A Home Grown Home Page

Home of the This and That Newsletters

Vol 28 Issue 1,419 April 11, 2024

A Glimpse Into The Past

Wirt – The Town That Was Always Burning

The little combination justice of the peace-insurance agency office of Judge O. B. Orr in Wilson is a peaceful looking place. The judge himself has always been a peaceful man and the town of Wilson itself is peaceful.

But the tenant of this office can really relate some hair-raising accounts of things he has seen in the post if a person can find him. He’s usually at his office, the post office, the Wilson Hotel which he owns or visiting with a neighbor along Wilson’s main drag, but he moves pretty fast and is sometimes hard to catch.

The judge, everybody calls him that because he has been a justice of the peace for 24 years, came to Wirt in 1916 to work in a tailor shop. His boss, an old-timer who had been there about three weeks, immediately started telling him about all the killings taking place. The judge had been in town but half an hour when he saw a character shoot a man who was sleeping in car.

Ruinous fires were forever wiping out the business district of the lusty Rag Town, as Wirt was often called. But folks can eventually learn to adopt themselves to almost any environment. For instance, the judge tells of the time a fire was raging through the shack businesses. A gambler walked into the street and took a look. He knew the flames would eventually reach his place. “About three hours away,” he remarked as he strode leisurely into his busy casino, picked up the phone and ordered enough lumber to build a new building. Then he rounded up a crew and had them set his furnishings in the street at the last minute. Came the fire. The crew then went to work raking the coals off the lot and worked all night the throwing up the new building. The gambling hall opened at six the next morning.

Judge Orr lived through these wild days without ever getting into trouble himself. He attributes that good fortune to the fact that he did not drink or gamble and to a large amount of good luck. He doesn’t want to see the old wild, free-wheeling days again. “Prosperity just isn’t worth it.” He likes things as they are now. “Only had two fines so for this year and they were for minor offenses.”

The judge moved to Wilson in 1916 as an express agent and soon became justice of the peace. He’s happy he stayed in Carter County- and so are many many other people. -From The History of Carter County book 1957

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'JUDGE O.B.ORR o.B. O. JUDGEO.B.ORR B. ORR'

First president of the Ardmore Jaycees, William Steel 1945

September 14, 1944
The Daily Ardmoreite 

Junior Policeman Are Designated 

Nine 6th graders, duly designated and commissioned go on duty at Lincoln School Thursday in their capacity as Junior Police, it was announced by Burr Stout, principal. 

The lads were chosen on the basis of the work in school for the last weeks of their spring term of school. Requirements were that they have no grades lower than C and A or B in conduct and citizenship. 

Their appointments are for 6 weeks and may be extended if they’re averages are still up to requirements at the end of that period. Otherwise, some other sixth grader may who has made the proper showing will be placed on the force in their school in their stead. 

Hal Hall is police captain, Charles Terry is lieutenant and Charles Clough, Barry Gault, John Marshall, Bob mote, Eugene South, James Vineyard and Edward Zellner are the patrolmen. 

Their duties will be to safeguard their fellow students and to direct traffic in the vicinity of the school.

Since yesterday was Sibling Day, here is a photo I shared on my Facebook page of me and Billy Bridges at 805 3rd NE. I even had a drivers license back then!

Every now and then a talk about some computer utility I enjoy using through the years. It’s been 8 years since I talked about Privazer. The program PrivaZer, is a computer cleaner program to remove junk from the computer. I have tested it and it does remove junk that my CCleaner did not remove. I’ve used CCleaner for quite a few years and been very happy with it. I even use the cell phone app version of CCleaner on my cell phone to keep it clean from junk build-up. Never had an issue with it, works flawlessly year after year.

But PrivaZer has worked great too, and removed unneeded junk from my hard drive. It removes website URLs you’ve visited along with their cookies and tracers. If it’s privacy you want, this is the program to use.


From the Mailbag

Lone Mountain at Big Sky, Montana: It was 40 degrees today in Big Sky. First day for shorts and tee shirt doing errands. Spring is finally here. -Monroe Cameron

HAM Talk by KC5JVT via Echolink

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
April 7, 2001 – Issue 207

In October 1916 the city of Healdton, Oklahoma was visited by a young movie star by the name of Ernest L. Roberson. Raised in Healdton, Roberson’s mother and father lived at Healdton and Ernest stopped by to see them on his way to Los Angeles. Robertson played cowboy roles, and could ride anything with hair on it, so it was said. As a young lad in Healdton, he learned to speak eloquently by reciting to his mule, Old Beck. His father, Robertson and Old Beck plowed cotton fields in the Healdton area with most of the cotton being sold at $100 a bale to a mill in Wilson.

I did some searching on the internet for Ernest L. Roberson, but found nothing on a movie star by that name. Maybe someone has heard of this Healdtonite?

1904 when Oklahoma was Indian Territory….
April 13, 1904 Andrew Hanush hit by train at Durwood, IT
April 20, 1904 Joseph Suddeth of Coweta, IT blown to atoms by bomb planted in field.
April 22, 1904 John See of Healdton, Oklahoma killed by lightning
April 24, 1904 6 killed by cyclone at Prior Creek, IT and 3 Killed at Fairland, IT
May 5, 1904 William Sheffield, wife and two children slain at Valliant, IT
May 10, 1904 Contract let to Fraley Bros for $9,985 to construct a new Ardmore City Hall of brick

Someone asked me to tell where Charles Champion II creates his work of art in Western accessories. His shop is inside the McPhersons Company Store at 521 W. Broadway. Here is a couple of pics.

“Butch: In the last T&T Dennis Lippe asked where Hoxbar is located. Hoxbar was located on the Love-Carter County Line in Love County, T6N R3E Sec 6 NE 1/4. My in-laws, Bert and Mabel Paschall, owned and operated the country store and camp cabins at the SE corner of Lake Murray State Park from 1946 to 1972. Bert had a championship bird dog and boarded and trained bird dogs among other things. He and I hunted quail all over the NE corner of Love County (T6N R3E) for years. There was an old rock store on the south side of the county line in Love County which for years was owned and operated by Red Everett. It has been years since I was in that area, so the old store may not be there anymore or it may be just a pile of rocks. One way to get there is to go out the Lake Murray Drive to the extreme SE corner of the park property as though going to Enville. Only turn left, not right to Enville, and go three miles north to the county line. Turn right and go one-half mile east. The old rock store was on the right hand side in Love County. Across the road is in Carter County. The Kennedy, Harris, Chapman, Ricketts, and B.L. Owens Families all owned property in that immediate area. B.L. Owens owned a furniture store in Ardmore. I doubt that any of them are living today, though some of their heirs may be. At one time the post office operated the Hoxbar Star Route from Ardmore to Marietta which serviced the people in that area along the route. It seems I remember there was a small country post office in Red Holt’s old rock store at Hoxbar, or at least they sold stamps and would hold your mail there for the Star Route carrier to come by and pick it up. I knew that area very well thirty to fifty years ago when I was a young man. It holds a lot of good memories and good times for me. In the winter time when the tourist season was slow we spent many an evening sitting around the stove in Bert’s and Mabel’s store with the surrounding neighbors jawing about all manner of things. In the summer and fall it was work, work and more work just taking care of all the needs of the people who came to that area to boat, fish and hunt. My wife and I enjoy reading T&T especially about those things which pertain to what was our little neck of the woods back in them thar days. Thanks.” Don Davidson GRAND RANCH Brenham, Texas

“According to OKLAHOMA PLACE NAMES by George H. Shirk: HOXBAR. In Carter County, 7 miles southeast of Ardmore. A post office from October 4, 1895, to November 30, 1926. Took its name from ‘HOX,’ the cattle brand of John Washington, local rancher.”

“Butch you had a letter from a Laura Sue Sullivan Milner-(Saturday T&T 3/31/2001)-wherin she states that she would like to have a picture of the old 2nd. Ward School Bldg. in the Northeast Ardmore at G and 5th NE * See attachment for a picture of that school, scanned from the “Journal of Carter County Schools” compiled and published by Mrs Kate Galt Zanies – County Superintendent 1923.”

“Russell’s Guide for January, 1931, shows two mixed trains daily on the Santa Fe between Davis and Sulphur.
No. 305 No. 303 No. 304 No. 306
4:00 p.m. 12:30 p.m. Davis 10:00 a.m. 3:40 p.m.
4:35 p.m. 1:05 p.m. Sulphur 9:25 a.m. 3:05 p.m.
(In those days Russell’s Guide showed train schedules as well as bus schedules.)”

“More on rail service between Davis and Sulphur. “Railroads of Oklahoma,” by Preston George and Sylvan Wood, shows the line, 9.3 miles, was built in 1906.”

“Hi Butch old friend, I was pleased to see the bit about the little train that shuttled between Davis and Sulphur in the “Thirtys”. My family moved to Davis in mid winter of 1931 and operated a cafe on the south side of Main Street just 30 yards east of the “Santa Fe” Depot. The “Depression” was in full swing.and times were very hard, our family of four lived in one large room in the back of the cafe. When the fast freights came thru at night, our building would shake and rattle, but we grew accustomed to the noise and would sleep right on thru.. The railroads at that time were very busy, many freight and passenger trains passed thru Davis each day. The train crews would come into our cafe to eat at all hours of the day and night. Most of these nice train people were family men and they enjoyed teasing a small boy like myself. On one occasion, one special crew took me with them on the Sulphur run. Boy! what a thrill for a five year old boy. The engineer would lift me up so that I could reach the bell cord to ring the bell and pull the whistle lever to blow the whistle at the crossings. The rails crossed Guy Sandy Creek somewhere about where the Silver Turtle is now, and ran along the south side of highway 7 into Sulphur where it crossed the highway on a elevated crossing and ran East by Wal-mart, passing just north of the of the old “Vendome Plunge” swimming pool and on east between west Tahlequah and West Oklahoma Ave.which is only 1/2 block north of my present home. The tracks then slowly turned south and crossed Oklahoma Ave. in the West 800 block of Oklahoma Ave. Across what is now the Sulphur High School ‘s Football Field. the tracks at Broadway between Rock Creek at West Broadway Ave where the Sulphur High Schjool now stands. I am unsure of the year that this rail service was discontinued. but it was after 1938. Most probably in 1940 when the curve in Hiway 7. ( which crossed under the railroad trestle) was straightened and rerouted. That would mean the tracks were no longer there. Thanks for your weekly edition of T & T.. we enjoy it very much.” Bill Uhles

“Hi Butch! I wanted to ask you a question about the graveyard down the road from the old Maggies Warehouse, Overbrook area. Back in 1980, I was a Junior at Ardmore High. I will admit I did skip school and one time 3 of us went under I-35 going west from the warehouse. There is a graveyard on the right hand side of the road and on one of the graves there were kitchen utensils on the top of it. The grave is under a large tree facing the west on a corner in the lot itself. Pots, pans, cups, saucers and forks. I always wondered what the meaning of this was, can you help me? I love your stories! Ive been in Denver since graduation, and its nice to understand all the things I saw driving around in southern Okla. makes the o’l light go on because of your articles! Thank you for all of your researching that you do for all of us.”

“In some of the past issues of T&T it was mentioned that some subscribers had worked many years ago building dams at Lake Murray and elsewhere. My dad , Oscar, was part of the crew that built Veterans Lake just south of Sulphur in the late thirties. He drove a team of mules dragging a Fresno scrapper. He also worked at Turner Falls on some of the road projects, manhandling huge rocks, as one of your friends had ; most likely the same crew. Later both my dad and mother, Ruth, (nee Price) worked at Doc Fry’s sanitarium, at the end of 12th St. in Sulphur. People came from all over the country to take the healing mineral baths, arriving in wheel chairs and after a couple weeks treatment, they would WALK out. There was a flowing well fountain in the alley behind the store on Main and 11th , and every day after school, I would have a big drink of bromide water; we kids all loved it. Years later, while on a vacation trip, my wife and I stopped to quench our thirst and we both about gagged. It does take some getting-used-to!!! But I still miss that town and the good people there. Some of your aero-buddies may be interested to know that Doc Fry’s brother was Jack Fry, who was the first C.E.O. of TWA airlines, when it was first formed as a merger between Trans-World and Western Airlines, pre W W ll. Jack’s two sons, named Eddie and Vernon if my memory serves me right, went to Washington Elem. School in Sulphur when I did.” Regards, Bob Elliston

“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” -James Branch Cabell

Butch and Jill Bridges
Ardmore, Oklahoma