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:
WHAT THEY GROW IN THE AREA
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.