William Shakespeare move over, I am now an instant poet.
“ChatGPT, write me a poem about Ardmore, Oklahoma.” -Butch Bridges
by Butch Bridges, poet extraordinaire
In Ardmore, Oklahoma, The sky seems wider than wide,
Rolling hills stretch out before you, In a landscape that’s hard to hide.
The town itself is charming, With its Main Street full of life,
You’ll find friendly folks and good eats, And a sense of community that’s rife.
There’s the Heritage Hall Museum, Where history comes to life,
And the Lake Murray State Park, Where nature reigns supreme and strife.
From the tranquil Chickasaw National Recreation Area,
To the adrenaline-pumping Hardy Murphy Coliseum,
Ardmore has something for everyone,
No matter their interests, age, or whim.
So come visit Ardmore, Oklahoma, You won’t regret the trip,
For its beauty, charm, and friendly folks, Will surely leave you feeling hip.
Nice. But here’s the problem folks. None of you know if today’s newsletter was written by me or by ChatGPT. lol
The two photos below were taken this week of the walk through underpass in downtown Paoli, Oklahoma on Highway 77. It allowed pedestrians to safely cross under Highway 77 to the other side.
I have been doing research on the Stobtown Baptist church and its origination date. Haven’t found much, yet. Stobtown (actually spelled Stob Town) is located 5 miles north of Lone Grove on Meridian Road. For the life of me I could find no mention of Stob Town in the newspaper archives before 1934. It never had a U.S. post office. Maybe someone remembers when the Stob Town Freewill Baptist church was formed years ago?
HAM Radio Talk
Below is the contacts I’ve made the past week on HAM radio use Echolink on my computer. The last 3 weeks I’ve been having fun logging in with my HAM callsign into the website in Hawaii hamcam1.net
The site connects HAMs along with video using their camera (must have camera) so we all see each other live. Sometimes there’s as many as 12 of us HAMs only at once from all over the world in 12 little squares on the screen, but mostly the U.S. It’s only daily from 12 noon to 2pm Centra daylight time. It’s really been fun.
https://www.konaweb.com/hamcam/ on Channel 1
214. 03/15/23 9:45pm VK6BQQ Reg in Jandakot, Australia (eQSL)
215. 03/17/23 7:30pm AE0TO Ryan in Clinton, MO (n)
216. 03/18/23 9:00pm KC1SJS Allen in Abington, MA (n)
217. 03/19/23 9:15am IW0GYT “Fab” near Rome, Italy (eQSL)
218. 03/21/23 9:45am G0OGP Chris in Stockport, England (n)
Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG….
Hello Butch, I’m still enjoying your weekly T&T Newsletter. Thanks for sending it each week.
Your article on the history of the Hamburger Inn owned originally by Earnest Brown sparked my memory.
I met Mr. Brown sometime around 1978-79 while attending a Bible Conference at the old First Orthodox Baptist Church right up the street from the Hamburger Inn.
(We did eat there one day during the conference)
The church had a Bible College in the 50’s & 60’s and graduated quite a few men who had very successful ministries.
Mr. & Mrs. Brown were members of that church for years and there were a lot of stories of how they were very generous to many of the students and their families.
Many of the students of the college/seminary were married with children and the Brown’s treated them with hamburgers on a regular basis I understand.
It was my understanding Mr. Brown was not wealthy rich, but was well off and shared his good fortune with the church and many others who attended the college/seminary. -Jerry Summy
No post office, and depending on where you live in Zaneis, you could have a Wilson, Ringling, or Healdton mailing address. I’ll also share some cool history about Zaneis. In 1921, when Zaneis first opened, it had over 400 kids enrolled. Most were from Wirt and the surrounding oilfield communities. They even played Ardmore in sports at that time. The first year, they didn’t have a gym built, so they played all the home basketball games outside. They also had a fire truck, but it was of the horse drawn kind! One of the best known athletes to graduate from Zaneis was a man named Cecil Hankins. He graduated in 1940. He played college basketball and football for OSU (Oklahoma A&M) winning national championships in both sports. He then went on to play for the St. Lous Bombers and the Boston Celtics. The last 12th grade graduating class was 1968. However, it it is still a thriving k-8th school to this day. My family’s homeplace in Zaneis, where we still live, was built in 1921, the same year the school was built. No official post office, but still really cool history! -Joni Williams Phelps
Things Forgotten – town of the day is Mill Creek in Johnston county.
The first location of Mill Creek was founded in 1852, with the post office known as Mineral Hill and was located in the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory. In 1855 a Treaty of Seperation was signed by the Choctaw and Chickasaw which led to the formation of the Chickasaw Nation on MArch 4, 1856, in which Mineral Hill now lay. Also in 1855, Cyrus Harris, originally from Mississippi settled in the Mineral Hill area. Harris would become the first governor of the Chickasaw Nation. He was reelected four more times to the position.
Harris built a large grist mill near town and in 1859 the name changed from Mineral Hill to Harris Mill in his honor. His land also served as a stagecoach stop for those travelling towards Forts Arbuckle and Sill.
In 1879 the Post Office Department officially changed the name to Mill Creek.
In 1891, Harris’ daughter Amanda married Felix Penner, the son of German immigrants, who had a successful ranch operation in Texas and expanded it into the Mill Creek area. It eventually encompasses around 11,000 acres including some in Murray county. The Penner Ranch introduced Angus cattle to the region in 1912. Through all the years the ranch has survived droughts, a devastating tornado and bad economies and is still active today.
In 1900/1901 the St Louis, Oklahoma and Southern Railroad (later purchased by the St Louis and San Francisco Railroad (more commonly known as the Frisco Railroad) laid tracks in the area. However, they are about three miles east of the town sight, so as was a common occurrence in those times, people and businesses moved to the new railroad sight.
With the railroad, Mill Creek became one of the largest shipping points for cattle in the region. This also led to an influx of bootleggers and other ne’er do wells, which wasn’t uncommon at the time.
In 1901 the towns population stood at around 600 and there were many business, including a bank, hotel, six general merchandise stores, two grocery stores, a blacksmith, livery, cotton gin, four doctors ans several other retail establishments, apparently including two saloons, although alcohol was illegal in Indian Territory at that time.
In December of 1901 incorporation was approved for Mill Creek, which was officially incorporated in 1902.
In 1907 Felix Penner opened a bank in Mill Creek which his son Charles ran until 1943. At Statehood in 1907 the towns population peaked at 644.
In 1911 the town had three banks. Mill Creek has been served by five newspapers over the years, The Mill Creek Times, Herald, Courier and News as well as the Oklahoma Standard.
The towns population saw a gradual decline after 1920 as people moved away for various reasons, especially during the war years of the ’40’s as people moved to larger cities to help in the war effort, By 1950 the population had dropped to 299, but increased gradually, peaking at 430 in 1980 before slowly dropping to around 320 today. Penners bank was the last bank in town to close, as stated earlier, in 1943. There was still a cotton gin, blacksmith, garage and several other retail shops and gas stations in 1946.
-from Things Forgotten page on Facebook
Below is from my Vol 4, Issue 153 March 25, 2000 newsletter:
I received a lot of email this week about “the man with a beard who rode the bicycle”. He was Coleman Jones and I remember him well. Years ago I had bought my first new car….. a 1971 Buick Skylark. Boy, I loved that car. It had a 350 V-8 engine and would do over a hundred miles an hour! Not like so many whimpy cars of today. A couple years later I had been to a meeting one evening at the Convention Center in Oklahoma City, and while my car was parked there, someone stole the tag. I had to get another tag a couple days later. So, I decided to place it on the back window, inside, instead of on the back of the car, beneath the bumper. A few weeks later I had my car parked in front of my house on E Street NW, and Coleman Jones came by riding his bike. He looked and thought I didn’t have a car tag. So he stops, knocks on my frontdoor, and says, “Sir, did you know you don’t have a car tag?” I explained what happened and the tag was behind the back glass. He looked and said, “well I’ll be, you do don’t you?”. That was one of my few experiences with Mr. Coleman Jones.
The Daily Ardmoreite October 9, 1977 By Rusty Lang
Recluse Yields to Interview – Disavows Unrequited Love Tale He could have lived at any place at any time and from the stories that go around about him you would believe he has. There are probably a multitude of stories hidden behind Coleman Jones’ gnarled white beard that he thinks is just easier to let grow than to shave off. Same goes for his old patched clothes and bicycle. Coleman says he doesn’t have any need to dress or act for society, though at one time he had.
Coleman Jones, Ardmore’s man-myth, isn’t really that different – more than likely every town has someone a little like him. An old man or woman people invent all kinds of stories about. He could be an eccentric hermit who keeps millions of dollars buried in cans in his backyard. Or an unkempt old lady who lives with cats or dogs and all of the children say is a witch. A storybook ogree or a benevolent Kris Kringle, depending only on how far one’s imagination can stretch. Coleman says those stories about him aren’t true, but his blue aged eyes, shining with life’s experiences, seem mischievously to contradict his denial of the rumors. “I hear stories all the time”, said Coleman, parking his bicycle by the broken-slatted front porch of the once stately house where he was born. The house now so overgrown with bushes it appears to be abandoned. “A youngster about 8 or 9 came by the other day and began telling me things about myself. It was right interesting”, he said, beginning a rare interview possibly meant to dispel the legends.
Probably the most widely told story is that the man, now 72, was a Harvard law student, who after being jilted by a beautiful woman, became a recluse. He supposedly walked every day to the post office and mailed a letter to his lover at precisely the same time. The woman never married him though, and Coleman himself has never married anyone. “I don’t know where they dug that one up – that I have a hermit lifestyle because of unrequited love. There is nothing to that but imagination”, said Coleman, shaking tobacco from a cotton pouch onto a slightly crumpled cigarette paper. The soft voice and wide vocabulary of the man, however, are echoes of his eastern schooling and he admits he did attend Dartmouth and study engineering.
Though born in Ardmore and reared as the step-son of Charles Carter, congressman and descendant of the county’s namesake, Coleman says he was bounced across the country as a child, beginning his widely-varied life. He was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force for 15 years in the weather services. He was also a pilot for several aircraft companies and flying services. He has held many technical positions he prefers to leave as vague memories. “I’ve done many forms of work in many parts of the country. I have never stayed in one place too long”, he said, sealing, then lighting his hand rolled cigarette. Coleman is still consistent in liking to be on the move.
Ardmoreites can see him almost anytime, solitarily riding his bicycle, pronounced bi-cycle across town even as the scorching southern Oklahoma sun bleaches his beard even whiter. His basket is full of rags or bottles. He won’t say exactly what he does all day, but admits he helps out friends and neighbors with errands, chores around the house or yard, or buying groceries. “I like to do anything I can to help people out”, he said, carefully dusting the ashes from his cigarette. His chambray shirt is worn, but carefully patched and his khaki pants held up by suspenders. This summer’s straw hat will soon be replaced by a wool stocking cap or maybe a bandana until its winter. “I know people think I’m a peculiar looking creature”, he said with a laugh.
But the old man still carries his tall frame with dignity and his scruffy appearance can’t hide a once-handsome face, now weathered and lined. The man, intelligent, educated, and from all accounts probably once very wealthy could have been anything he chose. Why then has he rejected the trappings of conventional society? A very practical answer lies behind all these seemingly strange things, according to the old man. He rides a bicycle to stay active. “Once upon a time I could walk from here to Main Street in 12 minutes. I can’t do that now so I ride this thing”, he says of his old Schwinn which has a special strap across the basket for his cane. “I think I need only the bare necessities”, he said. “I’ve never had any want or desires for anything you might call luxuries.” Re-lighting what is left of his cigarette with a Zippo lighter, Coleman makes one wonder how his whole beard keeps from going up in flames. “That has been a point of interest to many people,” he jokes. “They expect the whole conflagration to go up at any minute.”
Coleman says during his lifetime he has had a full beard three times. “I used to shave with an electric razor, but it was rather inconvenient. I thought confound it, I’m going to quit this, so I did.” Haircuts kept getting more and more expensive so Coleman eliminated those too from the military pension budget he says he lives on. “I’m old enough and contrary enough to know I don’t need to dress for business appearances, so escribe himself, Coleman says the image of him as a hermit is especially wrong. “I couldn’t be with as many people as I know. All the old bunch has passed away, but I still keep in touch with their families.” Since Coleman’s father died when he was only three, he says he learned of death early. Still he grows a little melancholy as a funeral procession passes his house and he mentions names many people have heard only in the obituary pages. “This hot spell nearly got me,” Coleman said, once again mounting his chrome-lated Schwinn. “I tried to get the doctor to tell him I’ve got a heart problem, but he wouldn’t do it.” True to his philosophy of living each day as it comes, Coleman reminds himself that he can’t just sit in a rocker and pat his foot. He’s got to be on the move. And with a kind parting word, the man peddles off for some unknown destination. The rumors denied, but the mystery still intact.
“Thanks to Bill and Boots Hamm the mystery of Lewos Denver “Dude” Rickey buried on the Goddard Ranch has been solved. I am a Rickey descendent so of course the paragraph caught my eye. “The Hunt Began”. The only info the Rickey Family Tree had was his birth in Portsmouth, Ohio. Bill Hamm researched him at the Library, then at the funeral home. Boots did all of the neccessary scanning and pc activity. He apparently was a prominent citizen, as the Governor came for his funeral. L.D. “Dude” was a first cousin to the well known baseball legend Branch Rickey. It seems “Dude” left Ohio in 1906 and never looked back. His passion for the Ardmore area was very strong. He his buried on the Goddard Ranch by his own request as is his horse Little Joe. The researcher of the Rickey Family asked me to send you and the Hamms his gratitude and appreciation for all the information he received. I thank you also!!!!!”
The Daily Ardmoreite, June 24, 1947
***Ardmore never had a man who lived more in the affections of its people than the late L.D. RICKEY who served Oklahoma as game and fish warden. When Rickey died, his friend, CHARLES B. GODDARD, buried his body on Goddard’s wild life ranch. He had talked the question over with Rickey. Now since the state has built highway 18 through the Goddard place, the grave is near the highway.
***The road through the Goddard Paddle G Ranch has been a long time under construction. One of the hills, a part of the Arbuckles, had to be leveled and workmen were delayed by a spring of water. The flow was so heavy that some means had to be found to control the water before a highway could be built. As a final analysis of the puzzling situation a pipe was buried underground large enough to convey the water to the spring and the stream was directed clear of the highway so it cannot soften and ruin the roadbed.
When the Carter County courthouse was built in 1910, the builders inscribed some famous quotes above each of the 3 entrances. The problem was a person could never read them during daylight. The only way to read what was inscribed above each door in the granite stone, was to go there at night, stand under the entrance, and shine a flashlight up, causing a shadowing of the lettering. About three weeks ago I decided to darken the lettering to make them readable using Lithichome paint. Here is one of those quotes by Seneca.
Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. -Robert H. Schuller
See everyone next week!
Butch and Jill Bridges