'HARVEY GIRLS': Hollywood Post-WW2 Social Control?

Hollywood went to war once supporting the effort in WW2 with enlistments, service, volunteerism, war bonds, canteens, entertainment/training films, and movies that helped to shape public sentiment, provide instruction on being a citizen, and transform behaviors and attitudes.

The WW2 years were marked by thousands of young men going off to war to be thrust into new and often lonely situations. Inevitably romance blossomed and the girl back home might be temporarily forgotten. In the earlier conflict a song posed the question, 'how are going to keep them down on the farm after they've seen Paree?" The question returned post-WW2. What happens when wives and lovers learn that there may have been more than a little, 'out of sight - out of mind' with their distant love?

You can't order love, legislate forgiveness, or mandate acceptance and return to normalcy.

What can a society do? Simple, make a movie!! The government and Hollywood teamed up for fund raising, for morality plays about patriotism, being brave, and fighting the enemy on every front. There would be little surprise if one more angle was tried in turning minds and attitudes to prepare war estranged people for the reality of a returning love.
"Harvey Girls" was a 1946 movie starring Judy Garland about one of the famous "Harvey House" establishments. These were resturants that opened to provide travelers on the rail lines clean, decorous, and good food as they traveled. To be a "Harvey Girl" was a great honor because the standards were high and there was a reputation to keep untarnished. As a musical it has some good numbers - including the award winning Mercer-Warren song 'On the Atkinson, Topeka, and the Santa Fe."

A good example is the scene where the new girls in town hold a nice, wholesome, party. The girls - all in clean, crisp pastel dresses with lots of pure white collars and aprons - bring a touch of 'home' to the rough frontier. Genteel music, punch, cake, and charming young ladies who talked of ladylike subjects. Enter the 'working girls' from across the street in their emerald, sapphire, red, and gold silks, satins, and shiny black hose. They bought tickets to the party and they will attend! They are forward and in your face and not at all ladylike.

This immediately sets up a competition between the good, clean, girls from 'back home' and the frilly, forward, saloon gals at the dance. The men caught between the shame of the their past actions represented by the 'good time girls' and the call to return to the values of a previous time are clearly embrassed. Yet, with much collar tugging discomfort, they select the fresh-facced young ladies who represent a normal future filled with home, children, and new somber purpose. As the local pastor says, in case any had missed the point, they had witnessed a miracle indeed as rough miners and cowboys resurrected social manners and waltzed off with a girl from back east. The sub-test is clear and not very subtle: those exotic and rich foods are alright for awhile but boys, now it is time for the wholesome U.S.A. dinner now.

Watch the film and see the 'forgiveness' speech Garland makes at the end of the as she rides the train in the company of the departing Madame. It's desolate, hard, and lonely out here in the rough desert, she admits, and it is only natural that a man would be lonely and need company now and again. Even company like that of the prostitute with a heart of gold...

Watching this recently, the sub-text came through loud and clear. Girls, it said, forgive the guy for being a man while he was away. Guys, let sleeping dogs alone and move into the future.

Go ahead and watch it - then tell me what you think.

Want to learn more on WW2 and Hollywood? Read an article here.


Mystery Photos: Some Body's Family History

In an antique store, I acquired this charming photo of 'Mr. & Mrs. Schnabele of Genesco, IL'.

On the reverse it reads: "There is no Christmas comes without thought of our old friends. So we come to greet you and wish you all that is the best for the Christmas that is here."



In 1926 reports surfaced near Claremore, OK of seeing a strange ruby hued ghost moving through a local graveyard and no one could identify it. Apparently, it had been earlier seen near Nowata and Rogers county. No other accounts seem to mention the ghost and no explanations seem to clearly describe what was seen. It would be easy to dismiss as "tail lights" of vehicles on a nearby road, etc. There is insuffiant data as to the geography of the area to make more than a guess.


The following are some of the most common spots listed as haunted in Oklahoma:
Ft. Gibson
Ft. WashitaFt.
El Reno
Black Jail - Guthrie
Kulli Tukilo Methodist Church - Idabel
Carey Place - Oklahoma City
Kitchen Lake - SE OKC/MWC area
Old women's dorms/ AGR Frat House- OSU, Stillwater
"Dead Woman's Crossing" - Weatherford
County Line Resturant - OKC
Walls Bargain Center- Shawnee
Music Store - Shawnee
Cate's Center - OU
Tulsa Area:
Cain's Ballroom
Brady Theater
Tulsa Little Theater
Tulsa Garden Center
Sparky's Cemetary
Riverside Park
The Cave House
The Gilcrease house
Labadie Mansion
The Brady Mansion
The Camelot Hotel
The Mayo HotelP
eace of Mind Bookstore
Old Bellview School (Jason's Deli 15th & Peoria)
Empire Bar
Brady Mansion
Hex House Lot
Club Majestic
Lola's & Fox Hotel
Philbrook Mansion
The White House - Jenks, OK

Due to rreports of significant debunking the following are not listed:
Choctaw Library, Choctaw Middle School, Stone Lion Inn


The death of a child is always a tragedy. They are all gifts from God. When that death is the result of possibly human intervention - it is something so much worse.

On July 10, 1985, an eight year old boy from a very poor family in Oklahoma City went missing. His young life, and that of his brother, had been haunted by extreme poverty, the social stigma and cruelty that can bring, and several related health problems. Often dirty and unkempt and wearing clothes long overdue for a wash, he was laughed at by classmates, ignored by adults, and left to his own devices far too much. He was awkward and shy. Little Robert was starved for affection, yet as cautious as a wily cat who'd had his tale stepped on once too often.

On July 29, his remains, partially buried, were found under a neighbor's garage. The neighbor - who may or may not have been the mysterious adult "friend" that Robert said he was going to see on the day he disappeared - was later picked up in Texas. There, it should be noted, he had been in legal trouble over child molestation charges. Brought back to Oklahoma he was charged, and soon confessed, to the murder and burial of young Robert.

Later, in 1991, a judge would acquit the man, citing the prosecution had not shown a clear link from the body back to the suspect. At worst, he was guilty of illegally cutting up and burying a body but no proof had been shown he had committed the murder (or even if there had been a murder and not a natural death). Of course, everyone when they innocently happen upon the corpse of a child cut it apart, bury it, and cover it with lime to enhance decomposition. It is a natural response.

Did the man initially charged actually commit the murder of an eight year old boy? If this man did not commit the crime - that means someone else did. Someone who, since 1985, as been living somewhere with the knowledge of little Robert's last moments.....

For others, like the people who saw him at school (Eugene Field Elementary), or whose hearts were touched by such tragedy in one so young, they can only remember, and mourn, and hope that someday justice will prevail. They had to see an empty desk where a little boy should have been seated for another day of learning. Someday....

[For all children who have been taken by violence - and the people they have left to mourn them -but especially for ones like Robert whose young life was already marred by circumstances beyond his control - we remember and honor them all. We pray, let us do better next time and be there for them before something awful happens and show them a little human kindness.]



In 1904 Oklahoma City, a strange site met residents and visitors one chilly spring day as they looked at South Broadway. Marching casually up from Reno street, yet with a destination in mind, were two men, John Aiken and James Sharp, a woman, Melissa Sharp, and a 12 year old boy, Lee Sharp. Declaring himself "Adam God" Sharp would prove an interesting character. What was unusual was they were all stark naked.
Arrested, charged with lunacy, and ordered out of the state, they were back in 1906 in a cult community, Eden, in south Oklahoma county.
A few years later, 1908, the group (which now included a second in command, Louis Pratt) had gone to Kansas City where they had caused a riot where five people died and Sharp (and possibly his wife) was ordered to prison for his role in the riot.
The group have been a part of the Morman faith or confiscated some of the terms and teachings of the "Adam God" doctrine of Brigham Young.


Most religious historians chart the genesis of the pentecostal movement from a revival on the campus of a small bible college in Topeka, Kansas in 1900. This led directly to the major revival services held on Azusa Street in Los Angeles beginning in 1906. Evidence exists that the belief, under different names and labels, has periodically emerged throughout the course of Christianity. For ease of discussion, the early 1900's dates will serve as starting places.

"Pentecostalism" can be defined using a variety of theological terms and doctrinal distinctive, depending on the branch of the movement referenced. In short, however, it is safe to define the movement by two basic beliefs: 1) the miracles of the New Testament still occur, and 2) the believer can have a special experience marked by speaking in a unknown language. As a result, the movement has been associated with fervency of worship, evangelistic emphasis, and a focus on personal holiness of life and action (reflecting the holiness roots of many of its adherents).

Emerging in opposition to the staid, ordered, formality of the Victorian era, the Pentecostal movement of the late 1890's and early 1900's was marked by the use of load music, preaching, and praying (often accompanied by sobbing and wailing as the seeker sought redemption and blessing). The label "holy rollers" emerged as a term of ridicule for the members of what were first termed "cults", "sects" and other less polite terms. Some were extremists who taught and followed a corrupted scripture, yet many were simply people seeking to find more of the God they worshipped and to leave out their understanding of the potential and promise of that relationship.

In the common understanding of many in the general public, however, the unique theological distinctive or historical legacy was totally lost. Newspapers labeled any extreme preacher with derogatory titles and people created jokes or decried them from pulpits.

Like their cousins in the Holiness movement, out of which many came to join pentecostalism, early adherents withdrew to create communities, schools, and training centers that supported their unique beliefs and worship styles.

Emmanuel Bible College was located in Beckham County near a small community named Beulah and began as a holiness institution in 1906 but soon was connected to the new Pentecostal movement. The school closed in 1910. (One Night Club and a Mule Barn). Various other schools, mostly for elementary and secondary children, emerged across the state: Stafford (1913-1915), Checotah, Kingfisher (1927-1935), and Wagoner (1915-1916). In 1946 the first Pentecostal higher education institution in Oklahoma opened, Southwestern Pentecostal Holiness Bible College (now Southwestern Christian University in Bethany). The second, Oral Roberts University, opened in 1963 in Tulsa.


In the middle of the 1800's a movement gained momentum in American culture. Emerging from the Victorian era and its emphasis on morality and traditionalism, the religious movement focused on personal religious transformation in a crises conversion event, often through 'revival' events. The movement generated activists who preached and lobbied to end drinking, smoking, gambling, dancing, and all and any actions that were felt to led people into moral decay.
Theologically most holiness people were related to Wesleyan-Armenian teachings, most often articulated through the legacy of John Wesley. Many of the people in the holiness movement were originally members of the Methodist Church. Out of this movement a missional outreach developed providing half-way houses, orphanages, rescue shelters, and work training. Added to this were store-front or street revivals and mission services. Often these were located in the thick of sinful activities: rowdy areas, saloon blocks, or near brothels and entertainments.
Many in the movement tended to encourage a withdrawal from aspects of society that might impede their spiritual journey to a more perfect state of spirituality. Bethany was born from just this type of desire to gather together and form a community of shared faith and values. Other communities dotting the state of Oklahoma likewise became centers of holiness worship and life. Out of the Bethany locale's Utopian dream eventually emerged what is now known as Southern Nazarene University.
Other holiness groups would develop as well. Some would merge with a new belief system that gains prominence in the early 1900's amid confusion and often contempt, the Pentecostal movement.
One unique feature of many in the holiness movement was acceptance of women as preachers. Women such as Phoebe Palmer led the way in this regard with Catherine Booth, Maria-Woodsworth Etta and others being well known women ministers of the mid to late 1800's.


SNU Archives, Bethany http://www.snu.edu/archives
History of early Holiness in Oklahoma
SCU History with section on earlier Holiness and Pentecostal institutions in OK.



In 1910 OKC was a booming community spreading in all directions like a fallen beer on a barroom floor, an apt description for most of the town's early days. Now, however, things were changing as the new state charged forward into a brand new century. People were flocking into the now offical "capitol city".

Schools for children in September of 1910 included:
Eugene Field,1515 N. Klein (A 1909 article notes the 'mission style' had been chosen for desks)
Franklin (A 1909 article notes here the teacher's desks were of oak)
Lee, 424 SW 29 (west Capitol Hill)
Putnam Heights
Wheeler, 501 SE 25 (East Capitol Hill)
Walnut Grove
Columbus, 2402 S. Pennsylvania (Packingtown)

And one High School for all.
Further reading available in an informative essay on pre-1900 schools in OKC, see the MLS page.


I was amazed to read on the webpage of OKC's Eugene Field Elementary that it was their '25th year'! Further, it was printed they were 'established' in 1984. It really is sad when a school district forgets its history!

Eugene Field Elementary School was in 1909 "awaiting opening" with a building packed with equipment ready to educate OKC children. In September of 1910, Eugene Field was listed as one of the schools gripping for the onslaught of some 16,000 boys and girls heading back to the classroom.
[The pictures shows the rebuilt structure and the re-cycled pillars from the original school].

I worked there in the library (library media center) as a 'library clerk' and then 'library media assistant' from 1981 to 1985. Jean Thompson was the librarian in charge of E.F. and ten other school libraries. My two sons attended there and Mrs. Juniper, Miss Abboussi, and others were teachers. When the board was deciding if they should just tear down the old building and close it, I spoke on behalf of the school to the board of education. So, it is a little disturbing to see this revisionist history at work! We fought for the preservation and continuation of "Eugene Field Elementary" to honor the early history as it merged with a promising future. Instead, the history has been eliminated.

I marched in the parade on the last 'Field Day" (and yes that is me in the picture) with my scouts (who had practiced on the playground to get the flag carrying just right). In the newspaper a year later, was a photo of Principal Audrey Baker in the library of the temp school at the old Mayfair school (NW 59th and Independence). I packed up the library as evidenced by the boxes seen in the image. After a delay of more than a year we were finally allowed to leave and I (and helpers) repacked it all and moved it back to the brand spanking new version of Eugene Field Elementary.

Hollywood actor Dale Robertson was an alum of Eugene Field, according to numerous alums who gathered in May of 1983 to say farewell to the old building. Eugene Field was, according to others, the first OKC school with a band. A time capsule was buried when the new school was built to be opened in December of 2035. It contained letters, pictures, and other artifacts put there by the children and people involved with the school up to the rebuilding. A building, by the way that incorporated architectural features from the original building (columns, etc.) and won an award.

So yes, congratulations are in order to Eugene Field School - you are at least 100 years old.


If someone has an image of the original school please send a copy to marilynahudson@yahoo.com
(Sources include Oklahoman (1983-1985), Chronicles of Oklahoma, and OKCPS website)


Large Ladies Living Large (updated)

One of the main comments made about the early OKC prostitute, Big Annie Wynn was she was , well, big. The inference is she was a large boned woman as the saying goes. She may have been taller and larger or just more forceful of character.

It is interesting to note that it is claimed she had come to OKC  on the day of the run in 1889. She had been working the previous  years in the Leadville mining brothels. In the book, "Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery: Prostitutes in the American West, 1865-90," (Univ. of Illinois, 1985) there are some decidedly "big" women pictured. Images of houses in Creede and Denver, reveal more ample women in the trade.

Noteworthy is the family of Jane Elizabeth Ryan, Julia Helen Wallace, Mona and Annie Ryan. Annie is interesting because her proportions in a saloon photo show her to be both taller and larger than some of the men.

Lou Bunch of Cripple Creek, however, would take the prize as a large, large woman running a brothel there. Denver's Jennie Rogers was described as 6ft tall, statuesque, and given to always wearing her emerald earrings. She was a stylish woman who would fit into mainstream society well.

So apparently there was a place in the Old West for women of all shapes and sizes - at least for the comfort ladies who lived upstairs.

Although size is not noted, there are some names mentioned in the 1900 Census of Oklahoma Territory in the area of Oklahoma City.

In Block 37 was a house headed by Annie Wynn (known as Big Ann, Big Annie, Annie Bailey) she said she had been born in July of 1865 in Illinois making her 34. She listed her occupation as "prostitute" and with her were her "girls":

Girtie Anderson, 21 from Illinois
Gracie Maxwell, 23 from  Illinois
Lulu Little, 18 from Kentucky
Dora Goodwin, 22 from Illinois
Mattie Probo, 33 from Kentucky
Maggie Roberts, 20 from Illinois
Viola Harris, 25 from Illinois
Girtie Hodge, 18 from Kentucky
Effie Fisher, 25 from Illinois (she will be murdered in 1904 under questionable circumstances)
Harry Anderson, 22, Kansas was a musician, a common feature in such establishments and he was white.
Ed Roberts, 32 from Kentucky rounded out the residents.

Next door was another "house" with head listed as one Susie Fields, 27 from New Mexico and her residents were:
Gertie Sawyer, b 1880 in Illinois
Laura Evans, b 1872 in Kansas
Harry Brown, a barber
Myrtle Moore, born in Texas
Bessie Moore, born in Texas

These may, or may not be their real names, as if was custom for some 'girls' to change their names when they moved somewhere new.

[Marilyn A. Hudson, is a storyteller and author in Oklahoma. She is preparing a solo performance show, "Big Annie Takes a Town", centered on events in the life of an early and powerful Oklahoma City madam.]


SEARCH FOR TRUTH: The Enduring Mystery of the Katie Dewitt James Murder of 1905

The StoryOn July 7, 1905, the woman from Lenora, Katie Dewitt James (1874-July 8, 1905) with her 13 month old daughter, her father had taken her to Custer City to the train and watched them boarded it to go visit her aunt and uncle in Ripley. She had been having marriage problems and was sueing for divorce and custody of the child. On July 25, Dewitt hires Sam Bartell of the Oklahoma Detective Agency. They followed a trail to Clinton and then to Weatherford where they learned a matching the description of Mrs. James had stayed with a Mrs. Fanny Norton, of Clinton, at the residence of Norton's brother-in-law William Moore. The two women were reported to have have left in a buggy for about a three hour trip. It was found "Mrs. Norton," (if it was her) returned the rented livery about four hours later without Mrs. James.
The Subjects
Henry Dewitt, father of Katie
. A look at the 1900 census for Dewey County locates a Henry Dewitt, b. 1844 in Canada who called himself a farmer and next door lives a young woman with a name that looks like "Katie Dewitt", b. 1874 in Iowa, listed as a schoolteacher. Is this Katie Dewitt the woman who marries James? In 1910 he is listed in Beaver County and dies there in 1930.

Fannie or Fanny Bray Ham Norton. In the nearby Custer County is a "Fannie Ham, b. 1872, Tx" listed as a laundress with several children: Roy, Diela, and Lula. Is this "Fannie Ham" the later "Fannie Norton"? Some sources indicate this woman had killed a bartender in Weatherford and had been a prostitute. The grave of the woman who committed suicide in Shawnee while under arrest lists the information for the Fannie Ham on the Custer Country Census.

Martin Luther James, husband of Katie and father of the 13 month old baby girl. In the Dewey Co., OK 1910 census is a “Luther James” with a wife of three years Cynthia and a 6-year-old daughter, Blanche and a 2 year old son. The wife was born in Kansas but the daughter’s information lists that her mother was born in Iowa.

The SearchHer father, who was alarmed his daughter had gone to visit her sister and never arrived, reported her missing, hired a detective, and it is her father, Henry Dewitt of Taloga, Oklahoma, who offers a reward. This may be the Henry Dewitt listed in the Knowles cemetery with a photo on the tombstone.

Bartell reported he hired a buggy and began searching the area where the women went and found a woman matching Norton's description had left a baby at the farm of Peter Bierschied with claims she would return soon for the babe. A boy at the farm said he had seen a woman throw out a bundle of baby clothes wrapped in a blanket.
Bartell retrieved the child and hurried on to find the Norton woman and tracked her down in Shawnee at the home of a butcher, R.T. Patty on east 10th in Shawnee. She told a tale of meeting a wagon, of Katie leaving with a man and her being told to take the wagon back to Weatherford. A report surfaced that two days after her disappearance Katie filed for divorce from her husband. What was the truth?

August 31, 1905, the decomposed body of Katie James was found six miles northeast of Weatherford and one mile north of the Morton schoolhouse. The skeletal remains where found along Deer Creek by local hunters. She had been shot in the head (from behind the right ear), but her head was laying some distance from the body and was still wearing the hat she had been wearing when she disappeared. A gold ring was on one finger. The coroner’s jury declared robbery the motive but what robber would leave a potentially valuable ring?

Investigating the disappearance and the murder was the noted Sam Bartell, now part of the Oklahoma Detective Agency, but one time US Deputy Marshall and OKC constable and Deputy Sheriff.

The SuicideFinally, the detective quickly tracked the wobbly story back to Fannie Bray Ham Norton (1872-July 28, 1905) and finally found her in Shawnee. About to arrest her and take her to Oklahoma City, the woman committed suicide on July 28 by taking poison she had secreted on herself. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Shawnee.

Some investigators in years to come would muse that Mr. Martin Luther James, observably a little distant in the affair, perhaps did not grieve as much as a man in his position might be expected. A follow-up article suggested that the murderer had possibly been with help from Mr. James.

Other articles labeled both victim and alleged killer as "Jezebels” with a history. As women who had tried to kill him earlier. Rumors of possible divorce and perhaps even loss of property and land have been discussed, and caused many to wonder if Norton had been hired to do the dirty work, as their appeared so little motive otherwise. This unusual labeling of the victim and her killer as "Jezebels”, which some have interpreted to mean they were prostitutes, is intriguing but apparently without any evidence. The term comes from an Old Testament story about a corrupt Queen and is simply implies a woman capable of seducing and manipulating for her own ends and not one living as a "whore" or in reference to any woman who did not fulfill social expectations of behavior. This colorful label seems to have emerged in the coroner’s court as the widower James (and possibly Hamm) testified. James is thought to have said his wife had pretended to be invalid and she and the Norton woman (then Mrs. Ham) had tried to kill him.

By September, a bizarre and convoluted story was circulated of some nefarious connection between Katie James and Fannie Norton aka Mrs. Ham (from when she lived near Webb in Dewey County). Mrs. James, it was said, "claimed to be an invalid" and Mr. James charged these two women had schemed and tried to kill him. Both husbands so testified, the coroner ruled case closed because the murderer (Norton) was dead, and that was that. James may have stayed in the area of Weatherford, remarried, and raised his daughter. Mr. Norton, Mr. Ham, and Mr. Dewitt are harder to pin down in subsequent years.

The SuggestionsAn even stranger wrinkle emerged, years later when a man comes forward to claim he had been a young boy when he had seen the buggy with 2 women, followed by 2 men on horseback. He was forced at gunpoint to take part in the incident and chopped the head off the body. While possibly a tale of lies (and the story has no sources), the question remains why was she killed? A mere $25 dollars taken but more valuable a gold ring and lovely hat left on the body? A small amount for robbery and murder.

What are the motives for murder? Revenge and gain are two strong one. Reports indicated that Katie had filed for divorce two days after her disappearance. If their finances were from her and she divorced him then there would be no more money. Was there an insurance policy on Katie? Who owned the land, and who had paid for any real estate, or estate, left by the woman? Was it James, or DeWitt, or someone else? We may never know the full details after more than a century, yet, once, this story gripped the people of Oklahoma as they wondered the fate of the young woman and her small child.

That baby raises other questions. A murder with a crying baby left with a family that might identify the killer? A lot of questions linger. If the tale of the young boy forced to abuse the body are true, just who were the men? Did Luther James have something to do with his wife's death? Was the other man husband to Norton? If she was the schoolteacher from the 1900 census, his declared accusations of her attempted murder, do not seem to mesh with an image of a schoolteacher who lived next door to her father. Where was Katie Dewitt in 1900? When did she marry James? When did she allegedly live near Webb?

Yet, he strangely stayed with the alleged near murderous woman and had a child with her in 1903-04. In fact, the bad influence, Fannie Ham-Norton, comes back into the circle of acquaintances to the point she drives Katie James and child on the last fateful day?

The Summary
The conflicting elements, the allegations, and the nuances of this story suggest there was more, much more to the story. Research into the newspapers of the area, such as the Arapahoe paper cited as the source of the “Jezebel” stories, investigation into inheritance, the alleged murder of the barman in Weatherford by Ham/Norton, and other threads will need to be explored. Perhaps most telling of all is the haunting inscription placed on Katie's grave. It may be merely a bit of forgotten poetry or a father's attempt to lay blame, and its pronoun can be open to many interpretations: " How many hopes he has ended here." Until more is discovered mystery remains,as it always does in the loss of any life, and until that time, the tale retains its ability to raise interest, inspire sympathy, and generate questions as much in 2010 as in 1905.

Sources:Brenner, Susan Woolf. "Dead Woman's Crossing: The Legacy of a Territorial Murder." Chronicles of Oklahoma: Volume LX (Fall 1982). If you can find it in a library (this one frequently is missing from collections).
Dewitt, H. (1844-1940), Find a grave, at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=dewitt&GSby=1844&GSbyrel=in&GSdyrel=in&GSst=38&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=9547925&
Federal United States Census, Dewey County, 1900 and 1910.
James, Katie A. Dewitt (1874-1905), Find a Grave, at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=James&GSfn=Katie&GSbyrel=in&GSdy=1905&GSdyrel=in&GSst=38&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=10619462&. Includes photo of grave and states inscription reads: “How many hopes he ended here.”
Norton, Fannie Bray Ham (1872-1905), Find A Grave, at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=ham&GSbyrel=in&GSdy=1905&GSdyrel=in&GSst=38&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=42469111&
Oklahoma newspaper (1905).


SAM BARTELL :U.S. Marshall, Justice of the Peace, Detective, Private investigator, Deputy, and Constable.

Sam Bartell was b.1863, either in Kansas or in Kansas City, Missouri to Englehart Bartell ;d. 12 Nov. 1944 in Oklahoma City ; His 1st wife Alta Cannon 2nd wife was Mary Ellen; his known children were Carl, Bernice, and Winnie: he had a brother Dan of Foley, OK; his 3rd wife was Ala/Ola Mary Elliot (1930 Census). He is buried in Fairlawn Cemetery, Oklahoma City. He was a well-known figure in the years before and after Oklahoma statehood in 1907.

His Life in Print:.

Owens, Ron. Oklahoma Justice, mentions Bartel several times
1895 – US Marshall (http://www.okolha.net/dusm_usm_B.htm) under E.D. Nix
1902- “Court claims” re Sam Bartell for services during Small Pox outbreak. 3-22-1902, Oklahoman, pg. 3.
1903- “For Chief of Police” 2-18-03 Oklahoman pg 8
1903 – Pavement paragraphs 4-7-03 Oklahoman pg 5
1903 – “Deserter Caught” 7-30-033 Oklahoman pg 5
1904- “Mr. Ramer was Arrested” 1-3-04 Oklahoman pg 21; pg 5
1904- “Pavement Pickups: Tale of Tit for tat” 11/10/04 Oklahoman pg. 7 (mentions son Carl)
1904- “Pavement pickups” 11-24-04 Oklahoman pg 5
1905- “Stevens in Jail” 4-25-1905 Oklahoman pg. 5
1905- “Killed Herself Woman Arrested at Shawnee.” 7-29-1905 Oklahoman pg 2
1905- “Mystery is deepening” 8-02-05 Oklahoman pg 1
1905- “Elderly negro woman found yesterday with her throat cut”. 11-26-05 Oklahoman pg 9
1907 – “Livingston a Wise One” 1-5-07 Oklahoman pg 1
1907- “Bloodhounds trail bank safe blowers.” 4/20/07 Oklahoman pg. 12
1907 – “Murder in the Grand Ave Saloon” 3-16-07 Oklahoman p.1
1907- “Private patrolman threatens a sleuth” 9-14-07 Oklahoman pg. 5
1908- “Bartell Objects to removal as deputy” 11-1-08 Oklahoman pg 5
1908 - “Officer Bested” 12-8-04 Oklahoman pg. 15
1909 - “Sam Bartell Wins in appeal for Pardon.” 10-13-09 Oklahoman pg 13
1909 – “Bartell pardon to be contested” 10-10-09 Oklahoman pg 9
1910 – “Boomer’s Attend marble funeral” 7-27-10 Oklahoman pg 5 (father’s funeral in CA; identified as “Anglehart” who was born in Germany and served in Civil War)
1910- “Issue now up to court” 9-17-1910 Oklahoman pg 16
1910- “Severns boosts Oklahoma city” 11-25-10 Oklahoman pg. 1
1910 - “Blood Poison” 12-18-10 Oklahoman pg 16 [Dam & Sam Bartell)
1911 – Justice of the Peace OKC (testified in court case Henry vs State 1913)
1911 – “Long list of Christmas Charities to her Credit” 12-24-1911 Oklahoman pg 18 (with photo of Mary Ellen Bartell)
1912- “Sam Bartell – Sheriff Candidate” 4-22-12 Oklahoman pg 58
1912- Testified in Court case see
1913 – “Bartell Returns and makes Bond. Former Justice of the Peace prepares for trial on embezzlement charges.”8-10-1913 Oklahoman pg5
1915 – Justice of the Peace OKC, testifies in Ex parte gee http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=21852
1927-“Fifteen cast eyes toward Sheriff Post” 9-11-1927 Oklahoman pg 9.
1931- “Railroad squatters fail to file claims” 1-24-1931 Oklahoman pg. 1
1932- “Fugitive arrested faces old charge” 9-18-1932- Oklahoman pg. 24
(Descendent sent the image; source unknown)


Oklahoma, like many places, has some unique, colorful, and downright mystifying place names. The following are geographic features by county with the bizarre words (or variants such as possessives) of “Devil”, “Dead”, "Skull", "Skeleton" and “Ghost” in the names:

"Devil" is found in the names of hill, ridges, canyons, hollows, and peaks in Caddo, Pushmahata, Ottawa, Latimer, Mukgogee, and Haskill Counties. Names include: Devil's Backbone, Devil's Canyon, Devil's Hollow, Devil's Peak and Seven Devil's Peak.

"Dead" is found in the names of gaps, hollow's mountains, crossings, springs, lakes, and rocks in Osage, Sequoyah, Tillman, LeFlore, Pontotoc, and Johnston Co. Names include: Deadman Gap, Deadman's hollow, Dead Woman Crossing, Deadman Springs, Deadman Rock and Deadman Mountain.

"Ghost" is found in the names of mounds and hollows in Payne, Caddo, and Creek Co. Names include: Ghost Mounds and Ghost Hollow.

In addition waterways appear with names containing the words "skeleton" and "skull": Skeleton Creek in Garfield and Logan Co. (it appears to dump into the Cimarron River. The Skull Creek travels through Payne and Creek Co. It is thought to date to the time of cattle drives and cattle who died on despite getting to the water.).

In the area of Binger, Weatherford and Hinton is the heart of Oklahoma's geologic mound country (as opposed to native constructions by prehistoric people as found in eastern Oklahoma and other places in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, etc.See Spiro Mounds).

One such feature is Caddo County "DEAD WOMAN MOUND", so named because a farmer found a woman there dead and buried here at or near the mound. It was known to be called that as early as 1900 (but probably predates by 20-30 years )and has no connection with the "Dead Woman Crossing" or the disappearance and murder of Mrs. Katie James in 1905.

Famous writer H.P. Lovecraft co-wrote a story with an Oklahoma woman Zela Biship called the “The Mound” which was inspired by these elevations.
You can see a charming photo from 1952 of a small child on the Dead Woman Mound
and yet another great photo of the mound is here. When this name was given would be significant as to who used it and who the dead woman was.

"GHOST MOUND" is near Fivemile Creek in Caddo County, Ok and is a desolate, lonely looking elevation and many claim this is the genesis of its name. Others, however hark to a local legend that claims strange lights, a headless body, mysterious Native American ceremonies, and other queer activity around the site. This was indeed the story the Oklahoma woman sent to author Lovecraft about the location. Unfortunately, not enough has been done to record the labels given to various geographic locations for the preservation of their folklore or legendary history. When the name emerged and who used it would be very informative and provide much insight.
[Image note; the author in a one really strange geographic place]



Many strange stories recount the simplicity and innocence of an earlier day. Some underscore the things accomplished since and some seem to remind of the things lost in the swelling tidal wave called progress. South Central Oklahoma was a hive of change as the oil industry boomed and Healdton would become known as the birthplace of noted television personality, Rue McClanahan.

There was a female of note there much earlier however. Meet Miss Annie Browne Dollar, ten-year-old daughter of a carpenter in Healdton, Oklahoma. For twelve days in 1918, she had suffered from some malady that had her in a rigid state, talking only in a whisper. Then one day she was perfectly fine and restored to normal physical activity. There was, however, a new light in her eyes as she shared she had “talked with Jesus” and the “Angles.” Soon she requested a Bible and was soon preaching on the streets, going were the “Spirit” directed.

Reading aloud from the scriptures, far above her known reading ability, she would bolding preach the Word of God, and then lapse into the mystery of “unknown tongues”. She seemed very concerned for the soldiers on the battlefield in those days of WWI and felt certain the war would be the last followed quickly by the end of the world.

The era was also one that saw a plague sweep across the globe and thousands became ill with Influenza. Searching for more on this amazing story it was learned that Annie Dollar, in 1920 along with a Willie and Vernon Dollar, was an inmate of the Oklahoma Methodist Orphanage in Oklahoma City. It can be assumed that she, like so many other children in this period, lost her father to this illness.


Marketing and publicity are the lifeblood of many projects. In 1918 in Oklahoma City, the Chamber of Commerce was struggling to think of a clever way to highlight their new waterworks and dam. They were so proud of the new constuction. It marked a real achievement and landmark in the development of the community.

The City had suffered, in its early years, with massive floods that had devastated wide areas of the community. They were justly proud that they were moving on to tame the water ways and make flooding less severe in the future. When they approached the pastor of the First Methodist Church, the Rev. I. Frank Roach, with an idea he turned them down.

The idea? Find a couple who wanted to be married and perform the ceremony on the new dam. The reverend said such a frivolous action did not agree with his beliefs about the sanctity of marriage or sacredness of the rite of marriage.


The Skirvin Hotel - gem of Oklahoma City for decades and recently reopened in rennovated glory - was inspired by the Southland Hotel in Dallas. Galveston native and capitalist, W.H. Skirvin bought land in 1909 at the corner of Broadway and First in Oklahoma City and announced his plans in 1910 to build a "modern hotel" ("Work Starts Soon on the New "Skirvin House". The Oklahoman. (Feb.27, 1910; pg. 5).

The architect for the hotel, Solomon A. Layton, oved the classical styles and incorporated them into many of his buildings. That location was also where a delapidated landmark was falling down, the old Richardson Real Eatate Office, known from very early days ("Landmark Demolished..." The Oklahoman (May 1, 1910;pg. 39).

The Skirvin House was being called the SKIRVIN HOTEL by April of 1911 when a story advertized the "ten-story hotel". It opened September 26, 1911. Within about months additional floors were being added and expansion continued at a good pace. ("Add Five Stories to Skirvin Hotel", The Oklahoman (July 10, 1912:pg. 1). The hotel soon became one of the stellar facility hosting events attended by politicians, the wealthy, and large conventions. As early as 1913, it could honestly claim in its ads that it was "one of the great hotels of America" (The Oklahoman, Dec. 21, 1913:pg. 14).

In 1913, manager Fred Scherubel died, "Health Troubles Cause of Suicide of Skirvin Manager (Oklahoman, April 18, 1913:pg. 1) followed a day later by an article indicating bullet trajectories and other issues had the police looking more closely at the death ("Officers Probing Scherubel Death", ibid, April 19, 1913, pg. 5) and two days later he was "tenderly laid to rest" in full Masonic rite splendor ("Fred Scherubel Funeral" ibid., April 21, 1913, pg. 1).

Is it haunted? Over the years nebulous stories of phantom and frisky ghosts had emerged but lack any real substantive historical basis. Until someone can supply some dates, names, and facts - or can do a quantative study of the facility - they should probably remain in the arena of urban legend.(See earlier story about possible source of one of these stories).

The hotel is a survivor, a lovely old building that somehow dodged the bullet of the mis-guided movement called "urban renewal" that stole the past from the future.

Some excellent old images of this historic site:

Some excellent old images of this historic site:


Not just a story in a popular children's book....but a real event in 1954 at the Oklahoma City Zoo. A Pittsburgh County 6th grader from Harper Valley school near Kiowa was left behind when students piled into their cars to head home. With each car thinking the boy was in another vehicle they all wrapped the day up and set off. The 10 year old was taken under the wing of a local police officer until family could come pick the boy up and he enjoyed staying a bit longer in order to have a closer look at the animals. Source: The Oklahoman, April 25, 1954.

Fort Washita

Long recognized as one of the historic gems of the state, the location also has a long history of paranormal stories. As early as March of 1907 a local newspaper recounted people traveling there to view the semi-annual appearance of ghost said to appear the last day of March and the last day of October of each year. On these ocassasions witnesses have claimed seeing a young woman who, when she sees she is watched, will beckon the observer to follow and then disappears as she floats over a spring stream running near the fort. At the same time will be reports of the sounds of horses hoofs as cavalry troops are taking a ghostly ride. The romantic underpinning of the tale involves a young lieutenant from an eastern post sent to the garrison at Fort Washita. Although, to be married in a week, his orders sent him to the frontier and the wedding was postponed. The young man soon became ill and died and the bride-to-be died of grief soon after. The appearances are thought to have been linked to the death of first the young man and then the bride to be. ["Party Will Await Beck of "Ghost"" Romantic Story's Foundation To Be Investigated by the Curious". The Oklahoman (March 17, 1907): 15.]. For more informatio and events go to Ft Washita


On the job stress is real and ongoing issue for most of modern society, however it is not a new problem.

In 1907, Oklahoma, local news reported a passenger asked too many questions of a train conductor and was arrested with "insanity suspected." "Don't Question the Conductor." (The Oklahoman, April 20, 1907)pg.5.



In 1907 "Indian Territory",just months before Oklahoma became a state, two children near Henryetta became heroes. A fire burned down the trestle and any train following would crash into the deep ravine. The children, a son and a daughter of Jim Whetstone, raced to a phone to call the station and get word to the engineer. There was no answer so they grabbed two lanterns and hurried to the tracks signaling the oncoming train. The train was stopped, lives and property saved, and the children were awarded $1000.00 each. ("Rewards Children Who Saved a Train." Oklahoman, Mar. 12, 1907,pg. 8).



BEFORE SKIRVIN: Early Day Oklahoma City Hotels

Long before the magnificent Skirvin Hotel rose high above the city in 1910, there were hotels that throbbed with adventure, festivity, mystery, death, and scandal in the new community.

According to a 1922 article in the Daily Oklahoma ("Owner of City's Original Hotel, the Pickwick, was Mrs. Wright, Still Here", April 22, 1922, pg. 2), the first hotel in Oklahoma City was the two story PICKWICK HOTEL and it stood, "on the south side of Grand avenue, the third door west of Broadway." It was named for the Fort Worth hotel of the same name. Other early day hotels included: The Grand Avenue, The Arbuckle Hotel, The Compton, The Alamo Hotel, The Weaver, The International Hotel, and in 1902 the Illinois Hotel opened. Later on, but before the Skirvin, the Lee Hotel, would be the talk of the town.
Early day newspaper reports would over who was in town, and why, and keep everyone posted of the comings and goings around the town. The hotels were often the scenes of affairs, people also chose to kill themselves (usually by carbolic acid or morphine overdose, less often by pistol). Lovers tracked down errant mates, gentlemen thieves and con artists plied their trades and "Doctors" were frequent guests selling their "patent" formulas.

This website has some excellent images of these early hotels - and many others - before 'Urban Renewal" gutted the heart of the city of its history: http://dougdawg.blogspot.com/2007/03/downtown-hotels.html



In eastern Oklahoma in 1910, in the community of Muskogee, July started out hot and sultry. By the time the 20th had rolled around on the calendar 21 people had died by their own hand. Twenty-one people in just twenty days. Authorities were perplexed, police called for local churches to emphasize the sin of self-destruction, and everyone shook their heads at the strange occurance.
To be continued...as more information about the 'suicides' emerge maybe we can answer if they were suicides or something else.


No matter how humble or small, every home had a parlor (sometimes just a corner of a larger room with a table in one corner, a piano along a wall, and a chair or two for visits). With the advent and availability of photography from the 1840's on photos of treasures, points of pride, or loved ones meant images could be taken and mailed to Aunt Sue back in New York or to Cousin Richard out in California... [image copyright mah 2009].

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