spur track that extended nearly six miles to a coal mine, employing 75 miners. The mounds of this mine today can be seen a short distance south?west of the office to Lake Murray Park. No less than four attempts were made to-make-this mine a paying Investment from 1888, to as late as 1942. The Sydney Ford family moved to this coal mine before 1890. A member of the family. Brownie Ford was one of three who re-?opened it in 1942. Ford, who now operates a grocery store on Lake Murray Drive, had two partners, August Grader and Elgie Cook. They extended a slope into the mine 175 feet and discovered a 41-foot vein of coal.The more they mined’ the coal, the better it became. However, they ran into a water gusher their pump couldn’t begin to handle, so they had to abandon their mining project. The remains of this slope a n d numerous mounds from the other two shafts is all that can be seen today. C. I. Bodine was the original promoter of this mine. With the backing of M. Zoogerman, manager of the Iron Store, he convinced the Santa Fe to build the spur. The mine was equipped with an underground railroad with small cars that were pulled out of the mine by a steam windlass to the tipple, where they were dumped Into railroad coal cars. Ben Ford says his father, Sydney?Ford, who was born in England, came to Ardmore in 1886 and lived in a log house about where-the Sloan?s Nursing-home-is now located, called the Felix King place* They moved from there to the mine and lived in a big two- story house. Bill Ford, father of Peggy Ford, Healdton, Ben, and their oldest sister, Ella, were the only children when the Ford family moved to the mine. Eventually there were 18 children In the family.

Bill Ford and his son, Billy, to?day operate a stock farm about half a mile from the old coal mine site. Farley Richmond says, after Bodine failed to keep the mine going, that It was taken over by a Pennsylvania outfit bossed by a big Irishman whose name he has forgotten. A number of miners were brought here from Pennsylvania. They mined coal for a year or more, working as high as 75 miners. Quite a town grew up around the mine with several big boarding houses and a number of family homes. T h e Pennsylvania company abandoned the mine in about 1893. E. F. Ainsworth was the next promoter to reopen the mine, with Bill Brown as his superintendent. But the spur track was gone and it wasn’t feasible to haul the ore to the railroad and market it, so the mine closed down for the third time. Had it not been for the discovery of oil, Ardmore might have been a coal center. Ed Sandlin and Ben Scott are other Ardmore citizens who went down in the depth of the abandoned mine. Today, persons curious to see the remains of Ardmore and Southern Oklahoma?s first industry can inquire of Supt. Billy Smith or his staff at Lake Murray Park headquarters office.

The Daily Ardmoreite May 1949
Lazarus, the headless rooster, stood up in Justice Stanley Moffatts’ court today and flapped his wings. Lazarus was the star witness in Mrs. Martha Green’s suit for $2,500 or the return of the rooster she bought and had beheaded a week ago at the butcher shop.  She sued the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for taking off with her rooster, but she in turn was charge with violating a penal code governing custody of maimed or mutilated animals, including birds. Judge Moffatt said he would consult state poultry experts to determine whether Lazarus is experiencing pain.

The Daily Ardmoreite September 1927
Three miles southwest of Lone Grove lives an aged Negro survivor of a generation that rapidly is passing away, an ex-slave, who has the respect of all who knew this section when it was young. “Uncle Si” Love is a landmark. He does not know his exact age but it is known he lived here in 1841, and is around 95 years old. He was emancipated after the war between the states, and he still cultivates a little farm. He does not use a cane or wear glasses and still puts in a good day’s work.

The Daily Ardmoreite September 1915
As the result of a holdup of a restaurant at Ragtown, Pete Bynum and Allen Williams are dead, and officer Bud Ballew is nursing a slight flesh wound. Wirt, or Ragtown, as it is more generally called, is like many other new towns, filled up with a lot of men gathered from the four corners of the earth, and while there are a lot of good, law-biding men among them, there are many desperate characters who hesitate at nothing to accomplish their purpose. The two holdup men entered the restaurant around midnight and were preparing to leave when Ballew was attracted by a crowd rushing toward the establishment. As soon as Ballew opened the door of the restaurant, he was fired on and hit in the left side.  He immediately opened fire, wounding Bynum. Williams was in another room, and a bullet from one of the pistols in action penetrated the partition and severely wounded him in the breast. Ballew’s wound was not serious, and after getting it dress, returned to his home in Lone Grove.

Q. Re: Toad Suck, Oklahoma.  Butch,  I was told of a small community that once existed in the Eastman area of Love county.  I’m interested in learning more about. The place was called “Toadsuck” and had a post office at one time. My friend has the original post office on his land from when his grandfather moved it with horse and buggy in either the early 1900’s or late 1800’s. If you know anything could you please forward it to me. Thank you in advance.

A. There is a town of Toad Suck, Oklahoma. It is about 8 miles northwest of Marietta. There is a cemetery about a mile southwest of Toad Suck according to the map. There was never a U.S. Post Office in Toadsuck.

Ardmoreite Kerry Tully sent in 4 pictures she took this week when the City of Ardmore water department was changing out a fire plug in front of her house. The city employee said the plug was, well, here it is in her own words:

“Butch, Our fire plug was being flushed out earlier today. It seemed the men were working longer than usual for this particular task. My husband talked to them, and it seems once they turned it on, they couldn?t turn it off. We will be getting a new fire plug. I took pictures of the old one. According to the city workers, it was put there in 1907 (the year OK became a state). One of the pictures shows that date on the back of the plug. It was patented in 1914. It?s hard to make out the words, but I think the company name is ?Darling.? Below that, it looks like it says ?Williams Bro.? There are other words, but the layers of paint make them unreadable. The city guys said the old plugs sometimes go up at auction if they?re not taken to OK Iron. I hope this one doesn?t get scrapped!!”  -Kerry





The entrance to our property south of Lone Grove has 8 Crape Myrtle trees and after the rains a couple weeks ago, they are in full bloom.  I have never seen them so beautiful.



Q.  How many manmade lakes in Oklahoma??
A.  Over 200.

Q.  What Oklahoma City shopping destination was originally constructed as an open-air facility?
A.  (answer in next week’s T&T)

From This and That newsletter archives of July 3, 1999:

Last Wednesday, June 30th, Royce Moser left her office of County Clerk at the courthouse here in Ardmore for the last time. She was Clerk about 12 years, and with the Office of the Clerk 30 years. There was a reception party held for Royce the Friday before… and the line of friends and well-wishers seemed endless. Her smile will be missed.
A friend sent me a link this week. It tells about those 90 gig capacity hard drives coming this Fall.

The Daily Ardmoreite
Ardmore, Oklahoma
Tuesday, September 17, 1907



Denison, Tex., Sept. 16. – The sudden death of John Crane, an ex-police officer, last week at his home, No. 331 Chestnut street, recalls to the mind of Denison people the tragedy which occurred on the same street seven years ago when Crane was shot in the right leg above the knee while attempting to arrest George Puryear. His death is attributed to the wound received at that time. The assailant of Crane was followed to the Indian Territory by a posse headed by W.B. Craig, now chief of police of Denison. In recounting the shooting Officer Craig said:

“It was just about seven years ago when some small boys told me that a man riding a horse was down on Chestnut street standing in front of a house and displaying a six-shooter. I was then a deputy constable but I went in search of the man. As I turned the corner on Rusk avenue and Chestnut I was joined by Officer Crane. We walked together until within a short distance of one man when a street light disclosed the identity of Puryear.”

“Puryear at once raised up in his saddle and leveling his weapon at the officer fired. Crane staggered and a moment later fell to the ground. I fired my pistol several times but none of the shots took effect. A posse was hurriedly organized and as Puryear went in direction of his home at Willis Ferry in Indian Territory, we at once took up the trail towards Red River.”

“When the posse reached the river it was divided in three sections and scattered out in different directions in search of the fugitive. It was the second morning after the shooting when Puryear was discovered walking along the banks of the river. One of the members of the posse who saw him, called to Puryear to throw up his hands, but in return he was answered by two pistol shots fired directly at the posse. Two Winchester reports rang out a few moments later, and the other two branches of the posse arrived on the scene just in time to see the body of Puryear placed in a buggy. One of the bullets penetrated the heart of Puryear, killing him instantly.

“Shortly after this, Frank Puryear, a brother of George, was slew to death at Gainesville in a street duel and was using the same gun with which his brother shot Crane.”

“Crane recovered slowly from his wound and the city has given him a light duty to perform ever since the shooting. He was police clerk in police headquarters up to last May but the wound troubled him to such an extent that he was obliged to take to his bed.”

Mr. Crane was born in New Orleans in 1870 and came to Denison eight years ago. He was employed by the Katy as a brakeman and later resigned to accept the position on the police force. He was a member of the Woodman of the World and the funeral will take place tomorrow under the auspices of that order. Interment will be made in Maple Grove cemetery. Rev. Lee of the Christian church will conduct the services at home and grave.
“You mentioned your childhood neighbor last week and while my wife was going through some old pictures today she found a certificate approving her advance to High School, from Mt. Washington School, and signed by Mr A.L. Senter. (his signature did not show an “s” on the end of his name).

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…..

“Hi Butch, Reading the newsletter made me think of an image that I took years ago of this Dolese concrete truck.” -Cecil Elliott

“You forgot to mention in last weeks newsletter that 3 Miss Americas were  from Oklahoma City University, where I got my Master Degree and taught in the grad school for 5 years!” -Don Bridges

“Dear Butch, I am wondering if there is anyone still around who would be interested in having a 1938, 1939, or 1940 Ardmore High School year book. I also have lots or pictures, memory books and other “stuff” about all of the reunions of the graduating “Class of ’40” even up to our reunion 70 years after graduation. I really hate to just throw them in the trash. But, who cares if I do? There are so few of us left. I also have the 1941 and 1942 year books from Oklahoma College for Women.”

Hi Butch and Jill, You all have a great site–congratulations. Lots of work gone into it, I know. I was very interested to read your 26 Jul 2007 T&T pages on Orval Chambless and I picked up a few more names to add to my inquiries. I’m writing a book about the death of young girl named Billie Grayson in Lincoln County in 1941. The story connects to Chambless because the former wife of the killer took advantage of his McAlester down-time to marry Chambless. Within a few years Chambless divorced her and married
her daughter. Pretty baroque. I’ve recently build a “memorial” for Chambless at Find-a-Grave.com
[2]. It’s not complete because I don’t have a photo of the grave. He was ultimately buried in Resthaven Cem. in OKCity, which is an eeenormous place. I have to get a plot number before I can get a
photo. But the memorial is searchable, and I’ve linked a couple of family members. Have a look:
[3] At any rate, I’ve certainly done the genealogical work on the families of Chambless and his wives, or at least the two that I know about. (They’re related to a Lincoln Co. family of prominent lawyers.) I could answer questions, if anyone has any. Some of your readers may like to know that Frank St. Clair (of the
“Charred Car” case, mentioned in the articles cited above) committed suicide in Dec. 1954. I have his death certificate–details available upon request. I have a site on Lincoln County that resembles yours, but much newer and smaller. Be glad to have contributions from your readers:
Best regards,
Wayne Pounds, Tokyo
born Chandler, Oklahoma
Prof. of American Literature
Aoyama Gakuin University, Bldg. 15
Shibuya 4-4-25
Tokyo 110-8364 Japan
email: wapo@cl.aoyama.ac.jp

July 4th 1954.
My wife is very pregnant!

Her due date is past due I don’t know, several weeks or days. We were living in Phillips, Texas. I think. Not really sure. But for some reason, we decide to go on a picnic. My wife fries up a chicken or two and fixes all the “extras” to go with it. Potato salad, baked beans, etc. And we head to Pampa, TX., a town approx 30 some miles away. I don’t know why we chose Pampa, so far away from our home, But we did. After the “spread” we just both laid on the ground enjoying the day and the meal. I knew she was very uncomfortable and feeling bad. I don’t know where she found the energy to fix such an elaborate meal.We made it back home and sometime that night, #1 son decided it’s time. He was born in Borger, Texas, July 5th, 1954. I have always told everyone he is my 4th of July firecracker, with a long fuse, who didn’t explode until the next day. Happy Birthday Kenny. He will be 59 years old tomorrow.


A 4th of July celebration in Oklahoma City in 1889 where 100’s were injured when the grandstand collapsed. This poster was in the 100 year Time Capsule opened last Fall. A full color poster in perfect condition. A Oklahoma treasure.


I hope everyone is enjoying the Independence Day holidays with family and loved ones. These are special times, enjoy them.

Step back to September 13, 1814 to Fort McHenry, MD. The British has bombarded the fort for 25 hours. Francis Scott Key and others watched the battle through the night, and then in the wee morning hours, silence. Had the fort fallen to the British? Then at the dawn, they saw that special made flag, with stars that were two feet across, still waving high from the fort. As we enjoy the fireworks displays around the country, we need to remember the battles that have been fought so we can do just that, enjoy our freedoms, go where we want, do what we want, be what we want.

The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key (a prisoner on a British ship)

“Oh, say! can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming;
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there:
Oh, say! does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

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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