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Vol 17  Issue 861   July 25, 2013

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

Calaboose – a place of confinement for persons held in lawful custody.  I knew a calaboose was the same thing as a jail.  But I did not know until this week that its more than just a stationary building sitting on a foundation to hold prisoners. It seems a calaboose can also be a portable jail. In Seguin, Texas there is on display just such a calaboose. Below is an email I receive this week:

Hi Butch, If you read the old newspapers you will sometimes find the word calaboose. This, I was told was a jail, but I always wondered what one looked like. While in Seguin, TX last week we were lucky enough to find one and took pictures. It is a jail on wheels which was often used for road gangs or in small towns or communities that did not have their own police station. The calaboose was used by the county for county inmates. The caboose was loaded with the inmates then pulled by horse or mule team to nearby cotton fields where the inmates would pick cotton. After the calaboose was no longer used for this it was used on a work/poor farm and sat under a live oak tree which was a hanging tree. That is the tree stump in the picture.” -mindy taylor




As of today there are 56 custom engraved pavers in place on the west side of the Carter County courthouse. These are employees who retired through the OPERS retirement system since 1970. Still lacking info on a few, so if you know of anybody who should be listed, let me know.


The Daily Ardmoreite, June 1929
The state legislature killed an administrative measure that would have taken away from the cities and counties the authority to issue teachers’ certificates and delegated it to the state board of education. A similar measure was approved in the Oklahoma Senate.

A little over a week now we have been having turkeys and their young visiting our place nearly every day.  What a beautiful sight to see those 6 little ones sitting in our backyard just enjoying the day.



Back in the early 1960s my cousin, Carol Jean Carmon Cole, was married (still is) to Sammy Cole.  When they first got married he worked at the airpark for BS&B and ‘some how’ brought some raw fiberglass and curing liquids home to put a layer of fiberglass on this wooden airboat he owned. When he fired that airboat up, that was the loudest noise I had ever heard, or at least so it seemed to me.  I noticed in Lone Grove this week at the 4Play RV and Marine an airboat for sale and it brought back those almost forgotten memories to me.



Buddy and Ruth Bellamy brought me a watermelon they pickup up in Arkansas this week. I have known for years that Oklahoma has had a watermelon festival every year at Rush Springs, Oklahoma. Rush Springs has claimed they are the watermelon capital, but this week thanks to the Bellamys I learned of an Arkansas town that touts the same claim (they claim in the world). We are talking about a town of 1,000 people by the name of Cave City, Arkansas.

I knew the second my butcher knife touched the watermelon rind this was going to be different.  It cut like hot butter through the rind. I have never bought a watermelon in this county that did not have a hard outer rind. I have even bruised the palm of my hand slapping the top of the knife trying to get it started into the rind.  Did I say this melon was sweet?  Well, it sure was!

World’s Sweetest Watermelons. The 34th Annual Cave City Watermelon Festival is August 10, 2013.


Here is a pic I took of the Cave City, Arkansas watermelon I have on ice.


2012 Watermelon Festival at Cave City, Arkansas  (30 minute video).


By the way, Rush Springs will be holding their watermelon festival on August 10 of this year.


Q.  Which Custer led Indian battle / massacre occurred in Roger Mills County, Oklahoma on November 27, 1868?
A.  Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer

Q.  What Oklahoma Lake is located at the intersection of the Canadian, the South Canadian, and the Deep Fork rivers?
A.  (answer in next week’s T&T)

From This and That newsletter archives of July 24, 1999:I have this small “butter tub” I use to feed my neighbor’s dog sometimes. This week it came up missing. Another neighbor told me that a black bird swooped down, picked up the tub, and carried it and the dog food in it, plumb across the street into the next block. Can you believe that?
In Davis, Oklahoma’s early days there was a proprietor by the name of Paris Price. He was a broom maker in Davis. His son carried on the trade and their brooms were sold all over the country. There is a nice display of the equipment they used in their broom making at the Davis Historical Museum on Main Street. Here is a pic I took of the Price father/son display there.
I found another bell… right here in Ardmore, Oklahoma. It’s in the front yard of 920 9th Southeast.

It is Wednesday, September 21, 1927. Cass Key Murphree of Ardmore was killed at the refinery. The next day the Daily Ardmoreite posted the following:

MURPHREE DIES FROM INJURIES. Employee of Pure Oil Refinery Fatally Injured in Fall From Ladder. Cass Key Murphree, 41, died at Hardy sanitarium Wednesday afternoon as the result of a fall from a ladder at the Pure Oil company refinery northeast of city.

Murphree with two other men was engaged in cleaning a still when he fell from the 12-foot ladder and his skull was fractured.

Funeral services will be conducted from the East Ardmore Presbyterian Church this afternoon at 4 o’clock by the Rev. Thomas Carey. Interment will be in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Deceased had been an employee of the refinery for some time. He leaves a wife and three children, Christi, Ivadee, and Samuel, besides four sisters and one brother.

And now the rest of the story: Cass Key Murphree’s wife was named Bam. She was from Oakland, Oklahoma. When Cass died, she no longer wanted the three children… Christi, Ivadee and Samuel. They were from Cass’s first marriage to Nida Fuller, who had died. Bam took the three children to Ardmoreite Ida Murphree Miller, and never returned for the children. Bam would later move back to Oakland, Oklahoma. Ida Miller would raise the three children by herself. Ida Murphree Miller was my Great Grandmother. Ivadee Murphree Vojtek is my cousin, and she is still alive and living in Connecticut. I haven’t seen her in 32 years but talk to her every week or two. This is a 1942 photo of Ivadee when she worked in Ft. Worth, TX.
“The name of the place you mentioned in your column was called” WITTS END” located at 106 1/2 East Main St. – They specialized in Gifts & Stationery Mfrs. The business was operated by two very capable business Ladies – their names were Lynn Gruwell & Mabel R. Stong. They were still in business when I came back to Ardmore in 1950. Yes, they were indeed ahead of their time because they indeed produced wonderful printed novelties. To me that was not a long time ago – it seems like only yesterday.”

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…..“Butch, I love a good mystery and could not resist your Mena WALTERS in last week’s This & That. I believe I found her on the 1920 census, name of Mena WALTER, living in Houston. It states that she was born about 1865 Texas, both parents born Germany and she is widowed. She owns her owns and is selling irons. Backtracking her, I believe I found her with the name of Minnie WALTER living with her husband Charley WALTER born about 1856 Germany. They are living in Houston and Charley is a butcher in a butcher shop. They are living next door to Anna ZIEGAL born about 1855 whose parents were also born in Germany. There could be a tie between these folks. I backtracked them to the 1900 census living at Blackwood, Hayes County, Nebraska that shows Minnie born May 1959 in Germany and that she immigrated in 1879-1880. They had the following children: Mary, Carl, Sophie, Emilie, Mina and Fred. The children range from 12 to newborn, all born in Nebraska. They could have passed through Ardmore on their way to Texas. My best guess is that one of these children could have been living in Ardmore.” -Candace Gregory

“Almost all BIA records are on microfilm at the General Services Administration in Ft Worth. No sure how many are on line. You can ID the record, such as your ancestor’s Dawes Roll Card, and pay for a copy of the original enrollment card. Keep in mind that if your ancestor was not living on Indian land, likely they were not enrolled.” -Larry Watkins

“Hi Butch, This should go right along for last week’s question in the newsletter.”  -Cecil

“The OG&E smart hours program is really fantastic. I cant recommend it enough….my bill last month was $27…..average for my area was $126 so I’m doing my part…and keeping cool, just not cooking or doing laundry or running the pool from 2 to 7 mon thru fri, all the rest of the time its half price…. and it keeps them from having to build another power plant which we will have to pay for.”  -Robert Bust

RE: Torture Cave near Turner Falls:

“Butch, yes, I?ve been to Torture Cave? several times in my youth? maybe 30 years ago. Really cool hike from Turner Falls (2 hours?). I remember the watercress patches and the freshwater springs bubbling up from the bedrock at different spots along the way, just off the main stream. I remember the main entrance to the cave, which was up a dry, rocky run-off area at the bottom of a cliff? which overlooked the main stream. Pretty easy hike through the cave, although very slow going due to the loose rock terrain, and slimy footing. Anyway, I remember it going on for quite a while? which I recall to be about a mile, just as you said. And then all of the sudden, the hike ends into a pool. The path just dead-ends into this pool, surrounded by rock walls and a ceiling. You can wade out into the pool, which gets progressively deeper with each step. You end up in about throat-deep water at the far wall, depending on recent rainfall levels of course. Now if you aren?t aware that there is an underwater passageway which takes you to the other side, that leads into another HUGE room that is incredibly kick-ass, then you would naturally just wade the hell out of the pool and turn around. But as you can recall, you were my first cave guide. And as you mentioned, in 1965 you discovered this passage to the other side. So as a scared 12 year old, I witnessed you dive down and disappear into the wall? Several minutes passed, and I remember thinking.. ?either he knows what he?s talking about and he?s on the other side, OR? he?s met a watery grave? and we?ll have to somehow fish his body out?. Maybe 7 minutes passed, and then you emerged suddenly, back on our side. You determined (correctly) that this was too dangerous for your wife (my mom) and the 12 years olds in our group, and so we back-tracked it out of there. But then you remembered there was another entrance, which was quite different than the one we took initially. After about a 30 minute hike up and around the cliff side that overlooks the main entrance, you found the other entrance on the back side. We were clearly high up on a rocky cliff (it may qualify as a mountain), and this entrance amounted to a small hole in the ground, which was about the size of a manhole in the street. We had to fix ropes and rappel down this entry, one at a time. It was about a 30 foot rappel, down to the bottom of this huge room. It was surreal, like something out of a dream. At the back of the room, the main water source came up from below ground and appeared as a canal out of nowhere, and went to the pool with the underwater passageway, which leads to other side?. and back out to the main entrance. Anyway, the water in the canal in this huge room is pretty deep?. definitely over your head. Although rope-assisted, the climb back out of this natural cavern is not easy (at least for a young city slicker). I always knew this cave as being called ?Bitter Ender?. It?s not on any map I?ve seen, and as far as I know, it?s a pretty limited group of people that are even aware this thing exists. I think it?s on some rancher?s private land, which could mean trespassing charges if you happen to be seen. But I guess that might add to the appeal? Although it?s plenty sweet on it?s own, with no shortage of adrenaline moments. And I forgot to mention the blind, albino salamanders and fish that live in the pools. Cool stuff. ”  -Jim Hakes jhakes@flcb.comhttps://oklahomahistory.net/turnerfallscaves

“Hi Butch, Just finished reading your newsletter again and laughing all the way! I really enjoy the letters you get and the one from Judith in the UK really gave me a chuckle. I sympathize with her dilemma in Las Vegas (my adopted hometown). where I have lived for the past 48 years. I especially liked the part about her encounter with our six lanes of traffic and not a clue as to which one to use. LOL. I know how confusing it must be to newcomers, hey, it’s still confuses me!!! I just read a column in our local newspaper in reference to the heat here we are experiencing every summer. I had to laugh at his suggestion of a cure. He said we are supposed to console ourselves with “But it’s a dry heat, it’s a dry heat”…. Then by October if we keep repeating this….it will be gone! Hope Judith from the UK didn’t try to come here THIS Summer. If you haven’t been to Vegas, wish you would visit us here sometimes. Just don’t try it in the Summer!”  -Kathy from Las Vegas

“Your last T ‘n’ T Newsletter mentioned Oscar K. Lowrance, Sr. I just barely remember him, but I know that he was considered to be a very interesting and entertaining character. Information in the link you provided in T ‘n’ T Newsletter mentioned, “He states that he has no long platform to announce, nor a longer list of promises. He states that if elected he will try to serve the people of Murray county honestly, fearlessly, and support only such laws as are for the general relief of the people of this State”.

His grandchildren, Kenny and Patricia, gave the program at the Arbuckle Historical Society meeting a few months ago. They showed us one of Oscar’s cards that he used to hand out when he was running for office. He would hand it to a voter and remark that his platform was on the back. The back of the card was, of course, blank.”  -Mary Lou Heltzler

“Butch, the Rick’s Roost Caf? mentioned in the July 18, 2013 edition was the favorite place for the High school crowd to go for snacks after the Tivoli Saturday night late Previews in the ’50s. There is a story about Tex Ritter and one of Rick’s waitresses that got a lot of telling at the time. He was in town for a local personal appearance. Seems Tex was at the Caf? after his show and was giving the waitress some unwanted attention and was so overly attentive that she finally dumped a chicken fried steak with gravy over his head to discourage him. I missed that particular event so can’t claim to have witnessed it, several friends claimed they were there, though, and gave laughing testimony about it. I’d have been in my late teens then and am past 80 now, so it’s an old old story. I mourn the waste of a good Chicken Fried Steak, though, and Rick’s were really good.” -Harold Burton in Ardmore, Oklahoma

Outstanding historical photos

“I came upon this great website while looking for the burial location of my paternal grandmother, Jennie(y) Robinson, who died in Hominy, Oklahoma in the early 1920’s, possibly 1922 or 1923. This location still eludes me and I would appreciate any help in locating her final resting place.” -Martie Martin

“I’m guessing there must be a decent flow of water from looking at the Bing birdseye view – three full lagoons and the north one spilling over into a ditch which the farmer has running back south to another couple of ponds. No leaves on the trees so it’s a winter image. Google maps has the smallest (south) lagoon less full than the Bing image so some difference in time between them.”  -Garth

Museum Memories
Compiled by Melinda Taylor
The Wilson News
December 15, 1916


Local Capitalists Get Together and Come to the Final Decision

Very soon now, Wilson, Oklahoma will be in a position to entertain the regular large number of visitors within the gates – prospectors, investors, oil magnates, commercial men and the traveling public in general – in the royal manner which her pride and hospitality demand as fitting to her guests. We have had all along the desire to offer our best to these guests of ours, but our accommodations have heretofore been limited and we have had to make our welcoming smile very broad indeed to cove our deficiencies. However, the time has come when the need for commodious and modern hotel conveniences can no longer be postponed, and at a meeting of the promoters this week definite plans were worked out for an elaborate brick structure to cost around $20,000, built in the most modern manner and equpped with up-to-date fixtures which would do credit to a city of 15,000 to 20,000 people.We will now be prepared to invite various conventions and associations to grace our little city with their inspiring meetings and prove to them our claims for Wilson, the unsurpassed. ~ Old Cornish Newspapers from the early 1900s are now available for browsing at the Museum. Wilson Historical Museum Hours: Tues., Thurs., Fri., Sat. 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Be sure to fill the ice trays, we’re going to have company.

See everyone next week!

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

Carter County Courthouse Paver Project
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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