Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Auto Race was Popular, 1922

The Fairgrounds Racetrack in Frederick.
Fairgrounds Racetrack Was Popular Venue
In the early decades of Tillman County, a racetrack was located at the fairgrounds in southwest Frederick in the general area where Bomber Bowl is now located. In the era when automobiles were a modern invention, the public had a fascination even then with speed, performance, and potential danger.
The following article from 1922 captures both the excitement and danger involved with automobile races of the time.
From The Frederick Leader, Thursday, September 14, 1922

Woodhouse Wins 15-Mile Automobile Race
Willis in Dodge Gets First Money in 5-Mile Contest
Fred N. Woodhouse, driving a Ford, was the scintillating luminary in the main racing event at the fairground racetrack yesterday, the fifteen-mile motor car speed contest, winning over his opponent by a second: time, 20:10.
The purse for this event was $223, of which Woodhouse was awarded $--.71. (could not make out this amount from the clipping).
W.C. Brooks in a Chevrolet, the runner-up, pulled down $71.20.
L.L. Majors, piloting a Hudson, was awarded third money, $42.75.
The race, while without any startling features, was a brilliant affair and greatly delighted the grandstand spectators, the Chevrolet crowding the Henry every inch of the long drive of thirty half-mile laps.
There were seven entries in this race.
Woodhouse, five minutes before the start, appeared to be out of it, having snapped the steering gear of his car off short at the axle in the preceding five-mile race. No one was more surprised than the pilot when his mechanic effected a complete repair job in the time that the motorists were entertaining the enthused throng between the races and a cheer went up when the Ford was able to line up with the others in the main event.
Woodhouse is well known to the sporting fraternity here, as his home is in Lawton, and it will be remembered that he was the unfortunate feature in a thrilling accident that occurred during the automobile races at the Tillman county fair last year when a car driven by a Denver pilot crashed into the one Woodhouse was driving, at the last turn. Woodhouse was thrown fifteen feet up in the air, falling in such a manner that his chest struck the steering apparatus of his car. He was believed to be dead when hauled away in an ambulance. He was in a hospital for several weeks before his final recovery, and had the grit to again enter the racing game, which he has followed for about eight years.
H.J. Willis won the five-mile race yesterday, driving a Dodge car: time, 7:27. The total purse for this event was $95, Willis being awarded $37. Sam Jewell, piloting a Chevrolet, was second, pulling down $--.75 (?). Ovid Blackwood, driving a Dodge, won third money, $14.25. The race was without features. There were six entries.

Not all of the automobile excitement was on the racetrack. While fairgoers were watching the race or visiting fair exhibits, a thief took a car from the parking lot.
Immediately below the above-referenced article, the September 14, 1922, Frederick Leader featured the following notice:

Ford Car Stolen from Fairgrounds
A five-passenger Ford touring car belonging to Lee Patrick, east of Frederick, was stolen from its place at the fairgrounds, Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Davidson Friendship Quilt

Mrs. Frances Goodknight examines quilt from the Davidson area that was recently given to the Pioneer Townsite.

Davidson Friendship Quilt Donated to Museum
The Tillman County Historical Society has a broad collection of quilts from the area’s past, most of which are on display at the Pioneer Townsite Museum.
A recent donation to the historical society from Maryla Blanco of Oklahoma City is a friendship quilt from the Davidson area.The quilt originally belonged to Blanco's grandparents, Wendell and Marie Hall, who were teachers in Davidson.
The quilt, probably from the 1920s or ‘30s, is made of pink and white cotton and bears 22 names – all residents of the Davidson area. It isn’t known, though, if the quilt was made by a church group, club group, or community group.
Names stitched onto the quilt are as follows:

   Mr. and Mrs. D. A. Aldridge
   Mrs. Carruth
   Mrs. Campbell
   Mrs. Donahoo
   Mrs. Buster Wright
   Mrs. Mike Daniels
   Mr. and Mrs. Frank Sparks
   Mrs. Wall
   Mrs. W. A. Dickerson/Leta Mae/Julia
   Mr. Gillum and Tostie (sp)
   Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Dobson
   Mr. and Mrs. H. E. McKinney
   Mr. and Mrs. Dee Tidwell and F. M.
   Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Stout
   Mr. and Mrs.  Edd Bell
   Mrs. Hollers
   Leslie, Ruby and W. E.
   Mr. and Mrs. G. H. McAlister
   Mr. and Mrs. Umbria Butler
   Mrs. Smith
   Mr. and Mrs. George Tidwell

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Schumpert Gravesite

The grave of World War I casualty George C. Shumpert is located in the Frederick Cemetery.

Schumpert Gravesite is in Frederick Cemetery

Tillman County Chronicles posts on May 28 and June 3 referred to the death of George Schumpert, a young man from Frederick who died in France during World War I.
Schumpert's gravesite (pictured above) is in the Frederick Memorial Cemetery.
Search for more information about him is ongoing.
A December 30, 1920, Frederick Leader article (the day after his funeral and burial) gives his death date as February 24, 1918 at an Army hospital in France. The December 30 article refers to a more detailed article that ran two days previous in the December 28, 1920, Frederick Leader.
An initial search of files at the Frederick Leader indicates that no copy of the December 28, 1920 newspaper may still exist.
Schumpert's headstone is a large piece of granite and matches that of his parents who are buried in an adjoining plot (his father died in 1923 and his mother in 1933).
The stone featured Woodmen of the World markings.
His status as a veteran and casualty of war are indicated only by the word HONOR and engraved pair of American flags.
The grave stone indicates that George Schumpert was born in 1895. The year of his death, however, is marked on the stone as 1919 -- inconsistent with the newspaper article that indicates his death was in February 1918.
The search for more information about this young Tillman County man continues.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oklahoma Freewheel

Many decorated bikes were placed throughout Frederick to celebrate Oklahoma Freewheel.

Yea! Oklahoma Freewheel!

Launch of the 2012 Oklahoma Freewheel Bicycle Tour in Frederick last Saturday was, by all accounts, a huge success.
Hundreds of visitors were in Frederick that day for ceremonies that officially kicked off the south-to-north border-to-border bicycle tour. The riders camped in tents set up around the courthouse square and on Pioneer Townsite Museum grounds, they stayed in area hotels and churches, and they overnighted at numerous permanent and temporary RV camping sites (which included the high school parking lot!).
The bike riders all left Frederick, heading northward, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Route for the annual race changes each year. This is the first year that Freewheel has come through Frederick.
The Freewheelers are great group of people, and we in Frederick hope they all return soon with family and friends to spend some time in our town
Enormous credit goes to the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, Chamber director Sharon Bennett, and the planning committee of community volunteers who worked tirelessly for weeks to ensure that the Freewheelers would see, experience, and love Frederick.
I think they succeeded!

At the Pioneer Townsite Museum…
Most Tillman County Historical Society Board members worked all day Saturday at the Pioneer Townsite, serving as hosts to the museum’s many visitors. All museum buildings were open, and TCHS board members and volunteers sold welcome treats of pie and ice cream to happy visitors.
I worked my regular post in the red barn that day, explaining the Roosevelt-Abernathy story and related exhibit.
A few visitors knew all about the story of President Theodore Roosevelt’s visit to Frederick in 1905, the famous wolf-hunting skills of Jack “Catch ‘em Alive” Abernathy, and the remarkable feats of Abernathy’s two sons, Bud and Temple.
The stories were new to most visitors, though, who were fascinated by the larger-than-life accomplishments of these early pioneers and historical figures.
As always, the attraction in the Pioneer Townsite’s Roosevelt-Abernathy exhibit that most fascinated visitors was our 1910 Brush Runabout Automobile.
Runabout from 1912 Brush publication (Source, Wikipedia Commons)
Although it is not the same car that Bud and Temple Abernathy drove from New York City to Oklahoma in 1910, the car at our museum is a genuine, restored two-seater 1910 Brush Runabout that is painted bright red – just like the boys’ car.
When visitors see the car, questions abound – “Where did they buy gasoline on the trip?” “How many miles to the gallon did this car get?” “What were roads like in those days?” I do not have the answer to every question, but I field all questions as well as I can.
It is important to remember that the automobile was a relatively new technology that was sweeping America in the first decade of the 20th Century, and it was changing the way that Americans lived. The Brush, which was known especially for its ability to climb well and navigate in mud, was manufactured in Detroit and the company used the 1910 New York to Oklahoma automobile trip by 10-year-old Bud and six-year-old Temple Abernathy extensively in company advertising for at least a couple of years.
No doubt about it… The Brush was a remarkable car!

The Brush Runabout
A 1909 letter to the Brush Automobile Company by Dr. I.D. Jones of Murdock, Nebraska, tells the story of the Brush Runabout that he owned and the ways that the automobile changed his life and affected the lives of others.
[NOTE: Murdock is a small town in northwest Nebraska. The following letter written by Dr. Jones in 1908 was featured in the town’s online newsletter at on May 11, 2011]. 
Brush Runabout Company:
   Please allow me to thank you for the new cylinder head you sent me to replace the one that has a small leak.  I, however, do not think I will put it in, as the motor is doing all I wish it to and more.
   There has not been a horse in my stable this summer and the Brush has done all my work; besides the pleasure work for the family, which has been no small amount. I have driven it some 110 miles.  The last two weeks we have been attending a chautaqua at Ashland, Nebraska, 14 miles away coming back the same night.  We made the trip in about an hour one way, sometimes less.
   A child five miles in the country took poison last week. The Brush got me out there and I was washing the stomach in 20 minutes. Had I depended on a team as hot as it was, the baby could not have been saved.  How is that? I run from 16 to 22 miles with one gallon of gasoline according to the roads.
   I have been caught in the rains, but with ropes on the wheels went along faster than a horse could go.  That blessed little engine has never stopped for me on the road. I have never had to put on any repairs and it has not cost me a penny for repairs. All that has ever been done to it is to tighten the brake rods and the chains.
   I think I can honestly say that it is as much better than the horse is better than going on foot.
   I wish also to thank you fellows for making that frame the way that you do, using those half-inch bolts in it, and for riveting them down. It is the (?) machine I ever saw. I don't believe the devil could break the damn thing.
   I hit the shed so hard one time with it one day, raised it off the foundation.
   There are other nice things that I could say about it but time forbids.  I remain.

                                  Yours Very Truly,

                   Dr. I.D. Jones
                   Murdock, Cass County, Nebraska

Monday, June 4, 2012

Positively Frederick

Michelle Green, Karen Caldwell, and Dana Greer preparing plantings for a planter box at Main and Grand Avenue in Frederick. The 1970s era concrete planter box will be "reskinned" with cedar and attractive bench seating will be added.

News Release sent to The Frederick Press-Leader and KYBE Radio, June 4, 2012

500 Club Project Will Enhance Frederick
The streets in Frederick’s downtown area are becoming more attractive thanks to a project of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce 500 Club.
The project, called “Positively Frederick”, is a long-range effort that will seek to enhance the appearance and quality of life for visitors and local residents alike by making the town’s central area more attractive and “user-friendly”.
Volunteers Michelle Wood, Dana Greer, Michelle Green, and Karen Caldwell survey their work.
The first phase of “Positively Frederick” has included installation of planter boxes and benches at the four corners of Main and Grand. As funds allow, the enhancements will continue to other street corners through downtown Frederick. Other long-term goals are to beautify the Tillman County Courthouse parking area and to paint or enhance light poles in the area.
All funding for “Positively Frederick” is from private donations to the Frederick Chamber’s 500 Club – individuals who donate $5 per month (or 500 cents) to be used for projects that promote or enhance life in Frederick. No public funds or Chamber operational funds are used for “Positively Frederick” or other 500 Club projects.
The idea for “Positively Frederick” as a use for 500 Club donations was developed by a Chamber 500 Club Committee and approved by the Frederick Chamber’s Board of Directors.
The 500 Club committee members who developed the plan were Joe Wynn, Jim Ard, Sandi Martin, Jeff Patterson, and Karen Caldwell.
 “The 500 Club committee discussed factors that set communities apart from one another,” said Joe Wynn, who chaired the committee. “When passing through towns while traveling, some towns look attractive and inviting, while others do not. Our committee felt that a good project for 500 Club would be to focus on projects that will visually enhance our central Frederick area, with first priority given to the area along Highway 183.”
“Positively Frederick” committee members who have worked on planning, planting, and implementing the downtown projects include Karen Caldwell, Michelle Green, Michelle Wood, and Dana Greer.
At Main and Grand, existing white concrete planter boxes from the 1970s have been “re-skinned” with cedar covers, filled with fresh soil, and planted with hardy heat-resistant plants such as lantana, dwarf nandina, salvia, and potato vine plants.
New tall cedar boxes feature small evergreen plants.
The planters and covers were built by Jimmy Espinosa, director of the Pioneer Townsite Museum, with assistance from Department of Corrections Frederick Work-Release Center inmates. Cedar materials for the boxes were purchased from local merchants. Plantings for the boxes were also purchased from area businesses.
Comfortable, long-lasting benches at the intersection will provide comfortable, attractive places for pedestrians, shoppers, and visitors to sit.
Business and property owners throughout the downtown area are encouraged to plant and spruce up their properties to complement the ongoing “Positively Frederick” 500 Club efforts.
Numerous property owners have recently set out new plants at their own expense or painted to make their facilities more attractive.
For example, the Crawford Collection on North Main has purchased similar cedar planters and metal benches for the front of their facility. The Crawford Collection improvements were purchased privately. No 500 Club funds were used for the Crawford Collection project.
The Frederick Chamber’s 500 Club has been in existence for about 10 years. During those years the contributors to 500 Club have funded business and economic development projects, as well as business paint grants and store-front improvement grants. Several years ago Frederick voters passed a hotel-motel tax which now provides funding for some of the projects that were previously borne by 500 Club donations. “Positively Frederick” provides a new focus for the group.
“Positively Frederick” will expand as funding allows. All projects of the 500 Club or “Positively Frederick” must be approved by the Frederick Chamber’s board or executive board.

Joining 500 Club
For Frederick citizens who are not currently member of the 500 Club but would like to sign up for membership, they may do so at the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, 100 South Main. They may also call the Chamber at 580-335-2126 or request sign-up materials by e-mail at
Monthly $5 contributions to the 500 Club can be made by bank draft, or $60 paid annually by cash or check.
It is not necessary that 500 Club members be members of the Frederick Chamber.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Schumpert burial in Frederick Cemetery

Frederick Leader article, Dec. 30, 1920

Body of WW I Soldier Was Returned to Frederick
The Tillman County Chronicles May 28, 2012 Memorial Day post included a June 1921 article from the Frederick Leader, citing ceremonies at the Frederick Cemetery gravesite of WW I veteran John Schumpert.
Who was John Schumpert? His name is not listed on Tillman County Veterans War Memorial at the Tillman County Courthouse lawn. What’s more, a check of the Frederick Cemetery’s burial records does not show a John Schumpert to be buried there.
Could the Frederick Leader have gotten the name of the deceased wrong in 1921 when it wrote about the Memorial Day ceremony?
Apparently, yes.
Although no John Schumpert was listed in cemetery burial records, George C. Schumpert was buried at the cemetery on December 29, 1920. A search of microfilm newspaper files found the following article, printed in The Frederick Leader on December 30, 1920, which describes the World War I death and funeral of George C. Schumpert.

The Frederick Leader
Thursday, December 30, 1920

Body of war hero now lies at rest

The body of George Schumpert, the overseas soldier for whom funeral services were held at the First Methodist Church Wednesday afternoon, arrived in Frederick Tuesday evening under escort of Captain Hoover, United States Army, who had escorted the casket here from Hoboken, New Jersey.

As was told in Tuesday's Leader funeral services were in charge of the American Legion and were conducted by Rev. Robert W. Goodloe while burial services at the city cemetery were participated in by the Legion and Woodmen of the World.

Many beautiful floral offerings were received in tribute to the dead soldier.

Schumpert, as was told yesterday, died at the American army hospital at Serrigny, France, from cerebrospinal meningitis, February 24, 1918. His body was contained in a metal case over which was a wooden casket. The casket was not opened, as to do so would have been contrary to law, as he died of a contagious disease.

Unfortunately, the Frederick Leader’s issue from Tuesday, December 28, 1920, that is referred to in the article is not available on microfilm. Frederick Press issues from December 1920 are also not available.

Although details of his life and obituary have not been found, George C. Schumpert was a Frederick man who died in France as a soldier in World War I.

It was fitting that the people of Frederick chose to pay special tribute to him on Memorial Day in 1921.