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Vol 25  Issue 1,274   June 24, 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

Ragtown/Wirt Oklahoma

More than 40 years ago (1917), Wirt (west of Healdton, Oklahoma) was a community of clapboord, sheet iron and tent houses which served as homes for type of men whose dreams of riches were spurred on by the marvels of oil and what it could do.

“Ragtown, 50 cents,” was a familiar cry which rang out in the business district of Ardmore day and night as barkers sought to fill their “busses” with travelers to the hub of the oil activities. The barkers took up places to strategic points in the street and it usually didn’t take them long to get a load of passengers.

Within the town of Wirt lived the lust and greed which can only come with a country growing by leaps and bounds. Also, within it lived visions of the future as men battled nature to produce oil and wealth.

It was a sprawling, brawling and littered community with life being lived to its fullest. Many an adventurer lost his life over a difference of opinion, and muttered word, too many drinks or some other cause promoted by quick tempers.

The slick-tongued horse trader made his presence known early along with the clever-fingered gamblers, the gunmen, the speculators and other types which automatically are drown to spots where the fast money is being made.

Almost overnight Wirt mushroomed into existence as the oil seekers drifted in. Then, as the craze of the hunt began to lessen and the oil industry in that section began to stabilize, the workers moved on to other fields and Wirt became a community of those who chose to stay and make their homes there. -Carter County History book 1957

https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.156/knn.c7e.myftpupload.com/ttphotos21a/WirtHorseTeam1916.jpg

May 1983
Police officer David Dalton is out, and police officer Everett Hart is back in. Personnel problems have plaqued the department for several months. The latest charge came about when Lincoln Stanley, acting supervisor for the police department, told Daryl Cathey to get a resignation from Dalton.

May 1968
The State Department of Education has okayed a school consolidation plan to merge Sulphur, Davis and Woodland High Schools.

May 1927
W J Richardson, superintendent of the Harold Fell farm at Battle Springs Lake south of Lone Grove, said the six-acre vineyard recently set out near the lake is doing well, and more acres will be added.

May 1927
A black tail buck from the State Game Preserve at Medicine Park arrived at the Scott Sparks Game Preserve near Pooleville. Sparks lost four deer during the winter, and is also having bad luck with setting out quail. Hail killed most of all the birds. He started out with 1,000 birds and added 300 more, but few are left. Miles of fencing were washed out during the 10-inch rain. Hail stones were 4 inches thick, and in addition quail, Sparks lost fish, chickens, guineas and pheasants.

We’ve gone over the $900,000 mark, so we are 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 $910,357. 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.
https://apps.ok.gov/unclaimed/

Q.  What tribe was once the richest people in the world?
A.   The Osage Nation

Q.  What kind of bones has been found in Caney and Tushka, Oklahoma?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..Hi Butch,
I have a story to share with you and T&T. On Sunday I met a friend at the intersection of US 177 and Big Canyon road. It was our plan to ride motorcycles over to Dougherty and take a look at the old bridge just outside of town. We chatted for a few minutes at the intersection then we headed off toward the bridge which was a few miles west. We were not far down Big Canyon when we saw this old school. Of course, I had to double back and get a better look. It’s a nice little red schoolhouse with a modern metal roof. The grounds, not just kept up, but meticulously kept. Grass mowed, flowers growing in front, shrubs trimmed. Clearly someone spends a lot of effort looking after the place. So we get off the bikes, walk around a bit, not too close because the place has a look about it that suggests that it might be occupied as a home. We are interested, but keeping a respectful distance. We were just about to leave when I noticed a house across the road, with an equally well-manicured yard. I see a man over there working on the fence line. I ride over and ask him if the schoolhouse is someone’s home. He says, “yea, kinda”. He explains that the place is owned by a local family who has a large ranch and significant real estate holdings in the area, that some members of the family had attended school there, and that the family had bought the place some years earlier and it was something of a private B&B/museum for them. I’m certain by this point you know exactly the place I’m talking about. The old Nebo School. The man further explained that he worked for the family and was the caretaker of the school. He then asks, “you want to see it?” Of course, I did!

The man meets us at the school, opens the place up, and lets us inside. He explains that the place is something of a private collection of historic, school, and family memorabilia, and the place is used to occasionally lodge both family and friends. The man tells me the story of the old Nebo store and showed me a photo on the wall of the store and the Howes.An interesting thing I saw out in front of the school was a WPA shield in some concrete near the walkway to the school. It’s not clear what the WPA did at the site. I saw photos inside showing students and the school building from the 1920s, a decade before the WPA came along. So, they didn’t build the school, but they did something out there.

https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.156/knn.c7e.myftpupload.com/ttphotos21a/NeboSchoolWPA.jpg

It was a real pleasure to get the nickel tour of the old school. The man was especially proud of the fact that the hand-pumped well in the back of the school worked well. He’d had a hand in restoring it to working order. The water from the well was very clean, pure, and ice-cold on this 90+ degree day. The old school is in great shape. As I rode home, I thought, I gotta tell this story to Butch Bridges. When I got home I decided to see if there is some more information online about the Nebo school. I didn’t find a lot written about Nebo or the school. However, I did find this T&T written in 2010.

https://oklahomahistory.net/newsletters/TT723.htm

My friend and I got pretty much the same tour you did, except mine was not from a member of the Howe family, but from Mike the caretaker. As he talked, it was clear that he loves the old school as much as Mrs. Shive. We did go on over to Dougherty and take a look at the old bridge. It was great as well, but the stop at Nebo School was definitely the highlight of a great day of riding. -David Cathey
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Butch, thought you might find this interesting about the naming of the ship Will Rogers. It is in a November 3, 1942 article in The New York Times. -Brent Bahner
https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.156/knn.c7e.myftpupload.com/ttphotos21a/WillRogersShip.jpg
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Below is from This and That newsletter archives of June 18, 2009

This week I have been able to add Volume 5 of Betty Carroll’s “Once Upon A Time” audios. Several of the 14 radio spots mentions Bud Ballew, Buck Garrett, Healdton, Wirt Franklin, and Bloody Caddo, to just name a few.
https://oklahomahistory.net/bettycarroll.html
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“Butch here is a new sign on Highway 79 between Wichita Falls and Waurika. I guess we are going to start calling it a Kiowa, Comanche, Apache reservation again.” -Doug
https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.156/knn.c7e.myftpupload.com/ttphotos9a/KiowaSign062409.jpg
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“This book mentions a lot of people I could ID by sight that were still around in the ’30s plus many more often mentioned at home.

I just finished the book “Bud Ballew, Legendary Oklahoma Lawman”, who was deputy to Sheriff Buck Garrett. That started me down memory lane. Some family history of the 1910-30 period is interesting.

My father Arthur (A.K.) McCrory came to Ardmore around 1918. His brothers had been here some years and were in the oil business, lease broking, etc. Brother Bob (R.F.) was 20 years older than my father who worked for Bob. The brothers had supported the Buck Garrett regime that ran Carter county but had fallen out with them – not a healthy thing. New in Ardmore, his job was driver and bodyguard. On country roads Bob would shoot at fence posts with his pistol as they drove along. On the street he would walk a few steps behind Bob with a hand in his pocket.

The book talks about the ouster of Buck Garrett and the unproven alleged corruption of his administration. Brother Bob had bought a new Buick that was promptly stolen. My father saw it for sale the next week in the used cars of the Buick dealer. He confirmed it checking out the car and found a place on the seat where he had sewed up a place with store string. Bob told him to lay off, insurance would pay for the car and it was too hot to challenge.

I mentioned unhealthy, two attempts were made on Bob. In the heat of summer he left his pistol and jacket as he went downstairs to get something at the soda fount in Frame’s Drugstore below. (NE corner Bst and Main). On the landing he was attacked by two with brass knuckles. Not completely unprepared, Bob shot one of them in the leg which ended the fracas. He fired his double barrel derringer thru his pants pocket. The one shot was Raymond Garrett, son of the sheriff. The other attack was more serious.

Years later my father and I were driving down F St NE that then turned West on to 11th avenue and crossed the railroad track. Just before that turn he stopped and said this is where Bob got shot. He was driving, as we were and a car came across the tracks and sideswiped him. They both stopped and he found the other driver drunk as a skunk and jerked him out and was pushing up him into the back of his own car to take him to jail. The ‘drunk’ not drunk at all, then turned and fired into his belly and again sidewise as he fell. Not uncommon at the time for relatives to be in the operating room, he saw Doc Hardy take out Bobs ‘entrails’ wash them in a purple stuff, sew them up individually and sewed him up. He recovered and lived until 1950. I saw an old Ardmoreite write up about this that gave the location of this as on Caddo, probably in error.

Years later yet, maybe 1950s I was here visiting when my father said he could hardly believe who came to see him recently – Raymond Garrett. Back in the time, they would have reached for their pistols on sight. Now, he and Raymond about the same age, visited for a couple hours talking about old times and how time changes things.” -Bob McCrory
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“Let me try and answer some of the questions about the Shug West Grocery east of Ardmore. The original sheet iron store was built in 1945 after the war. I would think in the Summer or Fall. It was had a single room with an attached feed/oil room attached on the eastside. The feed/oil room had its own entry from the north side. The store had a double screen door entrance on the north. There was a back door in the southwest corner. The store was moved about 1956-57 when the “new” store was completed. As far as I know it was moved to its present location at that time. I do not remember who moved it. I have numerous pictures of the “old” store when it was still a grocery store. I sent you a number of pictures as it appears today. I have one showing the Viceroy advertisement. Mom and Dad kept a kerosene container and pump under the driveway “porch”. There was, also, a soda pop box which required that we go to Ardmore to buy ice to cool the pops. At night Dad would use a large chain and boom to lock it. After the “old” store was moved that floor served as our driveway. In the early 1960s, the current highway was built. Some of the concrete taken from old highway 70 was hauled to the south and southwest areas of my folks’ property to fill gullies. With the replacement of the highway in the early 1960s, the ground in front of the “new” store was lowered about 2.5-3.0 feet. What was our front porch of the “new” store originally just about 4 inches about the ground. After removal of the earth, it required about 3-4 steps down to the new ground level. Thanks for remembering the old place. I, too, remember the man who used to rise early and whistle in front of the other store just west of ours.” -Mike P. West
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Museum Memories
Contributed by Melinda Taylor
The Lone Grove Ledger
“From the Archives”
85 years ago
Nov. 4, 1998
~ The way of the transgressor is hard and especially when the Pinkertons get after him. R. E. Clayton, formerly of Ohio, was placed in jail here after being charged with a crime in Ohio. The Pinkertons were given the assignment to track him down and found Clayton in just 16 days. He has been working in the oilfields and was arrested by Charley Jones, the Hewitt constable.
~ The preliminary steps toward the organization of a Chamber of Commerce for Wilson have been taken. The men who are now building Wilson will be behind the chamber of commerce movement, including F. L. Letch, formerly of Lawton, State Senator Jack Langston, late of Guthrie, L. L. Dunlap, G. J. Leeper, W. H. Bradford, Dr. Darling, T. F. Maloney, H. L. Carmichael, J. T. Martin, James White, and W. W. Means. Two banks have been organized and a cotton gin and grain elevator are in the works. Wilson is in the center of one of the biggest cotton-growing districts in the south.
~ The pleasant weather of last week had dried the roads so they were in condition for traveling. Now Saturday’s rain has put them out of commission again. The weather and road conditions make it hard on freighters and movers. Dr. Tidmore’s office is now half way between Hewitt and Wilson and from all indications, it will stay there for some time. The railroad has become a public necessity, as the wagon roads are absolutely impassable if it were not for the railroad we would be without food and material necessary to carry on the work in the oil fields. If ever we did need good road building it is now…
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This week I have been able to add Volume 5 of Betty Carroll’s “Once Upon A Time” audios. Several of the 14 radio spots mentions Bud Ballew, Buck Garrett, Healdton, Wirt Franklin, and Bloody Caddo, to just name a few.
https://oklahomahistory.net/bettycarroll.html
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A place for everything, and everything in its place. -Benjamin Franklin

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”Ardmore, Oklahoma

https://oklahomahistory.net

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Oklahoma History Website #2 (backup website)
http://www.okiehistory.net/

Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma
https://oklahomahistory.net/viciousdogs.html
Oklahoma Bells: https://oklahomahistory.net/bellpage.html
Bill Hamm’s Cemetery Database
http://www.usgwarchives.net/ok/carter/cartercm.htm
American Flyers Memorial Fund – Administration Webpage
https://oklahomahistory.net/crash66.html
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
https://oklahomahistory.net/airbase/
Carter County Government Website
http://cartercountyok.us

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