From 1906 to 1913, The Oklahoman published a column called “New State Notes.” It consisted of several short items from state newspapers. The reporter who wrote these probably gleaned them from other newspapers, but he had a knack for the humorous. These items were published in the September 22, 1909 newspaper. Read and enjoy!
Mayor Steel of Cordell asserts that during July and August he was the happiest man in his town, for the reason he says, that his pastor, Sunday school superintendent, the city marshal, his wife and his mother-in-law were out of town at the same time.
A Woods county farmer shipped a carload of chickens to New York and by the time they arrived enough eggs had been laid to pay the freight. This recalls the old story of the hen that laid an egg for Beecher after he had saved her life when she was a mere chicken, wet bedraggled and half frozen by the roadside. The story ends thus: “And in this way did the Henry Ward Beecher.”
An Alfalfa county merchant closed out his stock of goods and failed to give his family any of the money, whereupon his wife had him arrested on the charge of embezzlement.
Bootleggers in Custer county have removed Judge Lattimer from the bench ten times but he retains his regard for the bench and proclaims his willingness to sit on the carcass of any bootlegger in the county. The indications are that Judge Lattimer has not treated the bootlegger fair, according to their ideas of fairness.
About the next thing you hear from Oktaha will be an announcement from the editor of the Leader and the next issue of his paper will be edited as Christ would edit it. The Rev. Mr. Frazier is one of the typo(grapher)s on that journal and the Rev. A.M. Beman was the first paid subscriber.
Governor Donaghey of Arkansas once lived in a tent in Sayre. He was townsite promoter for the Choctaw railroad at that time. Senator Jeff Davis of Arkansas used to have a duck hunt in Beckham county and occasionally he came into Sayre. Once while there he was told that Donaghey lived down the street in a tent. “Keep him here, ” said the budding senator, “Arkansas can do without him.
It looked for a time like the Beggs fair was going to be a dry affair, owing to the scarcity of water, but the asssociation drilled a well 260 feet deeep and found 140 feet of water. Thus was removed any excuse for other wet goods.
Walker Avenue is one of the most used streets in Oklahoma City. It runs north and south and crosses the Oklahoma River.
After my success discovering the person behind Blackwelder Avenue, I was curious to see who Walker Avenue was named for and why he warranted having a street named after him.
This is what I learned.
Dr. Delos Walker was a true pioneer of our great state. He was born October 19, 1837 in Pennsylvania, raised on a farm and attended the University of Michigan. His medical studies were interrupted by service in the Civil War with the Union army. He graduated and practiced medicine in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Kansas, before participating in the Run of ’89 and settling in Oklahoma City.
He was a member of the Oklahoma Town Company which on arrival, surveyed the townsite south of Sheridan Avenue which was originally called Grand Avenue, not to be confused with Grand Boulevard.
The rival Seminole Land and Improvement Co. surveyed the north part of town. The two companies used different points to start their surveys. When the two townsites were joined, each company refused to change their survey. The differences in the surveys created a jog in the north-south streets at Sheridan Avenue that many Oklahoma Citians will remember. This jog was gradually eliminated, with Walker at Sheridan being the last street to be straightened in 1991.
Dr. Walker staked out lots on Reno Avenue, built a grand house across the street from what is now the Myriad Gardens and lived there until his death on July 30, 1910.
In his obituary published July 31, in The Oklahoman, when asked who knows the story of the birth of Oklahoma, the president of the ’89ers association answered, “Dr. Delos Walker can tell you more perhaps than any other man in the city because he was here with the first who came in the great run. He lived through the whole history of the city and was one of the leading characters in the enactment of the great drama of life, …
In the book “A History of the State of Oklahoma 1908 Vol II” by Luther Hill,” the biography of Dr. Walker states: ”He helped organize the first public school and became the first president of the school board of Oklahoma City. For five years he was health superintendent of Oklahoma county, and was the first president of the Board of Health of Oklahoma City, holding that office five years. He was also one of the organizers and the first president of the Oklahoma Medical Society. At the present writing Dr. Walker is president of the association of Oklahoma pioneers known as the “89′ers”.
No wonder, they named a street after him.
This short item was published in The Oklahoman, February 7, 1937. It illustrates the life of a fish and game warden isn’t always about protecting the great outdoors.
Fish and game provide great sport as a hobby, but they can cause a lot of worries as a job. That’s what L.D. Rickey, state fish and game warden, has discovered.
Looking after wild life isn’t the fun it’s cracked up to be, Rickey observed Saturday as he wiped his care-creased forehead. In fact it makes you fair game for about everyone.
The warden exhibited a typical day’s mail for proof.
“Here’s a fellow in McCurtain county wants to know if it’s all right for him to kill a wild turkey,” he said.
“And here’s a guy in Osage county wants to know if I can get a wild turkey and send to him.”
Another was a complaint from a farmer in Hughes county about too many cows and there was a complaint from a Creek county resident about the lack of feed for quail.
Then a request from Beaver county for assistance from the fish and game commission in obtaining WPA money to build a nursery.
“It goes on like that for hours,” Rickey observed.
The headline for the story probably says it best: “Rickey, Poor Fish, Is Game For Everyone.”
L.D. Rickey, an Ardmore oil man, naturalist and sportsman, was appointed game warden in 1935 and served until 1937. He died January 13, 1939 and in his obituary it stated “that the position as game warden was the only political position he ever held.”
I must admit I never knew. I was doing research on soil conservation for a reporter and came upon a short item titled “Judas” in the March 28, 1937, Daily Oklahoman. I was hooked. I had to know more.
It discussed the battle that was ongoing in 1937 when the state was planning the adoption of the redbud as the state tree.
Mrs. Roberta Lawson of Tulsa, who was the national president of the Federation of Women’s Clubs, was objecting to its “adoption as the state tree on grounds it was the tree on which the disciple, Judas, hanged himself.”
A bill, sponsored by the local Daughters of the American Revolution, had made it through the Legislature and was on Gov. E.W. Marland’s desk for signing, when a telegram arrived from the above Mrs. Lawson declaring that “it would be most unseemly to have such a tree as Oklahoma’s state symbol.”
After a five-day delay, the governor signed the bill commenting, “This resolution is signed at the earnest request of the good women of Oklahoma, and I hope they plant enough redbud to hang every Judas in the state.” He went on to say, “What is the date–the 30th? I couldn’t put this off until the first of April could I?”
In the April 1, 1937, Daily Oklahoman quoted tree expert George Phillips, a former state forester, but then with the federal forestry service, said ”that the redbud and the Judas trees are of the same genus but not the same species.”
A quick search of the Internet shows 17 variations of the genus Cercis.
I believe that Mrs. S.I. Flournoy, chairman of the D.A.R. committee responsible for the tree bill, said it best in a letter she wrote to Mrs. Lawson. “I’ve heard of people hanging themselves from a lot of things, including chandeliers. But I should think if anybody should really want to kill himself, he’d pick out something sturdier than our pretty little redbud.”
The tempest must have blown over after the redbud became official. I could only find five references to redbuds and Judas in the next 69 years.