April 19, 1925, The Oklahoman published a 104 page special edition “The 89ER Homecoming Edition.” This is one of the stories of the men and women who made the run and pioneered our great state.
“–Then He Lost His Hat”
Many hard luck tales have been told by men who came to Oklahoma on the opening day and failed to find the fortune they felt so sure was in sight, but probably the unluckiest man of all those who “missed fire” on that day was W.C. Thompson, who had been telegraph operator at the Guthrie station for many months before the opening.
Thompson was engaged to be married to Ella McClerkin, of Topeka, Kansas, and with the opening of the Territory he saw an opportunity to get a good start in life.
His plan was to take a claim and have his intended take one adjoining, then each would take a good business lot and later they would get married. He sent for the young lady and she came to Guthrie on April 18, and readily agreed to the three propositions — two homesteads, two business lots and a wedding. Thompson, who had excellent opportunities to do so, had selected two fine homesteads adjoining the city, two of the best business locations and had four tents shipped in to be used to hold down the homesteads and town lots.
When noon arrived on the twenty-second, starting from the depot, the two made a lively run for the
selected homesteads, but on reaching them found both occupied by several claimants. Hurrying back to town they found that misfortune had not come single-handed to them that day for the tents which Thompson had pitched on his selected lots early in the morning were both stolen and the lots occupied by a half dozen or more squatters.
Ella returned to the depot in disgust, while Thompson went in search of other lots and remained away so long that his work was neglected at the depot and a collision between two freight trains resulting, he lost his job the next day.
All this was bad enough, but still worse, disgusted with his mismanagement and failures the young woman packed her trunk and went back to Kansas where she soon after married another man.
I found no more on poor Mr. Thompson in the newspaper. We hope his luck changed and he prospered with the new state.