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Vol 25  Issue 1,284   September 2, 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

In 1952 Ardmore Assistant police chief Oscar Wilkes was gunned down in a driveway at 819 Hargrove Street NW in Ardmore. The man charged with the murder was John B. Gandy who owned a trucking company and lived at the address. Gandy claimed he and his female companion, Jacqueline Thomas, were in the house that rainy evening when Wilkes drove up. Gandy thought Wilkes was Ms. Thomas’s ex-husband, Raymond Howie, and opened fire with a .38 pistol from the doorway. Wilkes never had a chance, and died sitting in his car, still holding a toothpick in his mouth.


July 1927
The heaviest rain in 20 years fell on Wednesday and Thursday. Streets and roads were flooded and bridges were washed out. Some were estimating more than a foot fell in a 24-hour period. Water came in around doors and through windows. County forces were spending their time trying to save the Caddo Bridge. No Travelers are allowed on the bridge. One man who started across the stream north of the bridge was reported to have been washed downstream and was marooned on a tree on the Wilson Newman farm. The Newman farm which has already been flooded this year is again under water. Only the tops of the pecan trees are above the waterline. Joe Ginn who lives near the bridge said he knew of no one drowning there. And it is probable that the report of loss of life is not well-founded. Ed Clendenin who lives at Newport reported that roads are impassable and that the approaches to the large concrete bridge just north of Lone Grove are washed away.

July 1927
Eight persons who were caught in the Bayou Creek bottom in the flood waters were rescued by police. That included a family of seven persons who are driving through in a wagon and we’re unable to get out. A truck driver ended up in a tree when his vehicle stalled in the water. The family took refuge on top of their wagon. But were forced to continue piling boxes on top of each other. The water was 10 feet deep around the wagon, when police arrived. The Bayou was said to be nearly a mile wide in places and as much as 40 ft deep. An automobile belonging to sheriff Ewing London was washed away as he was on the way to the Bayou. He was picked up in a boat and arrived at the scene of the rescue of the wagon people in time.

July 1951
Gene Thompson, Wilson Constable, has been absolved of all charges of soliciting a bribe by County Judge Tom Norman for lack of evidence. Thompson was charged with soliciting a bribe from a Wilson beer Tavern operator. The case was previously dismissed by Cortez Craddock, Justice of the Peace, on the same grounds- insufficient evidence.

July 1951
We have positive proof that Mrs. Millicent Marie Walker, who has been missing since a series of beer drinking parties last week was still alive and in good health when she left Cedarville. She was seen boarding an aluminum colored tractor-trailer truck. The couple who saw her said she was scantily clad in black panties and brassiere, white shoes and carrying a white bag.

July 1951
Orville Eugene Denney, 20, was overcome by heat Wednesday while working on a construction job and died in route to the hospital. He was born November 30, 1930 in Lone Grove. Survivors include his mother Mrs. Oscar Denney, eight sisters and six brothers including four from Lone Grove, Guy, Robert, Wayne and Marvin; Vernon in Arkansas Pass, Texas and SGT Lyle Denney, US Army in Korea.

July 1968
Mr. and Mrs. Ike Jones of Graham have received word that their son, SGT Gary Jones, had died of wounds he received in a firefight south of Saigon on July 20th.

July 1983
Authorities found the remains of Aaron “Punk” Gay in a pasture near the Persimmon Hill Boarding Center south of Lone Grove. He had been missing for almost 3 months. Foul play is not suspected.

Does anyone know exactly where the old Downard Asphalt Mine was located? It began production early in the 1900s. It would have been located northwest of Overbrook in Carter County. The Section was 26. I think it was 5 south, 1 east. It appears to have gone out of business in the very late teens of the 1900s or very early 1920s. Maybe someone can pinpoint this old mine?


Robert Hensley sent in some interesting photos this week. This is the front and back of an Ardmore Indian Territory dinner plate. I don’t now who the Indian chief is on the front, but the emblem on the back resembles the Boy Scout Eagle emplem



The first refinery was called Cameron Refinery, then Wirt Franklin Refinery, Ben Franklin Refinery, Bell Oil Refining Company, Vickers Refinery, and lastly Total Petroleum Inc.


Ardmore refinery 2019


Colvert Dairy horse drawn wagons



Ardmore Memorial Hospital Aids in 1945


We’re now over the $1,138,000.00 dollar mark. sometimes progress is slow locating people or their kin with unclaimed insurance money at the State Treasurers office in OKC but we are making a difference in people’s lives.

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 was Oklahoma’s first post office established?
A.   At Fort Gibson, the eastern Oklahoma community and site of an early day military post, officials say the post office as Cantonment Gibson opened about Feb. 27, 1827, in what soon would become the Cherokee Nation of Indian Territory. It’s considered the state’s oldest existing post office.

Q. Where is the state’s largest butterfly house located?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

Hi, Butch! Thought you might like to see how the marker you made for my great-grandmother is holding up (photo taken 9/02/21). In a small rural cemetery (Prairie Gardens-Duck Creek) south of Tulsa. Fits right in to respect the simple, hardworking families of the area, donated land, hand dug graves at her death. Appreciate you helping mark her grave clearly! Take care, stay safe and well 💕 Sandra and the Farney family
Butch, I’m really gonna enjoy your insight on Sheriff Denny. I got to know Robert in the early 70’s due to 1. I had a half brother helping him on his place and I ended up buying an old 1960’s red Chevy, farm pickup off his place. It run good but it had been put thru the mill.
2. I had gotten to know and spent a lot of time around Vernon at the ole Ken Cliff Lanes. I was bowling a lot, especially in the Dr Pepper summer classic and a couple of times Vernon would egg me on to bowl another set and I’d tell him I was broke and didn’t have enough money for entry fee! He would always say money no problem, strikes and spares are the problem, for him, but not for you Sam so I’ll pay and you bowl with another if his friends, Gene Shrum. Gene and I ended up winning the doubles part of that years tournament allowing Vernon to crow about his set up skills! Thanks again sharing your years to come of Robert! -Sam Porter
I was reading your post and it reminded me of a note I had written myself 14 years ago when I spoke with Don Waters of Ardmore. He had worked for my dad, Ossian Cameron, at his service station across from the Skyview Drive-In on US-70, The time frame was early to mid 1950s. Most of the young men my dad hired were going to Dickson High. I remember that my mother would drive out to the staton when she needed gas and sit in the car and talk with my dad and at one point he mentioned that Don wanted to go to work for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. During the time that he worked at the station Don was involved in a serious car accident that left him pretty busted up. He was never able to get on with the OHP. I later heard that he became a police officer and later Chief of Police in Ardmore.

The last time I talked with him he told me that the years he worked for my dad were the most important years of his young life because my dad became another father not only to him but all the young men that worked for him. My dad would hold little competitions for the guys and they would build model cars or hot rods and he would judge them and take them out to dinner about four times a year. My dad taught by example. The first thing he taught every employee was how to make change and count it back to the customer. When addressing any customer it was always “Yes sir, No sir., Yes ma’am, No ma’am.” And the guys learned how to talk with customers.

Just a fond memory.

Monroe Cameron

PS. The work you have been doing to unite members of the community with state held money is to be commended. You have become an advocate for those who can probably well use the funds you have found for them.

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of September 3, 2009

Nine miles north of Ardmore, Oklahoma is the small town of Springer. It had been a town long before statehood in 1907. In 1910 this little bustling city almost became a town in name only. On a Friday evening in September, a fire broke out in the Post Office. Before the fire could be stopped, many Main street businesses would be destroyed, including the Post Office, D.M Sellers General Store, Eskew Drug Store, Kuntz Bros Blacksmith Shop, the building used by the Masons, Woodmen of the World, and the Oddfellows. Also several buildings owned by Robert Scivally would be destroyed. (Mr. Scivally was one of the first county Commissioners of Carter county.) When townspeople and firefighters saw their town was about to be totally destroyed by the raging fire, they resorted to dynamite to stop the flames.

Springer, Oklahoma. In northern Carter County. Post office established September 1, 1890. Named for W. A. Springer, pioneer rancher and cattleman.  Oklahoma Place Names

W. A. Springer (1851-1892) is buried in the Springer cemetery.

From The Ardmore Statesman
Ardmore, Oklahoma
Thursday, September 9, 1920
Chief of Police Chancellor has finally procured a motorcycle cop whose chief duty will be to catch and bring before the city court the “speeders” on the city streets. The new man is Mr. Jack Miller. As soon as the motorcycle for his use arrives, he will use his best effort to put a stop to the all too common practice of stepping on the gas on either downtown or the suburban streets. Such an officer has been badly needed in Ardmore for a long time.
Passport required to cross Red River during the Civil War! Why did the residents of Indian Territory who were rich and politically well connected had no problems crossing Red River between 1861-1865 while the poor were starving and freezing in mud huts on the North bank of Red River? Both the State of Texas and Confederate governments gave the provost marshals the authority to issue passports.
“Butch, the Gordon Cemetery in Love County is an abandoned cemetery and hasn’t been used for a long time.  The cemetery is located near the town of Marsden. The sign on the gate had it spelled Gordan. My great uncle James Andrew Fleming ran the first store and post office there in Marsden until they burned down. Some of his children are buried in the cemetery and I believe his father is buried there as well.” -Betty Daniels
“Sweet Home Cemetery: Take 1-35 going north. Exit off in Davis at the Casino exit. Head west on Hwy 7. Go west until you reach Hennipen, Oklahoma. When you see the Hennipen Community Building on the right side of the road, exit there to your right, still traveling west. Go until you reach the stop sign. There will be a church to your left. Turn right. You will be traveling north at this point. Continue about 5 miles. This is Katie, Oklahoma. There is a four-way stop sign. Katie fire station on left. But you turn right. Go about a mile or so and you should pass a bridge called Sandy Creek. At the first turn in , make a left and on the right there is a house and sign about horses. You’re going north again for about 1.5 miles. When you see houses on the right, keep looking to your left because there will be an old gate that you have to open. There is a small pond and cattle guard that you will have to cross. The church is sitting in the middle of the field and behind the church is the cemetery. The gate is closed, but not locked.” -Contributed by Vanessia Dodd, Davis, Oklahoma


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
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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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