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Home of the This and That Newsletters

Vol 28 Issue 1,418 April 4, 2024

Looks like there will be too many clouds next Monday th 8th to see the eclipse in Ardmore. I sure wanted to view it, but I guess it’s not to be. I even bought a pair of solar eclipse glasses at the local walmart. I wonder if I can get a refund if its cloudy Monday? Lowes sold out right after I bought mine.

Above is a building at 410 3rd Northeast. I passed it many times growing up on 3rd NE but for the life of me I do not remember what the building was used for. Someone said it was a cold storage building? I do know in the 1960s the State of Oklahoma had a welfare office there as a distribution point where welfare recipients picked up their commodities including my great grandmother. It was later moved to the south side of the Hardy Murphy Coliseum. Police had to be called in one Saturday when the crowd got unruly. Do any old timers remember what the above building housed years ago? For some reason the words Fibre Reduction comes to my mind? Yet more recently Fibre Reduction was located south of Farmers Market on Mill Street. The above pictured has been sittng empty for many years next to the railroad tracks.

Belva Shelton sent in a couple photos of the Hickory Hills Baptist Church bell at Fittstown (south of Ada). I had photos from 2001 when the bell was straight upright, now its leaning over. 🙁 Hopefully someone will fix it.

I’ve been able to connect about 12 people with their unclaimed property the past week. One account was $10,000 and the person did not even know it was in OKC waiting for him to claim. Another account was a lot of dough for the family of an ex-sheriff here in Ardmore. I’ve had many hobbies over the year, but I enjoy this the most, helping people in these crazy economic times. If you’ve not checked for unclaimed money, just go to the link below


From the Mailbag

Regarding Coatsworth.
Hi Butch, My grandmother (Lulu Walden) first lived in Coatsworth with her parents Cordie and Mattie Walden and their growing family after they moved to Oklahoma from Mississippi. Sometime in the late 1890’s, they settled somewhere along the Coatsworth Rd between Bromide and Connerville, Oklahoma. Cordie apparently was an ambitious individual and first gave their community the name of “Who’d a Thought It”; it appears that was not acceptable so they changed the name to Coatsworth and Cordie became the first and last US Postal Service officer. He also established a black smith shop, dry goods store and other interests, it appears Coatsworth could not compete with Bromide and other small communities. My grandmother Lulu left Coatsworth in about 1905 when she married my grandfather Tom Epperson and they relocated to the bustling community of Bromide. Between a hobby of Ancestry.com and queries to family members plus a trip through the area several years ago, I have been unable to locate the exact site of old Coatsworth but I believe it was located somewhere just to the west of Camp Simpson along the Coatsworth Road. All best regards for your efforts with T&T, -Ed Pope

I was given a link to your history site by Cassandra Normile, Curator, at the Greater Southwest Historical Museum as part of some information she sent me about Bud Ballew. I contacted her to find what information she had on Bud, because I am related to him. Bud was my 1st cousin 3 times removed.  The really odd thing is that in the photo of him and the sheriff, where bud is wearing the huge hat, he is about 40 years old and looks a lot like I did when I was that age. Except I don’t wear a hat like that.

During Covid, I had the time to research my family a lot more than before. One of my ancestors I discovered enlisted in the Confederate Army at a Post Office in North Texas. Having grown up in North Texas, Gainesville actually, I’d never heard of the town where the post office was located. I couldn’t find much on the Internet, so I did a search for my ancestor on Google Books. The genealogy you mentioned that is in the Bud Ballew book included my ancestor. I had never heard of Bud Ballew, which is odd since Ardmore is pretty close to Gainesville. I bought a copy of the book, it was pretty interesting.

I would appreciate any information you have on Bud, I have a lot of the info available online, including the articles I found written in The NY Times newspaper and the book. Are people in Ardmore generally aware of him?

Also, I like mystery and crime novels. I finally got around to Tony Hillerman. I wasn’t aware he was from Oklahoma. His autobiography was interesting. He grew up in  Pottamatomie County, near where my mother and her brother and sister grew up, in Asher. I had an uncle that was the same age as Hillerman, they grew up a few miles apart in a rural area, they might have met. Also, Hillerman served in the US Army during WW2 and was stationed at one time at Camp Howze in Gainesville. That base was very close to the Red River. My great aunt lived in the first house on old Highway 77 North of the river, just a bit off Interstate 35, and operated a tavern there that my guess was very popular with the solders at Camp Howze. She might have met Hillerman, but a family story is that Bob Wills of Western Swing fame, was hit a few times with a broom when she found him passed out in her yard.  -Randy Lea dogzilla100@gmail.com

100 Photos of the Wild West – a 15 minute video

HAM Talk by KC5JVT via Echolink

For over a couple years I’ve been a member of a HAM video conference group. Its held everyday at 10:00am Oklahoma time and last until about 11am or so. This week we had almost a record HAMs log in on Tuesday 2nd. KonaBob (AH6GT) in Hawaii is the Net controller and founder. Any licensed HAM is welcome to join in, it’s lot of fun SEEING and talking to people all over the world, mostly the U.S. and Europe.

The link below will take you to a login screen using the internet, just enter your HAM Call Sign and click on HAMCAM1 on the left side of your screen to enter. KonBob will check you’re a current HAM and allow you in with the group.


Below is the HAM logins to last Sunday’s Net of local HAMs on 970 Net.

Don’t forget the local HAMs hold a Net every Sunday evening at 8:00pm. Any licensed HAM is encouraged to join in the conversation.

Below is from my newsletter dated
March 31, 2001 – Issue 206

Last September I told about the Heartland Share program operating in Ardmore and that anyone was eligible to buy “shares” and take part in this wonderful service. The only thing the program asks in return is you do 2 hours of some kind of community service per month. The program started in 1983 and is already established in many states with distribution points in cities all across America. If you want to help bring the Heartland Share Program to your area, or if you or someone you know can be helped by just such a program, you can find out more at their website. If you live in the Ardmore area you can call 580-223-5287 for more information. At the Share website you can learn much more about the program, find the nearest distribution site (there are over 100 in Oklahoma alone now), and even find out what food items will be in next month’s Share.

Here is a list of food items I received Saturday March 24th for $17.15

Breaded Chicken Breast Filets – 1 LB. Pork Steak Filets – 1 LB. Pollock Fish Filets – 1 LB. Boston Meat Loaf – 28 OZ. Lean Ground Beef – 1 LB. Salad Mix. Potatoes – 1 bag or 8. Carrots – 1 LB. Cauliflower – 1 head. Radishes – 8 OZ. Oranges – 4. Pink Lady Apples – 4. Texas Grapefruit – 2. Bananas – 5. Chocolate Swirl Pudding – Snack Pack.

Below are volunteers unloading the Heartland Share truck that pulled up behind St Marys Catholic Church at 9:50am Saturday March 24, 2001.

“Hi Butch, Regarding the article about Fairview school in Murray county and the dinky steam train. I called my mother, who will be seventy four in a few days this year and asked her if there was ever a train that ran between Davis and Sulphur. For I am fifty six now, and never heard of it. She was born just west up the hill from Sandy creek bridge, directly south across the hi-way and cross the railroad tracks, from Midway Grocery Store. The old house she was born in, was torn down or moved and new house built there. At around the age of 8 to 10, she remembers the steam train of about three to four freight cars, traveled at about the speed as her father’s T-Model truck, but would eventually gain ahead of you. She remembers the train whistle, as she road in her father’s T-Model truck, the engineer would blow the whistle for you, which all the kids, bout five of them, riding on the back of the flat bed truck, enjoyed immensely. She remembers the tracks use to be where the Arbuckle Hospital is now. She said if you look at the south side of the hi-way 7, you might can still see the grade here and there, that the tracks were on. Her memory gets a bit fuzzy, but she thinks the tracks went across Rock Creek, past the Sulphur High School, to a cotton gin, later the Farmer’s Co-op feed store. She can not remember the route the tracks took to get to the gin from the west side of Sulphur, maybe someone else might remember.”

“She remembers the Fairview School, tho she did not attend it, she said she took me to church there one Sunday. Her father moved near the old school around 1944, then she married and I came along. While my Dad was off to war, she said she had taken me to church there in 1946. Her younger brother and sisters were going to school when her father moved near the school building in/about 1944. She said they had a choice of going to Fairview School, but did not want to, instead, elected to ride the school bus to Davis school. She does not remember when it burnt, but remembers talk about it.”

“Hi Butch, After Fairview School burned down, about 1937/38, I skipped second grade, and my family moved to the big city (Sulphur), where I attended Washington School for third and fourth grades. My best buddy was a red headed kid, a lot like Mayberry’s Opie, whose family later moved to Ardmore. His stepfather, Fount Dustin was killed in a refinery explosion in/near Ardmore in the early forties. My friend, Jack Moorehead, went to high school in Ardmore, joined the navy, and after his discharge went to O.S.U. ( I believe ) and got a degree in journalism. That little redheaded kid is now, and has been for several years, the owner/editor/publisher of California’s oldest running newspaper, The Grass Valley Union, and last I heard is doing great. Maybe his highschool classmates (class of 47) would be interested in this little bit of info.” Regards, -Bob Elliston

“Butch, That Freedom Train was a traveling museum that went from town to town. It contained, as the brochure stated, copies of 100 of the documents we associate with our freedom: The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, etc. There have been a few of those trains since then, too.” -Donna Boyd in windy Culpeper, Va.

“Butch: We got something started here in Guthrie because of the bell at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church. The Knights of Columbus are planning to clean the bell and inside the tower so the writing can possibly be read and translated. Maybe I’ll force myself to climb up there when this happens. The bell is dated 1890. The wheel that the rope turns to ring the bell is made of wood rather than metal. Perhaps with a good cleaning we can find more information about it. The bell was placed in the original church in 1890. When the new church was built in 1920, the bell was installed in it. Until the bell was installed, the church used a much smaller bell that was given to us (the church, not ‘us’) by one of the railroads. Right now I don’t know which, but supposedly the bell is still in the church or school someplace. I’m on a hunting expedition to find it now.” -Bud Caudle

“Butch, I was visiting with an older gentleman friend of ours here in Tulsa. He related that his father used to work for a company owner by a Mister George Strawn (Straughn) of Ardmore. He recounted about coming to Ardmore as a young boy and staying at Mr. Stawn’s home, an 8 bedroom house with servant’s quarters. Growing up in Ardmore from 1940 on, I don’t remember or know what house that would have been. This gentleman friend is probably about 80 right now. Can you shed any light on this.”

“Hi Butch, It is one of my greatest pleasures to relay little bell stories. No 1 Story When i was 6 yrs old our grade school had a large bell on the roof of that school covered with an open belfry . I used to go right before end of recess upon a hill that looked down over the school. I would eagerly await to see the bell start to swing. Just the lower part of this bell showed. It would flip a bit from side to side and was black.. I would holler to the other kids before the clapper would start hitting the bell as it swung. This was my first fascination with bells. My dad made me a bell out of a old hubcap and used a big nut to use as a clapper. It rang and i played with it a lot. No 2 Story Years passed and i was 13 and there was this old abandoned AME Church I used to go in there and climb up this dangerous old latter into the tower room and there before me was a huge bronze fancy wheeled St Louis bell 36 inches across. It had a tolling hammer and i used to pull the hammer but very lightly because i would get punished if my parents found out. It had a wonderful tone. Later it was stolen one night and never recovered. Its whel was embossed with vines and flower art work. Story 3 My dad and mom bought me a 20 inch cs bell co bell and i put it in my yard. Now its in my tower here on a building. I recently purchased a rare bell. It is a bell with Ronald Reagan`s face on it. It is a commertave bell made back in the eighties. I would guess it may now be worth a fortune It is 13 inches wide and swings and is made of aluminum alloy. Painted black. The largest bell of iron i have is… Ross Meehan no 22 complete with stands ( ornate ) and ornate wheel too.It has a sweet shrill sound. Story 4…… Our church now has the school bell i mentioned out on the lawn mounted on brick platform.They have a 34 inch bell that is cracked in their bell tower too and as you know, a cracked bell sounds terrible. For years i wanted to fix it. The only way to improve it was to take a 7 inch grinder and grind the hair line crack out all the way through, leaving a 8th inch gap so the crack will not vibrate against itself. They let me grind it and believe me it was a nasty job but i loved it, It now goes “DONG” not perfect but it rings. It used to go…”Brink” or “CLUNK” They do not ring it a lot but sometimes they ring it. Hoped you liked my stories.” -Ron Delby

“I went to school in the old three story red brick second ward grade school from the first grade through the fourth. We were transferred to the Junior Highschool for the fifth grade, while what I still call the “new school” was being built. Hearing people speaking recently of the fire at the “old school” reminded me how old I am getting and how many years ago I graduated from our “new school”.Would love to have a picture of the old school on G street and fifth avenue northeast.” -Laura Sue Sullivan Milner

“I may have told you this before when you were writing about Cecil Button (Button’s Auto Electric), but when I saw his name again, I thought I would write to your. I really don’t remember writing it before. Anyway during WWII sometime about 1944 I was looking at patient charts….I was a Chief Pharmacist Mate in charge of the department selecting transportation of patients who their physicians wanted to send back to Hawaii for treatment or to the US for treatment or discharge. I was very popular with patients who always opted for air transportation over a slow ship, especially if going home. Another chief, not so popular was in charge of sending patients back to duty, if their health permitted. This was in Base Hospital #18, Guam Island, Marianas. Anyway, I ran across the medical chart of Cecil Button of Ardmore, Oklahoma. Can you imagine the thrill? I had to jump up right then and rush to the ward where he was a patient. We really had a great visit, reminiscing about home etc. After the war, I would always have a chat with Cecil when I had a chance, and would we visit. He was a great fellow, and I do miss him.”

“I really enjoyed the comments about Bitter Enders. Evidently there are more entrances to the cave than were thought. While growing up in Davis, we tried to explore as many of the caves in the area as possible and I remember going through the two that your reader mentioned in his response but was unaware that they were also called Bitter Enders. One of the caves east of Turner Falls proved to be tragic for a couple of explorers in the late 50’s early 60’s as they became trapped in the cave when a torrential rain came and brought the water level up to where they became disoriented. I can remember radio announcements being made that if anyone was around who had experience with the cave please go to Turner Falls and help the emergency folks on site on how the cave was designed and where they might think the trapped people might be. As it turned out, they had gone deep enough into the cave that they were using diving equipment and had become wedged into one of the narrow passage ways and could not get out before their oxygen ran out. Keep up the good work – the information you provide is extremely interesting and brings back fond and bad memories as well.”

“Butch, Haven’t talked to you lately but have enjoyed receiving T&T like everyone else. I have a question that you or one of your readers might could answer. Where was Hoxbar, OK located? The Ardmoreite newspaper article of Sept 3,1916 on the killing of “Special Officer” Oscar William Alexander on Sept 1st, states that Alexander was one of 4 “Special Officers”, including Dow Braziel that stopped a wagon load of whiskey driven by the Love brothers, “…near Hoxbar south east of this city…”. I cannot find Hoxbar on a currant map or in John Morris’s “Ghost Towns of Oklahoma” book. How far SE was it? Was it’s name changed? Any help would be appreciated. Still looking for relatives and stories of Law Enforcement Officers who were killed in the line of duty in Oklahoma, for the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial in OKlahoma City. Thanks and have a great day, -Dennis Lippe, Chairman, Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial.”

“….the old Daube Ranch South of Mill Creek, Oklahoma. It sold the ranch to TXI out of Dallas. There is one old house on the ranch that you might be interested in researching. It’s called the Dodson House. I don’t think you can get there until the ground dries out a bit. But this old house is built next to a spring. Whoever Mr. Dodson was, he was quite creative and inventive. He build a custom water wheel out of a car differential to pump water into the rest of his house, but he built a flume direct from the spring which runs through the kitchen area of the house.”

“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Butch and Jill Bridges
Ardmore, Oklahoma