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Vol 24  Issue 1,205 February 27, 2020

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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

THE MARK ARMSTRONG CASE – THANK GOD FOR AN OLD TIMER KNIFE.

Three young cowboys from Ardmore decided one Saturday evening to have some fun, so they drove in my client Mark Armstrong’s old pickup to Davis to a dance nightclub that featured cold beer, lots of pretty girls, and line dancing.

The boys were handsome and knew how to dance so they were popular with the gals, likewise dressed in western regalia. It was exactly like the movie Urban Cowboy.

Mark Armstrong danced several times with a young lady from Bethany who was visiting her sister who lived in Ardmore on 3rd Avenue NE.

Finally, a large, powerful man came to the Cowboys’ table, leaned over and stared in a hostile manner at Mark for a couple of minutes. Without a word, the man left but his message was clear: He was extremely angry at Mark Armstrong & was prone to violence.

“Let’s pay out & get to hell out of here,” one of Mark’s pals said. All agreed, so they paid their tab and left for the pickup in the club’s graveled parking lot.

Suddenly, they heard a girl screaming and a man cursing her. They looked & saw the same man slapping one of the girls repeatedly. Mark said he was going to stop it but some security guys intervened and put an end to it. The security guys took some time recording Mark & his pals’ data in case of a later court proceeding.

Finally, the boys were on their way south to Ardmore & as they turned onto I-35, they saw the 2 girls, hitchhiking. “Don’t stop!” one pal yelled at Mark, who was driving. “No, I’m gonna pick them up & take them to a cafe & let ‘em out.” So they picked the girls up & now there were 5 people jammed in the bench seat of the pickup, Both of the girls were weeping and one had visible marks on her face from the vicious slapping she’d endured.

“Okay, I’m dropping you 2 off at The Prairie Kitchen; you can call a taxi to take you home,” Mark said. “No! Please take us to his trailer on 3rd NE; he won’t come home for hours, he’ll just stay there & get drunk.”

So Mark agreed, drove his truck to 3rd NE & Mary Niblack Road & pulled into the single lane driveway. “Now get out!” Mark ordered. As they got out, a truck pulled in behind Mark’s pickup & blocked them. The same man from the Davis club got out & strode toward the trailer. Mark & his 2 pals got out & Mark pleaded with the man: “Please, sir! We meant no harm. Please let us go.”

The man growled: “I got something in my house that’ll take care of all 3 of you bastards.” Knowing he meant a weapon, Mark followed: “Please, sir…” At that moment, the man turned & viciously hit Mark in the face, knocking him onto his back on the bare ground. Not satisfied, the powerful man straddled Mark’s chest & began to hit him over & over in the face with his huge fist.

The 2 companions, knowing they were likely next, did not come to Mark’s aid. As Mark began to lose consciousness, with the blows from the man’s huge fist continuing, Mark remembered his Old Timer knife in his jeans, so as he slipped near an unconscious state, Mark got out the knife, opened its 4” blade, and started ripping his assailant on his left side.

Now, with a newfound strength of a chance of survival, each time the man hit Mark, Mark would stab the blade to the hilt, then rip up and down. Mark later said he thought he’d stabbed the man at least 10 times.

Suddenly, after repeated stabbings, the huge Mann simply fell down on Mark’s chest, having bled out. He was dead.

Mark yelled, “Get this bastard off me!” Now, his pals complied. Mark’s face was a bloody mass of bone and tissue as was his shirt and part of his jeans. He had a broken nose and had lost quite a few teeth.

A deputy sheriff arrived & unbelievably, arrested Mark & took him to jail. The next morning Mark was charged by the D.A. with Murder in the Second degree because he’d “used a weapon to kill someone who was unarmed.”

Then I got hired. On the morning of the trial, with 12 jurors in the box, the D.A. approached me.

“Plead your client guilty & I’ll recommend 2 years in prison with no objection to early release.”

“Pass.”

“Okay, my best offer is a No Contest plea with 12 months in the county jail.”

“Here’s my response & forgive the arrogance: If you recommend an hour at the Ardmore Public Library, I’d say nope. Let’s go to trial; give it your best shot and I guarantee you that the jury will acquit him in 10 minutes.”

And that’s what happened.

(From my 2nd book, A Journey Through the Mind of A Lawyer).
-James Clark, Ardmore

A Glimpse into the Past

The Washington House in Marietta, Oklahoma

About two miles southwest of Marietta, on west side and in sight of Interstate Highway 35, is a historic ranch home left over from the fabulous Indian Territory days.

It was originally the home of the now legendary William E. “Bill” Washington whose Territory cattle kingdom once reached from Red River to the Arbuckle Mountains and from Marietta westward to Ryan. He was the son of Russell Washington, and his brothers were Jerry, John, and James.

“Uncle Billy” Washington, as he was known in his later years, came into the Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, about 1880 and began ranching in what is now Love County. He married Mollie McLish, a Chickasaw woman.

His cattle and horses multiplied rapidly and prosperously, and in 1888 or thereabouts (it took two years) he built his home, the home that is still standing in good condition after almost 90 years. lt has two stories and a basement, and either nine or thirteen rooms depending on how you classify a few closets which are large enough for bedrooms.

The walls of the lower story are well insulated with nine inches of gravel between inner and outer walls. Of course there was no air conditioning in those days and so it can be presumed this was for insulation against bullets.

But Uncle Billy’s kingdom came to an end with individual allotment of the Indian lands and the coming of
statehood to Oklahoma. He held onto the ranch in worsening circumstances until about 1920 when he sold out to Tom Brannan and moved to New Mexico.

The Brannan’s lived in the home and operated the ranch until Tom died in 1942, and then it was sold to G. C. McMakin who operated it until he too died. The old home is still privately owned.
-Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers book 1982

Update: The Washington house torn down to the basement and another house built on it. Everything scrapped. The new house does not look like the original.

Me and a couple friends made a field trip out SW of Lone Grove to a long lost cemetery deep in the woods. After tromping around in the woods and briers for an hour, 2 oil field workers from a nearby rig are who saved the day. They took us to where the cemetery was located. We found only about 3 grave markers and only 2 of those with inscriptions on them. We were told some 20 or 30 years ago some 25 graves were there, with one of them being a large granite marker. No way could that marker been carried out. Anyway, we have our work cut out for us on finding names of people buried there. Grave robbers had been there, one child’s grave, 10 year old Hattie Givens daughter of LR and M Givens, 10-19-1882 to 10-13-1892 had been dug up leaving a big hole still left in front of the child’s sandstone marker. Another partially readable marker was Julia A. Howeth 1810-1899.

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Below is a map I made to show the location of the cemetery.

https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.156/knn.c7e.myftpupload.com/maps/UnnamedCemeteryMap.jpg

Q.  Where in Oklahoma is the first and only casino and indoor water park?
A.  The 7 Clans Hotel – Oklahoma’s only casino & indoor waterpark in the state is located at Newkirk, Oklahoma. CLICK HERE

Q.  Where in Oklahoma can foot prints be found of dinosaurs be found that once roamed the area?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of February 27, 2008

Several of you wrote in since last week’s T&T to say Ardmore’s Snuff Street back in the 50s was also along “B” Street NW from 12th and B NW south to Main Street.  I guess when you come down to it, there were many streets where you drove a block and took a dip.   lol
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“Al’s story is correct but I must put in this little bit of information to make it a complete story. We lived on 12th Ave NW between E and C streets but often times we went to town by going south on “B” St. N.W. and we took a dip at just about every block as we traveled that route. Even today when you take that route you will surely notice the dips along the way. We also called that route “Snuff street”  -Ernest Martian
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Many of us remember the Super Dog at 9th and North Commerce and its been talked about in many past issues of T&T.  This week I received some photos of what was left of the restaurant that was located at the same spot.  The Reader thought the name of the restaurant was Freeman’s when it blew up one night. Can anyone refresh our memory? Seems like the explosion took place around 1980?
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Here’s a 1970s picture of a crowd of square dancers inside the civic auditorium.
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“Howdy Butch, Holy Mackerel! Look what I found while looking for the Carter County radio frequency broadcasts. Apparently you didn’t get enough publicity for this heroic action or I would have seen it before. Congratulations, you done an outstanding job! Now that I am thru bragging on you, do you know where I can get the radio frequency numbers? I have a copy, but it has been copied so many times that some of the numbers are hard to read and I get them wrong in my scanner. Thanx.” -Kenhttps://oklahomahistory.net/vaughn.html
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“Hello, I am a new recipient of your newsletter. Someone forwarded me a copy because they thought I should tell you to tell your friends of the newest history of Grandfield, Oklahoma. It is Hub of the Big Pasture, Vol. III, published by New Forums Press this past December. It covers the years 1976-1986, the eleven years my wife, Louise, and I were editor of Grandfield’s Big Pasture News, a weekly newspaper. The book is a soft bound 6 X 9 book of 488 pages detailing the history of and happenings in Grandfield, Devol, and Loveland, the three near sites in the Big Pasture, the last land for white settlement in Oklahoma in 1906. Volumes I and II were printed in the l970s and are out of print. One can find them occasionally on Ebay or Amazon, but they are very expensive. This volume can be ordered from me at 303 N. Crownpoint, Ada, OK 74820, or can be purchased at Grandfield Public Library or McClurkan Butane in Grandfield. It is $21 plus tax and shipping. The tax is 1.79 and the shipping is $3.30 per book for a grand total of $24.09. I ship it media rate, but one usually gets it in a couple to three days.

Grandfield is one of the few towns of any size that has such a written history. This volume has ever obituary in those three towns, and it is a week by week accounting of life there. The material comes directly from the newspapers’ pages. Also published is Devol, The Gateway to the Big Pasture, and it is also out of print, but sometimes available on the same sources. A good friend Louise Watson of Grandfield, has four or five books about her memoirs of growing up in the Big Pasture. Her books are available from her in Grandfield but I don’t have the particulars on the pricing, etc. Another good friends, Anne Cook (Mrs. Joe Edd Cook) in Grandfield has a published history of Loveland which is likely available from her. How can a town or a small selection of towns all in the heart of the Big Pasture, have so many books published? It is because the history is so rich. I have two more books ready to publish, but I have to sell this one in order to keep the cash flow enough to print the new ones. One is on Kell City, the recollections and memoirs of the first editor of The Kell City Enterprise, which later evolved into the Big Pasture News (100 years old now). The second one is the story of Eschiti, the government townsite from which Grandfield and Kell City stole the post office to make its home in the new town of Grandfield. They had to take the post office back, but it wasn’t long, after the new town of Grandfield promised a free lot for any business or home that moved from Kell City or Eschiti to the new town.

In research I found that while the Wichita and Northwestern were laying the rail lines across the Big Pasture, they discovered a Spanish grave, dated 1541. It was a padre’s grave, so history doesn’t tell us whether the padre was with Coronado or DeSoto, but we know that the Spanish were in that site near Grandfield and Eschiti in 1541, and long enough to carve the stone (granite) and write the name of the padre and the date the stone was erected.

The Big Pasture was also the place in 1905 when Theodore Roosevelt came and hunted wolves with several men including Quanah Parker, about which Roosevelt wrote a long story for a magazine that year about the adventure, then told about the opening of the new land for white settlement by a lottery system.

This is all a matter of record in the volumes mentioned. I wish Randlett had had a lasting newspaper. It is the first town in the Pasture, but no history has been written of it.

The book may be ordered by anyone or they may write me at bwyatt@cableone.net online or at my home address, 303 N. Crownpoint, Ada, OK 74820.” -Bob Wyatt
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“Hi Butch, Can you stand one more story about Broomcorn?  Around August of each year while in jr. High, age 13-15, in Marlow, Oklahoma, I would leave a wake up call with the telephone operator for 5:00 a.m. (yes, that was possible in 1948) and walk downtown where the big clock stood and wait.  By 6:00 a.m., if there was work available, a pickup would arrive and take all who could get on to the farm where broomcorn was being harvested.  They fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, (called dinner and supper) and a usual day consisted of ten hours in the field as a Johnnie, one who cut the corn, and haulers, those who hauled it to the thrashing machine and the ever constant Straw Boss.  After supper all the harvested corn that day was run through a thrasher, which removed the seeds.  The bundles of thrashed broomcorn, usually all a boy of 13 could carry from the thrasher, was bumped on a hard surface, usually a 55 gal. barrel to get the ends even, and carried to an open barn, where the corn was placed on 2-2 inch wide boards.  The barn usually was a roof with open sides and the boards separated by 3-5 inches so the green corn could dry and be bailed in the fall.  When the corn harvested that day was thrashed we would wash up at the stock tank as the dust from the seeds and corn made you feel like you were on fire.  Long sleeve shirts were usually worn with buttoned necks to keep the dust out.  Embarrassment was major when a woman asked me on my first day as a Johnnie if I was going to be  P-ant when we thrashed that night.  I had never heard a woman use such a word and did not know what a P-ant was.  I soon discovered that was the person who carried the corn to the barn.  We looked like a line of P-ant’s going from the thrasher to the barn.  A hard, hot, and miserable job but it paid $.50 an hour with great food.  A good Johnnie could earn $6.00 a day plus food.  Lindsey was considered the Broomcorn Capital of the world in 1948 according to the Straw Boss.”  -W. E. (Wally) Glasscock, Richmond, VA.
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“Butch, If I am not wrong, the name of the business on Lake Murray Dr. was Cottingham’s (Earl Cottingham) Bait House, not Cunningham’s. A mistake that anyone could make after so many years.”
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Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

A Reader sent in the following pictures she took at Burning Mountain in the Arbuckle Mountains southeast of Dougherty, Oklahoma
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https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.156/knn.c7e.myftpupload.com/maps/BurningMountainMap.jpg

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Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.  -Ernest Benn

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

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Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
https://oklahomahistory.net/viciousdogs.html
Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
Bill Hamm’s Cemetery Database
http://www.usgwarchives.net/ok/carter/cartercm.htm
American Flyers Memorial Fund – Administration Webpage
https://oklahomahistory.net/crash66.html
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
https://oklahomahistory.net/airbase/
Carter County Government Website

http://cartercountyok.us

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