IS THAT DONNA BUSH NEXT TO MRS HIGHFILL? ~ELLIS RAYMER
regarding Okie's story
from Vol. 10 Iss. 38
Hi, just wanted to say that Sheryl, from Midwest City, last name is Rudolph, not Randolph [more]... ~Lori Brown
regarding Okie's story
from Vol. 7 Iss. 33
Duchess & Sadie's Spring Domain
Bayfield, Colorado -
It has been a beautiful mountain week and weekend here in the Southwest Rockies. This Monday morning we awoke to an inch of snow on the cars and rooftops. The temperatures this past week during the day were anywhere from the sixties to the mid seventies.
The weekend before this last weekend, we took this photo on the left and right of the "Taste of Durango" that took over a few blocked off blocks on Main Avenue, in Durango, Colorado. This was the biggest crowd that NW Okie has seen in the last the few years. Durango's Manna Soup Kitchen uses the Taste of Durango to raise funds for their soup kitchen.
The birds, including hummingbirds, have been flocking in to feed at the feeders. What the birds drop the chipmunks and squirrels scurry around and eat. Except when Sadie and I are on outside bird, squirrel and chipmunk watch. That Sadie Pug is fast! Faster than this Duchess Pug, but I am going on 7-1/2 human years and Sadie is a couple of years younger than me. Sadie has a lot to learn yet! BUT she is getting there!
We hear that the Nescatunga Arts Festival is coming Saturday, June 4, 2010, on the downtown square of Alva, Oklahoma. Also, the Alva High Class of 1960 will be having their class reunion that weekend.
Linda and Bill Beeler send out this invitation to the Class of 1960, " We would like to invite all to stop by the class of 1960 canopy and say hello and visit awhile. It should be fun for all. Remember, if you will be in town come on down to the Alva square and join the fun."
If you have any old photos or stories of Capron, Oklahoma to share stop by Ancestry.com - Capron OK 1900 and join the fun of reminiscing.
We understand, May 19th, that some Oklahomans awoke to the sound of thunder and marble-sized hail that was pelting their house and windows, besides doing damage to trees that lost their leaves when the hail stones had beaten the leaves off the trees.
You will perhaps notice a NEW item on the right of the OkieLegacy Ezine that includes random, recent photos connecting our Facebook and Flickr sites to the OkieLegacy. Also, there is a NEW menu at the top "Blogs/WebCams/Photos" where you can move your mouse over to view a connection to other photo galleries at our OkieLegacy Flickr account. The photo galleries are listed under "Okie's Galleries." check out our Old Postcards that our Grandmother Constance Estella Warwick McGill collected over her lifetime. We do not have all of Grandma's postcards scanned, but you can view what we have scanned so far.
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Council Grove, Oklahoma
Council Grove, Oklahoma -
"During the run of 1889 there was a 9 section area of land held back from homesteading, bordered by what is now Melrose Lane on the south; the canadian river on the west. To 174 mile North of NW 36th and going East to present Ann Arbor Street.
This land was posted so that it would not be homesteaded by a double furrow plowed around it. This heavily worked area was known by various names, such as: the Grove; the woodpile; and the woodlot.
Wood from this reserve was for the use of Ft. Reno and was guarded by cavalry troopers. The trooper erected a stockade approximately 1/4 mile East and 225 yards North of this reserve when the fort had no more use for the land it was appraised by a washington appraiser and auctioned at a brush arbor set up near the west edge of the reserve.
At the first sale, held in 1899, the land sold in 40 acre lots for about two dollars per acre. Another sale was held some years later and the land sold for ___ to $17.00 per acre.
One of the first schools opened in Oklahoma county was located originally on West Reno. Later it was moved by wagon to the corner of Melrose Lane and Council Road. A second school building was constructed in 1900 and the present red brick structure was erected in 1938. It is the third stand on that site.
On June, 1892 a post office was established just North of the present railroad crossing on Council Road. It was first named Council Grove, but on December 7, 1894, the name was changed to Council and was discontinued August 15, 1906. This structure served as a general store and was also a ticket agency for the Choctaw Oklahoma and Gulf railroad which eventually became the Rock Island.
No Mans Land, Oklahoma - According to The Panhandle History - Northwest Flats Heritage, 1890-1990, published in 1990, the panhandle is a little more than 34 miles wide and a fraction longer than 168 miles. It contains 5738 square miles and is larger than Connecticut and 4-1/2 times the size of Rhode Island.
The Panhandle is bordered on the east by Oklahoma; the north by Kansas and Colorado; the west by New Mexico and the south by Texas. It was a part of the Texas territory until 1850, when Texas gave it up because everything north of the 36th parallel went with the Union and Texas permitted slavery.
The south boundary line of the Kansas territory was established around 1854. The east and west lines established previously by land grants. The Act establishing the Kansas southline completely legislated the panhandle strip of land out of the Union and left No Mans Land to fend for itself.
By 1885, the Supreme Court decision come out stating that this strip of land was NOT part of the Cherokee Outlet. The Secretary of Interior at that time stated it was Public Domain and subject to Squatters Rights.
Until 1891, the six-shooter was law of the land and the strip became a No Mans Land. A haven for criminals and outlaws.
May 2, 1890, and the Enabling Act signed by President Benjamin Harrison attached the strip to Oklahoma Territory. Then the farmers and the ranchers were at it because of the fence the farmers were building around their crops. Finally, No Mans Land found it's permanent home and was the last territory to be given final claims and ownership in Oklahoma. It was divided into three counties: Cimarron, Texas and Beaver.
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Foraker, Osage County, Oklahoma
Foraker, Oklahoma - Foraker is located in Osage county, in Sections. 28/29, T28N, R7E, 13 miles north, 12 miles west of Pawhuska; 6 miles north, 5 miles east of Shidler.
It was located in the northwestern part of the Osage Nation (now Osage County) in an area of rolling plains. It was settled in 1905 and was a government townsite platted under the supervision of the Department of the Interior. The Post Office was established February 13, 1903.
The town in 1908 advertised itself as In the heart of this farmer's and stockman's paradise flourishes Foraker -- one of the best Little Towns in the state. Shortly after its settlement, Foraker became an agricultural boom town.
By 1909 the population living within the incorporated city limits was estimated at five hundred, and the trade territory had a radius of approximately, twenty-five miles. The town was served by the Midland Valley Railroad (abandoned in 1968), and a second line had been surveyed through the area, crossing at Foraker. The second rail line was never built.
Corn and alfalfa were the principal crops in an area rich in natural pasture. It was bound to become one of the best hog and cattle producing sections in Oklahoma.
Though it was only four years old, Foraker resembled a much older place. Concrete sidewalks and been put down throughout the business district, and much building was in evidence. Already in operation were two banks, two drugstores, three hardware stores, six mercantile stores, two grocery stores, two lumberyards, two livery stables, two grain elevators, and other necessary retail establishments. There were also two live newspapers, two churches and active fraternal organizations.
The newspapers of Foraker were the Foraker Tribune, Foraker Free Press; Foraker Sun.
Two blocks had been designated for a public park, thirty thousand dollars in bonds had been voted for a light and water system, and a new twenty-thousand-dollar school building had been completed. Freight and passenger service into and out of Foraker had tripled within the year.
After a rapid beginning Foraker stagnated until about 1920, when oil was discovered in the Burbank area some fifteen miles to the south. Foraker became the shipping point nearest the new oil field. Thus, the town had another boom period, when it became the center for the distribution of oil-field equipment and supplies. During the 1920s each block in Foraker had a least four houses.
A branch rail line (Osage Railway) was extended from Foraker into the oil-producing area for the shipment of tank cars of petroleum products. Population of the town jumped to over two thousand, and several new business buildings and homes were constructed. Because the oil was not found in the area immediately adjacent to Foraker, the town escaped and did not suffer the rough and lawless times of the true oil-field community.
With the decrease in oil production during the 1930s, Foraker declined rapidly. The development of large ranches, the abandonment of the railroads (The Osage Railway was abandoned in 1953), the building of highways, and the use of large trucks to move livestock to market have resulted in the demise of the town. No businesses now operate, and only a few people live in the once thriving community. As one long-time resident still living in what remains of the town stated, "Stores gone, post office gone, train gone, school gone, oil gone, boys and girls gone -- only thing not gone is graveyard and it git bigger."
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Avard, Oklahoma - 1975, Avard, the Santa Fe & Frisco tracks interlock a short distance from the elevator. Avard, Woods County, Sections 26 & 35, Township 26N, Range 15W, 7 miles south, 6 miles west of Alva.
According to Ghost Towns of Oklahoma, by John W. Morris, the Post Office began around June 1, 1895 thru November 22, 1963. The newspaper was the Avard Tribune. The Railroad that ran through the town was the Southern Kansas Railway (Santa Fe); Arkansas Valley and Western Railway (Frisco).
1904 - Avard was incorporated when the Frisco tracks were extended westward from Enid to tie in with the transcontinental line of the Santa Fe. The town was well supplied with mercantile establishments, two hotels, bank, livestock exchange, grain elevators and a weekly newspaper.
1909 - The town was the cattle shipping point for a large area with Stock pens adjacent to the tracks. 250 people were reported living in Avard. It was reported that being a railroad town and a cowtown, it was a rough and tough place. The Gay Nineties brought many exciting events that happened in Avard. The saloons kept going all night and the town was side open. It was not uncommon for dead men to be found in the street after a gun battle.
1910-1930 - Avard became an important agricultural center and rail transfer point for passengers and freight. Direct passenger trains with the Santa Fe trains made runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. Frisco lines from the east connected with the Santa Fe time schedule. Both trains lines kept agents and full crews stationed in Avard.
Besides the Livestock Market, the town had a large broomcorn warehouse, elevators for wheat storage and shipping, plus a cotton gin. The town also built a community building where plays and concerts were given and public meetings were held. Churches were active and an accredited school was developed. For a brief time there was a dance hall in operation until one brawl and it was closed afterwards.
Mid-1930s - Avard continued to grow like many other Oklahoma agricultural towns it became a victim of the economic depression, dust storms, farm consolidation, and changing methods of travel. <
1943 1944 - The town was struck by tornadoes, each on a different site. Thereafter a tornado-conscious community got busy and completed a 10x20 foot underground shelter. With donated materials and labor. It was made of solid concrete and was big enough to hold the entire population.
1973 - The Frisco upgraded its line from Tulsa to Avard so that it could interlock with the main line of the Santa Fe at a cost of four million dollars. Five or Six transcontinental freight trains a day highballing through Avard. The change had little effect on the town. A few unused store buildings still remain, but the only services offered are those of a cafe in the old school gymnasium and a grain elevator.
Through the efforts of A. F. Wolf from Fayetteville, Arkansas who anticipated the extension of the Frisco Railroad line westward from Enid, Avard was born.
Avard received it's named from the mother of Frank Todd, whom owned the land Avard was located. Ed S. Roberts established the Bank at beginning of town with his wife as vice-president. Mrs. Roberts was also author of several books: Genealogy of the Oklahoma Daughters of American Revolution, Four Revoluntionary Soldiers & Their Descendants and Some Colonial Families.
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Alva High Class of 1960 Reunion - 4 June 2010
Alva, Oklahoma - Bill Beeler, (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) says, "NESCATUNGA ARTS FESTIVAL is Saturday, June 4 on the downtown square of Alva, Oklahoma. The Class of 1960 will be having their class reunion that weekend.
Would like to invite all to stop by our canopy and say hello and visit awhile. Should be fun for all.
The ARTS FESTIVAL is great! Lots of great art, homemade items, wood items, Jewelry, Wood Turning, Performers, and Food.
You can buy the best homemade cinnamon rolls. Should be fun for all and all for fun.
Oklahoma - Horse Thieves - written by Judge T. H. Dyer, Jan. 31, 1933. This is another of Tom Dyer's articles, in which he reminisces about various
horse thieving incidents that he was aware of.
Horse thieves have become almost obsolete, but the time was when even the thoughts, or hearing the word horse thieves would send a chill coursing up and down one's spinal column.
The writer well remembers when, with his father, mother, brothers and sisters, we first settled in what is now Osage County, Okla., on the Big Cana (Caney) River, some five miles from the town of Elgin, Kansas, in April, 1870.
At that time there was in operation a gang of these light-fingered gentry who plied their trade along the border of Kansas and the Indian Territory, from southwest Missouri to Colorado. Their mode of operation was carried on systematically, in squads of two or more. Squad No. 1 stealing horses in Missouri, would travel the entire night to make connections with squad No. 2. Here an exchange of stolen animals would take place, and after a day of rest in some secluded rendezvous, the back track was taken very much after the fashion of the underground railroad in operation just prior to the Civil War.
Many Horses Stolen - Many a poor settler awakened in the morning to find that his team of horses or mules had mysteriously disappeared during the night. Perhaps his team was his all or main dependence for a living. Having come out west to secure a home for his wife and children, he had erected a house on the claim, breaking out a few acres preparatory to going back after his family that they might share with him the new home.
But, alas, their fond hopes were often blasted by horse thieves. Recovery of the stolen animals was out of the question.
Becoming disheartened, they would sell or trade the few effects left for something to aid them to return to their families in the east.
None Lost - We had quite a number of horses, and when not in actual use we kept close watch of them both day and night. At night, we always secured them with lock and chain, setting large posts in the ground with about four feet out of the ground. To these posts was bolted a large pole. On either side of this hitch rack, we called it, were grouped the animals.
The chain used was the old-fashioned trace chain being looped around the pole and the other run up through the ring of the headstall, and then around the horse's neck and padlocked.
We never lost any stock by theft. However, the losses through out the country were quite frequent and numerous, until the settlers became so incensed over the depredations they formed vigilante committees whose business it was to look out for these fellows, and when caught, summary justice was meted out to them.
First Party - The first of these necktie parties near us included three Negro horse thieves. All were hanged on one limb near the town of Elgin, Kansas, about 1869.
A band of these thieves passed near where we lived on their way westward. Joe Vannoy, then a United States Marshal, learning of this, took up the trail and tracked them until they were located on Grouse Creek, in Cowley County, Kansas. He had with him his brother, Will Vannoy, and another man whose name I do not recall.
Approaching the camp early in the morning while the men were preparing breakfast, the officers demanded their surrender. The thieves replied with a volley of shots. Then three of their number dived for cover under the bank of the creek and reached their horses and escaped, while the other took refuge behind a large log on the ground.
Uses Log - Joe Vannoy also had taken advantage of a fallen tree. The thief was armed with a double-barrel shotgun while Vannoy had only his trusty .44 revolver.
While the thief was leveling his gun over the log to take a shot at Vannoy, the marshal wounded his man in the shoulder. The thief's gun fell from his grasp, but not until he had discharged both barrels, the muzzle of his gun had been lowered, however, so the shot entered the log behind which Vannoy had taken refuge.
Being wounded and his gun out of reach, the fellow surrendered. Search was made for his comrades but they had escaped. After administering first aid to his prisoner, Vannoy and the posse started on their return trip to Elgin, but not until he had extracted the bullet from the log as a souvenir of his escape.
It was about 40 miles to Elgin from where the capture was made. Vannoy and his prisoner were on horseback and he intended to reach his destination just after nightfall. All went well until they were about one and a half miles from Elgin when he was halted by a band of vigilantes who demanded the prisoner be given over to them. It being dark, and Vannoy seemingly powerless to resist, acceded to their demands, and he was told to ride on, while the vigilantes were making preparations for the hanging.
There had been a cyclone through that country some time prior to this happening, and a large red oak tree had been blown down. It was twisted off some 15 feet above the ground, and the top was lying on the ground while the trunk remained hanging to the high stump. On this leaning tree they hanged their man.
In their haste to complete the job and get away, they had overlooked a small hickory sapling growing nearby. A number of citizens going next morning to cut down the body, found that the fellow had not expired as readily as the vigilantes had anticipated, but in his struggles he had got hold of this sapling, and had he not been wounded he would have freed himself and made his escape.
His grave was dug beneath the spot where he was hanging and the body lowered to its last resting place. A large headboard was erected and placed at the head, on which was written in large black letters an inscription, and though 60 years have intervened, this epitaph was so indelibly imprinted on my memory that I can repeat it word for word.
Often my older brother, Oscar, and I were sent to the mill by our parents, sometimes with a team and other times we drove a yoke of oxen. The mill to which we took our grist of wheat or corn, some times both, was known as Hart's mill and was situated on the Cana River, some 12 miles up the river from Elgin. The road we had to travel to and from this mill went directly by the place where this man died. If the mill was crowded, as was often the case, sometimes we were belated on our return trip, and we had to pass by this place after nightfall.
Though I cannot plead guilty to being cowardly, I must confess that a rather uncanny feeling would creep over us while passing this spot in the dark.
Some eight or nine years ago I met the late Beecher Crawford, who lived some five miles east of Alva. Beecher had lived in Elk County, Kansas. He had heard of and perhaps had seen this inscription. He said to me, "Tom, what was that inscription on the grave of that horse-thief hung in the early days just west of Elgin?"
I at once quoted the words to him verbatim, and this is what they were: "This individual came to his death by falling into the hands of people who have an abhorrence for horse-thieves and murderers."
Directly beneath this was a picture of a skull and crossbones used by pharmacists on labels of bottles containing various chemical compounds. It signifies poison. Perhaps this is what it stood for in this case, or perhaps it signified death to evildoers.
A Second Hanging - Another hanging that I well remember happened about five miles from where we lived. It was on the road leading to the town of Peru, Kansas. A gang of horse thieves were operating in that vicinity, and being closely pursued by the vigilantes, they met a boy perhaps 15 or 16 years old, traveling on foot. The thieves hired the boy to take the horses to a designated place. They furnished him horse and saddle to ride, while he led the others, the thieves taking to the wooded hills and canyons. The boy was soon overtaken by the vigilantes.
He told his story as to how he happened to be in possession of the horses, but plead as he might the horses were in his possession, which to these men was proof of his guilt. He was taken a short distance from the roadside and hanged, still protesting his innocence.
Here, I have always believed, was an instance where an innocent boy paid the penalty for a crime of which he was nowise guilty. Nothing was ever known as to who he was or where he was from. However, he was somebody's boy, and perhaps a lonely mother passed anxious days and sleepless nights awaiting his return.
This tragedy was enacted on a place belonging to a man by the name of Ned Spurlock. The grave was at the head of a small creek that left off towards the southeast and was a tributary of Hickory Creek. In the summer of 1904, with my family I made a visit to Chautauqua County to visit my brother, John Dyer, and family, who were keeping a boarding house in the oil fields on what was known as the Spurlock Lease. While visiting there I went one day to try to locate the place where the boy had been buried, and although it was near the same roadside, on the same old road that was there at that time, I was unable to find any trace of it. The contour of the ground was much the same. Fire had been kept out of the timber until only large trees grew, and smaller trees and underbrush had entirely obliterated all signs of the place which I thought could be readily located, proof that Old Father Time changes all things.
Another hanging in the extreme southwest corner of what is now Elk County, Kansas, but at the time of which I write was Howard County, another of these hangings took place. It was at the bottom of a deep canyon, surrounded by rugged walls of stone and underbrush. Some trees grew in the bottom of this canyon, the sides of which were almost devoid of trails for ingress or egress, yet the place was probably used as a hiding place for horse thieves. Suffice to say, a man was hanged at this place on one of the trees which grew in the bottom of this canyon.
A ranch house was located some miles from here. One morning a strange horse came to this ranch with saddle and bridle on, the bridle reins dragging the ground. Realizing something must have happened, the men at the ranch instituted a search which resulted in finding the man's body hanging on one of the trees.
He had been dead for several days. No one seemed to know anything as to who he might have been or where he was from. He was buried beneath the tree on which he was found. This was in the early ‘70s, and yet at this date, January, 1933, the place bears the name given it at that time. It is called Dead Man's Gulch. It was a beautiful and picturesque place, carved by the hand of nature.
I have no doubt that long since this the place was made into a pleasure resort where tourists, lovers of natural scenery, pleasure seekers, and even the curiosity seekers make pilgrimages for rest, recreation, and sight-seeing.
The border counties of Labette, Montgomery and Howard (now Chautauqua) and Elk, Cowley and Sumner were infested with bands of horse thieves during the early ‘70s, even extending into the early ‘80s. Often perhaps a friendly neighbor furnished a hangout for these marauding bands of robbers.
Frequent hangings took place near Wellington, Oxford and Caldwell until the climate did not exactly agree with the health of these individuals and they sought more congenial regions; and even the neighbor, their accomplice, was invited to vacate, amose, move on, and usually one invitation was sufficient.
They did their vacating more often than not between two days, that is, between dark and daylight.
While the horse thief has practically been put out of business, we now have in their stead, the hijacker, auto thief, bank robber. These fellows make the old-time horse thief look like 30 cents in comparison. Why this change?
There is some underlying, unexplained cause for existing conditions, for they do not apply to any one community or state. It is prevalent throughout the country. A great problem. What is its solution?
In the first part of my story, I said the words horse thieves had become obsolete, but I have only recently read in the papers where a man had been sentenced to the penitentiary for life by a judge in the staid old town of Boston for stealing a horse.
I also read of another case of horse stealing which happened near Ponca City, and still another in Oklahoma City, where a mere boy had not only stolen the horse, but the wagon to which it was hitched. The boy was using the horse and wagon to earn some needed money by hauling wherever he could get a job of work. The property was restored to the owner and the boy was not prosecuted.
Down near Duncan I read an article where two boys had purloined a couple of horses. They were soon recovered.
The last case to come to my notice was where a fellow in Pontotoc County had stolen three head of horses trying to make a getaway, but near the old town of Stonewall, he had evidently changed his mind, and had started to return the horses to their owner. The officers met him in the road while on his return trip. Seeing the officers and most likely knowing them, he at once abandoned the horses and made good his escape. ~~ (The End) ~~
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March Wind - by Scott Cummins
Oklahoma - This poem was found on page. 13 & 14 of the Musings of the Pilgrim Bard, by Scott Cummins, the Pilgrim Bard
When the old house keeps a rockin',
Like as if 'twas goin' to fall;
And the pebbles keep a knockin' --
Knockin' 'gainst the fragile wall,
Sets a tired feller thinkn'
of fell goblin, wraith or fiend,
Fancy into fancy linkin',
Yet 'tis nothin' but the wind;
Roar, roar, rattle door,
Through each cranny in the floor.
Through each crack and crevice small,
Where a chigger scarce could crawl,
Every seam 'tis sure to find,
O beshrew, the bleak March wind.
All day long, to feed the critters,
I have tried my level best;
Tears my fodder into fritters,
Splits the endgate of my vest;
Almost sets a feller cussin',
Yet too well I understand,
If I ope' my mouth a fussin'
'Twould soon fill with dust and sand;
Shriek, shriek, creak, creak --
Seven long days in a week;
Though my language seem unkind,
Devil take the bleak March wind.
Now adieu, my lamp burns dimly,
Sleep and rest I needs must try;
Let the roaring round my chimney
Be a soothing lullaby,
This my pray'r before undressin',
Hopeless pray'r with pathos filled,
That the wind may cease caressin'
Nature, and a while be still'd;
Scream, scream, while I dream
'Till the sun with lurid gleam
Wakes me to resume the fight
With the hurricanish sprite,
Respite body, respite mind,
From the raging of the wind.
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History of McKeever School
McKeever School, Oklahoma - The History of McKeever School, written and researched by Milt Lehr, Professor Emeritus, NWOSU. The Cherokee Outlet of the territory of Oklahoma was opened to settlement by the Land Run of 1893. After securing a homestead, the pioneers' immediate concern was the education of their children. The first schools were often a soddie or log building and later schools were built using clapboard, stucco, of wood and plaster construction.
The one-room school played an important role in educating the children of this state. In 1900 there were 200,000 one-room schools in the United States. In 1897 the Oklahoma Territory had 1,909 organized school districts of which 224 of these school districts with schools meeting an average of 70 days a year. It was not unusual for 40 pupils to attend these schools since farm families were large and each quarter section of land had a family living on it.
Records located in the Woods County Courthouse show that the McKeever school was organized in August 30, 1894, and that its district numbers were both 191 and 23.
School was first held in the dugout home of Mr. and Mrs. Hulet, which was located about one-third of a mile south of the present McKeever school, which is located on the southwest corner of section 24 six miles west of Alva. The dugout home was 12 feet by 18 feet with a dirt floor and was four feet deep into the ground. Sod was laid above the ground two feet deep. The roof was composed of dirt laid over branches and poles.
Click the John McKeever family as written by Dorothy McKeever in 1986 for the Pioneer Footprints Across Woods County history book, pg. 454.
During the 1894-1895 school year, Dick McKeever purchased the Hulet claims and donated the southwest corner of section 24 for a school building.
Maggie Shiel was the first teacher of this school and 23 students were enrolled. Teacher salaries at this time were $20 to $25 per month. By 1902, the salary paid to Nettie Courtner had increased to $35 per month and school was being held for 100 days. The total budget for that year was #311.67, according to Woods County Courthouse records. The value of the school was $600 and other property was valued at $100.
According to a newspaper clipping dated January 29, 1895, and preserved by Harvard and Sue Litton, lifetime residents of a farm home located a short distance north of McKeever school, the first 23 students included Harry Benton, Johnie Benton, Myrtle Cocohm, Glevie Kinney, Mary Kinney, Tomie Kinney, Amon McKeever, Phoebe McKeever, Cora Messmore, Evert Litton, Jim Litton, Thomas Litton, Orwell Shirley, Bertha Smith, Clair Smith, Earl Smith, Melvin Smith, Cora Turner, Bessie Vincent, Dora Wiggins, Della Wiggins, and Gracie Wiggins.
The members of the first school board were Frank Spurgeon, Dale Smith, and Jim Benton. The second term of school was held in a frame box house that was moved to its present site from four or five miles northwest of Alva. This building was a wooden structure 14 feet wide and 28 feet long with a wooden floor made of 1x12 planks. Desks were fashioned from this same kind of wooden boards.
The original building that is standing today was constructed at a cost of $300, which was financed by bonds. All labor was donated by residents of the district except the plastering, which was done by Nick Edwards who was hired to do this work. A. B. Messmore was overseer of the carpentry work. The school bonds were paid off in five years. The American elm trees that encircle the school ground were planted about 1915. The members of the school board at that time were Nate Litton, John Parsons and Clayton Hyde.
The teacher salaries were sometimes paid in cash obtained from donations and some salaries were paid in warrants, which could be cashed at banks for 60 cents on the dollar. Sometimes teachers were paid in sod breaking since most of them owned nearby land or had a claim.
The original building underwent extensive remodeling in 1938 when WPA funds were provided by the federal government to modernize school buildings. A basement was constructed a few feet west of the building and it was then moved overonto the completed basement after the anterooms at the front and a coal bin at the back were removed. A few years later, a highline was constructed nearby along Highway 64 and electric lights were added to complete the modernization.
The teachers of McKeever School were as follows:
Maggie Shiel 1894-1895; May Park 1895-1896; A. C. Parsons 1896-1897; Grace McKitrick 1897-1898; Cora Murray 1898-1900; Birdie Vorhies 1900-1901; Nettie Courtner 1901-1902; W. P. Bosserman 1902-1903; W. J. McGill 1903-1904; Phoebe McKeever 1904-1906; Pete Exell 1906-1908; Agnes Murray 1908-1910; Dena Salesman 1910-1911; Hattie Jarred 1911-1912; Frankie Callison 1912-1914; Lester Maddox 1914-1916; Jess Sears 1916-1917; Homer Bloyd 1917-1918; Margie Callison 1918-1920; Myrtle Martin 1920-1921; Lillie Callison 1921-1922; Pearl Martin 1922-1925; Fay Faulkner 1925-1927; Dolores Fuller 1927-1930; Clara Brown 1930-1931; Helen Tallman 1931-1932; Ada Taylor 1932-1933; Josephine Fisher 1933-1937; Hulda Groesbeck 1937-1939; Hazel Smith 1939-1941; Ruth Frazier 1941-1943; Fay McAlpin 1943-1948.
After the opening of the Cherokee Strip, the rapidly expanding rural school system created a demand for trained teachers. By 1897 there were 1,792 organized school districts in the Oklahoma Territory of which 726 districts with 25,858 pupils were interested in seeing the establishment of a normal school in Alva to meet the demand for qualified teachers.
When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, the school was renamed Northwestern State Normal School (NSN). In 1919 its name was changed to Northwestern State Teachers College (NSTC) and in 1939 it was given the name of Northwestern State College (NSC). Finally, in 1974 it was renamed Northwester Oklahoma State University (NWOSU).
It should be remembered that for most of its history the primary purpose of Northwestern has been the preparation of teachers for schools in this section of Oklahoma.
McKeever school remained in use until 1948 and then served as a community building for several years. In 2000 the school was given to NWOSU by Dean and Patty Nusser, farmer-ranchers, who own the land on which the school stands. Restoration efforts were soon started and the school was moved to its site on the NWOSU campus in the summer of 2001 where it will assume an important role in the preparation of teachers at Northwestern and the education of the public in general to the importance the one-room school played in the education of farm children in early Oklahoma.
[Note by webmaster: There was restoration efforts and repainting going on this summer of 2001, As of this writing, the building is no longer standing on the NE corner of Hwy 64, 6 miles west of Alva. It has been moved to the campus of Northwestern Oklahoma State University, in Alva, OKlahoma. The only reminder that the building existed 6 miles west of Alva on hwy. 64 is the basement left behind. -- LK Wagner]
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A History of the Run by Mrs. Fred King
Oklahoma - This article was written by Clara Louise Renfrew King for the 50th Anniversary Edition, Alva Review-Courier, September 12, 1943, (Mrs. Fred King, former Clara Louise Renfrew).
"Pioneers Came in With A Wagon, A Stake and A Prayer." -- Mrs. Fred King (Clara Louise Renfrew), the writer, prepairing a history of the run into the Cherokee Strip was comparatively easy for Mrs. Fred King, author of the story which appears on this page.
Mrs. King, the former Clara Louise Renfrew, is the granddaughter of the late J. P. Renfrew of Renfrew's Record in 1900, and publisher of the Alva Review for several years previous to that date, and the daughter of Mayor John Renfrew, himself a longtime resident.
Mrs. King, who with her husband, County Judge Fred King, lived in Guymon when she wrote her history as a term theme for an Oklahoma history class taught by Prof. D. W. Pierce at the college.
The History of the Run -- "The time was the week before September 16, 1893. The occasion was the excitement of preparing for the run into the Cherokee Strip. The place was any place along a line 186 miles long on the north line of the Cherokee Strip (south line of Kansas) extending from the Arkansas river near Arkansas City, Kans., west to the line of what is now Woodward county, Okla., and 159 miles along the south line of the strip from the east line of Logan county, Okla., west to the Texas line. It was 58 miles wide and contained nearly 7,000,000 acres.
"The town of Kowa, Kans., was flooded with thousands of people who came to be on hand for the run. Kiowa again felt the thrill it had experienced in 1883 when it had been the greatest cattle shipping point in the world. The government had established offices in tents just across the line in Oklahoma territory, where all who were interested in making the run for new homes could register.
"Every one was talking claim and the cowboys were asked by the homesteaders on every side to tell what they knew about the country. Where was the best land for this and where was the best land for that. Fortunately the cowboys were friendly and willing to talk.
"People would stand in line for hours waiting to get to the tent window to register and get the receipt. There were loafers who would work up to the front, then sell their places to some anxious aspirant for one dollar or whatever he could get.
"After registering the homesteaders went to Hardtner, Kans., to camp for the night or several nights as the case might be, in preparation for the run. There were between 300 and 400 people there, all excitement and full of plans as to their future. Squads of Captain's odd'sh troop of the 3rd U. S. Cavalry rode slowly along the line to impress those who were getting too anxious, of the danger there would be of getting into trouble with the U. S. government.
"Beautiful Driftwood valley stretched in front of the waiting crowd, far off to the southeast, far as the eye could reach. Ten miles to the south, the hills north of the Salt Fork cut off the view, but all knew that beyond the hills lay the townsite of Alva, and beyond that day the smiling valley of the Eagle Chief. All were certain that it was rich soil just over the line, because didn't the large ricks filled with, wheat on the north side of the line prove that?
"West of Hardtner, Kans. was a smaller group of people waiting for the same moment. There was no troops here as the group was so small. All were friendly, all were sure that beyond was what they had dreamed about. The night was warm and the excitement of the coming day made sleep almost impossible. Everyone was astir bright and early. The aroma of coffee intermingled with the fresh morning odors, smell of the campfires mixed with the beckoning odors of breakfast cooking, was something to remember, as the hundreds of people eagerly prepared for the exciting day.
"After breakfast was over those who were in wagons started packing their bedding, cooking and eating supplies. Every one of the family was told to look about camp to see that nothing of value was left behind.
"The morning was bright and clear with a stiff breeze from the southwest. a morning that would be symbolic of a bright future for the homesteaders.
"As the hours went by the feelings of the campers on the line became more tense. The horsemen tightened their saddle girths once more and saw that their lariats and slickers were a little more secure. The men with road carts added another false spoke or two to their cart wheels, and those with two horse wagons twisted a little more barbed wire on the wheels to keep the wagon tires from circling off into space when the psychological moment came.
"Some of the horses were so fractious that their riders could not manage them. Some of the horses broke their legs and had to be abandoned. One man was exercising his horse when the horse fell and broke its leg. The man put the horse on a sled, hitched another horse to the sled and took it with him. There were people on foot as well as horseback and in wagons and other conveyances.
"Of course the ones who were in wagons or the like were more fortunate than those on horseback or on foot, because they could take their supplies with them. Those who did not have wagons would have to do without food and water when they staked their claim, until some one could bring them supplies.
"Within a quarter of twelve o'clock noon, the horsemen were in their saddles, and the teams were hitched up. All were in the line headed south, the troopers were scattered singly along the state line a few paces in front of the eager throng. The man with the horse on the sled was permitted to stake a claim just over the line. A woman who was on foot and had a spade walked over the line and was permitted to stake her claim. Some who had neither horse nor wagon rode on the Santa Fe into Alva, filed on some quarter, then walked out to it hoping that no one had got there before. The train started at the same time as the people riding horses and crept along a a very slow pace so as to give every one a chance. At different places along the track people would jump off and run in every direction to locate a quarter that no one else was on. Those who did not want farm land came on to Alva to get town lots for homes and business places.
"Anxious to get homes built, they set about as quickly as possible to dig dugouts, or make adobe houses, or houses of logs. As soon as this was accomplished they built shelters for their livestock. Almost everyone hurriedly put out gardens, as they would have to depend on their gardens for the vegetables. No one had had potatoes that winter as they did not have time to raise them after moving to their claims.
"The only fruits they had were dried fruits which they bought in large sacks. Eggs sold for three and five cents a dozen. Pumpkins were raised and eaten baked, fried, and in every conceivable way they could be fixed. Light bread was baked some, and biscuits very often, with cornbread baked occasionally. Breakfast food and mush was made by cleaning kaffir corn or rice corn and grinding it up fine, then cooking it to a mush-like consistency.
Oklahoma - Another obituary penned by Tom Dyer. Opal Nighswonger is listed as one of Wiley's daughters and was the principal at Longfellow School in Alva during 1947-1951. Thanks to Joy Sherman for sharing these Tom Dyer writings with the Okie Legacy.
Wiley H. Cowan -- On Monday morning, November 11, 1935, the news was broadcast throughout our city and county that another of the old-time pioneers had answered the last roll call, and that great reveille had tolled for our old time friend, Wiley Cowan.
Perhaps it would be more fitting to say that he was a pioneer of pioneers having spent the major portion of his long life on the early frontier of what was called the Great American Desert. He was born in the state of Illinois in October, 1847.
At the age of 15 years he left the parental home to seek adventure in the west. His first venture was from Westport Landing near Kansas City, where he engaged himself as a teamster to drive an ox team in one of those overland freighters caravans over the old Santa Fe Trail to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
This was in the year 1863, more than 72 years ago. While on a visit to his eldest daughter, Mrs. Hazel Wiebner (sic), and husband, Fred Wiebner (sic), who at that time were living near Springer, N. M., Wiley located the place where the old trail had been over which he had traveled more than a half century before.
After his experience as a teamster and freighter, Wiley Cowan chose the life of a cowboy, and in the following year made five trips from Texas, across the wild wastes of the Indian Territory to the wide expanse of Kansas prairies, and the markets of Kansas towns. Two of the trips were with herds of cattle and three were made with herds of horses. At this time he was in the employ of a man named Col. Leroy M. T. Pope, who by the way was the grandfather of one of our genial fellow-townsmen, Roy Day, manager for the Kavannaugh (sic) and Shea hardware company.
This man Pope was an old trail driver who followed the business for years, and who also owned a ranch in Sedgwick County, Kansas on the Ninnescah and Cowskin near Mount Hope. It has been suggested to me that it was at this ranch where Wiley first met the girl who in later years became his wife and companion.
About the year 1874 he came to Old Kiowa in Barber County to engage in the cattle business. These were perilous days in that part of the country, Indians were on the warpath, stockades were being built at old Kiowa and Medicine Lodge to protect the white settlers who had come to Barber County to find homes. He had associated with him the late Clark Bunton, with whom he had worked on ranch and trail, sharing each others trials and hardships, they became life-long friends.
Wiley Cowan, the cowboy, none better I'll own,
Astride a cayuse, has ever been known,
He started out in his youthful years,
To follow the droves of long-horn steers,
In the early spring when the grass was green,
From San Antonio up to Abilene,
Across rivers, mountains, through woodland and vale,
He traversed the famous old Chisholm Trail,
And many times, on his trusted steed,
He pointed the herd in a wild stampede.
On December 22, 1882, he was united in marriage to Manda Day near Anthony, Kansas. It was a happy union of congenial lives. Life took on a more serious side as the problems of life confronted them. Five children came to bless this union, three of whom are still living: John Cowan, of Buffalo, Okla., and Mrs. Hazel Wiebner (sic) and Mrs. Opal Nighswonger of Alva, Oklahoma.
After their marriage they followed the vocations of ranch life in the year 1883. The Salt Fork and Eagle Chief pool was organized, its personnel was composed of the following members: D. R. Streeter, M. J. Lane, Frank Shelly, Billy Powell, Charles Moore, A. W. Rumsey, Charles Stowell, Major Moderwell, D. Donovan, Wiley Cowan, Clark Bunton, Henry Wick and Frank Stacy. Wiley Cowan was chosen as foreman of the organization. He remained in the cattle business until the Cherokee Strip Livestock Association was disbanded, and the cowmen were driven out of the Cherokee Outlet.
At the opening of the Outlet to settlement in 1893, Wiley Cowan secured a fine homestead in the Ashley community where the family resided for something like 12 years. Here he organized the first Sunday school in that neighborhood, and was chosen as its superintendent, assisted by his good wife as co-worker in this laudable undertaking. It is related that not all of the adult population attended the school at first, but the children (God bless them) they were there, and going home gave such glowing accounts of the Sunday school that the parents were induced to go.
It became known far and wide as the most earnest organization of its kind. It was a union Sunday school. Wiley Cowan's philosophy of life was to do good, his creed, the Golden Rule. Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even so to them. This was exemplified in his everyday life, as many of his old time neighbors and associates will gladly tell you when they recall the many kindly acts and liberal generosity of their old time friend, Wiley Cowan.
Selling the old homestead, he bought land and established a ranch near Buffalo and Selman in Harper County, Oklahoma, and which they still own. Bereft of his wife and loving companion on February 24, 1924, he divided his time among his children. In the early part of 1927, he was stricken with paralysis at his ranch near Buffalo, at the home of his son, John Cowan. The malady did not readily respond to any treatment, later he was brought to the home of his daughter, Mrs. Opal Nighswonger, at Alva. Here he spent the remainder of his life a helpless invalid until an all-wise heavenly father released him and said, "‘Tis enough, come up higher." His age, 88 years and 14 days.
Eighteen years beyond the allotted span The Lord accorded to mortal man He lived, his later years so weak and frail, Ere he reached the end of the long, long trail. ‘Twas in the early dawn, a fitting time, To leave this earth to a happier clime, When the angels came and wafted away His imprisoned spirit from its home of clay, The realms of that eternal day.
With many of his old friends and neighbors, I attended the last rites to pay a tribute to the respect to our departed friend who was beloved by all who knew him best. At the Maughlin and Howerton funeral parlor where it was held, the casket was banked with many beautiful wreaths of flowers, his inanimate form reposing among them as if only asleep. A fitting eulogy was given by Rev. Phil Deschner, pastor of the First Methodist Church, while the music by the ladies quartet was beautiful and appropriate.
Six of his grandsons were the pall bearers, a splendid tribute by these young men to their grandfather. Their names, Orville Wiebener, Anadarko, Okla., Paul Wiebener, Alva, John Nighswonger, Alva, Hal Cowan, Woodward, Burt Wenel, Hardtner, Kan., Bob Selman, Woodward. There was one grandson, J. Wiley Cowan whose home is in Glendale, Calif., who could not be present at his grandfather's funeral. His remains were laid to rest by the side of his wife in the beautiful A.O.U.W. cemetery overlooking the city.
Woods County, Oklahoma - This information was gathered from "The First 100 Years of Alva, Oklahoma" (1886-1986)
At the opening of the Cherokee Strip, W. P. Kendal was appointed to serve as the Sheriff of Old "M" County. Kendall served from 1893 to 1894 until the first duly elected Sheriff took office.
The month after the Run in September 16, 1893, the first county jail was built of 2x4 lumber nailed flat and solidly one board on top of the other. It measured 10x12 feet.
H. Clay McGrath, The First elected Sheriff was H. Clay McGrath in 1895 to 1898. His sheriff's office at that time measured 19x19 square feet.
Two famous outlaws that had a hideout in a cave on the Cimarron River were Zip Wyatt (a.k.a. Dick Yeager) and Isaac Black (a.k.a. Ike Black). Woods County warrants were outstanding for their arrests on charges of horse stealing and gun toting. Black was a two-bit bandit who was killed around Longdale, Oklahoma and his body was hauled to Alva in a lumber wagon. He supposedly had killed a sheriff in Kansas.
Yeager was supposed to have ridden with Quantrill and had helped the Doolins rob a Rock Island train. On August 4, 1895 he was killed near Enid, Oklahoma by a posse of farmers.
Law enforcement was not too popular with the settlers because of grazing and lumber regulations and they had assisted Black and Yeager until they got to killing settlers.
During the times of old "M" County and the beginning of Woods County, the Sheriffs appointed a deputy in each geographical township. Which made for as many as 55 deputies.
Concerning the lumber regulations, the cedar trees in the red hills, south and west of Alva across the Cimarron River were considered to be US Government property. Several people were arrested and charged with the federal offense of Stealing Cedar.
In January 1904 the old county jail was given to the City of Alva and a new one was constructed in the public square. It was the first brick building erected in Alva. During the same month Sheriff Oats transported six men and one woman to the state penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas. There was not state penitentiary in Oklahoma at this time.
In 1909, Oates was appointed Deputy Warden at the new state penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. On January 19, 1914 he was killed in the first riot in that institution.
Before Statehood, Old Woods County was sometimes referred to as the Woods County Empire. There were a lot of citizens of Woods County that were against statehood, because the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention had elected to re-establish county lines and cut Woods county down to the size it is today.
Judge Pancoast, in a suit filed in his court, granted an injunction against the convention saying, It didn't have the right to alter county lines.
This injunction held up for 90 days. Alfalfa Bill Murry, who is to the Oklahoma Constitution what Tom Jefferson is to the US Constitution, risked contempt of court and sent a wire for the Territorial Supreme Court, which had sustained the injunction. My compliments to the Court. Tell them to go to hell.
Late in July 1907, Judge Pancoast's injunction was dissolved and Judge Hainer wrote a decision sustaining the authority of the Convention to draw county lines -- The only decision of its kind in the annals of American Jurisprudence. Woods County was thrown out of court.
It was during the terms of office of Ken Greer and Dewey Randall where Woods county officers had the opportunity to chase the famed outlaws of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrows. It seems that Bonnie & Clyde had stolen a vehicle and traveled west. They were in the city park of Meade, Kansas where a crowd of people were playing croquet. A third member of the Barrow gang went to steal another car, but a woman was in that car and put up a fuss that brought her boyfriend over. Her boyfriend knocked the car thief out cold with a croquet mallet. During this time Bonnie & Clyde made their escape in another stolen vehicle.
Sheriffs of M (Woods) County
1893-1894 -- W. P. Kendall
1895-1898 -- H. Clay McGrath, Sheriff; Gus Hadwiger, Undersheriff; D. C. Oates, deputy; Jeff Bowers, Probate Judge
Waynoka, Oklahoma - If you travel twenty-five (25) miles southwest of Alva, you will run into a quaint, Santa Fe railroad town of Waynoka (Indian origin is "Winneoka" meaning good water).
This townsite was offered by John Keifer who had filed on land he had homesteaded. Keifer, George Nickerson, Charles Cecil and W. H. Olmstead joined together in platting the town of Waynoka.
Nickerson put in the first Store while Olmstead established the lumber yard and carried farm implements. The Santa Fe was built seven (7) years before opening of the "Strip" as a shipping station and section house and freight Division point. The Santa Fe employed 100 employees and a "Harvey Eating House" was established next door to the Depot.
Operating in connection of the Railroad was the Guggenheim Transcontinental Air Service that was established in the southeast part of Waynoka. Passengers would travel by air during the day and by fast train at night. Amelia Earhart was just one of many famous individuals who had flown and landed at this airport.
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LeFlore County, Oklahoma
LeFlore County, Oklahoma - LeFore County was once a part of Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. It has the rugged hills, narrow valleys and productive farmland. They also have a gentle blending of modern days and old ways. Many towns were established as a result of railroad expansion. The Carl Albert State Junior College offers courses to more than 2,000 full and part-time students annually.
Poteau is the County Seat and home of the late Senator Robert S. Kerr. Tourism is an important aspect of LeFlore County. The Heavener Runestone and Spiro Mounds offer historic interest and are well known. It stops on the "Old Butterfield Trail that is hailed as the first transcontinental link between East and West, in the northern part of the county.
The Quachita National Forest, including the Talimena Scenic Drive dominates the southern half of the county. LeFlore County borders Arkansas in southeastern Oklahoma. Major highways in this county are US 59, US 259, US 271, and SH 63.
View the Talimena Drive from Talihina, Oklahoma through the Winding Stairs National Forest and end up in Mena, Arkansas. OR Vice-versa. Travel the Talimena Scenic Drive by taking Oklahoma's State Highway 1 that travels the crest of Winding Stair Mountain for a breathtaking 54 miles.
Kingfisher, Oklahoma - These Kingfisher Murals were found on the Main Street of Kingfisher, Oklahoma.
Main & Broadway, NE Corner -- If you drive north on Main Street through Kingfisher, Oklahoma, you can get a good view of the NE Corner of Main Street & Broadway Avenue Mural. It depicts a covered wagon a few cowboys on horses and is painted on top of the side of the third building on the east side of the street from the corner of Broadway Avenue and Main Street.
If you keep going north on Main Street to Miles Avenue, you can view the NE Corner of Main Street & Miles Avenue. They have incorporated a few real-life fruitless pear trees along side and a few painted trees in the background. Check out the real stairs that seem to go up to the painted blue sky & clouds. (Click the photo to see larger view.)
< If you keep going North on Main Street to Robberts Avenue (SE corner of Main & Robberts), you can view the next painting depicting a street scene in Kingfisher with some Model-A cars and a group of citizens in long coats standing in the middle of the street. If you turn east onto Robberts Avenue, the painting is on the southside of the street across from the Pioneer Telephone Building. (Click the photo to see larger view.)
Sandie sent this from Trains magazine newsletter, "This is good to know."
Trains Magazine states how the U.S. Preserves Railroad History, "The National Trust for Historic Preservation declared May National Preservation Month. Read a free, illustrated story about how the US preserves its railroads, including equipment and landmarks, for Americans to enjoy and learn from.
Each month, Trains magazine partners with the Center for Railroad Photography & Art, North America's foremost organization for interpreting the intersection of railroad art and photography with history and culture, to bring you a free online story."
Oklahoma - Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma History & Culture states the following about this African-American opera singer from Enid, Oklahoma, "Opera singer Leona Mitchell was born October 13, 1949, in Enid, Oklahoma, to Rev. Hulon and Pearl Olive Leatherman Mitchell. Tenth of fifteen children, Leona Mitchell began her musical journey by singing in her father's church choir. She received a scholarship from Oklahoma City University, where in 1971 she obtained a bachelor's degree in music. Her alma mater later conferred upon her an honorary doctorate in music."
Leona debuted with the San Francisco Spring Opera Theater in 1972 and received an Opera America Grant.
Mitchell, African-American Opera Singer, received numerous awards including induction in the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2001. She received an Outstanding Oklahoman citation in 1975 and was named "Ambassadress of Enid" that same year. She was also honored by a joint session of the Oklahoma Legislature in 1985. She has performed for two presidents and at the inauguration of Charles Bradford Henry as governor of Oklahoma in 2003. She married Elmer Bush III and had one son, Elmer Bush IV. At the end of the twentieth century she resided in Houston, Texas. You can connect with leona Mitchell through her Facebook.
Another internationally acclaimed mezzo soprano Native American opera singer is Barbara McAlister was born Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1941. McAlister is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, a descendant of Old Tassel, and half German through her Mother. She aspired to be a country-western singer in her youth, but learned to love opera from her parents.
For McAlister's dedication to promoting the Cherokee language, she was awarded the Cherokee Medal of Honor from the Cherokee Honor Society. McAlister won the Loren Zachary Competition in Los Angeles, California, which launched her career. She has since performed in the opera houses of Passau, Koblenz, Bremerhaven, and most notably Flensburg, where she was engaged for a decade. She has given solo performances at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the Weil Recital Hall, and has performed with companies throughout Europe and the United States.
Tessie Mobley (1906-1990) Opera Singer, Lushanya, attended school in Ardmore, Oklahoma and lived on the family farm where she learned to break horses, shoot a rifle and, in contrast, studied piano from age six. She attended several universities in the United States and studied opera from 1931 to 1934 at the Staatliche Akademische Hochscule fur Musik in Berlin, Germany.
Lushanya was sometimes called "Songbird of the Chickasaws." Lushanya began her career with a solo performance in the Hollywood Bowl for the 1929 Indian Ceremonials. From there, she went on to become a famed and beloved performer across Europe and the United States. She was the subject of several portrait artists, and her likeness hangs in prominent museums today.
Oklahoma - PBS - American Experience Surviving the Dust BowlThe Dust Bowl brought drought, dust, disease and death to the Midwest for nearly a decade. The story of the determined people who clung to their homes and way of life, enduring drought, dust, disease and even death for nearly a decade.
Rainmakers were hired to stop the drought and make rain by explosions of nitroglycerin. Hugh Bennett, father of Soil conservation, took his soil conservation ideas to Washington DC and Congress. High winds and sun! Settlers plow at your peril!