Remembering September 1943
What were you/your ancestors doing around the 12th of September 1943? NW Okie was not born yet. Not even a twinkle in my parents eye, but my older sister Dorthy was 12 days old!
WWII had been unraveling for a few years and my Uncle Bob McGill was off being trained at Kentucky University and other military camps across the USA before he was finally shipped out, November or December, 1944 -- Bob's Timeline of WWII .
Here are some 1943 history tidbits from the September 1943 edition of our local Northwest Oklahoma newspaper, The Alva Review Courier. It was found amongst my grandmother's stored treasures and memories of yesteryear.
If someone out there reading this has any other memories or treasures to interject here, please send them along for us using the "HELP! NW Okie" email link in this newsletter below. It doesn't have to be about Oklahoma! Thanks!
I'm going to jump through some of the pages and start with pg. 1, section C, Vol. XLIV, "1943 Alva Review-Courier". There was a short paragraph concerning the first school taught in the Cherokee Strip and it reads as follows, "J. W. Buckles, a young man from Harper, Kans., began a subscription school October 6, 1903, in a little building on a residential corner in Alva. This was believed to be the first school taught in the Cherokee Strip."
Does anyone out there know where this building in the residential corner of Alva stood?
Going to section B, front page, of that same newspaper, as you scroll down the page you run across an article about the first election of 1894, "The first election to vote bonds for waterworks in Alva was called June 14, 1894, was held on July 6, and for the sum of $13,000. However, the bonds were cancelled before any work was done."
On that same page, at the lower righthand corner, the small headlines reads, "Hollywood's Best Brought to Alva By Three Theaters." Homer Jones was the manager of the Jones Amusement company and a native of Texas. He entered the show business at Atoka, Okla., in 1919. In 1923 he sold his interests at Atoka and entered the theater field at Kingfisher, coming to Alva in 1929. After a short time Mr. Jones bought the interest of the Momand Enterprises, co-owners of the theater businesses here at that time.
"In July, 1923, Mr Jones built and constructed the Ritz theater which opened November 19, 1933. In the spring of 1936 he built and constructed the Ranger theater which opened December 6, 1936. The Ranger was named after the football and basketball teams at Northwestern State College."
Today Homer's son, Johnny Jones, still operates the Rialto Theater on the north side of the square. The Ritz and the Ranger Theater no longer exist as theaters, but the buildings remain. They have seen many changes since they closed their doors. Alva is down to one theater with multiple screens today.
Continuing on in the 1943 newspaper and on the same section is an article about Essie (McKitrick) Nall that my grandmother (Constance Warwick McGill) went to Northwestern Normal School with and continued their friendship as long as they lived.
The article headlines read, "Mrs. Nall long active in NW Alumni Group."
It goes on to say, "A long-time member of the Northwestern Alumni association and one of its most enthusiastic workers is Mrs. Essie (McKitrick) Nall. Mrs. Nall enrolled at the college on the day it opened, in 1898, and attended her first classes in the Congregational church before any college buildings were erected. Twice president of the Alumni association -- In 1933 and 1934 -- she is its secretary at the present time (1943). Mrs. Nall plans some day to write a history of the college."
Did Essie (McKitrick) Nall ever write a history of the College? Has anyone out there run across this history?
I would love to know more. Meanwhile, here is a picture of Essie Nall that appeared 12 September 1943 newspaper with the article. Also, I found a group picture of Essie (McKitrick) Nall (left), Grace Brooks (center), & Constance Warwick (right) that was taken in the early1900s. Notice the hats the three ladies are wearing.
As we briefly scan through section D, frontpage of the newspaper, you can't help but read about the McClure Insurance & Loan Agency and how it started in 1919 at Capron, Oklahoma.
It catches my eye, because Uncle Alvin Paris is mentioned a few lines into the article. The article tells that George McClure (graduate of Northwestern State College, 1917) moved to Alva from Capron in 1937. The McClure Loans and Insurance Agency got its start in Capron in 1919, after which Mr. McClure moved to Alva and located in the Bell Hotel building. The Bell Hotel still stands today at 5th & Barnes in downtown Alva. the only residents, the pigeons, that used to occupy the upper floors have been kicked out due to remodeling being done today by the Ryerson family.
Anyway ... McClure took Alvin Paris (My uncle, one of my mother's older brothers) as a partner in the company. During 1943 the McClure Insurance company was located at 509 College Avenue. Mr. McClure was well known in Alva, having played basketball at the college, playing in all of the states west of the Mississippi and five east of the Mississippi. He had been a representative for the Hartford Fire Insurance Company for twenty-four years. During 1943, Miss Betty Ratzlaff was the stenographer for the company, coming to Alva from Ringwood, Oklahoma, in May of 1943.
At the present time McClure Insurance is still in business and operated by the McClure descendants. It is located up on the southside of hwy. 64 (Oklahoma Blvd), just west of Logan street and east of Noble Street.
Let us flip the pages back to section B, pg. 4, for a few minutes and read about the first elections and sheriff of the County.
The first election was held 13 years before statehood (1894). H. Clay McGrath was one of the first to reach Alva on September 16, 1893, and in 1894 was elected the first sheriff of this county. Two years later he was elected to his second term in that county office. McGrath was one of the first Alvans to offer land to be used by the Normal School.
During that first election some of the elected officials were:
* James P. Renfrew, treasurer 1894;
* Fred Hardy, registrar of deeds;
* J. P. Gandy, first territorial councilman, 1894 and 1898;
* Joseph Porter, county attorney;
* James Walker, probate Judge;
* W. S. Ross, county clerk;
* W. E. Oxley, county superintendent;
* J. H. Gilmore, county surveyor;
* A. E. Frazier, coroner; and
* J. W. Lappin, J. J. Bishop & A W. Stone, county commissioners.
* L. D. Williams was the 1st trustee of Alva township, appointed in 1894 by the county commissioners and at the first election of town trustees on May 7, 1894. He was also chairman and first mayor of Alva and re-elected in 1895.
* Other important founding fathers at the time were: J. D. Scott, John C. Roberts, S. B. Share and William Whitworth, trustees; L. H. Bougham, Jr., clerk; E. Rall, treasurer; J. D. Carwile, justice of peace; W. H. Dunkin, assessor; and Fred B. Jones, marshal.
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Comments: In September 1943, my family was living on Mountain View Ave in Orange, NJ. awaiting the birth of your husband, David. Anita, our mother, had been hospitalized for some time. I think we visited her in August or September at a hospital out in the country. She had been in poor health with the pregnancy for some time during the summer and was finally hospitalized toward the end of her term. I did not realize that her poor health was due to her pregnancy. She had told me that she was having problems with her heart in the heat of the summer. I was surprised when my father told me I had a new baby brother; although that did explain a lot of what had gone on the prior 6-7 months.
As an aside: my Dad borrowed a friend's car to drive out to the hospital. He did not realize that the rear door of the car had a defective lock. When we pulled out of the hospital driveway onto the highway after our visit, Joan fell out of the car spread eagled onto the next lane. She was not seriously hurt, but it scared us all. ~Lou 2009-09-23 15:46:11
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