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Vol 17  Issue 873    October 17, 2013

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

Artesian Wells.  There are three regions in Oklahoma in which artesian wells are found.  An artesian well is one in which the water rises in the well, usually coming to the surface. Wells of this kind are found only where the rock strata lie in a peculiar manner.  The water enters the ground at a level higher then the mouth of the well and usually passes underground for some distance.

There is an area occupying several counties in northeastern Oklahoma in which artesian wells are found which produce strong mineral water.  Wells have been put down at Miami, Afton, Welch, Bluejacket, Vinita, Pryor Creek Wagoner, Chelsea, Claremore and Nowata. The water is used for medicinal purposes.  At Claremore the water is very strong in mineral salts and is called Radium water.  At Wagoner it is called Germicide.  The source of all mineral water is in the Ozark Mountains to the east.

Another artesian well region is at Sulphur in Murray County.  The water is strong with Sulphur gases, being very similar in taste to the water in the springs near by. The water enters the ground in the Arbuckle Mountains to the south.

A third region is near Lehigh, Oklahoma in Coal county.

The best well water in Oklahoma is found among the sandhills and on the High Plains of western Oklahoma. Wells are sometimes as much as 300 feet.  Source: Geography of Oklahoma by Charles N. Gould 1909

Lehigh is halfway between Coalgate and Atoka. Not much left of Lehigh, but 100 years ago it was a active town.  Off the highway to the west is the actual “old town”. In 2003 I took a picture of its bank, Merchants National Bank, beautiful building. The building was built during the year of Oklahoma’s statehood, 1907. I don’t know if its still standing or not.




I wonder if this artesian well at Lehigh, Oklahoma still exist?



Larry Milson provided a picture of his father-in-law’s artesian water well south of Ringling a few months ago. Larry said its been flowing continually since the 1960s. There are not many artesian wells in this area but they are scattered around southern Oklahoma. I remember asking water well driller Harold Newman when he drilled our water well in 2008 if he ever brought in an artesian well in his years of water well drilling. He said only one, south of Ringling, Oklahoma. I have since heard of a couple more artesian water wells south of Ringling, so the aquifer in that area must really be a good one. Maybe some of you know of an artesian well from your area??


List of Ardmore Police Chiefs


August 1970 – I had just started to work full time as a driver for the Ardmore ambulance service (Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service). Drivers Bill Lewis (also the manager), Troy Loard, and Joe Pack had been drilling me for months on how to get to the different hospitals in Oklahoma City. My first two weeks full time, and as a driver, brought with it several non-emergency runs to Oklahoma City. Then the call came in to make my first Code 3 (emergency run). But it was not to OKC, but to Childrens Hospital in Dallas with a newborn. I told Bill Lewis I didn’t know where any hospitals were in Dallas so he called the Dallas PD on the phone and advised them of my trip.  The PD said they would have a police car waiting for me at the north Dallas city limits to escort me on in to Childrens Hospital.  Not counting that I flew pass the Dallas police like a streak of lightning, the trip went pretty good. That is until I exited I-35 on to Inwood Road, then made a left to go under I-35 to the hospital.  I made the left hand turn really too fast, the Pontiac high top ambulance really swayed to one side.  I looked in the rear-view mirror and I could tell it really scared the nurse in the back compartment from Ardmore’s Memorial Hospital who accompanied the newborn baby and incubator. That nurse was Bettie Thomas, one of the most caring and compassionate nurses I have ever known.  I saw where she passed away this week.

Rest in peace Bettie Thomas.


Bettie is number 10 in this group photo.


The first well at Vendome in Sulphur, Oklahoma was drilled in 1922 and produced a outflow of 3,500 gallons per minute,

Q.  What major event is held at Tumbleweed every year for 22 years?
A.  Tumbleweed dancehall at Stillwater, Oklahoma holds a Calf Fry event every year outside.

Q.  What’s so special about an iron door in the Wichita Mountains?
A.  (answer in next week’s T&T)

From This and That newsletter archives of October 9, 1999:

On January 1, 1974 the Feds dropped the speed limit from 70 down to 55 mph. I will always remember it. Just two weeks into the month, I was traveling to east Texas. Near Marshall, Texas I was traveling about 75 or 80 and the Texas Highway Patrol caught me speeding. It was on Sunday afternoon, and I had to go to the courthouse and wait for the Justice of the Peace. Fines had to be paid to JPs. I waited over 2 hours! Finally he arrived, I paid $30 and was on my way.
The present day Lincoln Center at 301 West Main here in Ardmore used to be the Ardmore Hotel years ago. I remember going in there as a kid in the 50s. We did not have a tv at home and the Ardmore Hotel was the only place we could go and watch television.
I did achieve what I went to Browns Springs this week to do. I was able to get the wording off the marker of that child:
“Tis a little grave, but O! have care for world wide hopes are buried there. How much of light, how much of joy, is buried in a darling boy.”
From Browns Springs we traveled on east about a couple miles to Leeper Lake. There were five young men there, all with 22s shooting snakes that were hid up under the small fishing boats along the shoreline. While we were there I know they killed 10 to 15 snakes. There were at least 3 under each boat! You can imagine all the hollering and bullets flying with the lifting of each boat. Everybody’s hearts were beating fast! These five young men had driven up from Gainesville, Texas that afternoon to hunt snakes. Leeper Lake was really dry and low, with tree stumps sticking up all over that eerie looking lake.
“Butch, here’s an old genealogist’s trick to make the writing on tombstones easier to read. The next time you’re in a cemetery take some chalk along with you. Rub it across the words and it’ll highlight them. The best thing about this is that it doesn’t do any damage to the stone and will wash off during the next rain.”
“Hi Butch. I am sure you do not remember me, but we went to school together at the Washington Elementary School in Ardmore…as you know it is now the Early Childhood Center. Your grandparents, the Carmons, lived up the street from us and owned a lumber company. I remember going up there when I was very small and buying nails for my dad and I wanted to let you know that my maternal grandmother Nona Pittman worked at the original Hamburger Inn for a Mr. and Mrs. Brown who owned it at that time. I, too, used to delight in eating their delicious onion burgers. In Jr. High, we had open campus and could go there for lunch…such wonderful memories.”
“Reference the reader who wrote in last week about the “Susan” Pruitt who won the $4,000 on Regis and Kathie Lee. It’s Sandra Pruitt, works at McCulloh Travel and is married to Joe Ben Pruitt. Her parents are Calvin and Hazel Duncan. Just thought you might want to know.”

Gas prices today in the Ardmore area……


Check gas prices by town or zip code anywhere in U.S.


Non-ethanol gas (pure gas) stations in the Ardmore area (updated).


Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

Two different critters. One eats bugs, the other plants. Has been a while since I’ve seen a ‘stick’. Probably location/vegetation reasons.

stick: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phasmatodea

Phasmids are herbivorous, feeding mostly on the leaves of trees and

mantis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis

“Found in similar warm, green environments, praying mantises and walking sticks are different types of insects. Walking sticks are also called stick insects, and praying mantises are also known as praying mantis. Although they usually come in similar colors and sometimes live in the same garden, there are striking differences between these two species. They have completely different needs and instincts when it comes to feeding, mating, raising young and surviving.”

“In 10th grade biology we had to make a bug collection. I was so proud to have both a walking stick and a preying mantis. They counted as two different bugs. My mother was much more comfortable with bugs than I was, so she helped me find and catch most of them.”  -R. Helms

“Hi Butch, I was running thru all my pics of the last few years and came across this little Indian girl. It brought back a small tale. My wife has relatives buried in the Pontotoc Cemetery in Pontotoc, Okla. Over the years we would visit them on or near Memorial day each year. In the year 2001 as we were decorating their graves, This little Indian girl walked up to us and spoke. I said hi back to her and asked what she was doing. She said I am so busy picking flowers and decorating graves here. So sweet and innocent. She had a few wild flowers in her hand and was placing them on the headstones of various graves. This was in 2001 and she appears to be about 5 or 6 yrs. old. I have often wondered if she still lives in Pontotoc? We made several trips after that and never saw her again. Wonder where she is today.”  -Ken @ Wilson

“Butch, that photo of the air-base and those big ole C-130’s reminded me of when one of the pilots apparently went a little nuts and decided to buzz Ardmore. I was in Franklin Grade School at the time, at recess, and he came over that part of town as low as I’ve ever seen. I imagine he was in real trouble.”  -Jay

“Butch, I just read in last week’s newsletter the article titled “Terror’s Legacy”. William K. Hale (Bill Hale 1874-1962) happened to be the step brother of my grandfather. I grew up hearing this story. “Uncle Bill ” came to visit his remaining family soon after he was released from Leavenworth and I have several pictures of him and his half brothers. I really enjoy your newsletters and all the information/History of Ardmore and the surrounding area that I find there.”  -Carolyn

Note: William King Hale is buried in Wichita, Kansas in Mission Chapel Mausoleum

All the flowers of all the tomorrows
are in the seeds of today – Indian Proverb

See everyone next week!

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

Carter County Courthouse Paver Project
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Ardmore High School Criterions Online
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American Flyers Memorial Fund – Administration Webpage
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