Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Abernathy feats remembered

Bud and Temple Abernathy, headed home to Oklahoma in their Brush, 1910

More information at

Abernathy Day Set for June 1

   Every community of any age has stories to tell from its history.

   In Frederick one of the stories that we tell with pride is the unique story of the Abernathy boys – Bud and Temple.

   Theirs was an amazing story in its time, and it seems even more amazing by today's standards.

   In 1910 when the boys were ages six and 10, they rode their horses alone from the family ranch west of Frederick to New York City to greet a former President. Along the way the "little cowboys from Oklahoma" (as news media of the day called them) met many important people of the time, including President William Howard Taft, his Cabinet officials, and one of the Wright brothers. Their father, U.S. Marshal John "Jack" Abernathy, was in New York City to meet them on their arrival, having travelled there by train.

   In New York City they were part of a giant celebration and ticker-tape parade that welcomed former President Theodore Roosevelt back to the United States after a long trip abroad, and they were treated like celebrities in the big city.

   When it came time for the trip back to Oklahoma, though, they convinced their father to abandon their plan to travel home on the train. They shipped their faithful horses home by train. The boys drove home – in a brand new bright red 1910 Brush Runabout.

   That story and many more of the boys' adventures are detailed in the book Bud and Me, written by the late Alta Abernathy, Temple's wife.

   Among those other adventures was a 1913 Indian motorcycle trip from Oklahoma to New York City when the boys had reached the advanced ages of nine and 13.

   For years the Tillman County Historical Society celebrated the stories of the Abernathy Boys and their famous wolf hunter dad Jack "Catch 'em Alive" Abernathy with an annual Abernathy Day Celebration. The event was not held in 2012 because Frederick hosted Free Wheel bicycle visitors for a giant event during June, but the Abernathy Day celebration IS back on for 2013. It will be held at its traditional time – the first Saturday in June. This year that will be on June 1.

   And... Early planning for the event promises to make this a special and unique Abernathy Day, different from ones that have been held before.  That's because this year, to commemorate the boys' trips in their Brush Automobile and on the Indian motorcycle, the historical society is inviting owners of vintage (pre-1940) cars and motorcycles to come to Frederick that day to show off their wonderful cars and bikes.

   Hopefully, a significant number of vintage vehicles will come to Frederick that day. Perhaps the most special guests, though, will be current-day owners of Brush Automobiles and early Indian motorcycles!

   Numerous special programs and events are in the planning stages, there will be wonderful entertainment throughout the day and evening, and the historical society will sell tickets for a wonderful dinner on the grounds that evening at  Pioneer Townsite Museum.

   It promises to be a special, fun day!

   If you own a vintage car or motorcycle, plan to attend! Or... If you know someone who does own such a vehicle, pass the word!

   Detailed plans for Abernathy Day will be posted to the Tillman County Historical Society website ( as they develop.

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