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Volume 10, Issue 8 -- 2008-02-24

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Volume 10
1999  Vol 1
2003  Vol 5
2004  Vol 6
2005  Vol 7
2006  Vol 8
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Iss 46  11-16 
Iss 49  12-7 
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Iss 2  1-13 
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Iss 33  8-17 
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I saw the picture of John Cope Louthan, the grandfather of Gilbert Shirley Louthan [more]...
 ~Patricia (Jaide) Mills regarding Okie's story from Vol. 10 Iss. 46 titled UNTITLED

I have information about John B. Okie who lived in Lost Cabin, Wyoming. I would like to share with his descendants.
 ~Jan Makemson regarding Okie's story from Vol. 7 Iss. 38 titled UNTITLED


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Duchess Corner

Since Wednesday of this week, our mornings have been cloudy with a break of clouds towards the afternoon after a few inches of snow has fallen.

BUT... the temperatures are slowly rising above freezing in the afternoons and more expected next week. While the valley areas might get a couple of inches of snow, the high elevations have seen another foot or so of snow piling up on their roofs this week.

I just took a glance at my calendar and realized this February 2008 is one of those "Leap Years." There was a girl in my class that was born on February 29, 1948. If those born on February 29th had a birthday every four years, then she would have had 15 birthdays compared to my own 60 birthdays. This NW Okie came popping out 4 days before the end of February 1948. I am coming up on my 60th birthday this Monday, February 25th!

Well! Finally, we lost our $2.99.9 regular gas prices as the gas stations in Southwest Colorado raised their prices this week. Saturday gas prices in Bayfield, Colorado were at an all time high, starting with $3.21.9 for regular. I suppose Oklahoma's gas prices must be lower than Colorado's gas prices by about 20-cents or so. What is it in your neck of the woods?

Before I head out of here, one of my readers wanted me to remind you that this 2008 year is an election year as we go to the polls to elect a NEW, different President.

I am NOT going to be one of those who tells you how to VOTE! I just want you to decide for yourself and do NOT let others tell you how to think or vote! It is important that you make that decision yourself ... GET INVOLVED & VOTE!

It is time that we get involved with our government before the special interest groups, lobbyists take it over for their own special gains! DO NOT FORGET TO VOTE!

It's important for whom you vote, BUT... not nearly as important as just casting a vote. That gives you the license to agree or disagree with whomever is elected!
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Alva's Downtown Square

On the West side of the Woods county courthouse there was a triangular space created by sidewalks, where there was a large fish pond with an ornamental iron railing surrounding a three-tiered fountain.

In the center of this pond was a cast iron fountain featuring cranes whose uplifted bills sprayed water into the air. This beautiful and unique fountain was removed in 1955 prior to the demolition of the old Courthouse in 1956.

On the North side of square, Flynn Avenue, on the NW corner of Flynn & 5th Street was Snyder's Cigar Store. In cigar store rankings it was number two to the Oklahoma Cigar Store. Just up the block, to the West, from Snyder's Cigar Store was the palace of the county, the Rialto Theater. Click the following link for more Oklahoma history of Alva's Downtown Square

Snyder's Cigar Store was where the very serious domino players held fort because it was quieter and you could concentrate on your game. Snyder's lunch counter featured cornbread and buttermilk -- we hear that was a tasty filler when funds were low. Back in 1910 we know that the NE corner of 5th & Flynn Avenue housed the "Woods County Bank" downstairs with the "Republican Headquarters" upstairs.

A Cigar Store (pool hall, domino parlor) building on the NW corner was "Snyders Cigar Store." There was a grocery store just to the west of the cigar store, but we are not sure of the name at present. Did George Snyder that opened the first Dry Goods Store in Alva, Oklahoma, also have something to do with Snyder's Cigar Store?

G. W. "George" Snyder George W. Snyder was a native of Ohio. He came to Kansas in the early 1880's, and to Alva at the opening (1893) and started the first dry-goods store in the city.

George Snyder's business grew with the city and at the beginning of 1904 he was at the head of the Snyder, Makemson Mercantle Co., which occupied three large rooms, and was one of the largest department stores in Oklahoma. Mr. Snyder had always been a loyal supporter of public improvements in Alva, and in 1904 was a member of the city council.
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Old Alva Fountain

We learned in an earlier Volume-Issue of the "OkieLegacy" that Alva's three-tiered fountain, pond and dragonhead drinking fountain were located on the westside of the old Woods County courthouse square in downtown Alva, Oklahoma.

We know the dragonhead drinking fountain is now in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a private courtyard. BUT... we still haven't any clue as to where the towering, three-tiered fountain has been hiding. It must have been a terrific sight as it once graced our downtown courthouse square.

In an earlier issue of the "OkieLegacy" Jim Barker sent us a picture of his brother and sister (Bill & Ruby) posing on the railing of the courthouse fountain. Take a close look in the background of this famous fountain. Maybe it will jog some memory cells of where the fountain might be today.

What did the county do with this historical fountain that once graced our small, downtown square of Alva, Oklahoma and was removed in 1955? Is it in storage somewhere? Did it get auctioned to the highest bidder?

Perhaps the present owners of this fountain (if it still exists) would considering donating it back to the County, City of Alva -- placing it once again on our Woods County courthouse square for present, future generations to enjoy on these Wintry, Spring-like days in NW Oklahoma.
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Growing Up In Oklahoma

We are in the process of taking down Kenneth Updike's stories and ramblings of "Growing Up In Oklahoma" because Kenneth asked us, "To remove all of my previous writings to you about my Ramblins. Personal stories that I told you and your readers. My Son has had all of my writings, and notes copyrighted so that we can put them in a book or booklet. His idea. I really have no objections to this, but he insists we can be viewed by more people. I leave it up to him. Thanks for your help in the past, and I still read your Okie Legacy nearly every week."

If you find some of Kenneth's Ramblings that I have missed, Please email me the link with Vol. and Iss. numbers so that this NW Okie can remove them. Thanks for your help!
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WPA, CCC & Roosevelt's Tree Army

"I too am looking for the records of Fowitz Funeral Home that was in Woods county. I am also interested in the land run records for the Strip and the 1906 Woods County atlas. My great-grandfather was Adam Kunzman." Lisa Kunzman -- Email: LisaKunzman@comcast.net
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Old Grimes Bridge - NW Alva, OK

"When I was a boy during the thirties the road leading to Grimes Bridge that crossed the Salt Fork River was a magical road full of adventure. The side of the road had a multitude of sand plum bushes and when they were ripe we picked buckets full of them for my mother to make the delicious plum butter (way better than apple butter) and plum jelly (a gourmet delight to this day.

The adventure occurred when my buddy Milford Wheeler, me and his German Shepard Brownie (who later joined the K-9 Corps) when hunting along the river bank near Grimes Bridge. We had no weapons but used Brownie for the catch dog. As I said it was in the late thirties and money was tight. If we could catch a fur bearing animal we could take the carcass to Reed''s Hatchery and they would give us cash money for it. The high dollar animals were skunks and raccoons.

Brownie chased two skunks into a sandy den hole on the river bank. He dug down into the hole and then went after them. He almost immediately backed out of the hole because he had gotten a mouth full of skunk juice. It was the first time (and the last time) I ever saw a dog hawk and spit. Then he headed for a clump of buffalo grass and proceeded to bite it off and chew it. Milford solved the problem of how to capture the skunks by wrapping a piece of barbed wire around a stick putting it in the hole twisting it in the skunks fur and dragging the out one by one. When we got them out we dispatched them by hitting them on the head.

If you are overwhelmed by a powerful odor after awhile it overloads your smelling senses and you can''t smell it. We proudly headed home with the skunks in a gunny sack feeling like rich men since skunks brought $2.50 apiece. We were already figuring how many movies and popcorn it would buy. Unfortunately when we reached home we were immediately declared Persona Non Grata and banished to the garage to strip down shoes and all." -- Bill Barker - Email: billb11@alltel.net
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Early Alva Dry Goods Photos

"These photographs are from the collection of my husband's grandfather E.D. Mercer whose aunt was Dora Mercer Snyder, wife of G.W. The best information I have about George Snyder is from his biography on the Okie Legacy web page.

I would be very interested to know what year this picture was taken and to learn the store's location. The Snyders had a daughter, Lillian, who married Dahl DeGeer. I'm wondering if this dry goods store has a link to the R.I. DeGeer Grocery store of the 1920s.

I have not heard of the Snyder Cigar Store. So I am not sure if there is any connection. I have really enjoyed reading the details on your web page and then finding pictures among our family photographs." -- Onecia Mercer, Topeka, Kansas
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Alva Fountain Mystery

"Linda, After seeing the picture of the old Woods County Courthouse fountain I looked up the attached picture of myself with my Grandma (Lulu Veley) in front of that same fountain. My best guess about when this picture was taken would be about 1947 or '48. Notice there is only one tier on the fountain, not three as was in the picture previously submitted. What happened to the other two?

The other mystery, is the faint shadow directly above the fountain of what appears to be a dome or steeple. (I'm not sure it will even show up in the attached picture. It is so faint that I didn't notice it at first.) Is it from the Courthouse, maybe? But I cannot figure out the orientation of the picture. The corner of the brick bulding on the right side appears to be the Courthouse, but that wouldn't line up right with the dome. Any explanation?

My memories from that time period are pretty vague. I only remember enjoying watching the fish. We moved to Cherokee in 1951 and on to Kansas in '52, then only occasionally returned to visit relatives and seldom went to the downtown square during those visits.

I'll be curious to see what the readers will respond. Someone always seems to know the answers to questions. I surely do enjoy the pictures and memories that people share, and am so grateful to you for keeping this e-zine going and all the research you do and share with us about Oklahoma history. Thanks a million!" -- Nola (Veley) Wilkerson - Email: wilkerne@bluevalley.net
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Pioneer of I.T. - Jacob Emery Layton

"I am sending you a story given to me by Hazel Letterman of Madill, Oklahoma. The following information concerning Jacob Emery Layton, I.T. homesteader, was given to me by Ms. Letterman. He is her Great Grandfather on her Mother's side. I thought it was quite an interesting story as to why he made "the land rush" of 1893 and then gave his staked claim back to the indians." -- Ken Updike

The story: Jacob Emery Layton Biography
"Jacob Emery Layton was born January 20, 1859 in Somerset Co., Pennsylvania, and died March 02, 1940 in Mayes Co., Murphy, Oklahoma. He married Elizabeth Wright Foss May 13, 1881 in Wyandotte Co., Kansas City, Kansas, daughter of Newman Foss and Sarah Wright.

Our Layton ancestors migrated Westward from Pennsylvania to Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and finally settling in the Indian Territory of present day Oklahoma.

My grandfather, Jacob Emery Layton, participated in the Oklahoma Great Land Rush of 1893. He staked a land claim near the present day town of Guthrie. When the sun rose the following morning, he walked his land giving it a close look-over. He wasn't pleased with what he saw. The land had no year round creek for a reliable water supply. He considered it worthless for homesteading. He pulled up his stakes and returned to his family near Tulsa.

The land he decided that he didn't want, reverted to the local Indian tribe. Great Grandfather should have kept the land that he considered worthless in the early 1900's, as later large oil deposits were found on the land. He lost the land and its oil riches to the Indians.

After the marriage of Jacob and Elizabeth, they settled near Bushong, Lyon Co., Kansas. Moved to Oklahoma City, Okahoma in 1891. Made the Cherokee Strip run in 1893. Staked out a claim near what is now Red Rock, Oklahoma and abandoned claim the next morning after looking it over and deciding it was not worth homesteading.

He then moved to the Indian Territory (Cherokee Nation) in 1893. Settled near the present site of Locust Grove, Mayes Co., Oklahoma and lived there until his death in 1940.

He was one of the early day white settlers and was widely known and highly respected citizen, and was given much credit for the help and influence he gave to annex the Eastern part of Oklahoma which now consists of the whole of the State of Oklahoma." -- by Floyd Pearson (2nd or 3rd cousin to Hazel Letterman)
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Oklahoma Gas Prices (Thursday)

"We didn't get very much ice, just a little sleet and the streets weren't very slick by the time I got out. Gas prices have been going up a couple of pennies every couple of days and today jumped up to $3.05.9! I forgot to mention that I was right about the amount of rain I last reported. I said that my gauge at home showed a little over a half inch but I thought there was more than that. When I remembered to check the rain-gauge at the shop, I found that it had an inch and a tenth! That's quite a difference for just a distance of about 5 blocks." -- Roy K.
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Looking For J. E. Crosbie

Looking for information on J.E. Crosbie of Tulsa banker, oil man, and horse breeder. Any pictures or informatiom stories etc. Writing a biography book." -- John Looby - Email: jlooby3@hotmail.com
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Another Northwest Oklahoman

"Hi! I lived on a farm 7 miles west, 2 south, and 3/4 west of Alva, Oklahoma... not to far from your dad's ranch. I was in the same class as connie. Your doing a good job. Keep it up!" -- ELLIS - Email: erraymer@yahoo.com
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Hull Family In America

"Hull Family in America book listed on eBay _ Hull Family History Book - eBay (item 110226639161 end time Feb-28-08 11:05:20). Hull Family in America book." Email: Wvlyle@aol.com
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Pioneer Joseph Lamar Griffitts - Buffalo, OK

During the 20 years since his admission to the bar in Tennessee, 15 of which had been spent in Oklahoma, Joseph L. Griffitts had employed his talent and abilities in such a way as to place him among the front rank of Oklahoma lawyers, and he had the chief practice in his home town of Buffalo, Harper County.

Joseph Lamar Griffitts was born at Friendsville, Tennessee, July 23, 1864, and represented the old and prominent family stock of that state. His parents were John W. and Mary Elizabeth (Donaldson) Griffitts. His grandfather, Manuel Griffiths, was a native of Virginia, and married a Georgia girl.

John W. Griffitts, was born in Kentucky, June 13, 1831, and died December 18, 1909, spent his active lifetime as a farmer in Tennessee. He was also prominent in local affairs, and for twenty years was a member of the County Court of Loudon county, Tennessee, having filled that office up to the time of his death. He served as an elder in the Presbyterian Church forty years. He was married in 1856 to Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, who was born February 3, 1839, in Tennessee, and died January 16, 1897.

Mary Elizabeth Donaldson became the mother of eight children, five sons and three daughters:

  • James Henry, born July 16, 1857;
  • Nancy Elizabeth, born September 15, 1859, married in 1886 to Samuel S. Hutsell, and in 1916 was a resident at Sweetwater, Tennessee;
  • Thomas Nelson, born September 26, 1861, a farmer at Lenoir City, Tennessee;
  • Joseph L.;
  • Stephen Alexander, born January 22, 1866, died August 18, 1913;/li>
  • Jacob Lafayette, born May 20, 1868, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church South at Cedar Keys, Florida;
  • Lucinda Jane, born July 11, 1875, died November 28, 1903;
  • Nora Blanche was born March 20, 1877, and was still single in 1916.

  • Joseph Lamar Griffitts completed his early education in Maryville College at Maryville, Tennessee. His early life was taken up with varied labors and employments, until he realized his ambition to study law. He read his text books at Loudon, Tennessee, until 1895, and was then admitted to practice in all the courts of the state.

    From Tennessee he came to Oklahoma in 1900, and began practice at Tonkawa. While there he served as police judge until 1905 and was elected city attorney in 1907. However, in the same year, he resigned that office and moved to Buffalo, and after statehood was elected the first county judge of Harper County. That office he filled with distinction and credit for three years and two months.

    Since then he had applied all his time and energies to his large private practice at Buffalo. He was a Democrat, and was affiliated with the Masonic Order.

    At Alva, Oklahoma, February 5, 1909, Judge Griffitts married Miss Grace Pennington. She was born February 11, 1880, in Wabaunsee County, Kansas, a daughter of J. W. and Catherine Pennington, who were natives of Illinois. Grace (Pennington) Griffitts prior to her marriage was for four years a teacher in the public schools of Dewey County, Oklahoma.

    To this Griffitts reunion were born three daughters and one son: Guendolen Grace, Josephine L., Cassius Lamar and Muriel Elaine. -- Vol. V, pg. 1813, A Standard History of Oklahoma, by Joseph B. Thoburn
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    Pioneer Lindsey Lowder Long, M.D. - Cimarron Territory

    It was in that historic section of Western Oklahoma that was designated as "No Man's Land" and organized into Cimarron Territory in a local way prior to the opening of Oklahoma Territory to settlement.

    It had become of the vital and prosperous sections of the state, and one of the important counties is Beaver, in which Doctor Long controlled a large and important practice as a physician and surgeon and had gained precedence as one of the representative members of his profession in Western Oklahoma.

    Dr. Long maintained his residence and professional headquarters at Beaver, the county seat, and was one of the progressive and loyal citizens of the town and county.

    Dr. Lindsey Lowder Long was born on a farm in Neosho County, Kansas, on September 22, 1875, a date that clearly demonstrates that his parents were numbered among the pioneers of that section of the Sunflower State. Lindsey Long was a son of David and Jeanette (Lowder) Long, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Indiana, in which latter state their marriage was solemnized in 1850.

    David Long was born in North Carolina on October 15, 1824, and his parents claimed the Old Dominion State of Virginia as the place of their nativity, the respective families having been founded in the colonial era of our national history. In 1828, when he was a child of about four years, the parents of David Long moved from North Carolina and became pioneer settlers in the wilds of Greene County, Indiana, where they passed the remainder of their lives and where the father reclaimed a farm from the wilderness.

    In Greene County, David was reared under the conditions and influences of the early pioneer days, in the meanwhile availing himself of the advantages of the schools of the locality and period, and in 1850, when about 25 years of age, he married Jeanette Lowder, who was born in Lawrence County, Indiana, on July 2, 1832, a daughter of John R. and Aesah (Hodson) Lowder, pioneers of that county, to which they moved from their native State of North Carolina.

    After his marriage Mr. Long continued his activities as a farmer in Greene County, Indiana, until 1871, when he moved with his family to Kansas and became one of the pioneer settlers in Neosho County. He purchased a tract of land two miles south of old Osage Mission, and there reclaimed a productive farm.

    He became one of the substantial and representative citizens of Neosho County and continued to reside on his fine homestead farm until his death, which occurred on March 7, 1896. His widow survived him by nearly fifteen years and was a resident of Erie, the judicial center of Noesho County, when she died November 25, 1910.

    Their children were:

  • Rev. Matthew T., born October 16,1851, a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, maintained his home in Oklahoma. In 1875 he wedded Etta Noble, and they had four children: Stella, Frederick, Ethel and Ruth. The eledest daughter, Stella, being the wife of Rufus O. Renfrew, a prominent capitalist and influential citizen of Woodward, Oklahoma.
  • Linda A., born November 9, 1853, wife of John J. Fields, editor and publisher of the Sentinel Leader at Sentinel, Washita County, Oklahoma. Their marriage was celebrated in 1875, and they had four children: Robert, Cornelius, David and May. Cornelius, was born March 6, 1855, and died on March 13.
  • Finley, born March 30, 1857, died December 20, 1908.
  • Henry, born January 22, 1861, a leading lawyer in Ottawa, Kansas.
  • John R., born February 23, 1864, a prosperous farmer of Neosho County, Kansas.
  • Rolla E., born April 27, 1869, superintendent of the city schools of Galena, Kansas.
  • May M., born March 28, 1871, a successful and popular teacher in the public schools of the City of Sherman, Texas
  • Lindsey Lowder Long, youngest of nine siblings.

  • Lindsely Lowder Long passed the days of his childhood and early youth on the homestead farm in Neosho County, Kansas. He acquired his preliminary education in the district schools and thereafter attended the public schools of Erie, the county seat, where he was graduated in the high school as a member of the class of 1895.

    In the meanwhile he had formulated definite plans for his future career, and in the year that marked his completion of his high school course he entered the University Medical College at Kansas City, Missouri, in which institution he was graduated March 19, 1898, with the degree of Doctor of Medicine.

    Immediately after his graduation in the medical college, Dr. Long came to Oklahoma Territory, and, on April 20 of the same year, he opened an office at Alva, judicial center of Woods County, where he continued in the successful practice of his profession during the ensuing eight years.

    Dr. Long then took an effective post graduate course in one of the leading medical institutions of the City of Chicago, and in May, 1906, he established his home at Beaver, Oklahoma, where he had since been engaged in active general practice and where he had secure prestige as the leading representative of his profession in Beaver county.

    Dr. Long served as mayor of Beaver, besides holding other local offices of minor order, and had shown a lively interest in all that touches the welfare and progress of his home town and county.

    While a resident of Alva he served as a member of the city council and also of the board of education, besides which he did effective service as county health officer of Woods County. He held membership in the Oklahoma State Medical Society and the American Medical Association, had completed the circles of both York and Scottish Rite Masonry, in the latter of which he had received the thirty-second degree, besides being affiliated with the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine and the Knights of Pythias.

    On September 10, 1899, Dr. Long marriage was solemnized to Maude Beegle of Alva. She was born in Kingman County, Kansas, on March, 13, 1875, and was a daughter of Adam and Elizabeth Jane (Crottzer) Beegle, both natives of Pennsylvania and both honored pioneers of Kansas.

    Mr. Beegle was born in 1836 and his death occurred June 10, 1908. His wife was born in 1832 and died on December 25, 1911. Prior to her marriage Maude (Beegle) Long had been a successful and popular teacher. Her work in the pedagogic profession having continued for three years after she had completed a course of study in the Colorado State Normal School at Greeley.

    Doctor and Mrs. Long had one child, Lenore Madge, who was born at Alva, Oklahoma, on November 12, 1902. -- Vol. V, pg. 1818, A Standard History of Oklahoma, by Joseph B. Thoburn
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    SW Colorado Mountain Snow

    "Wednesday afternoon we got a light one inch of snow, then it started snowing seriously about 7:45 pm. I didn't measure Wednesday night. Thursday we added 7.5" and another 6" yesterday. Wes came to plow at 11:00 and I went out to clear the porch and just in front of the steps. We took a few pictures. At 1:00 pm, the snow accumulated on the north upstairs bedroom came sliding off the roof with a big bang boom, shaking the north wall of the living room. The second picture shows the results of that snow slide. We've had sunshine with clouds and big thawing today.

    Sunday -- At 4:20 am the snow, which has been making a slow slide off the rec room roof onto the woodshed, finally broke loose. It was enough to jerk me awake, but not nearly as loud or shaking as the snow slide off the upstairs bedroom. Snow and graupel began at 8:30 this morning." -- SBW
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