Monday, February 28, 2011

Early School Routines

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
August 3, 2010
1902 Horse Creek School at its current site in Frederick's Pioneer Townsite Museum

Horse Creek was typical early School
One of the most popular attractions at the Pioneer Townsite Museum is the one-room Horse Creek School. Current-day school children often visit the school and imagine what it would have been like to attend classes there in the old days.
The school was originally located in the northeast part of Tillman County, four miles north and 7.5 miles east of Manitou. It was built in 1902 and the first term of school was held that year.
There were more than 100 one-room schools like this in the early Tillman County. The territorial governor had laid out plans for rural schools, attempting to have nine sections of land in each school district with the schoolhouse located as near the center as possible. Some of the early school districts had more than nine sections and some less, though, depending on creeks that ran through the school’s area. There were no bridges over the early creeks and children had to be able to walk to school.
The schools served grades one through eight, and were taught by one teacher. They had no electricity and no running water. Every rural school had a well or cistern to provide the drinking water. The cistern was a big hole in the ground, usually about five feet wide, with brick walls and a cover. When rainwater fell on the school building, the water was directed through gutters and pipes into the covered cistern were it was saved for drinking water. This was also how rural people saved water for their homes.
All schoolyards were approximately one acre. Every school had a storm cellar and two outhouses – one for boys and another for girls.
There was no hot lunch program in the early schools. Student lunches were whatever students could bring to eat from home.
The teacher’s only help was what the school children would volunteer to do for them. Children would volunteer to go get coal or water or whatever was needed because they liked to get out of the classroom.
The school day started at 9:00 a.m. Students marched in every morning and stood very straight by their desks. When the teacher greeted the last student through the door, the teacher would go to the front of the room.
The first thing they did was give the flag salute. Next, they had prayer. The teacher and all students who wanted to prayed.
They then quoted scriptures. All teachers tried to help the students learn their Sunday school memory verse for the next Sunday.
They then sang a song. The students could select any songs from the 101 Best Songs for Students songbook.
All teachers believed that students learned by doing. Therefore they read aloud, did spelling lessons orally, and did math on the blackboard.
For discipline, the teachers had a paddle.
In the wintertime, the teacher arrived early at school to start a fire in the school’s stove. Some stoves used coal and others used wood.
A kettle on top of the stove was used to heat water for washing hands.
The early-day teachers were paid anywhere from $18 to $25 a month. The teachers often boarded with a local family.
Horse Creek School was used as a school from 1902 until 1945. The state closed all one-room schools in 1945. By that time many of the one-room school districts had already consolidated to make larger districts.
Also, by the mid-1940s there were fewer families living in the rural school districts. As farmers got tractors they began buying up more land, which left many schools with just one family living on a section of land, whereas there had been as many as 40 families in one district.
Sometime in the early 1940s the North Deep Red Baptist Church, which was located near the Horse Creek School, was destroyed. At that time the church started having services at the school and it continued to meet there after the school was closed. The building served as the North Deep Red Baptist Church until sometime in the 1960s.
It was moved to its current site in Frederick and restored in 1977.
NOTE: Information in this column was provided by Mrs. Frances Goodknight.
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Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society’s board of directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Sunday, February 27, 2011

County School Districts

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
August 31, 2010
Tillman County School Districts, 1930

Early Tillman County Schools (Part I)
In the earliest decades to Tillman County, schools marked more than 100 distinct communities. Over the years, the small schools eventually closed, consolidating with or sending students to other nearby schools.
Last week in this column, a 1930 map showed the schools that existed at that time. By 1930, many of the original school districts had already merged into larger consolidated districts such as Laing, Weaver, Wilson, Victory, Hollister or Loveland.
What follows in this week’s and next week’s column is a listing of all county school districts from the county’s earliest days.
In addition to the school name and district number, general directions are given to the school location, the approximate date of the school’s closing, and the school to which the original school was consolidated or to which students were sent.

Alpian 153 (6 miles south of Tipton), to Weaver Cons. #13, 1949.
Bethel 141 (4 east, 1 south of Manitou), to Manitou School, 1940.
Belmont 65 (4 east, 1 and half north of Manitou), to Manitou School
Blue 86 (4 north, 1 west of Tipton), to Tipton Cons. #8, 1940.
Blue 171 (3 east, half south of Davidson), to Davidson Cons. #9, 1909.
Blue Valley 259 (3 east, 3 south of Grandfield), to Devol School, 1913.
Brush Creek 226 (5 north, 2 and half east of Grandfield), to Grandfield School, 1941.
Burnett 149 (3 west of Tipton), to Tipton Cons. #8, 1919.
Cameron 233 (4 south, 2 east of Hollister), to Hollister Cons. #10, 1913.
Carter 168 (2 north, 4 west of Davidson), to Wilson Cons. #2 1914.
Center Point 248 (3 east of Grandfield), to Grandfield School, 1947.
Centerview 178 (northeast of Tipton), to Laing Cons. #1, 1912.
Chadwick 187 (1 west, 1 and half north of Tipton), to Tipton Cons. #8, 1923.
Chateau 232 (11 east of Davidson), to Victory Cons. #11, 1926.
Circle Valley 151 (3 south of Tipton), to Tipton Cons. #8, 1923.
Dawson 212 (northwest of Hollister), to Hollister Cons. #10, 1921.
East Aurora 144. Changed name to Manitou in 1907. Operated high school until 1964, and grade school until 1977.
East Jack Creek 134 (2 west, 1 and half north of Chattanooga). Operated until 1942.
Edendale 230 (2 east, 1 and half south of Hollister), to Hollister Cons. #10, 1925.
Ernest 76 (3 north, 4 and half east of Tipton), to Laing Cons. #1, 1912.
Fairview 142 (4 north 5 east of Frederick), to Manitou School and Frederick School, 1942.
Farmingdale 231 (3 south, 1 west of Hollister), to Hollister Cons. #10, 1921.
Fort Augur 256 (6 west, 4 south of Grandfield), to Grandfield School, 1959.
Glendale 64 (7 and half east, 1 and fourth west of Manitou), to Manitou School, 1937.
Glenwood 155 (2 north of Frederick), to Frederick School, 1938.
Goehler 258 (3 south of Grandfield), to Grandfield School, 1917.
Good Hope 164 (4 south, 3 east of Frederick), to Sunrise Cons. #6, 1916.
Hackberry Flat 165 (6 east, 2 north of Davidson), to Sanford School in 1923, and later to Victory Cons. #11.
Harmony 214 (4 east, 1 and half north of Hollister), to Isadore School in 1915 and later to Hollister Cons. #10 or Loveland, Cons. #5.
Haskell 210 (10 east, 1 north of Frederick), to Hollister, Cons. #10.
Henderson Cons. #3 (five miles south of Frederick). To Frederick School and Davidson School, 1943.
Hiawatha 133 (5 north, 2 west of Chattanooga), to Chattanooga School, 1948.
Hill Top 71 (4 north, 1 east of Manitou), to Manitou School and Snyder School, 1942.
Holton 139 (7 east, 1 and half south of Manitou), to Manitou School, 1943.
Horse Creek 63 (4 north, 7 east of Manitou), to Snyder School, 1947.  NOTE: Building was moved to Frederick in 1977 and is located at the Pioneer Townsite.
Howard 236 (2 and half north of Grandfield) to Grandfield School, 1917.
Hurford 169 (4 west, 1 south of Davidson), to Davidson Cons. #9 and Wilson Cons. #2, 1920.
Hurst 161 (2 south, 8 west of Frederick), to Wilson Cons. #2, 1914.
Isadore 213 (11 east, 1 and half south of Frederick), to Hollister Cons. #10, 1928.
IXL 154 (3 west, 1 north of Frederick), to Weaver Cons. #13, 1950.
Laing Cons. #1 (closed in 1958).
Leggett 208 (4 west, 1 and half south of Chattanooga), to Chattanooga School and Loveland Cons. #5, 1938.
Liberty School, 1911
Liberty 91 (to Laing Cons. #1, 1914)
Lone Star 209 (13 east, half north of Frederick), to Hollister Cons. #10, Loveland Cons. #5 and Chattanooga School, 1944.
Maple Dale 137 (10 east, 1 south of Manitou), to Manitou School, Chattanooga School and Indiahoma School, 1944
Mayflower 252 (8 west, ¼ south of Grandfield), to Victory Cons. #11, 1947
Mounts 211 (6 east of Frederick), to Hollister Cons. #10, 1921
North Deep Red 94 (northeast of Manitou), closed in 1945
Otter Creek 73 (4 south, 3 west of Snyder), to Snyder School and Laing Cons. #1, 1947
Parks 234 (1 west, 2 south of Loveland), to Loveland Cons. #5, 1915.
Pearson 167 (3 north of Davidson), to Wilson Cons. #2, 1914.
Pitzer Dale 235 (2 east, 1 and ¾ south of Loveland), to Loveland Cons. #5, 1918.

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
September 14, 2010
Maple Dale School, 1907
Early Tillman County Schools (Part II)
In recent weeks this column has explored early Tillman County schools.
In the earliest days of settlement, there were more than 100 schools in the county, located approximately 3 miles apart. The small schools were a center of social life in those early communities. In addition to classroom instruction, the schoolhouses hosted church services, social gatherings, and according to early newspapers, school grounds were even the sites of some early funerals and burials.
Today, there is often nothing left to mark the spot where those early schools stood.
Eventually, school districts began to consolidate or merge, creating fewer, larger schools. And, over the years, even most of those larger, consolidated schools have faded away, leaving only four county schools today – Frederick, Davidson, Tipton and Grandfield.
In a previous column, many of the early schools were listed, along with general locations and information about when the school closed. That list continues in this column.
Please note that this list of early schools is likely not complete, and the location listed is approximate.

Early Schools
Plainview 145 (5 north of Frederick), to Frederick and Manitou, early 1940s.
Pleasant Ridge 144 (4 north, 2 and half east of Frederick), to Manitou and Frederick, 1938.
Pleasant Ridge School students and teacher
Pleasant Valley 92 (2 south, 8 west of Snyder), to Snyder, 1949.
Pleasant Valley 138 (12 east, 3 and half north of Frederick), to Hollister and Manitou, 1943.
Pleasant Valley 148 (located near Tipton), to Tipton, 1909.
Pleasant Valley 255 (8 west, 3 and half south of Grandfield), to Victory Cons. 11, 1947.
Polk 229 (half north, half west of Loveland), to Loveland Cons. 5, 1914.
Prairie Dale 228 (2 east, 1 north of Loveland), to Loveland Cons. 5, 1914.
Prairie Dale 250 (2 and fourth west of Grandfield), became part of Union Graded 1, 1917.
Red Bluff 166 (7 south of Frederick), became part of Henderson Cons. 3, 1915.
Rich Valley 227 (6 north of Grandfield), to Grandfield, Chattanooga and Loveland, 1949.
Rita 253 (11 west, 2 south of Grandfield), annexed to Victory Cons. 11, 1929.
Riverside 120 (8 and half west, 2 south of Frederick) along North Fork, became part of Weaver Cons. 13, 1930.
Rose Hill 156 (3 east, 1 north of Frederick), to Frederick, 1944.
Sage 260 (5 south, 2 west of Grandfield), to Grandfield, 1959.
Sanford 172 (7 east, 1 south of Davidson), became part of Victory Cons. 11, 1923.
Siboney 72 (2 north of Manitou), to Manitou in 1930s.
Sims 237 (3 east, 3 north of Grandfield), to Grandfield, 1945.
South Deep Red 140 (4 north, 8 and half east of Frederick), closed in 1943.
Spring Valley 257 (2 west, 3 south of Grandfield), to Grandfield, 1947.
Sunny Slope 251 (5 west of Grandfield), became part of Union Graded 1, 1917.
Sunrise Cons. #6 (3 east, 3 and half south of Frederick), to Frederick, Hollister, and Victory, 1949.
Sunset View 207 (18 east, 1 south of Frederick), to Chattanooga, 1938.
Sunshine School 147 (near Tipton), consolidated with Tipton, 1919
Tesca 152 (10 west, 1 north of Frederick), became part of Weaver Cons. 13, 1930.
Thacker 4 (2 west of Manitou), to Manitou and Tipton, 1944.
Union 146 (northwest of Frederick), to Frederick, Tipton, Manitou and Weaver, 1947.
Union Graded I (3 and half west of Grandfield), to Grandfield, 1947.
Union Home 135 (5 west, 4 and half north of Chattanooga), to Chattanooga and Indiahoma, 1942.
Valley Home 160 (5 west, 2 south of Frederick), became part of Weaver Cons. 13, 1930.
Valley View School
Valley View 215 (4 north, 1 east of Loveland), to Loveland, 1922.
Victory Cons. 11 (east of Davidson). Formed through consolidation, 1923. Closed in 1968.
Warren 157 (2 south, 3 east of Frederick), became part of Sunrise Cons. 6, 1915.
Weaver Cons. 13 (6 west, 1 south of Frederick). Formed from consolidation, 1930. High school closed in 1968, and elementary closed in 1990, to Frederick, Tipton and Davidson.
West Jack Creek 136 (northwest of Chattanooga), to Chattanooga in the 1930s.
West Liberty 159 (2 south, 3 west of Frederick), became part of Weaver Cons. 13, 1930.
White Lake 150 (southwest of Tipton), to Tipton, 1921.
Wilson Cons. 2 (6 west, 6 and half south of Frederick), formed from consolidation in 1913. Closed in 1954. Students to Weaver and Davidson.
NOTE: More detailed information about each of the schools, along with stories and photos, can be found in the Tillman County History, Vol. II. (1978).
Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society Board of Directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shop at Home, Advice from 1906

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
March 9, 2010

Advice from 1906 is Still Sound
It is important to support local businesses and institutions. That is true today, but it was also true in the early days of the territory.
Siboney was an early community that was located a few miles north of present-day Manitou. The following item ran in the Siboney, Oklahoma Territory, newsletter on July 27, 1906:
“Who sympathized with you when your little girl was sick? Was it Sears and Roebuck?
“Who carried you when last winter you were out of a job and had no money? Was it Montgomery Ward and Company? Or was it your home merchant?
“When you want to raise money for the church or for some needy person in town, do you write to The Fair Store in Chicago, or do you go to your home merchant?
“How much does Siegel Cooper and Company give toward keeping up sidewalks or paying the minister’s salary?
“When you were sick, how many nights did Hibbard Spencer, Bartlett and Company sit up with you? When your loved one was buried, was it your home town merchant who dropped a tear of sympathy and uttered a comforting word, or was it Marshall Field and Company?
“Patronize home merchants.”

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lee Highway was Transcontinental Route

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
May 19, 2009
Frederick publication from 1920s celebrated position on Lee National Highway.
Lee Highway Passed Through Frederick in the ‘20s
Before there was a Route 66 or I-40, there was the Lee National Highway. It was established in the early 1920s as one of only a few cross-continental highways, and it passed directly through Frederick and Tillman County.
Prior to the 1920s, almost all long-range transportation and hauling of freight was by train. As motor vehicles became common, though, there was a growing desire to travel by car and to haul merchandise by truck. At that time there was no organized, systematic highway system to travel from state to state. All roads were dirt or gravel and there were no standards for building or maintaining them.
The Lee National Highway was organized in the early 1920s as a primary cross-country route that extended from Washington, D.C., through the South, South Central states (including Oklahoma), and the American Southwest, finally arriving at the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California, before moving up the California coast to end in San Francisco.
The Highway was named as a memorial for General Robert E. Lee.
The other most important cross-country route from New York City to San Francisco was the Lincoln National Highway which crossed through northern states. It had been established just a few years previous to the Lee Highway.
Official maps of the Lee Highway show two versions as it crossed through Tillman County.
The direct highway route passed through Walters then into Frederick from the east along the route of the current Highway 5. The Lee Highway turned southward at Frederick, passing through Davidson before moving into Texas over a brand new Red River Bridge, then on to Vernon. A map of the national highway was printed in a Frederick publication in November 1924 with the headlines “Frederick, Oklahoma, ‘On the Main Street of the Nation’, “Lee Highway Bridge at Davidson is only Free Bridge Across Red River.”
Lee Highway and wooden Red River Bridge, 1920s.
An auxiliary version of the national highway contained a loop that curved northward from the Walters area, through Lawton, then southwest to join the direct highway route through Frederick.
Why was there a sudden need for national cross-country highways in the 1920s?
A few visionary men of the time realized that automobiles would grow in importance and would replace trains as the principle means of long-distance transportation and freight hauling. At that time, the federal government was not involved in road building at all, and some states did not even have highway departments.
During World War I, established roads in Europe helped with transport of military vehicles, and after the war, many American leaders began to realize the importance of being able to quickly move military vehicles and produce across the country on roadways in times of emergency.
The Lee National Highway was established in the early 1920s as one of the main cross-country thoroughfares.
Its start was in Washington, D.C. at the Potomac River, directly in front of the Robert E. Lee family mansion that is located on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. In 1926, work began on the Arlington Memorial Bridge over the Potomac to officially mark the beginning of America’s Highway.
During coming decades, other national cross-country highways would be established, such as Route 66 from Chicago to California, and development of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.
During the 1920s, though, one the primary routes across America passed directly though Frederick and Tillman County.
Card Commemorated Lee National Highway.
Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society’s board of directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Early County Roads Differed from Today's

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
May 11, 2009
Tillman County "Highway" Map, 1916

Early Map Shows Main County Roadways

When this undated highway map was printed in the Frederick Leader’s 1916 county industrial edition, the area that is Tillman County had been opened to settlement for less than 15 years. Establishment of towns and communities was still underway, and development of roads and bridges was a very different process than today.
Transportation was by horse, wagon, buggy, or early automobile. “Highways” were unpaved, and many were located very differently than today’s principle highways.
Bold lines on the map show the prominent roadways (called state highways), which total 225 miles.
No highways ran directly to the Red River and no highway bridges are shown across the Red River south of Tillman County, although a railroad bridge did cross the river southwest of Davidson.
The 1916 map shows a bridge across the North Fork west of Tipton, although it is one mile south of the current Highway 5 bridge.
The entire county was heavily populated with farm families and early settlers. Many of the 1916 highways led to areas that today are open countryside. In 1916, however, those highways would have led to established communities throughout the county.
In addition to present cities, towns that are named on the map include Isadore, Parton, Quanah, and Eschiti.
Hackberry Flat is also clearly drawn on the map southeast of Frederick.
The 1916 industrial edition described the highway system as follows:
“Tillman county is famous for its good roads, which need but little work to keep them in good condition. The county commissioners have laid out a system of state roads which will be part of the state highway system, and work is now being done at putting these roads into condition.
“All this work is done under the direction of the county engineer and the commissioners, after plans which have been approved by the state highway engineer, thus insuring the best class of bridges and the most approved roads. The bridge building problem is not a serious one in Tillman county, but where bridges are needed they will be constructed of the most lasting type, so as to afford as nearly permanent good roads as is possible.
“The above map shows the county roads as originally laid out. These have been subjected to slight changes and some additions, but his map serves to give a good conception of the extensiveness of the system in this county.”

Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society Board of Directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kelly Hotel Welcomed Guests

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
April 14, 2009
This postcard shows the Kelly Hotel soon after construction.
This photo shows the Kelly Hotel (left) and the current Frederick Leader building. The Leader building was then known as the Mosby-Schwartz building and housed offices of Mosby-Schwartz Real Estate. A sign on the west side of the building announced “POOL HALL.” At the time, the current Leader building had a second floor (removed in the 1940s), which housed several lawyers’ offices. In the earliest years of statehood, many county offices were located in the Mosby-Schrwartz building. The Leader’s first offices were in the back part of the building. By 1916, the building was referred to as the Mosby and Fyle Building and the newspaper had taken over the whole first floor.
Kelly Hotel hosted early visitors to Frederick
In Frederick’s early days, most visitors arrived by train. They would disembark at the Frisco Depot, which was located at the tracks on West Grand, and they didn’t have to look far for accommodations. The Kelly Hotel was located just one block away at the corner of 8th and West Grand.
There may have been other places to rent a room in early-day Frederick, but by all accounts the Kelly Hotel was the nicest.
It was located next door east of the current Frederick Leader building. The hotel was an impressive three-story brick structure. It contained 50 rooms and a large dining room. Its builder was A.H. Krause, the contractor who constructed most of the buildings in downtown Frederick.
Although some written accounts and early-day pictures indicate that the Kelly Hotel was built soon after the city of Frederick was organized in 1902, a 1916 Tillman County industrial publication accurately places its construction in 1908. An early photo shows the hotel in place prior to construction of the Leader building.
Excerpts of the 1916 industrial article read as follows:
“The hotels of the city are the mediums through which the prospective residents or visitors to the city get their first impression.
“Frederick has a hotel which is without a question of doubt in keeping with the balance of the progress that has made the city so conspicuous. The Kelly hotel is known by every traveling man as one of the best along the line.
“The Kelly hotel was established in 1907. The building was built by W.H. Kelly, now deceased, in 1908. At that time the building was not as pretentious as it is today, an extensive addition being built by Mrs. Kelly the year following her husband’s death, and since that time she has conducted the hotel on the plan originally started by her husband to give efficient service and satisfaction to everyone who stops at this place.
“The Kelly hotel has in the neighborhood of 10 employees. Some of these have been with Mrs. Kelly since the hotel was first established.”
“The Kelly hotel is valued at about $35,000. It is equipped with 50 bedrooms and a dining room that will seat 32 guests. The rates charged are $2 a day.”
Four years later, in 1920, a Kelly Hotel ad in a similar publication made no reference to Mrs. Kelly but named A.P. Marsh as the Kelly Hotel’s manager and cited it as “The best $3.50 a day hotel in Oklahoma.” The 1920 ad also said that improvements and additions were planned to double the hotel’s capacity.
“Largest and best equipped hotel in Southwestern Oklahoma,” the 1920 ad boasted. “Convenient to banks, post office, and railway station.”

The Kelly Hotel is pictured in a 1920 newspaper ad.

Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society’s Board of Directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Manitou Area Picnic was Social Occasion

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
February 22, 2011
The Old Bachelor's picnickers are identified in this photo as Dan Bird, Pope Stradley, G.L. Neafus, Will Munson, John Schoyer, John Guthrie, Will Pigler, Will Guthrie, Adam Wheeler. Also, Jeff Stradley, Hattie Stradley, Kate Hopps, Dixie Myers, Foster Guthrie, Pearl Duckworth, Dollie Haught, Edna Myers, and Hallie Myers. Three are unknown.
In the earliest years of settlement, most homesteaders lived in tents, half-dugouts, or very crude buildings. This could be the first Patterson home. Many of the men and women are holding musical instruments. Note the puppy watching at right and the man petting a dog in middle of the group. On back of the photo, "This is a picture of the ‘Old Bachelor’s Picnic’ held on the farm of B.B. Patterson, four miles north east of Manitou, Okla. Territory on April, 30-1904.” IDs written on back: Will Pigler, Al Schultz, John Guthrie, John Schoyer, Foster Guthrie, Will Guthrie, Jim Purmort, Will Munson, R.Y. Patterson, Dollie Haught, Helen Garrison. Also, Bessie Smith, Edna Myers, Mary Urmort Hallie Myers, Hattie Stradley, Kate Hoppe, Dixie Myers, Pearl Duckworth, Miss Garrison, B.B. Patterson, and three unknown.

Old Bachelor's Picnic Held in 1904
When this area was opened to settlement in August 1901, the people who came here accepted a life of hard work. Opportunities for social interaction, especially for single people, were valued.
Three pictures in the Tillman County Historical Society depict a special social event called the Old Bachelors’ Picnic that was held April 30, 1904, at the farm of B.B. Patterson, four miles northeast of Manitou.

There is no way to know the exact background of the event. Most likely, the Old Bachelors was a club, and the event was a social occasion for single men and single women.
The photos are remarkable.
In 1904, the area was newly settled. The people in the pictures had been in the area for no more than two-and-a-half years. That the occasion was documented by a photographer is amazing.
Some of the photos have been labeled in the developing process and they bear a faint studio watermark that is hard to read – something like or close to “Fleming Studio, Snyder, O.T.”
It is also impressive that the photos capture the people in three very different poses – as a group shot of the people around a lemonade barrel; a group picture of the people with musical instruments in front of what is, in all probability, the first Patterson frontier home (the photo also contains a dog and, to the side, a puppy); and a group picture around the picnic food. Everyone in attendance is dressed in their their Sunday best.
Thankfully, someone over the years labeled the pictures on back with the date and location of the event, along with name listings of many of the people who were present.

This group photo, taken by a Snyder studio, was labeled in developing. "Old Bachelor's Picnic" was written into the photo, but is difficult to see because the photo has faded over the years. Identities written on back are John Guthrie, Jim Purmort, Will Guthrie, Al Schultz, Dan Bird (a written note questioned the spelling as "Byrd"), Will Pigler, G.L. Neafus, R.Y. Patterson, Ora Hopps, B.B. Patterson, Kate Hopps, Hattie Pigler, Dixie Myers, Mary Purmort, Hallie Myers, Edna Myers, Pearl Duckworth, and four unknown.
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Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society Board. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Monday, February 21, 2011

Community Auditorium, 1916

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
March 23, 2009
World War I Bond Rally in front of Frederick Community Auditorium, 1918

Tillman County enlistees depart for basic training during World War I. A huge crowd gathered in front of the Community Auditorium, South 12th and Dahlia, to see them off.

Interior, Frederick Community Auditorium, 1916-1921

Community Auditorium was important to City
When the City of Frederick was organized in 1902, the early residents set about building churches, schools, and businesses – facilities that would enhance the quality of civic life and commerce in the new city.
By 1916, the city boasted five churches (two of which had impressive brick structures), four brick school buildings, three banks, three motion picture theatres, a new Carnegie library, a three-story city hall, and a fully developed brick downtown business area with concrete sidewalks. Frederick was a town on the grow!
Because civic life was recognized as a need for the thriving community, city fathers made an early commitment to construct a community auditorium.
The auditorium, a massive wooden barn-like building, was built in 1916 and was located at 12th and Dahlia, on the exact location where the Central Grade Auditorium/Middle School Gymnasium now stand.
The front of the auditorium faced to the west, directly into Dahlia.
A 1920 publication titled “Frederick, the Miracle City” described the auditorium.
“A unique feature of civic life of the city is its Community Auditorium, a large frame structure covering almost one-fourth of a block, located at East Dahlia Avenue and Twelfth Street. This building was built in 1916 through the efforts and donations of the people of the city, and admirably fills the need of a meeting place for unusually large assemblies. During the war (World War I) it was the gathering place for big meetings in the bond drives and other war work, and is used for all purposes from public speakings to county fairs, poultry shows, and similar events.”
“A pleasing feature in connection with the Community Auditorium building is a small park adjoining, making a beauty spot almost in the heart of the city.”
The auditorium itself was a massive room with wooden plank benches and a dirt floor.
Behind the auditorium, to the east, was an attached wood-floored gymnasium that was used by students at the nearby Frederick High School (an early brick building that was located at the site of today’s Frederick Middle School).
Builder of the Community Auditorium in 1916 was A.H. Krause, the contractor who constructed most of the brick buildings in downtown Frederick and surrounding communities.
The Community Auditorium was an impressive investment in the civic life of the developing city, but it only stood for about five years.
In 1922, construction began on a modern, new Frederick High School, complete with a first-class school auditorium and gymnasium.
The Community Auditorium was cleared to make way for the new school, to be built at the exact site where the auditorium had been located.
In 1920, the city had purchased a 39-acre track for a new fairground, race track, and municipal park at the southwest edge of the city.  Cost of the land was $10,000.
The wooden Community Auditorium was removed, although there is some indication that part of the building was taken to the new fairgrounds site.
Much of the building was recycled, though, into some of the many construction projects that were underway in Frederick.
It is believed that in 1924, some wood from the Community Auditorium building was used in construction of the St. Paul AME Church which is now located at the Pioneer Townsite Museum.
The modern new school, auditorium and gym that replaced the Community Auditorium was completed in 1923 and used as Frederick High School until 1950 when it became Central Grade School. It was used as Central Grade until 1997 when Frederick’s upper elementary grades moved to the current Frederick Elementary School on North 15th Street. The 1923 gymnasium is still used by Frederick Middle School.
The Tillman County Historical Society has several fascinating panorama pictures of the Community Auditorium on display at the Pioneer Townsite Museum. The pictures show WW I bond rallies and Tillman County troops departing for service in the war. They can be seen any weekday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the museum. Admission is free.
Joe Wynn serves on the Tillman County Historical Society Board of Directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Sunday, February 20, 2011

County Offices Before 1921

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
February 17, 2009

Early County Offices Were Downtown

For those of us who live in the area today, it is hard to imagine Frederick before the courthouse was built.
For that reason, it is interesting to examine how Tillman County came to exist and where the county offices were located prior to construction of the current courthouse.
Most of the area that is now Tillman County was opened to settlement in the land lottery that took place near Fort Sill on August 6, 1901. The tent city of Lawton sprang in existence that day. The City of Frederick was organized in 1902. The eastern part of the current Tillman County, part of the Big Pasture, would not be opened for settlement until 1906 (by sealed bid).
This part of what would eventually become the state of Oklahoma was Oklahoma Territory. Indian Territory was located in the eastern part of what is now Oklahoma.
Pre-statehood, Oklahoma Territory was divided generally into only a few very large counties. The area that would eventually be Tillman County was at that time part of a very large area that was Comanche County, with the new city of Lawton as its county seat.
A copy of The Frederick Enterprise (later to become The Frederick Press) dated February 27, 1903, showed the newspaper’s location as “Frederick, Comanche County, Oklahoma Territory.” A prominent article in that 1903 newspaper told about a plan to break the very large Comanche and Kiowa Counties into four smaller counties, with Frederick to be the county seat of Harrison County.
That early plan, of course, was not enacted and Harrison County would never exist.
Oklahoma statehood was a goal in those early years, but a constitution and a system of county governments would have to be in place when Oklahoma became a state. Therefore, the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention convened in 1906 to draft a constitution, and the convention’s responsibilities also included the creation of counties for the new state, the establishment of county lines, and the naming of county seats.
The Constitutional Convention established 77 counties for the new state, dividing the pre-statehood Comanche County into two counties – the current Comanche and Tillman Counties, with Lawton and Frederick as county seats.
The Constitutional Convention named Tillman County in honor of Ben Tillman, a prominent Democratic U.S. Senator from South Carolina.
What did Ben Tillman have to do with Tillman County? Absolutely nothing.
While some counties bore names that related somehow to the area’s history or heritage, other counties were named after prominent figures of the day. Ben Tillman was such a figure. Tillman never visited Oklahoma or the county that would bear his name.
Tillman County’s borders at statehood on November 16, 1907, were much the same as today, although parts of Kiowa County to the north were incorporated into Tillman County in 1911 and 1925.
So… Where were the county offices housed in its earliest days?
According to notes at Frederick’s Pioneer Townsite, prior to 1921 the Tillman County Commissioners rented building space to use as a courthouse:
“In 1907 the second floor of the Mosby-Schwartz building in downtown Frederick was rented and used until 1913.
The Mosby-Schwartz building was the current Frederick Leader building at 306 West Grand. Mosby-Schwartz real estate firm occupied the building’s main first-floor space. At that time, the building had a large second floor. The second level was removed in the 1940s.
 In 1913 space for county offices was rented in the Frederick City Hall, 126 South Tenth, at $1,000 per year. In 1917 the county rented the second floor of the Eberle building, 100 North Tenth, and continued the rental of City Hall for the use of the courthouse. Finally, in 1919 the county purchased a city block of land at a cost of $14,250 to build Tillman County’s first county-owned courthouse.
      “Accordingly, in 1921 the present Tillman County Courthouse was constructed by the Charles M. Dunning Construction Company at a cost of $200,000. The architectural firm of Tonini and Bramblett combined the Neo-Classical (Palladian) and Renaissance forms in their plans for the massive structure.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Carr and Pritchard Hardware, Frederick

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
March 9, 2009
Carr and Pritchard's hardware store was located at 100 West Grand in an early building that stood where Cole Pest Control is currently located.
Carr and Pritchard's second location was a showroom for farm equipment and automobiles. New tractors and automobiles are parked in front. The second floor was "rental living rooms".

Carr and Pritchard Hardware sold many products

In the early years of Frederick, the young city featured no less than six hardware stores. No hardware store offered more, though, than Carr and Pritchard Hardware, where the consumer could buy much more than hammers and nails. Carr and Pritchard sold new cars, tractors, guns, and almost anything else that the enterprising Tillman County resident might need.
It was owned and operated by pioneer Frederick residents J.A. Carr and A.H. Pritchard.
Carr and Pritchard’s main store was located at 100 West Grand (an early building that stood where Cole Pest Control is located today).
A 1916 Tillman County industrial publication describes the store as follows:
“Housed in its own building, 50 by 100 feet, with floor space of 5,000 square feet, which it built in 1906 and 1907, at the corner of Grand avenue and Main street, this firm carries an extensive line of heavy and shelf hardware, queensware, harness implements, wagons, buggies and automobiles.”
 “In addition to the extensive store room, this firm also rents a warehouse which it formerly owned, but disposed of.  This building was built by Carr and Pritchard in 1910 and is a two-story brick structure, 75 by 100 feet. This is used for a warehouse for implements and wagons on one side and the other for a salesroom for automobiles. The second floor of the building is rented for living rooms.”
What did the big hardware store sell? Just about everything.
Their products included a full line of guns and ammunition; Cookware and kitchen goods (aluminum ware, queensware, enamelware); stoves (New Process and Perfection oil stoves, Bridge and Beach heaters and cook ranges, Round Oak and Cole’s Hot Blast); McCormick binders and hay tools; Standard mowers and hay tools; Studebaker and Weber wagons; Moon Brothers’ buggies; P. & O. farm implements; Oliver plows; Dempster windmills and pumps; American Field fencing (barbed wire, hog wire, and bale ties); Avery gasoline tractors; and the full lines of Chevrolet and Reo motor cars.
The 1916 article attributed the success of Carr and Pritchard to their willingness to extend credit to deserving farmers. “In times of adversity and short crops, when the farmers needed the assistance of men in this line of business, Carr and Pritchard did not hesitate to assist all the deserving ones and as a result many a farmer who has been successful was only able to weather through adversity by the assistance given them by this firm.”
The store’s owners were convinced that modern machinery would change farm life. “This is truly the age of the gasoline tractor in Oklahoma,” their 1916 ad read. “The tractor eliminates the heavy expense of buying horses for animal power. It eliminates the heavy expense of feeding and caring for this animal power. It lessens the expense of hired help. It will help to raise large crops. It will save hard work and make money by doing work not possible with horses.

The 1916 Chevrolet was available at Carr and Pritchard.

Here are a few things possible with the Avery tractor: breaking stubble, plowing, disc plowing, sod plowing, cornstalk plowing, orchard cultivation, cutting stalks, disc harrowing, drilling and harvesting, and, in fact, any line of farm work where the animal power has been used before."

Carr and Pritchard’s two lines of automobiles, the Reo and the Chevrolet, provided price selection.
The Chevrolets, featuring valve-in-head motors, were priced at the Frederick hardware store as follows: five-passenger, $550; fully equipped Baby Grand, $750.

Reos  were available in four sizes – three, four, five and seven-passenger versions, with motors ranging from three cylinders to six-cylinders.
Reos were advertised as the “most powerful motor built,” with a long cylinder stroke. The three-passenger roadster and five-passenger touring car were priced at $875. The six-cylinder cars cost $1,250.
Carr and Pritchard also carried a full line of tires, automobile accessories, and springs for any make of car.
Reo for 1916 at Carr and Pritchard.