Ketchum

Lewis Ketchum -- establish the family Ketchum cemetery.

"The Story of Craig County, Its People and Places"
by Ennis Winfrey and others

Ketchum was originally established in 1899, about a mile north of the home of Reverend James and Elizabeth Ketchum.  Rev.  Ketchum was an outstanding leader of the Delaware tribe, an orator and Methodist minister.  He moved to Delaware settlement which was named after him, from Kansas in 1867.

There are conflicting stories on the locale of the first Post office.  Bill Thompson said his father, Gordon Thompson, told him about his father T. Wyman Thompson, going to Washington, D.C. to establish the first post office became known as the Midland Valley.

Others who have served Ketchum as postmaster are: Opal Cohea, Garland Douglas, Bess Douglas, Luther Gregory, Jr., Glenn Morrison, and the present postmistress is Earleen Johnston who has served for several which was first put in the home of was the first postmistress.  It was later moved to a general store and Jesse M. Gallman served as postmaster.

In 1912, the K.O. & G. (Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf) railroad was constructed and it looked as if the town of Ketchum would prosper as a result of the coming of the trains.  The town was originally in Mayes County about a mile south of the present town.  When the railroad was located, Ealum and Minnie Bell (Lynch) Gregory sold 40 acres of her Delaware Indian allotment to promoters of the new town.  Businesses and homes were then established at the present site of Ketchum.

Ketchum is located adjacent to the Old Military Road, a branch of the famous Texas Road which transverse the state between Kansas City and Texas.  The location near Grand River served as a campsite for many wandering bands of Indians. as well as for both Federal and Confederate troops during the Civil War.

After the move to new Ketchum, the post office was located in L.O. Sloan's general store and he was the postmaster.  The mail was brought in by the M.K. & G. passenger train twice a day.  The train in later days years.  A new post office was constructed in 1983 on the northwest corner of the 4-way stop on main street.

During the early years of the town's growth, the major source of income in the area was from the sale of agricultural products.  Cotton, corn, and other grains were major revenue crops.

Ealum Gregory, a prominent businessman and civic leader owned and operated a grain elevator on the west side of town which still stands in 1984.

Other early day businessmen in Ketchum were: Mr. and Mrs. Cohea, who built a large two-story house which they made into the first hotel.  Mr. Cohea also had a feed store.  There were several grocery-general stores owned by J.H. Blanton, Mr. Creek and L.O. Sloan.  There was a meat market run by Mr. Davis.  The manager of Atrim Lumber Co. was Charlie Amadon.  The first mercantile store was owned by two brothers from Kansas, by the name of Stewart.  Aman Marshall bought them out.  Jeff D. Sexton and his son Bruce were residents before 1930, as were Frank Haines and Oliver A. Cox, an employee at the bank who came from Afton.

There were a few car owners in Ketchun, in the early days.  Ed Hobbs had a garage and was an excellent mechanic.  Some of those who owned cars were: Van Chandler, owner of the hardware store; Luther Gregory; Charlie Amadon and Major Collins, who owned a big black Buick.

Doctors of early day Ketchum were: D J.W. Powell, Dr. D.W. Stagner, Drs.  Jess an, John Whorton (Jess Whorton is 91 years old and lives in Grove), and Dr. W.O. Finley (D.O.) served the community for some forty years.

The first church in Ketchum was established and constructed in 1913, under the supervision of E.M. Sweet and W.R. Seig, a druggist.  The church started with seven members: Mr. and Mrs. W.R . Seig, Dr. and Mrs. John Whorton, Mr. and Mrs. Luther Baughn, Rural Mail Carrier, and Mrs. Florence Suttle, housewife.

One of the most famous houses in Ketchum was constructed by Major Collins in 1915, the year after Ketchum school was built.  It was located about a block west of the school.  Collins sold the house to Melt Gregory who lived there for some time, then leased the house to George Curtis.  George Curtis was a Baptist preacher and a barber.  He made a funeral parlor out of the house.  It was said that Curtis could 'cut your hair, marry you, preach your funeral and bury you.' Luther Gregory later purchased the house, and lived there the remainder of his life.

Memories are all that is left of the original Ketchum town site and the landmarks surrounding the area, which were inundated after the construction of the Pensacola Dam and the filling of Grand Lake.

One resident of the Ketchum area, Bill Thompson, who lived across the river from the old town, related how as a small boy he crossed the river to go to school.  He said, "I rode a horse, fording the river, I had to lift my feet up in the stirrups so they wouldn't get wet.  When the river was up, my father would take me across in a skiff or we would take the ferry.  There were two ferrys, Brown's and Bolon's.  I remember one time the river was up and my father took me across in a skiff, there was a man coming across in a skiff from the Ketchum side and as our skiffs met and passed, he held a gun on us, and my father held a gun on him, not a word was uttered.  I don't know what it was all about, but I've seen a lot of gun-play on Ketchum streets.

"My father and grandfather were sort of policemen, they tried to keep law and order in Ketchum.

The first telephone in Ketchum was on the second floor of the bank building.  Daisy Lightner was the operator.  It was later moved to a restaurant and Mae Tayler was the operator.

Ketchum experienced a rapid growth in the 1970s.  Several housing development projects in town and on the nearby lake have been completed.  There are several good restaurants and a motel.

Farsighted community leaders have provided the town with a large and far-reaching water system, serving customers in many valuable lake home developments as well as the citizens of the incorporated town area.  A modern and fully approved sewage and waste water treatment and disposal system was accomplished several years ago, and has provided the town with full services for further residential and commercial development.

The city has a mayor and two councilmen, a city treasurer and city clerk.  The Ketchum Public Works Authority is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the water and sewer system.  Police and fire departments are maintained mostly by volunteers who are well trained.

The Municipal Building, completed in 1974, houses the police station, civil defense, fire department, city offices, the Public Works Authority, as well as serving as a meeting place for town and civic activities, as well as for youth group meetings.

The Ketchum Round-up Club features an annual Rodeo each June.  Top riders from Oklahoma and other states participate.  Little League Baseball is a summer activity for boys.  There are O.K. Kids league games, and an American Legion team which has games with many area Legion teams.

Businesses listed in a 1982 publication which had been in operation in the Ketchum area for 25 or more years and their owners included Brownie's Family Resort, 30 years, Ralph and Phyllis Brown; Grand Lake Lumber, 70 years, Ed Smith; Jim's Kerr-McGee Station, 50 years, Jim and Brenda Matthews; Mack's Bait Shop, 29 years, Mack and Lois Mulanax; Baker Construction, 37 years, Paul Lewis Baker, Sr. and Jr.; Port Ketchum, 42 years, Dick and Shirley Wedge; The Harbors, 27 years, Tommy and Sandy Nelson, Les and Carol Isbell; Port Carlos, 25 years, Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Langston; Don Martin's Barber Shop, 26 years; Lair and Sons Concrete, 25 years, Pat, Mike and Ben Lair; and the First State Bank, 70 years.
 

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The following information was provided by Rita Shaver

    I grew up in Ketchum and there are a few things that were left out.  My parents moved from Tulsa to Ketchum in 1946 and bought L.O. Sloan's general store and it became known as BROWNS GENERAL STORE – Vern and Marie Brown – it was officially closed in 1989 and my dad sold it and it was torn down and now there is a slab where it use to be.  My parents were also the ones that were instrumental in getting Hwy 85 paved from Hwy 82 through town.

    Jim's Kerr-McGee Station, 50 years, Jim and Brenda Matthews -  this is incorrect as the original owner was James Smith and then James Armentrout bought him out – Jim Matthews never owned that – he worked in the Bank under the supervision of his mom and dad Faye and Ralph Matthews in which he was later let go and then he was the town security for a short time before he was fired.

    From 1946 to 1983 when the new post office was built – the post office was in the front part of a building owned by Bess Douglas – Bess and her daughter Martha lived in the back of the building.  This building was on main street and was basically located where the SW Bell has their building now. Where the post office is located now, use to be a movie theater in one half and a pool hall in the other half.

    Others who have served Ketchum as postmaster are: Opal Cohea, Garland Douglas, Bess Douglas, Luther Gregory, Jr., Glenn Morrison, and the present postmistress is Earleen Johnston who has served for several which was first put in the home of was the first postmistress.  It was later moved to a general store and Jesse M. Gallman served as postmaster.

After the move to new Ketchum, the post office was located in L.O. Sloan's general store and he was the postmaster.  The mail was brought in by the M.K. & G. passenger train twice a day.  The train in later days years.  A new post office was constructed in 1983 on the northwest corner of the 4-way stop on main street.

updated 02-11-2008 rita shaver


UPDATE

The following information was provided by Clyde Keene

I was reading some of the information you had about Ketchum and found some of the information incorrect and incomplete.  Jim Matthews never owned Jims Station. I worked there through high school before entering the army in 1966. After Jim sold it to James Armatrout.  There was no mention of my Great Grandfathers Blacksmith shop (only one around). James Keene operated it during the time when Ketchum was being moved to its present location. It was located on Main street across from Brown’s grocery. My Grandfather worked there as well before the dam was built James A. Keene. They were operating it when the great bank robbery occurred. My Great Grandfather was part of the posse that track the robbers down to a peach orchard near Cleora.  One of them was shot and so was the bank president. My father was born in the house that was across from the original Methodist church. Later to become where the bank is now. It was rumored that my great grandfather had buried several gold coins in the barn at that site. I think it was his cruel trick to get the garden dug up. My Grand mother Ticie Griffin Keene’s mother was shot by the outlaw Winchester Scott. My Great Grand mother was a full blood Cherokee. At the time it was not such a big deal to shoot an Indian, so he only got 3 years in prison for his crime.  Four generations of my family help build Ketchum to what it is today. My father worked local construction as well as being the school janitor for many years. He was active in getting the Rodeo started and the Saddle Club.

There is a few tidbits I left out on the update. Bill's bait shop (located directly across from Jim's Station) was owned by Bill Berry. Bill Berry ran Mac's bait shop for many years before opening his own in that location.  Lewis's welding shop was owned and operated for many years in downtown Ketchum. He was a fixture of Ketchum even before I started school. We had a few Mayor's back in the day. Mr Raines was a long seated one. Ketchum was actually relocated to its present site when the damn was being built. The house I grew up in was one of those that was moved. There are still foundations of where the town was before near Port Ketchum. I have a picture of the town taken in the early years, mostly wagons, people, and horses, a few cars.  The view shows downtown, with Knittles and Brown stores, the new post office, and few other long gone business.

Thanks for your interest in the town. I graduated in 1965 from Ketchum, my Grandmother graduated from the same school in the twenties. She had gone to Croslowry (SP) before to grade school. It is located near Mustang creek at the present site of the Four Square Church.

 update 06-2017 clyde keene


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