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Vol 25  Issue 1,272   June 10, 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

Ardmore Fire of 1895
Ardmore progressed rapidly from 1887 to 1895 but it was at this point that the citizens were to suffer their first town-wide setback- the big fire of 1895. The blaze started on Caddo Street just west of the railroad tracks and ran uncontrolled through the business district. The flimsy nature of the buildings fed the rushing flames.

More than 80 buildings were consumed by the blaze. Mrs. B. E. Davis (the former Clara Mansfield), who now lives in Magnum, recalls the fire vividly. Mrs. Davis, who come to Ardmore with her family in 1894 says that at the height of the fire her mother pushed her sister, Connie (now Mrs. Jim Young of Gene Autry), in a baby carriage up Main Street ahead of the flames. Mrs. Davis says she was hanging onto the carriage and her mother during the speedy trip as the trio outdistanced the flames.

No lives were lost in the blaze but certainly the destruction was heartbreaking to the residents who had been able to accumulate holdings under difficult circumstances. Soon after the fire was out a new and better, Ardmore began to rise in the form of more substantial buildings.
The fire also had another beneficial result, it furnished the impetus for formation of a fire deportment for the town. The first steamer was purchased of a cost of $1,800 and was named in honor of L. L. Stoew (may be Stowe). The first officers were John S. O’Mealy, chief, and Bud Conlee, assistant chief. Twenty-five volunteers completed the department.
-from Carter County History book 1957

April 1983
When Marion Strawn was elected as the first female Lone Grove City Clerk she worked out of her home, and kept the town records and books there. The first city office was in the back of the Newman’s laundry building. When the first city building was built on the site where the fire station sets today, it was mainly a community effort with lots of volunteer help. When the city of Lone Grove got its first fire truck, a 1952 Chevrolet bumper, it was probably named “Grandma” Strawn.April 1927
On change of venue, the Charles Starritt case of Love County will be heard in Tishomingo before District Judge Porter Newman. Starritt shot and killed J. M. Tuck in his restaurant in Marietta in the summer of 1925 and at the same time, killed Roy “Cubert” Tuck, son of John M. Tuck. Tuck was 68 and had operated Tuck’s Ferry on the Red River for many years. Starrett was given a life sentence by Love County Countians. But the verdict was set aside and a new trial ordered to be held in Johnston County.

A grave marker 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.  During WWII how many POW camps did Oklahoma have?
A.   The first German POWs arrived in the state in the spring of 1943 and were housed at Fort Sill, McAlester, Stringtown, Fort Reno, Alva and Camp Gruber. At least two dozen sub-camps were established, and temporary camps were set up in many farming areas.

Q.  Who was the first woman from Oklahoma to serve in Congress?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

I thought you and your many readers would enjoy reading this little bit of Oklahoma history about a wealthy Oklahoma City oil man Charles F. Urschel’s kidnapping by the infamous Machine Gun Kelly and his wife. One of the co-conspirers Harvey Bailey was placed in jail in Dallas and escaped but was recaptured in Ardmore.  Below is a link to the Cemetery where he is buried and a host of old newspaper articles that tell the story. -Larry Paul

Cottondale Cemetery, Wise County TX (wisecountytexas.info)

I grew up camping at Turner Falls in the early 90s with my dad and ended up on many trips out there over the years with friends, family, and the Boy Scouts. I’d always known about several caves in the area, but became very interested in Bitter Enders and the stories from decades ago. In the fall of 2017, after many days of research, I lead a group of friends up the creek to the source. It took us about half an hour to find the entrance and we were close to giving up. We explored the cave as far as the pool of water with the underwater passage. I had no intention of going under, but then noticed a very small gap in the water line at the ceiling that lead to the next chamber. After confirming with a flashlight, I dove under and came up on the other side. The next room had a lot of water and a small ledge to swim to. I was only there for a few minutes before I had to return to my friends, leaving the remainder unexplored. It was a great adventure and a highlight of my many trips to Turner Falls. Hoping that others in the future will continue to treat the land and the caves with respect. I appreciate you preserving the history of these caves with the pictures and testimonials. -Nick Savelli



Below is from This and That newsletter archives of June 11, 2009

Another history lesson by Betty Carroll from her American National Bank radio spots:

“Once Upon A Time…. Reverend John H. Carr, a Methodist missionary found a patch of land 15 miles south of Durant in 1852 he thought would be an excellent location for an academy specifically for Indian students. He set up his tent in a grove surrounded by prairie grasses interwoven with colorful wild flowers. This inspired him to name the new school that would begin under the sponsorship of the Methodist Mission Conference and in conjunction with the leaders of the Chickasaw Nation Bloomfield Academy. It was renamed Carter Seminary in 1934 as a tribute to Charles D. Carter of Chickasaw and Choctaw descent, who represented the 4th District in Congress from 1907 to 1926. The school eventually relocated in the NW section of Ardmore when the federal government purchased the old Hargrove College in 1916 for the Chickasaw Indians. Carter Seminary was established and funded by the federal government to partially fulfill the treaty obligations of the United States to the Indian people. In 1952 the Bureau of Indian Affairs decided to make Carter Seminary a home-living community and to send the students to public schools.” -Betty Carroll January 25, 1987
A T&T reader wrote in this week inquiring what happened to the Hardy Murphy‘s 2 show horses, Buck and Silver Cloud, and their grave markers in front of the old locomotive 1108 at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum.  The markers were moved a little to the south at the entrance to the coliseum.


“Years ago, (1951/1960) the Daily Oklahoman had a front page story about a “Birdman in the Arbuckles”. They had a picture of him as well. He was holding a chickadee or finch on his finger tips up close to his face.
I have searched the Oklahoman’s archives on the internet and have come up with nothing. Has anyone ever heard of this man? I was living in Texas when this story came out and cant find anyone who has ever heard of him.” -Ken @ Wilson
“Golly Butch, I must be getting feeble minded! I’d meant to tell you last week that I have at least 6 of those “Ace-Of-Drinks (2 for 5 cents) bottles and even meant to take a picture of a couple of them to show you the symbols on the bottom, but I forgot! I still haven’t taken the pictures and yet I set them in the middle of the floor in my shop so that I have to walk around them every time I go in or out (which is several times a day). On the bottom of one is the symbol for the glass company “Owens-Illinois” (located in Akron, Ohio I think), while the other is marked “mTc”. I don’t remember which company that was but I think they made mostly dairy bottles (quarts, pints. 1/2 pints, 1/2 gallons and gallon bottles). I’ve seen that symbol on many milk bottles made in the 1940s, and I just imagine that these bottles (Ace of Drinks) were made in the ’30s and ’40s. I do NOT know what company(ies) may have sold the product nor do I know what the drink was. Possibly an artificially flavored fruit drink (orange, grape, etc.).” -Roy K. in Perry, OK
“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. Sacred Heart was actually between Konawa and Maud. Closer to Konawa. It was quite a distance from their to Shawnee, particularly in the days of horse drawn vehicles. I think the Sisters from Sacred Heart moved to Shawnee quite a few years after that.”  -Wes Leatherock

Before I got in this business, I was in the chicken business. Chubby Checker

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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