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Vol 26 Issue 1,349 December 8, 2022

A lot of progress has been made the past month on the courthouse clock. The horologist from Ft Worth have almost brought the clockworks back from this broken condition, just a little more fine tuning on the bell workings. The courthouse maintenace crew is now working on the badly weathered hands and clock faces on the outside of the dome. Its all coming right along.

“YOU CAN’T BEAT ARDMORE” -Rex Sparger, Ardmoreite columnist, and former state legislator Photo

Weeks ago I learned of a 21 year old constable/deputy sheriff in Johnston county who was killed in the line of duty here in Ardmore. The following is from the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial website.

Johnson “John” Lewis – Constable
Tishomingo County, Chickasaw Nation, I.T.

On Thursday, September 28, 1893, Constable Johnson Lewis found Nathaniel Zumwalt with a pistol on a street in Ardmore and disarmed him. The next morning, Nathaniel Zumwalt was seen walking up and down the streets, Winchester rifle in hand, apparently looking for someone.

Constable Johnson Lewis was standing in front of R.A. Riner & Scwally’s grocery store at 141 A Street Northeast. Approaching Constable Lewis, Nathaniel Zumwalt demanded that Constable Lewis return his pistol. Constable Lewis refused to give the gun up and started to walk off. Constable Lewis had only gone a few steps when Nathaniel Zumwalt called out: “Give me that gun,” at the same time raising and aiming his Winchester rifle toward Constable Lewis. Then Zumwalt fired his rifle and Constable Lewis fell to the sidewalk, gun in hand, in the throes of death, and, without rising, fired a shot at Zumwalt but missed him.

Nathaniel Zumwalt made his way hurriedly through town toward the south but was quickly overtaken and captured by Deputy Marshal Pulliam.

Constable Johnson Lewis is buried at Albertson(Alberson)-Lewis Cemetery, Gibbs Township, Johnston County, Oklahoma.

Nathaniel Zumwalt was tried in the Federal Court in Paris, Texas in April 1896 but the disposition of the trial is unknown.

Tishomingo County, I.T. became part of Carter and Johnston County, Oklahoma after statehood.

Johnson Lewis, a full blood Chicksasaw Indian, on Find-A-Grave

Below is Johnson Lewis’ grave marker a couple miles NW of Millcreek, Oklahoma

Constable Johnson Lewis grave near Millcreek, Oklahoma

OklahomaJohnson Lewis Gravesite

December 22, 1898
The Daily Ardmoreite

 A number of tramps was run into the calaboose last night in ordered to leave town this morning by mayor Galt.

As soon as the streets are cleared enough of mud to admit of being worked no tramp will be allowed to stay in our town over 24 hours without being turned over to deputy marshal Pulliam for work on the streets.

History of Ardmore’s Key’s Grocery by Alicia Key:

Original founders were W.R. Gable and his wife Ora Mae.  Ora Mae was the oldest of the Woodward kids.

W.R. Gable worked for the WPA as they were building Lake Murray.  The Gables lived at Baum and W.R. (known as Rufus) had a wagon and a team of horses. Every Monday- or maybe it was Sunday night-  Rufus would load up and bring several of the neighbor men who were also working WPA south to the worksite.  Because Rufus had the wagon & horses, his pay was extra, plus he collected $1 per week from each man that he carried in his wagon.  They’d stay at the worksite until Friday night and Rufus would haul them all back home.  Then they’d repeat until the lake was done.

Rufus saved all his money and purchased the 3 buildings that were Gable Feed, Seed, and Groceries plus the warehouse across the street to the east. Customers came into to town monthly to buy their feed & groceries, putting them on their bill. What they bought THIS month was paid for NEXT month & in that period, customers were dependable to pay their debts.

Bob Key was originally a band teacher & had several posts before buying a grocery store across the street to the north of where Key Grocery is now.  His wife was Joyce Gable Key, Rufus & Ora Mae’s daughter.  The story says there were, at one time, SIX grocery stores there in a 1 block area!  It really was the center of town!  There was even a well immediately west of the Key Grocery building, under that cement parkway of the Marketplace on Broadway. That’s where everybody watered their horses! 

In the 50’s, children Cheryl, Stanley and David were born. In the 60’s, Bob & Joyce purchased Gable’s Grocery from Rufus but Bob didn’t want the feed/seed so  Bob’s brother Naith Key ended up with the feed store. There’s tons of stories about Key Feed, too!  Bob & Joyce continued with the credit accounts & as times changed, the credit revolved still paid monthly but people had fewer farms & lived “in town” so purchases changed.  Inventory included pots-n-pan, tools like rakes & shovels, rolls of linoleum hung on the east wall. Lots! In those times, meat was purchased by the half so the butchers had to saw & cut the pieces the original way. They had as many as 5 butchers at one time! Meat was stored in the walk-in cooler that was so big it had to be built IN THE STORE.

Bob had had rheumatic fever which damaged his heart so when he had his first valve replacement, Stan (Bob’s older son) had to come home from college (OSU) to run the store with Joyce.  The store was open LONG hours. 6 days each week, 8-6, no vacations ever for Stan! and no sick days, no lunch hour, no coffee breaks, etc. When I retired from the phone company in 2004 and began to help at the store, I complained about those things and Stan said “Welcome to the REAL WORLD!”  At the time, it was funny. Stan could always make me laugh. 

As the years passed, Ardmore moved westward with malls & big stores, etc.  Places on Caddo street closed as well as the business on Ease Broadway, like the tin shop next door and Milburn’s Upholstery and that feed store across from him and The Knox Hotel!  Bob began loan companies in Ardmore and numerous places in Louisiana. Joyce began cashing checks which became a large part of their store business, as was Stan’s sandwich  making!  Because the store was so close to the train station, Stan’s sandwiches- all made 1 at a time – became famous from Chicago to Houston. And Key’s always ordered bulk Christmas candy by the box and it was Stan’s job to package them into 1 lb bags for sale. All kinds of people came for the candy- even if they weren’t regular store customers.  Lots of that candy went into the old fashioned stockings we all got that had nuts, fruit and candy in them!

Bob died in 2004, on the same day of December as their son David did in 2002- December 22.  Joyce broke a bone to her hip in 2010 or so & died April 20 of 2011.  Stan & Alicia Key purchased the store from Joyce. Since I’m a quilter, I began adding in FABRIC and QUILTING NOTIONS! Stan even gave me the shelves on the west side of the store.  In 2012, Stan had his 2nd heart event and we convinced him to close the meat market and close out groceries to go full “quilting”.  I had already started a website in the grocery store name so we could market the Pashofa (native American favorite) since not many stores carried it.  So we became Key Grocery and Quilts. We still had a few groceries left and of course the drinks in the big cooler and ice cream in its own freezer.  Lots of customers would come in having been gone from town for YEARS and still hope to get a STAN-wich.  We got a kick out of so many people remembering and wanting those sandwiches. 

Stan died Mar 4, 2022, after a lifetime of serving Ardmore people with his humor, good natured conversations with ANYBODY about ANYTHING, seed and soil amendments,rakes & hoes, and the only real organic gardening information provider in Ardmore! He started at 5 yrs old in the store, 1959, – working stock for a nickel per case, and worked there until Dec 20, 2021, when he went into the hospital to be diagnosed with AML (leukemia). Stan’s 3 sons weren’t interested in owning the store so with Stan’s passing, so passed the grocery and quilt shop.  I’m very grateful for the memories made there and the stories told there.And even this year, people have come in remember Stan and his sandwiches!

Q. Where in Oklahoma is a 2 acre Children’s Discovery Garden?
A.  At the Tulsa Botanical Garden

Q. What county in Oklahoma touches 5 states?
A. Answer in next week’s newsletter

Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG….

Butch: This is the Deep Rock Gas Station that was on U.S. HI way 70 coming into Ringling from the east, it was right on the edge of town on the south side of the Hiway. The photo of the station was taken in the spring 1968. The Deep Rock was co-owned and operated by Calvin Tillford “Jake” Wade and Donald Allen Patrick for about 20 years. I think the building is still standing.

Thats CPL Boyd Wade standing in front of the window, he was killed in Quảng Ngãi, Vietnam Jan. 9, 1970, he was just 23 years old.

Boyd was one of the nieces and kindest persons you could ever meet. He worked at the Deep Rock all the way through High School and could fix flats on anything, from motorcycles, to tractors some of them tractor tires were huge. 

Boyd gave me this postcard back in mid 1960’s. On the back its an ad for Prestone Anti-freeze. I think it’s one of the funniest things I ever saw. -Larry Paul

Butch, My parents and my uncle (my dad’s brother) always liked horses and horse drawn equipment. Here’s a photo of my mom and the covered wagon my dad built, a photo of my dad standing by some of the buggies he had and my uncle Pierce on the stage couch he and my dad built. They had two white mules to pull the stage coach and they used to take it to parades and even did some wedding processions with it. Unfortunately my mom, dad and my uncle are all gone now but their legacy lives on because I have these photos and still have the stage coach and some of the buggies. -Dwane Stevens

Above is the shoe shine stand that was originally in the Tivoli theatre back in the 1960’s. I got it because it is a piece of Ardmore history. The grey on the seat is a cover protecting the original seat. The black on the back upper seat is just shadows from tree limbs in my yard. The chair itself is one of the original seats from the Tivoli. I remember seeing this chair at the theatre when i went to a movie, it was in the front lobby area.  -Robert Hensley

The badge below is an authentic and rare Indian Police badge, number 6, Ardmore, I.T. I purchased it in an antique shop in Oklahoma City. -Robert Hensley

Ardmore, Indian Territory
Hotel Alexander, W.J. Alexander, proprietor. Rates $2.00 per day. was located on the north side of West Main St. two doors west of the current Tivoli theatre building. -photo submitted by Robert Hensley

Another view of the Alexander hotel when it was known as the Randol Hotel.

Below is from my Vol 3, Issue 138 Devember 11, 1999 newsletter:

This week I got an original photo taken of a building at Galveston, Texas. The photo was taken about two months ago by a lady here in Ardmore while she was in Galveston on a tour. On the side of the building is an image of a man. The image was at the top of the building where the dark square is, this is where they tried to sandblast the image off. But it re- appeared in a square below. Has anyone heard of this mystery? The building is somewhere on the shoreline in Galveston, TX?

Does the numbers making up your phone number make a word?https://phonespell.org/

A Carter county Deputy Sheriff (who will remain nameless to save face) got his goose cooked a couple of Thanksgivings ago. A friend of his went goose hunting and bagged one. He decided he would give the goose to his deputy friend to cook for Thanksgiving. This county employee had a real nice cooker and placed the goose in the cooker along with water in the pan. He let the goose cook about 6 or 7 hours, but didn’t know he was suppose too regularly add water to the pan. Hours later, here is what a person might call one really cooked goose?

“In 1978 Ardmore had a large train wreck in the general area of the Yamaha dealership. The entire neighborhood had to be evacuated because of toxic fumes escaping from one of the cars.”

“On your list of used to be’s… how about a product called Rosebud salve? I used to sell it when I was a kid and won a lot of great prizes.”

“In Sulphur, we have a city park across from the City Hall that is decorated as the “Avenue of the Angels.” The angels are purchased by local citizens and dedicated to loved ones who have died. The centerpiece of the display is the largest lighted angel in Oklahoma.”

A reader sent me email this week asking which tree at the courthouse had the best pecans. From Leland McDaniel’s research, he said it is the Success pecan tree in the NW corner of the property.

This week I was walking into the supermarket and a man and his wife were just a few steps ahead of me. At the cart holding area he grabbed the shopping cart and jerked it around and snapped something at this wife, I wasn’t sure what he said but I know it was not good. A little while later I ran into them again at the dairy case. This couple was probably in their forties. She had picked up a can of biscuits and asked him something. He grabbed it from her hand, let out a few more derogatory words, and threw the biscuit can back and grabbed another brand. Why I am telling this story is because this is the Christmas Season. It’s a time when people should be the happiest. A time of song and eating and gifts and love and peace. Say something good to someone you love. Let peace start within and share it.

“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” —Dalai Lama

See everyone next Thursday!

Butch and Jill Bridges
Ardmore, OK