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Vol 24  Issue 1,242     November 12, 2020

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

A Glimpse Into The Past

About Hotels and Things by George Norris

Missus Mack probably had a another name but we early-day Ardmoreites didn’t know her by any other. She and her husband, Angus, a wee Scot, operated the Mack Hotel opposite the Santa Fe Depot when it stood near the present railroad water tower. Missus Mack probably weighed 250 pounds and was nearly as broad as she was long. But she was not fat-muscled like a blacksmith and remarkably agile for one of her heft. Missus Mack did her own bouncing. She never called the marshal to handle her rough customers-she was able and willing to handle that job herself.

Angus was about 5-3 and weighed 125 pounds wringing wet. He was overfond of liquor and his huge mate who whaled the tar out of him every time he come home drunk, which was as often as he could raise the wherewithal and find the liquor.

The Mack Hotel was a frame structure built across a small creek with water running beneath it. It sort of stood on stilts-piles-raising it to a level with the depot platform to which it was connected by a narrow boardwalk, over which the hotel’s customers came from the railroad platform. A sign over the walk attached to the hotel read, “Best Meal in Town for 2 Cents. Sounds cheap now, but a half century or more ago it wasn’t out of line.

The Mosky Hotel was right next door to the Mack and just below it was the Hardeman Hotel, all of about the some caliber and all depending for patronage on the passengers that came in on the Santa Fe. The bigger hotels, the Whittington and the Wisner would have a “hack” meet the train, with porters escorting the guests to the hack with their baggage and on to the hotels in the horse-drawn conveyances.

Mrs. Mack would stand at the edge of the depot platform and ring a big bell at meal time to attract customers. At train time she, Mosky and Hardeman would stand ready to carry in the baggage of any customers who would walk toward their places of business. They had a “gentlemanly agreement” not to run out on the depot platform and grab a grip, but Mosky, a roly-poly man who talked broken English, would catch Missus Mosky or Hardeman looking the other way and would rush out and grab a customer’s grip and start across his board walk. Missus Mosky had warned him about the unethical practice several times, but one day he thought her caught her napping and rushed out and grabbed a man’s grip, saying, “Dis way frum the best hotel in town.”

Quick as a cat for all her huge size, Missus Mack darted across the platform, jerked the sawed-off hotel man loose from the customer’s baggage, and swung him around to a nearby express platform truck. Then she spanked him with her big fist as if he’d been a kid, while Mosky screamed “Hellp-hellup! Lemme down and I’ll not steal any more grips.” Missus Mack unhanded Mosky, he rolled off the truck, hit the ground running and rubbing his rear-end never stopped until he got inside his own front door. “That’ll teach you to let me customers alone,” growled Missus Mack as she picked up the guest’s grip and escorted him across the walk into her place of business.
-from Carter County History book 1957

October 1955
Tom Wages said he recently learned the alligator caught at Lake Murray by a lady fisherman, became a resident of the lake by some shenanigans of his grandsons, Jerry Foster and Robert Lindsay. They saw the alligator in a sort of basket affair and decided to have some fun with it by poking it with a stick. It escaped and disappeared into the lake.

October 1931
No added official light has been thrown on what happens to have had been a deliberate attempt to murder Mrs. H. T. Pruitt, wife of a well-known western Carter County farmer. Authorities are looking for a person who fired almost point-blank at the woman with a heavy caliber rifle at 9 p.m. Saturday night. Apparently the person behind the shot was crouched outside a window and aimed at the reflection of the woman’s shadow on the glass. The shot broke the glass and a fragment caused a painful cut on the woman’s forehead.

The past couple of months I’ve been helping connect people in this area with their unclaimed property at the Oklahoma State Treasurers Office in Oklahoma City. So far the dozens of connections with people has been in the $2,000 to $5,000 range but one was insurance money in the amount of $24,000. Its been rewarding to help people when we are living in financially hard times because of the pandemic. I know some of the over $250,000 I’ve united with its owners of unclaimed property (insurance money) has been a Godsend to those on hard times. I don’t get any money for my service, but the reward of helping others makes it all worth while. I hope to do it for a long time to come.

So with the above being said, how long has it been since you check your name or a family member’s name? Its easy to do a search at the link below. I think every state in the union has a unclaimed property website through the state treasures website.

Q. In what Oklahoma town can a person stand in 3 different states at once?
A.  Quapaw, Oklahoma CLICK HERE

Q.  Where was Oklahoma’s first school located?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

I thank you again for your interest in my information and I hope someday you will find time to read my book “Wilson, Oklahoma 1913-1939: Anatomy of an Oil Boom Town”. I think you will find it quite enlightening. -Carole Gandy Pinches

My Great grandmother Frances Anne (Cound) Branigan
Guymon Daily News 30 December 1935

BIRTH JUN. 29, 1856 • Trewern, Montgomeryshire, Wales Marriage
Sept 12 1875 W. J Branigan • Long Grove, Scott, Ia
DEATH FEB. 16, 1937 • Hollis, Harmon, Oklahoma, USA

If anyone has information related to this story or has relatives who might know news of her, we would love to know about it.
She may have signed your parents or grandparents birth certificate if born before 1830.

-Gary Branigan garybranigan@gmail.com
Museum Memories
Compiled by Melinda Taylor
The Wilson News
The New Wilson State Bank has moved into their new home on East Main Street. They have had temporary quarters in a building just east of their present one.
The building is one of the best in town, and with their new fixtures and the nice interior decorations the New Wilson State Bank makes a splendid appearance.
The building was erected by Contractor Sone of B. F. Eleazer of Sulphur. It is a two-story and of the latest construction.
The upper floor will be occupied by the Pioneer Telephone Company, who will have the front half.
5-13-1917 – The new City Council was sworn in Tuesday evening. J. S. Lively was elected mayor. Other members included: Waterworks and Electric Lights – R. H. Reed, chairman, and E. C. Mobley; Streets, Alleys, Sewerage – E. C. Mobley, chairman, and P. S. McGuire; Finance and Claims – P. S. McGuire, chairman, and R. H. Reed; City Health Officer – Dr. Dowdy; City Justice – Judge J. H. Dillard.
Wilson Historical Museum is presently closed due to COVID-19. Gift Shop is still open online. Purchases can be picked up, curbside, every Saturday in November and December. Purchase online or call ahead and leave a message. 580-668-2505 then pay at the curb.

The Daily Ardmoreite
Troops were falling by the wayside with yellow fever in the Spanish-American war when a company of men was sent to Ardmore to get them out of the yellow fever belt. They came in here by rail and camped in Whittington Park. There was not a bite of food. Jake Bodovitz came to their relief, he opened up an account with the service office that provided him with what he wanted and took a chance on getting his money. These men were here several months and they ordered uniforms. But the shipment got mixed up in some manner and they received 30 cars of navy beans.
Among the men camped here was J. O. Brazelton, who lives in Ardmore now. He had gone to the war from Philadelphia. Brazelton was a youngster in the Spanish-American War. When World War I came he was an army engineer and throughout the term of this year he was employed installing heating plants. He dose plumbing. He installed the plant in the new Leon Daube home. He will soon go to Waco, Texas, where Camp Hood is located. He says this is the army’s largest camp. He will be engaged there in the installation of heating plants.
But after the soldiers who were camped at Ardmore were shipped to Galveston they were still looking for their uniforms and when the cars were opened that were supposed to contain the needed clothing these cars were filled with baking powder.
J. E. Johnigan, employed with the Daily Ardmoreite, was in World War I. Following the war his ship was converted to a relief ship and was sent to Lithuania. Their food shipments did not keep pace with the soldiers’ vessel and the men were in the northern country with beans and beans only. Morning, noon and night they ate beans. However, he had the pleasure of being present at the ceremonies when Lithuania was born (2-16-1918).
From Melinda Taylor:
The Wilson Museum has been closed since March due to COVID. We are going to be opened for curbside pick-up only during all the Saturdays in November – December.
The recently published Wilson book, “Wilson, Oklahoma 1913-1939: An Anatomy of An Oil Boom Town” which is regularly priced at $90.00 will be for sale during November and December for 80$ + $7.00 if shipped.
This makes a great Christmas present. The book has 640 pages and over 500 pictures. It is fully indexed and has a leather cover.
The book can be ordered online (Shipping will automatically be added in this case) or you can call and leave an order on the answering machine at 580-668-2505 or send check/money order to Wilson Historical Museum 1270 8th St. Wilson, OK 73463.

We also are selling new wooden, fretwork designed Wilson Christmas ornaments that have been exclusively made for the museum.
One is a state shaped ornament, the other an eagle design. Both are $12.00 each + $3.00 shipping or call and leave an order or mail in your request with a check or money order.

We also have a variety of Wilson annuals for sale $20 each or two for $30.

We have a variety of books that can be ordered online about Wilson’s outlying communities along with two other older publications about Wilson. These books range from $15.00 – $25.00. There are other items in the online store as well.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Wilson Historical Society we invite you to do so online or via USP mail.
Membership is $35.00 for an organization, $15.00 per adult, $8.00 per student or $125 Lifetime. Other donations are welcome and can include: Sustaining Sponsorship which is a $100 donation annually which will include having your name/business name on our website and Museum Stationery for the given year. “In Memory Of” donations which can be any amount given in the name of someone who has passed. The name of the donor and the name of the deceased will be recorded in an album in the museum. You can also give a general donation in any amount.
Donations can be made on the website as well.

Please visit our website at:
or our FB page

We are always interested in loans and donations of artifacts to display in the museum as well.

Melinda Taylor




Below is from This and That newsletter archives of November 6, 2008

Torrance Monuments:  While Vernon Torrance was a salesman with the Vermont Marble Company he had occasion  to travel through Texas and Oklahoma extensively, and Ardmore was on his circuit.  Vernon immediately loved Ardmore, and watched for some opportunity to open for him to live there. In 1919, a monument company, in business since 1909, was available for sale, and Vernon grabbed his opportunity.  He immediately went back home and married Laurette Gates, and this couple made Ardmore their permanent home.

Vernon’s new business, Torrance Monuments, was located at the southwest corner of 4th and B streets SW.  He bought the company from Sherwin Owens, whose home was on the northwest corner of 4th and C Street SW. Torrance Monuments furnished the headstones for many of the graves in Rose Hill and other cemeteries.  The company had one of the larger displays in Southern Oklahoma, and had the distinction of being the only monument company in a large area to cut their granite from “scratch”, a raw source.

One of the company’s long time and talented employees was William James. He began working for Vernon in 1922, and remained there for 51 years. William had a son, Billy James, that also worked for the company about 20 years. At the time of Vernon’s death in 1959, Emmagene, a daughter, and Laurette, the wife, took over the management.  In 1969, Laurette died and Emmagene took complete leadership.  She had help in the business for her son-in-law Frank Ritter and her son John Dubiel.  In 1973 Emmagene built an attractive new building to house the company in the same location.  In 1976 the company was sold to Jack Brewster , and thus ended a long reign of family workmanship. -from the 1983 Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers Book
My aunt, Helen Carmon, worked as a sales clerk for Klein’s (109 West Main) for many years back in the 50s.  On a sad note, recently someone chisleled out the name Klein that was at the front entrance and replaced it with concrete (see photo).  It is sad to see Ardmore’s Klein family history removed in the name of progress.
I looked in on The Painted Pony this week, and proprietor Charlie Champion was running the place. Charlie is the only guy I know in Ardmore that can take an old piece of junk to most people, and turn it into a beautiful piece of Western Americana art. Check Charlie out at the Painted Pony and you will be amazed too.  The Painted Pony is located across the street from the Hamburger Inn on North Washington.  One item that caught my eye was a 1896 manual clothes washer.

“I am Charles Kistler. My father and I owned the old Criner Farm at the foot hills of Criner Mountain (1948-1960). I operated a dairy farm there. I do not know of a tunnel there. I have been all over those mountains looking for cattle. There was gold mining west of our farm and the rock crushers was in my back pasture, I know this because they left behind about 3 acres of mining debris some gold ore. The tunnel that they were speaking about must be the mining shaft but I never found it, must have caved in and timber and grass has grown over it. I believe the mine was on the old Dilleys land, which was the mountain ridge area, that was behind our house. . The metal silo is still there as of 2005; however the farm is split up and been sold off to build more houses. The old farm house has been removed and new house was built there.. I know lot of history about this area, I had the documents from the Indian deed at one time. that went back to the early 1800. there were a lot of Indian arrow heads that I found there when I plowed up the fields also there were four oil wells drilled there in the 1950 and one flowed for several years. There are large deposits of gas and oil still there for what it’s worth. I know a great deal about the geological info of that area and I hold some of the mineral rights. ALSO There are old graves markers in the 1800, mostly children’s on the west side of the criner mountains behind our house.” -Charles Kistler
“Hi Butch, a little more trivia on the Criner Hills . I don’t know about any coal mines there, but south west of Hedges farm there is a creek, name sewer creek, because there was a animal rendering plant there and they let the waste go into the creek and had quite and odor. There was asphalt pits all around that area and some oil was seeping out. They must have mined asphalt for some time because the pits were large. I loaded a trailer full of asphalt several times for our drive.

When they drilled the oil wells on our farm they went through over a 1000′ of coal bearing formation at about 2000′, there could have been outcrop some where around. Our farm was located about three miles south and one mile west of Plainview School. I think is on the Burns road, that was not the name of the road when we live there. There is so much info I know about that area and every one has passed on , to bad, I will be gone soon, I hope not, I am 82 years and I now live in Montana. If I can pass any more info let me know.” -Charles Kistler
“In response to Mr. Bumgardner of Sherman question regarding money for the Wild Woman Cave.

While in college around 1969, three friends and I entered the Wild Woman Cave. I will only say it is in the Arbuckle Mountains because it is a fragile environment. As a child, I lived in El Paso (1954) with my Dad and we visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. The Wild Woman Cave is not anywhere near as spectacular as Carlsbad, but it was an adventure one spring day for four guys from Ardmore. One of my three friends was a geology student at OU and he had the USGS map showing us where the WWC was.

As a dot on a small map, it was very difficult to find. We hiked several miles across the rocks of the Arbuckle terrain, which even as a young man was exhausting. We drank all our water on the way into the site and on the way out and at the end of a long day, we drank creek water. The first member of our team found a deep hole where we thought the cave entrance was and he entered it. It was straight down and could have been very dangerous had he entered the cavern from the top of a chamber. I watch as he went down a vertical shaft. At the moment he was almost out of sight, a second member found another entrance. It had a semi-secured entry placed there by the Ardmore Spelunkers Club. One of my teachers in Ardmore had mentioned his membership and adventures in the cave.

Removing some rocks, we entered an 18 inch hole passing first spiders, then past sleeping bats a few inches from our faces. We climbed down a wooden ladder placed there by the ASC. The tight hole delivered us into a larger main shaft covered by mud, running water, dampness, low temperatures and an occasional flying bat. Of the four of us with four flashlights, two flashlights went out immediately. I assume because of the dampness. The four of us dissented a quarter mile on a slow decline, which included several tight spaces under rocks and through water. The lead friend had one of the flashlights and the rear friend had the other. Only very thin, agile and in excellent shape people should enter an unexplored cave. It was almost impossible to move because of the fragile stalactites and stalagmites. We took every precaution not to damage them. After encountering a partly flooded passage, we retreated to move up the cavern toward the entry and the first three friends actually missed our entry point. The last friend with one flashlight noticed the pile of rocks we had left in the middle of the shaft to show us the way out. Had he missed it I think we would still be in that cave. As we exited the cave we were covered with mud, sweat and cold cave water, so the warm spring sunlight felt very good.

I always wanted to take my boys to the Wild Woman Cave, but at my age I’m not sure I could make it. It is not a Carlsbad Cavern or an Oregon Cave which I visited in 1972 that could be commercialized. It is there for all time but not for all people. There is a good reason it is not commercialized. I hope one of the rock excavators doesn’t destroy it like so much of the Arbuckle Mountains or Arbuckle Quarry Holes as it will someday be called.”  -Dan Mahoney

Record numbers of Covid 19 across the U.S. today including in Oklahoma. Over 200 cases reported today right here in Carter county. Wear a mask in public, stay 6 feet apart, and follow the CDC guide lines and stay safe.

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”Lone Grove, Oklahoma


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