“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us,
What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
Since I announced my GoFundMe account three weeks ago the response has been fantastic. I set a goal of $1,000 and thanks to some great friends we have more then doubled that amount to over $2,400 which includes a deduction of $74 in GoFundMe service fees. Yesterday I paid for 10 years in advance for not only my new Godaddy, Inc., webhosting but also 10 years advance payment for my oklahomahistory.net domain ($1,140.33). So we’re good for the next 10 years. And work has already begun on converting my present HTML formatted website to the new Godaddy website which will not be HTML format but will be in WordPress format which is MUCH better in a lot of ways. I’m looking forward to getting my new website online and working.
Today I was given two books (250 pages each), so rare you can not find either one anywhere in the world, for love nor money. These books are on Carter county history. The sad part is I’ll be mailing them to California to be professional scanned ($55), then both shredded for copyright reasons. But I will get each book in PDF format to uploading to my website where anyone can View or Download free.
I want to thank the 54 people below who helped make my GoFundME campaign not only a success, but doubled the goal I set!
Laura Atchley, Bevin Parker-Evans, Edmond Pope, Jennifer Harvey, Emil H Levine, Cheri Clark, Roger Hughes, Pete Ihde, Shirley Barrick, L Vada Aitken, Anonymous, Carrol Evans, William Ford, Eva Taylor, Jerry Summy, Anonymous, Debra Griffin, David Willingham, Charles Walker, Monroe Cameron, Matthew Hoage, Anonymous, Edwina Wooten, Linda Lathum, Lydia Dulaney, Anonymous, Carol Hunter, Anonymous, David Bridges, Anonymous, Lee A Bullard, Robin Gray, Kristi Johnson Wedge, Ann Whitchurch, Stephanie Jordan, Elizabeth Aldridge, Marthanna Donald, Darla Herndon, Carole Geurin, Candace Gregory, Robin Ezell, Brandy Black, Patricia Downing, Bob Hargis, Amanda Lawson, Sarah Stephenson, Christopher Cox, Lenora Cunningtubby, Les Gilliam, Beth Tucker, Earlene Chandler, Richard Cravens, Max Brown, and the McAlister Cemetery Association.
A Glimpse Into The Past
Many people will remember the B. L Owens Furniture store in the SW corner of East Main and Mill Street years ago. I know my family bought their first TV (a Curtis-Mathes TV) there around 1956. The following is from the Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers book 1983.Ben Lawton and Nellie (Frenchmore) Owens
Ben Owens was born in Ada, Indian Territory, on July 17, 1901. His parents were Burt Sebert Owens of Quincy, Illinois and Lilly Mae Davis of Okmulgee, Indian Territory. He is listed in the 1910 census of McAlester where he attended school as Benny Owens, age 8, “enumerating” in the family of Mart and Lilly Chapman, his mother and stepfather.Benny spent most of his early life in small Oklahoma towns, working at various jobs as well as hunting and fishing to help support his widowed mother and three younger brothers and sisters. His brother was Herbert Chapman and his sisters were Vernie and Maudie.
Many old-timers remember this first furniture store of Bennie’s because it was located on the only street that led to southeast Ardmore at the time. Many people remember the barrels of Brooms that’s always stood just outside the front entrance, and can say they bought their first housekeeping outfit from B. L. Owens. That were the “dollar down and a dollar a week days.”The furniture store was moved to Main Street on the corner of Main and Caddo in 1932. Their son, Victor, was born March 26, 1934. The store remained in that location for eight years. In 1940 the furniture store in its present location was purchased, and it was expanded to include the former Jordan bus company building (SE corner of Main and Washington) next door in 1955.
B. L. Owens was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) Lodge for many years and still continues membership. Bill and Nettie Owens are now retired and living at 315 Stanley Southwest, where they are near their church, the First Baptist. He was also a 32nd degree Mason, a Shriner, and a member of the York Rite. Mrs. Owens is also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Altrusa Club, Delshanya Study Club, and the Iris Garden Club of Ardmore.-from Indian Territory and Carter County Pioneers book 1983
1957 B. L. Owens Furniture, 10-16 East Main
Last Saturday Marc Sanders and I went to Ardmore’s Rosehill Cemetery to set the memorial marker I made for the only deputy sheriff in Carter County killed in the line of duty, William Con Keirsey. It sure looks nice.
Still finding people in Oklahoma with unclaimed money. We’re now over the $1,797,782 dollars. Sometimes progress is slow locating people or their kin with unclaimed insurance money at the State Treasurers office in OKC but we keep trying.
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.
If you have Facebook, I created a new Page called Southern Oklahoma Unclaimed Insurance Money. The only Post that will go on that page are names and towns of people we are looking for with unclaimed money;
Q. What town in Oklahoma is known as the most toxic town in America?
A. The EPA has declared Picher, Oklahoma to be the most toxic city in the United States of America. It remains a ghost town, completely uninhabitable. Unrestricted excavation took place over the course of more than a century, damaging the homes and eventually polluting the air and water in Picher. CLICK HERE
Q. What famous west bound trail went through Oklahoma?
A. Answer in next week’s newsletter
Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..
I remember Mr. Henry Berry at the courthouse from when I was a wee lad. I loved to go into the courthouse and buy a pack of gum from him, and was always amazed how he could so well handle such a job without any eyesight! He was always so nice to me and would have something nice to say. -Skip
Henry Berry 1910 – 1993
Below is from This and That newsletter archives of February 4, 2010
In September 1906, one of the worst train accidents ever in the history of this country, took place just south of a small town named Dover, Oklahoma. Heavy rains had washed away the bridge that night as the Rock Island train from Texas north bound for Kansas came through, all but one car plunged into the Cimarron River. Reports were sketchy, but of the 225 passengers on board, over 100 would lose their lives that night. One early report said that only one man, Floyd Zeist, survived the disaster. One thing is for certain, it would be one of the most deadly train accidents in this country’s history.
“Butch, I enjoyed the story about Henry and Hollie Berry. Henry was shining shoes at John’s Barber Shop (I can’t remember his last name) on N. Washington when my boys were little. We got to know Henry and became good friends. When I worked at the courthouse, Henry had the concession stand. My name was Anthony at the time but for some reason he always called me Mrs. Armstrong. We teased each other a lot. Sometimes I would give him a dollar and he would give me change. I would tell him that I gave him a ten. He would look puzzled at first, feel the bill again and say “I don’t think so, Mrs. Armstrong” then he would realize that I was teasing and start laughing and say “Oh, Mrs. Armstrong!!” There was no way you could fool that man. I don’t know how he did it, but he knew exactly what you gave him every time, new or worn or torn, he knew. Hollie was on that courthouse lawn when the first pecan fell and she was there until the last one fell. She got her exercise. Both were lovely people.
My mom worked at Kent’s drive in on N. Commerce. There was also a Mrs. Edwards and her two daughters who worked there. Purnie was the manager and I can’t remember her last name now but I have seen articles about her in T&T before. She and her husband owned several restaurants in Ardmore at various times. Her step-son owned the Corral Restaurant at one time. Mother was in her 70s at the time but James called and asked her to come help him get started, so she did. James had the best catfish.
My daughter and I recently stopped at the Rock Cafe in Stroud for a hamburger. Very good. I do like my hamburgers” -Frances Dunlap
“Back in the late 40s or early 50s, there was a store at the corner of Washington and Main that sold and installed a kit made by Whizzer. It included a motor, gas tank, and drive assembly that would convert your bicycle into a motor bike. I believe it sold for around $100 installed. As I recall, it would move you along about 30 mph, however, those old Bendix brakes weren’t good at stopping you at that speed. You can still find the Whizzer on EBAY. -ML Patten, Missoula, MT.
“Hi Butch and Jill! Hope ya’ll are staying warm there, I heard you had an ice storm too. The trees on my property in Lindsay are all missing limbs, and some of the guineas toes froze off!” -Bonnie
Year 1946, Spring after my father died, J. C. Renfro, I was 12 and needed to have some income to get a model airplane engine. I saw this Primrose Farms milk truck at the grocery across the street. I told my mother I was going to try to get a job. and went to the store to talk with the driver. He was one Tommy Anastastio, who almost immediately said 50 cents a day and all the milk you can drink. I went home and told mom I had a job, and left with Tommy. He was almost exactly like Lou Costello of “Abbott and Costello’ movies… You know “Whose on First” etc. Well we had a good summer, Whittington Pool was closed due to the polio epidemic, so after we completed our work in the afternoons, we would drive out to Lake Murray and swim at the swimming beach, (not the one near the marina now, but further north, perhaps near the Lodge. This was my first time to work with Tommy.
That summer, I would get up at 3:30 AM to go to the Farm with Tommy and help load the truck. Tommy was a little hard of hearing, so if he was late, I would try to call him. Tommy’s wife was a telephone operator working that shift, and she would be calling too. Finally I would hear the old Hudson Terraplane engine start up (no mufflers), 10 blocks away and Tommy would pick me up to go to Mort Woods Primrose Farms, out by Dornick Hills CC. Learned a lot about pasteurizations and other things. Within a month I had the $12.00 to buy an Ohlsson 60, which probably could run your bike. It would swing a 14″ prop, and was a Glo Plug Methanol and castor oil mixture fueled vibrating monster, 0.60 cc.
I was with Tommy when he stopped by the Pack A Sak just south of Colverts on South Washington (Lake Murray Drive?) to call on “Gunner” Thompson, owner of all the pac-a-saks and of Thompson’s out on I think between McLish and Bixby across the Highway. Well Summer was over and I had several jobs, and Tommy became manager of the Pac_A Sac out on NW 12 and the highway. I worked I think two summers for Tommy at that location, including the year I graduated, 1952, before moving to Norman and OU, I never heard anything about his NY connections, but he was a fine man and good manager. His Restaurant came sometime after, and I heard later about his illness and bad experience in Dallas at his death. Tommy and Gunner were in the Army Air Force at the Air Base.” -Jim Renfro
“Hi Butch – I graduated Ardmore High School in 1958 and want to say the article by Neal Freeman and picture of Main Street is priceless. Also wish I had a picture of the Super Dog – just memories of wearing out the trail around it. The Vick’s Salve and Castor Oil I’m sorry to say also bring back memories. I’ve been gone from Ardmore since 1963 but is still fresh in my memory.” -Jo Bradly—————————————————–
Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
See everyone next week!
Butch and Jill Bridges“Friends Make Life Worth Living”Ardmore, Oklahoma
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