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Vol 24  Issue 1,223  July 2, 2020

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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

A Glimpse Into The Past

Easley and The Ardmoreite

To attempt to tell the story of the Daily Ardmoreite without telling the story of John Franklin Easley would be folly, for here was a man who worked for the paper over 59 years, 37 of them as publisher.

But it is not just his lengthy service that fuses the story of the paper and the man.

John Easley loved his fellow man regardless of situation and his greatest pleasure was in going about doing good for others. He was a pioneer editor without the cynicism, roughness or meanness so often associated with these men who plied their hard trade in times that were often trying- unless one had the faith and energy of a John Easley.

He was born on a farm near the little East Texas town of Henderson in 1872.

Bad crop years mode the Easley farm and country store unprofitable and the family headed for the Indian Territory. John was 15 years old when they forded fhe Red River in a covered wagon with milk cows tied on behind and stopped near the town of Leon.

He had received but two years of formal schooling, but had a natural yearning for knowledge. By studying between farm chores he managed to educate himself and become a schoolteacher in Texas. He later went to on academy at Whitt, Texas, and taught at other places, including Leon and Cornish in the Indian Territory.

He moved to Ardmore in 1896 nod took a teaching position at the Rudisill Business college. This was the year he married Betty Dudley.

In June of 1897 Easley found himself somewhat at loose ends during the school vacation. Besides, he had to make a living.

So he went to work for the Daily Ardmoreite, a little, four-page daily that had been formed in 1892. At a salary of $25 per month he sold ads, kept books and made himself generally useful. He did not return to the school teaching, but made it a project to teach himself all he could learn about the various functions of a newspaper.

There was little world news coverage at that time. A man in Fort Worth would read headlines and stories over the telephone. Other stories, not so timely, would be rewritten from the large city newspapers, as they were needed.

The budding journalist had been on the job only three days when the paper was purchased by Sidney Suggs and there were some moments when Easley wondered if he went with the bargain. He did.

In 1919 Suggs sold the Ardmoreite to a group of oil men. Easley was known to the new owners for the fair and energetic way in which he hold reported the oil news, and when the oil men tired of running the newspaper they called Easley in and made him a proposition. He was to be manager with the opportunity of buying the paper from earnings, if any. There were and he did, clearing all the paper’s debts within a year.

Thus began the long career of the publisher and southern Oklahoma booster who was to receive many honors, honors which he shied away from because he was always smiling and doing good simply because he wanted to and not to become “Mr. Ardmore” or get in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, both of which he did. He was also awarded the University of Oklahoma Achievement Award.

Ardmore was a rough town where life was cheap in the old days. Easley once described the conditions under which hired killers could be engaged for a standard fee of $500 and told of the great wave of “score settling” that come with statehood, When schemers got in their pent-up dirty work with the hope that the confusion resulting from the changing from Arkansas statutes to Oklahoma state laws would allow them to escape punishment. Dozens of killings clogged court dockets for years.

But in the next breath he said that most of the people were well-behaved and well-dressed-that if a person minded his own business he got into no trouble. He recalled the Algonquin Club’s good times in which most of the young folks joined. The change he remembered best which occurred when the oil boom came was that the streets were cleaned up, buildings remodeled and the whole of Ardmore spruced up.

John Easley pitched in as chamber of commerce secretary during the depression and extolled the advantages of southern Oklahoma. He organized the Ryonis, a women’s civic club; the Farm Congress, a civic organization composed of both city and rural leaders because he felt they needed a closer relationship, and began weekly “community meetings” which were later combined with the Ardmore Birthday Breakfasts held in the park at six a.m. July 28th of each year and followed by entertainment that night. These celebrations have brought much pleasure to old-timers and new-timers alike.

The Daily Ardmoreite has prospered. Radio station KVSO was begun in 1935 and television facilities were added in September 1955.

A grandson, John Easley Riesen, is now general manager of the Daily Ardmoreite Publishing Company.

For many years the whole newspaper staff would gather each May 13th in John Easley’s office to wish him a happy birthday.

May 13th is not the happiest day around the Ardmoreite now, for John Easley died Sept. 29, 1956. But his influence remains, for goodness is eternal.
-from Carter County History book 1957


March 1927
The bodies of Dorothy Scott Waggoner (1909-1927) and Guy Waggoner Jr., (1909-1927), heir to millions in Texas, and originally from this area, were recovered from the desert near Douglas, Arizona. While on their honeymoon, their vehicle blew a tire, overturned, and neither survived the accident.

March 1952
Oklahoma was awarded air space for 55 television stations in a final distribution of TV channels across the country. Oklahoma now has two channels, WKY-TV in Oklahoma City and KOTV Tulsa. Ada, Ardmore, Duncan, and Paul’s Valley were allowed one channel each.

A couple grave markers and some pavers I made this week.



Q.  Where in Oklahoma is a reported haunted cave and tourist attraction?
A.  The Cave House is one of those iconic places everyone should visit in Tulsa. Its long history gives visitors many stories to hear during their personal tour from the current owners. Click Here

Q. In 1881 Colonel George Washington Miller started what famous Oklahoma ranch?
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 July 3, 2008

The Healdton Herald, July 19, 1944
Healdton’s home cannery is now open and is part of a nation wide program to help provide urgently needed food for the hungry millions in war-devastated Europe. A visit to the Home Cannery located back of Wade’s Drug Store and opposite the post office West, which opened Tuesday morning, July 17, revealed a large clean building with concrete floor and equipment to serve every need. Sterilizer, exhaust, electric sealer, pre-cookers, cookers, coolers, vegetable and fruit press, electric mill, scales, Wearever aluminum, white enamel trays, cooling racks, and all kinds of utensils for the preparation of food are installed and ready for the use of those who wish to preserve food.

The Home Canning Department of the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the State department have furnished this much needed enterprise in its entirety with the exception of towels. A few tin cans are now available at the cannery. W.H. Ervin’s Hardware will handle cans in the future.

Mrs. Eula Cummins of Ringling who is in charge, reported a total of 85 cans of vegetables canned the opening day with Mrs. J. P. Wade the first entrant, canning 20 pints of beans; then Mrs. Beatty, peas and squash; Mrs. Claxton next and Mrs. E. Tayar with corn on the cob. Mrs. Ray slipped under the wire Monday with 8 pints of squash that looked like pictures.
If you’re looking for free literature, check out The Gutenberg Project. They now have audio books as well as the written word for download. 

Another good source for free public domain stuff is Archive.org. Their resources include archiving snapshots of millions of web pages
every day.  “About the Wayback Machine – Browse through 446 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago.”
The Wilson News submitted by Mindy Taylor
“Wilson Should Have Gas”
With an abundance of gas within six miles of this town we ought to be able to find a way to get it piped in here for light and fuel.  Four good street lights in Wilson would make the old town look alive.  With cheap fuel we might have factories and a dinner pail brigade marching through our streets daily.  Then there is the saving of fuel for domestic purposes.  The average householder in Wilson would save at least twenty dollars a year on fuel bills with gas.
Wilson should be making efforts to secure some of the things which by right belong to a good, live town.  We are situated so close to natural gas that you can almost spit on it; but no one seems to be making an effort to derive any benefit from it here.
“Gas Lines To Wilson”
Jake L. Hamon started a crew of forty men at work Monday morning to lay a gas main from section 15 in the Healdton field south to the right of way of the Ringling road.  The line to the railroad will be a six inch main then from there one four inch main will be laid in Wilson.  Mr. Hamon has a number of large gas wells in that section and also plenty of area where other wells can be drilled.  He hopes to have his line in operation at the end of six weeks as the pipe are now at Wilson ready to be unloaded.
Wilson Museum hours: Tues. Thurs. Fri., Sat. 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

About Us
I am a one person Resume & Cover Letter Writer & Revisionist. I work in my home office through telecommunications, Internet email or Phone. I do some interview coaching. Drop Ins are welcome if you call first.

How We Got Started
I have an interest in writing and helping people to make a difference. I decided to try my hand at writing or revising resumes and cover letters. In 2017 I was able to write or rewrite over 50 resumes and covers for people from coast to coast. Being retired, I have the time to devote to resumes and cover letters.
-Scott Bumgarner, Sherman Texas

Hi Butch, Another great T&T issue. Loved the train pics and the several remembrances of T&T issues from the past. Especially poignant for me was the reference to Terry Dickson. I knew him when I was a Trooper, he was one of those guys who helped shape who I am, for better or worse. I also had the sad duty of investigating his death years later as an OSBI Agent. That was a tough one for a lot of us who knew him. -David Cathey
Butch, I remember that Puny Sparger owned and operated the Lake Murray Inn for a while in the ’40’s. I visited there on several occasions with his son Bob. -Virgil Harris
This Tucker’s Tower item is made of painted chalk, 5 inches tall with a green bottom with Tuckers Tower printed on it like on the front of the dog. -Robert Hensley

This a 1909 photo of the Lincoln Bridge at Sulphur. -Robert Hensley


America The Beautiful……  Katharine Lee Bates wrote the original version in 1893. She wrote the 2nd version in 1904. Her final version was written in 1913.

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Enjoy the Independence Day holidays!

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
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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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