Carter County, Oklahoma: Then and Now

An Illustrated history of Carter County, Oklahoma, paired with profiles of local companies and organizations that make the county great.

An Illustrated history of Carter County, Oklahoma, paired with profiles of local companies and organizations that make the county great.


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CARTER<br />

COUNTY,<br />


<strong>Then</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Now</strong><br />

by Bob Burke <strong>and</strong> Eric Dabney<br />

Commissioned by the Greater Southwest Historical Museum<br />

Historical Publishing Network<br />

A division of Lammert Incorporated<br />

San Antonio, Texas

Among the area’s earliest residences is the painstakingly preserved Eaves-Brady cabin, today a massive exhibit in the heart of the Greater Southwest Historical Museum in Ardmore.<br />

James Jackson Eaves <strong>and</strong> his family settled thirty-eight miles northwest of present-day Ardmore, near Pooleville, in the winter of 1892. The house would remain occupied by several<br />

families until 1949. Jimy Brady Rose donated the cabin <strong>and</strong> its contents to the Museum in 1998.<br />


First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2012 Historical Publishing Network<br />

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing<br />

from the publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to Historical Publishing Network, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790.<br />

ISBN: 9781935377856<br />

Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 2012942144<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>, <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>Then</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Now</strong><br />

authors: Eric Dabney <strong>and</strong> Bob Burke<br />

contributing writer for sharing the heritage: Joe Goodpasture<br />

Historical Publishing Network<br />

president: Ron Lammert<br />

project manager: Curtis Courtney<br />

sales representative: Lou Ann Murphy<br />

administration: Donna M. Mata, Melissa G. Quinn<br />

book sales: Dee Steidle<br />

production: Colin Hart, Evelyn Hart, Glenda Tarazon Krouse,<br />

Omar Wright, Tony Quinn<br />

2 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w


4 CHAPTER I A R i c h H e r i t a g e<br />

19 CHAPTER II S t a t e h o o d a n d t h e C o m i n g o f O i l<br />

35 CHAPTER III Wa r Ye a r s a n d P o s t - Wa r E c o n o m y<br />

44 CHAPTER IV M o d e r n A r d m o r e<br />

49 CHAPTER V O t h e r P l a c e s We C a l l H o m e<br />



131 SPONSORS<br />


C o n t e n t s ✦ 3

C H A P T E R<br />

I<br />


A number of unique geological<br />

l<strong>and</strong>marks st<strong>and</strong> along Highway 77<br />

in northern <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>. They are<br />

a profound reminder of the rich<br />

heritage that exists above ground—<br />

<strong>and</strong> below.<br />


<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> is a diverse l<strong>and</strong>. Its 833 square miles in south central <strong>Oklahoma</strong> are part of<br />

several physiological regions, including the Arbuckle Mountains, the Coastal Plains, the Red Plains,<br />

<strong>and</strong> the Cross Timbers. The Arbuckles, dating back to perhaps 500 million years ago, comprise one<br />

of the oldest mountain ranges on the planet. They were formed when the earth’s crust buckled <strong>and</strong><br />

cracked <strong>and</strong> then turned on edge to expose rows of limestone rocks. The mountains were originally<br />

8,000 feet in height, with an expansive valley toward present Ardmore. Over time, the Arbuckles<br />

have so eroded into the valley, the mountains are not nearly as imposing as before.<br />

Two main drainage systems serve the county. The Washita River <strong>and</strong> Caddo Creek <strong>and</strong> their<br />

tributaries drain much of the northern portion of the county while several creeks in southern <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> feed the Red River.<br />

There were no permanent human settlements in the region before the federal government<br />

relocated the Five Civilized Tribes to Indian Territory in the first part of the nineteenth century.<br />

The <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Archaeological Survey has recognized more than eighty archeological sites, evidence<br />

of temporary camps of roaming Plains Indians. Some sites in the county date back to the Archaic<br />

period from 6,000 B.C. to the birth of Christ.<br />

4 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

Even though no ancient Indian tribes settled<br />

in what would become <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>, the rich<br />

l<strong>and</strong> was prime hunting territory for Mound<br />

Builders to the east <strong>and</strong> tribes of the Wichitas<br />

to the west. At the time of the Spanish<br />

conquistador Coronado’s travels through<br />

western <strong>Oklahoma</strong> in 1541, the Wichitas lived<br />

near the Great Bend of the Arkansas River in<br />

central Kansas. By the 1700s, the Wichitas <strong>and</strong><br />

Caddoes constructed grass-thatched, conicalshaped<br />

huts on Hickory <strong>and</strong> Caddo creeks as<br />

temporary dwellings during the months the<br />

tribal members were looking for food to endure<br />

another winter on the plains.<br />

Also in the eighteenth century, the Osage,<br />

Pawnee, Comanche, <strong>and</strong> Kiowa were in the<br />

region on hunting <strong>and</strong> raiding expeditions, but<br />

they left little evidence of their existence. The<br />

early European explorers who came to the<br />

future <strong>Oklahoma</strong> in the 1700s did not visit<br />

the area. The first written account of white<br />

men visiting <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> came with the<br />

Leavenworth-Dodge Expedition in 1834, an<br />

attempt by the Army to establish friendly<br />

relations with the Plains tribes <strong>and</strong> to stop the<br />

war between them <strong>and</strong> the Osages.<br />

Among the officers who visited near the<br />

present site of Ardmore in July, 1834, was<br />

Jefferson Davis, the future president of the<br />

Confederacy. The famous artist, George Catlin,<br />

also accompanied the Army expedition that<br />

turned to disaster when nearly half the 500<br />

men became sick with fever. The area was<br />

experiencing a drought, causing one sergeant<br />

to write in his journal, “The sun with all his<br />

scorching rays came pouring down upon us<br />

almost hot enough to have roasted an egg in<br />

the s<strong>and</strong>.”<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s rich history associated with<br />

the Chickasaw Indians began with President<br />

Andrew Jackson’s support of the Indian<br />

Removal Act, passed by Congress in 1830.<br />

An early Native American village<br />

rises across the territory.<br />



C h a p t e r I ✦ 5

An early map of the Chickasaw<br />

Nation in Indian Territory shows the<br />

location of the l<strong>and</strong> that would one<br />

day become <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />



Through intricate negotiations <strong>and</strong> political<br />

pressure from the federal government, the<br />

Choctaws, one of the Five Civilized Tribes,<br />

were relocated from their ancestral homes in<br />

the southeastern United States from 1830 to<br />

1835. Their kinsmen, the Chickasaws, whose<br />

original home was in Alabama, Western<br />

Tennessee <strong>and</strong> Mississippi, came between 1837<br />

<strong>and</strong> 1840, although a few members of the tribe<br />

had moved westward with the Choctaws.<br />

The Chickasaws began arriving in their new<br />

home after signing the Treaty of Doaksville in<br />

1837 which allowed them to purchase for<br />

$530,000 what would be known as the<br />

Chickasaw District of the Choctaw Nation.<br />

Eventually, the district was divided into four<br />

counties—Cotton, Caddo, Perry, <strong>and</strong> Wichita.<br />

The desire for self government caused the<br />

relationship between the Choctaws <strong>and</strong><br />

Chickasaws to change in 1855 with the<br />

establishment of the Chickasaw Nation in place<br />

of the old Chickasaw District.<br />

In August 1856, Chickasaws met at<br />

Tishomingo <strong>and</strong> agreed upon a constitution.<br />

Four new counties—Panola, Tishomingo,<br />

Pontotoc, <strong>and</strong> Pickens—were created. Ardmore<br />

was destined to be in Pickens <strong>County</strong>, named<br />

for Edmund Pickens, a prominent Chickasaw<br />

leader who helped negotiate several treaties<br />

between the tribe <strong>and</strong> the United States. The<br />

county seat of Pickens <strong>County</strong> was Oakl<strong>and</strong>,<br />

two miles west of present Madill.<br />

Because of raids from Plains Indians, the<br />

Chickasaws were slow to move into the western<br />

part of their new nation. Around 1850, Adam<br />

Jimmy, a full-blood Chickasaw, built a log<br />

ranch house eight miles southwest of present<br />

Ardmore. He grazed large herds of cattle on the<br />

l<strong>and</strong> that became known as “Adam Jimmy<br />

Prairie.” Because Jimmy was the only resident<br />

for many miles, his home was a favorite<br />

stopping place for travelers going from the Red<br />

River to Fort Arbuckle.<br />

The Civil War had little impact on the area.<br />

Prior to the war, the Chickasaw Nation was<br />

relatively free of white intruders. With the<br />

cattle business improving because of the<br />

coming of the railroads <strong>and</strong> the establishment<br />

of the cattle trails such as the Chisholm Trail,<br />

the Chickasaws began selling permits under<br />

which a white man could work for an Indian<br />

for a very small fee. It was a lucrative source of<br />

income for the tribe.<br />

The rich grassl<strong>and</strong> south of the Arbuckles<br />

attracted many white ranchers from Texas.<br />

Some of the early ranching families included<br />

the Addingtons, the Roffs, the Criners, <strong>and</strong><br />

the Washingtons. Some of the men married<br />

Chickasaw women <strong>and</strong>, by law, became citizens<br />

of the Chickasaw Nation. Russell Washington<br />

was one of the early large ranchers. He <strong>and</strong><br />

his four sons established the IS Ranch near<br />

present Ardmore.<br />

In 1881, the O Cross O Ranch began on<br />

West Spring Creek. It was a large ranching<br />

operation complete with chuck wagons. To<br />

keep their cattle from straying, a drift fence<br />

ran from near present-day Gene Autry to<br />

Lone Grove.<br />

6 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

Left: The 700 Ranch house as it stood<br />

around 1900.<br />



The history of Ardmore perhaps began when<br />

the 700 Ranch came into existence in 1880. It<br />

was the first time permanent buildings were<br />

erected within the present city limits of<br />

Ardmore. The ranch house was built in a grove<br />

of large cottonwood trees near G Street <strong>and</strong><br />

Second Avenue in southeast Ardmore. In late<br />

spring cattle were rounded up <strong>and</strong> driven<br />

either to Atoka or Caddo to the east, where they<br />

were shipped by rail to markets at St. Louis,<br />

Missouri, or herded westward to the Chisholm<br />

Trail, bound for shipping points in Kansas.<br />

Below: The Roff house, today a<br />

historic l<strong>and</strong>mark across the street<br />

from the Great Southwest Historical<br />

Museum, was the first to be built<br />

within in the city limits of what would<br />

eventually become the city of Ardmore<br />

in 1870. It was originally located on<br />

the famed 700 Ranch along the west<br />

bank of the Anadarche Creek <strong>and</strong> was<br />

moved to its present site in 1991.<br />


C h a p t e r I ✦ 7

Above: Ardmore, 1887.<br />



Right: The Whittington Hotel <strong>and</strong><br />

Simon Bros. Dry Goods in Ardmore,<br />

Indian Territory.<br />



8 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

The 700 Ranch had many famous visitors.<br />

U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas often stayed at the<br />

ranch while tracking down whiskey peddlers,<br />

horse thieves, <strong>and</strong> other criminals who had fled<br />

Texas <strong>and</strong> other jurisdictions into the sparsely<br />

populated Indian Territory. Thomas <strong>and</strong> other<br />

deputy marshals followed cow trails <strong>and</strong> wagon<br />

roads searching old shacks <strong>and</strong> forests for<br />

suspects. When they were captured, they were<br />

chained to a chuck wagon for the trip to federal<br />

court in Paris, Texas.<br />

Before the railroad came, Gainesville, Texas,<br />

was the supply center for ranches south of the<br />

Arbuckles. A road from Fort Arbuckle to<br />

Gainesville passed through present Woodford,<br />

Lone Grove, Overbrook, <strong>and</strong> Thackerville.<br />

In 1883 post offices opened at Healdton <strong>and</strong><br />

Berwyn. Two years later, a post office was<br />

established at Lone Grove. <strong>Then</strong> the few residents<br />

who lived in future <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> heard rumors<br />

of the railroad coming to Indian Territory.<br />

Prior to 1885, the l<strong>and</strong> that became Ardmore<br />

was grazing l<strong>and</strong>. In May of that year, George<br />

Douglas, a Texas building contractor who was<br />

hoping to profit from the Gulf, Colorado <strong>and</strong><br />

Santa Fe Railway extending north from Fort<br />

Worth to Purcell, moved his family to the 700<br />

Ranch. He built a log house <strong>and</strong> erected a<br />

stockade <strong>and</strong> barns. When the Santa Fe<br />

surveyors arrived in the spring of 1886, Douglas<br />

housed <strong>and</strong> fed them <strong>and</strong> asked them to move<br />

the right-of-way 100 feet east to miss his house.<br />

Thus was created a bend in the tracks. The<br />

surveyors selected a site one-half mile north of<br />

the Douglas’ home for a railroad station.<br />

The railroad station was named Ardmore for<br />

Ardmore, Pennsylvania. The extension of the<br />

railroad was primarily financed by Pennsylvania<br />

investors <strong>and</strong> many of the towns along the new<br />

Santa Fe route came from towns on the main<br />

line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. In addition to<br />

Ardmore, Wayne, Paoli, Wynnewood, Berwyn,<br />

Overbrook, <strong>and</strong> Marietta received their names<br />

because of the Santa Fe surveyors’ familiarity<br />

with the railroad in Pennsylvania.<br />

Contractors used substantial local labor <strong>and</strong><br />

bought ties <strong>and</strong> bridge timbers from the<br />

Chickasaw Nation. Tracks were laid into<br />

Ardmore during July of 1887. On July 28 the<br />

first Santa Fe train arrived with lumber <strong>and</strong><br />

other supplies to build a new town. That date<br />

is considered Ardmore’s birth date.<br />

Even before July 28 two businesses were<br />

flourishing. Samuel Zuckerman <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Frensley brothers ran general merch<strong>and</strong>ise<br />

stores. From tents, merchants sold dry goods<br />

<strong>and</strong> groceries to railroad workers <strong>and</strong> crewmen.<br />

Shortly thereafter, the Frensley brothers used<br />

lumber brought on the first train to construct a<br />

permanent building.<br />

Above: Frensley Brothers Lumber<br />

Company was located at the<br />

northwest corner of Main <strong>and</strong><br />

D Streets in Ardmore, 1905.<br />



Bottom, left: <strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s oldest bank,<br />

<strong>and</strong> the first to be nationally<br />

chartered in Indian Territory, The<br />

First National Bank <strong>and</strong> Trust<br />

Company of Ardmore was originally<br />

founded in 1889. The bank built this<br />

building as its new headquarters<br />

in 1918.<br />



Bottom, right: The First National<br />

Bank in 2010.<br />


C h a p t e r I ✦ 9

Top: This sketch of early Ardmore<br />

appeared in Harper’s Weekly<br />

in 1893.<br />



Above: The cotton yards in Ardmore<br />

in August of 1910.<br />



In August 1887, the town of Ardmore was<br />

bustling with activity. The Chickasaws leased<br />

l<strong>and</strong> to settlers who saw opportunity. Streets<br />

were marked out <strong>and</strong> the first residents lived in<br />

tents placed in even rows down the narrow thoroughfares.<br />

The first street was Caddo Street, now<br />

“A” Street. It was formerly a wagon road that ran<br />

from the 700 Ranch north to Caddo Creek.<br />

The post office in Ardmore was established<br />

on October 27, 1887. Dr. Hillard Yarbrough was<br />

the first postmaster. Initially, the post office was<br />

housed in a tent, but later moved to a small building<br />

on Caddo Street. New residents were eager for<br />

the chance of succeeding in a virgin country.<br />

Hardware stores, general merch<strong>and</strong>ise stores,<br />

hotels, drug stores, <strong>and</strong> banks opened. In 1890, a<br />

branch of the federal court was established. The<br />

Buckles Hotel, the town’s first hotel, served visitors<br />

to Ardmore—now both a railroad <strong>and</strong> court<br />

town. As the population grew, ice cream parlors<br />

opened. There also were livery stables <strong>and</strong> wagon<br />

yards open for business twenty-four hours a day.<br />

1 0 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

Farmers <strong>and</strong> ranchers in the area brought their<br />

crops <strong>and</strong> livestock to town. Bumper crops of cotton,<br />

corn, oats, cattle, hogs, vegetables, <strong>and</strong> fruits<br />

came from the fertile soil of the area. Ardmore<br />

soon became the largest town in Indian Territory.<br />

Even with its growth, the lack of telephones, electric<br />

lights, gas, sewers, <strong>and</strong> local police made the<br />

city a rough place to live. Sam Blackburn, longtime<br />

editor of The Daily Ardmoreite, said:<br />

There were no bridges…no paved sidewalks<br />

or roads. A few of the things we had were<br />

fleas, lice, bedbugs, <strong>and</strong> malaria, typhoid,<br />

tuberculosis, smallpox, diphtheria, <strong>and</strong> other<br />

diseases that since have been mastered. We had<br />

wooden sidewalks, gun fights, killings, thievery,<br />

robbery…<strong>and</strong> child labor. Our women did their<br />

washing with, at most, a washboard.<br />

There was no city government so U.S.<br />

marshals <strong>and</strong> deputy marshals enforced the<br />

law <strong>and</strong> kept order. Infamous outlaw Bill<br />

Dalton was shot <strong>and</strong> killed by marshals twenty<br />

miles northwest of Ardmore in 1894. When<br />

the officers <strong>and</strong> the dead outlaw returned to<br />

Ardmore, practically the entire town met them.<br />

More than 1,000 people crowded around the<br />

Apollos undertaking parlor to view the remains<br />

of one of the West’s most notorious outlaws.<br />

Because it was a court town, several lawyers<br />

moved to Ardmore. Saloons with sawdust floors<br />

<strong>and</strong> five gambling houses opened. Well qualified<br />

doctors <strong>and</strong> surgeons came from good medical<br />

schools <strong>and</strong> Ardmore became a regional center<br />

for medical care. The closest thing to a local<br />

government was the Board of Trade, serving the<br />

same role as the modern chamber of commerce.<br />

Hogs roamed Main Street <strong>and</strong> slept under stores.<br />

The Ardmore Weekly Courier was the town’s<br />

first newspaper, established in 1888. The first<br />

daily was the Daily Advertiser, which began<br />

publication in 1891, <strong>and</strong> was sold <strong>and</strong> published<br />

as The Daily Ardmoreite on October 28, 1893.<br />

The newspaper began to call for lighted <strong>and</strong><br />

paved streets <strong>and</strong> a town waterworks. The only<br />

Clockwise, starting from the top:<br />

An early poster advertises the many<br />

businesses in Ardmore at the dawn of<br />

the twentieth century.<br />



The Daily Ardmoreite, shown here<br />

in 2010, moved into the Gilbert<br />

Building in 1966. Built in 1930 by<br />

architect J. B. White, the building was<br />

the home of numerous businesses in<br />

the mid-twentieth century, including<br />

the Masonic Lodge, <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Gas<br />

<strong>and</strong> Electric, <strong>and</strong> the Ardmore<br />

Little Theater.<br />


The Daily Ardmoreite, c. 1895.<br />



C h a p t e r I ✦ 1 1

Above: After fire swept through the<br />

young city of Ardmore, a local<br />

newspaperman wrote on April 19,<br />

1895, “Ardmore is laid waste;<br />

fortunes <strong>and</strong> bright prospects are<br />

wrecked <strong>and</strong> blasted; devastation <strong>and</strong><br />

ruin surround us. The fire-fiend<br />

spared little. Main Street has been<br />

almost licked clean of buildings.<br />

The many new h<strong>and</strong>some bricks,<br />

Ardmore’s pride, are blackened <strong>and</strong><br />

shapeless debris.”<br />



water supply was from wells <strong>and</strong> cisterns <strong>and</strong><br />

was totally inadequate in case of fire.<br />

Despite warnings, city leaders did nothing<br />

about fire protection. The town’s first major<br />

disaster struck in the early morning hours of<br />

April 19, 1895, when fire started in a livery<br />

stable on North Caddo Street <strong>and</strong> swept<br />

through the main part of town. Fueled by high<br />

winds, the blaze destroyed 86 commercial<br />

buildings <strong>and</strong> private residences. Men, women,<br />

<strong>and</strong> children futilely fought the flames. The<br />

cotton gin exploded, a dreadful sound that<br />

could be heard for miles around. Ammunition<br />

exploded in hardware stores. Prisoners in the<br />

federal jail on Mill Street were taken to the<br />

Broadway Baptist Church.<br />

Right: The fire that consumed much of<br />

downtown Ardmore in 1895 began at<br />

Harper’s Livery Stable on<br />

Caddo Street.<br />



1 2 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

The young town was nearly wiped out by<br />

the fire, but residents immediately began<br />

rebuilding. Within days, walls of new buildings<br />

began to rise from the ashes. This time, the<br />

store fronts were uniform. Gone were gaps<br />

between buildings <strong>and</strong> structures jutting<br />

several feet from adjacent buildings. Among<br />

the businesses destroyed was the wholesale<br />

grocery business owned by Sam <strong>and</strong> Ed Noble.<br />

The Nobles had arrived in Ardmore in 1893.<br />

Undaunted by the fire, the Nobles moved<br />

across the street <strong>and</strong> opened a hardware<br />

store. Young Lloyd Noble delivered goods for<br />

the Noble store until he left for college at<br />

Durant in 1914.<br />

Clockwise, starting from the top:<br />

Within three weeks of the “great fire,”<br />

a volunteer fire department was<br />

officially established on May 7, 1895,<br />

with twenty-three charter members.<br />



Members of Ardmore’s first fire<br />

department.<br />



The Noble Brothers Hardware<br />

Store, 1896.<br />



C h a p t e r I ✦ 1 3

Above: The Eaves-Brady cabin at its<br />

original location near Pooleville<br />

in 1970.<br />



Below: Ardmore’s Methodist<br />

Church, 1909.<br />



After the 1895 fire, a mass town meeting was<br />

called, resulting in the formation of a volunteer<br />

fire company with John O’Mealy as the fire chief.<br />

When another, smaller fire broke out east near<br />

the Santa Fe tracks, the Board of Trade met <strong>and</strong><br />

purchased 600 feet of fire hose <strong>and</strong> an engine.<br />

The town’s first schools were private, subscription<br />

schools, including King’s College,<br />

Hargrove College, <strong>and</strong> the Catholic St. Agnes<br />

Academy. In 1890, citizens donated $100<br />

to build a small one-room<br />

school house. Tuition for the<br />

first through the fourth grade<br />

was $1.50 per month. In the<br />

early years, churches were<br />

formed for Methodist, Baptist,<br />

Jewish, Catholic, Seventh-Day<br />

Adventist, <strong>and</strong> Presbyterian<br />

congregations. Civic groups<br />

<strong>and</strong> fraternal orders also<br />

opened local chapters.<br />

Ginning <strong>and</strong> selling cotton<br />

<strong>and</strong> coal <strong>and</strong> asphalt mining<br />

became two of the town’s principal<br />

industries. Shortly after<br />

1890, Ardmore became one of<br />

the great inl<strong>and</strong> cotton markets<br />

in the world. Historian Paul<br />

Frame wrote, “The long, hot,<br />

dry summers of southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> proved to be<br />

especially advantageous for the raising of cotton…For<br />

many years nearly all of the cotton<br />

raised between the Washita <strong>and</strong> Red rivers was<br />

ginned <strong>and</strong> sold in Ardmore.” Heavy-loaded cotton<br />

wagons often blocked downtown streets during<br />

harvest time.<br />

Ardmore officially became a city on April 16,<br />

1898, when an Indian Territory federal judge<br />

approved a petition for the town to become a<br />

“city of the second class.” The city moved up to<br />

a “first-class” statutory city the following year.<br />

Elections were held as the first act of the official<br />

city government. Thirty c<strong>and</strong>idates ran for<br />

mayor, five aldermen, <strong>and</strong> other offices, including<br />

city marshal. John Galt was elected the first<br />

mayor <strong>and</strong> A. S. Pulliam was selected by the<br />

1,149 voters as the first marshal. The officers<br />

were sworn in on July 6, 1898.<br />

A municipal electric generation plant was<br />

built <strong>and</strong> the first telephone service was provided.<br />

A city public school system was formed with<br />

four numbered ward schools. More than 500<br />

children attended the first public schools. With<br />

the Dawes Commission carrying out the wishes<br />

of Congress in closing out the tribal affairs of the<br />

Five Tribes in Indian Territory, whites for the<br />

first time could purchase <strong>and</strong> own l<strong>and</strong> for<br />

homes <strong>and</strong> businesses.<br />

1 4 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

In the early 1900s two new railroads came to<br />

Ardmore from the east. The Rock Isl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Frisco brought more people to settle. City Lake<br />

was built, the first water system was installed,<br />

<strong>and</strong> sewer lines were laid. In 1901 the Ardmore<br />

National Bank was organized with Lee Cruce,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s second governor, as president. By<br />

statehood, Ardmore National was the largest<br />

bank in the city.<br />

The first regular hospital came to<br />

Ardmore in 1901 when Dr. Walter Hardy<br />

<strong>and</strong> two other physicians placed ten hospital<br />

beds, a laboratory, <strong>and</strong> an x-ray<br />

machine on the second floor of the Ramsey<br />

Drug Store at Main <strong>and</strong> Caddo streets. It<br />

was called the Ardmore Sanitarium until<br />

Dr. Hardy, the first doctor with a medical<br />

diploma to practice in the city, established<br />

the Hardy Sanitarium in 1911. Hardy also<br />

established Ardmore’s first radio broadcasting<br />

station, WOOA, whose signal could be<br />

heard from a tower on top of the sanitarium.<br />

Later, in 1935, KVSO became the city’s<br />

radio station.<br />

In 1905, Charles Evans moved from<br />

Kentucky to Ardmore to take the job of<br />

school superintendent. Teaching was “missionary<br />

work” of the highest order for Evans<br />

who stimulated the city <strong>and</strong> school board to<br />

raise money for construction of a modern high<br />

school. Evans, one of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s most revered<br />

educators, later was president of Central State<br />

Teacher’s College, now the University of Central<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, <strong>and</strong> Kendall College, now the<br />

University of Tulsa. In 1908, he was elected the<br />

first president of the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Education<br />

Association. He also served as Secretary of the<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Historical Society.<br />

Top: City Lake, 1923.<br />



Above: The historic train depot at<br />

Ardmore, 2010.<br />


Below: The official portrait of<br />

Governor Lee Cruce.<br />



C h a p t e r I ✦ 1 5

Clockwise, starting from the top:<br />

Hardy Sanitarium, 1940.<br />



Hardy Sanitarium was first<br />

established in this two-story structure<br />

in 1911.<br />



While head of the Ardmore schools, Evans<br />

named the ward schools after American leaders<br />

Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham<br />

Lincoln, <strong>and</strong> George Washington. To honor<br />

Evans’ contributions, a modern elementary<br />

school in the Ardmore system is named for him.<br />

Formerly used by the United States<br />

government during wartime, Dr.<br />

Hardy’s “airplane ambulance”<br />

included a 200-horsepower engine<br />

<strong>and</strong> traveled at speeds of nearly<br />

eighty miles per hour. One column<br />

noted, “Dr. Hardy or one of his<br />

numerous assistants may most any<br />

day be seen or rather heard speeding<br />

through space going to the aid of, or<br />

returning with a patient strapped in a<br />

special bed built in the fuselage.”<br />



Evans also sponsored the first library. The<br />

Carnegie Library had been built, but had no<br />

books <strong>and</strong> was used for an auditorium. Evans<br />

accepted books donated by citizens <strong>and</strong> hired<br />

the first public librarian. In a bold move as<br />

superintendent, he began the practice of<br />

raising the American flag over school buildings<br />

Hardy’s Sanitarium ambulance.<br />



1 6 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

each day. Even in the early years of the twentieth<br />

century before Indian Territory became<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, previous school administrators flew<br />

the Confederate flag over Ardmore schools.<br />

The first automobiles appeared on Ardmore<br />

streets in 1906. Oil man Wirt Franklin owned<br />

one of the first vehicles. One car owner<br />

charged fifty cents for rides up <strong>and</strong> down<br />

Main Street. In April 1907, fifteen miles of<br />

street car tracks were laid by the Ardmore<br />

Electric Railway Company. Main Street <strong>and</strong><br />

major residential streets were paved. Streets<br />

were lighted, giving rise to nighttime gatherings<br />

of citizens discussing the pros <strong>and</strong> cons of<br />

Above <strong>and</strong> left: KVSO, the “Voice of<br />

Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.”<br />



Below: On the air at<br />

Ardmore’s KVSO.<br />



C h a p t e r I ✦ 1 7

Clockwise, starting from the top, left:<br />

The Carnegie Library in Ardmore,<br />

March of 1907.<br />



This unique 1910 photograph<br />

captures the “seven early pioneer<br />

doctors of <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>. From left to<br />

right they include Higgins, Dowdy,<br />

Boadway, Darling, Hardy, Tidmore,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Cantrell.”<br />



<strong>Oklahoma</strong> being admitted to the Union as two<br />

states—one from Indian Territory <strong>and</strong> another<br />

from <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Territory—or a single state<br />

combining the Twin Territories. Most leaders<br />

in Ardmore, including the most prominent<br />

Chickasaw political figure, Charles David<br />

<strong>Carter</strong>, did not believe that Indian Territory<br />

should be added to the United States as its<br />

own state of Sequoyah. Political decisions made<br />

far away in Washington, D.C., would soon<br />

decide the fate of Ardmore <strong>and</strong> all other<br />

cities <strong>and</strong> towns in what would become the<br />

forty-sixth state—<strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Charles Evans Elementary<br />

School, 1970.<br />



1 8 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

C H A P T E R<br />

I I<br />


Based upon a series of complicated political decisions, President Theodore Roosevelt <strong>and</strong><br />

Congress decided that statehood was possible only if Indian Territory <strong>and</strong> <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Territory were<br />

combined into a single new state.<br />

During 1906 <strong>and</strong> 1907 the voices of Ardmore’s leaders were heard in the debate. W. A. Ledbetter<br />

of Ardmore was elected to the constitutional convention in Guthrie. As chairman of the judiciary<br />

committee, he played a prominent role in the framing of the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> constitution. The<br />

convention’s work was closely followed by Ardmore newspapers. When the convention divided<br />

the new state into seventy-seven counties, Ardmore was chosen as the county seat of <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

named for Charles David <strong>Carter</strong>.<br />

An early photograph of the <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Courthouse.<br />



C h a p t e r I I ✦ 1 9

every county office <strong>and</strong> voters favored<br />

Democratic c<strong>and</strong>idates for every state <strong>and</strong><br />

national post.<br />

Statehood came on November 16, 1907.<br />

There was little public display reported by newspapers,<br />

perhaps because the coming of statehood<br />

also meant the Chickasaw Nation <strong>and</strong> Indian<br />

Territory ceased to exist. However, The Daily<br />

Ardmoreite reported, “In the city sounded the<br />

glad tidings…that another star had been added<br />

to the bright galaxy of stars in the field of blue.”<br />

Ardmore, with a population of 12,000, was<br />

twenty years older than the new state. Historian<br />

Paul Frame wrote:<br />

Buffalo bones still were scattered over the<br />

Ardmore townsite when the Santa Fe railroad<br />

came…<strong>and</strong> herds of wild horses <strong>and</strong> deer could<br />

be seen by the travelers riding in the stagecoach<br />

between Ardmore <strong>and</strong> Healdton…At first a few<br />

stores, then more stores <strong>and</strong> homes, <strong>and</strong> finally<br />

an exp<strong>and</strong>ing trade center with large brick<br />

buildings, a federal court, a city government,<br />

electric lights, telephones, <strong>and</strong> paved streets.<br />

This swift growth of Ardmore had been like that<br />

of scores of other towns in Indian <strong>and</strong> <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

territories, but that does not make the transformation<br />

in any way less remarkable.<br />

The cornerstone of the gr<strong>and</strong> <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Courthouse was laid on<br />

December 15, 1910. The building,<br />

shown here in 2010, was remodeled in<br />

1976 <strong>and</strong> is listed on the National<br />

Register of Historic Places. It is<br />

believed that the courthouse clock is<br />

among only a few left in the state that<br />

are still working today.<br />


At the first primary election on June 8, 1907,<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> was elected to Congress from the Third<br />

Congressional district, a post he held for the<br />

first two decades of statehood. His election was<br />

assured because he had served as mineral<br />

trustee for the Choctaw <strong>and</strong> Chickasaw tribes.<br />

Two men from Ardmore were major c<strong>and</strong>idates<br />

in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s first election. Lee Cruce was<br />

defeated by Charles Haskell as the state’s first<br />

governor, although Cruce was elected<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s second governor in 1910. Henry<br />

Furman lost in the race for United States<br />

Senator to Robert L. Owen. Democrats won<br />

Although the rich soil <strong>and</strong> native grasses of<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> had first attracted ranchers to the<br />

area, the region had a more valued treasure<br />

beneath its gently rolling l<strong>and</strong>scape—oil.<br />

Shortly after statehood ranching was still king.<br />

In 1909, <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> boasted nearly 100,000<br />

acres of good farml<strong>and</strong> covered mostly with cotton,<br />

corn, <strong>and</strong> oats.<br />

Growing cotton necessitated the building of<br />

cotton gins <strong>and</strong> huge warehouse operations.<br />

Max Westheimer, who had arrived on the<br />

railroad in 1887, was recognized as an expert<br />

cotton sampler—his grade marks on a bale were<br />

never questioned by cotton firms to which<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> cotton was shipped. Westheimer’s<br />

business interests later were assumed by his<br />

son-in-law, Walter Neustadt, who also dabbled<br />

successfully in the oil business.<br />

In 1911 the Chickasaw Telephone Company<br />

sold its exchange <strong>and</strong> lines to the Pioneer<br />

Telephone <strong>and</strong> Telegraph Company, a predecessor<br />

of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company.<br />

2 0 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

The first telephone exchange was established<br />

in 1898 by Dr. A. J. Wolverton <strong>and</strong> Clarence<br />

Ross. Fifty residents <strong>and</strong> businesses signed<br />

up for the first telephones. By 1911, 1,209<br />

subscribers were part of the system. After the<br />

oil boom, the Ardmore Exchange grew to<br />

nearly 2,300 customers.<br />

Although oil was not discovered in <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> in a big way until 1913, Plains Indians<br />

had been aware of oil seeps for generations.<br />

They scooped oil from springs <strong>and</strong> used it<br />

for medicine for themselves <strong>and</strong> their animals.<br />

After the Chickasaws occupied the area, the<br />

Chickasaw Nation paid attention to what they<br />

called “medicine springs.” Boyd Springs, on<br />

Oil Creek northeast of Ardmore, was a muchused<br />

camp site. Indians sometimes gathered<br />

around the natural seep <strong>and</strong> forced a tube or<br />

gun barrel into the ground to tap the escaping<br />

natural gas. As the gas spewed, it was set afire<br />

to provide light.<br />

A shallow test well was drilled in the<br />

Healdton area as early as 1888. It was capped<br />

<strong>and</strong> the unknown prospector disappeared into<br />

the pages of history without the recording of his<br />

full name. The first commercial oil production<br />

in the county came in 1905 when the Santa Fe<br />

Railroad drilled producing wells at Oil Prairie<br />

northwest of Lone Grove. Oil was only thirty<br />

cents per barrel, so the production did not<br />

create any stir for local investors.<br />

The oil boom began on August 4, 1913,<br />

when the Plains Development Company, a<br />

partnership of five Ardmore men, Roy M.<br />

Johnson, Edward Galt, Samuel Apple, A. T.<br />

McGee, <strong>and</strong> Wirt Franklin, brought in a well<br />

that produced twenty-five barrels of oil daily<br />

from 920 feet. Apple <strong>and</strong> Franklin were law<br />

partners in Ardmore <strong>and</strong> owned 400 acres of<br />

l<strong>and</strong> west of Healdton which they had bought<br />

for ranching, but partnered with Johnson,<br />

McGhee, <strong>and</strong> Galt to drill a test well to<br />

determine once <strong>and</strong> for all if oil was present in<br />

any large quantities in the area. Johnson came<br />

to Ardmore in 1908 <strong>and</strong> published a newspaper<br />

<strong>and</strong> managed a printing business. Galt<br />

mortgaged his mother’s home <strong>and</strong> combined<br />

the proceeds of the loan to join his partners for<br />

their first venture in the oil business.<br />

The Daily Ardmoreite duly noted the first<br />

commercially-successful well, writing that<br />

rumors existed that the “main pool of oil” may<br />

have been struck by the current drilling. The<br />

newspaper, in a front page story, predicted that<br />

the discovery of oil might make Ardmore grow<br />

as fast <strong>and</strong> as big as Tulsa.<br />

Above: An early view of Ardmore<br />

looking west along Main Street at the<br />

intersection of Washington Street,<br />

c. 1910.<br />



Below: Pioneer oil <strong>and</strong> businessman<br />

Max Westheimer.<br />



C h a p t e r I I ✦ 2 1

2 2 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w<br />

News of the producing oil well started a<br />

frenzy. A second well produced 300 barrels<br />

a day. In fifteen months, there were 275<br />

producing wells. Most production was<br />

completed by independent oil men, resulting<br />

in Ardmore being called the “Cradle of<br />

the Independent Petroleum Association of<br />

America (IPAA).” The prestigious IPPA<br />

was formed in 1914 in Colorado Springs,<br />

Colorado, <strong>and</strong> immediately moved its offices<br />

to Ardmore, with Wirt Franklin as its<br />

president. Ardmore attorney Jake Hamon<br />

was also active in convincing oil producers<br />

to conserve both the l<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> the oil beneath<br />

it. Hamon later became chairman of the<br />

American Petroleum Institute <strong>and</strong> the National<br />

Petroleum Council.

Opposite, top: The Chickasaw<br />

Telephone Company installation<br />

crew, 1890.<br />



Opposite, bottom: A crowd gathers<br />

at Gr<strong>and</strong> Avenue <strong>and</strong> C Street in<br />

Ardmore on August 4, 1913, to<br />

witness the driving of the first spike<br />

into the railroad line that would<br />

extend west to Ringling. Governor Lee<br />

Cruce is holding a sledgehammer <strong>and</strong><br />

John Ringling’s railroad partner,<br />

Jake Hamon, is in a white suit.<br />



The oil boom resulted in the founding of Wirt,<br />

a town of sheet iron, clapboard, <strong>and</strong> tent houses<br />

<strong>and</strong> commercial buildings. It was the hub of<br />

the drilling activity was dubbed “Ragtown.”<br />

The cry of “Ragtown—50 cents” was heard in<br />

the streets of Ardmore as truck drivers sought<br />

customers to take to Wirt which was a sprawling,<br />

brawling, <strong>and</strong> littered community. Many fires hit<br />

the town’s shanty-like structures. Some called<br />

Wirt “the town that was always burning.”<br />

The discovery of oil in <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> is<br />

viewed as one of the most significant events<br />

in petroleum history. In 1917 wells in the<br />

Healdton Field contributed seventeen percent<br />

of the entire state’s production in an era when<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> frequently led the nation in oil<br />

production. The field reached its peak in 1919.<br />

By 1949 it ranked as the twenty-fourth largest<br />

field ever opened in the United States, <strong>and</strong> is<br />

still a major producer today from secondary<br />

Above: New State Hardware <strong>and</strong><br />

Harness Company was located at 215<br />

West Main Street in Ardmore, 1911.<br />



Bottom, left: The post office in<br />

Wirt, 1915.<br />



Bottom, right: Wirt Franklin, 1950.<br />



C h a p t e r I I ✦ 2 3

ecovery efforts. Because of the relative<br />

shallow nature of the large oil pools in<br />

the region, <strong>and</strong> the cheapness of<br />

drilling wells, the Healdton Field<br />

became known as the “poor man’s<br />

field.” The Hewitt Field, discovered in<br />

1919, is the nation’s seventieth largest field.<br />

Because the two fields were so close, their<br />

importance in petroleum history is often<br />

referred to as the Healdton-Hewitt Field.<br />

Many legendary names of the world’s oil <strong>and</strong><br />

gas industry got their start in the Healdton-<br />

2 4 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

Hewitt Oil Field. William “Bill” Skelly brought<br />

his cable tools to Healdton <strong>and</strong> drilled<br />

some of the first wells in the new field. Skelly<br />

Oil became one of the nation’s largest oil<br />

companies in later decades. The McMann<br />

Oil Company, composed of P. A. Chapman,<br />

R. M. McFarlin, <strong>and</strong> J. A. Chapman, was one<br />

of the region’s largest producers. In 1916<br />

McMann sold its holdings in the Healdton Field<br />

for $36 million to the Magnolia Oil Company.<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> oil pioneers, such as Robert A.<br />

Hefner, Sr., Erle Halliburton, <strong>and</strong> Lloyd Noble,<br />

set up operations in the Healdton Field.<br />

Halliburton invented a new method for<br />

cementing wells <strong>and</strong> created one of the world’s<br />

largest <strong>and</strong> enduring companies.<br />

Opposite, clockwise, starting from top:<br />

A Noble Drilling Company crew<br />

working a well near Ardmore<br />

in 1930.<br />



A well-pulling crew at work in<br />

“Ragtown” in 1920. Left to right are<br />

Lucian Bryant, Ira Patterson, <strong>and</strong><br />

Lawrence W. Pryor.<br />



An oil “gusher” on the Healdton field<br />

in 1910.<br />



Above: Halliburton offices at<br />

Healdton, 1950.<br />



Left: In 1950, pioneer driller Bob<br />

Stuchel returned to the site of the first<br />

oil well drilled in <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>, at<br />

Oil Springs on Oil Prairie north of<br />

Lone Grove.<br />



C h a p t e r I I ✦ 2 5

Above: Ardmore’s Whittington Hotel<br />

lobby in 1900.<br />



Below: The site of the disastrous cargo<br />

explosion of 1915 in Ardmore.<br />



Hefner, an Ardmore lawyer who later<br />

became a justice of the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Supreme<br />

Court, introduced the concept of subsurface<br />

leasing into mineral rights law. Noble<br />

developed an international oil business<br />

<strong>and</strong> established the Samuel Roberts Noble<br />

Foundation, a nonprofit biotechnology<br />

foundation that helps farmers.<br />

Coincidentally, on the same day the first oil<br />

well began production, Ardmore financier Jake<br />

Hamon <strong>and</strong> Governor Lee Cruce drove the first<br />

spike on construction of the Ringling Railroad<br />

which ran west into the oil field <strong>and</strong> sparked<br />

new growth. As the oil boom continued,<br />

Ardmore became the center of an important<br />

refining region.<br />

2 6 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

Oil brought new riches to Ardmore <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>and</strong> changed the face of the area<br />

forever. New churches, schools, <strong>and</strong> other<br />

public facilities were built. Because of the<br />

influx of oil field workers, new businesses were<br />

established. Joe Brown, an orphan Cherokee<br />

lad from Muskogee, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, came to find<br />

work in the oil fields. While raising a family of<br />

twelve children, Brown drilled oil <strong>and</strong> water<br />

wells until he joined four sons in forming the<br />

Joe Brown Company to furnish road <strong>and</strong><br />

building materials. Later the company became<br />

a major supplier of ready-mix concrete.<br />

In September 1915 a second major disaster<br />

hit Ardmore. A railroad tank car filled with<br />

casing head gas exploded, killing forty-nine<br />

people <strong>and</strong> injuring hundreds more. The blast,<br />

said to be equal to the devastation caused by<br />

400,000 pounds of dynamite, literally split<br />

Main Street wide open. Dozens of buildings<br />

were leveled <strong>and</strong> hundreds were damaged. One<br />

writer said, “Houses quivered <strong>and</strong> Ardmore was<br />

chilled with fear.” The city’s wholesale district<br />

east <strong>and</strong> west of the railroad was reduced to<br />

ruins. The Santa Fe quickly brought in doctors<br />

<strong>and</strong> nurses to treat the injured. Many were<br />

Left <strong>and</strong> below: The 1915 cargo<br />

explosion resulted in the collapse of<br />

this section of the four-story<br />

Whittington Hotel.<br />



C h a p t e r I I ✦ 2 7

Hargrove College in Ardmore, 1900.<br />



taken to the Hardy Sanitarium where the least<br />

injured were placed on the front lawn until<br />

rooms were available for their treatment.<br />

It was a time of chaos. Acting Mayor J. M.<br />

Hoard declared martial law <strong>and</strong> Chief of Police<br />

Bob Hutchens drafted local townspeople to help<br />

prevent looting <strong>and</strong> keep order. Oil man Bob<br />

McFarlin wrote a personal check for $1,000<br />

to help with the relief effort. That began a large<br />

influx of checks from oil companies <strong>and</strong><br />

interested citizens in several states. Ultimately,<br />

the Santa Fe paid more than $1.1 million to<br />

rebuild its own property <strong>and</strong> to reimburse 1,750<br />

businesses <strong>and</strong> individuals for their losses.<br />

Just like the city had done after the fire in<br />

1895, Ardmore built back, “bigger <strong>and</strong> better<br />

than before.” With money from the Santa Fe <strong>and</strong><br />

insurance companies, businesses resumed operation<br />

within months <strong>and</strong> Ardmore flourished.<br />

In 1917, Bloomfield Academy, a Chickasaw<br />

girls school, relocated to Hargrove College in<br />

Ardmore after fire destroyed its campus near<br />

Achille. The school, founded in 1852, was<br />

renamed <strong>Carter</strong> Seminary. It became co-educational<br />

in 1949 <strong>and</strong> closed shortly thereafter.<br />

There was a down side to the new growth<br />

brought by economic prosperity in <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Crime in the oil fields got out of<br />

h<strong>and</strong>. Gambling, bootlegging, <strong>and</strong> generally<br />

disorderly behavior became common. The<br />

Ku Klux Klan was organized in the county.<br />

Wives of Klan members sometimes h<strong>and</strong>ed<br />

out Christmas baskets, but the ugliness of the<br />

purpose of the organization was never well<br />

hidden. Ministers <strong>and</strong> other local leaders<br />

initiated the battle against vice <strong>and</strong> the Klan.<br />

Bob Hutchins was elected police chief of<br />

Ardmore during the oil boom. He, <strong>County</strong><br />

Sheriff Buck Garrett, <strong>and</strong> Chief Deputy Bud<br />

Ballew, began a systematic removal of criminals<br />

<strong>and</strong> their exploits. Once Hutchins captured a<br />

rail carload of whiskey <strong>and</strong> poured it into the<br />

2 8 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

gutters of the streets. Hutchins, earlier in his life<br />

as a U.S. marshal in Indian Territory, had fatally<br />

shot the husb<strong>and</strong> of notorious outlaw Belle Star<br />

in the Criner Hills, southwest of Ardmore.<br />

Ballew became nationally known as an Old<br />

West lawman. He shot <strong>and</strong> killed several men<br />

in gunfights. When millionaire Jake Hamon’s<br />

girlfriend was accused of shooting him in 1920,<br />

Ballew was often mentioned in the nation’s<br />

newspapers as he scoured the country to bring<br />

the suspect back to Ardmore to st<strong>and</strong> trial. The<br />

trial itself, which resulted in the girlfriend’s<br />

acquittal, was major news, especially in crime<br />

magazines of the day. Reporters filled the<br />

county courthouse to glean details of the<br />

sc<strong>and</strong>alous story. Hamon was Republican<br />

National Committeeman from <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

was slated to become a member of President<br />

Warren Harding’s cabinet. Ballew was killed by<br />

an ex-lawman in 1922.<br />

Above: Tom Cooper Farms plant.<br />



Below: Lighthouse Assembly of God<br />

opened at this location along Lake<br />

Murray Drive in Ardmore in 1935.<br />



C h a p t e r I I ✦ 2 9

Left to right: <strong>County</strong> Sheriff Buck<br />

Garrett <strong>and</strong> Chief Deputy Bud Ballew.<br />



That same year, Sheriff Buck Garrett was<br />

removed from office by the governor after<br />

protests came from citizens who were concerned<br />

that lawlessness remained unchecked.<br />

After a countywide cleanup <strong>and</strong> the appointment<br />

of a new sheriff, Ardmore <strong>and</strong> <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> entered an era of peace.<br />

In 1925, <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Gas <strong>and</strong> Electric<br />

Company purchased Ardmore’s electric system<br />

from a Chicago company that had owned the<br />

local electric plant since it was built by the<br />

Busch Company of St. Louis in 1908. At the<br />

time, OG&E only served <strong>Oklahoma</strong> City <strong>and</strong><br />

Enid, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. Immediately OG&E added<br />

transmission lines <strong>and</strong> generating capacity to<br />

enable high-power-usage customers to tap into<br />

the system. In 1925 there were only five customers<br />

using more than 100 horsepower.<br />

Many oilmen who came to <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

because of the discovery of oil stayed <strong>and</strong><br />

became prominent citizens. Charles B. Goddard<br />

arrived in Ardmore in 1929 after he retired as<br />

director <strong>and</strong> one of the largest stockholders of<br />

the giant Humble Oil <strong>and</strong> Refining Company.<br />

Goddard opened an investment <strong>and</strong> royalty<br />

office in Ardmore <strong>and</strong> began buying l<strong>and</strong> in the<br />

foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains. Eventually<br />

owning more than 10,000 acres, the Goddard<br />

Ranch included 200 wild animals from all over<br />

the world. Goddard became of the town’s<br />

greatest supporters.<br />

In 1928, Colvert Dairy Products Company<br />

introduced pasteurized milk to southern<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>. The company, founded in 1918, built<br />

a new plant that provided milk for decades to<br />

grocery stores across the region. Colvert later<br />

brought the first completely mechanically refrigerated<br />

delivery fleet to the area, a far cry from the<br />

horse-drawn milk wagon used in prior times.<br />

Another nationally famous dairy herd was<br />

founded in the 1920s in the county. Tom<br />

Cooper bought a herd of Guernsey dairy cattle<br />

in 1927 <strong>and</strong> began distributing milk in<br />

Ardmore. The Cooper Guernseys won thous<strong>and</strong>s<br />

of trophies, ribbons, <strong>and</strong> championships<br />

at fairs <strong>and</strong> dairy shows. Later, Cooper Farms<br />

constructed a modern million-dollar plant to<br />

process milk <strong>and</strong> other dairy products.<br />

The Great Depression of the 1930s had a<br />

devastating effect upon the price of oil <strong>and</strong><br />

other commodities which made up the <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> economy. The prolonged drought that<br />

accompanied the most severe economic downturn<br />

in modern history changed the use of the<br />

farml<strong>and</strong> in the county. Cotton no longer<br />

was economically feasible to produce. The l<strong>and</strong><br />

frequently was converted into ranchl<strong>and</strong>. The<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Pecan Growers Association was<br />

formed in Ardmore.<br />

Even though businesses suffered, county residents<br />

worked to retain the quality of life <strong>and</strong><br />

prosperity of the oil boom <strong>and</strong> the 1920s. Hardy<br />

Murphy, “Mr. Ardmore,” helped create the<br />

Junior Chamber of Commerce <strong>and</strong> the Ardmore<br />

Roundup Club. He headed many local drives<br />

such as the Red Cross <strong>and</strong> March-of-Dimes,<br />

chaired Ardmore’s annual birthday celebration<br />

for many years, <strong>and</strong> assisted in the founding of<br />

the Ardmore real estate board. In the decades<br />

3 0 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

efore he arrived in Ardmore, Murphy <strong>and</strong> his<br />

horse, “Buck,” were headliners at New York<br />

City’s Madison Square Garden. Murphy <strong>and</strong><br />

Buck even appeared before the Queen of<br />

Engl<strong>and</strong>. Murphy’s contributions were recognized<br />

when the Fair Grounds Coliseum was<br />

renamed the Hardy Murphy Coliseum.<br />

In the middle of the Depression, two significant<br />

events occurred in <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>. In 1932,<br />

Lloyd Noble entered the oil production business.<br />

He had been in the oil drilling business<br />

since 1921 when he <strong>and</strong> Wyoming driller, Art<br />

Olson, formed the Noble Drilling Company.<br />

Noble Drilling moved from boom to boom <strong>and</strong><br />

played a major role in developing oil fields in<br />

Seminole, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, Texas <strong>and</strong> Louisiana, <strong>and</strong><br />

in the British Isles. Noble was the first contractor<br />

to explore the Gulf of Mexico from a<br />

portable drilling barge <strong>and</strong> the first to drill a<br />

well from an off-shore platform.<br />

Because of the lack of drilling in the<br />

Depression, Noble moved into production <strong>and</strong><br />

created the Samedan Oil Corporation, named<br />

for his children, Sam, Ed, <strong>and</strong> Ann. While<br />

exp<strong>and</strong>ing his interests all over the world,<br />

Noble found time to serve two terms on the<br />

Left: Lloyd Noble, 1920.<br />



Below: The family of Von Creel<br />

enjoyed life in Ardmore <strong>and</strong> <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Pictured here at the county<br />

clerk’s office in 1939 is Doc Creel,<br />

former <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> Clerk, Gerry<br />

McCharin, Chief L<strong>and</strong> Person, Velma<br />

Halliman, <strong>and</strong> Carl Stringer.<br />

C h a p t e r I I ✦ 3 1

3 2 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

Opposite: Hardy Murphy <strong>and</strong> “Buck”<br />

lead a parade along Main Street in<br />

downtown Ardmore in 1930.<br />



Left: Hardy Murphy <strong>and</strong> “Buck.”<br />



Below: Hardy Murphy Coliseum,<br />

in 1960.<br />



University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Board of Regents <strong>and</strong><br />

was the first Republican to serve in the<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> House of Representatives from<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>. In 1945 he recognized the need<br />

to conserve the l<strong>and</strong> that was being scarred<br />

by the oil industry <strong>and</strong> by poor agricultural<br />

practices <strong>and</strong> founded the Samuel Roberts<br />

Noble Foundation, in honor of his merchant<br />

father, whom he termed, “the most charitable<br />

man I have ever known.” Lloyd Noble died just<br />

five years later <strong>and</strong> left the bulk of his estate to<br />

support the foundation he created.<br />

The other Depression-era event was the<br />

1933 <strong>Oklahoma</strong> legislature’s action that provided<br />

funding for the construction of Lake<br />

C h a p t e r I I ✦ 3 3

Right: The construction of Lake<br />

Murray, 1934.<br />



Below: Tucker Tower.<br />



Murray in southern <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>and</strong> northern<br />

Love <strong>County</strong>. Ardmore State Senator Louis<br />

Fischl was trying to get the bill passed in the<br />

spring of 1933 when he ran<br />

into a roadblock. Funding was<br />

impossible until Fischl <strong>and</strong><br />

other Ardmore leaders came<br />

up with the idea to name<br />

the new lake after Governor<br />

William H. “Alfalfa Bill”<br />

Murray. When the idea was<br />

proposed, the bill sailed<br />

through the legislature <strong>and</strong><br />

was signed into law within a<br />

week. A few months later,<br />

work began on the 22,000-<br />

acre lake <strong>and</strong> recreation area.<br />

Tucker Tower, the famous<br />

l<strong>and</strong>mark, was built with<br />

funds from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s<br />

New Deal programs to help soften the ravages<br />

of the Great Depression.<br />

3 4 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

C H A P T E R<br />

I I I<br />


<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> residents overwhelmingly approved of America’s entry into World War II after<br />

Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 6, 1941. As young men <strong>and</strong> women<br />

volunteered for military service, the U.S. Army chose a site near Gene Autry in northeast <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> to build an Army Air Force base to train pilots <strong>and</strong> air crews of fighters <strong>and</strong> bombers.<br />

Initially a glider training program was slated for the facility known as Ardmore Army Air Field,<br />

but the Fourth Air Force used the base primarily to train B-17 <strong>and</strong> B-26 bomber pilots <strong>and</strong> crews.<br />

The base was officially activated on August 4, 1942, <strong>and</strong> was home to the 394th <strong>and</strong> 395th<br />

Bombardment Groups. The 394th served in combat with the Ninth Air Force in Engl<strong>and</strong>, France,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Germany. Prisoners of war were interned at the base toward the end of the war. When hostilities<br />

ceased, the base was deactivated in 1946.<br />

The air field was not the city’s first airport. In 1920, World War I aviators Art Oakley <strong>and</strong> Dorsey<br />

Askew established an airport in a pasture on the north side of town east of the <strong>Carter</strong> Seminary.<br />

They built a large wooden hangar as the airport became a center of aviation in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. It was<br />

nationally known as a staging area for barnstorming <strong>and</strong> stunt flying.<br />

Oakley, who appeared in early movies, started a flying school. With the help of Dr. Walter Hardy,<br />

Oakley established the world’s first air ambulance, flying sick <strong>and</strong> injured people to regional<br />

medical centers. After famed aviator Wiley Post lost his eye in an oilfield accident in Seminole in<br />

1927, he bought his first airplane in Ardmore for $300 <strong>and</strong> took lessons from Oakley. Later in 1935,<br />

Post became the first pilot to fly alone around the world <strong>and</strong> discovered the jet stream.<br />

As a result of the Korean War <strong>and</strong> the outbreak of the Cold War, the U.S. Air Force reopened<br />

the airport facility near Gene Autry as Ardmore Air Force Base in 1953. The base was used by the<br />

Tactical Air Comm<strong>and</strong>’s Eighteenth Air Force <strong>and</strong> attached to the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing, a<br />

reserve unit activated during the Korean conflict. In 1955 a tactical assault unit was assigned to the<br />

base. The following year the first C-130 Hercules transport planes in the Air Force were delivered<br />

to Ardmore Air Force Base. After the Air Force used the base for tactical airlift training for several<br />

years, it was again deactivated in 1959.<br />

Arthur Oakley, Mahota Nichols<br />

Oakley <strong>and</strong> Dorsey “Skew” Askew<br />

st<strong>and</strong> between an airplane <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Oakleys new Buick at the Ardmore<br />

airfield in 1925.<br />



C h a p t e r I I I ✦ 3 5

Above: Oakley-Askew Flying Field,<br />

in 1925.<br />



Below: Ardmore students join the<br />

war effort.<br />



The former Air Force Base was eventually<br />

converted into an industrial park <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Ardmore Municipal Airport that has an FAA<br />

staffed control tower, full instrumentation,<br />

parking capacity for up to 100 commercial<br />

sized aircraft of more than 36,000 square feet of<br />

hangar space.<br />

Much of the credit for bringing the Air Force<br />

base to Ardmore was due the Ardmore Chamber<br />

of Commerce. The group began as the Trade<br />

Club <strong>and</strong> Commercial Club in early years.<br />

In 1914 the organization changed its name<br />

to the Chamber of Commerce. The chamber<br />

encouraged the building of new roads, helped<br />

underwrite the cost of the Ringling Railroad,<br />

supported the building of Lake Murray, <strong>and</strong><br />

convinced American Airlines to use the former<br />

Ardmore Air Force Base as a training facility.<br />

After World War II, America’s national pastime,<br />

baseball, returned to Ardmore. The city had<br />

been home to professional minor league baseball<br />

teams since 1904 <strong>and</strong> had sporadically played<br />

under team names such as the Territorians, Blues,<br />

Giants, Indians, Peps, Bearcats, <strong>and</strong> Boomers. In<br />

1947, the Ardmore Indians, with manager Dutch<br />

Prather, played in the Sooner State League. Over<br />

the years, eight Ardmore managers were former<br />

major league players.<br />

After five years as the Indians, the Ardmore<br />

team in 1952 became the Class D farm club of<br />

the St. Louis Cardinals <strong>and</strong> was called the<br />

Ardmore Cardinals. The team played to a full<br />

house for home games. In 1953 the local team’s<br />

star was Jackie Br<strong>and</strong>t who later had a decent<br />

eleven-year career in the major leagues.<br />

Professional baseball ended in Ardmore in 1961.<br />

3 6 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

Above: Ardmore Air Force Base,<br />

in 1957.<br />



Left: The Ardmore Industrial Airport,<br />

in 2010.<br />


C h a p t e r I I I ✦ 3 7

Above: The first Texas-<strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

league baseball club posed for this<br />

photograph in Ardmore in 1920.<br />



Below: A May Day celebration at<br />

Whittington Park in Ardmore<br />

in 1910.<br />



Ardmore provided park facilities for residents<br />

for almost its entire existence. Whittington Park<br />

was built in 1901. Other city parks were added<br />

<strong>and</strong> maintained by the city.<br />

In 1950 the Ardmore Jaycees<br />

began a drive for a zoo. With a<br />

gift of a monkey from the Lincoln<br />

Park Zoo in <strong>Oklahoma</strong> City, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

help of welders in the area, cages<br />

were built to house the animals.<br />

Hundreds of people flocked to the<br />

fair grounds on sunny afternoons<br />

<strong>and</strong> brought animals for the zoo<br />

collection. Wolves, raccoons, squirrels,<br />

<strong>and</strong> foxes were added. Jaycees<br />

raised money to house a black bear,<br />

brought by two young boys from<br />

Pauls Valley. The bear was purchased<br />

for $15 <strong>and</strong> added to the zoo’s inventory.<br />

When a circus headquartered at Hugo,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, went out of business, the Jaycees<br />

bought its two African lions.<br />

3 8 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

The need for a modern hospital in Ardmore<br />

resulted in the formation of the Southern<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Memorial Foundation (SOMF) in<br />

1950. Local leaders raised money from businesses<br />

<strong>and</strong> individuals to construct a new airconditioned<br />

facility that opened for business<br />

with 100 beds in May 1955, <strong>and</strong> greatly<br />

improved medical service to the people of<br />

southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. After the initial cost of the<br />

construction of Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Memorial<br />

Hospital was paid, the foundation worked to<br />

establish an endowment for its maintenance.<br />

In 1996 new challenges facing independent<br />

hospitals resulted in the sale of the hospital to<br />

the Sisters of Mercy Health System. The sale<br />

produced $48 million that added to the existing<br />

endowment to make SOMF one of the state’s<br />

largest foundations. In the changing l<strong>and</strong>scape<br />

after the sale of the hospital, John Snodgrass<br />

guided the SOMF in making grants to nonprofit<br />

organizations within a 50-mile radius<br />

of Ardmore. The grants reflected the original<br />

purpose of SOMF to “properly care for the<br />

inhabitants of this area.”<br />

SOMF projects have included the Good<br />

Shepherd Clinic, health care for citizens who<br />

cannot afford traditional health care, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Take 2 Academy, established to help students<br />

who lacked certain social skills <strong>and</strong> needed a<br />

different environment in which to learn.<br />

Academy Director James Meese, a former public<br />

high school principal, said, “The funds invested<br />

in these children will return a hundredfold.”<br />

SOMF also has funded major operations of<br />

the <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> Health Department, including<br />

a rural teen health conference, operational<br />

funds for the Ardmore Regional Park <strong>and</strong> the<br />

H. F. V. Wilson Community Center, <strong>and</strong> supports<br />

day care centers, community leadership programs,<br />

<strong>and</strong> many other projects. SOMF provides<br />

scholarships to all <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> high school<br />

graduates with a B average who do not have<br />

other resources to allow them to attend college.<br />

Today the Mercy Memorial Health Center is a<br />

full-service hospital with 175 licensed beds, 913<br />

workers, <strong>and</strong> 145 physicians. The hospital operates<br />

four primary care clinics with locations in<br />

Tishomingo, Ringling, <strong>and</strong> Wilson.<br />

In 1954 final plans were approved for a new<br />

swimming pool on the east edge of Ardmore.<br />

The city had operated a large swimming pool in<br />

Whittington Park since the late 1940s, but the<br />

pool was outdated when the Kiwanis Club<br />

turned over operation of the new facility to the<br />

Community Youth Foundation of Ardmore. The<br />

foundation was formed as a nonprofit organization<br />

to manage the swimming pool <strong>and</strong> construct<br />

the Ardmore Baseball Park at the end of<br />

East Main Street for the American Legion junior<br />

baseball program <strong>and</strong> the YMCA kids baseball<br />

league. The sixty acres of l<strong>and</strong> owned by the<br />

foundation housed a large baseball diamond<br />

<strong>and</strong> gr<strong>and</strong>st<strong>and</strong>s that also served as the home<br />

of Ardmore’s minor league baseball team.<br />

The YMCA had been incorporated in Ardmore<br />

in 1945 with Lloyd Noble as its first president. In<br />

1955, the group established its home on A Street<br />

<strong>and</strong> launched summer camp programs at Lake<br />

Murray. The YWCA was organized in 1921 <strong>and</strong><br />

dedicated a new building in 1939. In addition to<br />

summer programs for girls, the YWCA assisted<br />

wives of airmen at Ardmore Air Force Base during<br />

the two times the base was activated.<br />

In 1956 one of <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s most prolific<br />

chroniclers of history died. John F. Easley wrote<br />

reams of comments <strong>and</strong> news about the county<br />

<strong>and</strong> its people for nearly sixty years as reporter,<br />

editor, <strong>and</strong> publisher of The Daily Ardmoreite.<br />

Easley was oil editor of the newspaper during<br />

the oil boom <strong>and</strong> became owner <strong>and</strong> publisher<br />

in 1919. In his “Rambling Reporter,” column,<br />

Easley gave readers insight into both the good<br />

<strong>and</strong> bad things about <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Lake Murray State Park, 2010.<br />


C h a p t e r I I I ✦ 3 9

Top: A 1950 view of Lake<br />

Murray Lodge.<br />



Above: Dornick Hills Country Club,<br />

in 1920.<br />



Golf has been popular in <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

since World War I. Perry Maxwell turned his<br />

dairy farm into Dornick Hills Golf & Country<br />

Club in 1913 <strong>and</strong> 1914. It was the first golf<br />

course Maxwell designed <strong>and</strong> built. He later<br />

built many golf courses including Southern<br />

Hills <strong>and</strong> Prairie Dunes, both considered<br />

among the top fifty courses in the world.<br />

Maxwell also renovated another fifty courses,<br />

including Augusta National.<br />

Maxwell named the golf course Dornick<br />

Hills from the Gaelic word “dornick,” meaning<br />

“small rocks.” He had to remove thous<strong>and</strong>s<br />

of small rocks from the course during<br />

construction. Maxwell is buried in his family<br />

cemetery on the ridge north of the seventh<br />

fairway. Dornick Hills was the first <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

golf club affiliated with the United States Golf<br />

Association, was the first course in the state<br />

with Bermuda grass greens, <strong>and</strong> has often been<br />

ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top five golf<br />

courses in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Learning to play golf in Ardmore was native<br />

son, Charles “Charlie” Coe, considered by<br />

many as the nation’s greatest amateur golfer. He<br />

won the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1949<br />

<strong>and</strong> 1958. He was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus<br />

in 1959. Coe never turned professional, opting<br />

to choose to spend time with his wife <strong>and</strong><br />

family. He made nineteen appearances in golf’s<br />

Masters Championship <strong>and</strong> holds almost every<br />

amateur record in the prestigious tournament.<br />

In 1961, Coe rallied in the final round from six<br />

shots down to finish one stroke behind Gary<br />

Player. The Charlie Coe Golf Center at the<br />

University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> is named in his honor.<br />

4 0 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

In 1965 a group of oil men headed by J. A.<br />

Vickers assumed control of the only oil refining<br />

operation that remained in <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>. At one<br />

time there were several refineries in the area,<br />

including the Pure Oil, Imperial, <strong>and</strong> Chickasaw.<br />

The Vickers facility that began many years before<br />

as the Cameron Refinery, was bought by Wirt<br />

Franklin, <strong>and</strong> operated under a variety of names.<br />

Vickers sold the facility to Total Petroleum<br />

which operated the refinery until it became the<br />

Valero Refinery. Oil comes to the Ardmore refinery<br />

by way of the Texoma Pipeline that opened in<br />

1975. In 2011, the Valero Refinery was one of<br />

only five refineries in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. Together they<br />

refine three percent of the oil in the United States.<br />

The Chickasaw Historical Society of<br />

Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> was founded in 1965 to<br />

preserve the area’s varied <strong>and</strong> fascinating local<br />

history. Newspaper reporter Mac McGalliard,<br />

whose articles had often related historical facts,<br />

was the organization’s first president.<br />

In 1966 the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Department of<br />

Vocational <strong>and</strong> Technical Education established<br />

the Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Vo-Tech School in<br />

Ardmore. The facility, now known as the<br />

Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Technology Center, has<br />

trained thous<strong>and</strong>s of workers for area industries<br />

<strong>and</strong> helped industrial development by making<br />

available a skilled work force.<br />

Also in 1966, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s worst plane crash<br />

occurred in <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>. On April 22 an<br />

American Flyers plane crashed near Ardmore,<br />

killing 83 people, 77 of them soldiers who<br />

had just completed basic training. American<br />

Flyers operated out of Ardmore’s Municipal<br />

Airport <strong>and</strong> contracted with military agencies<br />

<strong>and</strong> colleges <strong>and</strong> universities to provide charter<br />

flights for large groups of passengers. There is<br />

a memorial to victims placed at the site of<br />

the crash.<br />

Ardmore’s economy received a huge shot in<br />

the arm in 1968 when <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Governor<br />

Dewey Bartlett was on h<strong>and</strong> to announce that<br />

Uniroyal Tire Company had picked Ardmore for<br />

the site of a new $75 million tire manufacturing<br />

plant. Tire building was not entirely new to<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>. In 1915 the Akron Tire <strong>and</strong><br />

Rubber Company built a plant in Ardmore <strong>and</strong><br />

continued operation into the 1920s.<br />

Above: The photographic archives<br />

of the Greater Southwest Historical<br />

Museum includes this historic<br />

campaign-stop photograph of U.S.<br />

President Harry Truman in front of a<br />

KVSO radio microphone. Though the<br />

location of this photograph is<br />

unknown, President Truman spoke at<br />

Memorial Park in Ardmore on<br />

September 28, 1948.<br />



Left: John Easley at The Daily<br />

Ardmoreite in 1950.<br />



C h a p t e r I I I ✦ 4 1

Above: Several memorials st<strong>and</strong> in<br />

tribute near the airport’s Memorial<br />

Park, 2010.<br />


Right: The Daily Ardmoreite’s record<br />

of the tragic plane crash of 1966,<br />

exhibited at the Memorial Park.<br />


The Ardmore Uniroyal plant provided highpaying<br />

jobs <strong>and</strong> was one of the largest industrial<br />

development events of the 1960s <strong>and</strong> 1970s in<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>. Eventually, the plant was known as<br />

the Uniroyal-Goodrich Tire Plant. In 1990,<br />

Michelin North America acquired the facility.<br />

Largely because of the tire making jobs,<br />

manufacturing was the leading county industry<br />

in 2000.<br />

In 1970 the Charles B. Goddard Center for<br />

the Visual <strong>and</strong> Performing Arts opened as the<br />

latest chapter in the long tradition of cultural<br />

aspirations <strong>and</strong> activities in Ardmore. Soon<br />

after the first crude homes <strong>and</strong> businesses were<br />

built nearly a century before, cultural events<br />

became part of life in Ardmore. One of the first<br />

public buildings was the Kloski Opera House,<br />

the first of several constructed in the city. The<br />

opera houses featured traveling companies of<br />

players <strong>and</strong> musicians <strong>and</strong> local performers. Art<br />

clubs, book review clubs, <strong>and</strong> Ardmore Little<br />

Theatre continued through the years as only a<br />

few of the many cultural opportunities available<br />

for residents.<br />

The Chickasaw Nation established the<br />

Chickasaw Foundation, a non-profit corporation,<br />

4 2 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

in 1971 to expedite charitable giving to educational<br />

<strong>and</strong> healthcare concerns. Not only do the<br />

Chickasaws provide scholarships to members<br />

of the Chickasaw Nation, other special projects<br />

are funded.<br />

The Chickasaws are focused on programs to<br />

assist the Nation with preserving <strong>and</strong> enriching<br />

its heritage. The Chickasaw Foundation teams<br />

with the University of Central <strong>Oklahoma</strong> to fund<br />

an American Indian Learners<br />

Conference. Chickasaw funds<br />

are also used to sponsor the<br />

study of arts <strong>and</strong> humanities in<br />

the cities <strong>and</strong> towns where large<br />

numbers of Chickasaws reside.<br />

The Daily Ardmoreite wrote in<br />

March, 1971:<br />

All-America Cities for 1970. Ardmore <strong>and</strong><br />

Dallas, Texas, were the only cities west of<br />

the Mississippi River chosen for the award.<br />

Local leaders had made a presentation to the<br />

Municipal League the previous August in<br />

Portl<strong>and</strong>, Oregon. It was not the only time<br />

Ardmore was recognized as a special place to<br />

live. Hugh Bayless has cited the city as one of<br />

the 50 Best Towns in America.<br />

Above: The Goddard Center, 1970.<br />



Below: The Kloski Opera House<br />

building stood at the corner of Main<br />

<strong>and</strong> Caddo Streets, 1900.<br />



Who would have thought<br />

that little old Ardmore,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>…noted too often in<br />

the past as a tough town of lawlessness<br />

<strong>and</strong> other strife…would<br />

someday be chosen as an All-<br />

America City.<br />

The newspaper was reporting<br />

the fact that the National<br />

Municipal League had named<br />

Ardmore as one of only eleven<br />

C h a p t e r I I I ✦ 4 3

C H A P T E R<br />

I V<br />


Ardmore’s historic train station<br />

in 2010.<br />


Substantial economic growth has occurred in Ardmore in the past twenty-five years. A big reason<br />

is the city’s location. One of the nation’s main transportation arteries, Interstate 35, cuts north-south<br />

through the city. U.S. Highways 77, 70, <strong>and</strong> 177 also carry vehicles to <strong>and</strong> from the county. The<br />

Burlington Northern <strong>and</strong> Santa Fe Railroad remains an active freight carrier. The Heartl<strong>and</strong> Flyer,<br />

operated by Amtrak, provides daily rail passenger service to Ardmore’s historic Santa Fe depot.<br />

Because of excellent transportation arteries, the low cost of living, the low cost of construction<br />

<strong>and</strong> utilities, <strong>and</strong> abundant business incentives, the area is home to regional distribution centers<br />

for Best Buy, Dollar Tree, <strong>and</strong> Dollar General. The Ardmore Development Authority is a premier<br />

economic development organization, focusing on attracting new business <strong>and</strong> industry <strong>and</strong><br />

retaining present businesses. The authority owns <strong>and</strong> operates four industrial parks with 3,400<br />

industrial acres <strong>and</strong> more than three million square feet under lease. The Ardmore Tourism<br />

Authority helps promote the natural <strong>and</strong> scenic beauty of the area.<br />

In 2011, the top fifteen employers in Ardmore were: Michelin North America, Mercy Memorial<br />

Health Center, Dollar General, Walmart Supercenter, Ardmore City Schools, the Noble Foundation,<br />

City of Ardmore, Valero Refinery, East Jordan Iron Works, Best Buy, Werner Trucking, IMTEC, First<br />

National Bank & Trust Company, <strong>and</strong> Dot Foods. Nearby is the WinStar World Casino, one of the<br />

largest casinos in the world that provides a major revenue stream to the Chickasaw Nation.<br />

4 4 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> prosperity has resulted<br />

in phenomenal charitable giving. The Noble<br />

Foundation is the state’s largest private<br />

foundation <strong>and</strong> the forty-fourth largest<br />

foundation in assets in the United States. When<br />

Lloyd Noble’s son, Sam, died in 1992, The<br />

Noble Foundation had contributed more<br />

than $100 million to worthy causes around<br />

the world, with the lion’s share of funds going<br />

to <strong>Oklahoma</strong> projects. In an editorial, The Daily<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>n paid tribute to Noble, “Sam Noble<br />

<strong>and</strong> his family are legends in philanthropy<br />

<strong>and</strong> public service. They are prime examples<br />

of unselfish public service <strong>and</strong> generosity…<br />

Sam Noble is one of those rare individuals<br />

who made his millions in business, but will<br />

be remembered more for the millions he<br />

gave away.”<br />

Above: Feedlots at the Noble<br />

Foundation, 1960.<br />



Below: Charles Goddard on his ranch<br />

in 1960.<br />



C h a p t e r I V ✦ 4 5

Clockwise, starting from top:<br />

Sam Noble, 1950.<br />



Governor Dewey Bartlett presents<br />

Ward Merrick for induction into the<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Hall of Fame, 1970.<br />



Overton James (middle), Governor of<br />

the Chickasaws, appoints William<br />

McGallaird (right) <strong>and</strong> Al Schmid as<br />

honorary Chickasaw Chiefs.<br />



More than a half century later, The<br />

Noble Foundation continues Lloyd<br />

Noble’s vision—to influence agriculture<br />

by improving production techniques <strong>and</strong><br />

advancing plant science through research<br />

<strong>and</strong> discovery. The Noble Foundation<br />

operates three divisions—agricultural,<br />

plant biology, <strong>and</strong> forage improvement.<br />

The agricultural division helps agricultural<br />

producers in a 47-county area<br />

within a 100-mile radius of Ardmore<br />

from its 500-square-foot central campus.<br />

In addition to ongoing agricultural<br />

programs, The Noble Foundation has<br />

made large grants for a myriad of<br />

projects in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. In recent years<br />

the foundation contributed $500,000<br />

to the new <strong>Oklahoma</strong> History Center.<br />

Appropriately, the gallery showcasing<br />

agriculture is named The Samuel Roberts<br />

Noble Foundation Gallery. The basketball<br />

arena at the University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>,<br />

named the “Lloyd Noble Arena,” <strong>and</strong> the worldclass<br />

Sam Noble <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Museum of Natural<br />

History on the OU campus are prime examples<br />

of the generosity of the Noble Foundation <strong>and</strong><br />

the Noble family.<br />

Another successful Ardmore oilman was<br />

Charles B. Goddard, originally from Ohio. Upon<br />

his death, Goddard bequeathed his fortune to<br />

the Charles B. Goddard Foundation Trust.<br />

Monies from his estate have helped fund the<br />

Charles B. Goddard Health Center at OU, the<br />

Goddard Center for Performing Arts in<br />

Ardmore, <strong>and</strong> The Goddard Youth Camp in the<br />

Arbuckle Mountains.<br />

Ward Merrick was another Ardmore oilman<br />

who generously contributed to charitable<br />

organizations during his lifetime. The Merrick<br />

Foundation, guided by Ward Merrick, Jr., <strong>and</strong><br />

Elizabeth Merrick Coe, has long supported<br />

research <strong>and</strong> education at the <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

Medical Research Foundation (OMRF).<br />

The Merrick Award was established at<br />

OMRF in 1983 to encourage <strong>and</strong> recognize<br />

outst<strong>and</strong>ing young medical researchers at<br />

the institution.<br />

An Ardmore oil family that has contributed<br />

to <strong>Oklahoma</strong> charities <strong>and</strong> educational<br />

institutions is the Neustadt family.<br />

Walter <strong>and</strong> Dolores Neustadt gave the<br />

University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> the l<strong>and</strong> for Max<br />

Westheimer Airpark <strong>and</strong> funded a wing of<br />

Bizzell Memorial Library. The Neustadts also<br />

sponsor the Neustadt International Prize for<br />

Literature, a biennial award of $50,000 that<br />

honors leading international poets, novelists,<br />

<strong>and</strong> playwrights. The Prize, sponsored<br />

by OU <strong>and</strong> World Literature Today, was the<br />

first international literary award to originate<br />

in the United States.<br />

4 6 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

A new generation of the Neustadt family<br />

has established the NSK Neustadt Prize for<br />

Children’s Literature, honoring an accomplished<br />

contemporary writer of children’s literature<br />

every other year. The letters “NSK” st<strong>and</strong> for<br />

Nancy, Susan, <strong>and</strong> Kathy, the children of Walter<br />

<strong>and</strong> Dolores Neustadt.<br />

Wealth has translated into Ardmore being<br />

blessed with art <strong>and</strong> cultural endowments. The<br />

Goddard Center sponsors various productions<br />

<strong>and</strong> exhibits. Studio 107 Gallery & Art Studios<br />

hosts local <strong>and</strong> regional exhibits. The Ardmore<br />

Convention Center is the region’s convention<br />

<strong>and</strong> trade show facility, supplemented by 1,000<br />

lodging rooms ranging from traditional hotels<br />

to bed <strong>and</strong> breakfasts. The 45,000-square-foot<br />

convention center opened in 2004.<br />

The Ardmore Little Theater, the Community<br />

Chorale Society, the Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Arts<br />

<strong>and</strong> Humanities Council, the Ardmore Art<br />

Guild, <strong>and</strong> the Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Children’s<br />

Chorus provide a few of the cultural <strong>and</strong><br />

entertainment opportunities. In 2005 the<br />

Ardmore Chamber of Commerce began an “Arts<br />

in Public Places” program by unveiling the<br />

sculpture “Into the Sun.”<br />

In 1999, the Ardmore Public Library moved<br />

into its third building. Andrew Carnegie<br />

donated $15,000 to build the town’s first<br />

library in 1903. A second modern library<br />

opened in September 1963. The newest library<br />

on E Street has more than 83,000 titles. Special<br />

collections include the Eliza Cruce Hall Doll<br />

Museum <strong>and</strong> the William A. “Mac” McGalliard<br />

Local History Collection. The doll collection of<br />

more than 300 rare <strong>and</strong> antique dolls was<br />

donated by the niece of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s second<br />

governor, Lee Cruce, of Ardmore.<br />

The proud history of Ardmore has been<br />

preserved in many ways. Historic structures are<br />

still in use, including the county courthouse <strong>and</strong><br />

more than a dozen buildings on the National<br />

Register of Historic Places. Heritage Hall,<br />

formerly known as Ardmore Civic Auditorium,<br />

Above: Walter Neustadt, Sr., 1950.<br />



Below: The Greater Southwest<br />

Historical Museum, 2010.<br />


C h a p t e r I V ✦ 4 7

Above: The Greater Southwest<br />

Historical Museum is also the home<br />

to the remarkable treasures of the<br />

Military Memorial Museum, 2010.<br />


Below: The Confederate Veterans<br />

Home in 1912.<br />



is an Art Deco structure in the heart of<br />

downtown that is a favorite venue for concerts<br />

<strong>and</strong> meetings.<br />

Exhibits at the Greater Southwest Historical<br />

Museum, located in the old National Guard<br />

Armory, tell the story of the county from the<br />

coming of the Chickasaws. A military annex<br />

at the museum debuted on April 28, 1990,<br />

“to the honor <strong>and</strong> memory of the American<br />

veteran,” <strong>and</strong> displays memorabilia from the<br />

Revolutionary War through the Iraq War.<br />

Memorial Square was dedicated in 2001 <strong>and</strong><br />

is a monument to the men <strong>and</strong> women who<br />

forged the history of the city. The Chamber of<br />

Commerce Foundation <strong>and</strong> other organizations<br />

funded the monument that pays tribute to two<br />

important aspects of the city—energy <strong>and</strong><br />

veterans who fought to preserve freedom.<br />

In 2003 the national media spotlight was on<br />

Ardmore when fifty-two Democratic members<br />

of the Texas House of Representatives, known<br />

as the “Killer Ds,” left Texas for Ardmore<br />

to deny the Republican-controlled House a<br />

quorum when Republicans attempted to pass a<br />

congressional redistricting plan. The move<br />

delayed ultimate passage of the plan, although<br />

parts of it were later declared in violation of the<br />

Voting Rights Act of 1963.<br />

The Ardmore Veterans Center celebrated<br />

a century of service in 2010. In 1910 the<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> legislature established the <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

Confederate Home in Ardmore to care for veterans<br />

of the Confederate Army. In 1942 the home<br />

was converted to a center to serve as a long-term<br />

care facility for all American veterans.<br />

Ardmore is home to the Ardmore Higher<br />

Education Center, a consortium-model system<br />

of higher education that offers courses <strong>and</strong><br />

degrees to local residents from four participating<br />

state colleges <strong>and</strong> universities—Murray<br />

State College, Southeastern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> State<br />

University, East Central <strong>Oklahoma</strong> University,<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>Oklahoma</strong> State University.<br />

During December each<br />

year, Ardmore Regional<br />

Park is transformed into a<br />

winter wonderl<strong>and</strong> with a<br />

drive-thru display of more<br />

than 100 animated scenes.<br />

The Festival of Lights has<br />

become one of the most<br />

popular light displays in<br />

the state.<br />

Ardmore is nearly 125<br />

years old. The same spirit<br />

<strong>and</strong> resilience that brought<br />

residents through disasters<br />

<strong>and</strong> hard times exists<br />

today. <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s real<br />

story is not about places<br />

<strong>and</strong> events—it is about<br />

its people.<br />

4 8 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

C H A P T E R<br />

V<br />


D I C K S O N<br />

By 2010, Dickson had doubled in size from its 1,139 population in 2000. The city has never had<br />

its own post office, so residents have an Ardmore address. The town began when a store was built<br />

around the time of statehood at the junction of US-177 <strong>and</strong> OK-199, ten miles east of Ardmore. Due<br />

to growth in the area, a twelve-grade Dickson Consolidated School District was formed in 1923,<br />

named for <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> School Superintendent, A. E. Dickson. Hester Horn donated the l<strong>and</strong> for<br />

the school on the condition that she would be the first district school superintendent.<br />

The school district was formed from former local schools of Clinton, Mulkey, <strong>and</strong> Nelda. Later,<br />

the Baum, Durwood, Mary Niblack, Provence, Pruitt, Smyrma, Gene Autry, <strong>and</strong> Springdale schools<br />

became part of the district.<br />

Dickson graduated its first senior class of five students in 1927. The original school was twice<br />

destroyed by fire. However, the Works Progress Administration built a rock building in 1940, using<br />

stone quarried from the area. Because of the expansive area covered by the district, Dickson is one<br />

of the state’s largest school districts.<br />

Dickson High School, 2010.<br />


C h a p t e r V ✦ 4 9

Top: Among the area’s most famous<br />

citizens is Rosella Hightower, a worldrenowned<br />

prima ballerina, who was<br />

born on Wolf Creek outside of<br />

Dickson in 1920. Her life <strong>and</strong><br />

contributions are memorialized in this<br />

historical marker along Daisy Lane.<br />


Above <strong>and</strong> right: Gene Autry, 1940.<br />



Opposite, top: The Sante Fe Depot in<br />

Berwyn, 1910.<br />



Opposite, bottom: The Gene Autry<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Museum in 2010.<br />


Home of the Comets, the school won the<br />

state large school powerlifting championship<br />

in 2008 <strong>and</strong> several skeet shoot state championships.<br />

It was one of only a h<strong>and</strong>ful of school<br />

districts in <strong>Oklahoma</strong> to receive a distinguished<br />

GreatSchools Rating of nine out of ten. In the<br />

mid 1990s, the Comets cross country team won<br />

the state tournament for three consecutive years<br />

under the coaching of Ron Love.<br />

The city of Dickson was incorporated in<br />

1968. The city is governed by a board of<br />

trustees, a mayor, a fire <strong>and</strong> police department,<br />

<strong>and</strong> a city court system.<br />

G E N E<br />

A U T R Y<br />

The town, located seventeen miles northeast<br />

of Ardmore, was originally called Lou, named<br />

for the wife of C. C. Henderson who opened<br />

a store in the 1870s east of the present town<br />

in the Chickasaw Nation. In July 1883 a post<br />

office was established inside the store. Four<br />

months later, the mail room was moved <strong>and</strong><br />

renamed Dresden.<br />

In 1887 the Gulf, Colorado <strong>and</strong> Santa Fe<br />

Railroad bypassed Dresden <strong>and</strong> residents<br />

relocated to the tracks. A new post office<br />

was opened on September 1, 1887, as Berwyn,<br />

named for Berwyn, Pennsylvania, a tradition<br />

along the railroad of naming towns after<br />

stations on the Main Line of the Pennsylvania<br />

Railroad. It was farming community that<br />

supported a feed mill, two cotton gins, a grain<br />

elevator, various general stores, <strong>and</strong> a flour<br />

warehouse. The Berwyn Light newspaper<br />

informed local citizens of the latest news. The<br />

population peaked at 435 in 1920 <strong>and</strong> then lost<br />

residents due to the Great Depression.<br />

In November 1941 singing cowboy Gene<br />

Autry bought the 1,200-acre Flying A Ranch<br />

west of Berwyn as headquarters for his traveling<br />

rodeo. In his honor, the town was renamed<br />

5 0 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

Gene Autry. More than 35,000<br />

people attended the ceremony<br />

on November 16, Statehood Day,<br />

in 1941. <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Governor<br />

Leon “Red” Phillips joined Autry<br />

on horseback to lead the celebration<br />

that was broadcast live on<br />

Autry’s “Melody Ranch” radio<br />

program. The post office officially<br />

changed its name to Gene Autry<br />

on January 1, 1942.<br />

When America entered World<br />

War II, Autry joined the U.S.<br />

Army Air Corps <strong>and</strong> sold his<br />

ranch. The Ardmore Air Force<br />

Base was constructed north of<br />

the town in 1942 <strong>and</strong> provided<br />

much needed jobs. The former<br />

base is now the Ardmore Industrial Park.<br />

After World War II, the town’s population<br />

continued to decrease, with only 99 official<br />

residents in 2000. The old Berwyn school is<br />

now the Gene Autry <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Museum,<br />

perhaps the nation’s only museum dedicated to<br />

the singing cowboy. The Gene Autry <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

Film <strong>and</strong> Music Festival annually brings visitors<br />

to the old school auditorium that is now a<br />

500-seat performance hall. The museum has<br />

the largest private B-western collection in the<br />

United States.<br />

C h a p t e r V ✦ 5 1

Right: Healdton’s historic State<br />

Armory, shown here in 2010, was<br />

built by the WPA in 1936.<br />


Below: The Oil Museum at Healdton,<br />

in 2010.<br />


5 2 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

H E A L D T O N<br />

Originally called Mason for its founder,<br />

Elisha Mason, the town’s post office was established<br />

on February 26, 1883. Mason was<br />

renamed in honor of Charles H. Heald, a prominent<br />

resident who arrived in the community in<br />

1888 <strong>and</strong> became its postmaster in 1897.<br />

As part of Pickens <strong>County</strong> in the Chickasaw<br />

Nation, Healdton was a prominent cottonproducing<br />

center until the <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, New<br />

Mexico <strong>and</strong> Pacific Railway laid its tracks south<br />

of Healdton on its route from Ardmore to<br />

Ringling. The economy suffered when many<br />

residents moved adjacent to the railroad.<br />

Fortunately, the discovery of oil in 1913 put<br />

Healdton on the map. Development of the field<br />

had a major impact. The Healdton Field became<br />

one of history’s largest producing oil regions <strong>and</strong><br />

construction later began on the Ringling <strong>and</strong> Oil<br />

Fields Railway that ran from Ringling to just<br />

west of Healdton. Ben Heald, the son of Charles<br />

Heald, succeeded his father as postmaster <strong>and</strong><br />

moved the post office to the railroad <strong>and</strong> labeled<br />

“new” Healdton at its present site.<br />

Many oil pioneers, such as Robert A. Hefner,<br />

Sr., Erle Halliburton, Lloyd Noble, <strong>and</strong> Wirt<br />

Franklin set up operations in the Healdton Field.<br />

By 1918, the field produced fifteen percent of all<br />

oil pulled from the ground beneath <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

The Healdton schools began in 1919. The<br />

Healdton Herald has been published since 1917.<br />

The city is governed by a home-rule charter.<br />

The Zaneis School Teachers’ Dormitory <strong>and</strong> the<br />

National Guard Armory are listed in the National<br />

Register of Historic Places. The Healdton Oil<br />

Museum, an affiliate of the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Historical<br />

Society, tells the story of how oil changed the<br />

face of <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>and</strong> the world.<br />

Among the area’s famous citizens is<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> University women’s basketball<br />

coach, Sherri Buben Coale. Actress Eddi-Rue<br />

McClanahan, who starred on the television<br />

show “Golden Girls,” was born in Healdton.<br />

She died in 2010.<br />

Above: Crowds gather to welcome the<br />

first train into Healdton.<br />



Below: Derricks spring up across<br />

Healdton, 1920.<br />



C h a p t e r V ✦ 5 3

Above: Lone Grove High School<br />

in 2010.<br />


Bottom, left: The Lone Grove School<br />

in 1923.<br />



Bottom, right: Lone Grove’s school in<br />

1936-1937.<br />



L O N E<br />

G R O V E<br />

A former village in the Chickasaw Nation,<br />

Lone Grove was founded <strong>and</strong> a post office established<br />

on February 4, 1885. Prior to its official<br />

designation as Lone Grove, the community was<br />

known as Price’s Store, after C. C. “Tom Cat”<br />

Price who owned a local general store. Price<br />

actually petitioned Congress for the post office<br />

to be named Lone Cedar, but somehow the Post<br />

Office Department changed the name. The first<br />

school was built in 1887. The two-story frame<br />

building was used by two teachers with the<br />

Masonic Lodge occupying the second store.<br />

Located along US-70 eight miles west of<br />

Ardmore, Lone Grove lost many of its business<br />

<strong>and</strong> residential structures in a devastating fire<br />

on November 15, 1899. In the early part of<br />

the twentieth century, the town had three<br />

grocery stores, a drugstore, a movie theater,<br />

a blacksmith shop, three doctors, <strong>and</strong> a<br />

barbershop. The <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, New Mexico <strong>and</strong><br />

Pacific Railway, commonly called the Ringling<br />

Railroad, reached the town in 1913. The<br />

railroad later was part of the Santa Fe system<br />

<strong>and</strong> was ab<strong>and</strong>oned in 1976.<br />

In 1910 a new two-story brick school<br />

was build for the students of Lone Grove. In<br />

1927 the Blue Ribbon school district was<br />

consolidated <strong>and</strong> two busses were purchased to<br />

transport rural children. Other adjacent school<br />

districts were consolidated in the 1930s <strong>and</strong><br />

1940s <strong>and</strong> new schools had to be enlarged <strong>and</strong><br />

added to the system.<br />

During the 1920s, the town boomed as<br />

nearby oil fields provided jobs <strong>and</strong> brought<br />

commercial enterprise to town. A two-story<br />

Masonic lodge building, a grist mill, a cleaning<br />

shop, an automobile garage, <strong>and</strong> a wagon yard<br />

were built.<br />

5 4 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

The town’s first three schools were<br />

subscription schools where patrons paid to<br />

have their children attend classes. The first<br />

public school was built in 1887. A two-story<br />

brick school was constructed in 1910 <strong>and</strong> Kate<br />

Galt Zaneis was superintendent. A new high<br />

school was built in 1978. The community’s first<br />

newspaper, the weekly Lone Grove Ledger,<br />

began publication with owners Gary <strong>and</strong> Linda<br />

Hicks in 1983.<br />

In 2006 construction was completed for<br />

grades 9-12. The new facility included thirtytwo<br />

classrooms, a library, <strong>and</strong> a b<strong>and</strong> room. In<br />

May, 2008, a $10 million dollar school bond<br />

issue passed with more than eighty percent of<br />

the vote to exp<strong>and</strong> public school facilities,<br />

including more classrooms, computer labs, a<br />

gymnasium, <strong>and</strong> an auditorium. The Lone Grove<br />

schools have produced numerous state winners<br />

in vocal music, b<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> debate competition.<br />

On February 10, 2009, eight people in Lone<br />

Grove were killed by a tornado. The National<br />

Weather Service classified the storm an EF-4<br />

with winds up to 165 miles per hour. In<br />

addition to the fatalities, 46 other people<br />

were injured <strong>and</strong> 114 homes or mobile homes<br />

were destroyed.<br />

R A T L I F F<br />

C I T Y<br />

The post office in Ratliff City opened on<br />

January 1, 1953, when the town was<br />

incorporated. It was named for Ollie Ratliff,<br />

owner of a local automobile garage. Prior to<br />

its incorporation, the community was known<br />

as Ratliff Corner. J. E. <strong>and</strong> Nora Sullivan<br />

opened a store there in 1927. During a long<br />

cold spell in the winter of 1929, the Sullivans,<br />

who had the only working car in the area,<br />

delivered groceries to str<strong>and</strong>ed residents <strong>and</strong><br />

cattle feed to animals unable to find food in the<br />

deep snow.<br />

In 1990 the Natural Gas Pipeline Company<br />

of America built a compressor station a mile<br />

north of Ratliff City as part a huge pipeline<br />

project connecting <strong>Oklahoma</strong> with the Gulf<br />

Coast. Wildfires devastated the lives of dozens<br />

of <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> residents in the Ratliff City<br />

area in both 2006 <strong>and</strong> 2009. Strong winds<br />

pushed fires that blackened thous<strong>and</strong>s of<br />

acres <strong>and</strong> destroyed dozens of homes <strong>and</strong><br />

businesses. During the 2006 fires, Ratliff City<br />

Fire Chief Richard Wright described to<br />

reporters a 100-foot wall of fire coming over<br />

the tops of trees.<br />

Ratliff City’s town park, 2010.<br />


C h a p t e r V ✦ 5 5

Above: Joe Arnold’s General Store in<br />

Springer, 1910.<br />



Below: The community of faith is alive<br />

<strong>and</strong> well across <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>, <strong>and</strong><br />

includes many churches like Springer’s<br />

historic United Methodist Church,<br />

shown here in 2010.<br />

S P R I N G E R<br />

Located on US-77 ten miles north of<br />

Ardmore, Springer’s post office was established<br />

on September 1, 1890, <strong>and</strong> named for local cattle<br />

rancher, W. A. Springer. The community’s first<br />

store was built by Jim Rushing along Buzzard<br />

Creek. On September 16, 1910, a fire started in<br />

the post office <strong>and</strong><br />

spread to a general<br />

store, a blacksmith<br />

shop, <strong>and</strong> a building<br />

occupied by<br />

fraternal orders. As<br />

the fire raged, residents<br />

used dynamite<br />

to stop flames<br />

from spreading to<br />

other businesses<br />

along Main Street.<br />

The Springer<br />

school was built at<br />

the time of statehood.<br />

The town was six miles west of the Santa<br />

Fe Railroad <strong>and</strong>, by 1923, only a few stores, the<br />

school, <strong>and</strong> a post office remained. The population<br />

of Springer peaked at 679 in 1980. The<br />

town’s life revolves around the Springer schools.<br />

In 2011, the post office, several churches, <strong>and</strong> a<br />

few stores remain in |the town to serve area<br />

ranches, farms, <strong>and</strong> other residents.<br />

5 6 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

Above: Tatums’ Bethel Baptist Church,<br />

shown here in 2010, is located at the<br />

corner of Webster <strong>and</strong> Lane <strong>and</strong> was<br />

originally organized on May 22,<br />

1894. The congregation continues to<br />

meet for weekly services in a newer<br />

building near the historic l<strong>and</strong>mark<br />

even today.<br />


Left: Tatums school, c. 1917.<br />

C h a p t e r V ✦ 5 7

Above: The town’s founding couple,<br />

Lee <strong>and</strong> Mary Tatums.<br />

Below An early map of the townsite<br />

of Tatums.<br />

T A T U M S<br />

The town of Tatums was founded in Indian<br />

Territory in 1895 by Lee Tatum <strong>and</strong> his wife,<br />

Mary. The post office opened on May 9, 1896,<br />

with Mr. Tatum as the first postmaster. Located<br />

four miles northeast of Ratliff City, Tatums<br />

is one of only thirteen all-black towns in<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> that remains from fifty in the early<br />

part of the twentieth century. The towns were<br />

founded by former slaves of the Five Civilized<br />

Tribes who were freed after the Civil War.<br />

The freedmen gathered in groups for mutual<br />

protection <strong>and</strong> economic security. They created<br />

prosperous farming communities that could<br />

support businesses, schools, <strong>and</strong> churches.<br />

The Tatums operated the post office <strong>and</strong> a<br />

small grocery store from their home. Lee Tatum<br />

was also appointed U.S. marshal. As residents<br />

moved into the community, a church <strong>and</strong><br />

school were built prior to 1900. A hotel was<br />

constructed in 1899 <strong>and</strong> a blacksmith shop<br />

opened in 1900. A cotton gin <strong>and</strong> sawmill<br />

opened in 1910. The discovery of oil brought<br />

prosperity to many local l<strong>and</strong>owners in the<br />

1920s. Funds from the Julius Rosenwald Fund<br />

enabled construction of a brick school in 1936.<br />

A gymnasium was added in 1949. The Bethel<br />

Missionary Baptist Church, listed in the<br />

National Register of Historic Places, was<br />

completed in 1919.<br />

In 1927, a silent movie, “Black Gold,” was<br />

filmed by Norman Studios. Marshal Tatums was<br />

asked to appear in the movie. Although no copy<br />

of the film is available, a script is preserved<br />

at the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage<br />

in California.<br />

Among <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s famous citizens is<br />

Mentha Mitchell Varner, who was born to W. E.<br />

<strong>and</strong> Mary Mitchell in Tatums in 1914 <strong>and</strong><br />

moved with her family to Ardmore in 1930.<br />

5 8 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

A graduate of Douglass High School in 1932,<br />

Mrs. Varner earned her Bachelor of Science in<br />

elementary <strong>and</strong> physical education from<br />

Langston University <strong>and</strong> began teaching in<br />

Ardmore in 1937. She remained a dedicated<br />

educator for forty years <strong>and</strong> was instrumental<br />

in raising funds for Ardmore’s<br />

Head Start building. The building <strong>and</strong> a<br />

library were later named in her honor.<br />

In 1954, Mrs. Varner became the first<br />

black teacher of American Red Cross<br />

Home Nursing Classes. In 1966 she was<br />

the first black teacher to integrate the city<br />

school system. She retired in 1976 after<br />

serving three years as a principal of the<br />

Kindergarten Center that she established<br />

for the Ardmore school system. A member<br />

of several Halls of Fame, including the<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Women’s Hall of Fame <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Greater Southwest Historical Museum<br />

Hall of Fame, Mrs. Varner received the<br />

Donna Nigh Award <strong>and</strong>, in 2007, was<br />

named one of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s “Uncrowned<br />

Queens” for the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Centennial<br />

Celebration. On her eighty-fourth birthday,<br />

U.S. Representative Bill Brewster<br />

obtained a Congressional Record presented<br />

at a public birthday celebration for her<br />

on July 12, 1994.<br />

The Great Depression caused many residents<br />

of Tatums to migrate to urban areas. At the<br />

end of the twentieth century, the population<br />

was 172.<br />

Above: Mentha Mitchell Varner, 1995.<br />

Below: Dedication of the Mentha<br />

Mitchell Varner Ardmore<br />

Headstart Center.<br />

C h a p t e r V ✦ 5 9

Below, left to right: Wilson’s police<br />

force included Tom Griffin, first police<br />

chief, Ed Taylor, night chief, <strong>and</strong><br />

Charles P. Jones, constable, c. 1914.<br />



Opposite, top: Downtown Wilson,<br />

in 2010.<br />


Opposite, middle, left to right: Among<br />

Wilson’s famous citizens is film <strong>and</strong><br />

television star, Chuck Norris, <strong>and</strong><br />

Chickasaw Indian bronze sculptor<br />

Clayburne Straughn.<br />


Opposite, bottom: Wilson Historical<br />

Museum, 2010.<br />


W I L S O N<br />

The town was founded as New Wilson<br />

when a post office opened on January 17, 1914.<br />

Jake Hamon, a Kansas lawyer who came to<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> to make his fortune in oil, bought<br />

eight acres <strong>and</strong> began selling lots in 1912.<br />

Surrounded by good farming l<strong>and</strong>, New Wilson<br />

was incorporated in 1914. By the end of that<br />

year, the town had a population of 2,000, <strong>and</strong><br />

grew to 3,000 by 1918. The town was renamed<br />

Wilson on January 28, 1920. A town by the<br />

same name in another part of the county had<br />

disappeared, <strong>and</strong> Governor Robert L. Williams<br />

declared that “New Wilson” would thereafter<br />

be known as “Wilson.” Cotton <strong>and</strong> corn were<br />

original principal crops. Later peanuts replaced<br />

cotton <strong>and</strong> the discovery of oil totally changed<br />

the economy <strong>and</strong> was a major factor in the<br />

growth of the town.<br />

The town was named by John Ringling to<br />

honor Charles Wilson, manager of the Ringling<br />

Brothers Circus, that established its winter<br />

headquarters west of the community. Ringling<br />

<strong>and</strong> his partner, Hamon, built a railroad to<br />

carry circus animals <strong>and</strong> oil field equipment.<br />

The first railroad spike was driven on January<br />

24, 1914. The railroad later became part of the<br />

Santa Fe <strong>and</strong> was ab<strong>and</strong>oned in 1976.<br />

The Methodist Church of Wilson was<br />

organized in 1892 in a log house located south<br />

of Hewitt, one mile east of Wilson. The Church<br />

of Christ had its beginning in 1915 when<br />

a congregation moved from Hewett. In 1908,<br />

Dr. W. A. Darling established the Darling<br />

Telephone Company, later acquired by<br />

Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. The<br />

town’s first bank opened in 1914. The same<br />

year, the Wilson News newspaper began<br />

publication. In 1917, the Mobley Hotel opened<br />

with twenty-eight rooms with private baths <strong>and</strong><br />

hot <strong>and</strong> cold running water. The Gordon-<br />

Nuckolls ice plant was build in 1922. Ice was<br />

produced in 300-pound blocks <strong>and</strong> then stored<br />

in the front of the building.<br />

Wilson had several theatres including the<br />

Dreaml<strong>and</strong>, Empress, Ezy, Hippodrome, Rialto,<br />

Thompson, <strong>and</strong> Yale.<br />

The town’s population peaked at 2,517 in<br />

1930, although a chamber of commerce<br />

brochure claimed the businesses of the<br />

town served 20,000 people <strong>and</strong> was “the<br />

natural center of the Greater Wilson<br />

Oil Fields.” Following the Great<br />

Depression, only 1,700 people lived in<br />

Wilson in 1940. The 2000 population<br />

was 1,584.<br />

In 1915 a high school was<br />

organized in Wilson with T. H.<br />

Reynolds, later head of the history<br />

department of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> A & M<br />

College, as principal. The first<br />

graduate was Eugene Brimer who later<br />

operated the Brimer Brothers’ store. In<br />

1918, a three-story high school<br />

building was built. The oil boom in the<br />

1920s allowed the addition of several<br />

new school buildings. Dr. L. B.<br />

Sutherl<strong>and</strong> was in the charge of the<br />

Wilson Hospital in the 1920s. There<br />

were six other doctors in the town<br />

before the Great Depression.<br />

In 2011 an aldermanic form of town<br />

government existed. The Historical<br />

Wilson Museum, a senior citizens center,<br />

several businesses <strong>and</strong> an active<br />

school system serve the community.<br />

6 0 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

C h a p t e r V ✦ 6 1

Right: Fox Public Schools continues to<br />

serve the community <strong>and</strong> its families<br />

in 2010.<br />

Below: The construction of an early<br />

school at Fox, 1923.<br />



6 2 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

F O X<br />

Named for Chickasaw native Frank M. Fox,<br />

the post office in the town of Fox opened on<br />

January 25, 1894.<br />

T O W N S T H A T<br />

H A V E V A N I S H E D<br />

A review of an 1898 map of a survey of<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> shows towns that have not<br />

survived. In the early part of the twentieth<br />

century, there were eighty-two schools in the<br />

county, one-room school houses in every<br />

community. Some of the towns that no longer<br />

exist are:<br />

A L P E R S<br />

The town was seven miles northeast of Ratliff<br />

City <strong>and</strong> had a post office from 1918 to 1931.<br />

The postmaster was Dr. H. W. Alpers, who also<br />

ran a drug store <strong>and</strong> was a medical doctor.<br />

C H A G R I S<br />

Northwest of Healdton, the town had a<br />

school, two stores, a cotton gin, a blacksmith<br />

shop, <strong>and</strong> a post office from 1896 to 1909.<br />

George Tyson was the first postmaster.<br />

K E L L E R<br />

Located six miles east of Healdton, the town<br />

was named for local merchant, William Keller.<br />

The post office was established August 6, 1894,<br />

<strong>and</strong> closed sometime before statehood.<br />

N E L D A<br />

Named for Nelda Tindall, the daughter of<br />

the manager of Ardmore’s Luke’s Music Store,<br />

the town was six miles southeast of Ardmore<br />

<strong>and</strong> had a post office from 1914 to 1921.<br />

M O N K<br />

Adjoining Ratliff City, Monk had a post office<br />

from February 25, 1896, to December 31, 1905.<br />

It was named for Monk Tipps, a local resident.<br />

The Monk school was a subscription school.<br />

B E R W Y N<br />

The town was originally Dresden. The post<br />

office changed to Berwyn, after Berwyn,<br />

Pennsylvania, on September 1, 1887. The name<br />

again changed to Gene Autry on January 1, 1942.<br />

H O M E R<br />

The town was five miles north of Elk <strong>and</strong> was<br />

named for a local store owner. Dan Carpenter<br />

was postmaster from 1898 to 1905.<br />

Top: A photographer captures<br />

Berwyn’s First National Bank <strong>and</strong> a<br />

local restaurant in 1900.<br />



Above: Downtown Berwyn, in 1900.<br />



C h a p t e r V ✦ 6 3

O T T E R V I L E<br />

G L E N N<br />

Opposite, top: Cave exploring.<br />

Opposite, bottom: Hoxbar school<br />

around 1910.<br />



Below: The infamous Western outlaw,<br />

Bill Dalton, was killed in a gun battle<br />

in the area in 1894. The event is<br />

memorialized in this historical marker<br />

at the corner of Ranch <strong>and</strong> Pooleville<br />

Roads in western <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Located one mile west <strong>and</strong> one mile south<br />

of Woodford.<br />

U M B R I A<br />

Located four miles south <strong>and</strong> one mile east<br />

of Berwyn.<br />

W I L S O N<br />

Not the current town, but on the other side<br />

of the county, seven miles southeast of<br />

Ardmore. It had a post office from April 4,<br />

1888, to August 15, 1907, <strong>and</strong> was named for<br />

local merchant, J. H. Wilson.<br />

E L K<br />

Post office established on January 15, 1890.<br />

Because there was an Elk City in <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

Territory, the town’s name was changed in 1907<br />

to Pooleville, named for E. R. Poole, an early<br />

day settler.<br />

The town was two miles east of Woodford<br />

<strong>and</strong> had a post office from April 20, 1894, to<br />

July 15, 1922.<br />

C H E E K<br />

Located ten miles southwest of Ardmore,<br />

the town had a post office form November 19,<br />

1888, to March 15, 1935.<br />

R E C K<br />

Located five miles southwest of Wilson, the<br />

town had a post office from January 25, 1892,<br />

to June 21, 1919.<br />

H O X B A R<br />

The town was located one mile south <strong>and</strong><br />

two miles west of Wilson. There was a post<br />

office there from October 4, 1895, to November<br />

30, 1926. It took its name from the cattle br<strong>and</strong><br />

of John Washington, local rancher.<br />

6 4 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w

C h a p t e r V ✦ 6 5


Ardmore Junior Chamber of Commerce. The History of <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>. University Supply <strong>and</strong> Equipment Company, Fort Worth,<br />

Texas, 1957.<br />

Baird, W. David & Goble, Danny. The Story of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Press, Norman, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, 1994<br />

Burke, Bob. Deals, Deals, <strong>and</strong> More Deals: The Life of John Nichols. <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Heritage Association, 2004.<br />

Chickasaw Historical Society. Pages of History. Privately printed, 1969.<br />

Foreman, Grant. A History of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Press, Norman, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, 1942.<br />

Frame, Paul N. A History of Ardmore, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, From the Earliest Beginnings to 1907. J. G. Printing Enterprises, Kansas City,<br />

Missouri, 1995.<br />

Franks, Kenny. Ragtown. <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Heritage Association, <strong>Oklahoma</strong> City, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, 1986.<br />

Green, Donald E. Rural <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Historical Society, <strong>Oklahoma</strong> City, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, 1977.<br />

Lone Grove Historical Committee. Lone Grove Centennial, 1885-1985. Privately printed, 1985.<br />

McGalliard, Mac. Reporter’s Notebook. Sprekelmeyer Printing Company, Ardmore, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, 1973.<br />

Morris, John W. Cities of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Historical Society, <strong>Oklahoma</strong> City, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, 1979.<br />

Morris, John W. Ghost Towns of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Press, Norman, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, 1977.<br />

Norton, Patty Virginia, <strong>and</strong> Layton R. Sutton, editors. Indian Territory <strong>and</strong> <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, Pioneers. Taylor, Publishing<br />

Company, Dallas, Texas, 1983.<br />

Wood, Jimy Brady. What God Hath Blessed. Rockwell International Printing Services Department, Richardson, Texas, 1976.<br />

Zaneis, Kate Galt. Journal of <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> Schools. Privately printed, 1923.<br />

6 6 ✦ C A R T E R C O U N T Y , O K L A H O M A T h e n a n d N o w


H i s t o r i c p r o f i l e s o f b u s i n e s s e s , o r g a n i z a t i o n s , a n d<br />

f a m i l i e s t h a t h a v e c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e d e v e l o p m e n t a n d<br />

e c o n o m i c b a s e o f C a r t e r C o u n t y<br />



The Quintin Little Company, Inc. ......................................................6 8<br />

Tripledee Drilling Company ..............................................................7 2<br />

Otey Johnson Properties, Inc. ............................................................7 3<br />

Otey Johnson Foundation<br />

Ardmore Institute of Health ........................................................7 4<br />

The Chickasaw Nation .....................................................................7 6<br />

Guest Inn ......................................................................................8 0<br />

Greater Southwest Historical Museum ................................................8 3<br />

Chapman Brothers, LLC ...................................................................8 4<br />

Boys & Girls Club of Wilson <strong>and</strong> Ardmore ..........................................8 7<br />

Mercy Memorial Health Center .........................................................8 8<br />

Dolman Law Firm ...........................................................................9 1<br />

Hewitt Mineral Corporation .............................................................9 2<br />

Ardmore Chamber of Commerce<br />

Ardmore Development Authority<br />

Ardmore Tourism Authority ....................................................9 4<br />

Brady Welding & Machine Shop, Inc. .................................................9 6<br />

Joe Brown Company, Inc. ..................................................................9 8<br />

TriPower Resources, LLC ................................................................1 0 0<br />

Ardmore Higher Education Center ....................................................1 0 2<br />

Chickasaw Regional Library ............................................................1 0 4<br />

Lewis Magneto & Supply Co., Inc. ...................................................1 0 6<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> State Horseshoeing School ................................................1 0 8<br />

Ringling Enterprises, Inc.<br />

Rockl<strong>and</strong> Oil Company .............................................................1 1 0<br />

T. C. Craighead & Company ..........................................................1 1 2<br />

Ardmore Public Library ..................................................................1 1 4<br />

Forsythe Oilfield Service, Inc. .........................................................1 1 6<br />

Sullivan Insurance Agency ..............................................................1 1 8<br />

Swink Heating, Air Conditioning, <strong>and</strong> Electric ...................................1 2 0<br />

The Hefner Company, Inc. ..............................................................1 2 2<br />

Murray State College .....................................................................1 2 4<br />

First Bank & Tr ust Co. ..................................................................1 2 5<br />

Murphy Housing, Ltd. ....................................................................1 2 6<br />

Ferral Howard Construction ...........................................................1 2 7<br />

Day Concrete & Block Company ......................................................1 2 8<br />

Hughes Family Dental<br />

Robert V. Hughes DDS, Inc. FAGD ..............................................1 2 9<br />

Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel<br />

Days Inn Ardmore ....................................................................1 3 0<br />

Elmbrook Management<br />

Company<br />

Tom & Kim Coble<br />

Don & Elva Jackson<br />

J&D Hauling<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 6 7


<strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong> Quintin began buying <strong>and</strong><br />

selling oil <strong>and</strong> gas leases <strong>and</strong> put together<br />

lease blocks across Texas <strong>and</strong> <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

as far away as New York, Mississippi, <strong>and</strong><br />

North Dakota, amassing a large mineral holding,<br />

as well.<br />

Quintin was instrumental <strong>and</strong> directly<br />

involved in discovering <strong>and</strong> developing the<br />

Cumberl<strong>and</strong>, Madill, Tatums, <strong>and</strong> Apache Fields<br />

in <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong> the Sherman <strong>and</strong> Big Mineral<br />

Fields in Grayson <strong>County</strong>, Texas, all of which<br />

still produce today.<br />

Quintin established the company in Madill<br />

<strong>and</strong> later met Carrie Lou Scott, a recent graduate<br />

<strong>and</strong> Valedictorian at Madill High School<br />

who had come to work in the growing business.<br />

The couple married on March 29, 1940 <strong>and</strong><br />

together moved the business from Madill to<br />

Ardmore in 1944. The family lived in Ardmore<br />

where Quintin was active in civic affairs.<br />

Right: Cumberl<strong>and</strong> Field Discovery<br />

Well #1 Little, Marshall <strong>County</strong>,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, March 1940.<br />

Below: Quintin Little at Discovery<br />

Well in Cumberl<strong>and</strong>, March 1940.<br />

Born in Indian Territory in the village of Cliff,<br />

between present-day Kingston <strong>and</strong> Madill,<br />

Quintin Little joined a family rich in an<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> heritage that traces its roots to the<br />

family’s arrival in the area in 1864.<br />

Quintin was raised with a deep love for his<br />

native state <strong>and</strong> began his business career as a<br />

cotton broker in the 1920s. Cotton was king at<br />

the time in southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> with Ardmore<br />

being the largest inl<strong>and</strong> cotton port of the<br />

world. By 1934, however, farmers across the<br />

Great Plains were weathering the devastating<br />

effects of the Dust Bowl. The severe drought<br />

that settled over the state proved cotton was no<br />

longer a viable source of income in southern<br />

In 1949, Quintin purchased the city’s largest<br />

office building, the Little Building, at 10 West<br />

Main (now the Colston Building). In 1982 a<br />

new office building at 2007 North Commerce<br />

was completed.<br />

Quintin was an active member of the Church<br />

of Christ, served as president of the Ardmore<br />

Chamber of Commerce in 1954 <strong>and</strong> was a<br />

three-term member of the University of<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> board of regents.<br />

In 1961, Quintin wanted his son, Jud, to<br />

have the best education possible. The elder<br />

Little, a twenty-one year member of the<br />

University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> board of regents turned<br />

to his close friend <strong>and</strong> Sooner football coach<br />

6 8 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Bud Wilkinson for advice. Wilkinson, who had<br />

graduated from Kemper Military Academy in<br />

Minnesota, suggested the Culver Academy in<br />

Indiana, starting a lifetime relationship between<br />

the Littles <strong>and</strong> the college preparatory school.<br />

Culver is one of the largest boarding schools<br />

in the United States, with 790 students, <strong>and</strong><br />

the schools focuses its curriculum on leadership<br />

training. Incoming freshmen are given the<br />

choice of four areas of interest to focus on<br />

during their tenure at the school: infantry,<br />

artillery, b<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> horsemanship. With Jud’s<br />

love of horses already instilled, he naturally<br />

gravitated toward the horsemanship program<br />

<strong>and</strong> the famed Black Horse Troop—one of the<br />

nation’s elite horsemanship groups for high<br />

school students. As a member of the troop, Jud<br />

rode in Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 presidential<br />

inauguration parade.<br />

Jud also learned to play polo <strong>and</strong> became<br />

captain of the polo team <strong>and</strong> Lancer Platoon<br />

Mounted Drill Team, an honor unit comprised<br />

of the best horseman of the Black Horse Troop.<br />

His Culver education also led to success in<br />

the classroom <strong>and</strong> Jud received a bachelor’s<br />

degree in economics from the prestigious<br />

Wharton School of Finance <strong>and</strong> Commerce at<br />

the University of Pennsylvania.<br />

Jud’s success at Culver <strong>and</strong> in the business<br />

world has made him a champion for his alma<br />

mater. Calling the school a “leadership factory,”<br />

he is a past president of the Culver Legion, the<br />

school’s alumni association, <strong>and</strong> is a current<br />

member of the school’s board of trustees. He<br />

is also the premier financial supporter for the<br />

school’s horsemanship program, while the<br />

state-of-the-art, indoor riding arena the school<br />

uses to house the Black Horse Troop bears<br />

Little’s name.<br />

Left: Quintin <strong>and</strong> Carrie Lou Little at<br />

Republican National Convention in<br />

San Francisco, California, 1944.<br />

Below: Quintin Little purchases the<br />

Simpson Building. 1948.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 6 9

Above: The Quintin Little Building<br />

located in Ardmore, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Right: Carrie Lou Scott Little.<br />

Below: Jud Little, Mattie Little<br />

Jackson, Carl Jackson <strong>and</strong> Williamson<br />

Penn Little at daughter’s wedding in<br />

Dallas, Texas, October 2009.<br />

With hopes of giving fellow <strong>Oklahoma</strong>ns<br />

the same educational opportunities he had,<br />

Jud founded the Jud Little Scholarship at<br />

Culver. One scholarship per year is set aside<br />

for a boy or girl from rural <strong>Oklahoma</strong> who is<br />

interested in horsemanship. The scholarship<br />

covers full tuition, room <strong>and</strong> board, uniforms,<br />

horsemanship fees <strong>and</strong> books. Jud says they<br />

encourage those students from <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

to come back to their home state to be<br />

significant leaders.<br />

Today, the Quintin Little Company is owned<br />

<strong>and</strong> operated by Quintin <strong>and</strong> Carrie’s son,<br />

Jud. He is also owner of the Jud Little Ranch,<br />

breeding championship horses on the<br />

Springer ranchl<strong>and</strong> he bought as a thirty<br />

year old in 1976. The Jud Little Ranch has<br />

become the horse breeder of choice for<br />

champion barrel racers <strong>and</strong> rodeo ropers.<br />

Founded by Jud after he had traveled the<br />

world as a polo player, the ranch is now<br />

home to over 120 mares that have produced<br />

mounts regularly appearing at the National<br />

Finals Rodeo.<br />

Jud’s daughter, Mattie, carries on the family<br />

tradition by competing professionally on Jud<br />

Little Ranch barrel horses. Jud’s son, Penn,<br />

graduated from Culver Military Academy in<br />

2002 <strong>and</strong> also shares his father’s love of<br />

horses. Jud married Benette Barrington, a<br />

competitor in the 2010 National Finals, on<br />

March 29, 2011.<br />

For more information about the Little family<br />

<strong>and</strong> company, please visit them online at<br />

www.judlittleranch.com.<br />

7 0 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Above: Jud Little <strong>and</strong> Frosty Feelins at<br />

Jud Little Ranch, Springer, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Left: Jud <strong>and</strong> Benette Barrington Little<br />

with JL Dash Ta Heaven at Fort<br />

Worth, Texas, January 2010.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 7 1




Left: An original postcard printed in<br />

1906-1907 before statehood <strong>and</strong> sent<br />

from Errett Dunlap to someone who<br />

gave the postcard back to him about<br />

fifty years later.<br />

Right: The building has not changed<br />

much—as the photo attests in 2011.<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> was still considered a new state<br />

when Errett Dunlap moved into the area. In the<br />

summer of 1913, he began buying <strong>and</strong> selling<br />

mineral properties <strong>and</strong> leases when the first well<br />

was drilled in the Healdton Field in <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Dunlap started his business with three<br />

wells on the corner of Highways 53 <strong>and</strong> 76<br />

south of Fox in 1918. These wells are still producing<br />

today, ninety-three years later. Dunlap is<br />

considered one of the pioneers in the early<br />

development of the oil business in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

During the early years of World War II, oil <strong>and</strong><br />

gas production from <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong> Texas were<br />

instrumental in providing the Allies with necessary<br />

fuel. Soon after the war ended, the dem<strong>and</strong> for gas<br />

brought about a “boom period” of abundant <strong>and</strong><br />

cheap fuel. This dem<strong>and</strong> was significant in exp<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

the company by buying drilling rigs <strong>and</strong> exploring<br />

for oil <strong>and</strong> gas. After WWII, Errett Dunlap was<br />

joined by his son, Errett Dunlap, Jr., <strong>and</strong> daughter,<br />

Elsye Ve Dunlap Van Eaton, to form Tripledee<br />

Drilling Company in 1950. Together with his sonin-law,<br />

Charles Van Eaton, a geologist, Dunlap<br />

bought two drilling rigs <strong>and</strong> exp<strong>and</strong>ed the business<br />

into drilling <strong>and</strong> operating wells in a five-county<br />

area. Most of the wells drilled in the 1950s <strong>and</strong><br />

1960s are still producing fifty years later. Currently,<br />

the company drills, completes, maintains <strong>and</strong><br />

ultimately plugs <strong>and</strong> ab<strong>and</strong>ons oil <strong>and</strong> gas wells.<br />

With the 1950 formation of the company,<br />

many other people were credited with its success,<br />

including tool pusher Albert Allen, responsible<br />

for running the rigs; production foreman Henry<br />

Ogletree, responsible for field production; Don<br />

Cude <strong>and</strong> Mary Harrell, l<strong>and</strong> title, accounting,<br />

<strong>and</strong> regulatory work. In later years, Ralph Payne<br />

h<strong>and</strong>led the drilling rigs; Otis Harris, field production;<br />

Kay Harrington <strong>and</strong> Dana Dabbert, title,<br />

accounting <strong>and</strong> regulatory work, followed by<br />

Dale Ray Gaither, Gerald Monroe, Hubert Harris<br />

in the field Jennifer Evans, Dave Fackrell, <strong>and</strong><br />

Carrie Manteufel in the office.<br />

Later, ownership <strong>and</strong> management of the company<br />

was taken over by third generation Tom <strong>and</strong><br />

Nancy Dunlap, <strong>and</strong> has now been passed on to<br />

their children Cathy Black, Vicki Black, <strong>and</strong> Phil<br />

Black. They will continue the family’s management<br />

of the company with their children, Ben <strong>and</strong> John<br />

Moon-Black, <strong>and</strong> Gunnar, Haakon <strong>and</strong> Lilli Black.<br />

In the future, the company plans to concentrate<br />

on secondary <strong>and</strong> tertiary methods of recovering<br />

more of the oil in place, as the science of oil recovery<br />

continues to improve. Secondary recovery<br />

projects are already in place to inject <strong>and</strong> recharge<br />

the reservoirs with water. The company is testing<br />

the use of anarobial injections of microbes that<br />

feed on the oil to generate methane gas, as well as<br />

testing the use of polymers <strong>and</strong> heat generation as<br />

tertiary methods of recovering additional oil.<br />

Tripledee, its founders, current owners, <strong>and</strong><br />

employees, have supported many community<br />

projects <strong>and</strong> charities throughout the years, from<br />

the early day Masons <strong>and</strong> Salvation Army to<br />

the Ardmore Mercy Memorial Hospital <strong>and</strong><br />

YMCA. The company also supported funding<br />

for the Memorial acknowledging the Sherwood<br />

Forest project by Ardmore’s Lloyd Noble to take<br />

drilling rigs to Engl<strong>and</strong> during WWII to<br />

increase Engl<strong>and</strong>’s domestic oil production<br />

for the war effort. Over the years,<br />

the company supported the Chamber<br />

of Commerce <strong>and</strong> Main Street projects,<br />

the building of the Higher Education<br />

Center in 1973, <strong>and</strong> the annual<br />

Arbuckles to Ardmore Marathon event.<br />

The company maintains its office at<br />

100 West Main Street in Ardmore in a<br />

building that was the first three-story<br />

office building in Ardmore. It was built<br />

in 1906, survived the railway explosion<br />

<strong>and</strong> fire in September 1915, <strong>and</strong> was purchased<br />

by Errett Dunlap in 1937. The company manages<br />

over 200 wells with eight employees along with<br />

several outsourced operational services <strong>and</strong> consultants.<br />

As newer wells are drilled, the company<br />

expects to continue business another fifty years.<br />

For more information about Tripledee Drilling<br />

Company go to www.tripledeeoperating.com<br />

or www.ardmoreoil<strong>and</strong>gas.com.<br />

7 2 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Dr. Otey G. Johnson was born in Battle<br />

Creek, Michigan on July 14, 1914, the son of<br />

Roy M. Johnson, one of the first oilmen in<br />

southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. Otey was raised in the<br />

Ardmore area, but later left <strong>Oklahoma</strong> to attend<br />

college in California, graduating from medical<br />

school at Loma Linda University. However, after<br />

returning to <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, Otey never practiced<br />

medicine; he became interested in the oil <strong>and</strong><br />

gas business. Following in the footsteps of his<br />

father, Otey began to purchase minerals rights<br />

<strong>and</strong> interests in oil <strong>and</strong> gas wells <strong>and</strong> in the<br />

1970s, he teamed up with Keith F. Walker,<br />

a geologist from Ardmore, <strong>and</strong> together they<br />

discovered a significant oil field in western<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Although Dr. Johnson was trained to be a<br />

medical doctor, he was more interested in finding<br />

“hydrocarbons.” He often-times stated that<br />

he preferred “to treat his wells, <strong>and</strong> leave the<br />

sick alone.” Soon after graduating from medical<br />

school, Dr. Johnson found his first small oil<br />

field near Minerals Wells, Texas. After that, he<br />

spent the remainder of his life searching for<br />

more oil <strong>and</strong> gas. Although he acquired a minor<br />

in geology, he was an avid believer in “creekology,”<br />

learning to read what the surface told<br />

him about what was underneath the ground.<br />

He would often take friends to places around<br />

Oil City, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, to show them oil-stained<br />

rock layers or oil drenched creek beds explaining<br />

the geology behind the evidence of oil on<br />

the surface. His knowledge of southern<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> geology, combined with his unique<br />

“creek-ology,” allowed him to extrapolate the<br />

best spots to drill for oil.<br />

Dr. Johnson joined with other prominent<br />

oil <strong>and</strong> gas businessmen in developing properties<br />

in southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, including Hugh<br />

Ledbetter, H. M. Petree, Errett Dunlap <strong>and</strong><br />

Taft Milford. He conducted the majority of his<br />

oil <strong>and</strong> gas business by telephone. His records<br />

were kept in cardboard boxes in the old granite<br />

mansion his father had constructed in 1921,<br />

in a Mediterranean-style home located adjacent<br />

to his father’s home, in the two hotel rooms<br />

rented at the time of his death, <strong>and</strong> in the back<br />

seat of his car.<br />

When Dr. Johnson travelled out of town he<br />

relied on Lou Ann Walker, daughter of Keith<br />

Walker, <strong>and</strong> Bonnie Kendall, his “girl Friday,” to<br />

h<strong>and</strong>le his accounting <strong>and</strong> pay bills. In his later<br />

years, he depended heavily upon Alison Smalley<br />

to research county records to determine mineral<br />

ownerships, <strong>and</strong> then to negotiate <strong>and</strong> purchase<br />

oil <strong>and</strong> gas leases. After his death, it was through<br />

Smalley’s tireless efforts to organize <strong>and</strong> make<br />

sense of Dr. Johnson’s records that OJP was able<br />

to function as a business.<br />

Throughout his life, Dr. Johnson suffered<br />

from severe allergies. He often travelled to areas<br />

with drier climates such as New Mexico,<br />

Arizona <strong>and</strong> California. While away from home,<br />

he began collecting western art <strong>and</strong> historical<br />

documents. His art collection would eventually<br />

include significant works by Charles Russell,<br />

Frank Tenney Johnson, Edward Borein, Olaf<br />

Wighorst, I. E. Couse, Nicholai Fechin, <strong>and</strong><br />

Joseph Henry Sharp.<br />

Over the course of his life, Dr. Johnson accumulated<br />

oil <strong>and</strong> gas leases <strong>and</strong> mineral properties<br />

throughout southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. Under the<br />

provisions of Dr. Johnson’s Trust, a net profits<br />

overriding royalty interest in all of his oil <strong>and</strong><br />

gas properties was conveyed to Ardmore<br />

Sanitarium <strong>and</strong> Hospital, a 501(c)(3) charity,<br />

which ultimately changed its name to Otey<br />

Johnson Foundation (“OJF”).<br />



INC.<br />

Above: Dr. Otey Johnson doing what<br />

he enjoyed most—getting his h<strong>and</strong>s<br />

dirty in oil.<br />

Left: Otey’s “creek-ology” often<br />

resulted in situations like the one<br />

pictured here—finding oil at or near<br />

natural oil seeps.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 7 3

In 1985, Otey Johnson Properties, Inc.,<br />

(“OJP”) was formed to hold, operate <strong>and</strong> further<br />

develop the oil <strong>and</strong> gas properties owned by<br />

Dr. Johnson at the time of his death. The<br />

mission of “OJP” is to manage the oil <strong>and</strong> gas<br />

properties gifted by Dr. Otey Johnson primarily<br />

for the benefit of Otey Johnson Foundation. The<br />

revenue generated through “OJP” during the<br />

last three decades has made possible many<br />

of the charitable activities of Otey Johnson<br />

Foundation, which recently reorganized <strong>and</strong><br />

now supports <strong>and</strong> funds the charitable activities<br />

of Ardmore Institute of Health (“AIH”).<br />

Thomas F. Dunlap was appointed by Dr.<br />

Johnson as one of his five trustees to oversee<br />

<strong>and</strong> administer his estate. Dunlap was the only<br />

trustee who had business experience in the<br />

oil <strong>and</strong> gas industry. He was a petroleum<br />

engineer by training <strong>and</strong> came from a long line<br />

of oil men including his father Errett Dunlap,<br />

Jr., <strong>and</strong> his gr<strong>and</strong>father, Errett Dunlap. Dunlap<br />

spent several years working with Exxon-Mobil<br />

Oil Corporation in the Gulf of Mexico <strong>and</strong> in<br />

West Africa before returning home to Ardmore<br />

to join his father in building their own family oil<br />

<strong>and</strong> gas business. Dr. Johnson had a great deal<br />

of admiration <strong>and</strong> respect for the Dunlap family<br />

<strong>and</strong> how they operated their business. He chose<br />

Dunlap to carry on that tradition in operating<br />

<strong>and</strong> developing “OJP.”<br />

Today, Otey Johnson Properties, Inc. has<br />

approximately 230 producing properties in nine<br />

counties in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, Texas, <strong>and</strong> Colorado. In<br />

accomplishing its primary purpose, “OJP” continues<br />

to manage <strong>and</strong> develop Dr. Johnson’s oil <strong>and</strong><br />

gas properties for the benefit of the Otey Johnson<br />

Foundation, which in turn funds the charitable<br />

mission of “AIH.” It is through “AIH’s” mission<br />

that Dr. Johnson’s legacy is continued to this day:<br />

to promote <strong>and</strong> advocate healthy lifestyle choices<br />

through publishing, health care delivery, research,<br />

education <strong>and</strong> other activities that have as their<br />

ultimate purpose the reduction <strong>and</strong> prevention of<br />

chronic diseases in the general population.<br />





HEALTH<br />

In 1947, a charitable organization called<br />

Ardmore Sanitarium <strong>and</strong> Hospital was organized<br />

by Roy M. Johnson, along with two other individuals.<br />

The Ardmore Sanitarium <strong>and</strong> Hospital<br />

(“AS&H”) initially operated a small hospital in<br />

Ardmore; however, in the 1960s the charity<br />

turned from hospital operations to providing<br />

financial support to Ardmore’s two other hospitals,<br />

the Ardmore Adventist Hospital <strong>and</strong><br />

Ardmore Memorial Hospital.<br />

In 1984, through generous gifts left through<br />

the estate of Johnson’s son, Dr. Otey G. Johnson,<br />

the organization refocused its charitable mission<br />

to make possible the vision of Dr. Johnson<br />

to enhance human health by promoting <strong>and</strong><br />

advocating healthy lifestyle choices in the areas<br />

of diet <strong>and</strong> exercise to achieve <strong>and</strong> maintain<br />

optimum health. The financial gifts included<br />

mineral properties, an extensive Western Art<br />

collection, historical documents <strong>and</strong> a ninety<br />

percent net profits interest in Dr. Johnson’s<br />

oil <strong>and</strong> gas properties. By 1987, Ardmore<br />

Sanitarium <strong>and</strong> Hospital had changed its name<br />

to Ardmore Institute of Health (AIH), which<br />

again changed its name to Otey Johnson<br />

Foundation in 2010. At the same time a new<br />

501(c)(3) charity was formed under the name<br />

Ardmore Institute of Health. Otey Johnson<br />

Foundation is operated exclusively to manage<br />

its assets <strong>and</strong> provide funding to Ardmore<br />

Institute of Health, which continues the charitable<br />

works first set in motion by Dr. Johnson.<br />

After Dr. Johnson’s death in 1984, William<br />

(Bill) Wiist succeeded to the Presidency of<br />

Ardmore Sanitarium <strong>and</strong> Hospital. With a<br />

substantial source of funds from Dr. Johnson’s<br />

estate, revenue from the oil <strong>and</strong> gas properties,<br />

<strong>and</strong> a background in stock trading, Wiist was<br />

able to generate the funding necessary to<br />

purchase 1,700 acres of l<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> construct a<br />

100,000 square foot facility between Davis<br />

<strong>and</strong> Sulphur, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. The facility was named<br />

the Lifestyle Center of America, an offshoot of<br />

Ardmore Institute of Health.<br />

The Lifestyle Center of America (“LCA”)<br />

opened its doors in 1996 <strong>and</strong> was the health<br />

promotion, residential facility envisioned by<br />

Dr. Johnson. Dr. Johnson was educated in<br />

Seventh-day Adventist institutions <strong>and</strong> was a<br />

voracious student of preventative medicine<br />

throughout his life. With this background,<br />

together with his observation of the residential<br />

7 4 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

healthcare program pioneered by Dr.<br />

John Harvey Kellogg at Battle Creek,<br />

Michigan, Dr. Johnson was convinced<br />

that the scientifically based diet <strong>and</strong><br />

healthy lifestyle promoted by the<br />

Seventh-day Adventist Church were the<br />

keys to health <strong>and</strong> longevity.<br />

Staffed with physicians, nutritionists<br />

<strong>and</strong> physiologists, LCA offered five to<br />

nineteen day residential programs in<br />

which individuals received lectures <strong>and</strong><br />

classes on diet, nutrition, cooking <strong>and</strong><br />

exercise. The program focused on the<br />

prevention <strong>and</strong> reversal of heart disease,<br />

diabetes, hypertension, stress related<br />

illnesses, <strong>and</strong> smoking cessation, all<br />

without the use of drugs or surgery. The<br />

program also emphasized the use of hydrotherapy<br />

<strong>and</strong> massage for the relief of pain, stress<br />

<strong>and</strong> obesity, <strong>and</strong> natural remedies such as fresh<br />

air, sunshine, <strong>and</strong> trust in a divine power were<br />

incorporated in each program.<br />

The trial program proved to be a success<br />

after the first few months. Most people in<br />

the program lost weight, <strong>and</strong> their aches <strong>and</strong><br />

pains were much improved. The hydrotherapy<br />

reduced stress <strong>and</strong> anxiety. Many participants,<br />

who thought their exercise days were over were<br />

able to walk more than a mile a day. Program<br />

participants also experienced a reduction in<br />

cholesterol <strong>and</strong> triglyceride levels, <strong>and</strong> diabetics<br />

experienced miraculous drops in their blood<br />

sugar, some even eliminating their medications.<br />

Although helping over 4,000 individuals to<br />

better health <strong>and</strong> vitality, <strong>and</strong> with much reflection<br />

on the long-term efficiency of its programs,<br />

AIH discontinued their residential programs in<br />

2008. Not only was the cost to the individual<br />

<strong>and</strong> to LCA substantial, but the long-term health<br />

benefits for those who went through the programs<br />

demonstrated that lifestyle changes, when<br />

made in a learning intensive environment away<br />

from a person’s community <strong>and</strong> home support,<br />

did not have enough long-term efficacy to merit<br />

the amount spent on the programs by LCA.<br />

Ardmore Institute of Health continues to<br />

offer behavioral health education programs to<br />

facilitate lifestyle changes that prevent <strong>and</strong><br />

overcome chronic diseases, including (a) The<br />

Full Plate Diet book, a New York Times best<br />

seller, that offers a realistic way to enjoy a full<br />

plate <strong>and</strong> still lose weight; (b) fun <strong>and</strong> engaging<br />

live Lunch-N-Learn presentations to employees<br />

of corporations, hospitals, <strong>and</strong> governments, to<br />

assist in keeping a healthy <strong>and</strong> vibrant workforce;<br />

(c) peer led facilitated weight loss programs<br />

offering self-paced health behavioral tools<br />

based on The Full Plate Diet (FPD); (d) a free<br />

weekly Blog written by the FPD staff to provide<br />

ongoing helpful tips <strong>and</strong> ideas for successful<br />

weight loss; (e) an electronic version of the FPD<br />

in a “vook” format which amplifies the book’s<br />

reading experience; <strong>and</strong> (f) a weight loss clinic<br />

located in Gilbert, Arizona, which utilizes the<br />

behavioral health tenets espoused in the FPD.<br />

AIH continues to advance Dr. Johnson’s vision<br />

by promoting <strong>and</strong> advocating healthy lifestyle<br />

choices through its publishing activities, healthcare<br />

delivery systems, scientific research validating<br />

its programs, educational programs <strong>and</strong><br />

other activities that have as their ultimate purpose<br />

the reduction <strong>and</strong> prevention of chronic<br />

diseases in the general population. It is through<br />

the charitable mission of Ardmore Institute of<br />

Health, which is funded primarily through<br />

income generated by Otey Johnson Foundation,<br />

that Dr. Johnson’s legacy continues today.<br />

The offices of Otey Johnson Foundation<br />

<strong>and</strong> Ardmore Institute of Health are located in<br />

the Dunlap Building, 100 West Main, Ardmore,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, with principal business operations<br />

located at 3650 Chickasaw Boulevard, Ardmore,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, in the Dornick Hills area of<br />

Ardmore. AIH also conducts operations in<br />

Gilbert, Arizona.<br />

The Otey Johnson Foundation <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Ardmore Institute of Health offices in<br />

2011. This was formerly the Roy<br />

Johnson home (Otey Johnson’s father)<br />

at 3650 Chickasaw Boulevard in<br />

Ardmore (across the road east of the<br />

Country Club).<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 7 5


NATION<br />






Charles David <strong>Carter</strong>.<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> will always be linked with<br />

the Chickasaw Nation because the name itself<br />

honors the family of the first U.S. Congressman<br />

to represent the county, which is part of<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s Fourth Congressional District.<br />

Charles David <strong>Carter</strong>, of Chickasaw <strong>and</strong><br />

Cherokee heritage, served in a number of roles<br />

in the government of the Chickasaw Nation,<br />

including auditor, superintendent of schools<br />

<strong>and</strong> council member.<br />

His election to represent <strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s Fourth<br />

Congressional District was a natural progression<br />

at the time, since prior to <strong>Oklahoma</strong> statehood<br />

the Chickasaw Nation was the ruling government<br />

in the area.<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> served as U.S. Congressman from<br />

1907 to 1927, representing first the Fourth<br />

District, then the Third District beginning in<br />

1915 after Congressional redistricting. A listing<br />

in the Chronicles of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> stated that<br />

“Charles D. <strong>Carter</strong> was born at Boggy Depot in<br />

August 1869 <strong>and</strong> died at Ardmore in April<br />

1929. He therefore saw the marvel which<br />

converted the wilderness into a commonwealth<br />

<strong>and</strong> he played a mighty part in making<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> what it is today.”<br />

Somewhat of a Dickensian figure, <strong>Carter</strong> witnessed<br />

the “best of times” <strong>and</strong> “the worst of<br />

times” as he saw the government of the<br />

Chickasaw Nation lose the power <strong>and</strong> sovereignty<br />

it had long exercised in the region.<br />

In 1906, as <strong>Oklahoma</strong> statehood approached,<br />

it was widely believed the Chickasaw Nation<br />

was spiraling down toward its last days as a<br />

sovereign nation.<br />

Dozens of newspaper reports focused on<br />

discussions of matters facing the U.S. Congress,<br />

the tribal legislature <strong>and</strong> tribal governor in the<br />

waning days of the Chickasaw government.<br />

While there were many matters of grave<br />

importance facing the Chickasaw Nation, the<br />

ability of the tribal government to deal with<br />

them directly had been greatly diminished.<br />

While under the Atoka Agreement, the government<br />

of the Chickasaw Nation would have<br />

ceased to exist March 4, 1906, Congress continued<br />

the tribal governments of the Five Tribes<br />

“with full force <strong>and</strong> effect, for all purposes authorized<br />

by law, until otherwise provided by law.”<br />

That language, however, does not fully<br />

convey the limitations under which tribal<br />

governments worked during the final months<br />

leading up to statehood.<br />

A September 5, 1906 edition of the Daily<br />

Ardmoreite included the full text of what was<br />

thought at the time to be Governor Johnston’s<br />

last message to the tribal legislature.<br />

That message included the following remarks:<br />

Whatever may be our regrets for the past<br />

<strong>and</strong> hopeful aspirations for the future, the<br />

Chickasaws are in the midst of a condition which<br />

is a reality <strong>and</strong> that condition is that the customs<br />

<strong>and</strong> traditions of our fathers are no longer our<br />

rule <strong>and</strong> guide in so far as the protection of our<br />

rights <strong>and</strong> property is concerned, but we must<br />

now contend, side by side, as citizens of the<br />

United States <strong>and</strong> of the new state of <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

with more than a million other like citizens.<br />

Little more than a year later, the change in<br />

status of the Chickasaw legislature was outlined<br />

in a September 16, 1907 article in the Daily<br />

Ardmoreite titled “Last Indian Legislation.”<br />

“The body up to a few years ago held great<br />

sway in this section of the country <strong>and</strong> enacted<br />

laws <strong>and</strong> legislation to govern both the Indian <strong>and</strong><br />

the white man who has come in their midst to<br />

carve an empire state—the heritage of the Indian.<br />

“Those laws protected the natives <strong>and</strong> new<br />

comers alike, <strong>and</strong> it was with much reluctance<br />

that the Chickasaw Indians gave up their individuality<br />

as a nation.<br />

“The Chickasaws, for the last few years have<br />

not enacted laws, but could only recommend to<br />

congress legislation that they most desired.”<br />

Because of that remarkable change, there<br />

were many who recognized the need for tribal<br />

members to be elected to Congress.<br />

The December 23rd Ardmoreite announced<br />

Charles <strong>Carter</strong> as a c<strong>and</strong>idate for Congress stated<br />

“The legislation sought for by the people of<br />

this section would in all probability be easier<br />

secured by sending a representative Indian to<br />

congress (sic) than by sending anyone else.”<br />

That statement proved well founded as<br />

Congressman <strong>Carter</strong>, during his twenty years in<br />

office worked on legislation that was of benefit<br />

to not only the Chickasaw Nation, but the entire<br />

district. At the time of his retirement in 1927,<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> had served in Congress longer than any<br />

other <strong>Oklahoma</strong>n.<br />

7 6 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

The Chronicles of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> had this to say about<br />

<strong>Carter</strong>’s long tenure as a member of Congress:<br />

Such an honor did not come to this brilliant<br />

Indian because of political accident. It was not<br />

due to any demagogic tactics on the part of the<br />

recipient. It was due to <strong>Carter</strong>’s unrivalled ability<br />

as a political campaigner, to the unbounded<br />

confidence the people reposed in him, to his<br />

widespread popularity with the voters, <strong>and</strong> more<br />

than all else, to the signal service he rendered his<br />

people <strong>and</strong> his state in the capitol of his country.<br />

For Charlie <strong>Carter</strong> was more than a representative<br />

of his people: he was in high degree a<br />

leader of representatives. He soon comm<strong>and</strong>ed<br />

the confidence of his law making associates just<br />

as he comm<strong>and</strong>ed the confidence of the people<br />

of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. He became known as a tireless<br />

worker, a sound adviser, a trusted coadjutor, <strong>and</strong><br />

a man whose word could be relied upon under<br />

any <strong>and</strong> all circumstances. Moreover, his associates<br />

soon discovered that he knew more about<br />

Indian problems (which in a large way are<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> problems) than any other man in<br />

congress. When he talked the parliament listened.<br />

because all his hearers knew that <strong>Carter</strong><br />

knew his subject <strong>and</strong> under no circumstances<br />

would mislead or deceive. Because of his state<br />

<strong>and</strong> lineage he became a member of the<br />

Committee on Indian Affairs, but it was because<br />

of his preeminent knowledge of Indian questions<br />

that he was made chairman of that committee<br />

when his party acquired control of the<br />

congress. It should be a matter of pride to all<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>ns to know that even after <strong>Carter</strong> had<br />

retired from congress he was frequently consulted<br />

in matters of Indian legislation <strong>and</strong> really<br />

exercised a greater influence in a body to which<br />

he no longer belonged than many of the actual<br />

members of the House.<br />

While Charles <strong>Carter</strong> is likely the individual<br />

Chickasaw citizen who had the greatest impact<br />

on <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>, the Chickasaw Nation has<br />

had positive impact in many other ways.<br />

Bloomfield Academy, a Chickasaw school for<br />

girls, was relocated to Ardmore in 1917 after a<br />

fire destroyed the school buildings. Bloomfield<br />

had opened in 1852 in present-day Bryan<br />

<strong>County</strong>. Operated at various times in its history<br />

by missionaries, the Chickasaw Nation <strong>and</strong> the<br />

federal government, the school was eventually<br />

renamed <strong>Carter</strong> Seminary in 1934. It became<br />

co-educational in 1949. In 1953 the campus<br />

boarded American Indians from across the<br />

United States, but the children attended public<br />

school off campus.<br />

William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, while not<br />

Chickasaw, had close ties to officials within the<br />

Chickasaw Nation during Indian Territory days.<br />

He married Alice Hearrell, niece to Chickasaw<br />

Governor Douglas Johnston.<br />

Murray became interested in politics after<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Statehood <strong>and</strong> was eventually elected<br />

governor in 1930. During his administration,<br />

WPA <strong>and</strong> CCC workers converged on what had<br />

formerly been Chickasaw Nation property in<br />

1933, to begin construction on Lake Murray<br />

State Park. At the same time, workers began<br />

construction on the castle-looking building later<br />

to be called Tucker Tower. The lake was opened<br />

for public use in 1938. Unfortunately, the Tower<br />

was left unfinished due to budgetary concerns.<br />

Top: <strong>Carter</strong> school office.<br />

Above: <strong>Carter</strong> Seminary choir,<br />

1933-1934.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 7 7

Clockwise, starting from the top left:<br />

Night at the theater with Elvis.<br />

Left to right: Students Minnie Gray,<br />

Irene Alex<strong>and</strong>er <strong>and</strong> Barbara Barcus<br />

riding the school bus.<br />

<strong>Carter</strong>, 1967-1968.<br />

Although the Chickasaw Nation as a government<br />

entity had little influence in the county from<br />

the time of statehood until 1971, many Chickasaw<br />

people remained an integral part of <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

society as they continued to live, work <strong>and</strong> raise<br />

families in the area. Today, more than 3,300<br />

Chickasaw citizens live in <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

A resurgence of the Chickasaw Nation began<br />

in 1970, when Congress passed legislation<br />

allowing certain tribes to hold elections for the<br />

purpose of choosing their own officials. In 1971<br />

the Chickasaw Nation held its first election since<br />

statehood, electing Overton James as governor.<br />

In 1981 a commission of six appointed<br />

Chickasaw individuals came together in a series<br />

of meetings in Ardmore in an effort to draft a<br />

document the Chickasaw people could review<br />

<strong>and</strong> possibly vote to ratify as their new, modern<br />

Constitution. The document was successfully completed<br />

<strong>and</strong> ratified in 1983. It is what the Chickasaw<br />

Nation government operates under today.<br />

Bill Anoatubby was elected lieutenant governor<br />

in 1979 <strong>and</strong> served in that capacity until<br />

1987, when he was elected to his first term as<br />

governor. He has served as Governor of the<br />

Chickasaw Nation since that time, making it the<br />

mission of his administration “To enhance the<br />

overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people.”<br />

In order to accomplish this mission, the<br />

Chickasaw Nation has engaged in a robust program<br />

of business <strong>and</strong> economic development. The<br />

tribe owns <strong>and</strong> operates more than sixty diverse<br />

businesses, which range from hotels to radio stations.<br />

Funds generated from these businesses<br />

enable the Chickasaw Nation to offer an ever<br />

increasing number of services to serve the health,<br />

education, housing, nutrition <strong>and</strong> other needs of<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> residents. These businesses also<br />

provide a major boost to the local economy.<br />

Since 1987 financial outlays have grown<br />

from around $12 million to nearly $1 billion<br />

in 2011. The employee base has grown from<br />

less than 250 to more than 11,000. The<br />

tribe employs hundreds of people in <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Many of those employees work in<br />

offices located in Ardmore providing services<br />

for Chickasaws <strong>and</strong> other area residents.<br />

It is almost certain that none of the early<br />

twentieth century residents of <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

who read of the impending demise of the<br />

Chickasaw Nation could have imagined the<br />

resurgence of the tribe more than 100 years later.<br />

The current growth of the Chickasaw Nation<br />

has been a direct result of the exercise of tribal<br />

sovereignty <strong>and</strong> the desire to decrease reliance<br />

on funding from the federal government. To<br />

pursue what is commonly called “self determination,”<br />

tribes have devised their own methods<br />

of funding their governmental operations. Self<br />

determination allows every tribal government<br />

to establish its own programs, tailored to the<br />

specific needs of each tribe’s citizens.<br />

Many of the Chickasaw Nation’s offices in<br />

Ardmore are located on what was previously<br />

known as the <strong>Carter</strong> Seminary Campus. The<br />

Chickasaw Nation operated <strong>Carter</strong> Seminary,<br />

formerly Bloomfield Academy, in Ardmore<br />

beginning in 1917. <strong>Carter</strong> Seminary was a<br />

boarding school for Chickasaw girls. It was<br />

originally opened in 1932 in Bryan <strong>County</strong>.<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> Seminary has since relocated to Marshall<br />

<strong>County</strong> <strong>and</strong> is known as the Chickasaw<br />

7 8 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Children’s Village. It is co-educational, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

students attend school off campus.<br />

The Chickasaw Nation opened a health<br />

clinic in Ardmore in 1988 to serve Chickasaw<br />

people <strong>and</strong> other Native American tribes. An<br />

increase in the number of patients created a<br />

need for a larger facility. In the spring of 2011,<br />

the Chickasaw Nation broke ground for a new<br />

66,000 square foot medical clinic. The new clinic<br />

will be six times the size of the original clinic<br />

<strong>and</strong> create many more jobs for the area.<br />

Governor Anoatubby has ensured that the<br />

needs of the Chickasaw people are at the forefront<br />

of every decision made. In addition to<br />

nutrition services, the tribe built a wellness<br />

center in Ardmore in 2002 to assist Chickasaw<br />

people <strong>and</strong> the community with staying active.<br />

The wellness center offers a lap pool, exercise<br />

equipment <strong>and</strong> fitness classes.<br />

Elders are honored by the Chickasaw people<br />

<strong>and</strong> the Chickasaw Nation works diligently to<br />

care for them. The tribe began building a new<br />

Ardmore-area Chickasaw Nation Senior Citizens<br />

Center in 2011. The new center will be<br />

equipped with a full kitchen, dining room with<br />

a seating capacity of 100, computer room, an<br />

exercise room, <strong>and</strong> an arts <strong>and</strong> crafts room. The<br />

location of the new senior center provides elders<br />

with easy access to the health clinic, wellness<br />

center <strong>and</strong> nutrition services. The tribe has<br />

eleven senior centers located within the<br />

Chickasaw Nation boundaries.<br />

In addition, the Chickasaw Nation opened<br />

the Chickasaw Elder Independent Living<br />

Apartments in the summer of 2011. The apartments<br />

are located adjacent to the new senior<br />

center. Each apartment has one bedroom, one<br />

bath, refrigerator, stove, <strong>and</strong> a washer <strong>and</strong> dryer.<br />

The apartments are available to Chickasaw <strong>and</strong><br />

Native American elders.<br />

Ensuring Chickasaw people receive a quality<br />

education is a top priority of the Chickasaw<br />

Nation. The tribe underst<strong>and</strong>s that education is<br />

important for the preservation of culture <strong>and</strong><br />

the future success of the tribal community.<br />

From Head Start to career placement <strong>and</strong><br />

every step in between, the Chickasaw Nation<br />

has a multitude of programs to assist with<br />

education, testing <strong>and</strong> even internship. The<br />

Chickasaw Nation has Head Start facilities located<br />

in Ardmore, Ada, Sulphur <strong>and</strong> Tishomingo.<br />

Head Start is a national program that promotes<br />

school readiness for children <strong>and</strong> helps them<br />

better prepare for kindergarten. The Ardmore<br />

Head Start serves more than 100 students aged<br />

three to four. In 2011 the Chickasaw Nation<br />

began construction at the Ardmore facility to<br />

add two classrooms <strong>and</strong> a cafeteria, which can<br />

be used as a safe room.<br />

In addition, scholarships, grants, academies,<br />

the Chickasaw Honor Club <strong>and</strong> similar programs<br />

encourage youth to make the most of<br />

the opportunities available to them. In FY 2011<br />

the division of education awarded a total of<br />

more than $15.5 million in grants, scholarships,<br />

incentives <strong>and</strong> other educational assistance to<br />

Chickasaw students.<br />

Under Governor Anoatubby’s leadership, the<br />

tribe realized that in order to offer services <strong>and</strong><br />

programs the Chickasaw people needed, the<br />

Chickasaw Nation needed to generate much more<br />

capital. That was the driving force behind their<br />

business ventures; the tribe needed the funds to<br />

serve their people in order “to enhance the overall<br />

quality of life of all Chickasaw people.”<br />

Top: The groundbreaking for the<br />

Ardmore Clinic site.<br />

Above: The Elder Independent Living<br />

Apartments ribbon cutting ceremony.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 7 9


Above: Guest Inn, 2011.<br />

Below: In 1979 the name was<br />

shortened to “Best Western Inn”.<br />

Bottom: The original motel, in the<br />

1970s, was named “Best Western<br />

Town House Inn”.<br />

Weary I-35 travelers or visitors to the <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> area may rest assured that they will<br />

receive a warm family welcome at Ardmore’s<br />

Guest Inn at Exit 33. For over thirty years,<br />

the Polzien family has extended hospitality,<br />

southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> style, as the proprietors of<br />

the Inn.<br />

Marvin <strong>and</strong> Dora Polzien <strong>and</strong> their family<br />

have not always been <strong>Oklahoma</strong> residents; they<br />

moved here from Iowa in January of 1973, <strong>and</strong><br />

finished construction <strong>and</strong> opened the Inn, then<br />

called Best Western Town House Inn, in April.<br />

As “luck” would have it, these were the days of<br />

the oil embargo <strong>and</strong> not a lot of people were<br />

traveling. The family rode out the hard times<br />

<strong>and</strong> persevered, lodging thous<strong>and</strong>s of folks<br />

through the years, including some famous<br />

names, such as Mickey Mantle, Jenny Finch <strong>and</strong><br />

David Allen Coe.<br />

As the area has grown, the Guest Inn has<br />

exp<strong>and</strong>ed to keep pace. From the original<br />

seventy rooms to the current facility’s 125 units,<br />

the Inn is continually updated to meet the<br />

dem<strong>and</strong>s of its guests. Free high speed Internet,<br />

a business center, outdoor pool, <strong>and</strong> deluxe<br />

continental breakfast are just a few of the many<br />

amenities offered by the Inn. In 1986, a second<br />

location in Longview, Texas was opened <strong>and</strong> in<br />

1991 a third Guest Inn debuted in Norman,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>. Today, the Inn includes twenty-five<br />

employees in Ardmore.<br />

A graduate of Iowa State University <strong>and</strong> a<br />

veteran of two years in the Korean War,<br />

Marvin is well-known for his interesting<br />

hobbies. He scuba dives, is the owner <strong>and</strong> pilot<br />

of a hot air balloon <strong>and</strong> an airplane, <strong>and</strong> enjoys<br />

another kind of piloting—cruising Lake Murray<br />

on a large houseboat.<br />

Marvin has served on the board of the<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Hotel <strong>and</strong> Lodging Association, of<br />

which he is a past president, <strong>and</strong> is also a<br />

member of Lions Club <strong>and</strong> past board member<br />

of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce. He also<br />

was honored by serving on the Air Force<br />

Innkeeper Evaluation Team in 1989 <strong>and</strong> 1995<br />

8 0 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

which took him to various Air Force bases<br />

around the world from Bitburg, Germany to<br />

Vance Air Force Base in Enid, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Dora received her degree from Buena Vista<br />

University, was active in the American Association<br />

of University Women, the Athenaeum Study<br />

Club, <strong>and</strong> enjoys ballooning, flying, bridge, <strong>and</strong><br />

“my gr<strong>and</strong>children.”<br />

In 2004 the Polziens’ daughter Julie Brady<br />

returned to the Guest Inn <strong>and</strong> became general<br />

manager of all three locations. She has fond<br />

memories of being raised at the Inn <strong>and</strong> of<br />

the many interesting guests that she met<br />

throughout the mid-1970s.<br />

Julie went to school in Ardmore, graduated<br />

from the University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, became a<br />

teacher in a neighboring town, raised a family<br />

<strong>and</strong> then returned to continue the family<br />

business. She serves on the board of the<br />

Ardmore Tourism Authority <strong>and</strong> the <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

Hotel <strong>and</strong> Lodging Association, <strong>and</strong> has<br />

continued the family tradition of showing a<br />

warm reception to guests <strong>and</strong> visitors that was<br />

first established by her parents.<br />

Top, left: Guest Inn welcomes visitors<br />

to Ardmore.<br />

Top, right: Guest Inn’s blimp was<br />

designed <strong>and</strong> built by Marvin Polzien.<br />

Below: Guest Inn <strong>and</strong> the Polzien<br />

family were presented the Governor’s<br />

Award of Excellence in 2008. Left to<br />

right are Dora <strong>and</strong> Marvin Polzien,<br />

Julie Brady <strong>and</strong> Howard Hendrick.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 8 1

Above: Inflating the Guest Inn Hot<br />

Air Balloon, “Kaleidoscope,” 2008.<br />

Right: The Guest Inn Hot Air Balloon<br />

that is flown by Marvin Polzien <strong>and</strong><br />

featured on their logo.<br />

In 2008, Guest Inn received the Governor’s<br />

Disability Employment Award of Excellence.<br />

Guest Inn’s housekeeping department is fully<br />

staffed thanks to their partnerships with the<br />

Sunshine Industries Supported Employment<br />

Program. Over the past several years, the<br />

Guest Inn has also hired ten individuals<br />

with disabilities, six of whom are currently<br />

employed. They have discovered that taking the<br />

time to thoroughly train employees will, in turn,<br />

ensure a reliable workforce with less staff<br />

turnover—the goal of every successful business.<br />

Guest Inn is active in the community, giving<br />

charitably of their time <strong>and</strong> finances to Lions<br />

Club, Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, State<br />

<strong>and</strong> National offices in American Hotel <strong>and</strong><br />

Lodging Association (AH&LA). The company<br />

has also promoted <strong>and</strong> chaired the Hot Air<br />

Balloon Festival that was held annually in<br />

Ardmore. In fact, much of their advertising has<br />

been based on the Hot Air Balloon activities,<br />

as reflected in their logo. The company also has<br />

their own blimp, which is designed, built <strong>and</strong><br />

flown by Marvin Polzien.<br />

For more information or to book a reservation,<br />

visit Guest Inn online at www.guest-inn.com.<br />

8 2 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Visitors to Ardmore’s Greater Southwest<br />

Historical Museum find themselves transported<br />

to the early days of South-Central <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

through the photographs, belongings <strong>and</strong><br />

dwellings of the pioneer people. The museum<br />

is housed in the former National Guard<br />

armory, which was built of local native limestone<br />

by the Works Progress Administration (WPA)<br />

in 1936.<br />

The mission of the Greater Southwest<br />

Historical Museum is to collect, preserve, <strong>and</strong><br />

interpret the social, cultural, <strong>and</strong> economic<br />

history of South-Central <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, with a<br />

special emphasis on Ardmore <strong>and</strong> <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Lives of early pioneers are interpreted through<br />

the museums many artifacts <strong>and</strong> exhibits.<br />

Most impressive is the Eaves-Brady Cabin, a<br />

complete 1890’s wood cabin that was taken<br />

apart <strong>and</strong> then reassembled inside the museum.<br />

The cabin was originally located on a ranch near<br />

the town of Pooleville <strong>and</strong> contains frontier area<br />

furnishings <strong>and</strong> features. Other exhibits feature<br />

a variety of unique artifacts that were collected<br />

from around the South-Central <strong>Oklahoma</strong> area.<br />

Everything from an early electric car to one of<br />

the earliest examples of a steam-pumper fire<br />

engine can be found.<br />

One of the more impressively sized artifacts<br />

at the museum is its Wichita Falls Spudder Rig.<br />

This monstrous oil rig was used in the Ardmore<br />

area oil fields during the 1920s-1940s <strong>and</strong> was<br />

moved to the museum grounds in 1990. The<br />

Spudder Rig was selected as an official project of<br />

the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Centennial Commission in 2007<br />

<strong>and</strong> underwent rehabilitative <strong>and</strong> beautification<br />

work that was completed in 2008. The rig is<br />

located just south of the museum building <strong>and</strong><br />

visitors are encouraged to view this impressive<br />

part of the “black gold” heritage of <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

during their visit.<br />

The museum is also home to the <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Genealogical Library. This library<br />

specializes in family <strong>and</strong> genealogical research<br />

through microfilm, books, city directories,<br />

obituaries, censes records, Internet research,<br />

<strong>and</strong> original documents. A small group of<br />

dedicated volunteers manages the library <strong>and</strong><br />

provides assistance to those interested in doing<br />

research while visiting the museum.<br />

Another fascinating part of the museum<br />

complex is the Military Memorial Museum<br />

located in the west wing of the facility. This<br />

museum is dedicated to honoring all veterans<br />

of the various branches of the United States<br />

Armed Service. Exhibits representing nearly<br />

all eras can be found here: the Civil War,<br />

Spanish-American War, the Indian Wars,<br />

World War I <strong>and</strong> II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam,<br />

the Gulf War <strong>and</strong> Iraqi Freedom. Visitors will<br />

be dazzled by the impressive array of<br />

uniforms, weapons, medals, <strong>and</strong> military<br />

equipment on display.<br />

The museum’s General Store Gift Shop is also<br />

the place for <strong>Oklahoma</strong> souvenirs <strong>and</strong> items<br />

of local interest. History books on area topics<br />

are available here as well as an impressive<br />

assortment of old fashion toys, Native American<br />

pottery <strong>and</strong> jewelry, h<strong>and</strong>made crafts <strong>and</strong><br />

much more.<br />

The Greater Southwest Historical Museum is<br />

located at 35 Sunset Drive in Ardmore <strong>and</strong><br />

admission is free! Please contact the museum at<br />

(580) 226-3857, or visit www.gshm.org to learn<br />

more about its programs <strong>and</strong> activities.<br />




MUSEUM<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 8 3



LLC<br />

Fred A. Chapman, Sr.<br />

Few families have had a greater influence<br />

on the civic <strong>and</strong> business development of<br />

the Ardmore area than the Potterfs, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Chapmans. For more than a century, members<br />

of these families have been leaders in agriculture,<br />

business, education, government <strong>and</strong> law<br />

in the Ardmore area.<br />

The first to make his mark on Ardmore’s<br />

history was Henry Carlyle Potterf, who arrived<br />

in Ardmore on the city’s birthday, July 28, 1890.<br />

Potterf, the son of William H. Potterf <strong>and</strong><br />

Susanna Shidler Potterf, was born in Eaton,<br />

Ohio, in 1859. His parents moved to Johnston<br />

<strong>County</strong>, Missouri when he was an infant <strong>and</strong><br />

he received his early education in Missouri<br />

schools. He graduated from the State Normal<br />

School <strong>and</strong> taught for nine years in Missouri<br />

<strong>and</strong> one year in Montana before entering law<br />

school at Washington University in St. Louis.<br />

He was admitted to the bar in 1888.<br />

8 4 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

He practiced law at Harrisonville, Missouri,<br />

until 1890 until he was persuaded by the firm of<br />

Austin, Blair <strong>and</strong> Lester to organize a law office<br />

in Ardmore, Indian Territory. His contract guaranteed<br />

him $500 of the first year’s fees <strong>and</strong> twothirds<br />

of the fees collected after the first year.<br />

After a year, Potterf opened his own office <strong>and</strong><br />

practiced law for fifty-two years. He was also<br />

chosen to serve on the first board of governors of<br />

the State Bar Association of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

He married Elise Girrard Waggenl<strong>and</strong>er, a<br />

school teacher in Gainesville, Texas, in 1893.<br />

Elise was one of the most respected <strong>and</strong> admired<br />

ladies in Ardmore until her untimely death in<br />

1922. William <strong>and</strong> Elise had three children,<br />

one of whom died in infancy. The others were<br />

Elise Potterf Chapman, wife of Ardmore businessman<br />

<strong>and</strong> State Senator, Fred A. Chapman.<br />

A son, William Henry Potterf, was a successful<br />

oil operator until his death in 1955.<br />

Soon after arriving in Ardmore, Potterf was<br />

influential in organizing the first school<br />

board <strong>and</strong> served as the first president. He<br />

also served on the State Board of Education<br />

<strong>and</strong> was appointed a member of the Text<br />

Book Commission.<br />

In business, Potterf was a director of the first<br />

National Bank, as well as a corporate trustee.<br />

He served on the board as secretary<br />

<strong>and</strong> attorney for the Pennington<br />

Grocery Company, <strong>and</strong> was the first<br />

president of the Chickasaw Telephone<br />

Company. He was one of fifteen businessmen<br />

who organized the People’s<br />

Building <strong>and</strong> Loan Association <strong>and</strong><br />

was a director <strong>and</strong> attorney for that<br />

association for a number of years. He<br />

was a member of First Presbyterian<br />

Church, where he served as an Elder.<br />

Fred Alex<strong>and</strong>er Chapman, one of<br />

eight children born to Phillip <strong>and</strong><br />

Roxie McFarlin Chapman, was born at<br />

Ovilla, Texas, in 1887. He received his<br />

early schooling in Ellis <strong>County</strong>, Texas,<br />

<strong>and</strong> attended Trinity University in<br />

Waxahachie, Texas, for both his high<br />

school <strong>and</strong> college years. He received a<br />

Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity<br />

<strong>and</strong> entered Texas University Law<br />

School at Austin, where he received<br />

his law degree in 1913.<br />

Chapman first visited Ardmore in 1913 while<br />

on his way to practice law with his brother,<br />

James A. Chapman. Lured by the beautiful,<br />

rolling farm l<strong>and</strong> in the Ardmore area, he<br />

returned in 1916 <strong>and</strong> remained until his death<br />

in 1979 at the age of ninety-two.<br />

Upon his arrival, Chapman began buying<br />

farms <strong>and</strong> ranches in Johnston, Murray, <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> Marshall Counties. The farms along the<br />

Washita River were considered some of the<br />

finest river bottom l<strong>and</strong> in Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

His arrival coincided with the Healdton oil<br />

boom, <strong>and</strong> he became very active in the oil<br />

business until his death.<br />

Chapman married Elise Potterf, daughter of<br />

Henry Carlyle Potterf, in 1919. They had two<br />

sons: Fred Alex<strong>and</strong>er Chapman, Jr., <strong>and</strong> William<br />

Carlyle Chapman.<br />

Elise Potterf Chapman was born in Ardmore<br />

in 1896 when the area was still an Indian<br />

Territory. She lived in Ardmore all her life until<br />

her death in 1977. She attended Ardmore city<br />

schools <strong>and</strong> graduated from the University<br />

of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. She was one of the founding<br />

members of the Ardmore Ladies of the Leaf<br />

<strong>and</strong> served on its board of directors, as well as<br />

president. She was also a life-long member of<br />

the First Presbyterian Church.<br />

Fred A. Chapman, Jr.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 8 5

William C. Chapman.<br />

Fred Alex<strong>and</strong>er Chapman was very active<br />

in civic affairs <strong>and</strong> served as president of the<br />

Ardmore Chamber of Commerce in 1951. He<br />

served as State Senator from 1943 to 1950 <strong>and</strong><br />

was elected to another four-year term in 1951.<br />

During his ten years in the State Senate,<br />

Alex<strong>and</strong>er was responsible for a number of<br />

important laws, including the legislation that<br />

helped remove the ‘snake pit’ stigma from<br />

mental health facilities in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. He coauthored<br />

the bill that led to the transformation<br />

of the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Confederate Home at Ardmore<br />

into today’s Veterans Home. Senator Chapman<br />

was a strong supporter of Murray State College.<br />

He was a member of the Ardmore Rotary Club<br />

<strong>and</strong>, at the time of his death, had sixty-one years<br />

of perfect attendance. He was also a life-long<br />

member of First Presbyterian Church <strong>and</strong> served<br />

as an Elder <strong>and</strong> member of the board of trustees.<br />

Fred A. Chapman, Jr., born in 1928, is a lifelong<br />

resident of the Ardmore area. He graduated<br />

from <strong>Oklahoma</strong> A&M <strong>and</strong> served two years<br />

with the U.S. Army.<br />

He has been very active in Boy Scouts <strong>and</strong> is<br />

most proud that as a member of the board of<br />

Arbuckle Council of Boy Scouts, he has been<br />

very instrumental in building <strong>and</strong> maintaining<br />

the excellent water system for Camp Simpson.<br />

Fred Chapman, Jr., has served on the<br />

boards of Lincoln Bank, Ardmore Chamber<br />

of Commerce, the Foundation of Murray<br />

State College, Board of National Livestock<br />

Commission Credit Corporation, <strong>and</strong> in many<br />

other important positions. He has held numerous<br />

positions in the First Presbyterian Church<br />

<strong>and</strong> has more than fifty years attendance in the<br />

Rotary Club.<br />

After returning from the Army, Fred managed<br />

several family ranches in southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> worked with his brother in overseeing their<br />

other family business interests. Fred was married<br />

to the late Joan Chapman for fifty-seven years<br />

<strong>and</strong> they had four children, Ruth<br />

Elise, Elise Ann, Fred Alex<strong>and</strong>er, III,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Eric Joseph Chapman.<br />

William Carlyle Chapman was<br />

born in 1935, the son of Fred A. <strong>and</strong><br />

Elise P. Chapman. He graduated<br />

from Ardmore High School <strong>and</strong> graduated<br />

from <strong>Oklahoma</strong> University in<br />

1958. He also received an L.L.B.<br />

degree in 1960. He received a Rotary<br />

International Fellowship in 1961 to<br />

study at the University of Melbourne,<br />

in Australia. Upon his return, he<br />

served as an officer in the U.S. Army<br />

for two years.<br />

In 1964, he married Elizabeth M.<br />

Andrews of Norfolk, Engl<strong>and</strong>. They<br />

are the parents of four children,<br />

Belinda, Ian, Colin <strong>and</strong> Scott<br />

Chapman. After the death of his first<br />

wife in 2001, he married S<strong>and</strong>ra<br />

Haines in 2004.<br />

William operated the Chapman<br />

family office in Ardmore, overseeing business<br />

interests in commercial property management,<br />

oil <strong>and</strong> gas production, <strong>and</strong> farming <strong>and</strong><br />

ranching operations in <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong> Texas.<br />

He is a member of First Presbyterian Church<br />

of Ardmore, where he has served as an officer,<br />

<strong>and</strong> is a long-time member of the Ardmore<br />

Rotary Club.<br />

He also served forty years as vice president<br />

of the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> delegation of the Red River<br />

Valley Association, a four-state organization<br />

which advocates for the progress of navigation,<br />

bank stabilization, flood control <strong>and</strong> economic<br />

development in the Red River Valley.<br />

8 6 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

The Boys & Girls Club of Wilson <strong>and</strong><br />

Ardmore came about through the tireless efforts<br />

of Renee Wiggins <strong>and</strong> a group of friends <strong>and</strong><br />

associates who were determined to help young<br />

people considered ‘at risk’ by the general public.<br />

Although Renee has no children of her own,<br />

she does have experience with young people<br />

from different backgrounds <strong>and</strong> situations.<br />

Through her experience, she discovered a common<br />

thread among these children—they often<br />

respond positively to an alternate environment,<br />

mentor or supervising adult in their<br />

lives. This observation launched Renee’s vision<br />

of a structured home-type environment, a<br />

place where children feel safe, receive homework<br />

assistance, have adult role models <strong>and</strong><br />

healthy meals.<br />

To achieve this dream, Renee needed to find<br />

a building. She started searching in her hometown<br />

of Ardmore in January of 1997, but no<br />

suitable site could be found. <strong>Then</strong>, a trusted<br />

friend, Colene Loving, suggested the historic<br />

Myers Apartment Building in Wilson, a 100-<br />

year-old structure that had once been a hospital.<br />

The property was acquired <strong>and</strong>, after extensive<br />

remodeling, Hardy’s House opened its doors<br />

<strong>and</strong> started serving children in November 1998.<br />

“God blessed me with being surrounded with<br />

dear friends, acquaintances, <strong>and</strong> business affiliations<br />

of compassion, kindness, <strong>and</strong> caring,”<br />

Renee says. “They all believed in <strong>and</strong> shared the<br />

vision of helping young people.”<br />

Among the many friends <strong>and</strong> associates<br />

involved in the development of the house <strong>and</strong><br />

its programs were Judy Bacon, Wayne Payne,<br />

Dennis Stangle, Jolyn Kenaga, Peter Herrington,<br />

Caren Braunagel, <strong>and</strong> Sister Cabrini Koelesh. It<br />

was Sister Cabrini who introduced Renee to the<br />

concept of Kid’s Café, which was soon incorporated<br />

into the program.<br />

“After Hardy’s House had been up <strong>and</strong> running<br />

for a couple of months, my friend Jolyn<br />

Kenaga suggested I contact Sam Thomas with<br />

Boys & Girls Clubs of America,” Renee says.<br />

“They have amazing youth programming, a fine,<br />

well-structured national organization, <strong>and</strong> were<br />

looking for an opportunity to sponsor new<br />

clubs.” A meeting with Thomas resulted in the<br />

formation of the Boys & Girls Club, which now<br />

serves the youth of Wilson <strong>and</strong> Ardmore.<br />

Hardy’s House <strong>and</strong> Teen Town are located at<br />

532 Birch Street in Wilson, <strong>and</strong> Tiger Unit is<br />

located at the Ardmore Middle School, 511<br />

Veterans Boulevard in Ardmore.<br />

BOYS & GIRLS<br />

CLUB OF<br />



S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 8 7

MERCY<br />



Above: St. Agnes Academy.<br />

Memorial Hospital of Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong>,<br />

known today as Mercy Memorial Health<br />

Center, was constructed in Ardmore in 1955.<br />

The hospital’s roots, however, go deep into<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s history. The vision that became<br />

Mercy Memorial Health Center was conceived<br />

in September 1898, when five Sisters of<br />

Mercy established St. Agnes Academy for young<br />

Native American girls.<br />

The Sisters of Mercy were dedicated<br />

to building a home <strong>and</strong> a<br />

future for hundreds of children <strong>and</strong><br />

their vision endured for more than<br />

seven decades, through economic<br />

depression, a devastating fire <strong>and</strong><br />

years of poverty.<br />

The school closed in the 1960s<br />

but, with the purchase of Mercy<br />

Memorial Health Center in 1996,<br />

the Sisters of Mercy once again<br />

established their ministry in the ‘House of<br />

Mercy’ that is Mercy Memorial Health Center.<br />

The idea of a community hospital for<br />

Ardmore began as a Chamber of Commerce<br />

community project in 1947. Leon Daube, a<br />

prominent business <strong>and</strong> civic leader, contributed<br />

$50,000 as seed money for a new<br />

hospital. Two other businessmen <strong>and</strong> philanthropists,<br />

Ward Merrick, Sr., <strong>and</strong> Lloyd Noble,<br />

also threw their support behind the project,<br />

along with longtime Ardmore businessman<br />

Ray Scrugham.<br />

The hospital project was formalized in 1950<br />

with establishment of the Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

Memorial Foundation. Initial financing for the<br />

hospital was provided by a $25 contribution<br />

from each of the thirty foundation trustees. The<br />

foundation then secured $675,000 in matching<br />

federal Hill-Burton funds. Oilman <strong>and</strong> philanthropist<br />

Charles Goddard pledged to match<br />

whatever could be raised from private sources.<br />

With an overwhelming response, more than<br />

1,600 community members contributed more<br />

than $1.1 million <strong>and</strong> Goddard matched all<br />

contributions with valuable securities that<br />

became a permanent endowment for the<br />

new hospital.<br />

The hospital opened on Memorial Day,<br />

1955, <strong>and</strong> has continued to grow <strong>and</strong> develop<br />

over the years. The last decade has seen Mercy<br />

Memorial Health Center rise to a new point of<br />

service, as advanced medical technology <strong>and</strong><br />

physicians with new medical specialties have<br />

given new life to the dream that began with the<br />

Sisters of Mercy more than a century ago.<br />

The 35,800 square foot hospital opened with<br />

100 beds, but the need for additional facilities<br />

was soon apparent <strong>and</strong> the new forty-four bed<br />

Ardmore Hospital was opened in 1959 at a cost<br />

of $400,000.<br />

Medical facilities for the community continued<br />

to improve in 1968 with a $150,000<br />

expansion to Ardmore Sanitarium, operated by<br />

the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Conference of the Seventh Day<br />

Adventist Church. A year later, a new east wing<br />

was constructed at Memorial Hospital, increasing<br />

the bed capacity to 170. A $2 million building<br />

<strong>and</strong> renovation project was completed in<br />

1979 <strong>and</strong> a heliport, sponsored by the Ardmore<br />

Kiwanis Club, was dedicated.<br />

The first class of nurses graduated in 1973<br />

under a joint program developed by the<br />

MHSO administrator <strong>and</strong> the president of<br />

Murray State College.<br />

8 8 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

A $6.5 million expansion project, which<br />

included a new CT scanner <strong>and</strong> new surgical<br />

suite, was announced in 1983, <strong>and</strong> a $3.5<br />

million renovation project began in 1989. This<br />

renovation included a complete redesign of the<br />

Intensive Care Unit <strong>and</strong> Delivery <strong>and</strong> an<br />

increase in the number of private rooms from<br />

twenty-three to fifty.<br />

Memorial Hospital <strong>and</strong> Ardmore Adventist<br />

Hospital agreed to a merger of the two facilities<br />

in 1991. Five years later, in 1996, Memorial<br />

Hospital of Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> became part of<br />

the Sisters of Mercy Health System.<br />

Mercy Memorial opened a new $5 million,<br />

12,400 square foot outpatient surgery center in<br />

2002 <strong>and</strong> a Hyperbaric Medicine <strong>and</strong> Wound<br />

Care Center opened in 2004.<br />

New health procedures <strong>and</strong> techniques have<br />

also kept up with new construction during the<br />

years. These advances included an MMX mammography<br />

unit purchased in 1974; ‘rooming in’<br />

of newborns <strong>and</strong> their mothers, which began in<br />

1978; an ultrasound imaging system added to<br />

the Radiology Department in 1981; <strong>and</strong> 24/7 ER<br />

physician coverage, which began in 1981.<br />

The 1980s saw the opening of a Level II<br />

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; the opening of a<br />

new surgical suite with thirteen surgery rooms;<br />

<strong>and</strong> opening of Dialysis, Chemical Dependency<br />

<strong>and</strong> Rehab units.<br />

The hospital’s Oncology unit opened in 1991<br />

<strong>and</strong> was soon followed by a Cath lab, GI lab,<br />

Sleep lab, <strong>and</strong> Behavioral Medicine unit. MRI<br />

was installed in 1994.<br />

Today, Mercy Memorial Health Center is a<br />

full-service tertiary hospital with 190 licensed<br />

beds a staff of nearly 1,100, <strong>and</strong> almost<br />

100 physicians.<br />

Mercy operates six physician clinics with locations<br />

in Ardmore, Tishomingo, <strong>and</strong> Healdton<br />

(Healdton Mercy Hospital), <strong>and</strong> has management<br />

agreements with Love <strong>County</strong> Hospital<br />

<strong>and</strong> rural Health Clinic in Marietta <strong>and</strong> Valley<br />

View Regional Hospital in Ada.<br />

A new patient tower opened in the summer<br />

of 2010, providing 150 private patient rooms<br />

<strong>and</strong> a total of 193 beds. In addition, the<br />

Intensive Care Unit was exp<strong>and</strong>ed from ten<br />

beds to thirteen.<br />

A state-of-the-art Women’s Center focuses<br />

on obstetrical services <strong>and</strong> houses the nursery,<br />

labor <strong>and</strong> delivery rooms, along with related<br />

diagnostic services.<br />

Mercy Cancer Center provides patients with<br />

the very best in cancer care right at home, eliminating<br />

long trips to Dallas or <strong>Oklahoma</strong> City<br />

for treatment. Mercy recently recruited eleven<br />

new oncologists in a monumental effort that<br />

elevates the Cancer Center to the forefront of<br />

cancer care in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s central <strong>and</strong> southern<br />

regions. Mercy’s team of medical oncologists is<br />

now the largest statewide outside of Tulsa.<br />

Thirty-one additional physicians will be<br />

recruited over the next five years to accommodate<br />

Mercy Memorial’s future growth <strong>and</strong> to<br />

assist in recruiting physicians <strong>and</strong> other medical<br />

professionals to our area.<br />

The mission of Mercy Memorial Health<br />

Center continues to reflect the vision of the<br />

Sisters of Mercy who established St. Agnes<br />

Academy in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>’s territorial days:<br />

“As the Sisters of Mercy before us, we bring<br />

to life the healing ministry of Jesus through our<br />

compassionate care <strong>and</strong> exceptional service.”<br />

For more information, check the website at<br />

www.mercy.net.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 8 9

9 0 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

DOLMAN<br />

LAW FIRM<br />

Left: Lewis S. Dolman at his desk,<br />

July 1918.<br />

Established in 1905, three generations of<br />

Dolman lawyers have carried on the family<br />

business in Ardmore for more than one<br />

hundred years.<br />

Louis Samuel “L. S.” Dolman was practicing<br />

law in Topeka, Kansas, when his brother asked<br />

him to come to <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. L. S.’s brother<br />

was a civil engineer who came to Southern<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> to help the Rock Isl<strong>and</strong> Railroad<br />

build a rail line. L. S. helped put together<br />

right-of-way acquisitions for the line.<br />

By 1903, the line was completed. At that<br />

time, L. S. worked for the Dawes Commission,<br />

which had been established to identify <strong>and</strong><br />

enroll various members of Native American<br />

tribes for purposes of dividing up l<strong>and</strong>s in<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> or Indian Territory.<br />

When finished in 1904, L. S. established a law<br />

office in Ardmore in 1905. His son, James Lewis<br />

Dolman, was born that year in Hardy Sanitarium.<br />

Ezra Dyer approached L. S. about 1917 <strong>and</strong><br />

was looking for a practice in Ardmore. That<br />

firm was established as Dolman & Dyer for<br />

awhile until Ezra went away to war. When<br />

James Lewis graduated University of Michigan<br />

Law School <strong>and</strong> joined the practice in 1930,<br />

it became Dolman, Dyer & Dolman.<br />

When L. S. was approached about office<br />

space in the proposed Simpson Building (now<br />

known as the Colston Building), L. S. leased<br />

space from the plans long before the building<br />

was built in 1917. Throughout a century of<br />

renovations, the Dolman office<br />

has not moved from where it<br />

began on the fifth floor of the<br />

building. James L. Dolman’s<br />

son, Jim Dolman, joined the<br />

practice when he came back<br />

from the U.S. Army in 1964.<br />

James Lewis wanted Jim to<br />

underst<strong>and</strong> the practice of law<br />

is personal, <strong>and</strong> relationships<br />

between lawyers <strong>and</strong> clients are<br />

personal. James Lewis taught<br />

Jim a lot about h<strong>and</strong>ling people<br />

<strong>and</strong> being patient with people<br />

<strong>and</strong> their problems. “My father<br />

was very sensitive to the<br />

anxieties of clients <strong>and</strong> was very<br />

professional in that way, <strong>and</strong><br />

I always had great respect for<br />

him <strong>and</strong> his professionalism,”<br />

Jim says.<br />

Jim has three children <strong>and</strong><br />

none of them are lawyers.<br />

“Maybe it’s because they have<br />

seen the agony attorneys go<br />

through,” he says.<br />

Below: James L. <strong>and</strong> James B.<br />

Dolman at a <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> Bar<br />

Association gathering.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 9 1

HEWITT<br />



Above: Simon Westheimer, first<br />

president of Hewitt Mineral<br />

Corporation, 1928.<br />

Below: One of the early day wells<br />

drilled in <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>,<br />

in February 1921.<br />

Hewitt Mineral Corporation represents<br />

a continuation of the vision of several<br />

local, early-day pioneers in the oil <strong>and</strong><br />

gas industry in southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Hewitt came into existence like many<br />

other companies of its day by initially<br />

starting out with mineral acres held in<br />

a trust.<br />

In <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>, <strong>Oklahoma</strong> there<br />

were two major oil fields: Healdton<br />

Field <strong>and</strong> the Hewitt Field. William J.<br />

Millard was one of the first to map the<br />

Hewitt Field <strong>and</strong> the anticline which<br />

folded downward along the sides of a<br />

buried hill.<br />

On June 5, 1919, the first discovery<br />

well of the Hewitt Field, the No. 1 A. E.<br />

Denney, was completed at a depth of<br />

2,134 feet with an initial production<br />

of 410 barrels of oil a day. This<br />

prompted the investment of five<br />

prominent businessmen from the town<br />

of Ardmore—Simon Westheimer, David Daube,<br />

L. S. Dolman, W. M. Gwyn, <strong>and</strong> Kirk Dyer—to<br />

begin buying mineral interests in <strong>and</strong> around<br />

the field <strong>and</strong> form the Hewitt Mineral Trust on<br />

July 14, 1919. Many wells were operated at<br />

that time by the Trust <strong>and</strong> leases were also given<br />

to other trusts, “wildcatters,” <strong>and</strong> oil <strong>and</strong> gas<br />

companies moving into the area. One of the<br />

biggest discoveries, the No. 33 Noble, recorded<br />

12,800 barrels a day at its peak.<br />

At one point there were 160 geologists <strong>and</strong> a<br />

good half-dozen major recognizable oil <strong>and</strong> gas<br />

companies in the area. In 1920, Earl<br />

Haliburton came in <strong>and</strong> cemented a few<br />

of the wild wells in Hewitt field <strong>and</strong><br />

helped stabilize production. The Hewitt<br />

Field had exp<strong>and</strong>ed into 540 wells<br />

producing 43,000 barrels of oil daily.<br />

In 1928, Hewitt Mineral Trust<br />

decided to incorporate, with each<br />

investor having ten shares with the total<br />

capital stock of the company being<br />

$150,000. Westheimer was named the<br />

first president of Hewitt Mineral<br />

Corporation, Dyer was vice president<br />

<strong>and</strong> Dolman was treasurer.<br />

At this time, the Hewitt field had over<br />

800 productive wells spread across<br />

3,000 acres with an output of over 60<br />

million barrels, which ranked Hewitt<br />

Field as the seventieth largest producing<br />

field in America. From its discovery in<br />

1919 to the end of the first five decades<br />

of the twentieth century, the Hewitt<br />

Field had a total cumulative output of<br />

9 2 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

110 million barrels of oil. During this time the<br />

company began to grow <strong>and</strong> acquire minerals<br />

<strong>and</strong> non-operating working interests in<br />

southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong> enjoyed modest<br />

success under the direction of selected oil <strong>and</strong><br />

gas operators <strong>and</strong> developers.<br />

Hewitt Mineral Corporation, which used to<br />

operate in the early days, does not<br />

operate any properties nor does it engage<br />

in drilling operations, relying instead on<br />

independent contractors or operating<br />

partners. Through most of the twentieth<br />

century, its properties—mostly in<br />

Anadarko Basin—provided most of the<br />

company’s oil <strong>and</strong> gas production. Hewitt<br />

has been fortunate enough to grow <strong>and</strong><br />

exp<strong>and</strong> its reserves through acquisitions,<br />

<strong>and</strong> partner with small independent<br />

companies to drill <strong>and</strong> produce in<br />

<strong>and</strong> around <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. Through these<br />

partnerships, Hewitt participated with a<br />

working interest inside <strong>and</strong> outside the<br />

state of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Today, Hewitt Mineral Corporation<br />

maintains an inventory of leasehold<br />

interests <strong>and</strong> minerals primarily within<br />

the states of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, Texas, Louisiana<br />

<strong>and</strong> Illinois. As Hewitt has grown<br />

throughout the years, its shares of stock<br />

have been divided several times over<br />

as generations increase. In 1999 the<br />

stockholders agreed to amend the<br />

Certificate of Incorporation for a ten-forone<br />

stock split.<br />

During the latter years of the<br />

twentieth century, Hewitt hired its first<br />

full-time geologist to produce <strong>and</strong><br />

evaluate oil <strong>and</strong> gas prospects <strong>and</strong><br />

benefited greatly from the addition of<br />

James B. Dolman as president up until<br />

his death in 2007, at which time the<br />

equity in Hewitt grew over four<br />

hundred percent. The corporate officers<br />

<strong>and</strong> directors still monitor several<br />

of the early day leases acquired during<br />

the years that contributed to the<br />

company’s early net income in addition<br />

to leases acquired in <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

various other states. New innovations in<br />

exploration have further increased the<br />

value of the company <strong>and</strong> its oil <strong>and</strong><br />

gas holdings.<br />

The twenty-first century brings great<br />

opportunity for growth for Hewitt <strong>and</strong> its<br />

current president, William E. Dolman, as Hewitt<br />

is positioned to benefit from high energy<br />

prices <strong>and</strong> the steady increase of dem<strong>and</strong><br />

around the world.<br />

Above: L. S. Dolman maintained the<br />

activity <strong>and</strong> livelihood out of his office<br />

for more than fifty years.<br />

Below: James B. Dolman, president,<br />

1992-2007.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 9 3










The purpose of the Ardmore Chamber of<br />

Commerce is to provide the leadership for the<br />

promotion <strong>and</strong> advancement of the economic<br />

vitality <strong>and</strong> the quality of life for the greater<br />

Ardmore area.<br />

The Chamber was formed in 1914. One of<br />

the initial functions of the Chamber was the<br />

establishment of roads <strong>and</strong> railroads to serve the<br />

oil fields, which the Chamber helped fund.<br />

Through the years, the Chamber has been an<br />

instrument for building the City of Ardmore.<br />

Civic leaders united their efforts through the<br />

Chamber to move the community forward. The<br />

Chamber helped make Lake Murray a reality<br />

by employing a full time coordinator to promote<br />

the project locally <strong>and</strong> in Washington, D.C.,<br />

gaining approval as a WPA project made it<br />

a reality.<br />

At the beginning of World War II,<br />

the Chamber successfully coordinated<br />

the effort to gain a military installation<br />

for the area. The base was<br />

closed following the Korean Conflict<br />

<strong>and</strong> was deeded to the community.<br />

In the early years, the Chamber<br />

held its meetings in a room in the<br />

courthouse. In the 1920s the<br />

Chamber moved to the Dunlap<br />

building at the corner of Main <strong>and</strong><br />

A Streets <strong>and</strong> leased space there for<br />

many years. In 1954 the Chamber<br />

purchased its own building at 6 East<br />

Main Street. That facility outlived its<br />

usefulness <strong>and</strong> the Chamber built a<br />

modern headquarters at 410 West<br />

Main Street in 1993. Additional<br />

information is available online at<br />

www.ardmore.org.<br />

9 4 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

The Ardmore Development Authority (ADA)<br />

was formed in 1964 following cooperative<br />

efforts of city officials, the Chamber of<br />

Commerce <strong>and</strong> the Ardmore Industrial<br />

Development Corporation (AIDC). The ADA<br />

was formed under the Trust Indenture Statutes<br />

of the State of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. It was the first such<br />

local economic development public trust<br />

authority in the state <strong>and</strong> has since been the<br />

model for others. The initial Trustees of the ADA<br />

were G. P. Middaugh, Felix Simmons, John H.<br />

Snodgrass, John C. Sauerwein, Jack Smith,<br />

Woodrow W. Hulme <strong>and</strong> R. G. Colvert, Jr.<br />

The purpose of the ADA is to provide<br />

programs <strong>and</strong> services resulting in new<br />

economic activity by attracting new industry,<br />

helping existing industry exp<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> assisting<br />

new start-up companies. The ADA owns <strong>and</strong><br />

develops industrial parks, constructs buildings<br />

for sale or to lease to companies. The ADA also<br />

operates the Ardmore Airpark, a full service<br />

Airport that was a former military installation.<br />

Marketing Ardmore to prospective new companies<br />

is a major function of the ADA.<br />

The ADA is recognized nationally for excellence<br />

<strong>and</strong> has received numerous national<br />

awards <strong>and</strong> recognition.<br />

The first major project of the Ardmore<br />

Development Authority happened to be the<br />

largest project in the city’s history—the attraction<br />

<strong>and</strong> location of the Uniroyal Plant.<br />

Ardmore’s economic history was first spurned<br />

by the discovery of oil in Healdton in 1913.<br />

That gave the town its first great spurt of<br />

progress. In the 1930s <strong>and</strong> early 1940s, the<br />

community entered the recreation business in a<br />

big way with Lake Murray <strong>and</strong> other developments.<br />

Another boost came in the 1940s with<br />

the development of the Ardmore Air Base.<br />

The economic spurt that added manufacturing<br />

as a significant contributor to the local economy<br />

occurred in 1970, with the opening of the<br />

Uniroyal plant. The project really began in 1968<br />

when the company chose Ardmore over other<br />

competing communities <strong>and</strong> states. Uniroyal<br />

was later purchased by BF Goodrich <strong>and</strong> the<br />

plant became Uniroyal Goodrich. In 1990 the<br />

company sold to Michelin <strong>and</strong> officially changed<br />

the name of the local plant five years later. The<br />

Ardmore Development Authority is located<br />

online at www.ardmoredevelopment.com.<br />

The Ardmore Chamber of Commerce initiated<br />

efforts in 1994 to form an organization<br />

dedicated to the promotion of tourism <strong>and</strong> to<br />

have the legal authority to construct facilities for<br />

the community <strong>and</strong> to serve the tourism industry.<br />

The Ardmore Tourism Authority (ATA, aka<br />

Ardmore Convention <strong>and</strong> Visitors Bureau) was<br />

officially formed in November 1994.<br />

A hotel/motel room tax was passed in<br />

November 2001 with two-fifths of the funds<br />

dedicated to promoting tourism <strong>and</strong> three-fifths<br />

dedicated to the future Convention Center. In<br />

2002, voters approved a two year one-half cent<br />

sales tax to help fund the construction of the<br />

Convention Center, which opened in 2004.<br />

Today, the ATA, Chamber of Commerce <strong>and</strong><br />

the Development Authority each have a governing<br />

board but administrative services for all are<br />

coordinated by Chamber management.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 9 5

BRADY<br />

WELDING &<br />


INC.<br />

William (Bill) Brady started Brady Welding<br />

in 1957. He began with a 1953 one-ton Ford<br />

welding truck <strong>and</strong> a Lincoln welder that he purchased<br />

for $1,200. His father-in-law, Earl<br />

Hance, loaned him the money to start the business.<br />

Through hard work, Bill was able to purchase<br />

tank trucks in 1960 <strong>and</strong> rig-up trucks in<br />

1965. Within a few years, he began purchasing<br />

heavy equipment such as backhoes <strong>and</strong><br />

dozers. During this time Brady’s began offering<br />

roustabout services. Shortly thereafter, Bill<br />

bought out Morgan & Hamm Machine Shop in<br />

Healdton. During this time, Brady Welding &<br />

Machine Shop was operating at 301 Shell Street<br />

in Healdton with Bill’s wife, Naomi, working in<br />

the office.<br />

Brady Welding & Machine Shop incorporated<br />

when it moved to its current location at 797<br />

Highway 76 North in Healdton in 1981. This is<br />

an industrial zone on a well-traveled highway,<br />

conveniently located near Ardmore, between<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> City <strong>and</strong> Dallas, Texas. The location<br />

9 6 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

consists of a main office building, a 6,000<br />

square foot machine shop, a 6,000 square foot<br />

truck shop, <strong>and</strong> other storage buildings in a<br />

seven <strong>and</strong> a half acre yard. Brady Welding &<br />

Machine Shop, Inc. purchased a shop, office<br />

building, living quarters, <strong>and</strong> three acre yard in<br />

El Reno to open a crane <strong>and</strong> heavy haul trucking<br />

division; exp<strong>and</strong>ed to an office building,<br />

service shop, <strong>and</strong> yard on the south side of<br />

Healdton for the pumping unit division; <strong>and</strong><br />

opened an office <strong>and</strong> yard in Woodward to<br />

exp<strong>and</strong> the crane <strong>and</strong> trucking division.<br />

Brady’s currently offers crane services (truck<br />

<strong>and</strong> all terrain cranes, ranging in size from<br />

40 ton to 275 ton), pumping unit sales <strong>and</strong><br />

servicing, dirt work (backhoes, trac-hoes, dozers,<br />

etc.), trucking (fluid <strong>and</strong> equipment), shop<br />

<strong>and</strong> field welding, rig moving <strong>and</strong> building,<br />

industrial construction, a full machine shop,<br />

<strong>and</strong> other contracted oilfield services.<br />

Bill retired as president of Brady Welding &<br />

Machine Shop, Inc. in 2000 after building the<br />

company from a single welding truck to an<br />

incorporated multimillion dollar business that<br />

offers a full range of oilfield services <strong>and</strong><br />

employs over 125 people. The family-owned<br />

business is now run by Bill’s sons, Mike, David,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Bill Dan. Mike graduated from the<br />

University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> with a degree in<br />

Petroleum L<strong>and</strong> Management <strong>and</strong> began working<br />

in 1980. David received his degree in<br />

Business Management from Southeastern<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> State University <strong>and</strong> began working<br />

in 1982. Bill Dan graduated from Southeastern<br />

receiving a degree in Business Administration<br />

<strong>and</strong> began working in 1988. Bill’s daughter,<br />

Jana, graduated from the University of<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> with a degree in Business Education<br />

<strong>and</strong> began working as the company’s bookkeeper<br />

in 1986.<br />

Brady Welding & Machine Shop, Inc. is<br />

involved with <strong>and</strong> supports the community.<br />

Brady's donates thous<strong>and</strong>s of dollars per year<br />

through money, labor <strong>and</strong> services to local <strong>and</strong><br />

regional charities, churches, schools, scholarship<br />

foundations, <strong>and</strong> athletic departments.<br />

Brady Welding is a member of the Healdton<br />

Chamber of Commerce.<br />

For more information about Brady Welding<br />

& Machine, please visit the company online at<br />

www.bradywelding.com.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 9 7



Bottom, left: Joe Brown Company<br />

President Teresa Brown.<br />

Since 1947, Joe Brown Company, Inc. has<br />

been a respected name in the transportation<br />

<strong>and</strong> construction industries. Current transportation<br />

operations originate from two terminals<br />

supported by the corporate office in<br />

Ardmore, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Joe Brown Company maintains a diverse<br />

fleet of equipment, consisting of late model<br />

over-the-road truck tractors <strong>and</strong> trailers to<br />

deliver to customers in the lower forty-eight<br />

states <strong>and</strong> Canada. With more than 200 pieces<br />

of equipment strategically located, Joe Brown<br />

Company serves its customers with team<br />

coordinated operations on any size job.<br />

The Davis terminal primarily delivers bulk<br />

commodities such as s<strong>and</strong>, gravel <strong>and</strong> dirt, in<br />

end dump or belly dump trailers <strong>and</strong> hazardous<br />

waste in end dumps or roll off boxes. The<br />

Ardmore terminal h<strong>and</strong>les dry fine-ground<br />

materials such as frac s<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> cement, in<br />

tankers, asphalt oil <strong>and</strong> flat bed products.<br />

Joe Brown was born May 24, 1896 <strong>and</strong> was<br />

entered in the final roll of the Cherokee nation.<br />

He worked as a young man for the Texaco<br />

refinery in Tulsa, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, before traveling<br />

by train in 1914 to the Arbuckle Mountains to<br />

work in the Goose Nest Mines. Joe learned the<br />

drilling business, while enjoying bird hunting<br />

<strong>and</strong> baseball as a past-time.<br />

In 1917, Joe married Vera Dewey Cowden.<br />

Joe <strong>and</strong> Vera moved to the town of Homer,<br />

later called Alpers, two miles west <strong>and</strong> one<br />

mile south of Hennepin in <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>. They<br />

reared twelve of thirteen children.<br />

9 8 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Joe had continued in the drilling<br />

business <strong>and</strong> just after the Goose<br />

Nest Mines closed, he sold his<br />

Indian allotment near Keffeton,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, to buy a drilling rig.<br />

The rig was shipped to Davis,<br />

<strong>and</strong> then transported to Hennepin<br />

over a swinging bridge across the<br />

Washita River. He drilled shallow<br />

oil <strong>and</strong> water wells in <strong>Carter</strong>,<br />

Garvin <strong>and</strong> Murray Counties. In<br />

February of 1920, they completed<br />

the Vendome Artesian well in<br />

Sulphur, Murray <strong>County</strong>. It was the<br />

largest flowing mineral well in the<br />

world at 3,500 gallons per minute.<br />

In the late 1920s Joe bought out<br />

his drilling partners. In the early<br />

1930s he <strong>and</strong> his son Joe continued drilling,<br />

farming, ranching, custom farming <strong>and</strong> also<br />

started selling building materials such as rock,<br />

s<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> gravel.<br />

In the late 1940s it was apparent that extra<br />

help was needed in supplying building materials,<br />

so the idea of Joe Brown Company was<br />

conceived. As Joe’s sons began returning from<br />

service in World War II—Joe, James, Orville<br />

<strong>and</strong> Clifford, from the Air Force, <strong>and</strong> Gene from<br />

the Navy—they began helping their father,<br />

some of them buying their own trucks. Gene<br />

stayed in the water well drilling business, <strong>and</strong><br />

Joe, James, <strong>and</strong> Clifford, along with their father,<br />

formed Joe Brown Company in 1947. They<br />

began furnishing road <strong>and</strong> building materials in<br />

the <strong>County</strong> Line area.<br />

In 1953, the first ready-mix concrete plant<br />

was purchased in Ratliff City, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, thereby<br />

supplying ready-mixed concrete to the oil<br />

field of <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>. In 1954, a ready-mix<br />

concrete plant was purchased in Healdton,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, <strong>and</strong> in 1956, another was purchased<br />

in Ardmore. The first venture of the small company<br />

outside <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> was in 1958, when<br />

a plant was purchased in Duncan, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

By 2000, Joe Brown Company owned seventeen<br />

ready-mix plants across southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Joe Brown Company was instrumental in the<br />

building of three bridges, from <strong>Oklahoma</strong> to<br />

Texas, including Willis Bridge over Lake<br />

Texhoma as well as in building parts of I-35 by<br />

furnishing materials <strong>and</strong> hauling concrete.<br />

Today, the company focuses on supplying frac<br />

s<strong>and</strong> to natural gas wells, rock to build well<br />

locations <strong>and</strong> construction projects in the south<br />

central United States.<br />

After sixty-four years, Joe Brown Company,<br />

Inc. is operated by a third generation of Browns;<br />

Joe’s daughter Teresa <strong>and</strong> Cliff’s son Scott.<br />

Joe Brown Company has many long term loyal<br />

employees continuing this family endeavor.<br />

You will notice Joe Brown’s striking green<br />

<strong>and</strong> orange trucks on highways <strong>and</strong> county<br />

roads throughout our region. Few trucking<br />

companies have passed to a third generation,<br />

Joe Brown’s green <strong>and</strong> orange tradition of<br />

trucking will soon pass to a fourth generation.<br />

For more information about Joe Brown<br />

Company, Inc., visit this historic company<br />

online at www.joebrowncompany.net.<br />

Above: President Teresa Brown,<br />

Chairman Joe D. Brown <strong>and</strong><br />

Ardmore, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, terminal<br />

manager Lu Kennedy.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 9 9



LLC<br />

Right: John Gibbs st<strong>and</strong>s in front of<br />

the TriPower Resources offices.<br />

Below: The staff of TriPower<br />

Resources, 2010. (Left to Right) Back<br />

row: John Orr, Neal Hill, Stephanie<br />

Parish, Julie Lee, Waylan Morris,<br />

Diane Allen, Jim Thornton, <strong>and</strong> Jeff<br />

James. Front Row: Dub Curry, Becke<br />

Blakemore, Tamie Jones, Melissa Lee,<br />

Deanna Lima, Rebecca Gibbs, <strong>and</strong><br />

John Gibbs.<br />

TriPower Resources, LLC is a privately held<br />

independent energy company engaged in the<br />

exploration, development <strong>and</strong> acquisition of oil<br />

<strong>and</strong> natural gas resources in the United States.<br />

In 1992, Buttes Gas <strong>and</strong> Oil of Houston purchased<br />

certain assets from Merrico Resources,<br />

Inc. In December 1993, Redwood Microcap<br />

Fund Inc, Primrose Drilling Ventures Ltd, <strong>and</strong><br />

John D. Gibbs purchased the assets of Buttes<br />

Gas <strong>and</strong> Oil <strong>and</strong> the company was incorporated<br />

as TriPower Resources, Inc. Through the use of<br />

cash flow <strong>and</strong> bank debt the assets of the<br />

company were increased by small acquisitions<br />

<strong>and</strong> drilling in the Grady <strong>County</strong>, <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

area where the company operated the majority<br />

of their properties at that time.<br />

1 0 0 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

In March 2005, Gibbs Holdings LLC, Gibbs<br />

as principal, acquired all of the assets of<br />

TriPower Resources, Inc. TriPower became an<br />

LLC in 2006. Corporate offices are located in<br />

Ardmore, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

Currently the company operates 200 plus<br />

wells in their primary focus areas of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>,<br />

Kansas, Illinois, Texas <strong>and</strong> Wyoming. They also<br />

own non-operated interests in an additional<br />

200 plus wells in those states as well as in<br />

Arkansas, New Mexico <strong>and</strong> Utah.<br />

The company actively looks for opportunities<br />

to acquire attractive properties, which meet<br />

their criteria for geologic <strong>and</strong> reserve potential.<br />

Another main objective is the enhancement of<br />

value through improved operating practices<br />

<strong>and</strong> exploitation.<br />

TriPower has maintained an active drilling<br />

program throughout its history. The primary<br />

focus of exploration is on lower risk opportunities<br />

for reserves. The current focus is on shallow<br />

wells. On average TriPower drills <strong>and</strong> operates<br />

ten to twelve new wells per year <strong>and</strong> participates<br />

in another ten to twenty new properties per year<br />

as a non-operating interest owner.<br />

TriPower currently has a staff of sixteen<br />

employees, including a consulting geologist<br />

<strong>and</strong> sixteen contract pumpers.<br />

Gibbs has been the president <strong>and</strong> Chief<br />

Executive Officer since 1992. Gibbs has<br />

over thirty years of experience in the energy<br />

industry. Since 2005, Gibbs has had sole<br />

ownership of TriPower. Additionally, Gibbs<br />

has served on the Board of Directors of the<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Independent Petroleum Association<br />

since 2004.<br />

TriPower has been an active member of<br />

the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce for many<br />

years <strong>and</strong> supports their community efforts.<br />

TriPower’s employees are actively involved<br />

in giving back to the community as well.<br />

They support numerous local churches in<br />

addition to the March of Dimes, Habitat for<br />

Humanity, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts<br />

of Western <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, The Fellowship of<br />

Christian Athletes, Rotary <strong>and</strong> many others.<br />

Above: A dedicated supporter of the<br />

University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Women’s<br />

Basketball program, here John Gibbs<br />

holds an autographed OU Women’s<br />

Basketball. Coach Sherri Coale<br />

created the University of Women’s<br />

Basketball Scholarship Endowment<br />

Program to have all fifteen players<br />

covered under an endowed<br />

scholarship. “The John <strong>and</strong> Sue Gibbs<br />

Women’s Basketball Scholarship” is<br />

part of their endowment program.<br />

John has also served as the president<br />

of the OU Women’s Basketball Fast<br />

Break Club for six years.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 0 1


Created by the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> State Legislature as a<br />

pilot project in higher education, the Ardmore<br />

Higher Education Program was the state’s first<br />

consortium-model university center. When the<br />

program originated in 1974, there were only ten<br />

courses offering classes from freshman through<br />

graduate-level <strong>and</strong> 110 students. Housed in<br />

Ardmore High School during its inaugural<br />

semester, the Ardmore Higher Education Program<br />

moved to the renovated Mount Washington<br />

School in the fall of 1974 <strong>and</strong> increased its<br />

offerings to twenty-four courses. In 1977 the pilot<br />

program was made permanent by state statute <strong>and</strong><br />

was placed under the administration of the Office<br />

of the Chancellor for the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> State Regents<br />

for Higher Education.<br />

The program had outgrown its surroundings<br />

due to quickly-increasing enrollment. A new<br />

building was constructed on property belonging<br />

to the Ardmore City Schools. It was supported<br />

by a maintenance endowment from the Noble<br />

Foundation, which was matched by gifts for construction<br />

from the community-at-large. While the<br />

building was owned by Ardmore City Schools,<br />

the program was awarded usage under a twenty<br />

year lease. With exp<strong>and</strong>ed space, more than 750<br />

students participated in ninety course offerings.<br />

Renamed Ardmore Higher Education Center, the<br />

program exp<strong>and</strong>ed, local involvement increased<br />

<strong>and</strong> an Advisory Board was formed in 1983.<br />

The Ardmore Higher Education Center<br />

continued flourishing throughout the 1990s.<br />

Well into its third decade, enrollment continues<br />

to increase from year to year <strong>and</strong> new courses<br />

<strong>and</strong> degree programs have been added that<br />

provide higher education opportunities to<br />

thous<strong>and</strong>s of college students in southern<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> each year. While most students are<br />

nontraditional, working adults, many students<br />

transfer to another college or university after<br />

completion of general education courses, or are<br />

high school students enrolling in college courses<br />

concurrently. The average academic load per<br />

semester is two to three courses totaling six to<br />

ten credit hours.<br />

The Ardmore Higher Education Center<br />

delivers degree programs from East Central<br />

University in Ada; Murray State College in<br />

Tishomingo; Southeastern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> State<br />

University Durant; <strong>and</strong> <strong>Oklahoma</strong> State<br />

University-<strong>Oklahoma</strong> City. AHEC offers undergraduate<br />

<strong>and</strong> graduate courses in a wide range of<br />

areas that enables students to earn associate,<br />

bachelor, or master degrees through one of four<br />

participating institutions.<br />

Degrees are offered at the Associate, Bachelor<br />

(criminal justice, business management, elementary<br />

education, counseling, <strong>and</strong> nursing),<br />

<strong>and</strong> Master (business administration, education,<br />

human resources, <strong>and</strong> psychological services)<br />

levels. Agreements between the two-year <strong>and</strong><br />

four-year institutions facilitate the transition<br />

to a Bachelor degree program for students<br />

completing their general education requirements<br />

through the two-year institution.<br />

Individuals can also take courses that further<br />

their professional credentials as elementary<br />

school teachers, school administrators, school<br />

psychologists, school psychometrists, <strong>and</strong><br />

1 0 2 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

licensed professional counselors. All degree<br />

programs are fully accredited <strong>and</strong> students<br />

graduate with a degree from the participating<br />

college or university partner.<br />

All faculty members are employed by the<br />

college <strong>and</strong> university partners. The Center<br />

employs a minimal administrative staff to<br />

operate the facilities <strong>and</strong> schedule classes<br />

<strong>and</strong> the college <strong>and</strong> university partners<br />

maintain full time academic advisement staff<br />

at the Center. Most faculty teaching at the<br />

Center hold advanced degrees <strong>and</strong> many<br />

hold earned doctorate degrees. Class size is<br />

relatively small with the faculty-to-student<br />

ratio averaging about 15:1.<br />

Tuition <strong>and</strong> fees at the Ardmore Higher<br />

Education Center are about the same as on the<br />

main campuses of the college <strong>and</strong> university<br />

partners. Tuition waivers, scholarships, federal<br />

grants, <strong>and</strong> loans are awarded to qualifying<br />

students. Financial aid is administered through<br />

the financial aid offices of the college <strong>and</strong> university<br />

partners, but application can be made at the<br />

Center. Additionally, the Center also awards<br />

tuition scholarships to qualifying students based<br />

on available funding.<br />

The 30,000 square foot AHEC facility<br />

includes twelve classrooms, a library,<br />

administrative offices for AHEC staff, <strong>and</strong><br />

academic advisement/student services offices<br />

for the college <strong>and</strong> university partners. Due to<br />

the need for additional space, ten to twelve<br />

classrooms at Ardmore High School are used for<br />

evening classes.<br />

The Ardmore Higher Education Center has<br />

built a reputation for friendliness <strong>and</strong> support<br />

based on several decades of serving students<br />

with high quality, higher education programs.<br />

For more information about AHEC, visit them<br />

online at www.ahec.osrhe.edu.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 0 3




During the first half of the twentieth century,<br />

the majority of citizens in South Central<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> had no library services available<br />

to them. However, by the end of WWII,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>ns were fired with enthusiasm for<br />

additional <strong>and</strong> better community libraries.<br />

In 1956 federal funds became available for<br />

library service to rural areas <strong>and</strong> to increase<br />

operations in existing city libraries. Realizing<br />

this need in southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, the <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

Department of Libraries won the support of<br />

interested citizens <strong>and</strong> commissioners of <strong>Carter</strong>,<br />

Johnston, Love <strong>and</strong> Marshall Counties. As a<br />

result, the Chickasaw Multi-<strong>County</strong> Library<br />

was born in 1960. In addition to ad valorem<br />

taxes, funding was supplemented by the generosity<br />

of the Daube <strong>and</strong> Merrick families.<br />

Ardmore, Madill, Sulphur <strong>and</strong> Wilson<br />

became cooperating units of the Library System.<br />

Throughout the 1960s, a big red bookmobile<br />

made regular stops in the rural areas <strong>and</strong> kept<br />

community libraries supplied with new resource<br />

materials. As new programs were developed <strong>and</strong><br />

services improved, the public’s reception of the<br />

Chickasaw Multi-<strong>County</strong> Library was excellent.<br />

The System grew <strong>and</strong> exp<strong>and</strong>ed <strong>and</strong> the name<br />

was changed to “Chickasaw Library System.” It<br />

is important to note that the name “Chickasaw”<br />

was given to the Library System because the<br />

original counties that formed the System were in<br />

what was historically known in <strong>Oklahoma</strong> as<br />

“Chickasaw Territory.” There has never been a<br />

connection with the Chickasaw Nation (Tribe).<br />

In 1971, a published article stated:<br />

Modern public library services are provided<br />

to the people of the towns <strong>and</strong> rural<br />

communities in six Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

counties by the Chickasaw Library System. The<br />

counties served are <strong>Carter</strong>, Love, Johnston,<br />

Murray, Coal <strong>and</strong> Atoka. The headquarters<br />

library <strong>and</strong> service center is at 22 Broadlawn<br />

Village in Ardmore, <strong>and</strong> branch libraries are<br />

located at Wilson, Healdton, Marietta, Davis,<br />

Sulphur, Tishomingo, Coalgate <strong>and</strong> Atoka.<br />

Over fifty rural communities <strong>and</strong> smaller towns,<br />

plus a number of rural schools, are served by<br />

two big red bookmobiles.<br />

Through this multi-county library system…<br />

all the people in the six-county area have<br />

access to almost unlimited library materials.<br />

The Chickasaw System itself has more than<br />

50,000 books, plus magazines, phonograph<br />

records, films, slides <strong>and</strong> other materials.<br />

Particular books <strong>and</strong> other materials not<br />

available at the local branch library or from<br />

the bookmobile can be ordered from the<br />

headquarters library.<br />

By 1977 the Ardmore Headquarters Library<br />

urgently needed more space. Dana Champion<br />

Mordy <strong>and</strong> Charles Champion generously<br />

offered a parcel of l<strong>and</strong> in the Champion<br />

Station area. In 1981 the new 9,800 square<br />

foot facility opened at 601 Railway Express.<br />

It still serves as the support center for the<br />

System <strong>and</strong> as a public library.<br />

Today, the Chickasaw Regional<br />

(Public) Library System (CRLS)<br />

accommodates nearly 96,000<br />

citizens in the five counties of<br />

<strong>Carter</strong>, Atoka, Johnston, Love<br />

<strong>and</strong> Murray. Eight libraries are<br />

located in the cities of Ardmore,<br />

Atoka, Davis, Healdton, Marietta,<br />

Sulphur, Tishomingo <strong>and</strong> Wilson.<br />

Each community library has<br />

its own unique personality<br />

<strong>and</strong> serves citizens of all ages<br />

<strong>and</strong> all socio-economic backgrounds.<br />

CRLS offers a broad<br />

range of services <strong>and</strong> programs<br />

along with ever exp<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

technology resources.<br />

1 0 4 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

The Library provides traditional resources<br />

such as books, periodicals, microfilm, DVDs<br />

<strong>and</strong> audio books. A comprehensive archival<br />

collection of The Ardmoreite newspaper dating<br />

back to 1893 is available on microfilm. Readers<br />

of all ages enjoy quality programs such as<br />

the acclaimed Let’s Talk About It, <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

reading <strong>and</strong> discussion series, the popular<br />

preschool story hour, the successful children’s<br />

Summer Reading Program <strong>and</strong> visiting authors.<br />

Throughout the year, programs are presented<br />

for people of all ages <strong>and</strong> for many different<br />

interests with an emphasis on life-long learning.<br />

The Library offers patrons a world of information<br />

through electronic resources <strong>and</strong> gives<br />

instruction in computer applications <strong>and</strong> the<br />

most recent “technology trends.” Netbooks <strong>and</strong><br />

laptop computers are available for adults to borrow.<br />

Electronic Books (E-Books) <strong>and</strong> downloadable<br />

music can be accessed by library card<br />

holders. Public computers <strong>and</strong> wireless Internet<br />

are readily available to community patrons. A<br />

wide range of research capabilities is offered by<br />

CRLS Libraries, including EBSCOhost, which<br />

includes databases of general <strong>and</strong> academic<br />

interest, business information, <strong>and</strong> maps online.<br />

Citizens have remote access to CRLS’ resources<br />

twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week.<br />

For more information about the Chickasaw<br />

Regional (Public) Library System, please visit<br />

www.crlsok.org.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 0 5

Above: Lynn (left) <strong>and</strong> Paul<br />

Lewis (right).<br />

Below: Lynda (left) <strong>and</strong> Paula<br />

Lewis (right).<br />


Lewis Magneto & Supply Co., Inc. was<br />

started as a small repair shop in 1946 by Lynn<br />

Lewis, who had learned about repairing<br />

magnetos by working on elevators. Lewis, who<br />

had twenty years experience in motor tune-ups<br />

<strong>and</strong> ignition services, moved from Ardmore to<br />

Healdton in 1946 to work for Ottis Gann Motor<br />

Company. The need for magneto repair shops<br />

was growing rapidly at the time <strong>and</strong> Lewis<br />

started Lewis Magneto <strong>and</strong> Ignition Company,<br />

which was located in the motor company.<br />

Although Lewis serviced automotive, farm <strong>and</strong><br />

oilfield magnetos, most of the business came<br />

from the oilfield, which was booming in the<br />

Healdton area at the time.<br />

In the late 1940s, Lewis relocated from the<br />

motor company to a small tin building at 10<br />

South Fourth Street. The business grew <strong>and</strong> in<br />

September 1949, Lynn <strong>and</strong> his son, Paul,<br />

completed a new brick building, which was<br />

connected to the wall of the old tin building.<br />

Elmer Knutter’s Café occupied the front part of<br />

the building <strong>and</strong> shared in the construction<br />

cost. Pumpers, oilfield workers <strong>and</strong> farmers<br />

would leave magnetos to be repaired in the<br />

shop, then go to the front of the building to eat<br />

at Elmer’s.<br />

Construction on an even larger building<br />

began in 1952. It was constructed around the<br />

old building on Fourth Street <strong>and</strong> boasted buff<br />

brick, 13-inch fireproof walls, two 10-foot<br />

drive-in service doors, <strong>and</strong> a roof made of steel<br />

strong enough to support a second-story<br />

addition. Elmer Knutter <strong>and</strong> his family lived in<br />

the upstairs addition.<br />

Lewis purchased Cornish Magneto & Supply<br />

Company in August 1955 <strong>and</strong> the company was<br />

merged into Lewis Magneto’s Fourth Street<br />

location. Paul Lewis sold his interest in the<br />

business to his father in 1956 <strong>and</strong> returned to<br />

Ardmore to open his own business.<br />

Elmer Knutter, Sr. continued to operate the<br />

café in the front part of the Lewis Magneto<br />

business until 1962.<br />

The company was sold on September 1, 1977<br />

to three partners; Odis O. Blakemore <strong>and</strong> Gary<br />

D. Rich, both of whom had a working interest,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Linton C. Lock, who was a silent partner.<br />

The new owners incorporated the business on<br />

August 31, 1977 but retained the wellestablished<br />

Lewis Magneto name. After the<br />

purchase, the business was changed from Lewis<br />

Magneto Ignition to Lewis Magneto & Supply<br />

Co., Inc. Lock sold his shares back to the<br />

company in November 1977.<br />

Lewis Magneto relocated in 1982 when the<br />

building <strong>and</strong> l<strong>and</strong> that housed a bowling alley at<br />

512 East Main Street was purchased from<br />

Marvin Hufling. The business has operated in<br />

the same location ever since.<br />

1 0 6 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Gary Rich sold all his shares back to the<br />

company in 1984 <strong>and</strong> Lewis Magneto & Supply<br />

Co. has been family owned <strong>and</strong> operated ever<br />

since. Current president of the company is<br />

Michael E. Blakemore. Mark W. Blakemore serves<br />

as vice president <strong>and</strong> Clinton E. Blakemore as<br />

secretary/treasurer. Several other family members<br />

own stock in the business.<br />

In the many years it has been in business.<br />

Lewis Magneto has employed a number of<br />

family members including gr<strong>and</strong>children,<br />

school students, halfway house (DOC) workers,<br />

<strong>and</strong> veterans from all branches of the military.<br />

From its beginning, Lewis Magneto <strong>and</strong> its<br />

employees have supported the local schools <strong>and</strong><br />

a number of nonprofit organizations.<br />

As the company has grown, it has ventured<br />

into many other areas <strong>and</strong> now repairs—in shop<br />

or in the field—engines, pumps, <strong>and</strong> many<br />

other oilfield items. The company has a<br />

complete oilfield supply store <strong>and</strong> also sells <strong>and</strong><br />

services outdoor power equipment.<br />

Today, Lewis Magneto stocks approximately<br />

20,000 line items in its inventory. The stock<br />

includes oilfield supplies, pump <strong>and</strong> engine<br />

repair parts, new <strong>and</strong> rebuilt pumps <strong>and</strong><br />

engines, outdoor power equipment <strong>and</strong> parts,<br />

many assorted pipe fittings <strong>and</strong> fasteners, h<strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> power tools, along with magnetos <strong>and</strong><br />

magneto parts. While the dem<strong>and</strong> for old-style<br />

magnetos is dwindling fast, the stock has been<br />

upgraded to include parts <strong>and</strong> service for<br />

electronic ignitions.<br />

Above: The old Lewis Magneto shop<br />

on Main Street some time after 1962.<br />

Below: Mary D. Blakemore (center)<br />

with (clockwise from top, right)<br />

Odis O. , Clinton E. , Michael E., <strong>and</strong><br />

Mark W. Blakemore.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 0 7


STATE<br />


SCHOOL<br />

Clockwise, starting from the top:<br />

The <strong>Oklahoma</strong> State Horseshoeing<br />

School in 1975.<br />

Regan <strong>and</strong> Ty Kester practicing for a<br />

draft shoeing competition.<br />

Reggie Kester.<br />

Since it was founded more than thirty-five<br />

years ago, the mission of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> State<br />

Horseshoeing School has been to train students<br />

in the art <strong>and</strong> science of the farriery <strong>and</strong> blacksmithing<br />

industry, surrounded by a friendly <strong>and</strong><br />

professional atmosphere. Students are prepared<br />

to become self-employed, contributing individuals<br />

with high values of honesty <strong>and</strong> integrity.<br />

When OSHS opened in 1975 there was only<br />

one instructor—Reggie Kester—<strong>and</strong> four<br />

people in the first class. The school now<br />

averages twenty-two students per class with<br />

several full <strong>and</strong> part-time instructors, including<br />

members of the Kester family. In addition,<br />

OSHS employs an office manager, two<br />

secretaries <strong>and</strong> a welder.<br />

There were few horseshoeing schools in the<br />

country when Reggie decided to leave his job as<br />

a professional horseshoer <strong>and</strong> instructor at Al<br />

Penson’s horseshoeing school in Texas <strong>and</strong> open<br />

a school of his own. He <strong>and</strong> his wife, Marcella,<br />

selected Ardmore as the site for the school, since<br />

it was strategically located between<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> City <strong>and</strong> Dallas in an area<br />

with a large horse population.<br />

Reggie <strong>and</strong> Marcella moved to<br />

Ardmore, bought some l<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong><br />

worked on the school each weekend<br />

until it was finished. Reggie built the<br />

first building with his own h<strong>and</strong>s.<br />

It served as office, classroom <strong>and</strong><br />

shoeing barn. Two years later, a dormitory with<br />

two efficiency apartments was added. Since that<br />

time, the school has added a separate classroom,<br />

added on to the office to make it three times<br />

larger, built a recreational room, <strong>and</strong> added a<br />

third apartment.<br />

There was a need for additional instructors as<br />

the school grew <strong>and</strong> Marcella attended the<br />

school in order to help with future classes. She<br />

<strong>and</strong> a friend, Darla, who attended school with<br />

her, were among the first female horseshoers in<br />

this part of the country. Meanwhile, Reggie<br />

became the sixth person to become a member of<br />

the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Farrier’s Association.<br />

1 0 8 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

The Kesters also passed their skills on to<br />

a second <strong>and</strong> third generation. Reggie <strong>and</strong><br />

Marcella’s son, Regan, attended the course under<br />

his dad’s instruction while a teenager. <strong>Then</strong>,<br />

when Regan’s son, Ty, was a teenager, he attended<br />

the course <strong>and</strong> received instruction from both<br />

his dad <strong>and</strong> gr<strong>and</strong>father. Regan has been an<br />

instructor at OSHS since his graduation.<br />

A colorful <strong>and</strong> diverse group of students,<br />

including doctors <strong>and</strong> lawyers, have attended<br />

OSHS over the years. Two couples met at the<br />

school <strong>and</strong> were later married, <strong>and</strong> one of those<br />

couples sent their son through the school many<br />

years later. In addition, a father attended the<br />

school with his three sons <strong>and</strong> a deaf student<br />

had a signer work with him throughout the<br />

course. One class included eight students from<br />

Canada <strong>and</strong> another class included five females.<br />

People have come from all over the world to<br />

attend the course. The school has had students<br />

from the ages fourteen to sixty-five <strong>and</strong> students<br />

have included a professional boxer, a registered<br />

nurse, firefighters, <strong>and</strong> many different lawmen.<br />

The school has had students from all fifty<br />

states as well as Argentina, Australia, Austria,<br />

Brazil, Africa, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Finl<strong>and</strong>,<br />

Germany, Greece, United Kingdom, Israel,<br />

Philippines, Norway, New Zeal<strong>and</strong>, Netherl<strong>and</strong>s,<br />

Mexico, Switzerl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> Sweden.<br />

In an effort to raise the st<strong>and</strong>ards of the<br />

profession, Reggie founded the American<br />

Farrier’s Education Council, an organization<br />

composed of owners of horseshoeing schools<br />

across the country.<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> State Horseshoeing School is<br />

located at 4802 Dogwood Road, a few miles east<br />

of Ardmore, <strong>and</strong> students travel to all the big<br />

ranches in the area. Some customers come all<br />

the way from <strong>Oklahoma</strong> City <strong>and</strong> Dallas to<br />

have their horses shod by OSHS students, <strong>and</strong><br />

owners bring crippled horses from throughout<br />

the country for our instructors to correct. OSHS<br />

sells supplies to all the local farriers <strong>and</strong> ships<br />

supplies to customers throughout the nation.<br />

Reggie was active in the business until his<br />

passing in December 2008. Marcella continues<br />

to work each day <strong>and</strong> the family plans for the<br />

second <strong>and</strong> third generation of Kesters to take<br />

over the school <strong>and</strong> supply store.<br />

For more information about the <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

State Horseshoeing School, check the website at<br />

www.oklahomastatehorseshoeingschool.net.<br />

The <strong>Oklahoma</strong> State Horseshoeing<br />

School as it appears in 2011.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 0 9



INC.<br />



Above: John Ringling North II, current<br />

president of Rockl<strong>and</strong> Oil Company.<br />

In the summer of 1911, John Ringling arrived<br />

in <strong>Oklahoma</strong> where he first met Jake Hamon, a<br />

local attorney, who was looking for capital to<br />

build a local railroad system. Together, Ringling<br />

<strong>and</strong> Hamon began buying property <strong>and</strong> town<br />

sites to begin their railroad venture. In 1912,<br />

Ringling acquired several tracts of l<strong>and</strong> in <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, eventually purchasing around 8,000<br />

acres. These proved to be rich in oil, <strong>and</strong> in<br />

August 1913, a “gusher” blew securing Ringling’s<br />

initial investment <strong>and</strong> fortune in the oil business.<br />

The oil business was not the first investment<br />

for Ringling. He was already well-known for<br />

his partial ownership of the Ringling Brothers<br />

Circus. The five Ringling brothers, Albert, Otto,<br />

Alfred, Charles <strong>and</strong> John showed early talents as<br />

entertainers. In 1884 the brothers started their<br />

first show in Baraboo, Wisconsin, with a trained<br />

horse <strong>and</strong> dancing bear. By 1890 they had purchased<br />

their first elephant <strong>and</strong> began travelling<br />

by train. As the circus grew <strong>and</strong> prospered they<br />

began to purchase other small circus acts. In<br />

1919, Ringling Circus merged with the Barnum<br />

& Bailey Circus to become “The Ringling<br />

Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Greatest<br />

Show on Earth.”<br />

Ringling eventually allowed his brothers to<br />

take the reins <strong>and</strong> manage the circus for a time,<br />

while he became more interested in <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> his oil investments. The town of Ringling<br />

was established in 1914, with Healdton shortly<br />

thereafter. By November of 1914, there were<br />

275 producing wells in the Healdton sector.<br />

Within the next year, the field production was<br />

118,000 barrels <strong>and</strong> no way to ship all the oil<br />

out. The few railroad tank cars <strong>and</strong> one pipeline<br />

were inadequate for the heavy oil producing<br />

wells. By 1917 six pipelines were laid in addition<br />

to the <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, New Mexico <strong>and</strong> Pacific<br />

Railroad, sometimes referred to as the “Ringling<br />

Road,” to transport the heavy oil production.<br />

In 1925, Ringling <strong>and</strong> his assets were worth<br />

over 100 million dollars. Besides the circus, oil<br />

fields <strong>and</strong> railroads, he owned other real estate,<br />

banks, theaters, <strong>and</strong> hotels in <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

across the country. Ringling began to travel to<br />

Europe <strong>and</strong> collect artwork eventually amassing<br />

over 500 masterpieces from sixteen <strong>and</strong> seventeenth<br />

century artists such as Peter Paul Reubens,<br />

Titan, El Greco, Rembr<strong>and</strong>t, Velasquez <strong>and</strong> Van<br />

Dyck. In the mid 1920s, Ringling <strong>and</strong> his wife<br />

Mable began construction of a thirty-two room<br />

Venetian-Gothic style palatial mansion on sixtyeight<br />

acres in Sarasota, Florida, at a cost of 1.6 million<br />

dollars. The mansion was called “Ca’ d’Zan,”<br />

which means “House of John” in Venetian dialect.<br />

Right: A crowd gathers in Ardmore as<br />

the “golden spike” is driven to<br />

complete the <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, New Mexico<br />

<strong>and</strong> Pacific Railroad to Ringling in<br />

1914. Jake Hamon, Sr., <strong>and</strong> John<br />

Ringling co-founded the city of<br />

Ringling in 1914. <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

Governor Lee Cruce holds<br />

the hammer.<br />



1 1 0 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

In 1925, Ringling began construction on a<br />

museum to house his massive art collection.<br />

Styled after a fifteenth century Italian villa, the<br />

museum is home to one of the finest collections<br />

of European art in the country. The courtyard<br />

of the museum features casts of renaissance<br />

sculptures, including a replica of David by<br />

Michelangelo. The courtyard also features two<br />

fountains, a replica of the Fountain of Tortoises<br />

from the Piazza Mattei in Rome <strong>and</strong> Oceanus<br />

Fountain, copied from the sixteenth century<br />

original by Giovanni Bologna in Florence’s<br />

Boboli Gardens. The gardens at the complex<br />

include a special rose garden designed by Mable<br />

Ringling. Unfortunately Mable died prematurely<br />

in June 1929, at the age of fifty-four.<br />

Throughout his life Ringling maintained his<br />

connections with the family run circus business,<br />

although his mainstay was in the oil <strong>and</strong> real<br />

estate business. After his death <strong>and</strong> that of his<br />

siblings, control of the business was passed onto<br />

Ringling’s nephews, John Ringling North <strong>and</strong><br />

Henry Ringling North. Henry said of his uncle,<br />

“John Ringling will be remembered not only as<br />

a circus owner, but for his interest in oil <strong>and</strong> as<br />

a builder of railroads…many of the first railroad<br />

cars that brought oil field workers from<br />

Ardmore to Ringling were richly upholstered<br />

wooden coaches, many previously used by part<br />

of the Ringling Circus special train.”<br />

In October 1931, “The John <strong>and</strong> Mable<br />

Ringling Museum of Art,” was officially opened<br />

to the public. However, with Ringling’s declining<br />

health, stock market crash <strong>and</strong> effects of<br />

the Great Depression, his business investments<br />

began to diminish. After his death from pneumonia<br />

in 1936, Ringling left his estate <strong>and</strong> art<br />

collection to the State of Florida, which now<br />

owns <strong>and</strong> operates the entire complex. The state<br />

added a circus museum in 1948 to house circus<br />

artifacts, including b<strong>and</strong>wagons, calliopes, costumes,<br />

posters <strong>and</strong> circus memorabilia. The<br />

Circus Museum in Sarasota, Florida was the first<br />

museum in the country to document, preserve,<br />

<strong>and</strong> exhibit the rich history of the circus.<br />

Rockl<strong>and</strong> Oil Company was founded on<br />

October 23, 1916 to drill, explore <strong>and</strong> operate oil<br />

<strong>and</strong> gas leases in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. The company was<br />

started with an authorized capital stock of<br />

$100,000. Ringling Enterprises merged with<br />

Rockl<strong>and</strong> Oil on December 31, 1948. After the<br />

death of John Ringling North, the vice presidents<br />

of Rockl<strong>and</strong> Oil Company were Henry Ringling<br />

North, Leonard G. Bisco, <strong>and</strong> Sydney R. Newman.<br />

Henry Nolen, a sixty year employee of<br />

Rockl<strong>and</strong> Oil, began his career in 1923 as a<br />

roustabout on a pulling unit crew <strong>and</strong> later became<br />

production superintendent. Henry Ringling North<br />

called Nolen “the best field man in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.”<br />

Upon Henry Ringling North’s death in October<br />

1993, his son, John Ringling North II, became<br />

president of Rockl<strong>and</strong> Oil. The company is<br />

still operating today <strong>and</strong> located in Ardmore,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, with a field office in Healdton.<br />

Left: John Ringling.<br />

Right: Henry Ringling North,<br />

John Ringling North’s brother.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 1 1


& COMPANY<br />

In 1962, Tommy C. Craighead resigned his<br />

job as a district l<strong>and</strong> man for Samedan Oil<br />

Corporation to become an independent oil <strong>and</strong><br />

gas lease broker. It was a big step for Craighead,<br />

who had worked there for thirteen years after<br />

attending Murray State College. Initially hired as<br />

an office boy for Samedan, he was moved to the<br />

oil fields where he gained invaluable knowledge<br />

of the petroleum industry, before returning to<br />

the home office as a petroleum clerk.<br />

As an independent petroleum l<strong>and</strong> man,<br />

Craighead initially operated out of his home in<br />

Ardmore with his wife, Billye Joy<br />

serving as his first secretary. In<br />

late 1962, he <strong>and</strong> Rudy J. White<br />

purchased the Duke <strong>and</strong> Bennett<br />

Insurance Agency <strong>and</strong> moved into<br />

an office in the Little Building in<br />

downtown Ardmore. Soon he was<br />

faced with a choice of continuing<br />

to exp<strong>and</strong> his insurance business<br />

or to proceed full force with the<br />

brokerage business. He chose<br />

the latter, selling the insurance<br />

business to White <strong>and</strong> began<br />

working extensively for several<br />

local oil <strong>and</strong> gas companies,<br />

including the Daube Company<br />

<strong>and</strong> Quintin Little Company of<br />

Ardmore <strong>and</strong> L. E. Jones Production<br />

Company of Duncan.<br />

While working in Arkansas,<br />

Tommy met Gene Golden of Midwest<br />

Oil Company, <strong>and</strong> Jim L. Hanna<br />

of Hanna Oil & Gas. This chance<br />

meeting led to life-long friendships<br />

with the two. Tommy worked as a<br />

broker for Midwest Oil <strong>and</strong> participated in many<br />

wells with Hanna Oil & Gas.<br />

In 1972, Tommy decided to incorporate <strong>and</strong><br />

formed T. C. Craighead & Company, which continued<br />

doing l<strong>and</strong> work but gradually exp<strong>and</strong>ed<br />

into participating in drilling wells as a nonoperator.<br />

It was also in the 1970s that Tommy<br />

entered into a joint venture in Canada with his<br />

former Samedan boss, R. C. (Bob) Lang, III.<br />

They opened an office in Calgary, <strong>and</strong> developed<br />

<strong>and</strong> drilled many successful oil <strong>and</strong> gas<br />

prospects, before selling out to a Canadian firm<br />

in the mid-1980s. With the profit from this sale,<br />

the company commenced its own operations,<br />

drilling, producing, <strong>and</strong> operating wells in both<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong> Texas.<br />

As the brokerage reputation of T. C. Craighead<br />

& Company grew, the company was hired as<br />

an independent contractor by many of the<br />

major oil <strong>and</strong> gas companies <strong>and</strong> put together<br />

large acreage blocks in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, Arkansas<br />

<strong>and</strong> Texas for Conoco, Getty Oil, Chevron,<br />

Exxon, Mobil Oil, Shell Oil, <strong>and</strong> others.<br />

1 1 2 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

In 1997, the company sold all its operated<br />

interests as management chose to focus on<br />

non-operated working <strong>and</strong> mineral interests<br />

in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas <strong>and</strong> <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

In the 2000s, the company exp<strong>and</strong>ed these<br />

interests outside the Mid-Continent into the<br />

Rocky Mountain <strong>and</strong> Gulf Coast Texas regions<br />

<strong>and</strong> beyond, participating in wells from Florida<br />

to California to North Dakota <strong>and</strong> Montana.<br />

While the oil <strong>and</strong> gas activities continued to<br />

exp<strong>and</strong>, Tommy’s interests turned to ranching<br />

<strong>and</strong> the cattle business. He developed a true<br />

love for the industry as was shown by his<br />

support of the <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong> Junior Fat Stock<br />

shows, <strong>and</strong> his lifetime membership in the<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Cattlemen’s Association.<br />

A number of key individuals were instrumental<br />

in the growth <strong>and</strong> success of T. C. Craighead<br />

& Company. Annita J. Holt joined the company<br />

as a secretary in 1972 <strong>and</strong> eventually became a<br />

vice president <strong>and</strong> office manager. Craighead’s<br />

elder son, Tommy Don, worked summers<br />

<strong>and</strong> school breaks until graduating from the<br />

University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> in 1972 <strong>and</strong> the<br />

University of North Carolina in 1973. He then<br />

joined the company full time, ultimately becoming<br />

executive vice president.<br />

As the oil <strong>and</strong> gas brokerage business<br />

continued to grow, additional people were<br />

brought into the firm <strong>and</strong> trained to do title<br />

work. These included R. D. Williams, Martha<br />

Graybill, Vernon L. Smith <strong>and</strong> Terry E. Harris,<br />

all of whom ultimately left to manage their own<br />

companies. Terry Dodge joined the firm <strong>and</strong><br />

eventually became vice president of l<strong>and</strong><br />

operations. Mel Van Craighead was hired as a<br />

broker <strong>and</strong> remained with the firm as interoffice<br />

liaison. Judy Kenaga was the company’s first<br />

accountant, <strong>and</strong> ran that department for years.<br />

Lana Jayne Craighead Martin, initially hired as<br />

a secretary, was soon in charge of accounts<br />

payable. Her husb<strong>and</strong>, Steve, established <strong>and</strong><br />

ran the I. T. department.<br />

Craighead, one of the founders of OU’s Energy<br />

Center, established the Tommy C. Craighead<br />

Chair of Meteorology at the University of<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, <strong>and</strong> funded the Tommy C. Craighead<br />

Geology & Geophysics Scholarship at the<br />

University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

In 2011, full time employees included 15 in<br />

the office <strong>and</strong> 3 farm h<strong>and</strong>s, with an annual<br />

payroll of $1.5 million. T. C. Craighead &<br />

Company moved to its present location at<br />

310 West Main in 1976.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 1 3



<strong>Oklahoma</strong> was still a territory in 1906, but<br />

the thriving community of Ardmore was<br />

already considered the ‘inl<strong>and</strong> cotton center of<br />

the world’ <strong>and</strong> residents were eager for better<br />

facilities, including a public library.<br />

The movement for a public library began<br />

in 1903. One of the leaders, Mrs. Hosea<br />

Townsend, was so determined that Ardmore<br />

have a library that she approached the millionaire<br />

philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was<br />

using his vast wealth to establish libraries in<br />

local communities across the nation.<br />

The philanthropist provided $15,000 for the<br />

project <strong>and</strong> ground was broken for the Ardmore<br />

Carnegie Library in 1904. The library was<br />

formally opened in September 1906 <strong>and</strong> Myrtle<br />

Jones was chosen to be the library director. She<br />

served in the position for next forty years.<br />

Jones <strong>and</strong> other library supporters managed<br />

to procure 1,300 books, including 800 from<br />

the personal library of Judge Hosea Townsend.<br />

The Oriole Study Club knocked on doors <strong>and</strong><br />

searched through their attics <strong>and</strong> contributed<br />

another 500 books. Four hundred of the books<br />

had been catalogued <strong>and</strong> shelved when the<br />

library opened for business.<br />

The citizens of Ardmore were enthusiastic<br />

supporters of the Carnegie Library from the<br />

very beginning. Circulation statistics for the<br />

first month show that 642 books were checked<br />

out, with children’s fiction leading the list.<br />

Twenty years later, in 1926, the library<br />

circulation had increased to approximately<br />

52,000 books annually. By the end of World<br />

War II, circulation had increased to nearly<br />

67,000 books annually.<br />

Esther McRuer, who earned a<br />

degree in Library Science from the<br />

University of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, succeeded<br />

Jones in 1946 <strong>and</strong> began to promote<br />

the need for a larger library to better<br />

service the citizens of Ardmore.<br />

In 1953, William Morse became<br />

library director of what was now<br />

known as the Ardmore Public<br />

Library <strong>and</strong> continued to pursue the<br />

dream of a new facility. After a tenyear<br />

struggle, a new $280,000<br />

building was opened in the fall of<br />

1963. The library also took its first<br />

steps toward becoming a multimedia<br />

center during Morse’s tenure.<br />

1 1 4 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Kay Watson Wakel<strong>and</strong> succeeded Morse in<br />

1967 <strong>and</strong> began to emphasize the idea of taking<br />

the library to the people. Other recent library<br />

directors have included Jo Ann Lauderdale<br />

1970-1979, Carolyn Franks 1979-2004, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

current director, Daniel Gibbs.<br />

The present Ardmore Public Library, located<br />

at 320 E Street Northwest was opened in 1999.<br />

The new building was made possible by a<br />

generous gift from the estate of Charles R.<br />

Smith. The library has twelve full-time <strong>and</strong> two<br />

part-time employees.<br />

The Ardmore Public Library now has more<br />

than 80,000 titles in its modern 28,000 square<br />

foot building but the libraries services have<br />

moved far beyond the circulation of books.<br />

A large collection of newspapers <strong>and</strong> magazines<br />

is available to patrons, along with audio<br />

books on CD, DVDs <strong>and</strong> music CDs. Reference<br />

materials include an extensive collection of<br />

auto repair resources.<br />

The library houses materials for genealogy<br />

research, including census <strong>and</strong> Indian rolls<br />

<strong>and</strong> the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> history collection includes<br />

photos <strong>and</strong> documents pertaining to the history<br />

of Ardmore <strong>and</strong> the region.<br />

Services provided to the public by the<br />

library include eighteen public PCs with<br />

Internet access plus Microsoft Office software<br />

<strong>and</strong> free wireless Internet connectivity. Meeting<br />

rooms, including kitchen facilities, are available<br />

for use by local organizations <strong>and</strong> copiers,<br />

printers, fax machines <strong>and</strong> notary public<br />

services are available.<br />

After more than a century of serving the<br />

citizens of Ardmore, the library remains<br />

committed to its mission to connect people<br />

with ideas, <strong>and</strong> support lifelong learning by<br />

providing reliable information resources, a<br />

well-rounded book collection, <strong>and</strong> other<br />

materials <strong>and</strong> programs that foster a literate,<br />

informed <strong>and</strong> culturally aware community.<br />

For additional information about the<br />

Ardmore Public Library, including an online<br />

library catalog, visit www.ardmorelibrary.org.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 1 5




Above: Left to right, Lawrence<br />

Forsythe <strong>and</strong> Gene Chapman.<br />

In March of 1969, Humble, now Exxon<br />

Mobil, was putting a water flood in the Dillard<br />

Field about five miles from the Forsythe home<br />

in Wilson. Lawrence Forsythe bought a two<br />

ton winch truck <strong>and</strong> let Humble know he<br />

needed to work. Two men he had worked with<br />

in the past, Ed Cavener <strong>and</strong> Arthur Bachman<br />

were superintendent <strong>and</strong> field foreman for<br />

the Hewitt Unit, <strong>and</strong> agreed to give Lawrence<br />

his first job.<br />

The company’s main business after 1976 was<br />

pulling units. They had several very dedicated<br />

employees during that time, <strong>and</strong> when the<br />

pulling units were sold in 2000, Jim Blodgett<br />

had been with the company for eighteen years.<br />

Lawana says, “He was never late <strong>and</strong> was always<br />

willing to stay as long as he was needed.”<br />

L. C. Loving soon came to work as their<br />

Rig Pusher. He stayed for ten years <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Forsythes were very fortunate to have a man of<br />

his character <strong>and</strong> work ethics.<br />

Their son, Ben, was in the Army in 1969. He<br />

served in Vietnam, returned home in 1973,<br />

<strong>and</strong> joined the company. Their son, Larry, was<br />

in high school <strong>and</strong> joined the company soon<br />

after he graduated. They both worked under<br />

many titles doing what was necessary to help<br />

make the business successful.<br />

The Forsythe’s first employees were Charles<br />

Blodgett <strong>and</strong> David Vernon. Lawrence’s wife<br />

Lawana vividly remembers those early years<br />

in the business, “Words cannot express how<br />

valuable they were in getting Forsythe Oilfield<br />

Service up <strong>and</strong> running.”<br />

1 1 6 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

In 1982 during the oil boom, there was a<br />

need for hot oilers <strong>and</strong> transports. Ben <strong>and</strong><br />

Larry talked to Stanley Watkins, the Forsythe’s<br />

nephew, <strong>and</strong> decided to buy a hot oiler <strong>and</strong><br />

hire Stanley as the operator. After years of hard<br />

work, Stanley bought the hot oilers <strong>and</strong> started<br />

his own business <strong>and</strong> is still successful today.<br />

Mary, the Forsythe’s daughter, joined Lawana<br />

in the office in 1982. She was an invaluable asset<br />

to the company <strong>and</strong> passed away on September<br />

28, 1999 as a result of breast cancer. Later,<br />

Lawrence was diagnosed with leukemia <strong>and</strong><br />

passed away on December 7, 1999. At such a<br />

difficult time the company had to make several<br />

changes, sold most of the equipment, <strong>and</strong> started<br />

a rental tool <strong>and</strong> pressure truck business.<br />

Lawana had known Joe Aycox <strong>and</strong> was familiar<br />

with his reputation as a good <strong>and</strong> honest<br />

tool man. He joined the company in 2001 as<br />

their tool salesman <strong>and</strong> is still with them today.<br />

Lawana remains active in the business <strong>and</strong><br />

plans to stay involved as long as her health<br />

allows. She has had assistance from a good<br />

friend, Sharion Ralls, in the office since 2006<br />

<strong>and</strong> gr<strong>and</strong>daughter Lynsee Brown-Bates is<br />

currently working in the office, as well.<br />

Lawrence had the privilege of not only working<br />

with <strong>and</strong> teaching his sons the business,<br />

he also had the opportunity to teach his<br />

gr<strong>and</strong>sons, Chad Brown, Josh Forsythe, Davis<br />

Forsythe, E. J. Forsythe <strong>and</strong> Colt Forsythe, <strong>and</strong><br />

nephew, Benton Goodson, how to work with<br />

integrity <strong>and</strong> pride.<br />

Lawrence believed everyone deserved a<br />

chance <strong>and</strong> in helping the town of Wilson, his<br />

church, school or anyone that was in need.<br />

Lawrence believed that the success of his<br />

company was dependent on hard work from<br />

himself <strong>and</strong> the employees he had working for<br />

him <strong>and</strong> he took every opportunity to give<br />

them the credit they deserved.<br />

Lawrence would say, “Give a man a days<br />

work for a day’s pay <strong>and</strong> they will call you<br />

back,” <strong>and</strong> this has proven to be true over the<br />

past forty-two years.<br />

Though no one can know what the future<br />

holds, Lawana’s hope, as Lawrence Forsythe’s<br />

widow, is that in the years to come the<br />

company will grow with the help of the third<br />

generation; that they will remember their<br />

“Granny <strong>and</strong> Pa” for the honest hardworking<br />

people they were, <strong>and</strong> to hold the Forsythe<br />

name up to as high a st<strong>and</strong>ard as their<br />

gr<strong>and</strong>father did.<br />

Above: Lawana <strong>and</strong> Lawrence Forsythe.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 1 7



AGENCY<br />

Right: The agency’s founder, John<br />

“Jack” Sullivan, in 1950.<br />

Below: John F. Sullivan, Jr., 1975.<br />

Founded by John “Jack” F. Sullivan, Sullivan<br />

Insurance Agency is a family owned<br />

independent agency that has been providing<br />

customers with a variety of life, personal<br />

insurance coverage needs, <strong>and</strong> commercial<br />

property <strong>and</strong> casualty coverage for over a half<br />

century in <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Jack was working for Prudential Insurance<br />

in Boston, Massachusetts when he accepted a<br />

transfer to Ardmore in 1939. Within a year,<br />

he met <strong>and</strong> married the love of his life, Ruth<br />

Pollock, on August 14, 1940. As the couple<br />

settled into family life in the area, Jack joined<br />

the United States Navy on December 8, 1941<br />

<strong>and</strong> served his country in World War II for the<br />

next fours. Upon Jack’s welcomed return to<br />

Ardmore, he founded his own independent<br />

insurance agency in 1946 <strong>and</strong> Jack Sullivan<br />

Insurance was born.<br />

The agency’s original offices were located in<br />

the Colston Building, formerly known as the<br />

Simpson Building in downtown Ardmore. Jack<br />

soon became well-known throughout the<br />

county as “the man with the plan” <strong>and</strong> the<br />

insurance agency would flourish in the decades<br />

to come.<br />

1 1 8 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Though Jack passed away in 1967, his wife<br />

Ruth continued to direct the agency until<br />

their son, John F. Sullivan, Jr., joined the<br />

group to become its leader in 1974. John<br />

graduated from Westminster College in Fulton,<br />

Missouri with a degree in Economics in 1972<br />

<strong>and</strong> a Masters in Business Administration<br />

from <strong>Oklahoma</strong> City University in 1974.<br />

From 1971 to 1973, he was a commercial<br />

casualty underwriter with the Insurance<br />

Company of North America, received his CPCU<br />

designation in 1976, <strong>and</strong> a CIC designation<br />

in 1981.<br />

John has been active in a variety of state<br />

<strong>and</strong> local associations <strong>and</strong> served on the Board<br />

of Directors of Associated Risk Managers<br />

International, Inc. from 1990 to 1999, <strong>and</strong> as<br />

its secretary from 1990 to 1992. He is currently<br />

a Director of Associated Risk Managers of<br />

Mid-America.<br />

Today, Sullivan Insurance Agency has grown<br />

to include a staff of sixteen, <strong>and</strong> welcomed the<br />

third generation of the Sullivan family when<br />

John’s daughter, Lena, joined the agency in<br />

2003 <strong>and</strong> became a partner in 2008. In 2006,<br />

after sixty years in the Colston Building, the<br />

agency was moved to its current location at 321<br />

West Broadway.<br />

It has also exp<strong>and</strong>ed across <strong>Oklahoma</strong> with<br />

branch offices in Edmond <strong>and</strong> Durant. The<br />

agency is also proud to include an outst<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

team of producers that includes Barbara<br />

Anderson, CPCU, AU; Stacy Herron; Arthur<br />

Rickets, CIC; Stacy Sullivan, CIC; Lena<br />

Sullivan, CIC; <strong>and</strong> stepson Justin Arledge.<br />

With the addition of the producers <strong>and</strong> branch<br />

offices, a new dimension has been added to<br />

the marketing <strong>and</strong> underwriting goals of the<br />

Sullivan Insurance Agency.<br />

The Sullivan Insurance Agency is a member<br />

of the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Indian Gaming Association,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Grain <strong>and</strong> Feed Association, Texas<br />

Grain <strong>and</strong> Feed Association, <strong>and</strong> the Texas Seed<br />

Trade Association.<br />

John Sullivan, Jr., <strong>and</strong> his staff<br />

in 1984.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 1 9

SWINK<br />




Right: Jarred Swink, owner of the<br />

business has over twenty years<br />

experience in heating/air conditioning<br />

<strong>and</strong> electric. He is always available to<br />

his customers <strong>and</strong> just a phone<br />

call away.<br />

Below: Swink Heating, Air<br />

Conditioning <strong>and</strong> Electric opened its<br />

doors in 2005 starting with just two<br />

employees <strong>and</strong> now employs fifteen.<br />

Thanks to the faithful customers that<br />

continue to rely on them for all of<br />

their heating, air conditioning <strong>and</strong><br />

electrical needs, they continue to grow<br />

each year.<br />

Swink Heating, Air Conditioning, <strong>and</strong> Electric<br />

offers full service air conditioning, heating <strong>and</strong><br />

electrical repair, design <strong>and</strong> installation services.<br />

On-call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a<br />

week, the company employs only state licensed<br />

technicians as they assist residential, commercial<br />

<strong>and</strong> industrial customers across the area.<br />

The company opened its doors in 2005 when<br />

owner Jarred Swink was able to utilize his<br />

previous experience with Keeton Plumbing <strong>and</strong><br />

Vernon’s Heat <strong>and</strong> Air to start his own business.<br />

Jarred grew up in the Ardmore/Lone Grove area<br />

graduating from Lone Grove High in 1992. He<br />

attended the HVAC program at the local<br />

Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Technology Center while<br />

finishing high school. From there he went on to<br />

OSU Okmulgee to obtain more knowledge in<br />

the HVAC field. It was when he returned from<br />

OSU that he began working for Vernon’s,<br />

catching on quickly <strong>and</strong> realizing that some day<br />

he wanted to pursue owning his own business.<br />

Along with the support of family <strong>and</strong> friends,<br />

starting small, <strong>and</strong> building as the years went<br />

along, Swink Heating, Air Conditioning, <strong>and</strong><br />

Electric has always been an exciting challenge,<br />

with something new to learn at every turn.<br />

Jarred’s business partner <strong>and</strong> wife, Lara, says,<br />

“Working with the customers daily is a blessing<br />

not only for our business but for our family as<br />

well. We rely on the business of our hometown<br />

to keep our business thriving <strong>and</strong> we appreciate<br />

each customer <strong>and</strong> their business.”<br />

Swink was originally located at 406 I SW in<br />

Ardmore <strong>and</strong> is now located at 14570 U.S.<br />

Highway 70 in Ardmore on the highway towards<br />

Lone Grove. Swink Heating, Air Conditioning,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Electric began with just two employees <strong>and</strong><br />

now employs fifteen full-time employees hoping<br />

to continue to grow in the upcoming years. The<br />

business has prospered thanks to community<br />

1 2 0 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

support <strong>and</strong> faithful customers, <strong>and</strong> a trusted<br />

commitment to maintaining happy customers.<br />

With three fulltime Heat <strong>and</strong> Air technicians<br />

<strong>and</strong> one dedicated installer, Swink is able to<br />

meet the dem<strong>and</strong>s of their customer’s needs.<br />

Swink Heating, Air Conditioning, <strong>and</strong><br />

Electric is an active contributor to the local<br />

schools, scholarship <strong>and</strong> memorial funds, <strong>and</strong><br />

are proud members of NATE, ADA, the Ardmore<br />

Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Kiwanis<br />

Club of Lone Grove.<br />

“Hot, Cold or Shorts on fire, Think Swink,<br />

locally owned <strong>and</strong> operated!”<br />

For more information about Swink Heating,<br />

Air Conditioning, <strong>and</strong> Electric visit the company<br />

online at www.swinkair<strong>and</strong>electric.com.<br />

Left: Swink is located at 14570 U.S.<br />

Highway 70 in Ardmore, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

The building sits on the north side of<br />

the highway, headed west towards<br />

Lone Grove.<br />

Below: Swink relies on the outst<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

technicians <strong>and</strong> their apprentices to<br />

maintain the highest st<strong>and</strong>ard in job<br />

completion. Pictured below are the<br />

important people that get the job done!<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 2 1



Clockwise, starting from top:<br />

Robert A. Hefner, c. 1940-1945.<br />

The Hefners signed an oil <strong>and</strong> gas<br />

lease which led to “our first well” in<br />

the Hewitt Oil Field, 1919. The field<br />

was later unitized, then water flooded<br />

but still producing in 2011, ninetytwo<br />

years later.<br />

Eva Johnson Hefner, 1879-1962,<br />

driving the family’s Pierce-Arrow. In<br />

the back seat wearing a sailor’s cap is<br />

“Billy” Hefner, 1915-1995. Eva is<br />

parked in front of the family’s second<br />

Ardmore home, 331 G Street<br />

Southwest, c. 1919.<br />

Opposite, top: Robert A. Hefner,<br />

president of the board of education of<br />

Ardmore, driving with his daughter<br />

Evelyn. The car was decorated for<br />

Ardmore’s Spring Parade <strong>and</strong> Fashion<br />

Show, March 25, 1917. Fellow school<br />

board passengers are Superintendent<br />

C. W. Richards, J. C. McNeese,<br />

J. C. Thompson <strong>and</strong> C. E. Ringer.<br />

Opposite, bottom: Robert A. Hefner,<br />

Ardmore in the late 1920s.<br />

He was born in a two-room house in Hunt<br />

<strong>County</strong>, Texas, <strong>and</strong> survived the hardships of<br />

his childhood to make a name for himself.<br />

Robert Alex<strong>and</strong>er Hefner (1874–1971) went on<br />

to work his way through college <strong>and</strong> law school.<br />

He became a school teacher, attorney, authority<br />

on oil <strong>and</strong> gas law, civic contributor, mayor of<br />

two cities, Justice of the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Supreme<br />

Court, <strong>and</strong> founder of an oil <strong>and</strong> gas company<br />

that has survived for more than ninety years.<br />

As a boy of 12 <strong>and</strong> 13, Hefner worked as a<br />

shepherd <strong>and</strong> lived on the dry plains of Texas,<br />

having only a muzzle-loading musket to defend<br />

the flock he was entrusted to guard from bobcats,<br />

wolves, rattlesnakes <strong>and</strong> mountain lions.<br />

His only companions were a dog <strong>and</strong> a burro.<br />

Despite the solitude <strong>and</strong> difficulties, he managed<br />

to both care for the sheep <strong>and</strong> do quite a bit of<br />

self-educating. Although he had a total of only<br />

nine months of formal schooling by the age of<br />

twenty-one, he absorbed every bit of knowledge<br />

he could thanks to a cousin who would give him<br />

her school books as she finished them. During<br />

his teenage years, he worked as a blacksmith in<br />

a small shop on the family farm <strong>and</strong> studied at<br />

night under the light of a kerosene lamp.<br />

In the best of times, the family income did<br />

not exceed $300 a year. In 1895 his father died<br />

in debt. A middle child of six, Robert alone<br />

stepped forward <strong>and</strong> agreed to provide his labor<br />

for one year while being credited $15 a month<br />

to clear the indebtedness. When he was finished,<br />

he went off to work his way through college,<br />

having only thirty-five cents to his name.<br />

His tuition at North Texas Baptist College<br />

was on credit. But he worked on weekends<br />

clearing trees <strong>and</strong> roots off farml<strong>and</strong>. His payment<br />

was to be able to chop the wood <strong>and</strong> sell<br />

it in town. By the time he got his degree, he had<br />

repaid the college. He was certified as a teacher,<br />

allowing him to work his way through the<br />

University of Texas Law School. Also, he spent<br />

one year in a post-graduate capacity as a fellow,<br />

was president of the Oratorical Association, as<br />

well as president of the Rusk Literary Society.<br />

By 1908, Hefner was married, had a child, <strong>and</strong><br />

was working as a railroad attorney. Certain litigation<br />

brought him to <strong>Carter</strong> <strong>County</strong>, where he saw<br />

opportunities with the oil industry. By 1909, he<br />

had moved to 821 B Street Northwest in Ardmore.<br />

By 1917, with three children, he <strong>and</strong> his wife,<br />

Eva, had moved to 331 G Street Southwest.<br />

He was a pioneer in the concept of severing<br />

minerals from the surface ownership of l<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong><br />

1 2 2 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

developed the ‘Hefner Mineral Grant Form’ that<br />

became the st<strong>and</strong>ard in the industry. Its language<br />

was used for decades in the document approved by<br />

the Mid-Continent Royalty Owners Association.<br />

Among the clients that he represented were<br />

Humble Oil & Refining Company, Magnolia<br />

Petroleum Company, Pure Oil Company, Gulf Oil,<br />

<strong>Carter</strong> Oil Company, Skelly Oil, Edwin Cox, Fred<br />

A. Chapman, Dillingham & Rickey, Mike Gorman,<br />

John A. Heenan, Ross Coe, Heenan & Coe,<br />

F. W. Merrick, R. F. McCrory, S. A. Mills, C. Sykes,<br />

Waco Turner, Fred E. Tucker, W. W. Woodworth,<br />

Gates Oil Company, Westheimer & Daube,<br />

D. C. Fitzgerald, Guy Harris, <strong>and</strong> Walter Neustadt.<br />

In 1911, he became the city attorney, as well<br />

as the president of the board of education.<br />

In 1919, Hefner was elected mayor of Ardmore.<br />

As Ardmore’s mayor, he improved the city’s<br />

financial position from a deficit of $9,000 in<br />

1919 to a surplus of $193,000 by 1926. Even<br />

so, the Hickory Creek Reservoir was built during<br />

this time. There were other improvements<br />

to the water <strong>and</strong> sewer systems, fair grounds,<br />

streets, police department <strong>and</strong> other services.<br />

While in Ardmore, Hefner was a director of the<br />

Peoples Building & Loan Association, president<br />

of the Chamber of Commerce <strong>and</strong> president of<br />

the Rotary Club.<br />

On the last day of 1919, using his holdings<br />

of mineral rights <strong>and</strong> surface l<strong>and</strong>s, he formed<br />

The Hefner Company.<br />

He remained mayor until he resigned to take<br />

a seat on the supreme court of the State of<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, to which he was elected in 1926.<br />

Following his time on the court, he served as<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> City’s first two-term mayor from<br />

1939-1947, leaving office at the age of seventythree.<br />

He was deeply involved with the creation<br />

of Tinker Air Force Base during World War II.<br />

Hefner’s leadership to improve <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

City’s water supply led to the building of Bluff<br />

Creek Reservoir. Following the reservoir’s<br />

completion, the city council renamed it Lake<br />

Hefner in honor of the man who saw the growing<br />

city’s needs ahead of time. Hefner Road was<br />

another honorarium, as was Lake Hefner Park.<br />

His work led him to make the acquaintance<br />

of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D.<br />

Eisenhower, Robert S. Kerr, H. E. Bailey, Admiral<br />

Chester W. Nimitz, Bob Hope, John Wayne,<br />

Martha Scott, Henry Fonda, Perle Mesta, Will<br />

Rogers, Xavier Cugat, Eddie Rickenbacker, Frank<br />

Phillips, Waite Phillips, Lord <strong>and</strong> Lady Halifax,<br />

Stanley Draper, E. K. Gaylord, Allie Reynolds,<br />

<strong>and</strong> others.<br />

He was inducted into the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Hall of<br />

Fame in 1949 <strong>and</strong> posthumously named to the<br />

National Petroleum Hall of Fame in 1992.<br />

In his nineties, Robert Alex<strong>and</strong>er Hefner<br />

would walk the halls of Hefner Middle School,<br />

so proud of his connection to the very kind of<br />

school he was never able to attend himself.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 2 3



Above: The sprawling campus situated<br />

in historic Tishomingo offers the<br />

perfect blend in education for the<br />

traditional college students as well as<br />

commuters. Easy access to all<br />

classroom buildings, the library,<br />

cafeteria <strong>and</strong> parking make it an ideal<br />

choice to begin your education.<br />

Below: Picturesque Murray State<br />

College located in Tishomingo in the<br />

scenic Texhoma region of Southern<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>. Murray State College is<br />

a comprehensive two-year school<br />

providing a ten county area a unique<br />

partnership in education <strong>and</strong> skills<br />

needed for the communities it serves.<br />

No place so close can take you so far.<br />

The history of Murray State College is<br />

closely aligned with the history of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

The school was founded as an agricultural<br />

school of secondary level on March 20, 1908<br />

during the very first legislative session of the<br />

new state of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

The school opened in October 1908 in a<br />

vacated school building provided by the city of<br />

Tishomingo. Meanwhile, eighty acres south of<br />

the city was acquired for $2,000 <strong>and</strong> deeded to<br />

the state of <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. This site would become<br />

the familiar Murray State main campus.<br />

Enrollment grew quickly <strong>and</strong> reached 100<br />

in 1909. By 1914, enrollment had increased to<br />

125 students.<br />

The central structure of the Administration<br />

Building (Murray Hall) was completed in 1910<br />

<strong>and</strong> has been enlarged <strong>and</strong> exp<strong>and</strong>ed over the<br />

years. Two new residence halls were completed<br />

in 1917.<br />

In the early days, students were taught<br />

English, mathematics, <strong>and</strong> the sciences. In<br />

addition to this basic curriculum, boys took<br />

courses in agriculture <strong>and</strong> manual training<br />

<strong>and</strong> girls were taught homemaking <strong>and</strong> home<br />

economic skills.<br />

Murray continued as a high school into the<br />

early 1920s, although a freshman year of<br />

college was added in 1922. The legislature<br />

changed the school’s name to Murray State<br />

College of Agriculture in 1924.<br />

Enrollment skyrocketed during the Great<br />

Depression of the 1930s because students were<br />

attracted by the school’s low costs. Students<br />

were allowed to work for their room, board <strong>and</strong><br />

tuition during this period.<br />

Murray State College of Agriculture opened<br />

in 1940 <strong>and</strong> the school continued to grow,<br />

especially when the GI Bill attracted hundreds<br />

of veterans following World War II.<br />

In 1974 the legislature created the Ardmore<br />

Higher Education Center. In addition, a nursing<br />

program was added in the early 1970s <strong>and</strong> became<br />

one of the schools’ most attractive programs.<br />

Today, after more than a century of progress,<br />

Murray State College serves more than 2,600<br />

students on campuses in Tishomingo <strong>and</strong><br />

Ardmore. With a faculty, staff <strong>and</strong> administration<br />

fully committed to perpetuating a quality<br />

learning environment, Murray State has a significant<br />

<strong>and</strong> lasting impact on the quality of lives<br />

for its students <strong>and</strong> the communities it serves.<br />

For more information about Murray State<br />

College, check their website at www.mscok.edu.<br />

1 2 4 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Acquired by LaWayne Jones in 1988, First<br />

Bank & Trust Co. came to the citizens of <strong>Carter</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> through the acquisition of Ardmore’s<br />

Lincoln Bank <strong>and</strong> Trust in December 1999.<br />

Located at 301 West Main Street, the bank<br />

resides in one of Ardmore’s most historic architectural<br />

l<strong>and</strong>marks.<br />

The building was constructed between 1916<br />

<strong>and</strong> 1920 with construction slowed by World<br />

War I <strong>and</strong> was originally the Ardmore Hotel,<br />

which boasted 150 rooms—100 of which had<br />

bathrooms. It also had revolving doors at the<br />

entrance that all the children played in when<br />

they came into town. The hotel was in operation<br />

until 1964. During this time, the Glider Room,<br />

a bar in the basement named for the glider pilots<br />

stationed at Ardmore Air Base, was in operation<br />

from 1922 to 1964.<br />

It was once rumored that the building almost<br />

burned down, but it was just a small fire on the<br />

roof that began when an old wooden water storage<br />

was being removed <strong>and</strong> caught fire while a<br />

worker was using a cutting torch to dismantle it.<br />

The building, made of concrete <strong>and</strong> steel, could<br />

not burn.<br />

The building’s unique penthouse suite was originally<br />

joined to the apartment below with a spiral<br />

staircase. Rented for a small fee, the suite includes<br />

a small kitchen <strong>and</strong> balcony view of Ardmore, <strong>and</strong><br />

is enjoyed by many county residents for all types<br />

of social <strong>and</strong> business gatherings.<br />

There are stories that the building has been<br />

host to some supernatural events. Sightings of<br />

unexplained bats, “cold spots” <strong>and</strong> the smell of<br />

flowers or perfume in certain areas including the<br />

barroom are just some of the strange <strong>and</strong> unexplained<br />

occurrences people still claim to have<br />

experienced today.<br />

The building, which housed a bank <strong>and</strong> several<br />

offices, was renovated to become Lincoln<br />

Center in February 1964. In December of 1999,<br />

First Bank & Trust Co. acquired the bank along<br />

with the building <strong>and</strong> has been enjoying the historic<br />

location since.<br />

First Bank & Trust Co. is headquartered in<br />

Duncan, <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong> has ten locations<br />

including three in Ardmore, as well as in<br />

Healdton, Waurika, <strong>and</strong> Norman. The bank<br />

employs 163 people, holds $496 million in<br />

assets, <strong>and</strong> serves 16,298 households with<br />

53,951 accounts.<br />

First Bank & Trust Co. supports the communities<br />

it serves through a variety of charitable <strong>and</strong><br />

community organizations including Firstar<br />

Children’s savings program, American Cancer<br />

Society, Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, March<br />

of Dimes, Cornerstone Mercy Memorial Health<br />

Center, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, SCORE,<br />

Newspapers in Education for local schools, <strong>and</strong> as<br />

a sponsor of Cornerstone Education.<br />

For more information about First Bank &<br />

Trust Co., please visit www.fb247.com.<br />

FIRST BANK &<br />

TRUST CO.<br />

Above: The Ardmore Hotel.<br />


Below: The current location of First<br />

Bank & Trust Co. at 301 West Main<br />

Street in Ardmore.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 2 5

MURPHY<br />


Milton <strong>and</strong> Claire Murphy are firmly<br />

dedicated to providing affordable housing for<br />

the residents of Dickson <strong>and</strong> the Ardmore area.<br />

Milton was the first housing code enforcement<br />

officer for the city of Ardmore <strong>and</strong> was<br />

instrumental in the demolition of nearly a<br />

hundred vacant <strong>and</strong> dilapidated houses in<br />

Ardmore. He also served as the city’s first<br />

Community Development Coordinator.<br />

Milton <strong>and</strong> Claire exp<strong>and</strong>ed the affordable<br />

housing program in 1982 by founding Murphy<br />

& Associates, Inc. <strong>and</strong> using federal Community<br />

Development grants to clear more than 800 ab<strong>and</strong>oned<br />

<strong>and</strong> vacant houses in Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> rehabbed more than 1,200 houses in the<br />

1980s <strong>and</strong> 1990s.<br />

The Murphys also developed Murphy Housing<br />

Addition to provide affordable brick homes,<br />

which were sold primarily to working families.<br />

After building approximately 300 HUD<br />

houses, Milton <strong>and</strong> Claire organized Murphy<br />

Housing LTD Corporation in 1999. They purchased<br />

130 acres close to their ranch in Dickson<br />

so they could supervise the construction <strong>and</strong><br />

provide h<strong>and</strong>s-on assistance in the decisionmaking<br />

process.<br />

Fox Engineering laid out forty-five, two-<strong>and</strong>a-half<br />

acre lots on the site of an old farm, which<br />

had become a virtual wilderness. The property<br />

was a sanctuary for wildlife <strong>and</strong> the truck driver<br />

delivering the first load of bricks encountered a<br />

trophy-sized deer. A worker was bitten by a poisonous<br />

snake when he put his h<strong>and</strong> in a water<br />

meter hole. An old barn, debris <strong>and</strong> trees were<br />

cleared <strong>and</strong> a road, now known as Dublin Drive,<br />

was constructed in front of the first five lots.<br />

Other street names took on Irish ancestors’<br />

names with construction of one-<strong>and</strong>-a-quarter<br />

miles with street names of Waterford<br />

Drive, Killarney Lake Road, Wexford<br />

Drive—these names came from Irel<strong>and</strong>,<br />

where the Murphy clan originated.<br />

More than a hundred people were<br />

involved at some stage of construction.<br />

Charles Brooks provided construction<br />

oversight. Danny Brooks provided CHA<br />

for all houses. Clay Battles <strong>and</strong> Mike<br />

McCoy worked on framing <strong>and</strong> finishing<br />

the houses, <strong>and</strong> Debbie Taylor at the<br />

local DEQ provided inspections for<br />

sewer systems. The Murphys supervised<br />

the location of water <strong>and</strong> sewer to each<br />

home site.<br />

Milton <strong>and</strong> Claire Murphy invested<br />

more than $325,000 to develop the fortyfive<br />

lots where affordable brick homes of<br />

1,300–2,700 square feet were constructed.<br />

Presently, only five lots are left.<br />

1 2 6 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

FERRAL<br />

HOWARD<br />


Founded in 1967 by Ferral <strong>and</strong> W<strong>and</strong>a<br />

Howard in Lubbock, Texas, Ferral Howard<br />

Construction first began to grow when several<br />

projects required Ferral’s expertise in the masonry<br />

business. As word of the company spread<br />

across the area, the couple began receiving contracts<br />

for work at Fort Wolters, a nearby military<br />

base <strong>and</strong> helicopter training facility during the<br />

Vietnam War. Located at Mineral Wells,<br />

Texas, the couple eventually moved to the<br />

area <strong>and</strong> Ferral continued to hone his<br />

masonry skills. When the Vietnam conflict<br />

ended in 1973, the base began scaling<br />

back to prepare for peacetime.<br />

By now a highly skilled masonry contractor,<br />

Ferral soon began bidding for<br />

projects near his birthplace at Cheek,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, a close-knit farming community<br />

southwest of Ardmore. Ferral’s mother,<br />

Mattie, had originally founded a church<br />

at Cheek in the 1950s. The church, which<br />

still exists today, is led by Ferral’s younger<br />

brother, Pastor Wayne Howard.<br />

As business picked up in the area, the<br />

couple bought a home in Ardmore in<br />

1973 <strong>and</strong> eventually incorporated their<br />

company in 1979. In 1983 the company<br />

began to pursue the masonry business<br />

<strong>and</strong> later, general contract projects. In<br />

1984 the company transitioned into its new<br />

work as a General Contractor.<br />

Today, Ferral Howard Construction remains<br />

a family-run business pursuing commercial<br />

<strong>and</strong> industrial projects across <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> into North Texas. The Howards remain<br />

actively involved in their church, The Country<br />

Tabernacle, at Cheek.<br />

Above: In 1996, the Daily<br />

Ardmoreite featured this photograph<br />

of Ferral Howard as he admired a<br />

new Works Projects Administration<br />

display at the Greater Southwest<br />

Historical Museum in Ardmore. The<br />

tools in the display were used in the<br />

construction of Lake Murray in 1938<br />

by crews that included Ferral’s father.<br />

Below: Ferral <strong>and</strong> W<strong>and</strong>a Howard.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 2 7



Thad Day, Sr., <strong>and</strong> crew started their<br />

work in the concrete <strong>and</strong> masonry<br />

business nearly a century ago.<br />

Pictured from left of the mixer are<br />

Charlie Jones, Clyde Day, Ben Day<br />

(boy), Spence Wilson, <strong>and</strong> Thad Day,<br />

Sr. Pictured from right of the mixer<br />

are Cleve Day, Dutch Wilson, Jess<br />

Day, Royce Day, <strong>and</strong> Vernon Wilson.<br />

In Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> when anyone thinks<br />

of concrete the Day name comes to mind.<br />

Joseph Thad Day, Sr., started in the concrete<br />

<strong>and</strong> masonry business in the 1920s in Ardmore.<br />

He did it the hard way by shoveling the s<strong>and</strong>,<br />

cement, rock <strong>and</strong> water into a h<strong>and</strong> turned<br />

mixer. He would spend weekends going to creek<br />

beds <strong>and</strong> loading s<strong>and</strong> by shovel to stock pile for<br />

the jobs he had lined up to do. Bagged cement<br />

came in by boxcar at the railroad tracks, which<br />

was loaded on a flatbed truck <strong>and</strong> taken to his<br />

work yard. In the 1940s, Thad bought a tractor<br />

to lighten his work load. Evidence of his hard<br />

work can be seen all over Southern <strong>Oklahoma</strong> in<br />

sidewalks, streets, rock buildings <strong>and</strong> homes.<br />

In 1957, Joseph Thad Day, Jr., returned to<br />

Ardmore after finishing college <strong>and</strong> serving two<br />

years in the United States Army. He had been<br />

thinking about going into the concrete business.<br />

His brothers, uncles <strong>and</strong> cousins were all part of<br />

the concrete <strong>and</strong> masonry business, so Thad<br />

decided he would put in a concrete block manufacturing<br />

company. There had been a concrete<br />

block company in Ada, where Thad had gone to<br />

college, <strong>and</strong> it was very successful. With hard<br />

work, a strong faith in God, <strong>and</strong> endless determination,<br />

Thad started his business. Later, he<br />

added the Ready-Mix Concrete.<br />

Wanting to retire <strong>and</strong> take it easy, Thad <strong>and</strong><br />

wife, Jerri, decided it was time for their sons Roger<br />

<strong>and</strong> Rod Day to step in <strong>and</strong> take control. Roger<br />

<strong>and</strong> Rod had worked in the business from the<br />

time they were in middle school <strong>and</strong> remained<br />

active in it through high school <strong>and</strong> college.<br />

Today, the Day brothers have taken the business<br />

to new levels. They have torn down the old <strong>and</strong><br />

added the new, which now includes the latest in<br />

automated technology for the concrete industry.<br />

Located at 1401 Monroe Northeast in Ardmore,<br />

the company offers a wide range of materials<br />

including ready-mix concrete, rock, blow s<strong>and</strong>,<br />

pea gravel, concrete blocks, screenings, masonry<br />

s<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> sack cement, concrete waste material,<br />

driveway materials, <strong>and</strong> patio blocks.<br />

Over the years, Day Concrete <strong>and</strong> Block has<br />

been built on prayer <strong>and</strong> a strong faith in the<br />

Lord to provide <strong>and</strong> to be in control of everything.<br />

To God Be the Glory!<br />

1 2 8 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

Hughes Family Dental in Ardmore is dedicated<br />

to providing patients with the best dentistry<br />

has to offer. By listening <strong>and</strong> caring for<br />

your concerns, Dr. Hughes <strong>and</strong> his staff hope to<br />

build a relationship based on honesty <strong>and</strong> trust.<br />

We believe a healthy smile is a beautiful smile.<br />

Dr. Hughes, a graduate of the Baylor University<br />

College of Dentistry, practiced dentistry for a<br />

year in Healdton, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, before opening<br />

a practice in Ardmore in 1969 at 217 Second<br />

Avenue Northwest. The practice is still located in<br />

that original location.<br />

In the early days, Dr. Hughes practiced with<br />

his childhood dentist, Dr. L. K. Turnbull, who<br />

inspired him to study <strong>and</strong> become a dentist.<br />

In 1974 a friend <strong>and</strong> former classmate, Dr. Tom<br />

Howorth, encouraged Dr. Hughes to train at the<br />

L. D. Pankey Institute in Miami. “The purpose<br />

of this institute is to educate dentists in the<br />

methods of optimal whole mouth diagnosis,<br />

treatment planning <strong>and</strong> restoration,” says<br />

Dr. Hughes. “It promotes comprehensive oral<br />

health treatment <strong>and</strong> is individualized for the<br />

patient’s highest well being <strong>and</strong> provided in a<br />

truly caring way that respects the dignity <strong>and</strong><br />

concerns of the patient.”<br />

In 1977, Dr. Hughes became a member of<br />

the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) <strong>and</strong><br />

has maintained his membership over the years.<br />

In addition to the requirements of continuing<br />

education required for licensure in <strong>Oklahoma</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> Texas, AGD membership requires an<br />

additional seventy-five hours of study every<br />

three years. Dr. Hughes obtained his Fellowship<br />

in the Academy of General Dentistry, which<br />

requires 500 hours of prescribed dental courses<br />

<strong>and</strong> successful completion of a comprehensive<br />

examination. Dr. Hughes is also a member<br />

of the American Dental Association, the<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> Dental Society, <strong>and</strong> the Arbuckle<br />

Dental Society.<br />

At Hughes Family Dental,<br />

the procedures, instruments<br />

<strong>and</strong> techniques are state-ofthe-art.<br />

With features such as<br />

the Cerec 3 System, drill-less<br />

dentistry, an on-premise lab,<br />

digital x-rays <strong>and</strong> mercury-free<br />

fillings, Dr. Hughes is able to<br />

provide safer, more convenient,<br />

long-lasting <strong>and</strong> comfortable<br />

dentistry for the entire family.<br />

The staff includes two dental<br />

assistants, a dental hygienist<br />

<strong>and</strong> an office manager. Together,<br />

they have more than forty years<br />

combined experience.<br />

For more information about<br />

Dr. Hughes <strong>and</strong> Hughes Family Dental, check<br />

our website at www.robertvhughesdds.com.<br />


DENTAL<br />

ROBERT V.<br />


INC. FAGD<br />

Above: Robert V. Hughes DDS.<br />

S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e ✦ 1 2 9



Located just off Interstate 35, the Comfort<br />

Inn & Suites Hotel provides convenient access<br />

to such major attractions as the Hardy Murphy<br />

Coliseum, Ardmore Convention Center <strong>and</strong><br />

Lake Murray State Park & Lodge.<br />

Outdoor enthusiasts will delight in the multitude<br />

of recreation areas only fifteen miles<br />

away at Lake Texhoma. Whether you want to<br />

golf, swim, hike or bike, this recreational area<br />

offers something for everyone.<br />

Guests enjoy a variety of special features at<br />

Comfort Inn & Suites, including a free breakfast<br />

with hot waffles, free Wi-Fi <strong>and</strong> high-speed<br />

Internet access, free daily newspaper, free local<br />

calls <strong>and</strong> free coffee in the lobby.<br />

Whether you are traveling on business or<br />

pleasure, you will find services <strong>and</strong> amenities to<br />

make your visit more pleasurable. A 100 percent<br />

smoke-free hotel, Comfort Inn & Suites provides<br />

banquet <strong>and</strong> meeting rooms, a business<br />

center with copy <strong>and</strong> fax machines, an exercise<br />

room, a convenience store <strong>and</strong> guest laundry.<br />

The comfortable rooms at Comfort Inn &<br />

Suites include cable/satellite television, DVD<br />

players, hair dryers, in-room coffee maker, individual<br />

air conditioning <strong>and</strong> heat, iron <strong>and</strong> ironing<br />

board, pillow-top mattresses, down pillows <strong>and</strong><br />

refrigerators. Guests may relax in the indoor heated<br />

pool or enjoy the indoor Whirlpool hot tub.<br />

Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel is located at<br />

410 Railway Express Street in Ardmore.<br />

DAYS INN<br />


The Days Inn at 2614 West Broadway in<br />

Ardmore combines comfort <strong>and</strong> convenience<br />

with economy.<br />

Guests enjoy spacious rooms with cable<br />

television, hair dryers, safe deposit boxes <strong>and</strong><br />

many other amenities. King rooms include a<br />

sofa, <strong>and</strong> rollaways <strong>and</strong> cribs are available on<br />

request. Suites are available for those requiring<br />

additional space.<br />

All guests enjoy a free continental breakfast.<br />

There is free parking, with special RV<br />

or truck parking, <strong>and</strong> h<strong>and</strong>icapped rooms<br />

are available.<br />

The Days Inn Ardmore is conveniently located<br />

near a number of local attractions. The Eliza<br />

Cruce Hall Doll Museum is only a mile away,<br />

Heritage Hall is only two miles away, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Goodard Centre for the Arts is three miles away.<br />

The Arbuckle Wilderness <strong>and</strong> Turner Falls Park<br />

are only twenty miles away.<br />

1 3 0 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y


Ardmore Chamber of Commerce/Ardmore Development Authority/Ardmore Tourism Authority...................................................94<br />

Ardmore Higher Education Center .............................................................................................................................................102<br />

Ardmore Public Library ..............................................................................................................................................................114<br />

Boys & Girls Club of Wilson <strong>and</strong> Ardmore...................................................................................................................................87<br />

Brady Welding & Machine Shop, Inc............................................................................................................................................96<br />

The Chickasaw Nation .................................................................................................................................................................76<br />

Chapman Brothers, LLC ...............................................................................................................................................................84<br />

Chickasaw Regional Library........................................................................................................................................................104<br />

Tom & Kim Coble ........................................................................................................................................................................67<br />

Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel/Days Inn Ardmore ..........................................................................................................................130<br />

Day Concrete & Block Company................................................................................................................................................128<br />

Dolman Law Firm ........................................................................................................................................................................91<br />

Elmbrook Management Company.................................................................................................................................................67<br />

Ferral Howard Construction.......................................................................................................................................................127<br />

First Bank & Trust Co. ...............................................................................................................................................................125<br />

Forsythe Oilfield Service, Inc......................................................................................................................................................116<br />

Greater Southwest Historical Museum ..........................................................................................................................................83<br />

Guest Inn .....................................................................................................................................................................................80<br />

The Hefner Company, Inc...........................................................................................................................................................122<br />

Hewitt Mineral Corporation .........................................................................................................................................................92<br />

Hughes Family Dental/Robert V. Hughes DDS, Inc. FAGD ..........................................................................................................129<br />

J&D Hauling ................................................................................................................................................................................67<br />

Don & Elva Jackson .....................................................................................................................................................................67<br />

Joe Brown Company, Inc. .............................................................................................................................................................98<br />

Lewis Magneto & Supply Co., Inc. .............................................................................................................................................106<br />

Mercy Memorial Health Center.....................................................................................................................................................88<br />

Murphy Housing, Ltd.................................................................................................................................................................126<br />

Murray State College ..................................................................................................................................................................124<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong> State Horseshoeing School.........................................................................................................................................108<br />

Otey Johnson Foundation/Ardmore Institute of Health.................................................................................................................74<br />

Otey Johnson Properties, Inc. .......................................................................................................................................................73<br />

The Quintin Little Company, Inc. .................................................................................................................................................68<br />

Ringling Enterprises, Inc./Rockl<strong>and</strong> Oil Company ......................................................................................................................110<br />

Sullivan Insurance Agency..........................................................................................................................................................118<br />

Swink Heating, Air Conditioning, <strong>and</strong> Electric ...........................................................................................................................120<br />

T. C. Craighead & Company .....................................................................................................................................................112<br />

TriPower Resources, LLC ............................................................................................................................................................100<br />

Tripledee Drilling Company .........................................................................................................................................................72<br />

S p o n s o r s ✦ 1 3 1


B O B<br />

B U R K E<br />

Bob Burke has authored more historical non-fiction books about <strong>Oklahoma</strong> than anyone in history. He was born in Broken Bow,<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, <strong>and</strong> now practices law <strong>and</strong> writes books in <strong>Oklahoma</strong> City. Burke graduated with a journalism degree from the University<br />

of <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong> a law degree from <strong>Oklahoma</strong> City University.<br />

Burke has written on such diverse topics as baseball, aviation, art, <strong>and</strong> religion in <strong>Oklahoma</strong>. His biographies of Wiley Post <strong>and</strong><br />

books on the history of baseball in <strong>Oklahoma</strong> <strong>and</strong> about the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> governor’s mansion have won the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Book Award. His<br />

biography of Bryce Harlow was named the “outst<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>Oklahoma</strong> history book of the year” by the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Historical Society. His<br />

book about the life of Ralph Ellison was nominated as a 2005 <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Reads <strong>Oklahoma</strong> book selection. Also in 2005, his book<br />

about traveling <strong>Oklahoma</strong> timber towns was named “book of the year” by the <strong>Oklahoma</strong> Museum Association.<br />

E R I C<br />

D A B N E Y<br />

Eric was born <strong>and</strong> raised in Kremlin, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, <strong>and</strong> received his undergraduate <strong>and</strong> graduate degrees from the University of Central<br />

<strong>Oklahoma</strong>, where he now serves as an adjunct professor in the College of Education.<br />

He is the series editor for Bob Burke’s Commonwealth Publishing, is a contributing writer of over thirty publications of Lammert Inc.’s<br />

Historic Publishing Network, <strong>and</strong> is the co-author of Fearless Flight: The Adventures of Wiley Post, Historic South Carolina, Historic Rogers<br />

<strong>County</strong>, <strong>and</strong> The Life of Bill Paul. Eric <strong>and</strong> his wife have three daughters <strong>and</strong> live near Guthrie, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>.<br />

1 3 2 ✦ H I S T O R I C C A R T E R C O U N T Y

$34.95<br />



About the Cover<br />

The charcoal drawing cover of this book by artist Daniel<br />

Hacker is a reflective look into the past of East Main Street,<br />

Ardmore, <strong>Oklahoma</strong>, more commonly known as “The Stolfa<br />

Hardware Co.” This block of properties was purchased in 2006<br />

with the mission of “Preserving the Past & Creating the Future.”<br />

Owners Bob Drake <strong>and</strong> the late Kay Drake have invested a great<br />

deal of financial resources. Their resources paired with the vision<br />

of Jerold W. Wells, Jr., <strong>and</strong> S<strong>and</strong>ra Wells has made this mission a<br />

reality as demonstrated by the photo above.<br />

This book cover was underwritten by Bob Drake on behalf of<br />

the late Kay Drake. Kay was very passionate regarding history.<br />

She left behind a legacy of enthusiasm for historical items<br />

<strong>and</strong> property. She believed in preserving the past <strong>and</strong> the<br />

importance of educating future generations of local history. She<br />

will be missed dearly.<br />

ISBN: 9781935377856<br />

Historical Publishing Network

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