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Vol 28 Issue 1,417 March 28, 2024

Tommy Whiteman (Ft Worth) and I went history hunting Saturday. Tommy may be one of the foremost authority on Choctaw/Chickasaw history. He took me to Dr. Thomas Howell’s grave at I-35 and Highway 7 (Davis OK). Dr. Howell is one of Tommy’s ancestors. I have lots more to share, and will over the next few days.


Another cemetery Tommy and I visited last Saturday was about 10 miles south of Sulphur, the Drake cemetery. We were doing some research on Cyrus Harris, the five-term governor of the Chickasaw Nation. Cyrus Harris was born near Pontotoc, Mississippi, on August 22, 1817. While at the Drake cemetery we saw the memorial on the Williams family. Below is the newspaper clipping on their death.

The Davis News – Davis, Oklahoma
Thursday June 7, 1917

Five Killed in Cyclone at Drake, Oklahoma……

….leaving death and destruction in its wake, a cyclone visited the southern part of this county last Friday afternoon. In the little inland town of Drake five members of one family were killed. W A Williams, Mrs williams, their daughters, Emma and Rebecca, aged 17 and 13, and their son Robert, aged 11 years. Another son, Bart, aged 22, was badly injured

The cyclone was seen to form east of Dougherty by a number of citizens of that vicinity, who watched it as it dipped to earth and then rose again. Citizens of Drake saw it coming and made their way quickly to storm cellars. The children of the Drake School were at the school building practicing for an entertainment when the teachers, A W Gentry and Miss Elizabeth Hendricks, saw the approaching cloud and marched the children to the school cellar and thus saved their lives. The school building was completely demolished and the homes of W A Williams and his son Floyd Williams and A A Aldrich were also swept away. Trees were uprooted, fences blown down and some livestock killed.

The Williams family, victims of the storm, were buried in a single grave Saturday afternoon, Reverend H Capers of Dougherty conducted the funeral service.

The death of the five members of the Williams family by cyclone recalls the fact that a cyclone passed 3 miles east of Davis on March 24th last year and killed eight members of a Edmonds family.

From the Mailbag

“Saw your post about the Loves Valley Cemetery and the Love Cemetery. In case you don’t know already, there is a Cemetrry just south of the Love Cemetery. The last time I was there it was grown up with trees and brush so badly you couldn’t see it until you were right on it. I actually found it while quail hunting one day. There’s a little flicker in the back of my mind saying this may be named REED Cemetery. Maybe. Just found it. Reid-Cross Cemetery. It’s 200 yards south of the Love Cemetary. That little flicker was enough of a lead!” -Roger


HAM Talk by KC5JVT via Echolink

Local HAMs set a record last Sunday night with 12 check-ins. Hope to see more HAMs checking in this coming Sunday night at 8pm.

Below is from my newsletter dated
March 24, 2001 – Issue 205

Ardmoreite Charles Champion II (1928-2010) came by my house last week with a surprise. It was an almost perfect pair of mounted deer antlers to give me. I decided it would look great by my front door.

Charles II is the son of Charles N. Champion (1905-1955) a District Judge here in Ardmore from 1918 to 1922. His grandfather was Thomas W. Champion (1878-1962) a U.S. District Attorney at Muskogee many years ago before moving to Ardmore around 1906. His grandfather, Thomas Champion, was the defense attorney for probably the most sensational murder trial in Ardmore. The case took place in November 1920 when Clara Smith Hamon, reportedly shot her lover, Ardmore oil millionaire Jake Hamon. Hamon later died from his wound. The shooting was reported in newspapers all across the country as Jake Hamon was slated for a post in President Harding’s Cabinet.

“Hi Butch, I noticed one of the emails this week referred to Bitter Enders Cave. I went in that cave New Years day of 1958. I remember it in a different location though. We left highway 77 just south of the Mountain with the Microwave towers just south of Turner Falls. Straight West about 5 miles where Honey Creek gets a lot of its water is from Bitter Enders Cave. Water comes out of the ground pretty forceful. There are two entrances to the cave. One is just above the stream and the other is farther up the mountain down a shaft like a dug well. Or at least that was the way I remembered it in 1958. I was with a guy named Jerry Robinson. I don’t think we told anyone we were going up there. I can tell you that it was an experience. I agree there are a lot of things there that most people can’t imagine.”

“Well I finally talked myself into pleading guilty to burning drip gasoline when I was in school. I couldn’t have owned and driven two cars in my senior year without it. My dad pumped in the oil field south of Lone Grove. He had quite a setup at the end of the line from the heater or separator. He had his barrels buried in the ground. He would turn the heater up and build pressure in them and force the drip out his loading line into a barrel on his pickup. We always had 6 or 7 barrels under the trees out from the house. I didn’t mind the free oil that I used in one of the oil burners from the service stations used oil catch. Summer time was a little more difficult since it didn’t burn very well due to vapor locking of the fuel pumps. Some guys thought they were stealing some drip one night and got a barrel of tre-ol-lite. My dad was washing the barrel out with drip and was called to the battery tanks by the gauger. He didn’t think anything about it until the next morning when he missed the barrel. I hope that it didn’t stick the valves in their engines.”

“Butch, Back in 1955, I received the first Music Achievement Award that the Ardmore Philharmonic ever gave. (It’s also the first (and last) award I ever got). A few years ago, I had the brain storm of donating the award medallion back to the Philharmonic organization and set about trying to find someone who might know who I could contact. I didn’t come up with anyone and dropped my search. Three weeks ago, I heard of your e-column and subscribed. I am really enjoying it. It gave me renewed desire to donate my medallion back to Ardmore. I was hoping you might have an idea who I might contact. I grew up in Ardmore, moved around the country a lot and became “A born-again Okie” in 1992. I would appreciate your help. Thanks in advance.” -Judy Ott Chappell (1940-2018)

“Butch have you checked out the round barn east of 177 between the Scullin Y & Hickory?? Some one else will have to give you better directions than I can. The story that I was told as a kid was that it was built by German POW’s. I remember it set close to the side road, but can’t remember what road.”

“Sir: Have you ever heard of Wolf Creek in the Thackerville, Oklahoma area? I’d like to have directions to this area….can you help me? Thank you!”

I would like to be included on your list to receive This & That.! I grew up in Ardmore born in 1961 and left in 1981 to join the US Air Force. I am a Crew Chief on C130’s currently stationed at the old Carswell AFB in Ft. Worth. If any others out there might have info about the Flying horseman I would love to see them… I enjoyed the small site about the elite C-130 flying unit. Thanks for everything you do.” Joe Bob Ritter. AHS class of 1980

“You must love bells as much as I do I own a school style building complete with belfry and bell. I own about 15 bells similar to the pics you have and on new years eve, we ring them all.I have found a couple on ebay auction. Ever go to ebay.com and punch in church bell, school bell or farm bell? I lov to correspond with folks who love bells as well as i. Sincerely Ron Delby in Illinois
PS I have a little foundry here in my yard and sometimes i make bells. Your pics are great!!!!!!”

“I finally got a younger man who evidently likes to climb up extremely high ladders. He went all the way up to the bell after church yesterday and took these pictures at the Catholic church in Guthrie, Oklahoma.”

“Hi Butch, Sure enjoyed reading last weeks T&T. Do any of your subscribers/buddies remember the old Fairview School, located about halfway between Davis and Sulphur, about 1 1/2 miles south of Bob Miller’s store on the highway? In about 1937/38, I started in the first grade there, before it burned down. It had two rooms, 1st thru 8th grades, and had 2 outhouses, a hand-pump for drinking water, and each room had a big potbellied wood burning stove. My teacher was Mrs. Fisher, and the other teacher and principal was Pete Vander Slice. Somewhere I have a school photo, and I’ll send it to you if/when I find it. And does anyone remember the Dinky Train that used to run between Davis and Sulphur; a little steam engine, but that engineer sure could make that whistle sound blue.”

“My father, Lt. Cmdr (Ret) James L. Chandler was a pilot with American Flyers in April 1966. I was only 10 years old at the time of the crash but I vividly remember that night. My father, my sister Katie, my brother Tim, and 3 friends of my sister’s and I had all gone to see the “Ghost and Mr. Chicken” at the theater in downtown Ardmore. On our return to our house on Cherry St., we could see the doors to both our house and our neighbor’s house open. My mom and our next door neighbor, who’s husband, Richard Maynard, also worked for the airline as a pilot, were running back and forth to each other. My mom was hysterical and told us the news. Needless to say, the rest of the evening took on a dire tone. I realize now that for the rest of my Dad’s career, everytime any TV report of a plane crash occurred, it brought on the most vivid fears. The next morning my father and I attempted to drive to the site, we were turned away by the authorities. I distinctly remember the weather that morning, it was still foggy, cold and rainy. It seemed appropriate for the time and the circumstance. I was an altar boy at St. Mary’s Catholic church, and had to participate in what was my first funeral 3 days later for Anthony Pica. My parents went to 4 funerals that day. I remember how emotional the funeral was, especially graveside, it was horrible, as a young boy I’d never witnessed death and loss and I’ve never forgotten Anthony’s mother that day. My parents are both still around and I just spoke to them, and to this day, Dad doesn’t really like to talk about the accident. He left American Flyers within 3 months after the crash and went on to work for Capitol International Airlines, from which he retired in 1980. They both live in Brentwood Tennessee, right outside Nashville. If anyone remembers them and would like to get in touch with them you can reach them here:”

Make no mistake, my friend, it takes more than money to make men rich. -A. P. Gouthey

Butch and Jill Bridges
Ardmore, Oklahoma