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Vol 24  Issue 1,222  June 18, 2020

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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

A Glimpse Into The Past

Lawrence O. Freeman plowed his trusty locomotive, the old six-driver No. 1108, on an errand of mercy that fateful day 1915.

It was the veteran railroader who hogged his engine down the Santa Fe main line at speeds up to 90 miles per hour to bring in the doctors and nurses who worked for hours to quell the groans of agony uttered by the scores who were inured in the catastrophe.

Freeman, who is retired and lives at 620 B S.E. in Ardmore, pushed his train through fire, hot wires, burning debris and scattered rubble with the throttle wide open and whistle shrilly screaming as his sturdy hand gripped the Johnson Bar and his keen Irish-blue eyes scanned the smoky horizon.

He defied danger in plunging though signals kept open by courageous co-workers in every department of the railroad as they put forth emergency relief to hundreds of injured people in the strewn wreckage of the city.

Freeman, a native of Austin, Texas, longed for adventure in the true spirit of the West when he was a youth and volunteered while still in his teens to serve in the Spanish-American War.

After discharge, he came to Ardmore with a group of friends who arrived broke and hungry in 1898. Jake Bodovitz, who had a grocery on Broadway at the time, took compassion on the former soldiers and furnished them with groceries which they cooked and ate in Whittington Park.

Years later Freeman found some of those some companions still in Ardmore after he returned from railroading in Old Mexico. He then went to work as a firemen for the Santa Fe on the run from Gainesville to Fort Worth.

When his long apprenticeship in front of the firebox was over, Freeman realized a lifelong ambition to operate the throttle. He become a full-fledged engineer and the recollections of those days at the helm of the locomotives still bring a happy twinkle to his eyes as he discusses them.
-From the Carter County History Book 1927


April 1927
The new Mountain Highway to Davis via Turner Falls was open to the public on Friday April 25th. All of the road with the exception of a short detour near the prison camp, is graveled and is in excellent condition. The trip to Davis now shouldn’t take more than half hour.

April 1927
British automobile manufacturer has introduced a car with the rear seat facing backwards in the hopes of solving the backseat driver problem. Windows are cut in the rear of the car to give a view of the passing landscape.

April 1927
With the introduction of new cars General Motors now has 72 different models with a price range from a new Chevrolet from $525; Oldsmobile $875 to $1,190; Oakland $1,025 to $1,295; Buick $1,195 to $1,995; LaSalle $2,495 to $2,685; 217 models of Cadillacs ranging from $2,995 to $4,350.

April 1952
Sam Clendenin, custodian at the courthouse, said he first attended Enterprise School 50 years ago. The light George Kaufman was the teacher, and was paid $1 per head per month. There were no grades, “we just went to school.”

April 1983
The rice has ended for proponents of pari-mutuel horse racing for Carter County. I heavy turnout of 12,605 voters found 52% voting against the measure, which effectively stopped any efforts to build a racetrack in Carter County.

In the early morning hours of Thursday, November 11, 1999 fire destroyed Ardmore’s old Washington school (later renamed Early Childhood Center) at 5th and G Street Northeast (now Martin Luther King Blvd). The school was built in 1937.


A grave marker and a couple pavers I made this week.



Q.  Where in Oklahoma is the best Go Kart track in the Midwest?
A.  It was Xtreme Racing & Entertainment in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. But I found out his week its permanently closed now.

Q.  Where in Oklahoma is a reported haunted cave and tourist attraction?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Here’s a grave marker I made this week. I never did one with a football. Turned out beautiful.


Below is from This and That newsletter archives of June 26, 2008

During the past 12 years of publishing my T&T I have seen the number of subscribers grow from about a dozen to over 1,600 today.  I feel like we are one big family all over the U.S. and the world, all connected by a single thread, Oklahoma memories.  Through the years when I lose a subscriber, I feel like I’ve lost a friend.  It always saddens me when I learn of a death, and they will no longer be able to share their memories.  One of my first subscribers was Bob Farrington of Northfield, Ohio.

Bob and his wife lived in Ardmore over 50 years ago, but would come back to visit from time to time. I remember in 1998 Bob and Virginia were in town, and they came by the courthouse to visit with me.  We had a wonderful time talking about old times, and even went inside the courthouse to reminisce.  When we walked in the south door, Bob looked at me and said that’s where we got our marriage license. I asked, “in there?” pointing to the County Clerks office just as you enter the south door.  Bob said yes.  He went on to say the year was 1947 (or there abouts as best I remember). Bob asked me where do people get their marriage licenses today?  I told him on the 2nd floor at the Court Clerks Office.  So you see, it took a visit from Bob Farrington all the way from Ohio to share a piece of history I didn’t know. This is just one example of the many tidbits of history and photographs Bob has shared with the T&T Readers over the past 12 years.

Last week I learned by email from his daughter, Marilyn Roder, that Bob passed away the other day after spending several days in the hospital in Ohio. As the saying goes, gone but not forgotten, Thanks for all the good times you’ve share, I will never forget you Bob.
“Butch– I believe you will find that Lake Murray Inn was in the old Cisco Schoolhouse located on the south side of Cisco Road about half way between Elephant Rock and the main Lake Murray road (S-77). This was a popular area because some of the early boathouses were locates south of Elephant Rock and Cisco Road.  George C Jones of Jones Oil Company and the uncle of Kenneth Lamb  kept his GarWood Cabin Cruiser in a boathouse in the area.  At that time GarWood was the Cadillac of larger boats.”
“Hello Butch, A grand old lady of Gene Autry is having her 97th birthday, on Sunday, June 22, 2008. Her name is Annie Conway and she just happens to be my Aunt (my mother’s sister). She lives in the same place that she and Uncle Bernie Conway built in 1938, on 80 acres about a mile east of Gene Autry, next to the southeast corner of the Ardmore Air Field. The house is on a bluff overlooking the Washita River. Happy Birthday Aunt Annie.” -Joe Dale Black
“Hi Butch and Jill,  Re: Mike Jones question about the Rawleigh sign on C Street NW.  The sign belonged to my parents Bill and Reedy Bow. Dad started in the business in 1950. He covered the western half of Carter County. A friend of his got him started in the business after he had injured his back while working for Dr. Pepper located on Broadway.  His friend’s name was Tom Caldwell and he lived in Milburn.  Dad became disabled due to heart and lung problems in the latter part of the ’50’s and Mother continued to run the business for quite a while. Eventually she stopped the route delivery part and they continued to sell to people who came by the house to buy products. Mother continued doing that even after Dad’s death in 1984. Rawleigh either was bought out or merged with another company sometime in the ’80’s, I believe, but they continued to use the Rawleigh trademark on a lot of their products, which, as far as I know are still being manufactured and marketed.  Mr. Rawleigh started out at age 18 in 1889 with $15 selling four medicines from a mortgaged buggy pulled by a borrowed horse.  The W. T. Rawleigh Co. was founded in 1895. It developed into a large manufacturing conglomerate over the years. As for the sign which Mike mentioned, it is attached to my house as a keepsake.”  -Leon Bow
“Butch, attached is the 2nd group of bridge photos that I promised. Just thought that your readers might enjoy seeing some more of these old railroad bridges. Included are some more bridges on the old Ringling Road. One of these is a 180 degree pano shot of the bridge across the old Bayou creek now called Walnut Creek. This bridge is now being used by one of the local oil companies to get to their oil leases. The German Sheppard Dog standing on one of the bridges was my old faithful companion “Cutter.” He has since passed away but used to go with me on many of my treks. -Dwane Stevens  nmp@arbuckleonline.com








“Saw in one of your most recent newsletters a letter from Ken Bacon about a restaurant in Weleetka, Oklahoma. I am originally from Marietta and of course Ken Bacon was the DA there and went on to write the book “Red River Prosecutor”. Knew just about all of the people in that book – even some of my family was mentioned. Anyway, Ken wrote about a fantastic restaurant in Weleetka. I was in that area this past weekend and went to the Roundup Cafe (now permanently closed) he spoke about. It was UNBELIEVABLE. The biggest and best chicken fried steak I have ever had – and just the nicest people in it. Of course that town has been hit with a huge tragedy with the killing of two young girls, but the restaurant folks are still “keeping on”. The waitress was like an angel. Went at 4:00 and it was almost full then – and people kept coming in. One couple were from Ada and said they drive there frequently and bring a church group with them.”
“I’ve heard that the best thing for keeping the flies from dog’s ears is Bag Balm.  It really does help!” -Joan  http://www.bagbalm.com/
“This is for the person who wrote in a couple of issues back wondering what to do about the flies that kept biting her dogs ears. Mine dog had the same problem. The tips were turning black and so I went to Wal-Mart as a last ditch effort of not dishing out a lot of money on a vet bill and bought some Gold Bond Medicated Anti-Itch cream. I put it on my dogs ears twice a day and saw a great improvement within 24 hours. The flies don’t like it and his ears are healed! I keep it on there even though his ears are better just as a precaution but for less than 5 bucks it works like a charm.” -Kiddo
“Hi Butch and Jill. Someone gave you castor seed. Is that Castor bean seed? Tell Jill That I heard for years that those things keep gophers away and also they are poison, If you ever have kids or grands around be watchful of those. Also for Kathi G. The salve her grandfather used was probably CORONA ointment. I have a jar of it sitting here . It is yellow, smells pretty much like medicine, and it is used for horses, cattle, small animals, and pets. It is a lanolin rich antiseptic ointment. It has a healing factor for all kinds of scratches and sore places and it keeps the dog flies from biting the dogs ears. I get it at the feed store in Ardmore on P Ave. About 75 years ago I remember the Raleigh man and we also had the Jewel Tea person. Oh my, That sounds like a long time ago. I don’t think old and it surprises me when I think I will be 79 this August.” -Hazel in Madill
“Hi Butch, I really enjoy reading your This And That. I am from that part of the country, but I have lived in Monahans, Tx. for four years. My sister-in-law Shirley West would send me copies, and now that I have a computer I am on your list and thoroughly enjoy it. I see so many names and places I know. One name I remember is Terry Dickson, the Officer who was shot and left for dead. There was a dinner given for him while he was recuperating. Law enforcement from all across Oklahoma was there and Rep. Don Duke made a speech and presented him gifts from the Legislature. I have a beautiful poem that was in the Ardmoreite just after the shooting by Larry Milson, from Lone Grove, and read at the dinner. I would like to share it with everyone below.” -Lona Warner 1926-2012

OKLAHOMA’S BEST by Larry Milson 1988

They are some of Oklahoma’s very best
Gold shields are worn upon their chest
In black and white cars they patrol their routes
Sure by now, you know who I speak about.

Last week a trooper was shot in the head
His assailant ran, and left him for dead
In seconds passersby stopped to help
Descriptions they gave and the directions he left.

Troopers and law officers didn’t let him get far
Within the hour they had him behind bars
This is a profession that has to be done
Never knowing when they’ll stare into a gun.

Troopers are a special breed this day and time
For us, they lay their lives on the line
It’s a shame things like this have to happen
Just stop and think, what we owe Trooper Terry Dickson.
I guess we have all heard the old saying bigger is better. This week I found out that sure does NOT hold true for telephone companies. I went to the local Chickasaw Telephone Company office here in Lone Grove to order phone service. Within 2 hours they had sent a man out to check out our property and see what all was needed to get a phone line in. The next day they had a couple guys out with their trenching machine to lay the phone line in from the road up to our home. I have never had such fast service, and Karla at the home office in Sulphur was the best when it came to taking my info and getting my account set up with Chickasaw Telephone, helping pick a new phone number, etc. She said I needed a Letter of Credit from ATT (Southwestern Bell) and that’s when I found out bigger is not better. That same day I called ATT and talked to probably 6 different people (one even cut me off and I had to call back) and finally over an hour later a ATT lady said she would transfer me to someone who could take care of the Letter of Credit for me. I told her I did not want to be transferred again, that I just wanted a letter. She said she could take care of it, and I should have it in about 10 days, so we will see. -Butch Bridges
The Wilson News submitted by Mindy Taylor
As Wilson grew, so grew the state.
“State News Notes”
*Norman and Chickasha citizens are endeavoring to secure natural gas for the two towns and have placed the subject before their chambers of commerce.
*Congressman Jim McClintic has wired G. E. Martin of Elk City that a bill had been introduced for the purchase of a building site for a federal building.
*Indian heirs in Washington county will reach their majority and take over property valued at $1,000,000 within the year. They are members of Cherokee and Delaware tribes.
*About fifty farmers around Bristow have expressed a willingness to join in growing 500 acres of watermelons during the coming season.
*Water bonds in the sum of $50,000 were voted nearly unanimously at Ringling. Natural gas and electrical franchises were granted to the Southwestern Public Service Company.
*A big shipment of 1,000 horses destined to see war service in the French army sooner or later was moved from Oklahoma City last week. It took two entire trains of forty-five stock cars to convey the animals which were valued at $120,000.
* A Men’s Dinner Club has been organized at Chickasha with a charter membership of fifty persons, principally business and professional men.
*The Ferro-Mastic Paint Company, a newly organized institution, will manufacture paint in Ardmore. Asphalt taken from local mines will be used in making the paint.

The Wilson Historical Museum Hours: Tues., Thurs., Fri., Sat. 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

I think one of the first times I remember eating out was at the Hotel Ardmore Coffee Shop about 1949 or1950 with my parents and sister. We were living at Lake Ardmore until we moved to town in 1952. During that time, my mother always shopped at Henley Drug on the corner of the hotel. I remember the soda fountain that ran along the east wall of the store. In your newsletter last week, you displayed the cover of the book twice I sent you but didn’t include the autograph page which I also sent. -Monroe Cameron
The Daily Ardmoreite
Rambling Reporter
Gene Autry was on the screen at the Ritz Sunday for the first time since the war ended. He is showing in “Sioux City Sue.” Gene was riding a horse that was trained by Hardy Murphy. He is a chestnut sorrel and has a blazed face and four stocking feet. He is a dead match for the original Champion and this horse will appear under the old name of Champion.
Hardy Murphy discovered this Champion horse when it was a colt in Montana. He did not hesitate a moment but bought the colt and drove to California and offered it to Gene. But the war clouds were too heavy for Gene to look ahead and the colt was brought on to Ardmore. Chester Franklin was first to buy it, then it was taken by that prince of good fellows, O. C. Whitaker of Fort Worth, and from Whitaker the horse found its way to Gene Autry.
O. C. Whitaker, Fort Worth oil man and director of the Fort Worth Fat Stock show, bought a three-year-old filly of quarter-horse breeding from Charles B. Goddard. Little Joe, a famous quarter-horse stallion, is the sire. Little Joe belongs on the Goddard ranch near Gene Autry.
Museum Memories
Compiled by Melinda Taylor
The Wilson News
Bottling Works Locates Here
The New Wilson Bottling Works is the latest addition to New Wilson’s growing list of industries. Mr. Tucker, recently of Philadelphia, Mississippi, who was here a few weeks ago and looked over the situation, has returned and will immediately install a plant to manufacture all kinds of soft drinks. The machinery is on the way and Mr. Tucker is arranging the details for in installation A general bottling business will be done and a delivery car run to the field.
A. C. Dorman, who has been associated with Mr. Tucker in the same kind of business in Mississippi, will arrive within thirty days and have an interest in the plant here.
Mr. Tucker’s family accompanied him here. Mr. Dorman also has a family and they will also come with him.
Both men were here recently and saw the splendid opportunity offered by New Wilson for such a business. Machinery will be installed to meet the demands of the trade.
February 23, 1917 – Landon F. Son, the undertaker, has purchased a hearse. The vehicle is horse-drawn and of the latest make.
Visit us online www.wilsonhistoricalmuseum.org

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” –Mark Twain

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
Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
Bill Hamm’s Cemetery Database
American Flyers Memorial Fund – Administration Webpage
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
Carter County Government Website

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