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Vol 25  Issue 1,271  June 3, 2021

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

Albert Bettes Early Funeral Director

Bettes Funeral Home of Ardmore was established in 1923, by Albert Bettes, Sr. The location has remained the same- 224 1st Avenue Southwest.
Albert F Bettes was born January 12, 1870 in Holden, Missouri. He married Kate L. lamb in 1894 in Clarksville, Texas, and her father Reverend Charles E. Lamb, a Methodist minister, performed the ceremony. Albert had come from Barnes Embalming College, St Louis, Missouri in 1886, and operated funeral homes in Paris, Denison, and Clarksville, Texas before coming to Ardmore. The Clarksville home was operated for 30 years, according to history information in the Ardmore Public Library.

Albert was one of seven Oklahoma funeral directors in 1926, who helped established the Burial Association of Oklahoma. He was the director of Bettes Funeral Home until his death, December 30, 1941. His wife, Kate Bettes, then assumed the leadership. She and her sons, Joel and Albert Jr., continue the operation until her death in August 31, 1951.

The Craddock family purchased the funeral home from the Bettes family in 1978, but decided to change the name when son Chris, came home from college in 1986 to join the family business.

Members of the business include Newman Craddock, Sonny Craddock, Barbara Craddock, Chris Craddock, Jack Johnson, Mark Johnson, and Eric Adams.

The Craddocks recently remodeled the home.

A unique bit of the 1920s architecture was retained.

The chapel was enlarged and now seats 150. It is finished in dark wood tones with pink trimming, the family room seats 30 and has some of the conveniences of home.

Also new are three major three parlor rooms, a new music room, a showroom, and a preparation room. The exterior was also remodeled.
They remodeled facility has a ultra-modern sound system. The old garage was torn out and new drive-thru ones were added for convenience.
The products were considering remodeling or building a new facility.

“We felt like this funeral home has always belong downtown and we wanted to keep it there. We want to keep the funeral personalized, so we thought it was best to keep the funeral home downtown,” said Barbara Craddock.
-The Daily Ardmoreite Centennial Edition June 21, 1987



April 1983

Ted Montgomery, a Lone Grove Police Officer, recently attended and graduated from the Oklahoma Police Academy in Ada. Candidates are given 300 hours of training to become a police officer.

A paver I made the other day.


We continue making progress locating people or their kin with unclaimed property at the State Treasurers office in OKC. As of today we have reached area people about unclaimed property totaling over $854,713. And the search continues….

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

Q.  Where in Oklahoma can you find traces of the Mesozoic era stamped right into the Oklahoma dirt?
A.   Oklahoma High Point Trail is an 8-mile hike in Oklahoma that leads you where dinosaurs once roamed. Some of the most beautiful sites in the United States can be found right here in Oklahoma. You can find stunning waterfalls, vast prairies, dark caves, wide rivers, and magnificent mesas all within the borders of our great state and find traces of the Mesozoic era.

Q.  During WWII how many POW camps did Oklahoma have?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

I’ve been enjoying your newsletters and thought of you recently when I ran across this humorous newspaper story of a large dark cloud that approached Mannsville, OK, in May of 1912. I was researching my grandparents, George and Sadie Wilkes, who lived in Mannsville at that time, when this story popped up in Newspapers.com. I do not know if it is possible to reprint the article or not.

On May 3, 1912, a storm that sounded like a tornado approached Mannsville from the west and the newspaper reporter noticed that the business owners were popping out from their stores to see the cloud and then return with an urgent “reason” to suddenly run home. It seems appropriate to share this time of the year and amusing to see what excuses they could find to close up for the day and find safety.

The story ran in the Friday, May 3, 1912, edition of the Mannsville Herald (Mannsville, OK, page 5. -Nancy Wilson
I recently saw something in T&T re Finis Smalley, originally from the Ringling/Zanies area and after reading his obit found he was a brother of my favorite teacher, Marjorie Smalley. When I was in the 3rd grade at a rural school in Graham this beautiful person came into my life full of happiness and desire to teach. There was a time when teachers didn’t have to have a teaching degree but had to pass a test to qualify them to teach. I didn’t know at the time that she was to work on her degree every Summer at Southeastern State, Durant, OK for 9 years before her dream came true. When teaching in rural areas your options for a place to stay were limited to local residents who would rent out a bedroom to teachers too far from home to make the daily drive from home to the school and back. One day Miss Smalley handed me a key and asked me to go a short distance to where she stayed and pick up some school work she’d forgotten. When I stepped inside I first saw a pair of red High Heels and other apparel laid out on her bed and thought them beautiful. She enriched her children’s lives in all sorts of ways. There was a popular song at the time with the words “Cruising down the River on a Sunday afternoon” and she taught us the words and we loved singing it. She did many things that were foreign to our small World and most of all she absolutely glowed with joy and happiness. I was saddened to find she had passed away after suffering years of Alzheimers. I’m 87 years old now but she still remains my ideal teacher, one who makes learning something special and doing it in a way that inspires children to greater goals. For those who might remember Marjorie Smalley, her married name was Collins. -Marjorie
Hello Butch, I would love to have a copy of the file on the Cornish Children’s Home. Could you please email it to me ? Hope you and your wife are doing well. Still enjoy your newsletter every week. Thank You so Much. -Debbi

Note: Below is a link to the file.

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of June 4, 2009

I received an interesting email this week listing all the deputies under U.S. Marshal J. S. Hammer. I recognize several of the names including one time Carter county sheriff Buck Garrett. John Hammer is the U.S. Marshal who commissioned Allen “Gus” Bobbitt as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. As you will remember, Bobbitt was shot by Jesse West, 1 of the 4 hanged in Ada, Oklahoma in 1909. All the officers assembled in Ardmore to greet the newly appointed U.S. Deputy Marshal, Ben Colbert.

The Daily Ardmoreite – January 30, 1902

The Whole Force Present
Today, every deputy marshal under U. S. marshal J. S. HAMMER is here, waiting to see BEN H. COLBERT, new appointed marshal, and all the office deputies except J. A. TUCKER of Chickasha and W. G. BROWN of Ryan are present.
Field Deputies
LEON BROWN, Mill Creek
J. A. BROWN, Purcell
J. H. BRIDGES, Tishomingo
Z. BROCK, Ryan
JOHN E. CLEMENS, Pauls Valley
R. M. CUMMINGS, Lone Grove
J. B. DAVIS, Colbert
W. S. DUNCAN, Hickory
J. W. GAYLARD, Pauls Valley
J. C. GRISHAM, Madill
B. V. HENSON, Ardmore
W. E. MCLEMORE, Marietta
W. W. POWERS, Davis
J. M. STEPHENS, Duncan
JACK WALTERS, colored, Ardmore
Office Deputies
R. HERZ, Ardmore
H.E. FOSTER, Ardmore
F. O. SCHNEIDER, Ardmore
A.M. FOSS, Pauls Valley
J. A. TUCKER, Chickasha
W. G. BROWN, Ryan
Another history lesson by Betty Carroll:

“Once Upon A Time…. in 1898 a small group of Nuns traveled to Ardmore to take charge of a newly erected boarding school and were welcomed by the townspeople. The five Sisters of Mercy who traveled from Sacred Heart, which was located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, traveled over rough terrain in covered wagons, which were known as prairie schooners at that time. When they arrived in Ardmore they found a 2 1/2 story school structure known as St. Agnes Catholic Academy which had been erected by the Right Rev. Bishop Meerschaert, first bishop to Oklahoma. Mother Katharine Drexel, founder of the Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Blacks, had assisted in securing the necessary funds for promotion of the school. When the federal contract expired in 1932, government support was withdrawn and enrollment decreased. The school existed as a private organization and served the parish as a parochial school for many years.” -Recorded by Betty Carroll March 15, 1989


In 1924 there were an estimated 120,000 chickens in Carter county, 50 per farm. That’s 240 farms. Times have sure changed since 1924.

“In Love County, Nathan Banks had a grocery and Post Office at Bellville near the cotton gin. After many years he sold the store and it was continues by Marion Roberson, then Arthur Blankenship, then Jack Blankenship. The Post Office Window and mail boxes are in the Love Co. Historical Museum.” -Gaye in Courtney, Oklahoma


“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” -Albert Einstein

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”Ardmore, Oklahoma


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Oklahoma History Website #2 (backup website)

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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