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Vol 21  Issue 1,092   December 28, 2017

Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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

This year is quickly coming to an end. I appreciate all of you letting me come into your home each week. At this time each year I think back the past 12 months and those who started with us, but was unable to finish the year. They all will be remembered and missed.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas with family and friends. In 1958 or 1959 ( I was about about 10 years old) I wanted a train set for Christmas. I think every little boy wanted one at that age. My maternal grandparents, Stanley and Addie Carmon, bought a Lionel electric train set and hid it in their lumber yard building so I wouldn’t find it. Unlike most people today, we didn’t open our Christmas presents the day before, but only on Christmas morning, a custom I still keep today. Early Christmas morning before I woke, my grandfather, Stanley Carmon, went out to the lumber yard to get the train set to bring inside the house. On the way back to the house (our home was next door to the lumber yard) he somehow dropped the box containing the electric locomotive and lost a small spring that was required for the train. Needless to say everyone was sad that the train would not run on the oval track. But my grandfather used some ingenuity and took the spring from a ballpoint pen and it worked! We spent lots of hours that day running the train ’round and ’round the track. I found this picture and as best I remember its very close to the train set I received for Christmas that year.


December 31 I’m closing my PO BOX 11 in Ardmore. I’ve had it since 1974. I been phasing it out the past year, and ready to close it after 43 years if getting my mail there, but things change.

November 1957
Antique white blanket of snow fell on November 22 the earliest to fall here in many years. Over 1 inch is on the ground, and more is supposed to come.

November 1957
Wheels were set in motion Friday to oust Paul Heartsell as District 1 County Commissioner, A petition calling for ouster proceedings, was filed in District Court by Harley Venters, whose resignation as County Attorney becomes effective today.

A paver I sandblasted the other day.


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

Q.  What part of Oklahoma has been known for 100 years as Spooksville Lights?
A.  The famed Spooksville Triangle is an twenty-mile-sided triangle where strange lights have been reported for many years. The triangle of phenomena runs from Joplin, Missouri to Columbus, Kansas to Miami, Oklahoma.

Q. What city is the Crape myrtle capital of Oklahoma?
A. Answer in next week’s newsletterBelow is from This and That newsletter archives of December 29, 2005

Paoli is just a very small town of about 650 people located just 7 miles north of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma but still in Garvin county. Paoli may be small but they sure have something big to brag about called Christine’s Cafe. Christine Bruce started her eating establishment many years ago long before I-35 when Highway 77 was the busy highway between Oklahoma City and Dallas. When I-35 opened up in 1970 I’m sure Christine’s business dropped off, just like all businesses did along Highway 77. But when some businesses faded away into the sunset, Christine’s is still there today in Paoli serving home style food. I’m going to let David Cathey tell in his own words about Christine’s followed by a number of photos he took with his digital camera while at the cafe:

“Butch, when I was a kid growing up, my grandparents lived near the little town of Paoli, OK. It was always a treat to go to Paoli to visit them. Often one of the highlights of the visit was going to town with my granddad to Christine’s cafe. Christine’s was the hub of this little town for a lot of years. The cafe was closed for sometime in recent years. In the fall of 2005 the cafe was reopened by the son of Christine Bruce who was the proprietor there for twenty-nine years before her death. Feeling a little nostalgic at seeing the cafe in operation again, I stopped in to eat one evening. What I found was really a pleasant surprise. Now named Christine’s Crossing, the cafe is a living tribute by James Eastwood, to his mom, the lady that was there for so long. The place is very nicely decorated, reminding one of a nice home. The tables are covered in glass and under the glass at each table is a collection of photos, some from the heyday of Christine’s, some school memorabilia and others in OU/OSU items, one with the covers of seed catalogs and seed packages. All very nicely done!

The cover of a Christine’s Crossing menu reads: “Alma Christine Holland was born August 4, 1931 in Roseboro, North Carolina, in the heart of Tobacco road. The first eighteen years of her life were spent working in the tobacco fields. In 1949 Christine married an “okie” soldier boy stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. They made their way 1,300 miles to Oklahoma and what would be her home for the rest of her life. In November of 1965, Christine became the owner of the only cafe in Paoli. She quickly fell in love with the warm and friendly people. For over twenty years, Christine operated one of the most successful cafes in South central Oklahoma. Patrons would travel from as far away as Dallas and Oklahoma City to eat her homestyle cooking. During those years, Christine’s was the social hub of the community. Locals and not so locals would gather daily at the cafe for a bite to eat and to catch up on all the local news of the day. Christine always had a way of putting a comical slant to the day’s “goings on”. Her uncanny ability to talk to and laugh with people was one of the main reasons she had such a successful business. In September of 2005, her son, James Eastwood retired from teaching and reopened the cafe’. James continues the tradition of good food and conversation that Christine started so many years ago. -Dedicated to the memory of Christine Bruce. 308 S. Oklahoma Street. Paoli, OK.

This is the way I remember Christine’s when I visited there as a young boy.


This is the way Christine’s looks today.

Portrait of Christine Bruce.
“Hi Butch, In researching Lawmen of Southern Oklahoma I have found a couple of articles on a Tatums, Oklahoma marshal who I cannot find in your TNTs and thought you might like it. As you will see, I don’t have the outcome of either of these two cases. Who killed John Wall? and how did the case turn out for Marshal Powell?” -mindy taylor

Wilson Daily Democrat 4-17-1923
“Negro Marshal Is Murdered” Wilson Daily Democrat 4-24-1923
“Mystery Murder Still a Mystery”
The five negroes arrested shortly after the fatal shooting of John Wall, negro city marshal of Tatum, on the evening of April 16, are still in the county jail. No charges have been filed against them and the date of their preliminary hearing has not been set. Sheriff Ewing C. London and County Attorney John L. Hodge are conducting a probe of the shooting and will not take action against the five held until the investigation has been entirely completed. Sheriff London and Mr. Hodge made a trip to Tatum Monday afternoon and spent considerable time going over the scene of the mysterious murder. The men announced on their return to Ardmore, that nothing new had developed in the case during the day.

Wilson Daily Democrat 4-26-1923
“Tatums Death Case Suspects Released”
Ardmore, April 25. By order of John L. Hodge, county attorney, the five negroes who were being held in the county jail here in connection with the murder of John Wall, negro marshal of Tatums, were released Wednesday. They are T. S. McMillan, Gussie Hawkins, ___ Bell Smith, Henry Carter and Walker Bettes. Their release followed a series of investigations by county officials which culminated Tuesday when several citizens of the Tatums negro community were brought to Ardmore and cross-examined by the county attorney.

Wilson Daily Democrat 9-19-1923
“Tatum Negro Dies From Wounds”
The second murder in Tatum, the direct outgrowth of a feud existing between John Wall, negro city marshal, who was called to his door and killed in April, and bootleggers in the vicinity of the negro village, occurred Monday night when Ellis Dial succumbed to wounds received in a knife duel with Marshal Powell Saturday night. Powell who has signed a complete statement regarding the fight which resulted in the death of Dial, is held in the community jail. Charges of murder are to be filed against him.
“Mr. Bridges, When researching some more of my folks I came across one of the Law officers memorials about a cousins husband. Louis Hervill who was killed along with a constable W Arthur Hood in Addington 28 Jan 1928. The 1920 census list Louis with wife Laura two children and his father in law Jim Blalock my great uncle. I not being that familiar with the area didn’t find a Newspaper with any stories of the shooting or where there was a trial. Do you know what papers I should try. I have a photo of Louis and wife on their wedding day, but it is on a tape and converted to DVD and I have never taken a photo from a DVD to print. I would be glad to furnish that portion of the DVD to the Historical folks if they wish. I would also like to make contact with whoever gave the information to the Historical Society about him.” -Taylor F Crowe

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

As I grow older I think of Christmas past. The one I remember the most happened in 1955/1956. I was the oldest and only girl so I had more responsibilities. My little brother, Alan, was three and I worried he would not have Christmas. I had a middle brother Ken (he was sick a lot). Alan believed in Santa Claus, rain deer and the whole thing. We lived in NW Okla (near the panhandle) it was very cold but we kept warm in our tiny little house. My dad worked on the RR and got laid off. Since we did live in a small house I heard my parents talk so I knew things were bad. Dad was a proud man and would not ask for help. I had done my chores and was looking out the front door as it had started snowing. My little brother comes running yelling “Santa is here, I hear his rain deer”. Then I saw them, at first I thought it was Santa, several towns people were walking up with boxes loaded with food and presents. I am surprised my dad accepted the help but by the time he came in the house they were there giving my mom food. I remember her crying as she took out the ham, fruit and other things. My little brothers got toys and they were overjoyed. I got a pink sweater, two red purses and other things. That was the best Christmas I ever had while living at home. Bless those dear people that helped a poor, hardworking family in Carmen, Oklahoma. -Nadine Cochran
All the talk of the Frisco railroad brought back many memories of my two uncles, John and Arthur Maberry, who were agents for the Frisco. At different times they were both in Ravia and lived there in the 30’s through the 60’s when they retired. I loved to go down to the station and hear Uncle John tapping out messages. A young man named Gene Autry came there to learn telegraphy. He would bring his guitar and work on songs he wrote whenever he could. The uncles were thrilled when he became famous. -R. Helms
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Bridges, we wish you and Jill a great Christmas and a Happy New Year, I just want to thank you for been so nice with me that about I don’t know how many years you sent me notes about Ardmore and the people of today and before, I just want to tell you that being in beautiful Ardmore for three years teach me what is America, It is very hard to explain Mr. Bridges how do I feel now, I learn a lot and knowing the American people made my life more easy when I have to emigrate to the USA, I knew that they were very nice, decent and understanding, I want now to wish a Great Christmas to this great town and God Bless all. thank you again and thank you for been my friend. -Ernesto and Milagros Wallerstein in NJ
I’m wondering if you or any of your followers may know anything about a Wells Fargo Stage that travelled through Ardmore from N.E. Oklahoma to the S.W ? And where it would have stopped in Ardmore to water horses? -Becky Yarberry
Transportation for most kids in the 1930s was varied – walk – roller skates – bicycle – horse – and for the favored few maybe a motor bike or a home-made something. In the days before rural electricity, washing machines could be had with a small gasoline engine – which sometimes wound up in kid projects. Nothing compared with getting a car.

I loved old cars, antique guns, old anything – but I didn’t graduate into hot-rod cars or modern guns. I’m still of a 19th century mindset. I was a pretty good mechanic and could fix most anything, make it run at least for a while.

Somehow I got a Model T Ford at about 14 (1938) for $15 dollars. As I recall my Grandmother was a major contributor making it possible. No car license, no drivers license, no insurance I was living a teenage dream. As I recall kids could get drivers license at 14 that was limited to driving back and forth to school – not that anyone was affected much by that limitation. Full license at 16. In the depths of the depression law enforcement was sparse, interested in real lawbreakers. I do recall a couple kids getting tickets.

Fifteen dollars was about the going price for a Model T if its engine didn’t sound too bad, radiator didn’t leak much and the tires looked like they would get you home. For a Model A $25. Next I bought a stripped Model T truck for $5, no papers, very bad tires I expected to sell for more. After couple months I sold it for $5 just to get rid of it.

By now about 1940, best car was a 1925 Studebaker originally owned by John Ringling of the Ringling railroad & Ringling Bros. Circus, owned by Ringling’s ex-bookkeeper here. In great mechanical shape, a hard top convertible (in modern terms) open above the doors without windows, bought it for $18. Driven daily until recently but had always sat out so we took off the bad top and had a roadster. Tires were a major issue, all worn well into the white fabric breaker strips. It was a heavy car and used a tire common to trucks so we found a tire now and then for fifty cents or a dollar with only a little fabric showing. “We” was a partnership with a schoolmate. Painted green with black fenders we were envied by most of the high school.

Sale to another high schooler brought it to its sad end at Lake Murray. I should mention that when the lake was made there were section line roads that ran into the lake, now handy for launching boats. A trailer with the boat was backed down close to or into the water, etc. Studebaker was parked on one of these inclines, probably slipped out of gear and slowly rolled down into Lake Murray – where it remains to this day.

My Grandfather had a Model A coupe kept in pristine condition, easily the best Model A in town. Sometimes I would drive him to his office over Collier Bros Furniture, SE corner B and West Main, then drive to high school and have limited use of the car till I picked him up at 5 o’clock. I was proud to be driving such a fine car, so I gave it great care.

Care can be in several forms. A day with no school, I was driving it with a couple other kids toward Lone Grove, West of Ardmore. Behind a very decrepit Model A two-door creeping along, I started to pass. Its left rear wheel came off and ran up under my right front fender behnd the wheel, bending it up about a foot. I confronted the other driver, an almost pitiful man, wife and small child, obviously at the bottom of resources. Almost at least, he gave me his last $1.50 to pay for the damage. We put his wheel back on for him.

I had visions of a huge body shop bill of $20. Studying the damage, it was all a gentle bend with the running board/fender support broken away from the frame of the car. Bought one from a junkie for a dollar, bolted it up to put the fender back like it had always been. One place was rough at an old body putty repair that I concealed with some quick-dry lacquer. All in about two hours. Fortunately my Grandfather never knew. Some days later he saw the rough area which I explained probably some of the kids had stepped on that area when we were hunting.

Something else parents didn’t know — now and then at night we would drive down country roads, one of us sitting on each front fender and shoot rabbits by car lights with our .22s. At the time either the Model A or the Studebaker or some other kid’s car.

If a kid had any car that would run you were envied by those who had to walk. Kid judgment of cars was, would it run and not much else – although the gas it used, appearance and how fast it would go were factors. Speed was a major factor in judging parent’s cars – and we tried them out when we got a chance. Model As got about 20 miles per gallon max. Model T about the same but nobody knew because Model Ts didn’t have a speedometer. Gas in Ardmore was about 17-19 cents a gallon, out on the edge of town 12 -15 cents. People complained that gas was always cheaper in Davis. -Robert McCrory

(Johnson’s Museum, 1796)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.–For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


“Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”


See everyone next year!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Friends Make Life Worth Living


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