Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hazel Enterprise published in 1902

Sent to The Frederick Press and The Frederick Leader
March 29, 2011
Hazel Enterprise, May 1, 1902

1902 Hazel Enterprise was first area newspaper
The city that is Frederick had its beginnings in 1902 when the fledgling communities of Hazel and Gosnell struggled to determine which town would become the permanent townsite. Gosnell won with establishment of the railroad depot. The new community would later be named “Frederick” for the son of a railroad executive.
The area that would become the western part of Tillman County had been opened for settlement only since August 1901.
The first newspaper that was published in this newly settled part of Oklahoma Territory would represent both Hazel and Gosnell. The newspaper, printed in Gosnell, Comanche County, O.T., was named The Hazel Enterprise. The publication date of the paper’s premier issue (Vol. 1, No. 1) was May 1, 1902.
The Hazel Enterprise was founded by Early Hendricks of Vernon. The newspaper’s pages were 14” x 26” and printed one page at a time on a job press that was operated by foot power. Type was set by hand, one letter at a time.
What issues were important in 1902 Oklahoma Territory? As evidenced in the Hazel Enterprise, many of the area’s new residents wanted to kill off prairie dogs. Two local businesses, Rhodes and Pendleton Store in Hazel and People’s Drug Store, advertised “Dog Poison” carbon and strychnine for killing the prairie pests.
Half the newspaper’s front page was devoted to an ad listing the wares of Rhodes and Pendleton – items that included paint, wallpaper, hardware tools, kitchen goods and clothes for the entire family.
The Rhodes and Pendleton Store opened its ad with the following advertising justification: “Don’t Write on a Postal Card! -- It is said that if a fellow’s girl writes him on a postal card she doesn’t care two cents for him. On that same basis, it is obvious that this store cares a good deal for you, as this communication cost money – so much a line; but as it’s a pleasure for us to talk to you, we don’t mind the expense. We want to tell you to-day about the many bargains that can be found in our house.”
Many news briefs on the front page were one- or two-sentence reports about local citizens:
“C.B. McHugh is suffering with a lame foot caused by stepping on a nail.”
“George Kelly is still unable to attend to business owing to the lacerated condition of his thumb.”
“L.M. Jackson of Wichita, Kan. was a pleasant caller yesterday and informed us that he will begin the erection of a residence on his lot southwest of Hazel.”
The newspaper also contained numerous reports of individuals who had bought subscriptions to the newspaper. For instance, the following:
“G.C. Barnes formerly of Cadiz, Ky. but now a resident of the best county in Oklahoma, and by the way, owns a nice quarter 6 miles southwest of Hazel, was a pleasant caller Monday. He planked down the real dough for a year’s subscription. Just as he was doing the wise act W.S. Carpenter late of Texas came in and dropped part of his wad for the same purpose. Hardly had they left the sanctum in stepped Robert Carson who left 100 percent happier but 50 cent short.”
Inside pages of The Hazel Enterprise contained four ads for local saloons. According to an account in Vol. II of the Tillman County History (1978), Mr. Hendricks was a patron of the saloons, which may have led to his decision later in 1902 to sell the Hazel Enterprise to R.H. Wessel. The sale price was $400 which included the printing equipment and a small frame building, then located on the south side of the 100 block of West Grand. After some conflict about the deed and ownership of the lot underneath the building, Wessel later bought a lot on South 9th and had his building moved to the new site.
In the years that followed Wessel purchased several other fledgling newspapers and The Hazel Enterprise name changed several times. On May 31, 1925, it became The Frederick Press.

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

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Area was marketed across nation

Sent to The Frederick Leader and The Frederick Press
November 9, 2010
Oklahoma Mutual Townsite Co.
Promoted Area in 1907
In the years following the Oklahoma land opening of 1901, the Oklahoma Mutual Townsite Company marketed the area throughout the nation to potential residents and investors.
The firm advertised city lots and farm land in the areas of Roosevelt, Frederick, Siboney (two miles north of present-day Manitou), and Hobart. R.L. Gosnell, one of Frederick’s founders, served as a vice president of the Oklahoma Mutual Townsite Company.
The firm’s promotional materials featured agricultural photos from bountiful fields, as well as pictures of city buildings and streets. The publications were designed to entice investors and future residents to this area.
An OMT publication from 1907 described crops that could be grown successfully in the Frederick area. Note that the account makes no reference to Tillman County, but to “Frederick country”. This is because, prior to statehood on November 16, 1907, Tillman County did not exist.
The OMT account of area crops in 1907 follows:

Cotton: The King of the money crops is at home in this country making from one-half to one bale per acre. The crop is easily cultivated and can be raised and marketed here for almost one-half what it costs to cultivate the same number of acres in the older states. No fertilizer is needed to help along. A little work to keep clear of weeds and the land does the rest. Cotton requires about the same cultivation as corn.

Corn: The corn crops of the Frederick country have been the wonder of all who have investigated With new land and necessarily crude methods of cultivation the yield has averaged forty to fifty bushels per acre for the last three years and often it has far exceeded that in individual cases where the crop has had good cultivation and care. What one farm will make is this country is possible on almost any other farm with good cultivation.
Broom Corn: Oklahoma is the pioneer in broomcorn cultivation in the Southwest. The yield is of excellent quality and is equal to the best grown in the famous field of Illinois. The yield is generally about one-third of a ton per acre and brings from forty to eighty dollars per ton.
Wheat: Wheat is probably the most important crop of the Frederick country. The lands are peculiarly adapted to its growth and the yield is uniformly satisfactory as to quantity and quality. The yield per acre has averaged 20 bushels. Many crops that have been managed by careful farmers have made this year thirty bushels and over. The land is here and the yield depends largely on the care given it.
Oats: Oats are par excellence; the greatest crop to count up into bushels in this country – seventy-five and even eighty-five bushels being reported in many instances, while the average over the country this year will not be far from sixty bushels.
Alfalfa: This prince of forage crops is one of the staples of the Frederick country, growing luxuriantly and making from three to five crops per year and will average from one to two tons per acre each cutting. The hay equals the finest clover as a forage crop and is sure of high prices as the demand always exceeds the supply.
Apples: Apples do well in this country and our orchards are more eloquent witness to the truth of this statement than anything we can say on the subject. The country is not old enough to have any large bearing trees but the prospects are that in a few years the apple crop of the Frederick country will be a factor in the fruit supply.
Plums and Pears: Both do well and many farmers are setting out orchards of these kinds of fruit. Those trees that are old enough to yield show the most flattering results.
Peaches: Neither California with its famous fruit nor East Texas with its Elbertas can surpass the peaches in Frederick’s country for size or lusciousness. No country on earth can boast of finer peaches of any variety.
Grapes: The whole of Oklahoma country is famous for the fine quality of the grapes that grow luxuriantly wherever planted. The fruit of the vine in any place in this country is equal to that of the finest in California. As wine makers or for table use the Oklahoma grape cannot be excelled.
Melons: The famous Rocky Ford muskmelons can not excel in flavor the melons grown in the Frederick country. The yield is enormous and the quality second to none.
The Georgia watermelons have to go way back and sit down in the presence of the melons grown on the deep loam of the Frederick country. In size there are none that can beat them and in flavor none can equal.
Berries: Berries of all kinds do well. Blackberries and dewberries especially are very fine. This season dewberries have been grown that only required 24 to weigh one pound. The flavor of the berries equals some of the finest grown in the southern middle states which is said to produce the best in this line. The yield is far in excess of that section.
Vegetables: An inspection of the gardens in and around the city of Frederick will be the most convincing argument for the success of all kinds of vegetables.
What is Shipped: Will ship this season between 15,000 and 20,000 bales of cotton, 750 cars of corn and hundreds of cars of oats, wheat, milo maize, cotton seed, broomcorn, beside the cotton seed products from the new oil mill.”

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

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Historical account from 1916

Column sent in three parts to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
June 23, 2009; June 30, 2009; July 7, 2009
History of Tillman County, 1916
In 1916, when most of Tillman County had been settled for only 15 years, the Frederick Leader printed a lengthy history of the county.
Although the article bore no writer’s byline, it was probably written by either W.D. Martin or J.L. Newland, the Leader’s owners and publishers at the time.
The article, written from the vantage point of a young Tillman County, is an interesting perspective on the area’s history.  
“The History of Tillman County ---
Its Wealth and Resources”
(Published in Frederick Leader’s Tillman County Industrial Edition, July 21, 1916)
Fifteen years is not a long time in the life of the man of mature age. Residents of the old settled states look back over a decade and a half of time and mark few changes in the makeup of their communities, except those that years make in adding age to the sons of man. Yet is has been but fifteen years ago that Tillman county, today probably the richest agricultural county in this great empire of the southwest, was a pasture for long horned cattle and a refuge for outlaws. So little was it thought of as a place of future populousness and wealth that it was among the last of the Indian lands to be opened for settlement, and when the white man was permitted to settle within the borders of what now forms Tillman county and the Indians were given the right to choose their allotments, but very few of them chose their allotments in this country. The red man was looking for streams and woods, places where he might fish and rest in ease and indolence, and there was no appeal to him in the unbroken expanse of prairie which stretched its way north from the Red river to old Greer county, a country which in future years was to reveal greater diversity of crop culture than any other section of the United States.
This section of Oklahoma was the heritage of the Comanche Indians, who lived further north and east along the streams and in the mountains, and were satisfied to rent their possessions here to cattle kings of northern Texas. Most of it was rented to W.T. Waggoner, who at that time resided at Waggoner (afterwards Electra), Texas. Part of the eastern part of the county was rented to Burk Burnett. Cowboys and vast herds of cattle roamed the country, and occasionally travelers came across, passing from Texas to the settled portion of Oklahoma to the north, or on their return trip. When it came time to pay the Indians their rent money, the lessees of the pasture loaded wagons with silver and came here to meet the chiefs and the head men and settle the bill. The Indians would not accept paper money, as they were suspicious of it. Silver made a much larger showing than gold, and therefore the bulky coin was their preference.
When the cattle barons wanted to impress the Indians of the desirability of renting to them, they would take them into a bank and show them vast sums of money, stacked up, and say, “See, this is all mine.” It is told that two well known cattlemen once did this in an effort to persuade the Indians not to re-lease the pasture to the men who had had it. The sight of the stacks of gold and silver so overwhelmed the Indian head men that they went to the cattlemen with whom they had been doing business and said that the other fellows had “heap money,” and evinced a desire to transfer the relations to the men who had made so impressive a showing. Knowing what sort of a trick had been played on them, the old lessees hurriedly made arrangements with their bankers, and then led the all-believing Indians into this bank and showed them so much money that the contract for a new lease was signed at once.
The Kiowa-Comanche-Apache strip was thrown open to settlement in 1901. This included all of the present Tillman County, except the Big Pasture, in which all of the part of Tillman County east of a line six miles east of Frederick was included. This was not opened until 1907. The 1901 opening was by lottery, Uncle Sam violating the anti-lottery laws that he enforces against others by advertising a mammoth drawing and conducting it in defiance of his own statutes. Claims were drawn at El Reno and at Lawton, and attracted the land hungry and the adventurous from all over the United States.
Two classes of pioneers have followed all the land openings in Oklahoma and probably everywhere else in this country where so much of the public domain has been practically given away. One class consisted of adventurers, gunmen, gamblers, and social outcasts from civilized communities who sought easy money and rehabilitated fortunes in a new country. The other class consisted of hardy homeseekers, who had left their old friends, broken loose from their ancient moorings, and had turned their faces toward the new country in the hope of acquiring there a home for themselves and to have a hand in building a new state. Both classes came to the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache drawings. Both classes were represented in the early settlement of Tillman county, but in the course of time the froth passed away and there was left a class of citizenship unsurpassed for morals and good citizenship anywhere in the world.
The formal opening was made in August, 1901. Before the drawing had been made, thousands of people had visited the new land of promise with a view to selecting a claim if they should be so fortunate as to draw a number small enough. Those who drew the smallest numbers chose claims near cities already established. Those who came to that part of Comanche county which is now Tillman county were for the most part men with families who were looking for farms on which they might make homes. This was fortunate for the future citizenship of Tillman county. The fact that this part of the strip was further away from cities than any other portion was the reason that those who located here were real home builders.
The country had been surveyed in 1884 in anticipation of the opening and stones set to show section lines established by the surveyors. These stones played an important part in the settlement of the country, insuring accurate location and doing away with lawsuits over borders.
A certain number of claims were allowed to be selected each day, beginning with the person who had drawn number 1 and continuing until all the claims had been disposed of.
Locations were made by land locators, who were familiar with the country and who, for $25, would settle a claim on a desirable farm. Settlers were required to live on their claims 14 months and then to pay $1.25 an acre when they “proved up.” During these 14 months they fought prairie dogs and rattlesnakes, built dugouts, tried out various methods of farming, imported from all the other states, and got acquainted with each other. Many were doomed to disappointment in their first endeavors to till the soil. They tried to use methods prevalent in the northern and eastern states and often found that these methods were not always adaptable to conditions here. Later those who stayed were to learn, however, than no country in all the world yields larger returns in response to intelligent effort, and that the man with a good Tillman county farm is king in his own domain.
As early as 1900 the construction of the first railroad that was intended to cross Tillman county was started. It was the road now known as the Frisco, then called the “Bes line,” the word “Bes” being taken from its title, the Blackwell, Enid and Southwestern. This line really had its beginning at Arkansas City, Kansas, being constructed from there to Blackwell. E.L. Peckham was its original projector. The line was to have Vernon, Texas, as its southern terminus, and construction was also begun from Vernon, north. Thus it was that Davidson became the first town in Tillman county. Davidson, Hazel, Siboney and Thacker were government townsites in the new country. Davidson is the only one of the four left. Hazel became absorbed into Frederick, Siboney and Thacker into Manitou. Both Davidson and Manitou are now substantial, well built towns.
The location of Hazel was just one-half mile south of Grand avenue. At one time it was a thriving village. Then R.L. Gosnell and Sarah Stevens laid out the town of Gosnell, on part of the present site of Frederick, and both places sat down to wait for the “Bes line” to build a depot. A depot for either meant death to the other. Gosnell turned the trick by making a deal with Charles Hunter, manager of the “Bes line” Townsite company, giving him half the lots in the original town of Gosnell for an agreement to establish a depot here. The name of Gosnell was changed to Frederick, in honor of one of the “Bes line” officials, the Frederick Townsite company was organized and the newly christened town settled down to fighting it out with Hazel.
Soon the effects of the depot pact began to make themselves known. Residents of Hazel began to put their houses on rollers and move them to Frederick, and finally Hazel was abandoned and its chief lot owner, John H. Mounts, afterwards one of the most prominent town builders that Frederick had, pulled up stakes, decided to allow his town lots to grow up in cotton and corn and became a resident of Frederick. The consolidation occurred in 1902, and Frederick grew steadily from that time on.
In the meantime the “Bes line” officials had decided that they preferred to have real money instead of alluring prospects in the town of Frederick, and had negotiated a sale of the road’s interests here for $15,000, to J.L. Lair, of Blackwell. When it became known that Mr. Lair had paid $15,000 for half of a new townsite somewhere on the southwestern prairies the wise men of Blackwell looked upon him as suffering from over confidence, to speak of it mildly, while a Chickasha paper wrote a very lurid story of how a resident of Blackwell had been buncoed out of his fortune and had had a gold brick of huge proportions unloaded on him. Mr. Lair, however, had faith in Frederick and in his own judgment. He came to Frederick to make his home.
 “I determined that I would try and sell off enough lots to get my money back the first year,” he said, “and then I felt that I could take my time with the others. Before the end of the first year I had sold $100,000 worth.” And it may be added that he did not sell all of his lots, either. Mr. Lair has, during the years that have followed, never had occasion to lose faith in Frederick and Tillman county nor to change his views about their future greatness. He, like other pioneers, lived to see the little town in which he invested so heavily grow into a modern city of the first class and the raw prairie improved until it is dotted with substantial farmhouses, schoolhouses, churches, barns, granaries, silos and other evidences of a progressive and prosperous people, and he believes that the development of the city and country have only fairly well begun.
The years from 1902 to 1907 constituted a period of steady development for this section of Oklahoma. This was then a part of Comanche county, the seat of government being in Lawton. There was yet much of the frontier about the country, and the growth of the town was hindered to large extent by the vast area of unsettled land lying in the east part of the county. This land was part of about 400,000 acres which had been set aside by the secretary of the interior at the time of the 1901 land opening as a reserve for the Indians, and was known as the Big Pasture, in distinction from other pastures of smaller dimensions. It was in the Big Pasture, at Panther Springs, 12 miles east of Frederick, that President Roosevelt camped in 1905.
Coyotes were plentiful in the Big Pasture then, and John Abernathy gained fame and a United States marshalship by catching these ravenous beasts with his bare hands for the delectation of the president and his party. President Roosevelt became interested in the Big Pasture, and when congress, in 1906, enacted a law providing for the opening of this reserve land for homesteads, the president was instrumental, it is believed, in having a minimum price of $5 an acre set on the land.
The Big Pasture farms were sold out by bids and not drawn. Bids were sent in sealed envelopes to the registrar and receiver of the land office at Lawton, over 100,000 bids being received, an indication that there were still plenty of land hungry citizens in the United States. Bidders were allowed to go over the land and select the farms they desired to bid upon. Here, as in 1901, the locator came in for his “bit” again, drawing many a fee for showing the tenderfoot where to pick out a good farm.
Bidders who had been awarded claims were officially notified in February 1907, and the scenes of 1901 in the western part of the county were repeated in the eastern. The cattle herds again gave way to the home builders, and the lonely prairies became thickly settled, with a family on every quarter section. A cosmopolitan population gathered here, as had been the case in the west half of the county. Frederick, the metropolis of this corner of Oklahoma, began to experience a rapid growth because of the new settlers and the extension of its trade territory. With the opening of the Big Pasture came the Wichita Falls and Northwestern railroad, which, like the Frisco (St. Louis and San Francisco), has been a big factor in the development of the country. From 1907 to 1909 Frederick was the northern terminus of the Wichita Falls route and during that time it had its most rapid growth.
The government attempted town building in the Big Pasture, too, but not successfully, it being again proved that railroads are more successful in the town building business than the interior department is. President Roosevelt’s camping ground, Panther Springs, was selected as an ideal place for a city, and many lots were sold there in the government townsite of Isadore. The town was “beautiful for situation,” with gushing springs and a lovely grove close by, to be converted into a city park, and with fertile acres lying all about it, but the railroad missed it and it died in infancy.
Eschite, near the present site of the prosperous little city of Grandfield, was sold out as a government townsite, but it awoke one morning to find itself opposed by a nearby rival, Kell, which soon experienced a growth which was alarming. Kell was on the line of the Wichita Falls and Northwestern railroad, and Eschite was a mile and half away from the railroad. Therefore Eschite had cause for alarm. A lively town fight ensued which lasted until 1908. By that time the “pasture” was so thickly settled that the business men of the rival towns had other things to think of than personal animosities and they observed the axiom of an old time Kansas City politician. “If ye can’t beat’em, jine ‘em.” They compromised their difficulties by agreeing to abandon both townsites and to move the buildings from both towns onto a quarter section alongside Kell and on the railroad. The United States government strongly objected to having its townsite moved and sent a swarm of deputies armed with an injunction writ to try and keep the post office anchored. But before the deputies arrived the “sooners” who were steering the consolidation had put the post office on rollers and moved it to the new townsite, under cover of night, the other buildings going along with it. The government officials grimly accepted the will of the people, and the post office department probably took some consolation out of the highhanded operations of its patrons when the new town was christened Grandfield, after an assistant postmaster general.
Loveland, formerly Harriston, was promoted by the Rock Island Townsite and Realty company, composed of C.A. Swartz and G.V. Harris. At one time its existence was seriously threatened by Parton, about five miles to the northwest. Again the house movers got busy and the situation with Loveland became serious, until the Wichita Falls and Northwestern railroad builders, who had purchased land for a townsite two miles west of Parton City, put an end to the agony by refusing Parton a depot or a siding. Parton struggled along, but when the railroad established the town of Hollister, it finally gave up the ghost. For some time a gin and a billiard hall alone marked the scene of what once promised to be a thriving town. Then the gin was moved and for a time the billiard hall stood alone in the prairie, a representative of the departed glories of Parton, until it, too, succumbed.
Quanah was another government townsite, south and east of Frederick, and almost due east of Grandfield, which died because it was not needed.
When the Wichita Falls and Northwestern railroad was extended on to Altus in 1909, the town of Tipton was laid out and grew amazingly, soon becoming an important business point.
Tipton was the last and probably will remain the last town to be developed in Tillman County. Automobiles have wiped out distances and discouraged the country store and small village. The county is now well supplied with towns in every place where towns are necessary, and another townsite sale in Tillman county could hardly be negotiated successfully, at least among those familiar with the situation. Frederick, the county seat, has a population in the neighborhood of 5,000, Grandfield has probably 1,200, Manitou, Tipton and Davidson about 600 each, while Loveland and Hollister, though smaller, are prosperous places and have business men who meet all the needs of their communities.
When the constitutional convention was held in Guthrie in 1907, following the adoption of statehood, all that part of Tillman county lying south of the township baseline was detached from Comanche county and was named for Senator Benjamin R. Tillman, South Carolina’s fiery statesman, a plain indication of which political party was in the ascendancy in the constitutional convention. Frederick was made the county seat, because of its superior size and central location, and has never had a rival for the seat of government.
In the fall of 1911 the borders of Tillman county were extended six miles further north when Hunter township, the southern township in Kiowa county, became a part of this county. The residents of Hunter township were dissatisfied because they were so far from Hobart, their county seat, and about two years prior to that time had voted to come into Tillman county. But before Governor Haskell had issued his proclamation for an election whereby Tillman county should accept the new territory, as provided by the Oklahoma laws, a plan for a new county named Swanson was brought forth by residents of Snyder, who were anxious to have that town made a county seat. The territory in Hunter township was needed for the new county.
Governor Haskell’s duty under the law was to call the election for Tillman county to receive or reject the new territory, but by an alleged agreement with a Tillman county attorney he compromised the matter by allowing half of Hunter township to go into Swanson and issuing a proclamation for Tillman county to accept the south half. Of course such an election was illegal, as it was not upon the same issue on which Hunter township had voted, and although Tillman county voted on the half-a-loaf proposition and voted for it, the election was a nullity.
Then followed an election for Swanson county, including Hunter township, and, although Hunter voted against the new county, Snyder furnished enough votes to overbalance all opposition. The county had a brief and stormy existence and in June, 1911, was declared illegal by the supreme court and was dissolved by the district courts of Kiowa and Comanche counties.
October 21, 1911, Hunter township again voted to become part of Tillman County, and on the following November 25 Tillman county voted to let the new citizens in, and thus, after two years of legal fighting, Tillman county’s area and populations were greatly increased and the residents of Hunter township found themselves within a convenient distance of their county seat.
Thus have the boundaries of the county been determined and its towns and its county seat city been located and started to making history. During these years development has been rapid and steady in the county as a whole.
The former grazing grounds of the long-horned, tick-infested Texas cattle now yield a generous living to 25,000 people. Both the longhorn and the tick and all that they stand for have been banished. Instead have come the Jersey, the Holstein, the Guernsey, the Durham and the Hereford, together with purebred hogs and horses and high grade stock of every kind.
The broad acres which once grew nothing but short grass now respond to the throb of the tractor and yield their fertile bosom to the gang plow. Every cereal known to scientific farming in the United States, all manner of feed and forage crops, well laden orchards, fragrant meadow and luxuriant pastures furnish not only an abundance of food for man and beast, but keep the railroads busy hauling their surplus to the outside world.
Well equipped town and country schools and churches give evidence that the educational and religious have not been lost sight of in the increase of wealth. Good roads everywhere afford avenues of rapid communication among a people with whom the social spirit is developed to a high degree.
Periods of drought and depression, resulting from the reaction which generally follows rapid early growth have been safely weathered, and Tillman county, its farms and its municipalities, are today but starting on a period of development which promises to make the future even more romantic with success than the past has been.
Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society Board of Directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tractors revolutionized farming

Sent to The Frederick Leader and The Frederick Press
March 22, 2011
Avery Catalogue cover, 1919

Tractors provided productivity for farmers
When Tillman County was opened for settlement in the early years of the 20th century, people came from all over the nation to secure land.
The western part of what would later be Tillman County was opened by land lottery in August 1901. The Big Pasture, the eastern part of the county, was opened by sealed bid in December 1906.
Turning soil of the rich prairies must have been a monumental task because all farming in those early years was done with horses and mules. It was slow, back-breaking labor.
Within the first decade of the area’s settlement, though, gasoline tractors became available. Farmers who could afford to buy a tractor could ease their workload enormously. In all area towns there were established businesses that added tractors to their sales merchandise.
In 1916, Frederick’s Carr and Pritchard Hardware proclaimed it the “Age of the Gasoline Tractor”. Their store sold Avery tractors.
Avery was one of the earliest tractor companies and at its height prior to 1920 it was the largest tractor company in the world. The company manufactured eight different tractors in addition to motor cultivators, plows, and farm trucks.
A 1916 Frederick Leader promotional piece for the hardware store read as follows:
“This is truly the age of the gasoline tractor in Oklahoma, and Carr and Pritchard are proud of the fact that during the many years they have been in business they have established a reputation for choosing nothing but the best line of goods on the market. They openly state to the farmers, and several years of good judgment goes behind the statement, that the logical tractor to buy is the Avery.
“This 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 larger crops. It will save hard work and will make money by doing work not possible with horses. Here are a few of the things possible with the Avery tractor: breaking stubble, plowing, disc plowing, sod plowing, cornstalk plowing, listing, orchard cultivation, cutting stalks, disc harrowing, spike tooth harrowing, drilling and harvesting and, in fact, any line of farm work where the animal power has been used before.
“Space will not permit of a detailed description of this tractor except to say that Carr and Pritchard recommend it and their recommendation is good and they can get a tractor in size from 5-10 to 40-80. Let them tell you why the Avery is the only logical tractor on the market. Let them demonstrate it to you.”
In the early 1920s more tractor and farm implement companies entered the market, Avery sales suffered. Besides Avery, companies such as Ford, International Harvester, Oliver, Holt (later Caterpillar), and Fitch claimed major shares of the tractor and farm implement business.
The Avery company filed bankruptcy in 1923 but was reorganized a few months later. When farm prices dropped in 1931 during the Great Depression, the Avery Tractor Company went out of business. It was revived briefly when the Depression ended, but went out of business for good when industrial production shifted during World War II.
 [Photo illustration by Avery Company [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society Board. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Monday, March 21, 2011

Magazine featured 1965 Frederick

Sent to The Frederick Press and The Frederick Leader
March 15, 20111
This 1965 aerial photo of Frederick was taken above Frederick High School.
State magazine profiled Frederick industry in 1965
“Frederick – Agriculture, Cattle, Industry.”
That was message that was delivered in an Oklahoma Today feature about Frederick that was included in the magazine’s winter 1965-1966 issue.
The magazine featured a full-page aerial shot of Frederick, taken above Frederick High School, with a Frederick Chamber of Commerce “FREDERICK – Agriculture, Cattle, Industry” license place imposed over the photo.
The four-page article opened the magazine with photos from Frederick’s industries and information about the town’s progressive attitudes.
Bill Burchardt, an Oklahoma Today staffer, wrote “Frederick is a remarkable town. Population 6,300, area four square miles, yet this amazing small city has developed an Industrial Park which contains The Century Granite Company, one of the nation’s top ten.”
Centra workers produced leather goods in 1965.
Burchardt continued, “In the Industrial Park is Betsy Bra Company, now gearing its production up to produce 182,000 brassieres per week. Nearby is Centra Leather Goods, cutting more than three million sq. ft. of leather per year, plus a great deal of plastic, for the billfolds and other items they produce.”
The article noted that approximately 25 percent of Centra’s employees were handicapped, and that Emil Marcus, head of Centra Leather Goods, was an active member of President Lyndon Johnson’s and Governor Henry Bellmon’s Advisory Committees on Employment of the Handicapped.
The Brantly 305 helicopter was made in Frederick.
The 1965 Oklahoma Today article also profiled Frederick’s Brantly Helicopter Corporation, where assembly lines completed one helicopter every day. Features of the Brantly 305 deluxe model helicopter included an air-conditioned cabin, constant speed rotors, and “more baggage space than the average auto truck.”
A photo from Brantly showed an impressive assembly line of six copters.
“The newest addition to the Industrial Park,” Burchardt wrote, “is Altair, the only regularly scheduled airline with its own home office in Oklahoma.” Altair flew daily schedules to Dallas, Frederick, Altus, Elk City, Clinton, and Oklahoma City.”
Coake and Quam Feedlot was located east of Frederick.
Regarding, cattle and agriculture, the magazine article cited the Coake and Quam Feed Yard, located four miles east of Frederick. The feedlot’s capacity was 15,000 head of cattle. Coake and Quam’s animals drank ten times more water than the city of Frederick and consumed more feed than was raised in Tillman County.
Oklahoma Today attributed Frederick’s economic success to the Frederick Industrial Foundation.
“The reason for all this success,” the article stated, “is a city-wide industrial development program which is determined to succeed.”
[Photos and text copyright 1965 Oklahoma Today. Reprinted with permission.]
The 1965 assembly line at Brantly Helicopter in Frederick produced one new copter per day.
Tillman County Memorial Hospital served county residents.
An International Farmall tractor pulls a trailer while stripping cotton.
Frederick Golf and Country Club
Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society Board. He can be contacted by e-mail at

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Roosevelt Visit, April 1905

Sent to The Frederick Leader and The Frederick Press
March 23, 2010
Jack Abernathy (L) with President Theodore Roosevelt during the 1905 Wolf Hunt east of Frederick, O.T.

1905 Roosevelt Wolf Hunt Preceded Statehood

President Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Frederick aboard a private five-car train on Saturday, April 8, 1905. When he departed on April 13, 1905, the President promised to make Oklahoma a state. That is a promise that he kept more than two years later on November 16, 1907, when Oklahoma became the 46th state. Oklahoma was the only state admitted to the Union during Roosevelt’s presidency.
John R. “Jack” Abernathy, who lived west of Frederick with his wife and family, was famous for his wolf catching abilities, most notably for catching them alive. The President, always a sportsman and adventurer, had heard stories of Abernathy’s amazing wolf-catching abilities and planned the hunt in Oklahoma Territory to meet Abernathy and see the amazing skills for himself.
The land surrounding Frederick had been opened to settlement in the land lottery of 1901. The Frederick area was considered part of Comanche County, Oklahoma Territory, until Oklahoma became a state in 1907. Tillman County, which Frederick serves as the county seat, was created at statehood.
The hunt took place in the Big Pasture. The western edge of the Big Pasture, which encompassed 480,000 acres, began several miles east of Frederick and was not opened for settlement until December 1906. The Big Pasture area was therefore unsettled at the time of Roosevelt’s visit in 1905.
The hunting party camped at Panther Springs on the west bank of Deep Red Creek near a natural spring. The site is located some distance south of the current Deep Red Bridge on State Highway 5.
Abernathy captured several wolves during the President’s visit, genuinely impressing the President and beginning a lasting friendship between Roosevelt and the Abernathy family. Soon after the hunt, Roosevelt appointed Abernathy as U.S. Marshal, and Abernathy’s sons Bud and Temple visited Roosevelt during their famous solo trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City in 1910.
Numerous dignitaries accompanied Roosevelt and Abernathy on the hunt, including Comanche Chief Quanah Parker, Texas oil man and rancher Burk Burnett, and rancher Guy Waggoner.
Although Roosevelt had visited Oklahoma City before becoming President, his 1905 hunting trip in the Frederick area was his only visit to Oklahoma Territory (the western part of present-day Oklahoma) during his presidency.
During the days immediately preceding the Frederick visit President Roosevelt had attended a Rough Riders Reunion in San Antonio, Texas. On April 5, 1905, his train had briefly passed through several communities in Indian Territory (now Eastern Oklahoma) enroute to South Texas. Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory were merged to become the State of Oklahoma in 1907.
Roosevelt’s presidency ended in 1909. Following his presidency, in 1912 Roosevelt campaigned in several communities in the central and eastern part of Oklahoma during his failed run for re-election as President as a candidate of the Progressive Bull Moose Party.


To provide what must surely be one of the most accurate accounts of Roosevelt’s visit, following is a story written on April 14, 1905, (the day after Roosevelt’s departure) by R.H. Wessell for The Frederick Enterprise. The Enterprise was the forerunner to the Frederick Press. Wessel was a Frederick journalist for many decades.

THE FREDERICK ENTERPRISE -- Frederick, Comanche County, Oklahoma Territory. Friday, April 14, 1905.

PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT ARRIVED IN FREDERICK LAST SATURDAY (April 8th, 1905) afternoon and welcomed by about 6,000 Oklahomans


Was driven to his Camp in the Big Pasture where he has spent a delightful time hunting Wolves, and other game – seventeen wolves Captured and Abernathy displays his prowess by catching some alive – Gov. Ferguson, Dennis Flynn and Cong. Stevens, here.

When President Roosevelt reached Oklahoma soil last Saturday afternoon he beheld a canopy without a single cloud, a green velvety carpet stretching as far as eye could see and when about twenty minutes later as he talked from the grandstand to the 5,000 to 6,000 eager auditors not even the faintest zephr was in evidence to interfere with his oratorical effort. All nature seemed to be inacced in making an ideal day for this the greatest event that has happened in the history of the new country. Despite the fact that those here who knew of the President’s coming nearly a fortnight before were importuned not to make it public, nevertheless parties were here from as far east as Lawton, to the west as far as Altus, to the North from Hobart, and to the Lone Star state on the South. The hotels and eating houses were crowded, for miles around the farmers left their fields to come to Frederick and get a glimpse of their chief executive.
At a meeting of the citizens, about twenty deputies were employed in addition about half this number of mounted police, with C.C. Shive, as marshal of the day. The crowd was an exceptionally orderly one and the marshals experienced little difficulty in keeping perfect order.
President Roosevelt during the 1905 hunt.
About 100 soldiers who had worn either the blue or the gray in the great war of the Rebellion marched side by side to do honor to their common president and testified more convincingly than volumes of the friendship that exists between all sections of the country. It was a sight long to be remembered to see the smoke from the pilot engine curling up into the azure some miles to the South, while still farther away could be discerned a faint dark smoke from the engine that the expectant throng knew was bringing the president. Five minutes after the pilot engine, the President’s train, consisting of five handsomely equipped coaches, glided to the crossing on Grand Avenue. When the President emerged from the car, dressed in his outing suit, he was met by the reception committee and after he descried the decorated grandstand two blocks up the street, he was glad to address the assembly. He took a seat beside Mayor Kelly, and was driven behind Ed. Carter’s span team to the grandstand. The remaining members of his party were brought in other vehicles which were furnished by the reception committee. Atty. Geo. Ahearn introduced the President, who spoke in part as follows:

“The next time I come to Oklahoma I trust I will come to a State and it won’t be my fault if this is not soon. I greet the veterans of the Civil War, who come here today to greet the President because we are one people and one country, not to be divided forever. I am glad to see Quanah Parker here, who has done so well with his farm. One thing of which I am proud is that I have tried to give a fair deal to every man. Give the red man the same chance as the white. This country is founded on the doctrine of giving each man a fair deal to see what there is in him. I have traveled four days in Texas, and am now in what will soon be a great state of the Union.
“There is nowhere I feel more at home than in a town like this. I have confidence in the character of the men and women who have come here. Ever since the Revolution we have been making new States. Now we are about at the cole of this period. I don’t feel that I have to explain my policies to the Oklahoma people. You like to have the American people play a big part in the world, and then play that part well. I know the western people are with me when I say we must build the Panama Canal. You don’t think I shoud be quiet while the American people are being held up. We want our right not as a favor, but as a right.
“I had a middling busy three and a half years. I have liked my job, I enjoyed it and was thankful to the people for telling me to go on with it. Now I want four days’ play. I hear you have plenty of jack rabbits and coyotes here. I like my citizens, but don’t like them on a coyote hunt. Give me a fair deal to have as much fun as even a President is entitled to. Good-bye and good luck.”
At the close of the speech, he entered Burnett’s carriage and was rapidly driven to the camp, accompanied a portion of the way by members of the mounted police.
It was about dark when the party reached the camp, eighteen miles southeast of here nestled cozily in the timber skirting Deep Red Creek. Sunday morning the President was up early and when he first beheld the beautiful panorama of virgin prairie without a sign of civilization except that of the camp, he said he felt perfectly at home. He did little during the day except to exercise his horse. His doctor, however, took a number of views of the party with their dogs and horses which will be used to illustrate the article which Mr. Roosevelt will write concerning the hunt.
The President killed a huge rattlesnake.

The hunt for which the president has been yearning as anxiously as the pack of dogs chained in camp who made the night hideous with their yelps, was begun Monday morning. From the start the President was invariably in the lead and even the cow boys and veteran troopers from Fort Sill were astonished with the ease with which he kept his seat while going at breakneck speed over ravine and hill. By noon the pack had caught three wolves and the party returned to camp with an appetite which left but little of the picked yearling which had been take out that morning. In the afternoon the President saw John Abernathy catch a wolf which the dogs had harassed.
Once on Monday, after the long chase in the hot sun, the President spied some water in a buffalo wallow, he spurred up his horse and beating the dogs to the spot, leaped from the saddle and lapped up the refreshing liquid in good old-fashioned cowboy style.
“The next day he ran over a six foot rattler, which sprang at him four times before he had dispatched it with his 18 inch quirt.
The President was particularly pleased by the manner in which the public heeded his admonitions regarding a square deal and remained from the pasture. He says this would be impossible in many sections of the country, and this, in addition to the rare sport which he enjoyed in the chase, may cause him to return to the spot at some time when he wants real uninterrupted hunt.
The President concluded his big wolf hunt in the big pasture yesterday at 4 o’clock P.M. (April 13th, 1905) and shortly afterwards started for Frederick with his party. He has become very much attached to John R. Abernathy, the famous wolf hunter, and desired to see his family. When the President discovered that Abernathy, who is but a man of 35 years of age, but has a wife and five children, he declared he was a man of his own heart. Mrs. Abernathy and the children were sent for and the president met them near the pasture gate where he spent a very pleasant half hour.
It was expected that the president would speak in the grand stand in Frederick where he spoke last Saturday. The reception committee were seated in this grand stand while Cong. John H. Stevens, of Texas, was addressing the crowd, as the president and his party mounted on their charges, rode into town.
The President and his party rode past to the train on a gallop but a courier returned to the grand stand and announced that the president would speak from the rear end of the platform. The President dressed in his brown trousers and hunting jacket, appeared like a private citizen out for a hunt. Gov. Thos. B. Ferguson introduced the president who spoke in a happy vein as follows:
“My friends and fellow citizens, I thank you for as pleasant a five days outing as any president ever had; I especially thank the people of Frederick for giving me such a pleasant time and letting the party alone during the hunt. It was the kindness of the people especially of Frederick, and of Oklahoma, and Texas, in general in not disturbing our party; for hunting and crowds don’t go together. One reason I hesitated coming here was because I was doubtful if I could hunt here unmolested.”
“You never had a guest who enjoyed himself better than myself, and I will come to Oklahoma again. I especially thank your citizen John Abernathy, for his hunting ability and the party who entertained me; Also Ed Gillis, Taylor and Billie More, As remarkable an exhibition of pluck and skill as I have ever seen has been shown by your townsmen carrying a wolf five miles in his gloved hands, but he beat it today by getting a wolf which he tied to the back of his saddle, and then after a seven mile chase, getting another which he brought to camp alive. I will come to Oklahoma again when I hope you will be a state with your senators and congressmen. Good night, Good luck and many thanks.”
The president was extremely pleased to meet his old friends, Ex-Delegate Dennis T. Flynn, and Cong. John H. Stevens, and chatted pleasantly with them.
After these gentlemen retired he ate his dinner, and looked at some papers. At 8:25 the train left for Vernon. The President came on the rear platform and smiling to those at the depot, said Goodnight until out of hearing.
Cong. Stevens accompanied the train to Vernon where he resides.
The train left Texline at 8:20 A.M. today and will arrive at Colorado Springs at 7:30 P.M.
John Abernathy and C.B. McHugh, of the hunting party were left at this place where they reside.
Col. Lyon, Sloan Simpson, the Burnetts and the Waggoners will leave it at Vernon, to go to their respective homes.

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

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hunt participants were important men

Sent to the Frederick Leader and the Frederick Press
April 13, 2010

The 1905 hunting party. President Roosevelt is standing 2nd from right. Jack Abernathy is standing in center, holding dead wolf. Comanche Chief Quanah Parker is kneeling left of Abernathy.
Men of 1905 Roosevelt hunting party
were wealthy and influential
Last weekend in Frederick (April 10, 2010) we celebrated the 105th anniversary of President Theodore Roosevelt’s visit to Frederick for an Oklahoma Territory wolf hunt. The President’s private train arrived in Frederick on April 8, 1905, and he spent the next five days east of Frederick hunting wolves with Jack Abernathy in the then-unsettled Big Pasture. He departed Frederick on April 13, 1905.
Roosevelt was the most famous man of his time, so his visit to Frederick, than a raw, three-year-old town on the Oklahoma prairie, was a momentous event. Roosevelt did not come alone.
With him as members of the hunting party were some of the richest, most influential, well-connected people of the day.
Following are some basic facts about several members of the hunting party.
Samuel “Burk” Burnett was 56 at the time of the hunt.
He had established the Burnett Ranch in Wichita County of North Texas in 1875, between the Red and Big Wichita Rivers. In 1900, he had bought the “Four Sixes” Ranch which he enlarged to nearly a half million acres in four divisions.
In the early 1890s Burnett became a friend of Comanche Chief Quanah Parker and negotiated leasing rights to more than a million acres of land in the then-unsettled Kiowa and Comanche lands of Oklahoma Territory. This greatly benefitted not only Burnett, but also other large northern Texas ranchers who were able to secure grazing rights to the vast expanses of rich green prairie.
Burnett and Chief Quanah Parker had met with Theodore Roosevelt some years before the wolf hunt.
When the federal government had initially required cattlemen to vacate their leased lands in Oklahoma Territory to prepare the land for settlement, Burk Burnett had traveled with Chief Parker to Washington and convinced President Roosevelt to grant a two-year stay so that the ranchers grazing in the lands could have a more orderly transformation from the loss of their lease interests.
At the time of the hunt, Burk Burnett lived in Fort Worth where he had many business and social connections.
Tom Burnett, Burk’s son, was 34 at the time of the wolf hunt. At 21, he had served as a wagon boss on his father’s herds in the Kiowa and Comanche lands. Chief Parker and Tom became close friends. They worked cattle and hunted together on the Comanche prairies.
Cecil Lyon of Dallas was an enormously rich and powerful man. In 1905, he was the owner of many lumber yards and hardware stores, a bank director, a director in Great Southern Life Insurance Company, and a close personal friend of the President.
He was head of the Texas Republican Party and a member of the Republican National Committee. As chair of the Texas party, Cecil Lyon was responsible for distribution of federal patronage in Texas under Republican Presidents. This was an enormously powerful position.
Lyon remained a major force in Texas politics for many years and was a very loyal friend of Roosevelt, even in future years when Theodore Roosevelt broke with the traditional Republican Party to run again for President as a member of the Bull Moose Party.
It was Lyon who first told Roosevelt about the wolf-hunting abilities of Jack Abernathy.
Sloan Simpson was the Harvard-educated son of an enormously rich, influential Texas ranching and banking family.
He had served in Roosevelt’s regiment of Rough Riders in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. In 1907 Roosevelt appointed Simpson as Dallas postmaster.
William Thomas Waggoner, 54, was owner of the famous Waggoner Ranch. His land holdings and cattle empire were vast and, like Burnett, Waggoner and his son had leased more than a half-million acres from the Comanches.
In 1910, Waggoner’s land holdings were around 1,000 square miles.
By World War I he would be recognized as the “Cattle King of Texas”, with cattle, land, banking and oil interests worth $50 million.
In the 1920s Will Rogers was a frequent ranch guest. He quipped that each cow on Waggoner’s ranch had 40 acres of grass and its own oil well.
At the time of the hunt in 1905, Waggoner lived in Fort Worth.
 “Al” Bivins, 53, was an Amarillo rancher and oilman. By 1920 he would be the largest individual cattle owner in the country and the largest landowner west of the Mississippi River.
He reportedly once rode 90 miles from Dalhart to Amarillo without leaving his property.
General Samuel Baldwin Marks Young, 65, had risen to the rank of general in the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war, he secured a commission in the regular Army as a captain and was posted to the Southwest along the Indian frontier.
In 1898, he was promoted to Brigadier General and served with Roosevelt in Cuba. In 1901 he became the first president of the Army War College, and was appointed in 1903 as Army Chief of Staff. He had retired from that post in 1904.
Dr. Alexander Lambert was the President’s personal physician. He accompanied the President on his travels, which were extensive. Like Roosevelt, Lambert was a prominent citizen of New York. He would later serve as president of the American Medical Association and head of the Medical Research Department of the American Red Cross.
Chief Quanah Parker was in his mid-50s at the time of the hunt.
He was the son of Comanche Chief Pete Nocona and Cynthia Parker, a white girl who was captured in Texas by the Comanches in 1836 when she was nine.
Parker was born around 1850 in the present Texas panhandle. He became a warrior after his father’s death in 1862 or 1863.
General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered Army troops to capture his band of Comanches. In 1871 and 1872 Quanah Parker successfully led raids against and continually escaped from the Army troops. In 1874, though, he led the tribe at the Battle of Adobe Springs. His horse was shot from under him and he was wounded in the side.
In 1875, most Kiowas, Cheyennes and Comanches were forced to surrender and travel to Fort Sill.
In 1878, rancher Charles Goodknight advised Quanah Parker about raising cattle and gave him some cows to start a herd. He was becoming a rancher when he gained his friendships with Burk Burnett and the Waggoners.
For more information about the wolf hunt and about members of the hunting party, the Pioneer Townsite Museum has two books that make for fascinating reading.
Struggles in a New State by Larry Lewis is a hard-bound volume that contains information about the hunt and the Abernathy boys, as well as political and social developments in Oklahoma in the early 19th Century.
Catch ‘em Alive Jack by Ron Ward is a large paper-bound book that tells the story of Jack Abernathy in great detail.
Both books are great reading and would make great gifts for anyone who has an interest in history. For more information about either book, call the Pioneer Townsite Museum in Frederick, 580-335-5844.
Frederick area men depicted the original 1905 hunting party at an April 10, 2010 Tillman County Historical Society celebration at the Pioneer Townsite Museum.
 Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society Board of Directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at