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Vol 21  Issue 1,070   July 27, 2017

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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


April 19, 1918
Corsicana Semi-Weekly Light from Corsicana, Texas · Page 11


Oklahoma Papers Tells About Killing of Rufus Highnote (1858-1918)
The Ardmoreite, published at Ardmore, Carter county, Oklahoma, near where Rufus P. Highnote was killed, in its issue of April 8th, give the following about the killing.

The Ardmoreite says an information has been filed in the county court against Bud Ballew, Carter County deputy sheriff, charging him with the shooting of R. E. Highnote, at Wirt, Saturday night. The names of 33 witnesses for the State are indorsed on the back of the information. The preliminary hearing was set for 2 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. Highnote was night watchman at Wirt and recently complaint as to his action had reached Sheriff Buck Garrett. Being at Wirt last Tuesday or Wednesday, the sheriff had a talk with Highnote and told him he would have to take his commission as special deputy away from him. Highnote said it was at his house, but he would get it later and give it to some of the boys to bring in to the sheriff. Highnote was then carrying three guns, and the sheriff told him he would have to take off the guns, as he did not want to see him in trouble over a pistol case.

Sheriff Was Notified
Following that conversation with Highnote the sheriff continued to receive complaints about Highnote, and he told Ballew to take up the commission and see that Highnote no longer carried a gun. Saturday afternoon, while the sheriff was in the parade he saw a brother of Oscar Kyle, who was killed in the Frisco yards, in front of the Ardmoreite office, and told him to meet him at the jail at 4 o’clock. They were at that time sitting on the jail steps when a telephone call came from Wirt to the sheriff telling him that Highnote was holding people up in the streets and that they wanted him to come to Wirt at once.

Bud Ballew came across the street at the time and the sheriff asked him where he was going, and he replied that he was going to Healdton. Garrett told him to go to Wirt to investigate the trouble, get Highnote’s commission, and take the guns from him. Ballew went to Wirt, and on reaching there saw Highnote. He asked him for the commission, and Highnote said it was at his house, but he would go and get it. They started in the car, when Highnote said he wanted to go to the calaboose, as some of the lights were not working right.

Shooting Occurs in Dark Corner
Leaving the car near the jail, he and Highnote went on and Highnote entered the jail, saying he would light the gas. He then said he believed he would not. He then lighted it and then said he believed he would turn it out, when Ballew told him to leave it burn and he could turn it out when he came back. They were in a small, dark alleyway at the jail, and when starting to his house Highnote wanted to turn around a dark corner, when Ballew asked him to go the other way, and he said it was best to go that way.

When just around the corner he whirled quickly and with his left hand drew a pistol and shot at Ballew. As he drew his gun Ballew grabbed for it. He did not get it, but he struck Highnote’s wrist, and this probably saved his life, as a hole where the bullet struck a board shows that it passed very close to Ballew. The latter then drew his gun and shot Highnote.

Ballew then notified the sheriff of the shooting and said he was starting for Ardmore. Sheriff Garrett left at once and went to Wirt and brought Ballew back with him. They went back to the place Sunday and the sheriff made a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding the case and questioned all who knew anything about it.

Sheriff Makes Statement
Sheriff Garrett said today that there had been much trouble with night watchmen at Wirt; that after two had been discharged Highnote was selected by the business men’s committee and he gave him a special commission, against his better judgment; that Highnote boasted of having killed 27 men. The sheriff said he had killed six or seven to his personal knowledge. He said Highnote’s duties were to watch at night for fires and burglars, but he had a mania for finding escaped convicts and bad men, wanted all over the world. Highnote operated a detective agency at Healdton which he advertised freely. He placed a sign, about six feet square on the calaboose at Wirt, reading, “Hotel Ragtown. Rates $10 per day.” The sheriff instructed his deputies to tear it down.

At the time of the shooting Highnote was said to have carried three revolvers. He had two full sized 45’s in holsters on a belt and a 45 automatic in his trousers pocket. He drew one of the big guns with his left hand when he shot at Ballew and the other was found to be cocked when his body was picked up. Highnote is reported to have been going to the motion picture shows and making speeches. Only the other night he told the crowd he was a little man, “but here is the difference,” he said, pulling the two big guns around in front, that all might see he carried them.

Word came to the sheriff Saturday that Highnote had held a man up on the street, cutting down on him with a gun and telling him if he moved a hand he would blow his head off. He was said to have held up another man that day in the same manner. Highnote was about sixty years of age and a few days ago was married to a young girl. He claimed to have been over much of the world, and was given to boasting at all times. He claimed to know all the bad men in the country and frequently telephoned the sheriff’s office asking for a requisition to some other State, where he wanted to go to get a noted criminal.

The same paper under date of April 10, has the following about the preliminary trial of Bud Ballew, the man charged with the Highnote killing:

Bud Ballew charged with the killing of R. P. Highnote, at Wirt, last Saturday night, was given a preliminary hearing in the County Court yesterday afternoon and was held without bail, for trial in the district court.

In rendering this decision Judge Thomas W. Champion said: ‘‘It is evident from the evidence in this case that no law has been violated, but that society and the law have to be protected. It is unfortunate that in order to do this it became necessary to take human life. No man wants to be obliged to kill another. It is the first duty of every citizen to protect himself, and this duty is not taken from him when he becomes an officer. It is his duty not only to do that but it is his further duty to protect society and the lives of other people. I think the defendant has done society and the people of that community a favor. When a person is discharged on a preliminary hearing, any person may at any time, ten years or twenty years later, charge him again with the offense, and in this case it is the defendant’s desire, and his right that he be held to await a trial in the district court, where his case may be tried before twelve men.’

Rufus P. Highnote is buried in Corsicana, Texas
FIND-A-GRAVE with picture of Rufus Highnote

Bells Amusement Park, Tulsa, Oklahoma


Yale, Oklahoma 1909


Masonic Temple, Yale, Oklahoma


June 1957 – Herman Chance recently opened up a cafe in Graham, increasing the town’s number of businesses to four. Herman says he was born and raised in Graham and never lived elsewhere.

June 1933 – Miss Flora Carriker, 22, telephone operator at Lone Grove, died suddenly today at her home in Enterprise. She collapsed unexpectedly upon her return home from work Thursday.

June 1933 – Dr. W. S. Miller, who was the first doctor to settle at Woodford and now lives in Texas, visited his old home town yesterday, accompanied by Ray Clement, W. A. Jolly, J. W. Johnson, Joe Williford, and James Chancellor.

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 in Oklahoma can you find over 700 varieties of sodas and beverages?
A. Pop’s, a landmark diner & gas station with hundreds of sodas, a shop & a 66 foot tall neon soda bottle out front, in Arcadia, Oklahoma on old Route 66 highway.

Q. Where in Oklahoma is Skull Tree?
A. Answer in next week’s newsletter

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of July 15, 2005

“Butch here are pictures of the old wooden pump jack, it’s been tore down but look’s as if it’s all there. The beams on the ground are approximately 30ft long. You can tell how big thing’s are by by my 5’4″ wife standing by them. The directions are turn east at the Fox school on Fox School Road, there is a street sign. Go approximately one mile to a tank farm on the left. Turn across a yellow cattle guard at a sign that say’s Graham-Deese lease. It is on the right just inside the cattle guard.” -James & Nancy Singleterry

We had a really good turn out last Saturday at Ponders Restaurant to view Patricia Adkins-Rochette’s book. I didnt count all that showed up, but I know there must have been at least 15 or so, because some came in after I left at 11am. And Pat Ponder was so gracious, she put us all in the private banquet room on the north side of the restaurant. If you haven’t been to Ponders Restaurant in a long time, you need to stop in, try some of their great good, and look at some of the neat pieces of old history hanging on the walls and around. They even have one of the old Menu-U-Matic’s that was used in the old Ponder’s Super Dog Drive In that was located at 9th and North Commerce when I was a teen. Here are some pics I took at the meeting last Saturday.

Here’s a pic of Patty Rochette signing Charlene Wilson’s book.

Here is the website with all the info on Patty Rochette’s book.
“Butch, Since I moved down here to Abilene, Texas four years ago, I have been planning to send you & your readers a picture of this plane, a C-130, “CITY OF ARDMORE”. Some will remember that it came here from the Air Force Base in Ardmore and is in the lineup of museum planes here on the Dyess Air Force Base. I finally got a friend to take me out to the base for pictures and I hope that it brings back a lot of good memories.” -Edgar Wallace
“Hello, My name is Elaine Hull. I was doing some web research and found your site. In one article I read about George Baumann mentioned in the past tense and I was so sorry to hear he has passed away. I was in real estate in Tehachapi Calif and met George through Ace and Gayle Pletcher when he was their pilot. George was a true gentleman and according to Ace a great pilot. Should you run into Ace and Gayle please tell them I said, “Hey”. They are fine people.” -Elaine Hull
“I am sending you a new bell photo. I am proud of this one. I bought it at a garage sale and restored it. It is mounted in my back yard in Byng, Oklahoma. It was originally the Denny School bell and was located about eight miles northeast of Ada, Oklahoma. The school closed in 1939. The bell was made by the American Bell Foundry in Northville, Michigan between 1899 and 1920.” -Ben Roan

“I received this photo of Indian princesses(?) along with a group of others that were taken in and around the Ardmore area. Their was nothing written on the photo to identify it. Can someone identify this and who the ladies are? I also wonder what year it was taken in? Thanks.”

“Hi Butch, Attached is a Map of the location of Butcher Pen, Johnson County, Oklahoma. It is now combined with Bee, Oklahoma. The 2 fading communities share a fire station and are located near Butcher Pen Creek south east of Tishomingo. My husband and I accidently ran across it when looking for the Bee Cemetery about a year ago. If your Reader decides to visit the area, the easiest way to get there is to go south out of Milburn to the junction of Hwy 78 and Hwy 22 and go west from that junction to the road that has a sign for the Bee Cemetery going to the south, the community is father down the road after they pass the Bee Cemetery.” -Linda Hamner

“Hello Butch, You and your readers are invited to the foregoing story of support for “Relieve the Pain of insect Bites” comments concerning the treatment of insects bites using Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing.

Re: ‘Relieve the Pain of Insect Bites; comments:

“Some years ago, the University of Arizona printed a booklet on treatment for snake and insect bites in which it recommended Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing be used to treat the bite of a Red Harvester Ant. They claim it to be “laboratory tested.” Again, countless letters have been received over the years telling us how effective a dab of Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing is on a bee sting. All expressed surprise in the “IMMEDIATE” relief!”

My tale, and one of many of my autobiography that thus far consists of 450 pages and still going supports the above remarks about “IMMEDIATE relief.”

How I Acquired the nickname Little Boy Blue by Grant West

This tale occurred in the summer of the year 1935 in the New Post family area of Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I was born at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in January 1930, and resided there for about 7 years. My father, SSgt Chester E. West, a member of the horse cavalry quartered at Fort Sill, acquisitioned a larger, modern house located in the New Post family area. Prior to the acquisition of the newer home, we had been residing in a black tar paper covered two-story apartment living quarters probably built during the first World war. I was 5 years old at the time of our move into the newer family quarters. As you all know at that age a boy is full of curiosity and performs many investigations that invariably leads to trouble. I was no different than the average curious investigative 5-year old male child.

During a warm summer July afternoon I decided to investigate a 4-foot railroad tie in our front yard that set in the ground vertically about 4-feet and used by my mother to set a flower pot upon that contained a healthy growing flower covered with many petals of flowers that had drawn dozens of hungry bees to the petals containing nectar.

After collecting nectar some of the swarming bees settled on the bare sides of the vertical railroad tie. As a bee landed and settled on a side of the post I squashed it using my thumbs. I committed this atrocity several times when suddenly the bees attacked me. I swear they must have preplanned the attack because all the bees attacked me at the same time on the top of my head with their stingers. I madly strived to wipe them off but they kept attacking. I screamed, “Mommy, Mommy,” my mother seeing the bees attacking me came running out of the house grasping a broom in her hands and swept the bees off my head. After performing this merciful act she took me into our house to the washroom and examined my swollen head. Wasting no time she opened a bottle of Mrs. Stewart’s bluing and dabbed it all over my aching head. Within 5 minutes the terrible, aching, burning pain administered by the bees faded away.

Of course, the bluing colored my head a dark blue. Afterwards that same afternoon one of our neighbors saw me in the front yard, laughed, and asked, “Hey little Boy Blue, what happened to you?”

Many women in Oklahoma and Texas during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s used Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing to whiten their clothes and used the bluing for insect bites. I’m going to buy a bottle of bluing and use it to soothe Army ant and mosquito bites.

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

Union Depot, Ardmore, Oklahoma 1909

Hoffman Drug Store Ardmore, Oklahoma

Note: You will see in the background a tall church. It is the Central Baptist Church that was located at C Street NW and West Broadway in the SW Corner (behind where Lincoln Center is today).

From my June 2002 issue: Long time Ardmore resident Ernest Martin brought by a photo this week, something I had never heard of before. A photo of the old Central Baptist Church at West Broadway and “C” Street here in Ardmore. This is the same location of the proposed multi story parking garage suppose to be built, that I talked about in the last issue of T&T. This church was located at this location before 1930. Here is the story as told to me by Ernest:

“My mother was a good Bible scholar and was very active in various functions of the church. At the time of her stroke she was superintendent and teacher of the Junior classes at First Baptist Church which is located on the northeast corner of “C” Street and 1st Southwest. This church was named the First Baptist Church after it had recently been built by members of the “Central Baptist Church” (often called the Broadway Baptist Church) and had moved from it’s old location at the southwest corner of “C” Street and West Broadway…. just west of the Convention Hall (now after rebuilding it, it became known as the Civic Center but today is also referred to as Heritage Hall.””I may have been 5 or 6 years old at the time when mother and I were sitting at the back of the auditorium at the old Broadway Baptist Church… I managed to break the string of pearls that looped around her neck 3 or 4 times. The floor of the church was slanted to the front of the building all the way to the podium. I can still hear those beads rolling down that incline. I probably got in trouble. The years was around 1926 or 1927.” -Ernest Martin
“OMG!!! A flood of memories just came rolling back looking at these photos of the old A&W Root Beer stand!! Growing up in Ardmore it was a regular stop for our family either on the way to Lake Murray or coming home from Lake Murray or whenever we went to the rodeo or to the pool or park at Whittington. Butch, I still have a big root beer mug that my dad bought me from there. I was so sad when they finally closed it down. Thanks for these memories.”  -Kathi G, Fayetteville, Arkansas!

I imagine everyone remembers the song Sixteen Tons which Tennessee Ernie Ford made famous with his deep voice rendition in 1955.

I loaded sixteen tons and what do I get
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter don’t call me cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store.
I was born one morning, was a drizzling rain
A fussing and fighting ain’t my middle name.
Well they raised me in a corner by a Mammy hound
I’m as mean as a dog but I’m as gentle as a lamb.

Well I got up one morning, the sun didn’t shine,
I picked up my shovel and I went to the mine,
I loaded sixteen ton of that number four coal
The face boss said, ”Well bless my soul!”

I loaded sixteen tons, I tried to get ahead,
Got deeper and deeper in debt instead.
Well they got what I made, and they wanted some more,
And now I owe my soul at the company store.

Well I went to the office to draw some script
The man, he told me — was a wreck in the dip.
To clear the tracks would be a week or more
But your credit’s still good at our company store.

If you see me coming, step aside.
A lot of men didn’t and a lot of men died
I got a fist of iron, I got a fist of steel,
The left one don’t get you then the right one will.

Merle Travis – 1946

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”

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