Weather Dog Report...
This sunny Winter snow picture was taken Wednesday morning at our place South of Bayfield, Colorado. As one viewer put it this week, "It finally seems like winter has arrived, 10 days before the vernal equinox."
The Prairies' Castle On the Hill...
The first committee selected to start the work of trying to get the Normal located at Alva, was chosen at a little meeting of citizens in Mead's Hall (lot 4, block 38, over the post office then; and over Greenlee's drug store). Following are the names: S. L. Johnson, chairman; H. L. Ross, secretary; W. F. Hatfield, editor Alva Pioneer; James Kelley, editor Alva Republican; C. C. Hudson, editor Alva Review; A. H. Andrews, then city attorney, and Jesse J. Todd, a photographer.
The old files say, "The Alva Normal bill carried by four majority in the council (Senate) and was hurried to house, but being the last day of the session required a two-thirds vote to take it up out of its regular order to reach it before the close of the session. BUT, not having a two-thirds vote the measure died under the rule."
"Johnson, Kelley and Hudson did valliant service in helping Messrs. Gandy and Vickers to carry it through."
Thus ended the 1895 fight for the college; they were licked, but not conquered.
The attention of Alva people was given to other matters until April 1, 1896, when, S. L. Johnson, J. D. Share, W. F. Hatfield, G. W. Snyder, Geo. W. Crowell, E. Rall, C. W. Hobbie, H. S. Emmerson and J. W. Maxey, had a little meeting in Mead's Hall, and talked over the matter of forming a "Commercial Club." It was agreed that everyone present solicit the attendance of the business men at a meeting to be held in Mead's Hall on the evening of April 2, to perfect the organization.
There was a good turnout April 2, and they named it the Alva Commercial Club, and decided to elect 11 directors, -- the president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer to be four of the number; then the following were chosen: J. A. Stine, president; J. D. Share, vice-president; W. F. Hatfield, secretary; Geo. W. Crowell, treasurer; C. W. Bickel, H. E. Noble, Joseph Miller, C. W. Hobbie, J. G. Bittner, E. Rall, and F. E. Hatch. S. L. Johnson, on account of being postmaster, refused to accept any office in the club. The club gave its attention to general affairs until after the election in November, then plans were started for the legislature to convene in January, 1897. Geo. W. Vickers was re-elected representative of this district, and D. S. Randolph of Blaine county (then attached to this council district) was elected councilman. (Senator in the states.) It was necessary to confer with all the members-elect in the Strip and south counties.
It had been demonstrated that Old Oklahoma, because of having three years the advantage in organization, would attempt to rule everything; but only three Republicans were elected, and that somewhat demoralized the old time combine.
After January 1, 1897, the Commercial Club met nearly every night; the legislature was to meet on the 12th. The "stavers" were soon selected on account of their prompt attendance every meeting. Another "push" committee was to be sent to Guthrie to assist out members. The club chose S. L. Johnson as leader, with power to choose his own assistants, and then he selected W. F. Hatfield as his "right-hand bower."
A finance committee was put to work to secure funds to pay the expenses of the committee at Guthrie, and it was very "slim picking" those days. But enough was secured to start with in proper order and the committee went to Guthrie with our legislators.
The first thing was to get a majority (right for us) on the educational committee of both branches of the legislature, and that was done mighty quietly, for we soon discovered that the president of each body was against us. Capt. Stine, J. D. Share, G. W. Crowell, H. E. Noble, H. A. Noah, J. W. Monfort, Dr. J. D. Karr, C. W. Hobbie, E. Rall, S. B. Share, Jos Miller, Jesse J. Dunn, H. C. McGrath, F. M. Cowgill, W. C. Douglas, and a few others, were the home-guard and nearly everyone spent more or less time at Guthrie.
Johnson and Hatfield stayed there seven weeks; the legislature was composed of populists and a few democrats, and the populists were elected on a radical reform platform; their campaign cry had been "equal rights to all, and special privileges to none," and our main task was to make the " special privileges" that the east side of the territory enjoyed, with their colleges at Norman, Edmond and Stillwater, supported with our money, over-balance the great desire of the populist members for economy. Well, we managed also to have our republican friends to speak loud at the proper time and in the proper place and assert that the populists and democrats were against education, progress, etc.
A record of all the manuvers, the fight against us by Edmond, Norman, and Stillwater, etc., would make a big book; but our bill passed the council on Feb 26th, by a vote of eight to five. Senators D. P. Marum of Woodward and Wm. Garrison of Grant County being the leaders in carrying it through. Then the Edmond fellows re-doubled their efforts to prevent the bill passing the house, introducing the bill for the Negro Normal at Langston, saying that would be enough schools in Oklahoma. Our boys lined up for it and then lambasted them for being against a school for white children 200 miles from Edmond and where it would not interfere with their school. Persistent and careful work, with unanswerable argument, won out and at 8 o'clock on the evening of March 10, 1897, the bill passed the house. Then our enemies tried to get Gov. W. C. Renfrow to not sign the bill, but our friends stood "pat" and refused to pass an appropriation bill until he did sign it, and it was signed about midnight, close of the session, March 12.
Then came the election to vote $5000 bonds of Alva Township in aid of the college, as the bill provided for. It was held on May 18, 1897, and there were 251 votes for and 20 against it. There were then as now a few old soreheads and kickers against every progressive move of the "pushers."
The matter of letting the contract for the construction of the building was the next thing. Gov. Cassius M. Barnes had by this time succeeded Gov. Renfrow, and the governor and board of education for Normal schools were to let the contract, and the date set was July 22, but they postponed the matter for the reason that they could not determine how large a building was needed, and our Commercial Club was contending that our large school population demanded a large building, while Edmond and her cohorts were threatening an injunction against the erection of any building. However, our commercial club offered to furnish a building, free of rent, in which to start the school, and the board accepted the propostiton, and at a meeting held on August 28th, elected Prof. James E. Ament, of Rock Island, Illinois, as president; Miss Sarah Bosworth, formerly superintendent of Logan county schools, and Mrs. Mary DeLisle, formerly principal of the Alva public schools, as instructors. And the board promised more teachers if the attendance demanded it. The Congregational church was rented to $150.00 for the school year, and the board furnished desks.
Memories From NW Oklahoma...
We have heard more about WWII Prisoner of War memories this week from Charles Cook, in the Louisiana Bayou.
WWII In Oklahoma...
by - Charles M. Cook in Louisiana Bayou Country
The Rest of the Story...
... Jones' Three "R's" in Alva, OK by Leslie Kurth re: Frank Deaton's daughter (Diane).
Dick Goetz - JFK Print & Serigraph...
My wife's great aunt (104, God bless her) has a framed "proof" (5-1/2" wide by 4-1/2" high) by famous Oklahoma City artist Dick Goetz. The work is entitled, "Old Barn" and the name "Norman" appears centered under the illustration, following by Mr. Goetz's signature in the lower-right corner. Is there an avenue through your publication to ask readers for any information they might have on Mr. Goetz and this work? Best regards.
Edith Goetz (1918-1988)...
Mr. Goetz sounds to have been an Oklahoma "favorite son" in his day. There are pieces of information about Dick Goetz that I've been gathering. An interesting family. Read this bio on his wife, Edit Goetz, in which Richard ["Dick"] Goetz and Oklahoma are mentioned: Edith Goetz (1918-1988) - Rehearsal at Carnegie Hall c.1980.
WWII POW Paintings at Waynoka...
The Woodward Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum borrowed the three POW paintings from the Waynoka History Museum to display with the traveling exhibit, "Schindler". The exhibit ends March 4. I'll attach a photo showing them on display at the Woodward museum. I believe the 'Alva Cherokee Strip Museum' has some of the paintings, and others are
privately owned. There were '14 paintings' on the celotex between the studs of the old barracks which became the 'Buckner Apartments' after the war. The apartments burned sometime after the paintings were removed. There are other apartments in Waynoka that were POW barracks. Mr. Buckner knew the paintings were on the walls when they moved the barracks to Waynoka, but they installed wallboard in the remodelling, covering the paintings in the process. They were probably reminders of the war more than art at that time.
Samuel Magill of Glasgow...
My grandfather, Samuel Magill, son of Samuel and Mary Jane (Fivey) Magill, was born in Glasgow, in 1886. Both his parents, Samuel and Mary Jane, were born in Banbridge, County Down. Samuel was born in 1858 and Mary Jane Fivey was born in 1853. Mary Jane's parents were William and Bridget (Boyle) Fivey. Samuel's parents were John and Sarah (Gamble) Magill both of whom were born in Banbridge. I have no further than John but Sarah's parents were John and Elizabeth (Finney) Gamble. All of the Gamble's children were born in Banbridge. The death certificate for Samuel, husband of Mary Jane, reads Samuel McGill but that spelling was never used in the family. Do any of the above names sound familiar?" -- Bonnie - Email: Bfrandall@aol.com
AHS Goldbug Class of '61 Reunion Update...
Need to tell you something to pass on to Alva High Class of '61 -- put on your web site. The reunion date has changed to this Labor Day. It will start Friday evening, September 1st and run through Saturday, September 2nd, with a breakfast on Sunday, September 3rd. The final plans will be mailed to all classmates in a packet, after I find everyone. So, hope the mailing will happen by the end of April. Thanks!" -- Lana - Email: email@example.com - Toll Free Phone: 1-888-487-7658, Freedom, Oklahoma
WWII -Alva Camp POW, Werner Wolf...
"Three years ago I sent you a comment about my father, Werner Wolf, who had been a POW in 'Camp Alva' during WWII. You were so kind to insert my comment in the article. From time to time I got a comment from people who were interested in the matter. Now I have moved to another city and have changed my email adress. Could you therefore please change the contact-adress mentioned in the article? My new email adress." -- Michael - Email: MichaelWolf5@gmx.de
C. S. Warner - Circuit-Riding Preacher...
About 5 years ago (July 15th., 2001), our church choir performed a "special" (I think it was a quartet number rather than the entire choir) singing the novelty number, "Circuit-Ridin' Preacher", and preceded it with the enclosed remarks about my mom's Grampaw Warner. All of the remarks are true and the oil painted portrait hanging in my living room is of Rachel Moore of Felicity, Ohio (the mother of Rachel E. [Moore] Warner), and was painted about 1865.
Oklahoma Gas & Weather...
"This morning (3/9/2006, Thursday) we finally received some moisture. Not much, but my rain gauge showed almost 1/20th of an inch. The pavement was wet but I didn't see any mud anywhere. It was mostly like a heavy mist but at least there was a trace of moisture. Also... the price of gasoline dropped from $2.32.9 to $2.27.9 at one of the stations and to $2.29.9 at the Conoco across the street from it. Our fuel prices have continued to go up and down for no apparent reason." -- Roy
Alva - Chautauqua - 1910...
Backside of 1910 Postcard -- "I found this item (1910 penny postcard, postmarked Alva, OK, Jul 16, 1910, sent to Mr. G. C. Cornett, Driftwood, OK from someone named Essie) on eBay. I'm curious to know if anyone knows any of the folks in the photograph... or perhaps can identify the location it was taken. I'm including the second image, which shows the postmark date July 16, 1910. I have really enjoyed reading the information about the POW camp (Camp Alva). Thanks for your efforts to preserve northwest Oklahoma's history." -- Rod Murrow, Freedom, OK
Joseph Foucart (Feucart) - The Architect of the Castle on the Hill...
Joseph Foucart was the architect of the "Castle on the Hill of the Prairies of NW Oklahoma Territory. Foucart was a native of France, but has lived in this country many years, and at Guthrie at that time, and still lived there. He came here with the contractor and watched the construction of the building from start to finish. He is an expert in his line, and a clever gentleman in every way.
The citizens of Alva had a general jollification on the night of Thursday, March 10th. The site was selected on Saturday afternoon, March 19th; the foundation was measured off and the stakes set on Monday, March 29th, and on Friday afternoon, April 1st, R. M. Davis started six teams removing the dirt from the basement, and more teams were added Monday. By April 20th, twenty cars of stone had arrive from Augusta, Kansas, a well had been drilled in the basement to furnish water for mixing mortar, and thirty men were employed in various ways.
By the last of May, the foundation was well started on every side of the great building, and about this time a fellow named Asher, of El Reno, was visiting east side towns and soliciting donations from politicians to pay the expenses of filing an injunction to restrain the contractor from continuing the work. The commercial club had a consultation with Mr. Volk, and over hundreds of citizens of Alva and vicinity signed a bond to Mr. Volk for $86,018.00, and he doubled his force of workmen and pushed the contruction as rapidly as possible.
Asher filed his injunction in the supreme court at Guthrie and it stayed filed until after the building was completed. On July 1st, the work had so far advanced that committee begun the preparations for laying the corner stone (under the main tower in front). The program consisted of the usual ceremonies, led by the Masons. Gov. Barnes and several other territorial officers, and Grand Master E. M. Bamford were present. Pres. Ament introduced Gov. Barnes as the first speaker, and he was followed by Judge McAtee. S. L. Johnson and Hon. Temple Houston. Following is a list of articles placed within the corner stone:
Roll of officers and members of the grand lodge and local lodge A. F. & A. M.; same of the Alva Commercial Club, same of the legislature 1897, copies of the Alva Pioneer, Courier, Review and Cleo Cheiftain, copy of program of the day's exercises and names of President Ament, Miss Bosworth and Mrs. DeLisle.
The day was one of general celebration, the business of the town being represented by float's in a great parade; and the crowd present was guessed at 4000 to 6000.
The erection of the building went steadily on and there was no more trouble excepting the howl of "steal" and fraud from the east-side people and papers, until Gov. Ferguson needed in his political scheme Pres. Ament's place for a friend, and he got it.
After Mr. Ament came to Alva, no one man did as much as he to further the interests of the school, and it was conceded by all that the school had the most rapid growth of any other ever opened west of the Mississippi river. Mr. Ament, besides being one of the leading educators aof the United States, was an attracive man physically, and a general favorite with his students.
The school's attendance continued to grow, and its influence widened, and another building was needed before another year, to accommodate the young people who desire to higher education.
And our former enemies have at last conceded that the school is needed in this part of the world, and is a success.
[Source: The Alva Pioneer 1904 Souvenir Edition - Friday, Jan. 1, 1904, Vol. 11, No. 16, by W. F. Hatfield, Alva, Woods Co., Oklahoma. W. F. Hatfield, Publisher Daily and Weekly Pioneer editor, sold the "Souvenir Edition" in 1904 for 50-Cents. It was printed to celebrate Alva's tenth anniversary since the opening of 1893.]]
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