Duchess & Oakie's NW Corner
With Halloween just around the bend, have you decided what your costume will be to greet the ghosts, goblins and spirits that come calling this year? We would love to know and need some suggestions for ourselves! Duchess and I thought about switching skins -- BUT... that would get a little messy! Anyone have any other ideas for Halloween costumes?
Speaking of Spirits & Halloween... One of our readers suggested for this Halloween season that we might keep the "Spirit" alive and highlight some of the ghost towns of Oklahoma (or ghost towns in your area). If the spirits of our ancestors and small ghost towns could tell us something about their past today, what would they be saying? Would the spirits give us some insights into the mysteries that they left behind? Would Mabel Oakes spirit of 1910 give us all another side to the Old Opera House Murder in Alva, Oklahoma? Would the 1956 spirit of Mildred Ann Reynolds that lingers, haunts the Old Avard Gym, in Avard, Oklahoma give us some clue as to who her killer might have been? OR... will we have to wait until some witness on their deathbed leaves us a clue in future years?
Then there is the mysterious glowing tombstone and flashing red light that Alva teenagers use to view from the vantage point on the east side of the Alva swimming pool. We would love to know if today's kids still know about this tradition.
AND... What about the man that attended a Saturday night party in Avard in 1920's or 1930's and became quite inebriated. When he left the party he headed west and ended up in the Avard Lake without anyone knowing his whereabouts for awhile until they found his body and car at the bottom of the lake. Is his spirit one of those that haunts the Old Avard Gym, in northwest Oklahoma?
If you have a particular ghost town that you would like to see highlighted, please send it along. Thanks for all your help and suggestions! Meanwhile... checkout the Mailbag Corner for these and other ghostly spirits, glowing tombstones and spooklights. Especially, about the mysterious spooklight (also known as Devil's Promenade) that has a nomadic history that may go back over 100 years in an area on either side of the Missouri-Oklahoma line, about three miles west of Hornet, a small community south of Joplin.
1937 NSTC Freshmen Class, Alva, Oklahoma
Alva, Oklahoma - About the 1937 NSTC Ranger Annual -- Well! We have the NSTC (Northwestern State Teachers' College) 1937 Ranger Annual scanned and put up on our NW OkieLegacy Webshots.
Some Other Tidbits of Northwestern State Teachers' College... 1933-34 school year NSTC organized the female "Zipper Club" and the male "Wranglers" -- both were used to promote loyalty and school spirit at Old Northwestern.
Did You Know... that the Northwestern Alumni Association was established in the spring of 1934? A banquet was held at the Presbyterian Church to organize an alumni organization to include the alumni back to 1921. In the spring of 1935 the alumni association enlarged the group to include the classes receiving degrees, diplomas each year from 1900 to 1937. In 1936 the alumni held its annual banquet in the Bell Hotel dining room, and included all the graduating classes from 1900 to the present day in the mid-1930s. They held their alumni banquets each spring and sponsored the biggest event of the year for Alva and Northwestern -- the annual "Homecoming" event.
The 1937 Ranger Annual gave us an idea of what the 1933-34 NSTC Homecoming must have been like when the 2nd-place Wrangler float created a commotion when it nearly resulted in a "panic of frenzied delight on the part of spectators." You see... the captured "Buff-loe" caused a small riot by escaping and frolicing on the sidewalks. Have you heard this NSTC Ranger story before?
We also found out the the music department at Northwestern was organized in the fall of 1902 by Prof. E. C. Marshall. AND... that Northwestern became a 4-year college in 1920. That was the same year a full 4-year course leading to the bacheolor degree with a major in music was established with the first musice major student to graduate in 1922.
Deer Watching - Who's Watching Who
Bayfield, Colorado - About 6:00 p.m., mountain time, Wednesday, 20 October 2004, Oakie took an evening walk with her digital camera in tow -- northeast of the house to the north pasture of tall grass. What she found grazing in the tall grasses near a dry pond bed were a herd of deer estimated to be over 24 (may be closer to 30). Oakie did get some group shots of the deer with her digital camera while there was still some sunlight. It was deer watching Oakie -- Oakie watching deer. There were four deer that moved closer on the left side of Oakie, in the tall grasses to get a better look of this strange creature taking camera shots of their herd. So... Who was really watching Who or Whom? Check the rest of the photos out at Vallecito Webshots - 20 Oct 2004 Deer Watching. Enjoy!
Alfalfa County History Book Deadline Nearing
Alfalfa County, Oklahoma - "The deadline is near for submitting family histories and pictures for the new edition of the Alfalfa County Book. November 1 is the deadline for histories and ordering books. There will be a 15 day period after that. If you are working on a history let us know so we can get it in. Histories should be submitted on a floppy disc. Pictures are limited to one per-history and scanned at grayscale 300 dpi and resized to 300 and put on the floppy with the story. Information e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org." -- Marty Myers
Halloween & Oklahoma Ghost Towns
Colorado - " Thanks, Linda, for taking the time in that Colorado haven to answer. I have been there and would welcome a chance to go back. My aunt and uncle ran a family business for many years in western Colorado (Meeker). Of course that is nowhere near southern Colorado. They had a dude ranch/resort. She did all the cooking and laundry and was amazing in all she accomplished. Her husband, Oscar, was a guide on horseback as well as other family members who participated in the activities. I know it's awfully late in the season ... no, impossibly late ... but I had an idea for some Halloween season that it might keep the 'spirit' to highlight some of the towns around Oklahoma no longer inhabited. Thanks for your wonderful dedication to Oklahoma and your professionalism." -- Pat
Ghostly Glowing Tombstone & Flashing Red Light
Alva, Oklahoma - "I don't know if this is still a teenage tradition or not, but when I was school-aged and living in Alva -- after dark, we used to watch for the eerie lights of the cemetery. We could parallel park on the east side of the city swimming pool, and line our car up with a certain bench just inside the pool's fence. If we did it just right, we could see two strange things to the west in the cemetery. One was a tombstone that appeared to glow in the dark with a soft white light. The other was a tombstone that flashed a red light on and off -- on and off -- on and off. Further investigation by forging into the cemetery to look for these tombstones always produced nothing. It was like the tombstones were warning us to keep away. In order to see these two spectacles, you had to park 'just right' or they were blocked by the trees. Someone, before my time, figured out that the swimming pool benches were the way to remember where to stop, turn your head, and look west. I saw these things on several occasions and had totally forgotten about them until I got your request for Halloween stories. I never did know what caused them... probably a street light reflecting off a particular tombstone could cause the glowing one, but I can't come up with a logical explanation for the red flashing one! I'd love to know if today's kids still know about this." -- Scott
Topeka (Kansas) & Albino Lady Haunts Rochester Cemetery
Kansas - "I love ghost story because they usually have some truth in them. I have two I'd like to share. However, they are from Kansas but they are good.
Devil's Promenade & Spooklight Road
Hornet, Oklahoma - Devil's Promenade & Spooklight Road ... "Although it is not a town -- it appears on the road -- near old, old community area known as Hornet, Oklahoma. The closest big towns are Joplin, MO and Quapaw, OK. Most people call the area 'Devil's Promenade.' This ghost light has appeared since Civil War days and I myself saw it many times between age 11 and 23 when I moved away from the general area. My Dad used to take my family and new kids in Church to visit. If you go to Google search engine and type in 'Devil's Promenade OK' you can see what I am talking about from the different articles printed there. It's a story about the area that is worth telling and really amazes most to hear of it (and some of them are very frightened when they have it come up to the car!)." -- Juanita
Manchester, Oklahoma - "I would like to know more about Manchester, Oklahoma. Not the Manchester north on highway 81, but the Manchester that was (or is) in the northern part of Woods County. My great grandfather, Obed Reed, delivered mail there!" -- Tonya Porter email@example.com
Winchester & Avard Ghosts
Manchester, Oklahoma - "I don't know that I know enough about Woods County's ghost towns to pick out a favorite, but your inquiry brought three things to mind from my childhood and teen years that I was either told about or witnessed first-hand.
The Hornet Spooklight
Hornet, Oklahoma - ".....But the old-timers laugh at all such explanations, claiming that the Indian lights were seen at the same spot in the deep wood, fifty years before the 'Devils Promenade' road was built. Fred C. Reynolds of Kansas City says that his grandfather, a pioneer doctor at Baxter, Kansas, observed these lights long before there was any such thing as a motor car, adding that he himself saw the jack-o-lantern as a boy. Bob Hill of Joplin, Missouri, observes that the phantom was seen by many persons in this vicinity before there was a Highway 66, and certainly long before the airport was established at Quapaw, Oklahoma....." -- On the Road With Bicycle Bob [SEE: Devils's Promenade & The Hornet Spook Light]
History of Sightings
Hornet, Oklahoma - History of Sightings... "The Spooklight has a nomadic history that may go back over 100 years in an area on either side of the Missouri-Oklahoma line, about three miles west of Hornet, a small community south of Joplin." -- [ALSO SEE: Maps of Sightings and Geology]
Oklahoma Ghost Towns (Academy to Zena)
Oklahoma - "I wanted to be sure you were aware of this website, which, among other things, lists a lot of Oklahoma ghost towns (from Academy to Zena) and four books on the subject. Sure love your website. Check out: http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/ok/ok.html ." -- Greg
WWII POW Camps
Missouri - "I came from a small Missouri town north of St. Louis that had a POW camp. I was a little girl, and I remember both German and Italian prisoners were housed there, just a few blocks from my home. I find it fascinating that so little has apparently been written about these camps, or at least that I'm aware of. Would like to learn more." -- Carolyn Allen - Email: Bunglerye@charter.net.
Avard, Oklahoma Information
Avard, Oklahoma - "After getting your reply I had to re-think everything that was handed down to me through my father by word of mouth, none of which is documented. My father, Joseph Samuel Avard was born in Leesville, Louisiana, December 29, 1843 and passed away April 27, 1921 in Leesville, Louisiana. Dad always said that Avard, Oklahoma was named after an aunt or maybe a great aunt whose name was Mary Isabell Avard who married a man by name of Todd. Now I don't know if they met at Avard or not. Dad always said she was the first post mistress at Avard. It's been a long time. I wish I had written some of the information down, but didn't. My Dad was a depot agent for Frisco Railroad, and my mother was also in later years. She worked at Avard during wheat harvest season on different occasions as depot agent in the 1960's. Dad used to tell that a banker came thru Avard one time and couldn't decide whether to open a bank at Avard or Tulsa. He chose Tulsa. That's my knowledge of the name of Avard Oklahoma. I have been there several times, and my brother married a girl, Martha Bliss, from Avard while he was attending college at Alva Oklahoma, since divorced. I live in suburbs of Tulsa." -- Vernon - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for Resting Place of Great-Grandparents
Stonewall, Oklahoma - "Looking for the final resting place of my Great Grandparents, Thomas Morgan and Sarah Jane Flaherty. They lived in Stonewall, but Thomas died at his daughter's house in Frisco, on August 13, 1920. Sarah died November 20, 1920. I'd appreciate any help I can get on this." -- Shanna Flaherty-Pierce - Email: email@example.com
Gwynn Family Searcher
"My searching brought me to your web site in hope of finding a connection to the Gwynn family. I'm just beginning my search so wish me luck. With no connection to any other Gwynn's this will be no easy task. My only information is my father and grandparents names.... if you have any information or advise please contact me. Thanks." -- Cindy A Gwynn - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Biffy & Bug Planted at Alva High in '66
Oklahoma - "No new Ghost towns here that I know of, but one question that has always been on my mind... who or what ghost was always able to plant that biffy at the high school each year? Remember that? Is that old tradition still going on today? I would think that it's not still a secretiive thing with such security equipment that is available. While I'm thinking of that, I just remembered something that happened during our class rehearsal for graduation. Remember when a bunch of us worked that VW bug into the building on the west side? Damn, that is still funny, but we sure didn't get a good reception from those in power at the time. Imagine finishing your business and heading back to your car, only to find it parked inside the school building." -- CB
Looking for HESS of Alva, Oklahoma
Oklahoma - "Looking for Barbara Alice Hess born to Samuel L. Hess-1888-1954. Sam lists 'wife and child' on his WWI registration card, Sam's home was in Alva, Oklahoma. Barbara would have been born about 1910-1917. Do these names look familiar to anyone? Many thanks." -- Suzanne Hess - Email: email@example.com
Marfa Mystery Lights - Texas
Marfa Mystery Lights - Texas -- "
The Apaches called them 'ghost lights' and attributed them to the wandering spirits of their ancestors. Early settlers also reported them, dating back to the 1880's....."
Cover - Oklahoma, The Next Star on the Flag
Alva, Oklahoma - The Oklahoma Book - The Next Star on the Flag -- "I found this book on eBay and did not get the bid for it. The fellow who owned it offered to scan select pages for me, so these are the ones I asked for.
1954 - 2nd Graders, Dacoma, OK
"This photo was taken at my brother's birthday party, May 1954, at the end of his first-grade school year in Dacoma (Oklahoma).
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