Monday, June 3, 2013

Abernathy Day Held in Frederick

Jake Schreiner (left) and Kolt Walker (right) play the roles of Temple and Bud Abernathy during June 1, 2013, activities at the Tillman County Courthouse Square. The boys sit in an early Brush Runabout that is owned by Feltz Terrill of deLeon, Texas. Behind them, "looking on", is a statue that depicts the Abernathy boys in 1910.
Boys remembered at June 1 event

   In April 1910, Bud and Temple Abernathy rode horses from the family ranch west of Frederick to New York City to greet former President Theodore Roosevelt. The boys were six and 10. The fact that two little boys could make such a long trip, by themselves, was amazing even for those days. That's why the two "little cowboys from Oklahoma" became famous. Newspapers wrote about their accomplishments, they had many adventures along the way, and they met many famous people.

   Their dad, U.S. Marshal Jack Abernathy, was waiting for them on their arrival in New York City. Crowds of admirers were also waiting.

   In New York City they were given a position of honor in the ticker-tape parade that celebrated Roosevelt's arrival from a long trip abroad. The two Oklahoma boys rode their horses in the parade – ahead of Roosevelt's Rough Riders.

   For the return trip to Oklahoma, the boys shipped their horses home on the train and drove home in a new 1910 Brush Runabout. No driver's license was needed in those days and the boys learned to drive by practicing on the streets of New York City. There were few paved streets or roadways in 1905. The motor trip home to Oklahoma was a great adventure – different but no less daring or amazing than their long journey on horseback.

   Frederick hasn't forgotten.

   Frederick, Oklahoma, the boys' hometown, remembers the Abernathy boys. A statue of the Bud and Temple stands at the Tillman County Courthouse Square and an Abernathy exhibit at the Pioneer Townsite Museum features their photos, personal artifacts, and an authentic 1910 Brush Runabout just like the one that they drove in 1910.

Abernathy Day 2013

   For many years Frederick has held celebrations to honor the Abernathys – not only the two boys, but also their dad, wolf hunter and Roosevelt friend Jack "Catch 'em Alive" Abernathy.

   For the June 1, 2013 Abernathy Day, the people of Frederick celebrated the boys' adventurous automobile expedition of 1910. Owners of antique automobiles, including Brushes, were invited to park their cars on the Tillman County Courthouse lawn near the Abernathy statue. For one day, the courthouse square and adjacent Pioneer Townsite Museum harkened back to the days of early automobiles and the frontier spirit of adventure.

   Owners of vintage automobiles (pre-1940) came to Frederick to show off their vehicles.

   Ted Davis, owner of Oklahoma City's Packard Twin Six Company and restorer of the Pioneer Townsite Museum's 1910 Brush, spoke about auto restoration during an afternoon program at Frederick's historic Ramona Theatre.

   He also showed and answered questions about his latest project – a 1933 Miller Indy race car.

   A large crowd of folks gathered at the Pioneer Townsite museum during the evening for a barbeque dinner and entertainment that included a performance by storytellers Jaye McLaughlin and Fred Peters playing the parts of Bud and Temple's parents, Jack and Jessie Pearl Abernathy.

   It was a wonderful, fun day in Frederick!

Feltz Terrill (center in brown shirt) explains the mechanical features of his 1909 Brush Runabout to interested visitors to the Abernathy Day vintage car show. Terrill traveled from deLeon, Texas to attend the event.

J.W. Dollahan (center) brought his 1910 Brush Runabout from Lawrenceville, Illinois, to attend the Frederick event. Vic Fritch (left) accompanied him from Lawrenceville. They show the Brush to Gary Tyler, a member of the Tillman County Historical Society's board of directors.

Among the vintage cars on display were a 1927 Essex, a Model A Ford coupe, and a 1914 Model T Ford.
Kent Smith (right), Tillman County commissioner and member of the historical society's board, helps Ted Davis (left) maneuver Davis' Miller Race Car into position on the courthouse lawn.

Ted Davis of Oklahoma City (fourth from left) explains features of his Miller Race Car to interested automobile enthusiasts. The car is a 1933 Henry Miller designed Indianapolis race car. The engine is a V16 displacing 183 cubic inches attached to a front wheel drive gearbox. It is a supercharged engine, with a roots-style blower attached to the rear of the engine. Davis also spoke during the afternoon at the Ramona Theatre about his restoration in 2007 of the Pioneer Townsite Museum's 1910 Brush Runabout and answered many questions about auto restoration from fascinated members of the audience.

A trio of vintage Fords graced the lawn south of the county courthouse.

Owners and admirers of early automobiles spent the day talking about cars.

Abernathy boys stand-ins Jake Schreiner (left) and Kolt Walker (right) try the Pioneer Townsite Museum's restored 1910 Brush out for size in the museum's Abernathy exhibit. The car that the real Bud and Temple drove in 1910 was bright red in color, just like this one.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Model A Fords like these were the most popular cars sold.

J.W. Dollahan, right, arrived in Frederick from his home in Lawrenceville, Illinois two days before Abernathy Day and tooled around town in his 1910 Brush. Above, he gives an automobile ride to Virginia Walker, a member of the historical society's board.

The Crawford Collection, the Crawford family's private collection of trophy mount animals, was open on Friday evening at a welcome reception for vintage car owners, and again on Saturday for the general public. Vic Fritch and J.W. Dollahan are pictured with a trio of bears.

Late Saturday afternoon several vintage car owners made an automobile excursion to headquarters of the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team southeast of Frederick. The hangar was part of Frederick Army Air Field in the 1940s and today serves as home of the WW II ADT.

In the old Frederick Army Air Field hangar, car owners admired the WW II ADT's C-47, "Boogie Baby". The plane was manufactured in Oklahoma City in the early 1940s and used during WW II. Today the ADT uses the plane for jump exercises in which they parachute from the plane using WW II-type gear. The ADT honors the paratroopers of World War II and remembers their bravery and sacrifice. A visit to the hangar is a step back in time.

A group of more than 150 people gathered at 6:00 p.m. on the shady east lawn of the Pioneer Townsite Museum's red barn for a barbeque dinner, Abernathy program, and entertainment.

Fred Peters addressed the crowd as Jack Abernathy.

Tipi storytellers Jaye McLaughlin (left) as Jessie Pearl Abernathy and Fred Peters (right) as Jack Abernathy pose with Jake Schreiner (center) as Temple Abernathy, sitting in a 1910 Brush Runabout owned by J.W. Dollahan.

A beautiful June Tillman County evening ended with a concert by the Southwest Oklahoma Country Singers. The group's performance was the first of this summer's Saturday evening Concerts in the Park sponsored by the Frederick Arts and Humanities Council.

Abernathy Day Thanks!

   It takes many members of the community, working together, to create a successful event like Abernathy Day.
   Thank you to the many individuals and groups whose participation in and support of Abernathy Day activities on June 1 made the event a great success!
   Special thanks go to the following businesses and individuals whose sponsorship contributions made the day possible:
Cattlemen Level Sponsors
Bill and Carol Crawford
Southwest Rural Electric Association
Ryan Farms
Walker Land and Cattle Company
Wynn Farms

Trail Drive Level Sponsors
Benson Law Firm

Drover Level Sponsors
Crawford Abstract Company
Jackson Funeral Home
Subway of Frederick

   Thanks also to Glenda Lorah for making a beautiful quilt for raffle at the Abernathy dinner, and Thank You to volunteers who staffed museum exhibits on Saturday.
   Appreciation goes to the Frederick businesses that sold tickets for the Abernathy dinner, to those groups and businesses that set up noon food booths at the courthouse square, and to Patti Stapp for streaming music throughout the day.
   Thanks also to the Frederick Chamber of Commerce and to the Frederick Arts and Humanities Council for support in hosting this special day.

Tillman County Historical Society