Okie's NW Corner
Friday the 13th - August, 2004 bellows, blows -- beginning the weekend! Hope you are not one of those that is superstitious and calls in "sick" for any kind of work on this Friday 13th!
This writer remembers back eleven (11) years ago to another Friday, August 13th, 1993 -- concerning the "NW Oklahoma's Probate from Hell" and a human "scud missile (of sorts)" that intentially rammed -- slammed a 4x4 estate farm truck (traveling at 65mph) into the front of "DoRight's" parked, Lincoln Town car. BUT... that is another family story put to rest -- in the past where it belongs! Reminders bring back that tragic day when the human scud missile tried to kill us and the county officials let him off the hook. BUT... We did survive and are stronger for all those "Trials & Tribulations" that were flung our way during the "probate era!" Que Sera! Sera!
August, Friday the 13th - 2004... doesn't look so good for those living, working in the path of "Charley" on the southwest & eastern coasts of Florida. The news, weather have been talking most of the day about "Charley" making his debut on the southwest coast of Florida between Sarasota & Ft. Meyers, closing down Disneyworld, etc... It is that time of year, isn't it!
Duchess would like a "special" hello to a fan of hers, Bennie B. You can see his photo and letter that Duchess received this week. See Y'all next weekend with more OkieLegacies!
NSTC 1938 Seniors - Ina Warwick...
Last week we mentioned Ina
Warwick. This week we received a photo of Ina that was listed with other seniors in the 1938 Northwester State Teachers College yearbook showing her as a senior, Freedom, Oklahoma -- working on her B.S. degree.
Green Valley School - c. 1915...
While you are browsing through the Mailbag Corner... checkout this old photo that Rod sent me of the Green Valley School. We even know the names of those pictured in this Green Valley School Photo - c. 1915... Backrow: Murial McCosker, Ray Cook, Ollie Martin, Winnie Harris, Ralph Keffer, Sam Riggs, Bill Cook, Howard Keffer, Harold Ewing, Bill Devinney. Middlerow: Josephine Harris, Helen Martin, Helen Jefferies, Vivian Jefferies, Beulah Keffer, Alta Mitchell. Frontrow: Glen Harris, Vern Keffer, Lewis Martin, Melvin Keffer, Leslie Keffer, Lee Harris, Jesse Jefferies, Harland Devinney.
More Oklahoma Ghost Towns...
In particular, Fitzlen and Wister, Oklahoma. Fitzlen is somewhere in Old Woods County -- Wister is now covered by Wister Lake which was build as a flood control in that area and became a part of the Wister State Park -- near Pine Valley, Oklahoma. We love hearing from all of you and sharing your memories growing up in some of these Oklahoma ghost towns. Like one of our readers said, "You can never return to the past, but it sure is nice to know what the past history is. Sure makes me miss the talks with my grandmother about her life coming to Oklahoma."
A few weeks ago... in The Okie Legacy we shared an order form for the book (He Made It Safe To Murder) written by Howard K. Berry, Sr. This book is about the life of Moman Pruiett. We sent off our order a few weeks ago -- receiving it in the mail yesterday. We have read the preface, foreword -- scanning through the Index looking for "Woods County" to see what pages had the info about N. L. Miller & the Old Opera House Murder of 1910, Alva, Oklahoma. Moman Pruiett usually was hired by the defense, but when this case came up, Moman's chief heckler (The Law and Order League) persuaded Pruiett with $3000 cash -- engaging him as the special prosecutor -- because they (the League) knew they could not beat Pruiett. BUT... More on that in the future Okie Legacies!
In Memory of... Wm J. McGill...
Y'all know that we placed an ad, "In Memory of... Wm. J. McGill," in this year's Freedom Rodeo program. We only wish that we could have found this November, 1917 photo in time to insert it in the memorial ad for our grandfather.
This photo dates back to 17th or 21st November 1917. Notice the old hunting wagon on the left with what seems to be wooden wheels. Grandpa McGill is the tall gentleman in the center looking down at his hunting dogs and leaning on his hunting gun while posing with his two hunting buddies in front of their pitched tent somewhere in the northwest countryside of Oklahoma. We do not know who the other two gentlemen are -- the photo has faded a bit over the years. If someone out there recognizes this photo, we would love to hear from you!
From the Durango Herald...
From the Durango Herald News we learn that the black bears of SW Colorado are again starting their annual binge -- spending 20 hours a day consuming 20,000-30,000 calories -- making every effort to pack on the pounds for their long winter sleep. They call this end of summer period of intensive feeding -- hyperphagia -- when bears begin their feeding frenzy to store fat by eating as much as possible. Some of those items of food include choke berries and acorns, but if they see trash cans, dog & bird feed -- those items will choke out the berries and acorns for the 5-gallon buckets per day of calories the bears consume. It's a matter of life and death with the bears -- packing on 4 to 5 pounds per day -- setting their priorities as food & calories instead of avoiding humans. They say the bears are just doing what comes natural to them this time of year before that long winter sleep! Wildlife managers are urging residents to be extra vigilant about keeping trash cans locked or off the street -- keeping pet, bird feed out of the reach of the bear's paths & paws. [Ready or not: Bears Starting Annual Binge - Durango Herald News]
Summer Roses at Waynoka (Oklahoma) War Memorial
"Hello from Waynoka! The Veterans Memorial has been so pretty this summer, with the roses blooming beautifully. I wanted to share this photo. And say 'Thank-You' to our Veterans, whether in wartime or peacetime. The names of more than 600 men and women from the Waynoka area are enscribed on the Memorial." -- Sandie - Email: email@example.com
My Dear Miss Duchess Rose
"I am most pleased and delighted to introduce myself to you. My name is Bennie Bybee. I feel sure I am a bit of an older gentlemale than you, sweet ladyship. My life does have its miracles, for which I am eternally grateful. My first human was a little girl. It was easy for me to make her happy because she lived in a very unhappy home. I didn't quite understand, but I knew how to make her happy. What I didn't know was, I was about to face my biggest trial of life. The little girl human would go to live with her mother, but I would not. Her mother allowed her to visit the father human on some weekends. So we got to walk and play. However, those times would end. My male human would seldom feed me or give water to me. I hung to my canine wisdom that told me a change would come. My human just kept bringing home other dogs that seemed to be lost. There were four of us who would cuddle under a vent that would blow hot air from something that made a noise from inside. Then hot summer winds made us very, very thirsty. My female human that worked in an office at 2700 N. Portland. That is my present human, took me to her office. I sort of became famous. Humans came to the office just to see me! I am sooo... loved! I thank that all-loving canine in the sky. Humans are kind of funny. They must see things backwards. I've seen them bow their heads and make soft sounds to a Being they call 'God...' and we all know its 'Dog.' But I wouldn't tell them. They are happy the way it is, and names are just names. My apologies for going on so, Miss Duchess Rose. As my human always says, 'This too shall pass.' We don't have to worry in the 'now.' See there? They did it again... we know we've 'won.' Farewell!" -- Your Faithful, Bennie Bybee
Green Valley School
Green Valley School -- "I have been loaned a photo that belongs to Alberta Bliss, who lives on the land homesteaded by Charles C. and Sarah (Proffitt) Riggs at the opening of the Cherokee Strip. The Riggs family donated a corner of their land for the construction of the sod-house school named Green Valley. Charles Riggs's sister, Mary Jane 'Doll' Jordan, was a teacher at the school for several years. Later, the school was moved across the road and this building was built. I do not know the date of the photo, but Sam Riggs (center, rear) was born in 1902, so I assume the photo to be c. 1915 or so. Sam graduated with the Carmen High School, class of 1924 and the NSTC class of 1928. Sam's first wife was my grandmother, Esther Fern (Sherrell) Riggs - her first husband was Bertsell Chester Riggs, who was killed in a construction accident while building a bridge about 9-10 miles north of Waynoka on highway 14. At the time of his death in 1923, my mother was 11 months old. After Fern's death, Sam married Ava Carter; his third wife is Oneita (McCarty) Crutchfield Riggs. Until his death, and then her retirement, they operated the Riggs Idea House, an advertising agency that is still located in Alva, OK. Oneita is still living and is a resident of the Homestead retirement center in Alva. The Green Valley Free Methodist Church is located approximately 8 miles west of Carmen on highway 45. Until its destruction by a tornado a few years ago, the school building was still in use as a community center. The community built a new center on the same site. I have a photo of the old sod-house Green Valley school, with teacher 'Dolly' Jordan and her students. I will send it in a later email. I have the names of only a couple of the students." -- Rod Murrow - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coons - Dangerous, Obnoxious Creatures
"Okay, here's my story illustrating why coons are dangerous creatures: It was just after 9:00 p.m. when I let Nelson and Daisy out for one final tour of the property and noticed that I had forgotten to take down the birdfeeder hanging from a tree limb above the table in the semi-circle across the drive. Crouched in the feeder with one paw hanging onto the limb was a coon. I grabbed up a rock and jumped to the table as the coon jumped onto the limb and headed up the tree. I threw the rock. It missed the coon, hit the tree and ricocheted back straight at me. I stepped back and to the side, onto a piece of wood, and fell straight backward, hitting my head on a woody stump of the evergreen shrub. I also bit hell out of my tongue and my glasses went flying off my head. After I got over being slightly dazed, I came in, found an old pair of glasses, grabbed the flashlight and went back out to search for my glasses. No luck at all in finding them. I'll wait for daylight. I also couldn't find hide nor hair of the damned coon which caused my pitfalls and pratfalls. Which saved me having to saw down the tree to get to him. I would gladly ring the little bastard's neck."
Kemper & OkieLegacy Websites
"I think it's great that the Kemper Newsletter is coming to your site for information about Kemper. I know it is just another of the many reminders you get of why you are going to all the effort you are to provide the Legacy and your websites."
Louthan - Bert & Belle
"I am related by marriage to the descendants of Bert and Belle Louthan. The mother of my stepfather, Richard Bruner, was a sister of Belle Louthan." -- John Franklin - Email: email@example.com
Pine Valley, OK
Pine Valley, Oklahoma... "I lived in Pine Valley and my parents owned all of it in the 60'-70's. It was still a great place to grow-up, explore and dream of what it was like in the good old days. I had relatives that worked there when it was active." -- Shirley Rose Nelson - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tornado Photos - Mulvane, Kansas
Tornado Photos - Mulvane, Kansas -- "To some of you, I have frequently talked about tornadoes and 'straight winds' in our area and having to shut down my computer because of the storms. Well, this guy has some AMAZING pictures of the progress of 2 tornadoes (Taken in Mulvane, KS). Make sure to look at both 'pages'. Storm chasers are really 'crazy' people (my opinion) to do this kind of stuff, but this guy is not a 'professional' storm chaser and got these incredible pictures. For those of you that live in this area, it will be old hat but is still AMAZING pictures! Hope now you can see what we see VERY frequently beginning in about April and going thru to August and then again a little later in the year. Enjoy!" -- Karel
Ghost Town - Fitzlen, Oklahoma
"I found this description from an old postcard I found listed on the eBay auction site. It says, in part... FITZLEN, OKLA. JAN 27, 1909 hand cancel to Alva, Okla. Killer is early bullseye type (see scan). According to Helbock (1989:92) Fitzlen, Woods County with operational post office between 1899 and 1913. The postcard was on eBay. I'm not trying to help sell this, just to learn more of this old town. The card is addressed to Miss Opal Rose, 1026 Santa Fe St. in Alva, from a fellow named Melvin, in Fitzlen. It has a 'received' stamp at Capron, Jan. 27, 1909, with a 1-cent stamp attached. Has anyone ever heard of the town of FITZLEN, Oklahoma?" -- Rod Murrow, Freedom, OK - Email: email@example.com
Ghost Town - Wister, OK -- "I was born December 15, 1921 at Wister , OK . My birthplace is now covered by the Wister Lake which was build as a flood control in that area and became a part of the Wister State Park . My Dad, W. S. Holt, went to Pine Valley in 1925 to work as a carpenter for Dierks Lumber and Coal Company. He worked with the builders of the company owned homes and businesses. After a few months he moved his family to the area that later was the Valley School building area. He lived in a tent until he saved enough money to buy a couple of lots in the township of Muse . There he built our home. We lived there until the carpenter work had slowed down. Later in about 1926 we moved to Mountain Pine, Arkansas where another new Dierks sawmill was being built. We moved back to Muse in time for me to start school in the fall of 1926...... READ MORE" -- Orville Holt - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cherish Your Past
We Should ALL Cherish - Past History... "Thank you for sharing the past history we should all cherish. You can never return to the past, but it sure is nice to know what the past history is. Sure makes me miss the talks with my grandmother about her life coming to Oklahoma." -- Lynda McSpadden - Email: email@example.com
Great Overviews of Oklahoma's Ghost Towns'
"Thanks for the great overviews of Oklahoma's 'Ghost Towns'. As a retiree and a long time photographer I hope to soon visit these places. We lived in Denver for twenty years and haunted the ghost towns in the "hills" and are just discovering the wonderful opportunities that exist here in Oklahoma." -- Darryl Cox - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"I am trying to find the Missouri antecedents of Buck Snapp, 1910, 1920 & 1930 Census Woods County, Oklahoma. Have extensive information on an Andrew J. "Bunk" Snapp born in 1841 in Taney County, Missouri. Think the Bunk Snapp in the Oklahoma Censuses mentioned may be his son, but have been unable to establish the link. Do you have any suggstions as to how I might solve this riddle. Any help much appreciated." -- Glenn - Email: email@example.com
Ennis & Ophelia Franklin Eldred
Looking for Info - Ennis & Ophelia Franklin Eldred... "I hope maybe you can help me. I am looking for Ennis Monroe Eldred and Ophelia Franklin Eldred. They were my grandparents. My father was Earl Barton Eldred. He was their son. My father passed away when he was 49-yrs-old. I was not able to get too much information from him. His parents died when he was a young boy. My mother died before I could get any info from her. So... if you have any info, I would appreciate it. Thank you so much." -- Marie Eldred Blagburn - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lake Wister State Park
Lake Wister State Park... In Southeast Oklahoma close to the beautiful Ouachita National Forest amid a dramatic backdrop of dogwood, northern spruce and ponderosa pine trees. Two miles south of Wister on U.S. 270. Other nearby communities are Poteau, 8 miles to the northeast; Heavener, 9 miles southeast. Hiking trails include a 3/4 mile self-guided nature trail which winds through the forest up a rocky ridge that runs through the park; and a 5-mile round trip trail.
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