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A Glimpse Into The Past
In far southwestern Carter county, Oklahoma is a tiny community called Rexroat, Oklahoma. But during the Oklahoma oil boom years, 50 and 70 years ago, Rexroat was like many communities in this county, a bustling town. The town has the same name as State Senator U.T Rexroat from Carter county. In 1931 Senator Rexroat introduced a bill that would establish County Managers for county governments in Oklahoma. The bill did get out of committee, but that was about it, I think.
Oh Wednesday, July 6, 1921 in Rexroat, Oklahoma an oil worker died as a result of bullet wounds inflicted by a nightwatchman there. The nightwatchman was George Pollock who claimed to represent the law in Rexroat. According to Pollock, Willie Jessie “Bill” Williams, was on Main Street in Rexroat, drunk, carrying an automatic pistol, and gunning for his two brother-in-laws. Nightwatchman Pollock was notified and when he came up to Williams, Williams reached behind him, and came out with the pistol. Pollock shot Williams twice, who died later in the Healdton, Oklahoma hospital. Pollock immediately had a friend drive him to the sheriffs office in Ardmore, where he turned himself in, and held on murder charges. George Pollock claimed he had been deputized as a special officer out of the sheriff’s office.
A bizarre accident claimed the life of a 12 year old girl last week. Deborah Lynn White was electrocuted while flying a kite near her home. Police officers said the child has used a wire to lengthen the kite string which accidentally touched a utility line. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Billy C. White. Services for their girl were held at her home, with the Reverend Jerry Garrett, Zaneis, presiding. Bearers were Gerald Miller, Kenneth Miller, Gary Don Miller, Jerry White, Kenny White and Bill White with internment in the Lone Grove Cemetery.
The pesticide DDT, once hailed as the weapon which would give men dominince over his insect enemies, is being widely recast in the role of a villain, with many states banning its use. DDT and pesticides of its type are persistent, that is they do not break down and dissipate readily. Moreover, DDT is cumulative so they persist in larger and larger amounts as they are used.
Test made of Carter County water wells shows that the majority are unsafe for drinking purposes, according to Roy Sullivan, sanitary inspector with the county health department. Only a small percentage have been found to be free from impurities. A number of wells have been improved by owners following the suggestions of the health unit officials.
C. T. Bridgman, pioneer citizens of this community, has died. He came to this area as a young man, and was engaged in several businesses and about 20 years ago (1906) formed a partnership with Dr. Brown and the undertaking firm of Brown and Bridgeman was established. Following the death of Mr. Brown, Bridgman conducted the business for several years, finally selling to Harvey Brothers, who have remained his successors.
The other day I received a call from Bob Hargis, director of SOAS. As many of you know I worked there from 1969 to 1985. Even as an attendant only for a year (I was 20 years old and could not drive the ambulance, had to be 21 for insurance purposes.) Anyway, Bob said to stop by, he had a gift for me. To my surprise it was a SOAS commemorative pin. With all the years that have passed since my ambulance days, needless to say I am really proud of this gift from SOAS. Thanks guys and gals and keep up the work of saving lives.
A flagstone I sandblasted the other day.
Q. What governor wore an “Okie” button?
A. Dewey Bartlett
Q. What town was the site of the oldest Catholic parish in the Indian Territory, the oldest chapter of the Freemasons in Oklahoma, and the oldest chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star in Oklahoma? The city was settled by the Choctaw and named in 1867.
A. Answer in next week’s newsletter
Below is from This and That newsletter archives of September 4, 2008
Last week in the Mailbag was an inquiry as to the ‘old’ townsite of Fox, Oklahoma. The reader had heard there was a original Fox townsite, at a different location as to where Fox is today. Carter county resident Nelda Keck was born and raised at Fox, Oklahoma as were all her siblings, attending school at Fox up until graduation. Nelda called me this week to answer the question about the old Fox townsite since she had done extensive research on the old Fox not long ago for the Oklahoma Historical Society. Before 1923 Fox was located 1 mile north, 3/10th mile east, and then about 1/4 mile south of the present day Fox. It was situated on 27.5 acres according to the plat submitted to the Department of Interior in Washington DC and on record at the County Clerks Office. That ‘first’ Fox was located along the banks of Caddo Creek that runs through that Section of the county, and was moved in 1923 to the location we know it today. Fox was named after Frank Fox. Thanks Nelda for sharing this piece of Carter county history.
To repeat myself from last week’s newsletter, I am always amazed at what my T&T Readers share. A reader called me this week to say he stumbled across a piece of railroad history, and its not even close to the railroad tracks. Well, at least today its not, but back 60 or more years ago, it was located right next to the tracks. The Ringling spur ran west along what we call Grand Avenue today. At 4th and F Street NW (336 F NW) is the old bunk house where the railroad crew slept. This is a pretty dinky little house, to be a house, and that is what caught the T&T Reader’s attention this week, so he asked the owners about it. That is when he learned Effie Sparks used to live in the house, but before that, it was a RR bunk house. The RR crew stayed up stairs on the 2nd floor. There is even a picture of young Effie Sparks standing in front of the wood stove on the 2nd floor, trying to keep warm many many winters ago.
And to think I worked just a few hundred feet south of that old bunk house for 14 years when I worked at the ambulance service and had never heard of this piece of history. I knew the railroad came through there, in fact, that is how the ambulance service became owner of the property where it is located today.
Back around 1974 the ambulance service’s board of directors was looking for a spot to build a new ambulance office since the Adventist Hospital wanted to tear down the old SOAS office on the south side of the hospital. The SOAS board had looked at a number of places in Ardmore when City Commissioner Weldon Harris (and SOAS board member) mentioned the property on Grand Avenue at the SOAS board meeting. Weldon told them the City acquired the property from the railroad when the right-of-way and track was removed and had just been ‘sitting’ on the property all these years. Weldon said the City had no plans for the property at 517 Grand and if the ambulance service wanted it to build a new office, then it would be made available. SOAS rented the property for $1 a year for 50 years since the City could not sell the property to the ambulance service. The rest is history
A reader sent in a couple photos this week. This first one was taken right after the Ardmore fire of 1895 that nearly wiped out the downtown area. Ardmore didn’t have an organized fire department at that time (only bucket brigades), but soon after the disaster, a true fire department was started.
In 1907 Alexander Bledsoe Rawlins came to Ardmore, Indian Territory, and established a second hand store. He later started the Rawlins Furniture Store. His wife Ida, was tragically killed in a buggy accident. A. Bledsoe Rawlins later married Henryetta Younger, who was a sister to Cole Younger. There were no children by this marriage. A. Bledsoe died in 1935. Meredith Rawlins, the son of Philip A. Rawlins, was born in 1910 in Lancaster, Dallas County, Texas. The Rawlins family home at Lancaster was built by the family in 1854 and is the oldest home in Dallas county, to be continuously owned by the family who built it. It has been listed among the National Registry of historic homes. Meredith lives in Ardmore with his wife Geraldine, a well known and loved music teacher in the Ardmore school system for many years. She has led most of the important choral groups in Ardmore and directed the First Methodist Church Choir for many years. Meredith continued to operate the family furniture store in Ardmore until it was sold in 1959. Meredith and Geraldine have one daughter, Shirley Rawlins Hatfield Dibrell. Shirley is the organist at the St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Ardmore. -from the Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers Book 1983
This is a photo I took of the entrance to the old Rawlins store at 120 West Main.
And this a view from the middle of the street. Today its the Clothes Box.
Today Casa Roma restaurant is located at 120 West Main, Ardmore, OK
Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..
USDA To Demolish 14 Buildings At Historic Fort Reno
Saw this today thought you might like it, on the corner of Hwy 7 across the street from the old David Foster Chevy dealership in Davis, Oklahoma (121 East Main). Some surplus store is the building now. -Jim Hamilton
You may find this interesting if you have any interest in steam locomotives. This video was shot in the UP steam shop in Cheyanne, Wyoming where the “Big Boy” 4114 was brought back to live over a four year period. It is the only locomotive of this series that is operational. There is another of this series at the Museum of American Railroad in Frisco, Texas if you have an interest in seeing one of these monsters.
Growing up in Ardmore in the early 50s it seems like there were always steam locomotives in the area. If we were downtown and I heard the train my mother would take me to the station so I could watch it work for a while.
You can become a member of the Union Pacific Steam Club and get updates like this whenever they are issued. They let you know when their steam locomotives are operating and where you can see them.
A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. -Henry David Thoreau
See everyone next week!
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
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
Carter County Government Website
All previous issues of This & That can be found on my Website’s archives.
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