A Home Grown Home Page

Home of the This and That Newsletters

Vol 25  Issue 1,273   June 17, 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.”

Music is most always a big part of peoples lives. Sometimes we hear a song from long ago, and it just takes us back in time….. to a time that was slower and less hectic compared to the times we live in today in this push and shove, anything goes world. I know many of you are like me, and wish we could just transport ourselves from the here and now back to a time another time, a simpler time. Some songs tend to do that, and I was thinking the other day how the ballad “Home on the Range” has done just that for many generations of Americans. Its been recorded by many artist, and played around the world, yet little did the listeners know, it has a connection to Oklahoma. I did some searching on the internet and found the man who penned those words over 100 years ago, lived in Oklahoma in his later years.

Dr. Brewster Higley (born 1822 in Indiana) wrote the words to the song “Home on the Range” when he lived in Kansas. The song was published in a Kirwin, Kansas newspaper in 1873 and would become a favorite song along the cattle trails. First published in 1910, the author never saw a copy nor received a cent of royalty. His last home was in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Home on the Range was not labeled an American frontier ballad until 1934 when Sam Moanfeldt, a New York attorney traced the song’s authorship to Dr. Brewster Higley. A skilled surgeon practicing in Kansas, Higley composed the song before 1872, and the tune was quickly adopted by the cowboys involved in the long trail drives north form Texas. Many herds of cattle were calmed on stormy nights by its words and music. Later, in 1886, Higley and his family moved to Shawnee, where he died in 1911.

A historical marker is located (or used to be) on the east side of Highway 18 at Fairview Cemetery on North Harrison Street in Shawnee. It would be interesting to know if this marker is still in place recognizing Dr. Higley and his famous song Home on the Range. I have Readers in Shawnee, maybe we will hear from them on the present day situation of the above mentioned historical marker, and hopefully a picture.

The website below has a lot of info on Dr. Higley, along with photos, audio recordings, and history about Home on the Range. There are several audio songs you can listen to (must have RealAudio Player installed). My favorite recording is not Gene Autry’s 1943 version, but is sung by the Central Heights Elementary Chorus (2002) in Richmond, Kansas (click on the “listen to other versions”).


May 1951
The prettiest school building in Carter County has not yet been named. It’s located west of Woodford on Highway 53. When this school is finished, five other schools will close; St John, Roosevelt, Cobb and Lone Oak, all two teacher schools and Jehovah a one teacher school. Lincoln will lose it’s high school as about 41 Milo youngsters will move to the new facility.

May 1927
Charles Starritt was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in the pin, but a retrial was granted and moved to a new venue, and Starritt got five years in jail. Starritt is alleged to have shot at and killed Mr. Tuck and his son at a restaurant in Marietta.

May 1927
After a silence of almost 13 years, during which she lives with her husband’s nephew as his common-law wife and reared six children, Mrs. Minnie Boyer of Kearney, Nebraska confessed that her husband, Frank Boyer, missing since 1914 was accidentally though conveniently shot and killed by another nephew, now dead

May 1968
Rainy weather and cloudy skies preyed upon the emotions of Southern Oklahomans Monday night. There was a tornado watch from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and one with sighted just south and east of Lone Grove. The heavy rain forced lake waters over the dam at Lake Murray for the first time in 17 years. The last time Lake Murray flooded was 1951, and before that 1950. As far as is known, those are the only two years water has gone over the dam since it was built.

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.  Who was the first woman from Oklahoma to serve in Congress?
A.   Alice Mary Robertson

Q.  What tribe was once the richest people in the world?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

Q. anyone know where Rocky Point school was?…around Madill ?

A. According to Oklahoma Place Names, Rocky Point, present Lebanon in Marshall county. Post office established October 22, 1878 and name changed to Lebanon, Oklahoma on February 17, 1882.
An interesting fact about the WWII prisoners of war is at Fort Reno where some of the wood artisans in the group of prisoners built a beautiful little chapel with carved, ornamental wood inside. It’s on display there now as well as the cemetery where a lot of the prisoners are buried. The guide said some of the families from Germany have come and taken the bodies of their families back to Germany. They were also quite grateful for the good treatment that the prisoners received from the Americans at the fort. My dad also sold material from his lumber yard in Durant to build the Stringtown prison. The contractor and he remained good friends for lifetime. -R. Helms
Dear Butch: 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. Here is a link to the Cemetery where he is buried and a host of old newspaper articles that tell the story.

Cottondale Cemetery, Wise County TX https://wisecountytexas.info/bridgeportindex/images/1950-1954/1954-07-23-pg01.jpg

-Larry Paul

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of June 18, 2009

As I promised last week, below is a link to the audio recordings of “Once Upon a Time” by Ardmoreite Betty Carroll.  I only have about half of the recordings ‘ripped’ from the CD, converted into MP3 files, and uploaded to my website. I will get the rest in a few days. The recordings are really a step back in time and lessons in southern Oklahoma history!
“I am currently and successfully growing Mexican Fire Trees. These are a tree common to the deserts of Baja Mexico and look somewhat like the Locus varieties here that are pests and weeds, but Mexican fire trees are extremely beautiful with a bright red flower each spring that covers the canopy and appears as if the tree were on fire. At other times, the tree has a wonderful low canopy that is slow growing and seldom needs attention. They will grow successfully in very hot dry areas because the tap root grows straight down until it reaches the water table. In some areas that may be as much as 50 feet. They have a seed case that looks like a custom made hardwood container with individual pockets for each seed. I have never seen them grown in the states, and so far I have eight in 4″ pots. In this size pots, they will reach about six inches and not much more. From what I have seen so far, the ideal pot for this tree would be about six inches wide and ten feet deep. Interesting, eh?” -John in TX
“Butch, We raise pineapples year around here in South Florida. The best fertilizer to use is “Peters”. All of the major growers use it. You need to fertilize them two times each month.” -Larry Martin
“My Dad (Herbert Mason) had the truck stop on HWY 77 and then had a station in the Broadlawn Center. My grandparents (Jess & Julia Mason) had a station on the corner of 8th and Commerce across from the Super Dog (Phillips 66).” -Donna in Washington
“Butch, Was talking to My neighbor the other day and was standing in front of a storage building that His Brother and Dad had moved in around 1963. They had used it for painting cars etc , while talking to Him noticed a Viceroy Cig sign on a window pane, going inside a found an old Whistle drink sign hanging on the wall.

On further questioning of My neighbor found out this was the First Shug West Store, on the back of the store was an old push button that if you came in Shug’s store and if he was not there you were to push the button to let him know you were in the store, and he would come down the hill from his house to the store, don’t you wish people were that honest these days ? It even has the original old single fuse hanging on the wall that the store ran on for electric, the poles for the canopy is still outside and at one time they even had the old gas pumps standing out front but are long gone now.

When riding the Dickson school bus to school I remember this old building but was not in it but did visit the new store that was built behind it before it was moved. Will be sending pictures of it in the near future…..

Mike West and I went to school together which was Shug’s youngest Son, am sure Mike can tell you a lot more about this store His Dad had and ran for years before building the new one, my neighbor thinks the store was built somewhere around the early 1920s or 30s but I do not know maybe We can get Mike to give us a little more history on it.

I would think that Babe Summers was the one whom moved it to where it sits today on E Street SE. He was a house mover who lived across the street from Me while I was growing up and him and His son Bill Summers did house moving. The Dripping Springs Area had two stores in my youth, Sears Grocery store and Shug West Grocery. Mr. Sears use to come out of his store each morn and sit in an old lawn chair in front of the store and whistle a tune, 6 am sharp you could set your watch by it.” -Allen Young



“Pray don’t talk to me about the weather, Mr. Worthing. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.” -Oscar Wilde

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”Ardmore, Oklahoma


Subscribe to T&T Newsletter

Email addressFirst nameLast nameSubscribe

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

All previous issues of This & That can be found on my Website’s archives.
Feel free to forward this free newsletter. Mailouts: over 1,300.
To be removed from my T&T mailings, just send me an email.
I do not sell, trade or give my mailing list to anyone for any reason.