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Duchess & Oakie's NW Corner

Oct. 2004 Sun reflection on Colorado clouds the night of the lunar eclipse

Vol 6, Iss 44 Bayfield, Colorado - The weather here in SW Colorado is great! Even the sunset casts it's colors in this shot of the evening clouds to the north. This was the same evening that some of you might have caught a glimpse of the eclipse of the moon later in the evening in other parts of the world, but not here in this part of Colorado, because of the clouds in the eastern skies that covered the sighting.

There are great views as You look to the northern, western mountain Deer grazing in front yardpeaks to view the snow accumulating at the higher elevations. Also, the deer have been coming down regularly to the lower pastures to graze around here during the early dawn and dusk hours. Hunters are popping up around here, also. As for this deer-watching writer, I take my shots of deer with a digital camera with telephoto lens. Duchess alerts me with her unique woof-woof to the presence of the beautiful creatures that have come to graze in our front yard. BUT... alas! Duchess has to remain inside while I venture slowly outside to shoot a few shots of these stately creatures.

Enough of this beautiful Colorado wild life and scenery, though.

Celebration of Thelma's Life... We heard sadly from the family of Thelma DeGeer Lippincott this week. There was a Celebration of Thelma's Life, in Benicia, California, Thursday, October 28, 2004, 2:00 p.m. You see Thelma Evelyn DeGeer Lippincott, born in Freedom, Oklahoma to Renfrew and Josie James DeGeer, died peacefully as she laid down early, in her sleep on Friday, October 22, 2004, at 7:25 p.m. at the Napa Nursing Center. Thelma had celebrated her 100th birthday only a few months ago, June 4, 1904, with family and friends. She left her family and friends with 100 years of memories and legacies of her life here on earth.

Do you believe in ghosts and haunted mountains... there is a story in Scott Cummins book, Musings of the Pilgrim Bard, pg 253-302, called Reminescenses of the Early Days that I have been engrossed in on this Friday. That's why this newsletter is late getting written and sent to the presses. We truely think you will like this early day story of that is told around Flower Mountain near Medicine Lodge, Kansas back in 1849. My intention was to do this whole thing about ghost towns, spirits of Oklahoma, but I got side-tracked reading this Scott Cummins story. So... here it is transcribed for you all who do not have Cummins' Musing of the Plgrim Bard book. Enjoy and Happy Halloween! May the "Great Spirit" and "White Spirit of the Whirlwind" protect you from the ghost and goblins that come calling this weekend.

Speaking of ghosts and ghost towns in Oklahoma... has anyone ever heard of "Nowhere, Oklahoma?" One of our readers sent me a photo of a group posing in front of what seems to be a water tower or whatever at Nowhere, Oklahoma. Is it for real? Where exactly is Nowhere anyway? Is this where most of Okies came from?

McKinney, Texas More Red Hat Ladies... Another of our readers sent us via snail-mail this clipping and photo of McKinney, Texas' Red Hat Ladies. It seems that this northern Texas community has five registered chapters of the Red Hat Ladies: Red Hat Momma's, Ripe Tomatoes, Grand Texan Bells and Heritage Red Toppers. Here's the article - Hats off to the Ladies in Red & Pink that went with the photo. Click the photo to view the larger picture of the Red Hat Ladies. Our hats are off to these ladies of the Red Hat Society.

NSTC 1937 Ranger Album -- has been added to at OkieLegacy.net with more transcriptions from the Ranger album. Don't forget to check it out. We still have a few pages to transcribe, and maybe by November, 2004 we can get the 1937 yearbook done.

AND... that brings us to the last week of October and here we sit trying to figure out where September and October of 2004 have gone. That only means one thing -- that Thanksgiving & Christmas are creeping upon us quickly. Also... It is that time of year to Fall back and set our clocks back an hour from Daylight Time to Standard Time. BUT... that ain't so bad, because we get an extra hour of rest Sunday, 2:00 a.m. Don't forget to set you clocks back earlier this Sunday morning!

Enjoy this festive weekend and do Not forget to go to the polls this coming Tuesday, November 2, 2004 and cast your VOTE! This is the most important election! The United States of America needs your Support and Vote! Protect and exercise your rights. We ALL have a Choice! Your Vote does make a difference! Do NOT let anyone tell you it doesn't! We Can Do Better -- AND...We will! Thanks

See Y'all next weekend with more Okie Legacies! ~~ Linda "oaKie" & Duchess ~~ View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Duchess & Oakie's NW Corner

Vol 6, Iss 43 Colorado -

With Halloween just around the bend, have you decided what your costume will be to greet the ghosts, goblins and spirits that come calling this year? We would love to know and need some suggestions for ourselves! Duchess and I thought about switching skins -- BUT... that would get a little messy! Anyone have any other ideas for Halloween costumes?

Speaking of Spirits & Halloween... One of our readers suggested for this Halloween season that we might keep the "Spirit" alive and highlight some of the ghost towns of Oklahoma (or ghost towns in your area). If the spirits of our ancestors and small ghost towns could tell us something about their past today, what would they be saying? Would the spirits give us some insights into the mysteries that they left behind? Would Mabel Oakes spirit of 1910 give us all another side to the Old Opera House Murder in Alva, Oklahoma? Would the 1956 spirit of Mildred Ann Reynolds that lingers, haunts the Old Avard Gym, in Avard, Oklahoma give us some clue as to who her killer might have been? OR... will we have to wait until some witness on their deathbed leaves us a clue in future years?

Then there is the mysterious glowing tombstone and flashing red light that Alva teenagers use to view from the vantage point on the east side of the Alva swimming pool. We would love to know if today's kids still know about this tradition.

AND... What about the man that attended a Saturday night party in Avard in 1920's or 1930's and became quite inebriated. When he left the party he headed west and ended up in the Avard Lake without anyone knowing his whereabouts for awhile until they found his body and car at the bottom of the lake. Is his spirit one of those that haunts the Old Avard Gym, in northwest Oklahoma?

If you have a particular ghost town that you would like to see highlighted, please send it along. Thanks for all your help and suggestions! Meanwhile... checkout the Mailbag Corner for these and other ghostly spirits, glowing tombstones and spooklights. Especially, about the mysterious spooklight (also known as Devil's Promenade) that has a nomadic history that may go back over 100 years in an area on either side of the Missouri-Oklahoma line, about three miles west of Hornet, a small community south of Joplin.

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Oakie's NW Corner

NW Okie (Linda)

Vol 5, Iss 16 OKC, Oklahoma -

Do you believe in Ghosts? There are a few ghosts that haunt a certain location in Avard, Oklahoma. Some say the Old Avard Gym is a portal for those ghosts that haunt that area.

I am not sure what all buildings have occupied that place where the Old Avard Gym is now. Vina Rae's Grill & Graze Cafe occupies a part of the Old Gym at the present. If you are ever in the Avard area, stop by and chat with Nan while you graze during your lunch hour. There resides some interesting stories and ghosts with unfinished, unsettling business.

One of those ghosts is the charred, smell of the young lady that was charred to death in a fiery car incident on a lonely country road (Old Avard road) one mile south of Hopeton and 2.7 miles west of highway 281, about 1.25 miles from Mildred Ann Reynold's home near Avard. One of her legs was completely burnt off at the knee.

Mildred Ann (Newlin) Reynolds, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Newlin, Lambert, Oklahoma, was born December 25, 1933 and died 13 March 1956, 1:40 p.m. at the age of 22. Mildred Ann was a petite (5' 2", 100 lb.) nice looking, young lady and a senior attending Northwestern State College. College faculty described her as "rather shy" and a good student.

Mildred Ann Newlin married R. D. "Dee" Reynolds nine months before her violent , fiery death. Dee Reynolds was a basketball coach and teacher at the Avard High School and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Homer Reynolds of Freedom, Oklahoma. Mildred had a brother, Eddie Newlin. Mildred's body was burned beyond recognition inside a 1949 Chevrolet Tudor Sedan. Her body was lying across the frontseat with her head away from the steering wheel. The question is Why and Was it Murder or an accident?

I would like to thank all of you who have come to my assistance and helped supply me with death dates, and other information. I have started a Cast of Characters, News Clippings on the Unsolved Mystery of Ann Reynolds' Death. As you read through it, if you know of something, someone who might have some factual clues and would like to help the ghost of Mildred Ann Reynolds find the answers to this unsolved crime, I would love to hear from you. I want to assure you that if you would prefer to remain anonymous, I will protect your confidentiality. Just let me know.

I am going to leave you here to view the Readers Mailbag and contemplate some of the evidence as reported in the local Newspapers of 1956 and Steve Gilbert's Study of the case. Was this an accident or murder? There have been lots of rumors, gossip about this case, but nothing that can be published -- An intriguing, suspicous, fiery death of a young lady, married for nine months and a Northwestern College senior on her way back home to Avard about 13 miles SW of Alva. Some reported that she left Alva around 12:30 p.m. after having lunch with her 18 year-old nephew, Jim Hucklebee.

Thanks for helping us with our 1956 Unsolved Mystery. Here is hoping you have a Good Friday and Happy Easter! This is also the 8th Anniversary Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building Bombing (19 April 1995) in Oklahoma City and a Memorial to those who died.

Have a great Easter weekend. See you all next weekend. Thanks for your help this week.

~~ Linda "oaKie" ~~

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Oakie's NW Corner

Puppy Duchess

Vol 5, Iss 15 Alva, Oklahoma - Besides history breaking Wednesday of this week, I have been busy training, caring for my new Li'l Pug puppy (Duchess) who turned 8 weeks this weekend. It's kind of like taking care of a new born infant. She eats, sleeps, plays and wakes me up about every 3 or 4 hours at night time to go outside and take care of business. We fixed up a dog crate for her sleeping area. She has taken to it quite nicely.

She seems like a playful, curious, nosy and quick learner that wants to please most of the time. We have become quite attached to each other. She is a sweetie! I have been doing some reading. Did you know that puppies do not get control of their bladders until around 10 weeks of age?

Enough about that, though! Brrrrrr... But it was chilly here in Oklahoma on Monday and Tuesday of this week with temperatures in the freezing range and parts of Northern Oklahoma saw a few small snow flakes. By Wednesday the temperatures rose back into the 50s, though. Thursday and Friday we were back in the mid-70s and low 80s.

Are you ready for an unsolved mystery? I have another NW Oklahoma Mystery for you all. This one takes place in the mid-1950s. Perhaps anywhere around 1955 to 1957 or later. It concerns a suspicious, fiery car incident that burned a young woman to death on an Avard road. I do not have all the facts yet, BUT... the young lady (Ann Newlin Reynolds) was from Lambert, Oklahoma, in Alfalfa County and attending college at Northwestern. Ann was married at the time.

A friend and devoted reader of The Okie Legacy told me that Ann Newlin Reynolds died sometime around 1957 or so in a suspicious car fire near the small, rural community of Avard. I was also told that Ann was a sister to Ed Newlin and daughter of A. B. Newlin from the Lambert, Oklahoma area in Alfalfa county. I do not know how true this next bit of info is, BUT... someone told me that Ann could be one of the ghosts that haunts the Old Gym in Avard, Oklahoma.

No arrests were ever made in the case. At one time her husband was a prime suspect. BUT... we do NOT know that for a fact. I hope you are ready for another NW OK Unsolved Mystery? I need your help in this one. I am searching right now for the death date of Ann Newlin Reynolds and news clippings, obits, etc... to shed some light on this over 40 year old unsolved mystery.

If any of this information jogs any of your memory cells and if you could help us piece together this NW OK Unsolved Mystery, drop me an email at paristimes@earthlink.net. If Ann is one of the ghosts that haunts the Avard area, maybe we can help her spirit find a resting place on the other side. Thanks for any help, research you can pass along this way.

Before I head out of here and let you browse The Okie Legacy site, a reader sent me the following quote that I find quite interesting. I don't know exactly if it is a quote by John F. Kennedy, but... to me -- the words, meaning rings true about our United States and its destiny.

"We in this country, in this generation, are by destiny rather than choice the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of peace on earth, goodwill toward men." -- John F. Kennedy (from a speech that was never delivered, due to Kennedy's death)

Here's wishing you have a great weekend of rest. I am going to be out in the pasture with my horses this sunny, Spring weekend. See you next week -- Same time or maybe earlier!

~~ Linda "oaKie" ~~

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Weather Dog Report...

Vol 6, Iss 18

"Wait three days and the weather will eventually change. That is what it did this week. AND... we have been having our April Showers plus our sunny days. It was a beautiful Monday afternoon for the Alva Mural Society's hamburger fry & ice cream social last Monday, April 26th, 2004.

Yes!... You all can view all the photos that I managed to snap of those who came out to watch the artist, Don Gray, paint on Alva's new mural on the Professional building. We have placed those snapshots on our NW OkieLegacy webshots. Just click on "Share Bros. Mural - Profession bldg." Check it out and glimpse of few of those helping out and those that stopped by to taste the goodies and view the artist at work. Want to see it as a Slideshow? You might catch a glimpse of Fred Neuman, Jim Richey, Don Gray, Dan Shorter, Jack Moore, and many other Alva citizens. There are also some pictures in there of the Runnymede Hotel that is in the process of being renovated. The homemade ice cream was delicious. The hamburgers looked meaty, delicious... but I passed on those.

We have been hearing more about K101 Radio morning show and the talk of the Ann Reynolds Mystery. I have not had a chance to tune in yet, but I have heard from a few people that have told me that the K101 DJ's have been talking about it for the last few days. Have you heard it yet? It sounds like they have talked to someone who was a neighbor of Ann's. They have even talked to a man whose father was undersheriff of Woods County at the time (March, 1956). What was most on their mind was... Was it Murder? What really happened that day? Don't forget some of NW Oklahoma's other Mystery - Old Opera House Murder. Strange things can happen everyday in this "neck of the Woods."

This writer would like to know if this "cold" case (Ann Reynolds murder) was a cover-up or just a flubbed investigation by officials in this NW Oklahoma county. Was there a conspiracy of some sort? I am assuming that the Statute of Limitations does not run out in a murder trial. Will it ever be solved? Will the ghost of Ann Reynolds ever be at rest... or.... will it haunt the Avard, Woods county area until the last old timers take the truth to their graves? I would like to read their memoirs!

We got out our Home Comfort Cookbook this week and scanned more of it's pages to our NW OkieLegacy Webshots. You can now read about How to Construct, Hook-up the Home Comfort Range -- read some Home Comfort Recipes that came with the book. Next week I plan to scan some Home Comfort Hints. The Home Comfort Cookbook says the secret of good cooking is to be a critical judge -- know excellent cooking from poor cooking; find a fascination in the science, and become thoroughly familiar with "what, and what not to do;" find a genuine pleasure in the practice -- mastering the basic recipes and the operation and control of your Range -- and above all, "Think."

Northwest Oklahoma & Fowitz Mortuary of 1929... Does anyone out there have any knowledge of the Fowitz Mortuary that was in the Alva area around 1929? Someone in the Mailbag Corner is looking for some funeral records of her great-grandfather, William Washington Gilbert, who died around 1929.

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NW Okie's Corner

Vol 7, Iss 43 This being the last weekend of October 2005 -- The weekend that most of us fall back an hour (time-wise) -- AND... a weekend that the orbs, spirits will be making the rounds haunting their old stomping grounds, we decided to drive up Middle Mountain here in SW Colorado and catch these golden Aspens we found as we look towards Vallecito Lake.

Speaking of Spirits... Do you believe in ghosts? If you are near Avard, Oklahoma this Saturday, October 29, around 9:00 p.m., stop by Vina Rae's Cafe at the old Gym to participate in a haunting tour. AND... IF you happen to come in contact with the ghost of Ann Reynolds that died in a mysterious, fiery death, ask her who caused her death on that dreadful day in March of 1956.

IF you happen to tune into OETA (PBS station) on October 25th or 30th (11:30a.m.), catch their Stateline article of "Things That Go Thump In Oklahoma." We do not get OETA's PBS channel here in SW Colorado, so we are having a friend tape the show for us. Thanks!

If you venture to Avard this Saturday, October 29th, ask the Wheatley's about the ghosts that haunt the old gym and use it as a safe portal until they cross to the other side. Also, you might hear how Ann Reynold's ghost was seen and described as coming through the south doors of the Avard Cafe (Old Gym) in Avard, Oklahoma one day and pausing momentarily before floating through the opposite wall, leaving behind a stinch of something burning.

Ann Reynolds was a young woman who died under mysterious circumstances on March 13, 1956. The case has since gone cold, except for a few hauntings at the old Avard Gymnasium. It (the murder) has been listed as "unsolved" and placed in the "Cold Case" files of this northwest community. Ann's full names was "Mildred Ann Newlin Reynolds." She was 22 years old and a student at Northwestern Oklahoma State College at the time of her death. Her husband of nine months was R.D. "Dee" Reynolds, a teacher/coach at the Avard schools and was coaching a game at the gymnasium at the time of Ann's death. Dee was also a good friend of the Wheatley family who owns the Avard Cafe located in the Old Gym. It has been stated several times that Ann was on her way home from college when her death occurred. Also... It has been told that Mrs. Reynolds suffered blunt trauma to the head, and her car burned so ferociously that one of her legs burned off. You can read what the local NW Oklahoma paper wrote about the Avard Ghost Tour, October 29, 2005 at this Link: Alva Review Courier, written by Helen Barrett. Our OkieLegacy website has more information gathered concerning Mildred Ann Newlin Reynolds Mysterious Death. Will we ever learn the truth about this young women's death in March, 1956? View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


NW Oklahoma Ghostly Spirits

Vol 9, Iss 43 Do you believe in ghosts and haunting spirits of the past? Are they for real... or can they be explained away?

With the Full Moon, October 26, 2007 (Hunter's Moon), and Halloween just around the corner our minds roam to the ghostly spirits that allegedly roam the northwest Oklahoma communities.

There is the ghostly, burnt spirit on Mildred Ann (Newlin) Reynolds who haunts the old gymnasium in Avard, Oklahoma. Mildred Ann died in a fiery car crash on a dirt road leading towards Avard in 1956. For more information on that mysterious death, check out our Okielegacy Mysteries.

I wonder if the 1910 ghostly spirit of Mabel Oakes still haunts the area around the Alva downtown square.

Then... there is the ghostly spirits (or vandals) of Alva's Old hospital. We did a search online of the Oklahoman newspaper archives and found more information about those spirits that may or may not haunt the Old Alva Hospital. Some of you might remember Ben Buckland and Dennis Brown who came to be the caretakers of the old hospital in 1971 when vandals or ghostly spirits began to take their toll on the old hospital in northwest Oklahoma.

In 1971, Buckland was part owner of a restaurant catering to college students and a consulting manager of an Oklahoma City FM radio station. Buckland was also a DJ for a local radio station. Brown was the job foreman for his father's lumber company in Alva, Oklahoma.

For two and a half months they occupied the old hospital and experienced numerous strange sounds, unexplained happenings which left them both on edge and about to move out. Brown and Buckland occupied eight of the 96 rooms in the old hospital starting back to October, 1971. They used the lobby as a game room with pool and ping pong tables. Buckland used a small office off the game room and Brown had a former surgery room for a bedroom suite.

Then there was this mysterious, unexplained phenomenon of a reddish-brown stain that measured four inches or so in diameter and located three feet from a floor drain in the sloping surgery floor, near the surgery room adjoining Brown's bedroom. Even if they mopped the floor to clean the stain, it would come back again within a week.

Another news article, dated February 28, 1972, written by Tom Boone for The Oklahoman mentioned Ben Buckland and two other young men occuppying the old abandoned Alva General Hospital in October, 1971 as caretakers to keep vandals away. BUT... were they vandals or ghostly spirits?

You can read those 1971 & 1972 news articles in the "Mailbag" section below.
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1937 - Southwest Is Challenged By Magazine 'Dust Bowl' Expert

Vol 18, Iss 25 In September, 1937, there was a magazine story about the "Dust Bowl:" Land Where Our Children Die," written by Walter Davenport. It appeared in Collier's Magazine in 1937. Davenport's facts had been questioned and he had been widely denounced for his findings.

Found on Newspapers.com

The News-Herald believed while Davenport may have overdramatized, his conclusion that overgrazing and later over-cultivation produced the "dust bowl" was sound. It also believed that the return of much of the land to grass was the only permanent solution of the problem of wind erosion.

The Davenport article which The News-Herald reprinted through the courtesy of Collier's should be of the keenest interest to eery resident of central and western Kansas.

Walter Davenport's Dust Bowl article
Forty minutes after the dust storm hit us we were able to see the nose of our own car again. Doc said that the best thing to do after sitting out a dust storm was to eat something and drink something. It didn't matter much what you ate but he doc said that beer was the thing to drink. Beer gave dissolving battle to the dust, didn't dash with affinity swiftness into partnership, like water or milk, to make a mud which stuck to your vitals.

So we had a Poor Boy and warm beer at the Blue Ribbon, the clay-complexioned waitress, Willie May Something, explaining that the refrigerator wasn't working. The dust and got into its gadgets the day before and the only man who knew how to fix it was laid up with dust pneumonia. A Poor Boy is a whole loaf of bread, like french bread, split lengthwise with a slab of barbecue sandwiched in.

Anyway, we ate all the Poor Boy we could and drank the warm beer. If you're a native of the Dust Bowl and resigned to the dismal things it does to you, little things like warm beer and Poor Boy are pretty minor.

The doc said he guessed he'd go no father with us. This was his home town and our destination was Denver. When we had arrived inDenver we would have driven about six hundred miles through the Bowl. And that was plenty.

Started From Amarillo
We had started out fro Amarillo, Texas. We had seen pictures, still and movies, of dust storms, and we had read about them - Black Blizzards. Pictures and literature had impressed us, of course, but not too deeply. Taking beatings from outraged nature gone amok was nothing new in our life. Han't we bobbed around in floods which made chips of whole villages, singed our hair and fried our hide in forest fires which made charcoal of forty counties, weathered cyclones which made fine-cut of the trees we had clung to? Sure - we had boxed calamity from ocean to ocean and had begun to look upon it as a brother act. How about the day our car froze in the front yard of the Arctic Circle, the thermometer at sixty below?

But we hadn't tasted a dust storm. WE hadn't had our eyes clouded and puffed up until they looked like dirty Brussels sprouts by a storm of emery slammed into our faces by a forty-mile gale. We hadn't inhaled a dust storm until closed nostrils forced our mouth open, after which we gulped it until we felt like old John Normans must have felt when the Indians launched him on his tortured way to kingdom Come. The Indians pegged John Normans tot he ground and slowly trickled alkali dust into his mouth - slowly so they could watch him swallow and choke until suffocation ended the fun.

Spit Red
We hadn't known that for two days after our first major dust storm we would be spitting red, scared to our heels because we thought it was blood. And a dust storm tastes just as bad coming up as it does going down.

The doc, after two warm beers, said he'd let us go on without him because he was going to be busy. Other doctors told us that too. After every dust storm their telephones, like their patients, become hysterical. So do their doorbells, because much less than half the Dust Bowl farmers can afford to have telephones.

"Listen, Doctor, this here's Twell Murflick - you know, where you been coming'> It's like you said - she's bad this time. We got her in her room tied up. Listen, kin you hurry?"

Perverted Nature
Sure, the doc will be busy, like all the other doctors. The price too, and the visiting nurses, the preachers, the hospitals, the undertakers. It gets progressively worse after every dust storm, starting in March with the strong spring winds and the futile spring plowing, and carrying on through June and July until the land is as bare and hard as that table except where the dust has drifted. They've perverted Nature until she too has gone crazy. They've outraged her until she has forgotten that she's their mother. And in her mad rage she is destroying them like Ackel with his ax.

But we'll come back to all that. The story itself is a dust storm. Let's start in the clear, under the high, piercing sun which before each protesting blast from a brutalized nature, as if to warn of the terror to come, turns sullen and dull as if drugged. Let's locate ourselves before the midday darkness covers us.

Dust Bowl Larger
The Dust Bowl lies on the knees of the Great Plains region. Roughly, its center is the hundred and three counties clustered where five states meet - Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. There is little gained by measuring the Dust Bowl. It is larger today than it was yesterday. And it will be larger tomorrow.

As long as men and machines pulverize dry range land to plant wheat, The Dust Bowl will grow deeper and wider. As long as heedless greed (which will not be rewarded anyway) is pitted against the natural laws we shall have more and bigger dust storms with all their miserable train - famine, violent death, private and public futility, insanity nd lost generations.

Relief No help
Fifty federal agencies and half that many state bureaus have puttered around the Dust Bowl for nearly four years, spending nearly three hundred million dollars to encourage farmers to go on farming hardpan farms which wouldn't and don't support lizards. All that talking, dreaming, exhorting and political hook worming has bought us just more and bigger dust storms, less and lower morale and only one net gain. And that increase is in the number of acreage owners whose only possible crops are federal bounties, state subsidies, emergency legislation and an abiding conviction that it is now longer their privilege but their right to "farm the government."

We set out from Amarillo on a parched morning, the mounting sun behaved by the stinging all of last night's dust storm. Our nerves were a bit tight, our throat was raw and our nostrils were stuffy. We were to see the wretched, asked desert the winds had left behind; the ghost villages, once the silvery ballyhoo of real estate racketeers; the abandoned farmhouses, f=buried to their eaves i eddying dust; the corroded tops of farm machinery, deserted in what had been fields and now buried in sand with only levers and rods protruding from their graves, like pitiful arms thrust upward, beckoning for help.

But we left Amarillo, having seen what dust storms do to a city population. On the prairie it is a vast, unbroken wall - a black, ghostly mountain broken from its moorings and scurrying, buffeting, careening crazily song to Mahomel and you. It swallow what it meets just as water, having broken its dam, swallow the valley. And presently it disgorges you, leaving you and similar puny things collapsed and gasping in its wake.

Its rolling, blundering spree lasts just so long - until the wind it rides dies or another, fresher wind hits it head on, carrying its own dust. And then one of two things happens; either the mountains combine and wallow off in another direction or, being evenly matched, they take the easiest course, upward.

Then it seems that the earth has exploded, hurling an immense bloom of black dust into the skies. If rain falls immediately thereafter, as sometimes it does, you'll think it's raining paint. Or, if the explosion was unusually heavy, mud.


But where the battle of the dust winds was fought, where the wraith mountains crashed, struggled and departed to fight it out against the sky, the earth will be licked clean - as clean as a polished plate. After the mountain has run you down and passed on you'll likely find your car's carburetor filled with a gasoline porridge. You head is aching; your throat is hamburger. It has stopped your watch. And don't polish your glasses until you've sluiced them in water; the sand will scratch the lenses. Your body will be gray, though you're buttoned to your chin. You've been a sweating, you know, the temperature being a hundred or a hundred and two degrees, and the wind that carries the dust will be a dry sirocco making thirty or forty miles an hour. Where you're sweating most you'll be blackest.

Mid-afternoon Twilight
When the booming mountain bucks the city's line it splits. The crazy, strangling mass, accommodating itself to the street canyons, breaks up into columns, each taking a street and running it like Larry Kelley through a petrified backfield. Thus broken, its density is dissipated; you have a murk, a mid afternoon twilight, instead of the black blizzard of the outlines. The city's work ceases as the dust surges in.

Windows crash shut. The heat became more oppressive. Even metal weather strips find out what it means to meet one's master. In offices the workers leave their desks. If anyone tells you he has got used to dust storms, don't believe him; he's like the chap who says he wasn't scared under fire in the war. In the city cooped nerves go jangle quicker than the farmers'. Drugstores used to run out of sedatives; they don't any more; they've learned what the demand will be. The office building windows are crowded. There is a brave attempt at laughing, but it's involuntary, not real - a mildly hysterical giggle. Votes are shrill. The telephone operators told us that before the dust has gone, before the sun shines again, almost everybody will have called home.

For all this there are easily isolated man-created reasons. On our six hundred mile ramble from Amarillo to Denver, keeping mostly to the dusty back roads that we might see the bald clay, the dust dunes, the drifted houses, the abandoned farms and the government subsidy famers, we heard all of the inevitable shifting of responsibility. Preachers hurled Scripture and the Gospels at us.

Old Wives' Tales
Farmers, too many of whom have no more talent for agriculture than we have, told us old wives' tales of changes in the world's weather, in the earth's interior, in the deterioration of grain seed - that all these fabulous factors contributed to their woe. None admitted that he had plowed the land to death, that he was in any way responsible. We heard the radio blamed. Airplanes too. They told us that the mountains had moved, changing the climate, and showed us leaflets from a mysterious mantle-wrapped Third Lord Blake, the Right Prince Beloved, to prove it. Long before we reached Denver we began to think the whole Bowl hexed.

Prior to 1866, man had not damaged that section of the country. Herds of buffalo, as numerous as the white man's cows which supplanted them, grazed and flourished there. The white man, not nature, slaughtered the buffalo.

Quick Spoilage
When the railroads were laid and a procession of grab-and-run homestead laws passed by congress the spoilage began. The change came swiftly. Until 1886 immense herds were grazed on the Great Plains, which was virtually one great open pasture. By 1886 there were signs of overgrazing. What are called the first of the modern droughts began. Unintelligent use of the land and overgrazing were much more responsible than natural dry years for what was happening.

In those lonesome cowboy days it required between fifteen and thirty acres of what is now our Dust Bowl to graze a contented cow for twelve months. And usually it was nearer the fifteen acre mark. Today (1937) where a cow can graze at all (and the beast needs one of the agriculture department's charts to fin the place) it takes from a hundred and fifty to a whole section, six hundred and forty acres, to keep a single animal grassed for a year. And even so she looks like a hatrack all year long.

Ignore Signs
Too few were warned by these signs. By 1920 more than 12,082,ooo cattle teamed there prairies. As the great natural pastures declined under punishment, the herds dwindled. yet in 1935 there will were 10,195.,000 cows on the diminishing grass of the Great Plains. And that, the agronomists tell us, was one hundred per cent overgrazing. We saw pictures of the discouraged brutes. Having urn out of grass, they were spending their time disconsolately scanning the frying horizon.

As pasturage failed, the real estate ballyhoo, the professional land boomers and the super charged chambers of commerce took over. To land already on the verge of starvation came thousands of farmers and persons who either thought they were farmers or hoped top e famers. Now and then the Untied States Department of Agriculture tut-tubed and issued dull little bulletins warning the suckers of disasters to come. Too few listened to the government's timid whispers and the bulletins were as hard to read then as they are today. Besides, there was the inevitable political angle - and it was a sharp one.

Cow Towns Grow

Towns had long since sprung up - cow towns. When the cows left, seeking fresh pastures, the towns couldn't follow. New towns would arise where the cows settled down. The old cow towns, minus cows, and to become some other kind of towns. Somebody had to pay the costs of county governments which had grown with the herds and now were, like the grass, threatened with extinction. These towns and counties had elected meant o congress, too, and in Washington the voices of these statement shook the Capitol's cupola with their star-spangled blurbing of new frontiers for the eastern farmer who had got dow in hardpan at home.

As there were local governments to think about so were there merchants to save, landowners of considerable political potency to be nice to. And some of the latter were important men in Washington. There were lobbies too, to see the congress did not get to sensible and that the agriculture department didn't go Bolshevik.

Investors Paradise
While we were working on that Poor Boy and drinking warm beer in the Blue Ribbon, somebody handed us a large, dizzily illustrated example of the come-on literature which had bedazzled the eastern farmer.

The book, bearing no sponsoring names, bade all and sundry to "come to the home seekers' and investors' Paradise." Beneath this there was a picture of the town of Boyero, Colorado. Perhaps in those days Boyero was on its way to become one of Paradise's loveliest subdivisions. Anyway, it photographed well. Today (1937) it is one of the ever-widening Dust Bowl's ghost towns.

The literature went on, throwing the whole book at a cockeyed world: "Come you also where health, wealth and prosperity abound and where nothing knocks but opportunity. We offer the new settler success in business, productive famers with land at low prices. Healthful, vigorous climate. Model towns. Best moral atmosphere. Best educational facilities. Come. Buy. Invest. Come, be happy, be carefree, be debtless, be a man." Everything but "Be damned." And note that call to invest. We shall tell you about that.

Arrived In Wheelbarrow
In large but innocent numbers the open-mouths listened and were lost. They descended upon the southern Great Plains on everything except roller skates. They tell us one family came from Arkansas in a wheelbarrow - Paw, Maw and two babies. When Paw got tired wheeling Maw and the young's, which was not heroically infrequent, Maw trundled him and the brats.

Land cost anywhere from twenty to sixty dollars an acre, and if you didn't have the money you merely signed over your first two or three wheat crops to the land company or the private owner. You can buy that land today (1937) for a dollar and a half an acre - dust thrown in. Hurry, folks, hurry.

First Year Good
Anyway, the first year or so was fairly suspicious. For some forgotten reason, Europe was at war and we, being disastrously inquisitive, had horned in. Europe was fighting in her wheat fields abut America begged her not to worry. So we began to plant wheat in our back yards, including the Dust Bowl. And luck of a dubious sort was with us. It costs a farmer very little to plant an acre of wheat. Likewise it exacts from him a minimum of labor. You plant wheat; then step back and watch it grow - if it grows. The wheat farmer's year is three months of labor and nine months of worry. But that was a year of years for wheat. It produced thirty-five, forty and forty-five bushels to the acre and the Dust Bowl settler, raking in anywhere from a dollar and a quarter to two dollars a bushel, proceeded to go economically gaga, going at times to the extreme of chasing honest county agents and other unsubsidized farm authorities out of the sate of daring to prophesy that calamity was just around the corner. As the land was killed for grazing by overgrazing, so was doom hastened by overarming. That and the investors - the speculators - the suitcase boys.

Suitcase Farmers
The suitcase boys, sometimes called satchel farmers, differ from the common variety real estate investors or speculators in that they do not hold their land for a price rise, although doubtless many of them would now sell if anyone with a fat purse and a thin mind entered their market. All they looked for were a few cash crops of wheat, after which the land they had bought cheap and held cheaply could go to hell - which of course it proceeded with abandon to do.

The suitcase boys were nonresident owners. They lived in the towns and cities, from Amarillo to New York, from Dalhart to Chicago, from Dodge City to Washington. They were lawyers, clergymen, school teachers, bankers, merchants, journalists, congressmen and liquor dealers - anything. They owned more than half the acreage of the Dust Bowl.

They seldom or never saw their land unless it had produced a crop. On such rare occasions they appear, satchel in hand, to collect their half of the proceeds. Between these excursions they kill time by writing steamfull letters to Congress, demanding that farm and farmer subsidies be continued and increased. Tenant farmers worked their land.

Rarely does the satchel farmer cooperate voluntarily with state or federal government in the interest of land conservation. Seldom will he listen with sympathy to the resident farmer's pleas that he take simple measures to combat aridity and sit storms. Largely the absentee landlord, the suitcase boy, leaves his tenant to do what he can to raise a crop, firmly declining to do more than buy seed, pay taxes and make down payments on farm implements and machinery. During the past three years it had not been necessary for the satchel farmer to make any investment at all. He has only to apply to the government for loans, sometimes made in the name of the extant or even a conveniently created corporation, there being quite as many loopholes in the farm-loan laws as there were in the income tax statutes.

The suitcase farmers's formula was beautifully simple. When presently his land holds forth no further possibilities of a crop, when the topsoil has blown away or has become too thin to cover seed, he merely forgets it. He pays no more taxes. If the state wishes to take tele (which it doesn't) in lieu of taxes, let it. The land has more than paid for itself if it has produced a couple of wheat crops.

Fine Suitcase Farmer
At the moment (1937), Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Colorado are in the process of adopting laws which would, they hope, compel the satchel farmer to cooperate with eh resident farmer in giving scientific battle to wind erosion (dust storms). These laws, in the main, fine the suitcase boy for failure to cooperate, adding the fine to his tax bill. But if he chooses to pay no attention to that tax bill, letting his land go by default, there isn't much the sate can do about it. But a vast number of such famers were beyond restoration, nothing left to conserve. The suitcase boy's answer to the state was silence - with a thumb to his nose.

It was usually at this point that the situation within the county, within the state, becomes painfully complicated. If the suitcase boy refuses to pay further taxes, the local government's income is impaired. If the resident farmer takes his cue from eh suitcase, local statesmen face famine. If the state takes over the tax-delinquent property, its only hope of gain is i resale. Few except the federal government were honorable in their intentions toward defunct land.

Demand Washington pay
But the federal government offers only a dollar and a half or two dollars an acre. This acreage price, as anybody can see, is better than nothing. Furthermore, it is more than much of the land is worth.

Yet local governments decline to accept the bid unless congress is willing to appropriate a couple of billion dollars to support them. In other words, the counties demand that Washington pay them amounts equal to what their incomes would be were prosperity weighing in the Dust Bowl and taxes being paid. Mr. Roosevelt's Great Plains committee in its voluminous and scholarly report frankly advocates such subsidies to local governments.

All of which, you see, is pretty wonderful. While Uncle Government seeks to buy the Dust bowl at a dollar and a half an acre and not injure anyone's political or personal feelings by exercising his right of eminent domain (condemnation at a set price), enterprising individuals, including quite a scattering of politicians of assorted statures, rabbit-in-the-hat land companies and swift syndicates chase each other around the courthouse trying to buy tax-delinquent land at the price of the unpaid tax bill.

To Badger Government
Having done that, they proposed to badger the government into handsomer prices while the a=hapless farmer who honestly but futilely tried to make the land pay for itself looked on in angry admiration and joined some trick association organized by some ambitious politician.

And if the government declined to up its acreage price even the new speculators would untie in wrath, although dollar and a half or two dollars an acre was a Santa Claus bid. Some of the new owners of this defunct land had already got together, proposing to hold on for oil and natural gas developments. Not that they are any too sanguine of seeing gas and oil arise from their forlorn acres; but they seem to have reason to suspect that the country is not completely shorn of investors who will buy land on the chance of oil and gas being found there one day. Oil royalties, you know.

If and when the government acquires enough of the Dust bowl to make restoration worth the effort, it proposes to revive the land binding vegetation which the cows depleted and which the wheat seekers finished with their plows. That, as perhaps you've heard, is why we have dust storms. The grass and roots which bound the land together have been eliminated by the thundering herds and the ruthless plow. Presently (1937) there are no binding roots. Then the sun bakes the binderies soil to a cake. Then the plow pulverizes the cake. Then the winds come. Then your farm takes off after a dust storm, returning to earth after a while in the next county or the next state.

Only Dust To Show
For what the government has expended in the Bowl in the past three years, with nothing but dust and uncollectible paper to show for it, it might have bought the thing and erected a nice wire fence around it. It was bought a million and a half acres - here a thousand and yonder a thousand - which sounds like quite a real estate transaction. But a million and a half acres have only a backyard relationship to the whole Dust Bowl, which comprises nearly 90 million acres, about 30 million of which are under cultivation.

As we've said somewhere above, about $300,000,000 of federal funds have been sowed in the Dust bowl area. It has been in the form of loans, grants, relief and all the other dispersal methods we have. yet nearly quarter of the Dust Bowl families have abandoned the choking place since 1935, when, according to the farm census, 95,000 families, rural and urban, inhabited the doomed place. Where they've gone nobody seems to know.

Farms Abandoned
As far as the government has been able to learn, 7,000 farmhouses have been abandoned. Today they sand like haunted shacks, sagging and twisted beneath the weight of sand and dust heaped to their eaves. Even the paths the farmers cut through the dust drifts to their doors are filled in. In addition nearly two thousand houses have disappeared - gone with eh dust drifts heaped high above the place where they used to stand. Perhaps their ruins will be dug out some day.

In this abandoned land we saw what once were schoolhouses built to accommodate surrounding populations of two thousand. The dust has battered int he doors, smashed the windows, filled d the rooms to the bench tops. We passed through an area of East Colorado where, they told us, 934 families lived in choking poverty. In that area there was not one doctor, nothing suggestive of a hospital or infirmary, not even a visiting nurse.

Short-Sighted
Perhaps we became a bit emotional at this point, but somehow the kids we saw didn't look real. We spoke to a fellow who was plowing dust, sixty miles from a railroad. He talked about raising beans. We asked him how he was going to get tot he markets. He hadn't figured that out yet. You see, he'd only been working that dust pocket three years. And it was thirty miles from he nearest school. He had four children, two of them deaf mutes.

It is fair to presume that a large percentage of those who remain in the Dust bowl envy those who fled the place. But where are they going to go? They will tell you quite candidly that they'll stay where they are and eat their dust so long as they can farm the government, as long as the government gives them food and money. The government calls these gifts loans.

Chicken Colateral
Her you shake hands with a farmer who borrowed $700, pledging twenty chickens as collateral. The government can't take mortgaged property as security. The chickens were the only un-mortgaged things on the place. They're gone now - eaten.

And farther on you meet a fellow who got a thousand dollars from the government, pledging several emaciated hogs and a couple of outhouses. They hadn't been mortgaged - doubtless and oversight. WE met a man who "didn't quite rightly remember" what he had given the government as security for a five hundred dollar loan. And everybody cheered when the next Dust Bowl castaway said that he had got some see money and a couple hundred dollars from the next government feller to come along and after talking ti over with the wife decided it was plumb heathenish to squander it on something everybody knew wasn't going to grow nothing.

Radio, No Juice
So he bought a radio, which he has never used because he has no electricity; an overcoat, which he sent to his brother in Massachusetts; a rug, that serves pretty well as a dust screen nailed across the front door, and, among other things, a half dozen straw hats. He guessed that maybe them fellers down in Washington was scratching their heads right smart.

This is but a sketch of life and death in the Dust Bowl. Fifty government agencies have stalked it, walked it, brooded, planned, wrangled and doled it for three years - from the Bureau or public health to the resettlement administration. Reconstruction finance corporation, the farm credit administration, the federal farm mortgage corporation, the works progress administration and the national youth administration. A dozen government engineers, conservationists, chemists and agronomists told us that what they were doing was folly - that there is no cure for the Dust Bowl as long as men continue to farm it, or try to farm it.

Wryly they told us that we could spend then or a hundred times three hundred millions and and to abate single dust storm a spoonful so long as men sought to cropland turned to powder.

Appeal To Washington
Their repeated appeals to Washington, their flood of reports have awakened a government which realizes that ungoverned largess cannot go on. To coordinate the efforts of the fifty rescue agencies, most of which have been working along individual lines with a minimum of regard for what the next agency is doing, the department of agriculture has appointed Mr. Roy I. Kimmel, drafting him from eh re-settlement administration. Mr. Kimmel is a completely civilized gentleman, with idealism, courage, experience and stamina. He will need all these qualities and several more. He was a native of New Mexico, a graduate of Yale, served a term in Connecticut's legislature and for four years was assistant director of the school of public affairs at Princeton. Although he was one of those government emissaries to the dust bowl referred to by the intractable farmer and the speculator as one of the "slick-hair college squirts," he is, in the main and deservedly, well liked - a purposeful, convincing, non-chafing diplomat who believed wholeheartedly in what he was doing. We wish him luck.

Dust Like Geyser
He ws with us when we met our first Colorado dust storm. Straight ahead we saw what looked at first to be a half-grown twister - a small cyclone. Then off to the left another reared itself, like a dirty geyser. After that they began to rise all along the forward horizon - a closely gathered company of black giants assembling to raid. Momentarily they grew in width and height, seeming somehow to stand still as our ar sped toward them. Then their ranks closed, forming a solid wall.

Then with a hollow thumping like distant artillery, the outriders, the vanguard of blooms, gusts and searching shafts of grit, attacked. We had just time to close the car's windows before the onrushing wall enclosed us.

WE turned on our headlights - sort of involuntarily. Anyway, we threw the light switch. You couldn't see whether the lights were on or off. A paper match would have served as well. You couldn't see heaven or earth. You couldn't see heaven or earth. We lit the lights inside the car. Every opening was closed, but the dust had filled the car too. The lights inside were dimly visible.

Petty soon we had to open one window a little, with handkerchiefs over our noses and mouths. It helped some. Had to do something.

The storm lasted about forty minutes. When at last we could see something of the road we relaxed. Perhaps we were stonily rigid during it all; but when we could see again we realized suddenly that we were very tired - physically and nervously exhausted. We realized too that we had been scared. It was the same silly, unwarranted terror we felt the evening we got halfway up the stairs of that haunted house in Nova Scotia. We were afraid because suddenly the lights had gone out - afraid of the unknown, of the impenetrable darkness - because we couldn't see. We're not particularly heroic but we weren't nearly as frightened with first fire on all sides or when the waters were out of control. Because then we could see our enemy.

Perhaps it all sounds foolish to you. But try a dust storm sometime. The doc laughed at us. He said there was nothing to be scared of, that everybody else on the road had pulled over to the side and was sitting it out like us. nevertheless we were scared. We couldn't see. We couldn't breathe.

When we got going again, after that Poor Boy and warm beer, we met two others who were scared. A mile up the road two kids, a boy and a girl, ten or twelve years old we'd say, were sitting against what had been a fence. Now it was a dust dune. The girl was retching her soul out. The boy was pounding her back, crying hard and dry, but noiselessly. We asked them where they lived, who they were. They couldn't answer. We tried to coax them into our car. WE said we'd take them back to the village. But hey wouldn't move. They were still too full of terror.
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NW Okie's Corner

Vol 14, Iss 3 Bayfield, CO - I was browsing the web a few days ago and found some interesting facts about the ghosts of the County Line BBQ, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I had eaten great BBQ there a few times in my life and loved everything about the food and the restaurant, but never experienced any ghostly hauntings that I knew about.

You know those private rooms that flanked both sides of the main dining area? What is not well-known is that the tables sit above trap doors that lead to an area beneath the building during prohibition for quick getaways for some.

Have you heard about the ghost, Russell, who frequented the establishment and was typically found on the prowl of a new lovely lady to cuddle up to? One evening, Russell's luck ran out when he picked the wrong lady to solicit and he was shot dead in front of the fireplace. Russell is believed to still haunt the place, has never left. There are paranormal research teams in the area that have gathered evidence to suggest that Russell is still there.

In the 1930's Gangster and mobs were known to frequent the County Line BBQ when the city had a colorful history full of booze, gambling, prostitution and murder. It even dates further to the wild west where it was known to be a popular brothel frequented by lonely cowboys. Read More about the County Line BBQ Hauntings.

I just finished reading Volume I and Volume II of THe History of Eliza Warwick, and found it to be a sad story of love, family grief and non-acknowledgement for an orphan daughter of General Harry and Lady Eliza Warwick.

I will not give away the ending, but will try to portray the scenes through the next few weeks of "The OkieLegacy Ezine" the best that I can. Although, I have found no resemblance to any of my Warwick ancestors, I have gleaned a view of what life was like back in the 1700's in England. I still believe this story would make a great Masterpiece Theater drama.

On to another subject, though, Jim Barker reminds us of the "Lincoln Bust" queries in our recent edition of the OkieLegacy, Vol. 9, Iss. 4, 27 January 2007. It concerned the Frank Ingels sculptor and creator of the bust he created in 1914. Frank donated it during the Spring commencement of the 1915 graduating class at Northwestern State Normal, when his brother Roland Ingels graduated.

The unveiling was done by President Grant B. Grumbine as part of the program for the commencement exercises the Spring of 1915. There is a bronze tablet attached tot he base that list all the names of the members of the class of 1915.

Did you know that the class of 1915 was the first at Northwestern to graduate wearing caps and gowns?

Jim Barker shared this image that has appeared in the Alva Review Courier from time to time over the years and read essentially the same:

Delivering a silent message to the exertions of Rangers passing by.

Lincoln memorial and Sculptor - "It was the Class of '15 that placed on the campus the shaft erected to Honest Abe. This in itself would perhaps carry no great weight to you but when you are told that the bust was made by a Northwestern student, you feel akin to greatness and swell up your chest.

"The bust donated to the Class of '15 by Frank Ingles was his token to Alma Mater thru his brother Roland a member of the class. The bust came from the studio of Lorado Taft, out to the plains of Oklahoma, to our very campus. Here it stands thru the white heat of the summer noonday, thru the chill of the winter winds, staunch, unflinching, a benefactor to all who heed."

Let us leave you with these lessons and thoughts on Democracy from Woody Guthrie, who is to soon have a museum in Tulsa devoted to his work back in the 1930's.


On Democracy: Is This Land Made For You And Me? from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.
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Indians, Ghosts & A Haunted Mountain

Vol 6, Iss 44 "If you look in the Musings of the Pilgrim Bard on pages 253-302, Scott Cummins wrote about Indians, ghosts and a haunted mountain.  Also, the pictures you took of all the deer are wonderful!  Thank you for sharing them." View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Vina Rae's Cafe - Avard, OK

Vol 10, Iss 19 With the rising of gas prices, groceries, medical and other life necessities, it seems like hard times are hitting our small towns & businesses -- making it hard to make ends meet and bills barely paid month to month.

One of those businesses (the only Cafe in Avard, Oklahoma) is feeling the effects of the economic woes of today.

Have you heard of the "haunted old gym" in Avard, OK? Do you need an excursion to hear about the ghosts of Avard Gym? Do you want to see and hear some history of Avard, Oklahoma?

Then stop by Vina Rae's Cafe in Avard, Oklahoma, in the old gym in the South part of this Northwest community. If you are in the area between Alva and Waynoka, Oklahoma any time soon -- during lunch time, stop in and patronize "Vina Rae's Cafe." AND... give her a big monetary tip for being the only eating establishment in Avard, OK. It's hard to get those old ghosts to pay and leave tips ... LOL!

Speaking of the "haunted ghosts"... we found some online links through the Google search engine concerning the hauntings around the community of Avard and the old gym. One of those ghosts is allegedly the ghost of Mildred Ann (Newlin) Reynolds.

Mildred Ann Reynolds was a young woman who died under mysterious circumstances on March 13, 1956, 1:40 p.m.

The case has since gone cold, except for a few hauntings at the old Avard Gymnasium. It (the murder) has been listed as "unsolved" and placed in the "Cold Case" files of this northwest community. Ann's full names was "Mildred Ann Newlin Reynolds." She was 22 years old, a petite (5' 2", 100 lb.), and a student at Northwestern Oklahoma State College at the time of her death.

Her husband of nine months was R.D. "Dee" Reynolds, a teacher/coach at the Avard schools and was coaching a game at the gymnasium at the time of Ann's death. Dee was also a good friend of the Wheatley family who owns the Avard Cafe located in the Old Gym. It has been stated several times that Ann was on her way home from college when her death occurred. Also... It has been told that Mrs. Reynolds suffered blunt trauma to the head, and her car burned so ferociously that one of her legs burned off. Her husband's 1949 Chevrolet Tudor Sedan was set afire on the Old Avard road, about a mile or so Southeast of Avard. Mildred's body was found lying across the front seat with her head away from the steering wheel.

Why did this newly married young lady have to perish in this way? Was it Murder? Or... an accident? Who was the mysterious man with the 9mm semi-automatic pistol at the scene of the crime? If anyone has heard anything more of the 1956 death of Mildred Ann (Newlin) Reynolds, we would love to hear your story and share it with our readers.

Google Search: Vina Rae's Cafe & Old Gym Ghosts...
Investigation conducted, Feb. 22, 2003.
Avard, OK - Haunted Gymnasium & Cafe.
Avard Cafe, February 22, 2003
Tulsa Ghost Investigators
Oklahoma Ghosts in Avard: Vina Rae's Grill & Graze
Halloween "Ghost Hunt" Avard, OK, October, 2006
Vina Rae's ghosts & hauntings - Avard
Oct. 29, 2004, Vina Rae's Grill & Graze, Avard
Trippin' to Glass/Gloss Mountain, Feb. 19, 2007
The Okie Legacy
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Ghostly Spirits of Alva's Old Hospital

Vol 9, Iss 42 With Halloween just a few weeks, days away, we thought we would throw in some mention of possible ghostly spirits that may, may not roam the halls of the Old Alva General Hospital.

One of Alva's most famous ghostly, haunts of ghostly spirits is the Old Alva General Hospital that sets at the top of Fourteenth & Maple Street, looking East down Maple Street. Actually, it is about three blocks up the hill from my house.

Is it haunted? The old hospital, that is? How did the red spot get on the old hospital's hall black & white tiled floor? How come it keeps coming back after they clean it? What is the story of how it got there?

I don't have those answers, BUT... I do know that the old Alva hospital was built in 1932, Alva, Oklahoma. It was used as a hospital until.... I'm not sure exactly what year they built the new hospital in the South part of town, South of the University Campus.

I've never experienced any ghosts up at the old hospital, but I hear others have felt the cold, leery stares of the ghosts from the past.

I remember when I was just a young girl, say about 5 or 6 years old, and had my tonsils out. At least I think it was around that age. That's been over 50 years ago. What I do remember those infamous backless gowns that loosely tie in the back at the neck and somewhere else down the back. Instead of rolling down the hall to the surgery room on a rolling bed cart, Dr. Travis gave me a piggy back ride on his back. Of course, you probably all expected that this five year-olds tiny bare backside was showing, mooning all those we passed in the hospital hall on the way to the surgery room! BUT... being only five years old, what did I know of being embarrassed! I was just thrilled with the piggy back ride. What a treat for a five-year-old!

I another memory I have about the old hospital was around February, 1954, when my Uncle Bob McGill was in the hospital and Dad took all of us up to visit Uncle Bob in this small, dark room. That was the last time I saw my Uncle Bob McGill alive. He died shortly afterwards of lung cancer. I never really got to know my Uncle Bob, but from reading some of his old letters to family members and his WWII memorabilia that Grandma Constance McGill saved, I got a special glimpse of this good looking gentleman, WWII Major and soldier.

Another old hospital memory I have takes us back to August, 1968, when my grandmother Constance Warwick McGill died.

All these memories of visiting the old hospital to visit dying relatives seems kind of morbid, doesn't it? Are they some of those spirits souls that haunt the old hospital? Do you have any memories or heard any ghostly talk about the "Old Alva Hospital?"
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WWII Nazi POW Camp of Broken Arrow...

Vol 6, Iss 14

In the Mailbag Corner there is someone looking for information on an old WWII Nazi POW Camp in the Broken Arrow area of Oklahoma. If anyone out there has any information or history, photos, you might contact us. I did a little search of my own on-line and found where the Nazi POW Camp of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma may have some ghosts haunting it. This is what I found at - The Shadowlands - Ghost & Huntings... "Broken Arrow Nazi POW Camp is just north of the Arkansas River, south of a neighborhood there is an old military installation that has been shut off for years. Supposedly it used to hold Nazi POWs from WWII. If one goes there late at night you get a bad feeling from the place, and sometimes you can hear things from behind the locked gate."

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1956 - Investigators Seek Clues In Brutal Murder of Coed

Vol 18, Iss 8 Alva, OK - The news of Mildred Ann Reynolds death made it all the North to a newspaper in Kalispell, Montana, The Daily Inter Lake, with these headlines: "Investigators Seek Clues In Brutal Murder of Coed." Will this "cold case" ever be re-opened and settled? Is it worth it to settle the ghosts that haunt the area of Avard, Oklahoma?

Found on Newspapers.com

Alva, Okla. (UP) -- A preliminary autopsy report showed that an attractive coed was burned alive in her automobile, apparently after a savage sex attack. Woods County Atty. H. D. Potts said further chemical tests would b e needed to confirm that the cremated victim, Mrs. Mildred Ann Reynolds, was raped. But surface appearances indicated she was. Mrs. Reynolds, married only nine months, was the wife of E. D. Reynolds, a high school basketball coach at nearby Avard, Oklahoma. She was attending Northwestern State College and was driving home Tuesday when attacked.

Investigators said someone crowded Mrs. Reynolds' automobile off a country road and caused it to smash into a tree. Plaster casts were made of the second vehicle's tire tracks. Tall, dry grass was smashed flat near where her car was found, indicating a fierce struggle took place. One of her shoes, stained with blood, lay nearby.

Mrs. Reynolds' fire-blackened body was in the automobile. Investigators said a highly flammable liquid had been splashed over the car, which was then set afire.

The heat was so intense that one of Mrs. Reynolds' legs ws burned off at the knee and the glass in the automobile melted. Dr. A. Max Shideler, who began an autopsy yesterday (14 March), said the heat also apparently fractured her skull.

Officers took statements from Reynolds and a 20 year old nephew of Mrs. Reynolds who lived with the couple. The nephew, Jim Huckabee, was apparently the last person to talk with the pretty coed, except for her killer.

Huckabee said he had lunch with Mrs. Reynolds at the college and last saw her shortly before 1 p.m. Her body was found at 1:40 p.m., 12 miles southwest of Alva.

We know that the State Crime Bureau Agent Ivan Gates said questioning of the coed's classmates revealed "no new leads indicating concrete evidence of either foul play or accident." And the investigation of the death was extended after a coroner's jury ruled out accidental causes and recommend further probing.

We also know a preliminary report of an autopsy performed by Dr. A. Max Shideler at University hospital in Oklahoma City showed the victim was alive when the fire devoured her automobile on a lonely country road southwest of Alva, Oklahoma.

Contents of the report were revealed by Woods County Attorney H. D. Potts. These tests, Potts said, should determine whether the murderer had first raped the quiet student-housewife. Dr. Shideler told Potts Mrs. Reynolds' skull had been fractured, but he believed it was a result of the intense heat.

They suspected the car smashed into a blackjack tree. Mrs. Reynolds was raped and murdered, or murdered and raped. Then the body and the car were smashed with some highly inflammable liquid and set on fire. The fire was so intense that one of Mildred's legs was burned off and the glass in the automobile melted.

We also know that Mildred's husband, brother and a nephew, Jim Huckabee were questioned. Huckabee roomed with the Reynolds and was questioned for two or three hours. Huckabee said he usually rode home with Mildred, but didn't Tuesday. He ate lunch with her just before 1 p.m., he said, and stayed at college. The body was found at 1:40 p.m., 12 miles southwest of Alva and a mile from Avard.

Further investigation would depend on results of the autopsy, which was performed by state pathologists in Oklahoma City. Besides determining if she was ravished, the autopsy can show whether she was murdered before she was burned. If the fire killed her, the inside of her lungs will be burned.

College officials said Mrs. Reynolds was a rather shy but a good student. She did not take part in many collegiate activities.

A farmer, attracted by the burning automobile, found the body. State Crime Bureau Agent Sid Wilson said tire tracks showed her car had been forced off theft side of the road into the blackjack tree and pushed back for 150 yards. Tire prints shoed another vehicle had been at the scene. Casts were made of the prints. One of Mildred's shoes, with blood on it, was near the blackjack tree. Tall, dry grass was smashed flat near where the shoe was found, indicating that Mildred struggled fiercely for her life.
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The Dunster Castle of County Dublin, Ireland

Vol 13, Iss 18 Dunster, County of Dubli - [Photo on the left: Dunster Castle, the historical home of the Luttrell family dominates the steep hill overlooking the small picturesque village of Dunster in Somerset. It looks out over Exmoor and the Bristol Channel and is home to both England's oldest lemon tree and the National collection of strawberry trees. There has been a castle on the site for over 1000 years. Initially the castle was granted by William the Conqueror to William de Mohun whose family lived in the castle until it was sold in 1376 by Lady Joan de Mohun to Lady Elizabeth Luttrell. The descendants of Lady Elizabeth Luttrell owned the castle until 1976. ]


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It was by the 15th century when the sea had reached the base of the hill offering a natural defense and had receded, that the deer park was created by the Luttrells. When Sir George Luttrell inherited the castle in 1571 AD, it was dilapidated and unoccupied that in 1617 AD Sir George employed the architect William Arnold to create a new house in the lower part of the castle.

During the English Civil War, Dunster Castle was a royalist stronghold and it came under siege by Parliamentary forces in 1645 AD eventually leading to the surrender of the castle in April 1646 AD. After this time the defenses of the castle were demolished to prevent any further use against Parliament.

The Castle architectural features include a fortress on the site since the Norman period. The gatehouse was from the 15th century and extensive remodeling was carried out in 1868 by Antony Salvin. In the gardens is the National Collection of Strawberry trees. All that remains of the mediaeval fortifications today are the gatehouse and the stumps of two Towers.

There have been many ghostly occurrences in the area of this castle and the castle itself. The shop, originally part of the stable block, is haunted by a man dressed in green. Items in the shop seem to mysteriously tumble and certain items have been spoiled by a sticky brown substance.

It is generally agreed that the most haunted room in the castle is the Leather Gallery. It gained its name due to the leather hangings depicting the story of Antony and Cleopatra. Many have attested to hearing men's voices at night along with doors banging and footsteps and generally speaking no one likes to work there. Apparently, a medium once visited the castle and was of the opinion that one particular ghost which had been seen by a cleaner was that of a royalist soldier called Richard who had met his death in the castle grounds from a puncture wound above his right eye. View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Old Avard Road Unsolved Mystery of 1956

Vol 11, Iss 42 Map of Old Avard Road, T25-R14WIM Some say about 1956 in Northwest Oklahoma, "This was an innocent time in an unsophisticated community. Death happened, but only by accident or disease. Murder was not known, and really no one knew how to cope with it."

BUT ? the Old Avard Road Fiery Death of Mildred Ann Newlin Reynolds was not the only murder mystery in this northwest community. If we look back to 1910 we can find another mysterious death of a young women, which occurred in the Old Opera House on the southeast corner of the square, in Alva, Oklahoma. BUT ? That is another story for another OkieLegacy Issue.

Our 1956 Unsolved mystery had lots of Cast of Characters. Just to name a few: Mildren Ann Newlin Reynolds (22, victim), R. D. "Dee" Reynokds (26, husband of victim, teacher & coach at Avard High School), Earnest F. Newlin (father of victim), Marie Schroder Newlin (mother of victim), Eddie Newlin (brother of victim), Jim Hucklebee (18, nephew of Dee & Ann Reynolds), I. R. Boyce (county coroner), Ed Doctor (Sheriff of Woods County), Loren Goucher (farmer in Avard who reported crime scene), H. D. Potts (Woods county attorney), Leroy Lancaster (farmer who sighted fire), Atlee Delaney (employee of Alva Review Courier who took pictures of crime scene), Kyle Morehead (Deputy Assistant State Fire Marshall), G. R. Brown (State Highway Trooper), 125-150 students at NSC (Northwestern State College), Ralph Duroy (State Fire Marshall), Elvin White (Undersheriff of Woods county 1955-60), R. Doss Gourley (deputy of Woods county (1955-60) and Vernie Hackney (resigned as deputy sheriff of Woods county, March 15, 1956).

It was on a Tuesday, 13 March 1956, around 1:40 p.m. that Mildred Ann (Newlin) Reynolds met a violent, fiery death along the Old Avard road as she was headed home after classes at Northwestern State College in Alva, Oklahoma in a 1949 Chevrolet Tudor Sedan. Was she alone at the time? OR ? Was someone waiting for her at the scene of the crime along the Old Avard road?

Mildred Ann Newlin was born December 25, 1933 and died 13 March 1956, at the age of 22. Ann was a petite 5' 2", 100Lb, nice looking, young lady and a senior attending Northwestern State College in Alva, Oklahoma. THE College faculty described her as rather shy and a good student. Mildred Ann was the daughter of Ernest & Marie (Schroder) Newlin of Lambert, Oklahoma, and had a younger brother, Eddie Newlin.

Mildred Ann had only been married nine months to Coach R. D. "Dee" Reynolds, the basketball coach and teacher at the Avard High School and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Homer Reynolds of Freedom, Oklahoma. Coach R. D. Reynolds was a NSC (Northwestern State College) graduate student, age 26 years, at the time of his Wife's death. It was reported that after his wife Ann's death he moved away from Avard, remarried and lived in the Bartlesville, Oklahoma area until his death.

We know that Jim Hucklebee, an 18 year-old nephew of the Reynolds, was living with Dee & Ann Reynolds while attending Northwestern State College in Alva. Jim was one of the last ones to see Mildred Ann alive in Alva around noon. Jim would usually drive/ride home to Avard with Ann, but did not on this particular day because he testified that he stayed behind for a class at NSC at 1:00p.m.

Was it an accident? Was it murder? Was someone waiting, knowing Ann would be on her way home; knew her normally traveled route; OR ? Did someone follow behind her to a point, then passed and overtook her? Did the perpetrator/s then proceeding on to the next section line after turning around, coming back toward her and blocking the road so she could not proceed further -- at this point causing the chain of events that eventually resulted in Mildred Ann Newlin Reynold's death.

They reported that Mildred's body was burned beyond recognition and one leg was burned completely off at the knee. Was her husband's 1949 Chevrolet Tudor Sedan set afire?

Mildred's body was found lying across the front seat with her head away from the steering wheel.

There are lots of unanswered questions in this "Cold Case" of March 1956 in Northwest Oklahoma. Some of those questions are:

* Who was present at the scene and expended the 9mm shells?
* Why was a weapon fired at the scene?
* Who fired it?
* What is plausible reason for this?
* Why was there no further information divulged as to the owner of the shell casings as per information presented in the internet article?
* Was she shot prior to vehicle burning?
* Why was gas tank plug loose enough to dislodge from tank?
* Or was it removed at the scene?
* Or intentionally loosened earlier?
* Was the plug recovered at the scene?
* Was she enroute to rendezvous with another party?
* Was this route, her normally traveled route?
* Had she received phone call to meet with someone?
* Did she have a boyfriend ... or did someone think she did?
* Was it proven she was alone and that she was the actual driver of the vehicle at time of incident?
* Was she pregnant or did somebody believe her to be?
* Did her husband have a girlfriend? If so, who was she and was she pregnant?
* What was her husband's occupation?
* Were personal friends of husband interviewed extensively?
* Did Anne have a part time job?
* Was she a full-time or part-time student?
* Were her classmates interviewed and what was her schedule for that day?
* Did she in fact attend "all" scheduled classes that day?
* Where was she "enroute to and from" at the time of incident?
* Did her family privately pursue answers to the incident?

On 23 March 1956 only 10 days after the car fire according to [Woodward News] ? Victim?s Father told reporters, he thought his daughter's death was accidental ?? WHY? The inquest jurors had just determined they did not believe the death was accidental and recommended further investigation.

This statement made by the victim?s father seems somewhat out in left field so early in the investigation ? doesn?t it? Why was his opinion so convincingly established in such short order? Why were all the evidentiary facts being overlooked, so early on in the investigation?

Is there still viable DNA that could be used to solve this crime? OR ? did it get violated, contaminated with the passers-by that drove out to see the scene of the crime?

Al says, "I went to Lambert High School with Ann, I was a couple of grades behind. We lived about a mile and a quarter west of her home. When I heard of her murder, it was the most frightening thing I had experienced. It still seems the most senseless. This was an innocent time in an unsophisticated community. Death happened, but only by accident or disease. Murder was not known, and really no one knew how to cope with it."

Doug says, "As a young child I use to help ann do her chores after she would come home from school. I went to her house which was across the road from where we lived ? three times that day. I told my mother Ann has not come home from school. I told mom I wonder were she could be? Then a fellow neighbor came by an told us she was murdered. We lived only one an half miles from the murder seen. My mom told me to stay in the car. Well! That didn't work. Down the hill I ran and I saw her in the front seat, one leg was burned into and on the ground. I had nightmares for a long time. The next year we moved to Alva. I was very good friends of the family. I have always been so sad about what had happen to her. She was my buddy and we had so much fun. I justed wanted to share this with everyone."

Natalie says, "You know, my mom STILL talks about this - a very haunting case."

This is/was a haunting case and I understand the ghost of Ann Reynolds and other Avard ghosts have allegedly been known to be one of many haunting souls that inhabits the "Old Avard Gym," leaving the smell of burnt flesh behind.

Perhaps Mildred Ann is looking for her husband who was a teacher and basketball coach at Avard Gym during the time of Ann's fiery death on the Old Avard road, just a few miles East of Avard, 13 March 1956, at 1:40 p.m.

With Halloween just a couple of weeks away, will the Reynold's ghosts be haunting the Old Avard gymnasium?

If you have heard stories of this haunting "Cold Case Unsolved Fiery Death that occurred, March 13, 1956, in Northwest Oklahoma on the Old Avard Road, one mile South of Hopeton and two miles West, we would love to hear from you.

These questions are presented now, in hopes that someone would remember a particular person or persons mentioned herein. BUT ? Then again ? Maybe it is best that we let dead bones and their unanswered questions stay buried! Huh!
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Rise & Fall of the Dalton Gang

Vol 17, Iss 33 Coffeyville, KS - We all know there was a streak of Younger blood in the Dalton veins, and that the Youngers had achieved a great deal of outlaw notoriety. But did you know that Louis and Adeline Dalton's family of boys and girls also bore the blood and breeding of many generations of honest, industrious people?

Even today it is not unusual that a family should produce one black sheep, or even two, for that matter. But what fluke of circumstance caused four of Louis Dalton's sons to turn outlaw? Was it an unfair or unkind act of some representative of the organized society they seemed to hate so bitterly? Was it an inherent, criminal instinct, the animal later, a heritage, perhaps from the Younger strain?

Louis Dalton was a Kentuckian and had served in the Mexican War. In 1850 he removed from Kentucky to Jackson County, Missouri, where he later married Adeline Younger, the charming daughter of a prominent farmer and a cousin of the Younger brothers, whose notoriety rivaled that of the James boys. Louis Dalton and his wife settled in a modest home and led the lives of people who were worthy of better sons. In 1860, Dalton removed his little family to a farm near Coffeyville, Kansas, where the younger children were born and where all grew up.

It was in 1884, that Louis and Adeline's eldest son, Frank, went to old Indian Territory and was commissioned as a deputy Untied States Marshal, with headquarters in Fort Smith. He became widely known as a brave and trustworthy officer. His young brother Bob, fascinated by the wild life of the territory, came to visit Frank and was with him in 1885 when Frank was slain in a gunfight with horse thieves. This was young Bob's baptism of fire and it was said that he fought like a veteran, making his escape from the thieves after a will chase during which lead fell about him like rain.

Another Dalton son, Bill, drifted to Montana, then on to California where he established himself among substantial people and entered politics. Bill had barely lived in the Montana long enough to qualify as a citizen when he was elected to the State legislature.

The other Dalton boys had developed a wanderlust, and the little farm home in Kansas could no longer hold Gratton and Bob. Young Emmett was also fretting to be out seeing the world, but his father induced him tons tay. Gratton had gone to California, but he returned home when Frank was killed. Going to Indian Territory, following the urge to be on the go and to find excitement, he accepted an appointment as a deputy United States Marshal. For a few months he made a very good officer and his bravery would have distinguished him if it had not been for that peculiar streak of deviltry that, at time, seemed to dominate his better nature.

Although Bob could not have been more than nineteen or twenty, he was soon appointed a deputy United States marshal, with duties in the federal courts t Wichita, Kansas, and at Fort Smith, Arkansas. Later he served as chief of police for the Osage Indian Nation.

Young Emmett was staying at home, although he was impatient to be enjoying the thrilling experiences his brothers wrote about. Early in 1889, Louis Dalton died. His grief-stricken widow, unable to remain on the little Kansas farm, with its haunting memories, induced her children, Emmett, two older son and two daughters, to join her in trying for a claim in the Oklahoma run. They were successful and established themselves on a fertile farm near Kingfisher. Her eldest sons, who were not to share in the notoriety of their younger brothers, married and located on nearby farms. Her daughters also married well and, with sheer force of character and integrity, they lived honorably through the period when it seemed their younger brothers would disgrace them.

Emmett soon left home and joined Gratton and Bob in Indian Territory. Emmett's outlaw career was to be short, but very eventful. Emmett Dalton was fearless and he loved excitement, but he lacked the bloodthirsty bravado of the successful bandit. Perhaps he had inherited too much of the substantial quality and character of his father and mother.

Although Bob and Gratton were officers, they had been engaging in number of minor deprecations against the property rights of settlers and, shortly after Emmett joined them, the three stole a herd of horses and drove them to Kansas, where they sold them. With the proceeds Gratton and Emmett left for California and Bob returned to the territory, feeling sure that he was not suspected as a horse thief.

It was early in 1891, an unsuccessful attempt was made to rob a Southern Pacific express train at Tulare, California. The express messenger surprised the bandits with a fusillade of shots that defeated the robbery. In the melee of wild shooting, the fireman was killed. The Dalton brothers were accused of the murder and attempted robbery and Gratton was captured. It was at that time that Bill attempted to use his political influence to get Gratton out of this trouble but the situation threatened to compromise his position and he was forced to abandon his efforts, although it was possible that he assisted his brothers in a quiet way.

Gratton was tried and convicted, but he succeeded in escaping as he was being transferred from the county jail to the state prison. Emmett, who had remained in California, hoping to aid his brother, joined Gratton and they returned to Oklahoma. The Southern Pacific offered a standing reward of six thousand dollars for their capture and they were being sought by officers everywhere. Particularly were their old haunts in Oklahoma being watched.

Young, impulsive and fired by the success of their California escape, the two joined their brother Bob who had already made plans to form an outlaw band and who had recruited Bill Doolin, Dick Broadwell, Bill Powers and Black Faced Cahrlie Bryant. Bill Doolin had worked as a cowpuncher for Oscar Halsell for some time and he left the Halsell ranch but a short time before, determined to become an outlaw. Broadway and Powers were also ex-cowpunchers, and Black Faced Charlie Bryant was a peculiar character who had drifted in from no one knew where and who had very little toe ay about his past. Somehow, somewhere, his face had got dangerously near an exploding gun and he had received powder burns that had left splotches of burned black powder beneath his skin. This accounted for his being called Black Faced Charlie. They had made plans for a series of wholesale robberies that would surpass anything ever attempted by any of Oklahoma's earlier bandits. After numerous insignificant depredations, you Bob developed a plan that he hoped would establish the Daltons as super-bandits.

As they laid the groundwork for their daring exploits, the outlaws combed the territory for the best riding stock they could find. Soon after the organization of their band, the Dalton gang made a raid on a colony of Missourians who had settled near Orlando on Beaver Creek. Eight or ten horses were stolen, and the bandits made a dash back toward Indian Territory. A posse was quickly organized that followed the horse thieves to a point near Twin Mounds in the Territory. The trail growing warmer, the posse divided to search the dense timber along the ban of a creek. Two members of the posse, William Thompson and W. T. Starmer, a cousin of George G. STarmer, later one of E. D. Nix's deputies, were ambushed by the outlaws who hid behind a pile of driftwood. The postmen dropped to the ground quickly and attempted to conceal themselves behind stumps while they poured a deadly fire in the direction from which the bandits' shots had come, but the outlaws were too well sheltered to suffer damage, and within a few minutes Starmer lay fatally wounded while Thompson made his get-away. Then starter's body was examined it was found that he had been hit by three bullets so well aimed that anyone would have killed him. His own Winchester was empty, indicating that he had fought to the last cartridge.

After a brief rest the Daltons set out westward, seeking a place of greater security for the undisturbed development of their next immediate plans.

Red Rack, Oklahoma, was a little Indian trading station built upon the rolling red clay prairies in the Cherokee sTrip, and so isolated that even today the State highways do not touch it and the Santa Fe trains hoot disdainfully as they whiz by. The depot was situated about a mile from the town, and it was here the bandits could work quickly without fear of interference by the officers of the little community.

It was nine o'clock on the night of 1 June 1892, the Dalton gang rode into a deep washout near the railroad and near the Red Rock station. Leaving their horses concealed there, they waited in the shadows for the arrival of the southbound Santa Fe passenger train. AS the small wood burning engine labored into the station and came to a stop, a blanketed Indian with a squaw and two papooses alighted. The telegraph operator ran to the engine to give the engineer his orders, when Black Faced Charlie Bryant and Dick Broadwell dashed past him and leaped into the cab of the locomotive.

An armed guard sat on a pile of wood on the tender eating a sandwich. The surprise attack so demoralized him that he gave a hysterical jerk at his gun, causing sticks of wood to roll beneath him and he sprawled across the coupling into the cab of the engine at the feet of the two bandits who quickly disarmed him. The express messenger and his guard had just been congratulating themselves that there were no shipments to be put off the train at Red Rock, and they went on placidly with a game of checkers. When the command came for them to reach for the sky, the checkerboard fell from their trembling knees and the checkers rolled all about the car. They were looking into the guns of Bill Doolin and Gratton Dalton.

Back in the passenger coaches, Bob and Emmett Dalton and Bill Powers were herding the frightened passengers out onto the station platform. With he express messenger and his guard disarmed and bound, Gratton and Doolin looked about for the large safe that was supposed to contain several thousand dollars in currency. There had been a slip somewhere, for they only found a small box-like safe with a chain attached to one of the handles. They dragged this to the door and threw it out on the platform. After quickly relieving the messenger of his keys they opened the flimsy door of the little iron box and found a single pack containing two or three hundred dollars in currency.

While Bob, Emmett and Powers were forcing the passengers to give up their valuables, Black Faced Charlie left Broadwell in the engine to hold his prisoners there while he ran back to assist the others. In passing the station window, he saw the frightened face of the operator in the dim lamp light as his nervous hands trembled on the telegraph keys. Assuming that the operator was sending out news of the robbery, Bryant sent a bullet crashing through the window, and with a moan the slender boy inside slumped from his chair. The telegraph instruments clicked frantically for him to complete his message.

Within fifteen minutes the terrified passengers were herded back into the cars and the train was on its way. The disappointed bandits slunk away with but a part of the booty they had hoped for.

There were great official stirs, rewards were offered by the express and railroad companies and desperate attempts were made to finally wipe out the Daltons, who were becoming a menace to Oklahoma's march of progress, but the outlaws disappeared as if they were spirit creatures who had no material bodies to conceal and all searches were fruitless.

Within a short time, Black Faced Charlie appeared at a cowboy dance near Hennessey, Oklahoma, and before the evening was over he had started an altercation with a cowman from the western part of the Cherokee Strip and was considerably worsted in the affair, receiving a wound that sent him to bed under a doctor's care.

Deputy United States Marshal Ed Short heard of the affair and went to Hennessey seeking Bryant. He located him easily in the home where his wounds were being treated and, entering his bedroom, he was able to overpower and handcuff the outlaw before he could get to his gun which was concealed beneath his pillow.

The next morning after Bryant's capture Deputy Short arranged to take him to Wichita, Kansas. On this trip, Short's lack of caution, or perhaps it was his over confidence, cost him his life. The prisoner was handcuffed with his hands in front instead of behind him, and when the train arrived he was placed in the express car. After a short time, Short handed the outlaw's six-shooter to the express messenger and asked him to guard his prisoner, saying that he wanted to go back into the passenger coach to see a friend. The messenger casually place the six-shooter in a pigeonhole above his desk and wen about his work. The outlaw watched his opportunity, and as he saw the messenger intent in his work he slipped up behind him and grabbed the six-shooter with his hand cuffed hands, covering the messenger, he was backing toward the sliding door of the car where he expected to make his escape when Deputy Short re-entered. Bryant whirled quickly, facing Short, his manacled hands aiming the gun clumsily as he blazed away at the deputy. Short staggered, seriously wounded, drawing his gun as quickly as possible. The express messenger ducked behind a stack of freight. Before the duel between these two men of undaunted nerve had ended both six-shooters were empty and the two combatants lay in pools of their own blood, dying. The train was then drawing into the station of Waukomis, Oklahoma, and the deputy and the outlaw were taken from the splintered express car and laid upon the platform. Conductor Collins kneeled beside the dying officer ... "Ed, is there anything I can do for you?" Short tried to force a grin as he answered feebly, "I hope ... I got that snake he sure got me ... take off ... by boots ... Colin ... and send word toy mother."

A short distance away lay the outlaw who but a few moments ago had had life and vitality in such measure that he had regarded death as that strange, intangible thing to be considered as being far in the future. A few brief minutes later, he lay gasping, his life blood gurgling from many open wounds.

A young man walked to his side and stooped to speak to him, "Aren't you Charlie Bryant?" The outlaw nodded his head weakly as he recognized the young man as a boyhood friend. Bryant then made that strange request that seldom come from the lips of dying gunmen, "I can't die with my boots on ... won't you " the young friend stooped and tenderly removed his boots and promised to frame a respectable story to be sent to the desperado's mother.

Ed Short's untimely death was but another lesson to the territorial officers, proving to them that they must not under any circumstances give an outlaw prisoner a chance for escape.

The rest of the Dalton gang had apparently dropped out of existence. Several weeks passed without the officers' receiving the slightest clue as to their whereabouts. Then in the latter part of July they appeared over in the Cherokee country near the Arkansas line where they perpetrated one of the most daring train robberies that had ever been attempted. They knew that a considerable shipment of money was being made on a Missouri, Kansas and Texas passenger train on this particular day. They also knew that the train was being heavily guarded by a force, augmented by Indian police. In spite of the discouraging prospect for success the Daltons lay in wit for the train near a little station called Adair. As the train came to a stop, the bandits attempted to capture the guards, who poured a heavy fire upon the robbers. With undaunted nerve the robbery of the mail express car and the passengers proceeded during one of the hottest gun battles that ever took place upon such an occasion. The Dalton gang succeeded in carrying away all of the valuables and money and several of the indian police and passengers were wounded. A physician who lived in Adair was killed. It was never learned whether or not any of the bandits were wounded. If so, they were carried away and nursed to recovery by their companions.

Again the Daltons dropped out of sight and the officers and their posses were unable to find a trace of them. Now and then they would hear of some small depredation of which the Daltons were vaguely suspected. Encouraged by their successful robberies and escapades, young Bob Dalton's mad ambition was fired with a desire to commit a robbery sod bring and so sensational that the entire country would be shocked, and that would establish the Dalton gang as more to be feared than the James boys or the Youngers had ever been.

Having been reared near Coffeyville, Kansas, the Dalton boys knew the little town, its inhabitants and their habits intimately. Young Bob decided that Coffeyville should be the scene of his 'coup d theatre." He had boasted to his impetuous followers that he would lead them to glorious accomplishments greater than America had ever known. They would rob two banks in the same two simultaneously. That would eclipse anything the James or Youngers had ever done.

He visualized himself as a romantic hero and he developed a super-ego and an unreasonable confidence that was to lead him to his destruction. Bob felt that this net stroke must be the one that would establish his band's fortunes so soundly that they would be able to retire for a considerable time. Bob and Gratton had been recognized in the Adair robbery, and the indignation of the territorial officers and citizenship was seething. Sooner or later the Daltons would be captured. They realized this and laid their plans to get out of the country.

It was on the morning of 4 October 1892, the Dalton gang comprised of Bob, Gratton and Emmett Dalton, Bill Doolin, Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers rode out from their Indian Territory hiding place in the direction of the Kansas line. Their six-shooters and rifles were oiled and loaded to capacity. Their cartridge belts and pockets were filled with ammunition, and as their horses fox-trotted over the vague trail the men rode in a huddled group, discussing their plans in hushed tones. Doily rode beside young Bob, serving as a sort of first lieutenant and offering such suggestions and warnings as an older man could give to daring And rash youth.

Late in the afternoon they crossed the Kansas line and, riding a few miles farther, they stopped and camped for the night. They built their fire in a secluded spot and held their consultations in whispers as if afraid the rocks and trees might over hear and frustrate their plot.

Several cigarettes after dusk they spread their blankets and retired for the night, all but young Emmett falling into sound sleep. The boy was nervous ... this affair didn't seem to him to be quite right. Perhaps he was developing more of a conscience than he would have admitted to the others. IN the middle of the night he threw his blanket aside and walked nervously about the little camp. His nerves were on edge. Bob stirred in his blanket and called, "That you, Emmett? You had better be sleeping."

The boy sat down on his rude bed and waited for his brother to go back to sleep. he then dragged his blanket over hear Bob's sleeping form and lay down. His brother's peaceful snoring seemed to reassure him. He soon drifted away into sound slumber. Before daylight the bandits arose and prepared a light breakfast. The Bitter, black coffee warmed them and stimulated their spirits for the task was before them. At about seven o'clock they rode out of the camp toward Coffeyville, expecting to arrive there soon after the banks had had opened and before there were many people on the streets. It was one of those invigorating fall days that seemed sharpen the mind and to exhilarate the body to an eagerness to attack whatever experiences the day may bring forth. There had been a light frost or two, and the ground beneath the trees was covered with brown and pink and gold leaves. The short grass beside the trail was beginning to turn brown and the earth was moist enough that the horses raised very little dust.

During the night Doolin's horse had wrenched a foot in some manner and was limping painfully. As they passed a small ranch, it was Bob Dalton's suggestion that Doolin fall back and try to rustle a new mount fro himself, for it was imperative that the bandits be able to make a rapid departure following their robbery. Doily turned away from the trail and the others rode on toward Coffeyville.

Doily replied, "I'll be there not more'n fifteen or twenty minutes behind you boys. I just seen a chestnut sorrel geldin' in a field outside the timber there that looks like he might step. It won't take me long to toss a rope over him."

Many ole timers had said that Bill Doolin tried to persuade Bob Dalton that he was biting off more than he could chew. Did Bill Doolin loiter behind because he preferred not to have a and in the Coffeyville affair? Anyone familiar with the indomitable courage of the man would have known that his reluctance was not due to fear. Perhaps he used better judgment than Bob Dalton was capable of exercising.

As the horses trotted along Bob Dalton adjusted a heavy false mustache and goatee to his smooth face, and handed a false beard to Emmett to conceal his features. Gratton's face was covered by a long, shaggy growth of beard, while Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers wore no disguises of any kind since they were unknown in Coffeyville.

As the riders drew near the town's borders they halted in the road to wait a few moments for Doolin. Young Emmett Dalton was sent riding back to the top of a hill to see if Doolin was following. He rode back to the group, reporting that he could see nothing of the other man. Bob Dalton was impatient and after a very short wait he touched his horse with the spurs, saying, "We can't waste any more time waiting' for him. This has got to be done quick. Come on."

Shortly after nine o'clock the firemen rode at a slow trot into the principal street of the town, the three Daltons abreast and Broadwell and Powers following. As it was an ordinary sight for cattlemen to be riding in and out of Coffeyville during this period, the bandits attracted no unusual attention. They were mounted on their best horses and their heavy Mexican saddles were decorated with the spangles and carvings that cow men in that period so vainly affe ted. On the sides of their saddles hung large hair covered pockets, each carrying several six-shooters. Behind the saddles, their slickers were compactly rolled. Their Winchester rifles were concealed beneath their coats. To the causal observer they seemed to be unarmed. Their brand brimmed hats were drawn well down over their faces, and they looked neither to the right nor to the left as they approached the town square. Here they turned to the right and rode half a block, disappearing into an alley where they tied their horses. After some moments they walked out upon the principal business street of Coffeyville. A few teams hitched to farm wagons stood at the hitching rails up and down the street and here and there were cow ponies standing as if they were anchored by the loose bridle reins that touched the ground. A housewife, basket on her arm, bustled out of a door of a meat market and brushed Emmett slightly, disarranging his false beard.

They proceeded down the street passing farmers and citizens. One merchant, looking a little more closely than the other passers-by, saw at a glance than the men were disguised and he immediately suspected that they were bank robbers. He concealed himself in a doorway and watched until three of them, Gratton Dalton, Powers and Broadwell, entered the Condon Bank. At about the same moment, Bob and Emmett went into the First National Bank. Walking furtively past the Condon Bank, the merchant saw Gratton Dalton pointing a gun at the cashier's head. The frightened man ran down the street for about half a block, then began shouting that the banks were being robbed. Another citizen had followed the Daltons into the Condon Bank and witnessed the holdup but, as he tried to leave, he was ordered to hold up his hands and he remained where he was.

The cry, "The banks are being robbed!" flew from door to door, up and down the streets, until the whole town was alarmed, and men came running with six-shooters, Winchesters and shot guns. Within an incredibly short time a fusillade of shots was being fired through the windows and doors of the two banks at the bandits. Through this fiery battle, the Daltons, by their sheer coolness and daring, seemed about to justify their boast that they would eclipse the exploits of the James boys and the Youngers. With bullets, crashing window glass and splintering wood lying about them, they went calmly about receiving the money that was being handed out to them by the frightened bank employees. Packages of currency and stacks of coin were thrown quickly into the bags they had brought for the purpose, and within three minutes the Daltons were ready to make their exit into the street, but they reckoned without the alertness and bravery of the Coffeyville citizens who were massed in the street and ready for battle.

As Bob and Emmett would have left the First National Bank they were met by a hail of bullets and the crash of falling glass. They turned back and made their way through a rear door into the alley, fighting viciously as they ran.

Gratton, Broadwell and Powers were having their own troubles by this time. Powers had been hit and blood was using in a stream from his right sleeve. AS they came to the door, Powers carried his six-shooters in his left hand and was still as calm as any man could have been. These three decided to fight their way out of the front door and through the crowd of citizens. AS they reached the sidewalk Powers was hit again and he fell, gasping his last breath. A moment later Gratton Dalton fell to his knees fatally wounded by a bullet from eh gun of City Marshal Charles T. Connelly. With eh figure of the City Marshal dancing before his blazing eyes, Gratton Dalton raised his pistol and fired the shot that killed Connelly. Two citizens, Lucius M. Baldwin and George B. Cubine, rushed to aid Connelly, and Broadwell felled the two them, killing them instantly. Broadway made a dash through the alley for his horse, followed by a half dozen citizens. He had mounted and was putting the spurs to his horse when a full charge of buckshot and a bullet from a Winchester struck him at about the same time. With he blood gushing from his mouth and with one arm shattered, he clung to his horse and dashed out and over the road by which the bandits had entered the town. A mile or so away his dead body was found by the roadside, the horse sanding beside it.

As Bob and Emmett attempted to escape by the back door of the First National Bank, a citizen named Charles Brown rushed toward them and Bob drilled him squarely between the eyes. A moment later as they were about to reach their horses, Emmett heard a groan behind him and saw Bob fall into the alley's muck. Emmett quickly mounted his horse and rode back to where his brother Bob lay dying. He reached down and took hold of Bob's hand and tried to raise him to the horse behind. While he was trying to rescue his brother, Emmett Dalton was struck in the back by a heavy charge from a shot gun at close range. He released the dying man's hand, reeled in the saddle and fell to the ground.

Within fifteen minutes from the time they entered the banks, four of the outlaws were dead, and a fifth, Emmett Dalton, had been captured, with on bullet through his right arm, another through his hip and a sprinkling of buckshot in his back.

The bodies of the four dead bandits were taken to the jail where they remained until the mother of the Daltons arrived, accompanied by their two older brothers. Emmett was taken to a hospital and when he had recovered sufficiently was removed to the jail at Independence, Kansas. When quit was restored, it was found that the robbers had taken eleven thousand dollars from the First National Bank and twenty thousand from the Condon Bank. All of this money was returned to the banks with the exception of a twenty dollar bill which was never found.

The Coffeyville raid was as disastrous to the Dalton gang as the Northfields raid had been to the Youngers many years before. It was the end of the Dalton gang i the southwest, but it was not the end of the reign of the outlaws. Bill Doolin who, but for a queer turn of fate, might have died an inglorious death with the Daltons, was destined to become one of the most vicious outlaws Oklahoma was ever to know.

Doily had succeeded in stealing the thoroughbred horse and he had proceeded on toward Coffeyville. As he drew near enough to see the smoke from the chimneys of the Kansas town and to see the sunlight glinting from the roofs, some peculiar intuition caused him to linger and watch as if he were waiting for something, a vague something that he could not have described. Presently, he saw a horseman racing toward him in cloud of dust. The man draw up as he approached Doolin and so great was his excitement that his words were almost incoherent. He told the tragedy that had happened in the streets of Coffeyville and Doolin learned the fate of his companions.

Realizing that there was nothing he could do the cowboy bandit responded quickly to the instinct for self preservation. He knew that his connection with the Dalton gang was suspected and even known to some people, and he did not know how soon a posse might be on his trail. Perhaps the Coffeyvill folks would believe that all of the gang had been wiped out and would make no search, perhaps they would not. He could afford to take no chances.

Within twenty-four hours the entire country would be rose and an intensive search would begin for all the men who were known to have had the slightest connection with the Dalton band. Miles away on the bank of the Cimarron was a haven of safety, but between Doolin and that haven were many obstacles. The outlaw had been fortunate in find so fit a mount for the grueling ride that was before him. As soon as the frightened informer from Coffeyville had disappeared down the dusty road, Doolin wheeled his steed and dashed away toward the Kansas- Indian Territory line.

That much of the ride must be made in daylight and he must dash on until darkness fell to shield his first breathing spell. Never once was it necessary to let the spirited thoroughbred feel the steel of his spurs. Tis sort of horse would run until he dropped in his tracks. Once or twice Doolin reined up to let his horse wet its lips in a muddy stream. The animal's neck, flanks and hips were covered with salty foam, and it strides grew tumbling and uncertain before dusk finally fell. After a rest of two hours Doolin pressed on for the rest of the night.

As daylight broke he found refuge in a deep ravine and behind a great pile of driftwood. The horse was led about a half mile beyond the man's hiding place and hobbled, where he was left to graze during the day. Doily made his way stealthily back to his blankets and slept as only an exhausted man could sleep, until darkness fell again. That night Doolin crossed the territory like a flying wraith, flitting by rich and farm like a ghostly rider saddled soon the wind, reeling off mile after mile until he reached the old rendezvous of the gang, a cow ranch on the Cimarron, twenty-five miles west of Tulsa. Doily had plans, and they were to be brought into effect while he rested there.
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1914, American woman Rents Great Ghost of England - Takes Warwick Castle

Vol 16, Iss 40 England - It was in The Day Book, dated 25 May 1914, Noon Editon, image 22, that we found this interesting story concerning an American woman (Mrs. Henry W. Marsh) rents great ghost of England, takes Warwick castle. It was written by Nixola Greeley-Smith.

New York, May 25 (1914) -- Rented - one ghost, a real, genuine, historic ghost - one of the most exclusive ghosts in all tradition - none other that the ghost of Warwick Castle, which, with all other appurtenances of that famous mansion, has just become the property for a term of years of Mrs. Henry W. Marsh of New York and Chicago.

Mrs. Marsh hadn't seen the ghost yet. But she lived in English castles before and she declares they are nearly all haunted and that she had actually seen one of these ghostly inhabitants wit her own eyes.
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Topeka (Kansas) & Albino Lady Haunts Rochester Cemetery

Vol 6, Iss 43 Kansas - "I love ghost story because they usually have some truth in them. I have two I'd like to share. However, they are from Kansas but they are good.

The first has many versions. It's the story of the Albino Lady who haunts Rochester cemetery in Topeka, Kansas.

Now I'm sure she's dead ... and gone but her legacy lives on as she scared the daylights out of many teenagers who dared tried to park in Rochester cemetery. She is said to have long white hair, and long fingernails, but I think she was probably just someone who didn't like the teens hanging around the cemetery at night.

The other is a little different. My uncle was named Willard Catron whom disappeared in December, 1949. He owned a cafe in or around Ft. Riley. He was a kind man and often gave credit to many a soldier 'till payday.

One December morning my mother, Evelyn, came to work and found the back door open, cash drawer open, and all the receipts gone. That was last time our family saw Willard alive.

His car was found in Junction City in front of the Post Office. It has the empty moneybag in it, blood, and pieces of red hair.

Many times my Grandparents would go looking for Willard, because someone had said they'd seen him. Grandma always thought he was in the river. Not true.

About 2 months ago I received a phone call from my cousin in Arizona. She had information that proved that for some unknown reason Willard was not dead. He had been living in Louisiana for the past 50 yrs. He'd used the name William Carter.

Only when he became ill and Veterans Services were needed did his second family find the problem. His military number didn't match the name. The number they were told belonged to a Willard Catron, my Uncle. He told them that his father had killed his wife and daughter and he feared for his life. NOT, true!...

Uncle Willard apparently left behind a wife and 2 daughters for a reason that still today we are not sure of, but hope he had a happy life.

Just wanted to share something, cause I miss Oklahoma so much. Take care and have a great holiday. We'd love to see pic's of everyone's Halloween costumes. Take care, a transplanted Okie." -- Nancy View/Write Comments (count 1)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


Sod Town, Beaver Co., OK

Vol 10, Iss 19 Some NW Oklahoma ghost towns can have wild, interesting legacies that still haunt parts of "No Man's Land (Oklahoma Panhandle)." One of those ghost towns is Sod Town, in Beaver County, the first county you come to when you enter the Oklahoma Panhandle from the East.

Sod Town is located in Sec. 22-1N-26E, Cimarron Meridian, 19 miles south, 15 miles East of Beaver. Sod Town was unique among the early settlements of the Panhandle. It was the first town to be built in the eastern part of "No Man's Land," and all of the buildings were constructed of blue creek sod.

The village was described as "standing irregularly and nakedly on the prairie." It had one store, Blacksmith shop, two saloons with pool halls, restaurant, a shack that served as a school. Doors and windowsills were unpainted and often broken, refuse littered the space between buildings, and building interiors were little more than dark, bad-smelling rooms.

The town was noted for the characters -- horse theives and badmen -- who loafed around the saloons. Most of the Chitwood gang, notorious horse thieves who lived nearby and frequented the saloons and were eventually hanged by vigilantes. However, the thieves would not steal from neighbors who treated them in a friendly manner.

Harry Parker, who as a pioneer youngster attended school in Sod Town, once said, "I do not recall the name of my first teacher in No Man's Land, but I do remember that two or three of the older students carried six-shooters to school. They would remove them and hang them on the wall by their hats."

Sod Town, spawned in poverty and crime, has passed into oblivion leaving only the ghosts and haunts of the past as its legacy. The land where the town stood has been cultivated for a number of years, but the ruins of old sod buildings have left ridges that can still be seen from the road east of it." -- Ghosttowns of Oklahoma, by John W. Morris, page 180.
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Oklahoma - Indian Territory Legends...

Vol 8, Iss 27 Legends of Indian Territory -- If you roam the hills of Oklahoma you might find remnants of the following histories: Afton - Fading Into History; Arapaho - Great Buffalo Hunters of the Plains; Bass Reeves - Black Hero Marshal NEW; Belle Starr - Oklahoma Bandit Queen; Beyond Vinita, Oklahoma on Route 66; Calumet to Hydro- An Old Stretch of the Mother Road; Catoosa and the Blue Whale; Chandler - Last Gunfight of the Old West; Claremore - Home of Will Rogers; Clinton - Hub City of Western Oklahoma; The Comanche Indians - Horsemen of the Plains; Elk City - A Step Back In Time; El Reno -Home of the Oklahoma Land Rush; Entering Oklahoma on Route 66; Erick and Texola - Gateways to Oklahoma; Foss & Canute - Beyond Glory Days; Haunted Oklahoma; Heck Thomas - Tough Law in Indian Territory NEW; Hell Raising Stroud, Oklahoma; Henry Starr - Cherokee Bad Boy; Judge Isaac Parker - Hanging Judge of Indian Territory; The Lee Gang - Murder and Thievery on the Texas Border NEW; Miami - Culture on Route 66; Oklahoma City - An Overnight Success; Oklahoma City Route 66 Photo Gallery; Oklahoma Fun Facts & Trivia; Oklahoma Links; Oklahoma Postcards; The Pawnee Indians - Farmers on the Plains; Quirky Oklahoma; Tattoo Man of Oklahoma; Ed Galloway?s Totem Pole Park; Tattoo Man of Bartlesville; Route 66 - Oklahoma Mother Road; Oklahoma's Ribbon of the Mother Road; Sapulpa to Depew, Oklahoma - Small Town America on Route 66; Santa Fe Trail - Highway to the Southwest; Sayre - Entering Cowboy Country; Shamrock - Oil Boom & Bust; Tulsa - Oil Capital of the World; Ghosts of the Tulsa Little Theatre; History and Haunting of the Gilcrease Museum; Tulsa Route 66 Photo Gallery; Treasure Hunting in Oklahoma; Vinita - Crossroads of America; Warwick to Arcadia - Historic Stretch of 66; Weatherford Big City Amenities With Small Town Charm.
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Spectre of Old Alva Hospital Being Haunted Rattles Nerves of Caretakers

Vol 9, Iss 43 [The Daily Oklahoman, dated 14 Dec. 1971, pg. 38]

Alva, OK -- "Everyone's heard of a haunted house, but just how many people have come across a haunted hospital?

Two young Alva men think they are living in one - the old Alva General hospital which closed last July to make way for the new Share Memorial Hospital.

Ben Buckland and Dennis Brown came by their unusual home after vandals began to take their toll on the outskirts of this northwest Oklahoma community.

Buckland, part owner of a restaurant catering to college students and consulting manager of an Oklahoma City FM radio station, and Brown, job foreman for his father's lumber company here, serve as caretakers for the old hospital.

In the 2 1/2 months they've occupied the place numerous strange sounds and unexplained happenings have occurred which have sometimes left them on edge. Word of the mysterious goings-on has gotten out to their friends. They still have the friends, buy they'd rather not come calling at the pair's "haunted" residence.

"At first we were afraid of an overstock of company here -- but we've never had that problem," Buckland quipped.

The two men occupy eight of the 96 rooms of the old structure. The lobby is now a game room with pool and ping pong tables. An eight bed ward is now their living room. Buckland uses a small office off the game room and Brown has a former surgery room for a bedroom suite.

Brown has numerous stereo tapes which he enjoys listening to for relaxation. At least he used to like to relax with them.

"The first day we moved in, we were sitting in my bedroom listening to my tapes when a tape broke," Brown said, adding, "I've never had a tape break. Well, we fixed it and turned it on again. The tape broke again. That tape broke three times while we were watching it."

"If you're looking for an explanation," Buckland said, "after the tape broke three times is a row ... one of the guys helping us move said 'Maybe it's too loud; maybe you're offending them (the ghosts).' So Dennis turned it down and the tape didn't break anymore."

Other things have happened since then.

"Sometimes we'll be sitting there listening to the stereo and one side of the stereo will quit playing for no reason," observed Brown. Both men have checked the wires numerous times and found nothing amiss.

A stain in the surgery room adjoining Brown's bedroom is another unexplained phenomenon. The reddish-brown stain measures about four inches in diameter and is located three feet from a floor drain set in the sloping surgery floor.

When they mop the floor the stain disappears, but is back again within a week.

Brown tells of having a childhood fear of shower baths after having been trapped inside a shower by a sliding door and nearly being scalded as a youngster.

Recently he went to his room for a record album. The former surgery room's door closed and the shower came on. This sent Brown hurrying back to the game room without the record.

Despite these and other strange events the men have no plans for moving from their "haunted" hospital home.

"It's been a really good experience. I'd like to live here until forced to move out," Brown said.

Buckland observed, "It's been most interesting. I'll live here as long as the administrators need me."
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Haunted Hotel In Guthrie, OK

Vol 9, Iss 44 "The Stone Lion Inn, Guthrie, Oklahoma was built in 1907 by F.E. Houghton, the founder of Cotton Oil Company and owner of the first car dealership in Oklahoma.

The Houghtons started out in a little house that once was located on the lot next door on the east side of the Inn.,br>
The Houghtons had 12 children, and all survived childhood except for one daughter, who died before the family moved into the Stone Lion Inn.

Becky Luker purchased the Stone Lion Inn in 1986 and converted the house into the first bed-and-breakfast in Oklahoma.

Back in the 1920s, the house was leased to Smith's Funeral Home and was used as a mortuary. Can you imagine what comes next? The Smith's lived upstairs and the embalming was done in what is now the Inn's kitchen.

Today, the owner uses the beautiful porcelain embalming table as a hallway buffet where guests can help themselves to refreshments throughout the day.

Supposedly, the Houghton daughter haunts the Inn. The girl was 8 years old when she died of whooping cough. It is believed that the maid overmedicated her with cough syrup. The medication had codeine and opium, which was once common.

Guests have reported being awakened at night between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., when a small child comes into the room and pats them on the cheek, but when they are fully awake, no one is there.

Another ghost is an older gentleman who is recognized by the scent of his cigar smoke. He wears a suit and a derby-like hat.

A ghost woman haunts the wedding suite, and laughter sometimes can be heard around 4 a.m. on a regular basis. For more interesting details and rates see Stone Lion Inn." -- Dale Talkington
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Great Overviews of Oklahoma's Ghost Towns'

Vol 6, Iss 33 "Thanks for the great overviews of Oklahoma's 'Ghost Towns'. As a retiree and a long time photographer I hope to soon visit these places. We lived in Denver for twenty years and haunted the ghost towns in the "hills" and are just discovering the wonderful opportunities that exist here in Oklahoma." -- Darryl Cox - Email: durl@earthlink.net View/Write Comments (count 0)   |   Receive updates (0 subscribers)  |   Unsubscribe


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