Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Abernathy Day Set for June 7, 2015

In 1913 Bud and Temple Abernathy, ages 9 and 13, rode an Indian Motorcycle from Oklahoma to New York City. It was just one of the remarkable undertakings of the two famous Tillman County boys.

Abernathy Day to be Celebrated with Oklahoma FreeWheel

Every year the Tillman County Historical Society celebrates Abernathy Day during the first weekend of June. For 2015, the Abernathy observance will be held on Sunday, June 7, and will coincide with a visit to Frederick by riders in the Oklahoma FreeWheel's annual border-to-border bike ride.

Approximately 500 bike riders are expected to arrive in Frederick by mid-day on Sunday, June 7 for their first overnight layover. Their ride will begin that morning in Hollis, 70 miles west of Frederick. The cross-state ride will conclude June 13 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, after overnight stops at Elgin, Lindsay, Ada, McAlester, and Poteau.

Frederick last hosted Oklahoma FreeWheel riders in 2012. That year Frederick was the starting point of the ride.

This year on June 7 Freewheel riders, Tillman County residents, and all others are invited visit Frederick venues that include the Pioneer Townsite Museum, the Historical Ramona Theatre in downtown Frederick, and the Crawford family's amazing trophy mount animals at The Crawford Collection.

Abernathy Day Events

Special events during the day are designed to celebrate the Abernathy story in fun ways.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Indian Motorcycles of Oklahoma, the brand's OKC dealership, will exhibit their new products in an extensive display that will be located on Floral Avenue, southeast of the Tillman County Courthouse. In 1913, Bud and Temple Abernathy (then ages 9 and 13), travelled from Frederick to New York City on a 1913 Indian Motorcycle.

An Abernathy Parade is planned for downtown Frederick at 3:30 p.m. The parade begin at 8th and Grand, traveling eastward through downtown, and will include vintage automobiles, floats, kids with decorated bikes, a children's stick-horse delegation, and much more.

The Lawton Antique Auto Club and other owners of vintage automobiles have been invited to participate in the parade and to exhibit their cars before and after the parade in an area at North 9th and Floral Avenue.

The Comanche Youth Native American dancers will participate in the parade and will then perform at the Pioneer Townsite Museum at 4:30 p.m. The dancers represent Comanche Chief Quanah Parker's participation in the 1905 wolf hunt east of Frederick with President Theodore Roosevelt and Jack "Catch 'em Alive" Abernathy.

The Tillman County Historical Society will host its traditional Abernathy Dinner on the museum grounds at 5:15 p.m. The meal will be pulled pork. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children 10-and-under. The number of available tickets is limited. They will be available on Sunday at the museum's general store and at the event unless they have sold out earlier. Proceeds will be used for operation of the historical society's Pioneer Townsite Museum.

Diners should bring their lawn chairs for the meal and entertainment.

Following the dinner, Tipi Storytellers Jaye McLaughlin and Fred Peters of Fort Worth will perform as Jack "Catch 'em Alive" Abernathy and Jessie Pearl Abernathy, parents of Bud and Temple. McLaughlin and Peters will tell the story of Bud and Temple's trip in 1910 (at ages 6 and 10) alone on horseback from Frederick to New York City.

The day's special events are planned to conclude by 7 p.m., allowing plenty of time for the FreeWheel riders to prepare for the next day's early morning ride.

Information about the Abernathy Day events and the visit of Oklahoma FreeWheel to Frederick are available from the Frederick Chamber of Commerce at, or by calling the Frederick Chamber at 580-335-2126.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dort Agency, 1916

Dort Automobiles were displayed in front of the Frederick dealership on November 4, 1916.

Dort Agency in Frederick, 1916

For a Tillman County resident who was in the market for an automobile in 1916, one of the choices was a Dort. The Dort Agency in Frederick was located in the 300 block of West Grand Avenue.

The Dort was a motor car that was manufactured by the Dort Motor Company in Flint, Michigan from 1915 until 1924. Principle owner of the company was Josiah Dallas Dort.

Josiah Dort and his partner William Durant had founded the Flint Road Cart Company in 1884 and became the nation's biggest wagon-maker. By 1900 the company made 50,000 wagons, carts and carriages each year. Its name was changed that year to the Durant-Dort Carriage Company.

With advent of the automobile, both Dort and Durant went into the automobile business and are recognized today as automotive pioneers.

In 1904 Durant purchased the fledgling Buick and later went into business making cars with Louis Chevrolet. Durant was a principle founder of the company that would become General Motors.

Josiah Dort was a director and vice president of Chevrolet in 1912, but stepped down in 1913 and eventually cut business ties with Durant.

His Dort Motor Car Company brought the Dort automobile to consumers in 1915.

By 1917 the Dort was offered in four models: a closed sedan at $1,065; a convertible sedan at $815; a five-place open tourer at $695; and a Fleur-de-Lys roadster at $695. These were relatively expensive cars when one considers that in 1915 Model T Fords were selling for $440.

Josiah Dort died in 1923. Dort Motor Company manufactured its final car in 1924.

Dort advertisement for 1915's Chicago Auto Show.

Monday, October 27, 2014

2014 TCHS Raffle Project

Replica of Simmons Gin is perfect size for playhouse or distinctive storage shed

October 27, 2014

Historical Society to Raffle Replica of Simmons Gin

     The Simmons Cotton Gin in Frederick has been a fixture on West Grand Avenue since the town’s early days.
The Tillman County Historical Society is celebrating the old building’s heritage by making it the organization’s 2014 Christmas raffle project. Some lucky person will win a smaller duplicate version of the distractive building for their own back yard! The building will make an amazing playhouse or a distinctive storage shed.
Simmons Gin building on West Grand Avenue in Frederick
Raffle tickets for the building are $5 each or five for $20. All proceeds will be used toward operational expenses of the Pioneer Townsite Museum in Frederick.
The raffle is an annual historical society project that has spanned several years with prizes being reproductions of numerous buildings at the Pioneer Townsite Museum. Past projects have included the museum’s 1902 Horse Creek School, the 1924 AME Church, the 1902 Frisco Depot, and the Frisco caboose.
This year’s reproduction building is distinguished by its large size, easy-access doors, and four operational windows. The building measures eight feet wide, 20 feet in length, and 10 feet tall. It is built on a metal frame, and features a tin roof. Vinyl brick-look siding on the building is meant to represent the real gin’s orange brick fa├žade.
The building was constructed by Pioneer Townsite director Jimmy Espinosa and the museum’s assigned inmates from the Frederick Work-Release Center.
The real Simmons Gin is owned by the historical society, which hopes to someday incorporate the facility into the Pioneer Townsite Museum’s exhibit space. The actual gin encompasses two buildings, but Espinosa designed the reproduction as an interpretation of the gin’s main north building.
The historical society purchased lumber and materials for the project from Frederick businesses.
The reproduction depot is currently on display at the Pioneer Townsite Museum and will be featured at this Saturday’s Cotton Festival.
Raffle tickets for the depot building will go on sale at the November 1 Cotton Festival, but may be purchased in coming weeks at the following locations: BancFirst, Frederick; First National Bank, Frederick; Frederick ACE Hardware; the Frederick Chamber of Commerce; Tillco Supply; Southwest Rural Electric Cooperative in Tipton; and the Pioneer Townsite Museum.
Tickets can also be purchased from any member of the Tillman County Historical Society’s board of directors. They are Judy Benson, Jack Bohl, Cacy Caldwell, Su Clifton, Sarah Copeland, Cassaundra Frost, Dena Northcutt, Jay Oxford, Jim Smith, Kent Smith, Cathy Riggins, Gary Tyler, Virginia Walker, Gayle White, Rodger Wirt, Joe Wynn, and Pioneer Townsite director Jimmy Espinosa.
The drawing to determine the building’s winner will be held December 22 at Frederick’s Gourmet Gallery and will be broadcast live on KYBE’s 8:00 a.m. “Town and Country” radio program.
In this 1924 panorama shot of Frederick (taken from the city water tower, looking toward the east) the Simmons Gin is at front center.