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Vol 21  Issue 1053  March 30, 2017

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

Email: butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net, Phone: 580-490-6823

by Dave Ross, Ranchman’s Lye Soap
Ponder, Texas

Making Lye Soap Like Great-Grandma

First we start with the trimmings from our steaks and render out the tallow in big pots. Second we boil the fat with water to take out any impurities i.e. membranes, meat, smell and particles. Then we weigh out 30 pounds of purified tallow and heat it up to the right temperature. We mix lye with water and wait for it to cool down. When everything is at the right temperature we slowly drizzle the lye water into the fat, stirring it all the time. Stirring has to be at just the right speed. If it is stirred to fast it will curdle or too slow it will separate. Also the outside temperature affects how long we need to stir. Sometime I have had to stir for 4 hours or as little as 45 minutes. When the soap is thick enough to make the paddle stand up, it is poured into three large pans and leveled out. In fifteen to thirty minutes we cut it into bars while it is still soft. The next day the soap is put into racks to cure for two weeks. During curing it will shrink some and it will continue to shrink more after that . This is why some of the labels are loose even though we put them on tight.

Working with hot grease and lye is dangerous and we always keep vinegar on hand to splash on our skin in case of contact with lye. Rubber gloves are a must as well as safety glasses. Our manufacturing facility is improving all the time, and we can’t wait for the safety shower and eye wash stand to get here in the mail.

Long ago the settlers made their soap from lard when they killed a pig. Our soap, being made from beef fat, is a little harder but it works just as good. The settlers would make their own lye by saving up hardwood ash from their cookstove or fireplace and put it in a hollowed log angled down towards their soap kettle. The log had a drip hole on the bottom and when they needed lye they poured water on the ashes and seeping through lye water came out the drip hole into their kettle. Their soap was not as white and pretty as mine. Some old timers don’t think my soap is as good because it’s too white and doesn’t smell as bad. Grey and smelly aren’t a requirement for good lye soap.



A 1908 photo of Little Niagara falls at Sulphur, Oklahoma


Hyde Park roller coaster at Muskogee, Oklahoma


We have had a lone turkey strolling through our backyard this past week. Not seen many like in the past, when 30 would walk across our yard.  But I’m happy to even see this one. I even had to stop and let about 6 baby turkeys cross the road just west of our place. That was a sight for sure!


1905 Mahota Presbyterian Church originally at Thackerville, Oklahoma and later moved to Marietta, Oklahoma.



From my June 1999 newsletter:
On East Main in Marietta, Oklahoma in the southeast corner of Second and E. Main is the Mahota Memorial Presbyterian Church. It has stood in that corner since 1905. They held their last church service there on May 30, 1999. Here is the handout a friend gave me from that service. It tells the history of this Marietta landmark. Story is in 2 files.


I left work this week at Michelin and spotted this old Ford car in the parking lot. Beautiful!


You can find current gas prices for a particular Oklahoma town by entering the name or zip code in the GasBuddy search box.

Q. Where is the oldest still standing building in Oklahoma?
A.  Choctaw Chief Thomas LeFlore’s home was built in 1837 near Millerton, Oklahoma.

Q. What background color was the Oklahoma flag from 1911 to 1925 before the present day blue flag with the Indian warrior’s shield?
A. Answer in next week’s newsletter

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of March 23, 2005

There has been several mentions the past few weeks of the Mary Niblack School east of Ardmore. The school was not located on Mary Niblack Road as some might think, but was one mile over at Dogwood Road and Concord Road in the southwest corner of that intersection. Everyone in that area refers to that location as “where the underground house” is located. The foundation of the school can still be seen on the property. The Mary Niblack school was torn down around 1955 to 1957.

After posting the pics taken from 125 feet up looking out from the courthouse cupola, I received some good response from all over the country.
“Butch, I just have to tell you how great this addition of your This and That is. The pictures from the court house are awesome. I haven’t had time to see all of them, but what I have seen is fantastic.” -Virginia from Washington State
“Butch, Thanks for posting the pictures you took from the cupola! I have never seen Ardmore from that view and I had no idea you could see Lake Murray from town! I only get back to Ardmore once every year or two, so that was a treat! I even unexpectedly saw the house that was my “dream house” when I was growing up in one of the pictures! I was just telling one of my friends here in South Carolina about that house just a couple of weeks ago. ah, memories!” -Sherra Scott
“Butch, I am attaching a photo that my mother-in-law (Bessie Gilstrap) took of Gene Autry the day that Berwyn was changed to Gene Autry. My wife (Virginia Gilstrap) and her entire family were there that day. I am also including an article that was written about that day. I hope your readers enjoy looking at them. My wife also mentioned she thought possibly the parade pictures were of one the many rodeo parades that were held in Ardmore. We were in Ardmore that summer of ’47. She also thought it was possible it was one of the parades that Gene Autry was in (although she’s not sure).” -Bob Farrington

“The painting Ambush in Roger Mills County was done by Harvey Pratt.”

“The 1891 view of Ardmore also was drawn by T.M. Fowler. The town is portrayed from the southeast looking to the northwest. The Santa Fe Railroad is a prominent feature in this image. Other important structures identified by keyed references below the sketch are three churches, a court house, the Ardmore Male & Female Institute, Western Hotel, Odd Fellows Hall, four lumberyards, and a cotton gin. Both the Gilcrease Museum and the Ardmore Public Library have original prints of this view.”
July 6, 1899
A Coming Enterprise
It is rumored on our streets today that TYLER & SIMPSON, wholesale grocers at Gainesville, will establish a similar business in this town. They have secured the iron store building soon to be vacated by SASS & CRAWFORD. Messrs. SASS & CRAWFORD will occupy the JOHNSON & CRUCE and CAMPBELL & FOSTER buildings that are now in course of construction.
You can see the old Paramount Theater, Peden Jewelry store, Jean-Lee store and the Sears store on Ardmore’s Main Street in 1974.

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

A video of the Ellsworth Collings castle at Turner Falls near Davis, Oklahoma.

“I installed a trolling motor on my kayak. It disassembles easily for transport. I use a lawn mower battery for power which is slid behind the seat. Moving the white PVC pipe forward stears the kayak to the left and moving it backward stears it to the right. The short 2×4 board swivels on top of the longer board. Pulling the rope latches the motor in the upright position for launching. Simply unlatch it and it drops down for running. Motor is controlled by a toggle switch on right hand side of the seat. Works well on lakes. It’s a lazy man’s kayak.” -Dwane Stevens, Lone Grove





Class of 1931 Ardmore High School graduation booklet



‘You Are My Sunshine’
Words and Music by Jimmy Davis and Charles Mitchell (1940)

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are grey.
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping,
I dreamt I held you in my arms.
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken,
So I hung my head down and cried.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are grey.
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Nashobish Ikana
PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443https://oklahomahistory.net

Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
Bill Hamm’s Cemetery Database
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 Government Website