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 jawynn@cableone.net.

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