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County Seat - Pauls Valley

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Depot Sparks Reminiscences
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The article below ran in The Wynnewood Gazette, Thursday, July 5, 1984.  It
was written by my Grandmother (Bessie SLOAN WRIGHT) who lived her entire life
in Wynnewood area.  She died in the Wynnewood Nursing Home 12/19/1996.  

Editors Note:  Bessie C. Wright feels like a lot of Wynnewood residents.  She
hates to see the Santa Fe Depot leave, as it brings back a lot of wonderful
memories.  Following is a letter to the editor recalling a few things that
have happened in Wynnewood.

SOME MORE HERITAGE GONE
By Mrs. John Wright

      Well, I suppose the train depot was built before Oklahoma ever became
a state.  I was born to Luther and Effie Sloan on December 26, 1909, and as
far back as I can remember, it has always been here.  At the time of my
birth, my dad was working on the railroad.
      I don't remember how many years he worked on track maintenance and
repair.  Back then, before I was born, (about 2 years) this town was known as
Wynnewood, I.T. (Indian Territory)
      I was born in a small house north of Mr. Wheeler's Blacksmith Shop,
down southwest of the park.  By the time I was old enough to go to school, we
moved south of the power plant, southwest of town.  I walked to school from
one mile south of the dump ground road.  I always liked to stop by the power
plant and watch the goldfish there.  My first grade teacher was Mrs.
Bradfield.  When I attended high school, it was where the ball park (football
field) is now.  It was a three story building.  Dr. Baker lived just back of
it.  The grade school was where it is now.
      At one time, my dad worked on the farm for Mr. Edd Leal, the banker.  
I guess that is the first time I can remember seeing a car.  Mr. Leal had one
and I would run out to the road to see it go by.  I thought it was something
to see it run by itself and not have horses or mules to pull it.
      By this time, we had moved two miles north and one mile east of the
ball park.  Of course, it wasn't a ball park then.  One day Mother and I
started to go into to town for supplies.  Those mules were young and ready to
go.  Well, we saw one of those "tongueless wagons" coming meeting us. Right
away we began preparing for it and so did the mules.  I think it may have
been Mr. Noah Leal's car.  Anyway, the mules began to dance up and down and
we knew things were going to get out of hand and they did!  Yes, we had a
run-a-way!  Mother and I got down in the wagon bed and tried to keep from
being thrown out.  I cannot remember how far they ran or how we got them
stopped, but we were plenty scared and going a lot faster than I wanted to
go, sitting in the bottom of that wagon.  And in those days, there weren't
any shocks to absorb the bumps.  Poor mules, they were scared too.  They had
never seen anything like that before.
      Well, if you don't mind, I'd like to reminisce a little bit about when
we used to come to town.  Now and then my aunt from Denison, Texas would come
to see us, and we would wait for her train at the depot.  It was fun.  We
lived about two miles or so out, and sometimes we would have to wait over for
the train, instead of going back and forth.  One time we spent the night at
Earl Gibson's mule barn.  (It would be like a parking lot for campers or cars
in now.  You would rent a stall and drive your horses (or mules) and wagon in
and sleep in the wagon if necessary.)  We had a team of mules and a wagon.   
In those days that was the way of travel.  Oh, yes, Dad bought the mules from
Mr. Gibson.
      Sometimes Dad would bring plows to Mr. Wheeler's shop to be sharpened
I liked to think I was helping when I would run the blower that kept the
coals hot, I would crank it for him and watch how red the coals got.  Then we
would go on up to town and tie up to the hitching post along the curb.  (I
saw one not too long ago just north of Mr. Mettry's store, still in the
concrete.)  The streets were dirt then, not paved. Then we would go in Mr.
Doug Frost's grocery store and he would give me some candy.  Got a lot for a
nickel in those days.  Didn't have anything but peppermint sticks.  Finally
got peanut butter sticks.  The Post Office, I think, was along there where
the barber shop is now.  Mr. Childress had a dry goods store where Musgrove
Lumber is now.  The Economy Store was where Otasco is.  The Surprise Store
just north of that.  It was a 5c and 10c store.  Mr. Keys had a hardware
store where Wackers used to be.  Buster and John Vaughn had dry goods stores
south of there;  one on one side of the street and one on the other side, I
think.  Mr.  Secrest had the Drug Store.  And there was a bank on the corner
south of Ruby's Beauty Shop.
      Also, if I'm counting right, there used to be five cotton gins in this
little town.  I still have a thermometer that is a little mirror and it has
Mitchell & Rouse, Ginners and Cotton Merchants, phone 260 on it.
      Well, I've lived here all my life and there is no other place like
home to me.  There have been a lot of changes, but it is still the best place
for me.  May we all work together to make it better.  Sure hate to see our
depot go.  It is part of my earthly home town heritage.  Now I'm looking
forward to my Heavenly heritage.

submitted by Theresa Young

Transcribed by Lou Byrne
        Proof read by Theresa Young         

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