Forgotten Landmark–A.H. Holloman House and Holloman Gravel Pit (Frederick, Oklahoma)

A.H. Holloman House (421 N. 12th Street, Frederick, Oklahoma)

AHHolloman House

In the Holloman home was once a collection of fossils and stone implements taken from the Holloman Gravel Pit, which was located north of Frederick.  Below is a newspaper article from The Stanford Daily on January 18th, 1929:

The Stanford Daily, January 18th ,1929.

The Stanford Daily, January 18th ,1929.

Below is an excerpt from the article titled “The Antiquity of Man in America” by J.D. Figgins, published in Natural History Magazine on September 16th, 1929:

Having read an article dealing with the question of man’s antiquity in America by Mr. Harold J. Cook, which appeared in the November, 1926, issue of the Scientific American, Dr. F. G. Priestly of Frederick, Tillman County, Oklahoma, wrote Mr. A. G. Ingalls, editor of that publication, briefly describing the finding of artifacts associated with fossil mammal remains in that vicinity. After some correspondence, and with Doctor Priestly’s consent, Mr. Ingalls forwarded this letter to Mr. Cook. Doctor Priestly’s account of these discoveries was of such a convincing nature that it could not be doubted that the Oklahoma material was of great importance. With the view of making studies of both the material and physical character of the deposits from which it was taken, Mr. Cook and the present writer joined Doctor Priestly at Frederick in January.

It was at once apparent that while Doctor Priestly recognized and understood the importance of the finds he described in his letter to Mr. Ingalls, it was equally obvious he had followed a very conservative course and the writer was not prepared for the discovery that in addition to the artifact mentioned, several others had been unearthed and no less than five of them preserved.

In his account of these finds, Doctor Priestly stated all had been personally made by Mr. A. H. Holloman, who owns and operates a sand and gravel pit about one mile north of the city of Frederick. To Mr. Holloman, therefore, the writer is indebted for a history of the discoveries, their stratigraphic position, and other items having a bearing on them.

As Mr. Cook’s account will cover the geological history of these deposits, and the immediate vicinity, here it is necessary merely to say the sand and gravel pit consists of an open cut on the east face of a ridge approximately half a mile in width and running for some miles in a generally north and south direction. Sand and gravel from an area of about two acres have been worked out near the crest of this ridge, which, with the overlying stratum of clay, silt, etc., varied from ten feet to twenty-five feet in thickness. At the time of our visit, a nearly vertical cut of not less than 150 yards in length and varying from fifteen feet to twenty-four feet in height was exposed, in which every phase of the several strata was clearly defined.

Independent of the opportunities thus offered for studies of the exposed formations, it also made it easily possible for Mr. Holloman to point out the horizons at which artifacts and the several varieties of fossils had been found. That a great deal of fossil material has been uncovered since the opening of the pit, there can be no doubt, but not until during the past year was an effort made to preserve any part of it. Accounts are unanimous in showing that quantities of such material have gone into the refuse heap, now comprising thousands of tons; into the surfacing of roads; the cement mixer, etc. Seven known artifacts are buried somewhere in this refuse pile or carried away: a metate and six pestles or manos, but these cannot be considered here. (The Colorado Museum of Natural History has arranged to keep a representative constantly on the ground to search for and preserve all artifacts and fossils hereafter uncovered.)

Although fossils are found throughout the entire stratum of sand and gravel deposits, a superficial study of all the evidence suggests the possibility that two faunal and cultural stages are represented.

In an abstract published in the Academy of Science for 1930, O.F. Evans of the University of Oklahoma concluded that “This deposit contained the Cretaceous and Tertiary fossils now found in the Holloman pit, while the arrow heads and metates were on the surface where they had been left a comparatively short time before,”.  The entire abstract is available with this link: Probable history of the Holloman Gravel Pit 1930

Site of Holloman Gravel Pit (0.3 mile west of U.S. 183 on Highview Avenue)

The pit covers three acres, but the formation is far more extensive. Here have been found clay balls inside of which, say local reporters, were living frogs. Bones of prehistoric animals and stone age implements have also been taken from the pit.  Because of all of the controversy about this site in the scientific community, Mr. Holloman decided to close it to researchers, and little has been said about it in scientific circles after that.

Retracing A Segment of Oklahoma’s U.S. Highway 70

In Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State, on which this guide is based, the travel route of U.S. Highway 70 is indicated as turning south at the junction with U.S. 277 on D1990 Road.

 

US 70 crosses over a long bridge spanning a wide expanse of river-bed sand and a narrow stream to the TEXAS LINE, 268.5 m., at a point 2.5 miles northeast of Burkburnett, Texas (see Texas Guide).

 

This earlier route of U.S. Highway 70, 277, and 281 connected with Oklahoma Highway 36 at that highway’s current junction with E1990 Road, south of the present Kiowa Casino. That earlier route then continued to the present intersection of Oklahoma Highway 36 and Interstate Highway 44 (Exit 1).  The current route of Interstate Highway 44 and U.S. Highways 277 and 281 south from Exit 1 to the Red River bridge follows the earlier route of U.S. 70 into Texas.

Today’s traveler can follow D1990 Road southwest from Randlett southwest to a point at the east side of Interstate Highway 44.  However, that highway bisects the old route and the traveler turns south, parallel to the current expressway, to an intersection with E1990 Road, 0.7 miles east of Oklahoma Highway 36.

The aerial photo below clearly shows the earlier curved route of the highway beyond Interstate 44 to Oklahoma Highway 36.

Aerial US 70

The portion of the Rand McNally map of Oklahoma (1927) below shows the earlier route of U.S. Highway 70.

RandMcNally 1927

This map was created prior to the designations of U.S. Highways 277 and 281, and predates the designation of Interstate 44 on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike by 55 years.  On March 3, 1945, the route of U.S. Highway 70 from Randlett was realigned to follow Oklahoma Highway 32 west to Davidson, Oklahoma, before turning south with U.S. Highway 183 to Oklaunion, Texas.  U.S. Highway 277 still followed the previous route to Burkburnett.

1948 Highway Map

Forgotten Landmark-Site of Silver City, Tuttle, Oklahoma

Silver City Cemetery (2 miles north on Cimmaron Road, 0.3 mile west on Sliver City Ridge Road, 0.6 mile north on local road)

Lying on the South Canadian River, Silver City was one of the important halts and trading points on the Chisholm Trail. Early ranchmen in the neighborhood found it necessary to herd their cattle and horses, and pen them at night, to prevent them from being drifted away by grazing buffalo herds. It is said that they also employed African-American or Native-American herders rather than white cowboys because white scalps were preferred by the raiding Comanche and Kiowa Indians.

Notes on Silver City by J.C. Malcom:

At the age of fourteen years I moved with my father and mother and three brothers and three sisters in 1889 to the Indian Territory (from Ozark, Arkansas), crossing the Arkansas River at Webbers Falls. There in the Cherokee Nation we were joined by some old friends of ours named Polk. We hit the trail there going west. The next place was Hartshorne. From there we came to Wewoka and from there to Sacred Heart Mission; and from there to Purcell on the South Canadian River. The next morning we hit the trail going on west. The next place we came to was Leeper, a little store and postoffice by the side of the trail; and from there on west to dear old Silver City, Indian Territory. There we landed on the Jimmie Bond ranch. That was about the 20th of March, 1889. Silver City at that time was a great trading place for the Indians.

The town of Silver City was located about two miles north of where Tuttle now stands. J. D. Lindsay was the merchant and his helper was Will Sawyer. Silver City consisted of a store, few houses and a hotel which was run by a party by the name of Cornett. This was 1889. Will Erwin’s folks were the last ones to run the hotel. That was 1890. Billie Nelson ran a blacksmith shop. He was a half-brother to Bart and Jake Horn. Mrs. Dr. John Shirley lived just east of the store on the east side of the old Chisholm Trail. She was a widow having a family of five girls and two boys. Their names were Lawrence and Oscar; the girls’ names were Alice, Cora and Blanche and the other two were Frank Clayton’s wife and Dick Fryriar’s wife. The Smith and Tuttle ranch house was about a half mile north of the store.

In the spring of 1890, Silver City was moved to Minco which was the end of the Rock Island for about two years. I, J. C. Malcom, and my father hauled the goods and the building to Minco, having no road. We started across the prairie picking our way but by the time we got through hauling we had a very good road. We crossed Store Creek as it was called straight west of Silver City, running west to a lone cotton wood tree and Beaver Creek; and from there southweat going about one-fourth mile south of where Allen Hill lives now, and crossing Boggy Creek about fifty yards south of where the road is where Ray Thomas lives now. The creek did not have any banks there, and one could cross anywhere you came to it. After Silver City was moved the old schoolhouse was left standing alone out on the prairie. The neighbors organized a Sunday School there. That was 1891. My mother died March 5th, 1891, and was buried at the old Silver City cemetery; and my father died February 14th, 1899, and was also buried there where many pioneers and heroes were laid to rest.

The schoolhouse built by the leading cattlemen of Silver City was where Miss Meta Chestnut opened the first school in September of 1889.  She later married, and is well known in the history of Minco as Mrs. J. Alba Sager.  The school opened at Minco in 1890 where it was established later as El Meta Bond College, with Mrs. Sager as principal until 1920.  J.P. Bond and Montford T. Johnson were well known cattlemen in the Silver City region.  They were citizens of the Chickasaw Nation as their families were of Chickasaw Indian descent.  Mrs. J.P. Bond was active in securing the establishment of the El Meta Bond College at Minco.[i]

Marker in Tuttle

Marker in Tuttle

P1010623

P1010625 P1010626

[i] Chronicles of Oklahoma Volume 36; Oklahoma Historical Society; 1958, pg. 211-212.

 

Forgotten Landmark-St. Louis & San Francisco Railway, OK Highway 2 and US 271

Forgotten Landmark-St. Louis & San Francisco Railway, Oklahoma Highway 2 and U.S. Highway 271 between Poteau and Antlers

The “Frisco” had its origin as the South West Branch of the Pacific Railroad, building southwest from St. Louis in the 1850s. War and financial difficulties plagued the road in its several early incarnations, including John C. Frémont’s South West Pacific (1866-1868), the South Pacific (1868-1870), and as part of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (1870-1876). The modern history of the “Frisco” can be dated from the organization of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Company in 1876. This road fell into receivership in 1893, emerging in 1896 as the new St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Company. This firm likewise failed, in 1913, being reorganized in 1916 as the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company. This corporate identification was retained, despite further financial difficulties, until it was absorbed by the Burlington Northern in 1980. Headquartered in St. Louis, the “Frisco” served a wide area, with terminals in St. Louis, Kansas City (Mo.), Dallas, Memphis, Birmingham, Mobile, and Pensacola (Fla.). The “X-shaped” system maintained a primary junction at Springfield (Mo.). At its peak, in the 1930s, the road operated on over 5,000 miles of track.

The Great Depression of the 1930s made revenues disastrously fall. However, no large-scale abandonments took place before 1940, although the company was again in receivership since 1932. On its feet again by 1947, the Frisco struggled on with growing competition of road and air, and most passenger services were cut back or ended. Several branches were closed, but of the old main lines only this line, from Poteau to Hugo, was closed by the end of the twentieth century.

Railroad Piers over Rock Creek off OK 82 at D4478 Road, south of Bengal

Track path parallels U.S. 271 along south side of highway from Albion to Tuskahoma

Pier remains over tributary to Kiamichi River 1.5 miles west of U.S. 271 in Clayton on OK Highway 2

 

Hidden Landmark-World War II British Flying School Crash Site, Big Mountain, OK

Between 1997 and 2001, students at Rattan Elementary School in Rattan, Oklahoma, researched the crash site of a flight of Texan AT6 training aircraft.  These aircraft were piloted by Royal Air Force pilots which were stationed at British Flying Training School No. 1 in Terrell, Texas, and were enroute to Miami, OK.  Below is the text from the signage next to the memorial:

The morning of Saturday, February 20, 1943, Course 12 of the #1 British Flying Training School left Terrell, Texas, in a low level, cross-country training flight.  Their destination was the #3 BFTS in Miami, Oklahoma.  These AT6s encountered bad weather near Red River, the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma.  Some planes returned to Terrell, some continued to Miami, but three were reported missing.  According to the information gathered by Rattan Elementary students, one AT6 “belly landed” and slid into a tree.  Pilot, Vincent Henry Cockman, and navigator, Frank R. Frostick, were found still in the cockpit.  The Anderson-Clayton Funeral Home in Antlers, Oklahoma, picked up their bodies.  The bodies were then transported to Terrell, Texas, for burial on Monday, February 22, 1943, at Oakland Cemetery.  The AT6 flown by Michael John Minty Hosier with navigator Maurice Leslie Jensen nose-dived into the ground turning up a boulder, which created what community members refer to as a “natural tombstone.”  The bodies of the two cadets were recovered on that (same) Monday and taken to the funeral home in Antlers.  They were (also) returned to Terrell for burial.  The third AT6 was able to land safely in a field and was flown back to Terrell the following day.  The navigator of this plane, Gordon “Wilbur” Wright returned to Terrell in the AT6 while its pilot, John Wall, stayed to search for the two crashed AT6s.  Wall wrote a letter describing this incident.  The letter is included in the research report available at the Pushmataha County Historical Society in Antlers, Oklahoma, and at the Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  This monument was placed at the “natural tombstone” crash site for two principal reasons.  The research brought about student awareness of the importance of maintaining good relations between the United States and the United Kingdom.  The research also served as a reminder of the great sacrifices both countries have made to preserve and protect our freedom.  This monument was placed in honor of these four cadets as well as all others who have given their lives for the cause of freedom.  The monument was designed by the student researchers in consultation with the Canadian Commonwealth War Graves Commission and prepared by a local artisan, Mr. Allen Parsons of Allen’s Monuments.  The monument was dedicated on Sunday, February 20, 2000, at 2:00 pm on the 57th anniversary of the crashes. 

IMG_20160319_182318

The six BFTSs were, with opening dates:
1 BFTS Terrell, Texas 9 June 1941 *
2 BFTS Lancaster, California 9 June 1941 *
3 BFTS Miami. Oklahoma 16 June 1941 *
4 BFTS Mesa, Arizona 16 June 1941 *
5 BFTS Clewiston, Florida 17 July 1941 *
6 BFTS Ponca City, Oklahoma 23 August 1941
7 BFTS Sweetwater, Texas May 1942 but closed August 1942

Other training would take place with the USAAC in their own schools, under the Arnold Scheme, named after General Hap Arnold.  Altogether, some 18,000 RAF cadets passed through the BFTS and Arnold Schemes. Another 1,000 USAAF cadets were also trained at the BFTSs (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/17/a7189617.shtml)

Old U.S. Highway 70 at Camp Creek, Mannsville, OK

This section of old U.S. Highway 70 crosses Camp Creek south of the present U.S. Highway 177, just to the west of Mannsville.  The U.S. 177 designation replaced the U.S. 70 markings in 1984, when the current U.S. 70 was rerouted further south from Madill to Ardmore.  Predating the U.S. Highway 70 designation, this route was known as Oklahoma Highway 5, and before that the Bankhead Highway.

P1010599

Oklahoma1928

1928 Oklahoma Highway Map

As the Automobile Age progressed, the number of cars and trucks in the state grew from 15,000 in 1914 to 127,000 in 1918 to 500,000 in 1926. The activity of good-roads promoters, chambers of commerce, and legions of automobile owners and tourists ensured the development of intrastate and interstate thoroughfares. While state officials discussed methods of facilitating highway construction and worried about funding, private citizens agitated and organized to promote both state and federal action.

On a national scale, growing automobile tourism and the trucking industry needed well-marked, paved roads leading from state to state. Thirteen transcontinental highways were proposed, exemplary of which was the Lincoln Highway from New York to San Francisco via Philadelphia, Omaha, Denver, and Salt Lake City. Leadership in the movement was taken by Logan W. Page, head of the U.S. Office of Public Roads, and Sen. John H. Bankhead of Alabama, chair of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads.

In Oklahoma as well, citizens banded together, mapped out likely routes, and publicized their efforts in order to create a groundswell of public support. They also tried to secure federal and state designation for the routes. The Oklahoma Good Roads Association, under Suggs and later under Cyrus Avery of Tulsa, provided leadership, and from 1914 through 1918 it and other organizations promoted “named” highways crossing Oklahoma and connecting it to adjacent states. Cities and towns often vied for inclusion on the routes. Proposed north-south highways included the Ozark Trail, the Jefferson, the Kansas-Oklahoma-Texas (K-O-T), the Dallas-Canadian-Denver (D-C-D), the Meridian, and the Star. East-west highways included the Albert Pike, the Postal, and the Lee-Bankhead. After securing support from local chambers of commerce and county officials, if not always from state officials, advocates would place signs or concrete markers to guide travelers along the way, which often proceeded along the rough, occasionally impassable section-line roads.

A state highway system remained an unrealized dream until the U.S. Congress passed the Federal Aid Road Act in 1916. It provided one-to-one matching grants to states for roadways, bridges, and other structures on state highways that were considered eligible for inclusion in a nascent Oklahoma Federal Aid System. The law also required that each state have a legitimate, well-funded, professionally managed highway department. By 1919 Oklahoma’s legislature had appropriated funds to secure the federal match, and in September 1923 the U.S. secretary of agriculture approved Federal Aid Highways in Oklahoma. In 1923 the legislature passed a one-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline, becoming the thirty-eighth state to do so. The Highway Department and the counties shared in the revenue fund for construction and maintenance, but it proved not nearly enough. The tax was raised to 2.5 cents in 1924. In August 1924 the Ninth Legislature passed Senate Bill 44, creating the State Highway System, under the management of a three-member Highway Commission, and defined three kinds of roads: state highways, county highways, and township roads. The state system was to comprise intercounty and interstate highways and was to total at least five percent of each county’s roadways. The state and county roads were eligible for federal and state funds.

The commission designated state highways and numbered them 1 through 26. State Highway 2, the Meridian Highway, extended from Caldwell, Kansas, through Medford, Pond Creek, Enid, Kingfisher, El Reno, Chickasha, Marlow, Duncan, and Waurika to the Red River. The Jefferson Highway, designated as State Highway 6, extended from Chetopa, Kansas, through Vinita, Pryor, Wagoner, Muskogee, Checotah, Eufaula, McAlester, Atoka, and Durant to the Red River. State Highway 7, earlier promoted as the Ozark Trail, linked Baxter Springs, Kansas, Miami, Afton, Vinita, Claremore, Tulsa, Sapulpa, Bristow, Stroud, Chandler, Davenport, Oklahoma City, Newcastle, Chickasha, Lawton, and Altus. State Highway 4, the K-O-T, stretched from Newkirk through Ponca City, Perry, Guthrie, Oklahoma City, Norman, Ardmore, and Marietta to the Red River. East-west arteries included State Highway 11, the Albert Pike Highway, linking Siloam Springs, Kansas, Locust Grove, Chouteau, Tulsa, Skiatook, Pawhuska, Ponca City, Pond Creek, Cherokee, Alva, Buffalo, Hooker, and Boise City. State Highway 3, the Postal Highway, extended from Fort Smith through Poteau, Wilburton, McAlester, Holdenville, Wewoka, Shawnee, Oklahoma City, El Reno, Weatherford, Elk City, and Sayre, into Texas. State Highway 5, the Lee-Bankhead Highway, a transcontinental road, stretched from Ultima Thule, Arkansas, through Idabel, Hugo, Durant, Ardmore, and Waurika to Frederick and crossed the Red River at Davidson. All were completed by 1925, and in that year the state system comprised approximately five thousand miles, of which approximately three hundred were paved.[i]

[i] Highways; Oklahoma Historical Society; http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=HI004c

1924 US 70

Forgotten Landmarks-Red River Free Bridge and Red River Toll Bridge, Colbert, Oklahoma

Site of Red River Bridge War (2.4 miles south of Colbert on Franklin Street/Road at U.S. 69/U.S. 75 Bridge over the Red River)

The free bridge which previously crossed over the Red River at this point (demolished in 1995) was the cause of the so-called Red River Bridge War in 1931. For many years previously, the Texas Toll Bridge Company had operated a toll bridge at this crossing, but in 1929 Texas and Oklahoma, with the consent of Congress, began the construction of a free bridge.

The toll bridge company claimed that the commission had agreed in July of 1930 to purchase the toll bridge for $60,000 and to pay the company for its unexpired contract an additional $10,000 for each month of a specified fourteen-month period in which the free bridge might be opened, and that the commission had not fulfilled this obligation. A temporary injunction was issued on July 10th, 1931, and Texas governor Ross S. Sterling ordered barricades erected across the Texas approaches to the new bridge. However, on July 16th Governor William (Alfalfa Bill) Murray of Oklahoma opened the bridge by executive order, claiming that Oklahoma’s “half” of the bridge ran lengthwise north and south across the Red River, that Oklahoma held title to both sides of the river from the Louisiana Purchase treaty of 1803, and that the state of Oklahoma was not named in the injunction. Oklahoma highway crews crossed the bridge and demolished the barricades. Governor Sterling responded by ordering a detachment of three Texas Rangers, accompanied by Adjutant General William Warren Sterling, to rebuild the barricades and protect Texas Highway Department employees charged with enforcing the injunction. The rangers arrived on the night of July 16th. On July 17th, Murray ordered Oklahoma highway crews to tear up the northern approaches to the still-operating toll bridge, and traffic over the river came to a halt. On July 20th and 21st, mass meetings demanding the opening of the free bridge were held in Sherman and Denison, and resolutions to this effect were forwarded to Austin. On July 23rd, the Texas legislature, which was meeting in a special session, passed a bill granting the Texas Toll Bridge Company permission to sue the state in order to recover the sum claimed in the injunction. The bridge company then joined the state in requesting the court to dissolve the injunction, which it did on July 25th. On that day, the free bridge was opened to traffic and the rangers were withdrawn.

Meanwhile, a federal district court in Muskogee, Oklahoma, acting on a petition from the toll-bridge company, had on July 24th enjoined Governor Murray from blocking the northern approaches to the toll bridge. Murray, acting several hours before the injunction was actually issued, declared martial law in a narrow strip of territory along the northern approaches to both bridges and then argued that this act placed him, as commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, above the federal court’s jurisdiction. An Oklahoma guard unit was ordered to the bridge, and Murray, armed with an antique revolver, made a personal appearance in the “war zone,” as the newspapers labeled it. No attempt was made to enforce the Oklahoma injunction, but on July 24th, with the free bridge open, Murray directed the guardsmen to permit anyone who so desired to cross the toll bridge. On July 27th, Murray announced that he had learned of an attempt to close the free bridge permanently, and he extended the martial-law zone to the Oklahoma boundary marker on the south bank of the Red River. Oklahoma guardsmen were stationed at both ends of the free bridge, and Texas papers spoke of an “invasion.” Finally, on August 6th, 1931, the Texas injunction was permanently dissolved, the Oklahoma guardsmen were withdrawn to enforce martial law in the Oklahoma oilfields, and the bridge controversy was laid to rest.[i]

Oklahoma1928

1928 Oklahoma Highway Map

BryanCo1941

1941 Bryan County Transportation Map

Remains of Red River Toll Bridge ( 1.4 miles south of Colbert on Franklin Street/Road, 1.5 miles south on River Road at Toll Bridge Road)

Two of the bridge piers of the Red River Toll Bridge remain in the Red River southwest of this junction, approximately 1100 yards southeast of the current highway bridge.

TollBridgeSatellite

[i] Taylor, Lonn W.; Red River Bridge Controversy; Texas State Historical Association; https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mgr02

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 86 other followers