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Please enjoy Marie's story of Coyle, but do not use it in any manner for profit without her permission.
I have tried to write this bit of history as accurately as possible from the memories of those who lived in Coyle. If anyone notices errors or has additional information, I would appreciate hearing from them. My sources of information were: stories told to me by my grandmother, Pearl (Arnett) McCamey; my cousin, Vona Lee (McCamey) Yost; my taped interview of Leonard Parks, former Coyle Mayor and Treasurer, who wrote about Coyle; various newspaper articles written about Coyle; and The Origin and Beginning of Coyle, by Alta "Tot" Dobson.
In the beginning, Coyle had a different name and location - it was called Iowa City. The Unassigned Lands were opened to settlement in April of 1889, and the town of Iowa City was established soon after. It was located one and a half miles west and a half-mile north of present day Coyle, which would be a half-mile west of the Coyle Cemetery. Shortly after the settlement, my great, great grandmother, Phoebe (Shoemaker) Hough, brought her five children in a covered wagon from Elk City, Kansas to Iowa City after her husband, Nicholas Hough, had been killed in a hunting accident in Kansas. She wanted to be with her parents, Joseph and Fannie Shoemaker, who were already living in Iowa City. Not long after her arrival she died from an illness, leaving her children orphaned and in the care of her parents. In 1897, Phoebe's daughter, Fannie Hough, married Arthur M. Arnett. He carried the mail and passengers by horse and buggy from Guthrie to Langston and Iowa City before the town of Coyle was platted. He came to Iowa City with his father and stepmother, Nathaniel and Anna Jane (Fugate) Arnett, from Cowley County, Kansas. Nathaniel owned a farm along the Cimarron River northwest of present day Coyle. Little is known about the original Iowa City, except a cemetery was established for the town. It was called Iowa City Cemetery, located one mile south of the town. Joseph Shoemaker was buried there, and his gravestone has survived. Joseph's wife, Fannie, is probably buried there too, as well as Phoebe - although their gravestones have not survived. Arthur and Fannie Arnett's first child, Earl Leroy Addison Arnett, died as an infant and was also buried in this cemetery - his gravestone has survived. This cemetery still exists today, located northwest of Langston University's football stadium, but through the years it has been abandoned, vandalized, and overgrown with brush. A few stones remain with the following surnames: ARNETT, DOBSON, GATES, McCARTNEY, SHEPARD, TALBOT, and SHOEMAKER.
The early settlers of Iowa City thought of the Cimarron River as a river of hope, but some called it a demon when it flooded and destroyed their crops. During the first year of settlement, the only fresh meat and fruit the people had to eat came from the Cimarron. It provided large catfish and the juicy sand plums that grew on the sandbars along the river. Although some homesteads had springs or creeks running through them to provide water, during the drought of 1890, when no rain fell from February until August, many homesteaders would have given up on their claims had it not been for the Cimarron providing water for them. Even when the river was almost dry, they only had to dig a well a few feet in the sand to get an ample supply of good, salt-free water. People from miles around hauled water from the river. The river was used as a place for recreations such as picnics, swimming, boating, and even ice-skating in the winter - it was also used for washing their souls in baptism, as well as washing their laundry. On the weekends, many families would take their laundry tubs and washboards to the river to do their "washin." They would gather wood from drifts along the river to start campfires for heating their wash water, and people could be seen all along the Cimarron River washing their clothes.
A few years later, most women would do their washing on Mondays outside their farmhouses in big black wash kettles. Since most families were very large, there would be mountains of clothes needing to be washed. In the summer months, they would start very early in the morning while it was still cool - some sorting clothes, while others prepared a large country breakfast. Some of the older children would gather wood to start a fire under the kettle, which was filled to the brim with water from the rain barrel. Each garment, including heavy bib overalls the men wore for plowing fields, was scrubbed vigorously with homemade lye soap against the metal washboard, while another person punched the clothes with a "punchin" stick. The clothes were removed from the boiling pot and placed into tubs of rinse water, then hung out to dry. By the end of the day, the women had aching backs, sore muscles, sun blisters, and lye-burned hands. Life was hard, and it took strong people to stick it out on their claims.
The people of Iowa City were disappointed when they found out that the Eastern Oklahoma Railway (a branch of the Santa Fe) would miss the town. A railroad was important to a town because it provided an economic way to ship and receive freight, as well as transportation. In the fall of 1899, a new Iowa City was platted near the location where the railroad was to go through, and the entire town moved to the present site of Coyle. The town was on a branch line 22 miles (by rail) east of Guthrie. The land site was laid out by U. S. Gus and William H. Coyle. The land on the south side of Main Street was bought from John Henderson, and the land on the north side from Tom J. Lewis. More land was added later on. Since another town named Iowa City already had a Post Office, they could not use that same name. After some deliberation, they changed the name to "Coyle," because William H. Coyle had helped the town in many ways.
In late 1899 and early 1900, the carpenters were busy building stores and homes as fast as they could. All of the building materials for businesses, houses, and fences had to be hauled from Guthrie in wagons with teams of horses or oxen. There is some confusion as to which store was built first. One source says Arthur Rhoade's dry goods - called New York Cash Store - was the first, another says Lee and Sons Hardware, Furniture, and Undertaking establishment was first. However, in a letter written by John T. Owens in June of 1900, he mentioned seeing only the frame work of Lee's building in the field when he was there in November of 1899, but he also mentioned that Mr. Lee was currently putting up a stone building to be used as a furniture store. One thing is sure - there was such a demand for the building of businesses and houses that it was more than the carpenters could keep up with. Many families lived in the back of their store buildings, or wherever they could find shelter, until their houses could be built. Many settlers had land with timber and built log huts for shelter. They would also supply timber to neighbors who didn't have enough to build log shelters. The building of a church was delayed because of the demand for stores and homes.
Within a few months Coyle had three cotton gins, a depot, one lumber yard, one livery barn, stockyards, two blacksmith shops, one barber shop, four general stores, three drug stores, (one of the drug stores carried groceries, as all the general stores did), two grocery stores, one gents furnishings store, one dry goods store, one hardware & furniture store, one printing office, one millinery store, one confectionery stand, two real estate offices, one butcher shop, two restaurants, and a hotel. See photo of main street.
Some of the early people and businesses were John T. Owens, a minister and in real estate - he also took in boarders; Jim Lewis in real estate; Bill Sanders, carpenter; Charlie Lee, hardware & buggies; Al Garner, harness maker; Roy Teal, manager of the Arkansas Lumber Co.; Gus Staus owned the Del Monte Hotel, located just east of Arkansas Lumber Co.; F. E. Houghton's Department Store; Ed Mears Drug Store; Owens Grocery; Gephart Drug Store; Mr. Henthorn owned and operated a photograph gallery; a livery stable was located south of Lee's Hardware; Mr. Rupe was the first blacksmith in Coyle. John T. Owens owned the building which the clothing firm was in, with the bank adjoining on the west, and Lee's furniture store adjoining east. Gephart's Drug Store adjoined the bank on the west. Arthur Arnett owned Arnett's Meat Market & Grocery Store on the south side of Main Street. Arthur and Fannie lived in the back rooms of their store, where in September of 1900 a daughter was born - Pearl Marie Arnett, who was my grandmother. Later they owned a farm southwest of Coyle, where they had seven more children who grew up in the area. Years later they moved into town, and another daughter and her husband, Ruby and Larkin Upchurch owned their store. After that, the store was owned by Arthur & Fannie's son, Olis Arnett. Olis was shot and killed in a robbery of the store in 1974. The murderer was never caught.
Clarence Elisha "Ike" Graham came to Oklahoma in 1890, settling in the Coyle area. He became one of the first deputy sheriffs in Logan County. He was married to Emma (or Effie) Francis Adkins. Their son, Warren, later served on the Stillwater police force for 29 years. Ike Graham was a policeman in Coyle when he met Leaoda (Smalley) McCamey, who was running a café in Coyle. She had previously owned a millinery shop in Coyle. Her sister, Myrtle (Smalley) Hays owned the Parisian Hat Shoppe in Stillwater. Ike Graham and Leaoda were married in June 1910. Eventually, Ike and Leaoda ran the café together, where Leaoda would bake pies all day to sell in their café. Leaoda was extremely jealous of Ike, and if she even suspected he might be looking at another woman, she would throw her pies at him......they became the talk of the town. She had three sons by her first husband, John D. McCamey, two of them, Loyde and Isaac McCamey, owned businesses in Coyle in the 1920's. Leaoda was a daughter of Isaac D. Smalley, who was a co-founder of Cimarron City in 1889. This was another small town across the river and east of Coyle. The town never quite recovered after being destroyed by a tornado, even though the people rebuilt it. When it failed, Isaac Smalley moved to Coyle, where he built a house. Leonard Parks, former Coyle Mayor & Treasurer was living in this same house when I interviewed him in 1978. Isaac Smalley was my great, great grandfather.
Coyle's first bank, The Cimarron Valley Bank, was established soon after the first store was built. Charles Higbee was the president, and his brother, Bert Higbee, was cashier. After changing hands several times, it closed on October 9, 1931. The People's State Bank was established in 1902. J. D. Townsend was president; M. E. Fruin was cashier, with Jake Douglas and Roy Teal as directors. Mr. Fruin bought out Mr. Townsend in 1903. The bank was originally located on the south side of Main Street, but in 1907 it was moved to the north side. It was nationalized in 1921 and has been the First National Bank since then. Mr. and Mrs. Fruin lived in a small apartment attached to the rear of the bank building where their daughter, Carlotta, was born. When Mr. Fruin died in 1944, Mrs. Fruin became president until her death, and then Carlotta became president of the bank. Miss Fruin would have a small party every year on her birthday, inviting everyone in Coyle. Every ten years the party was expanded into a festive, carnival type atmosphere, where more than 500 people would attend. There would be cake, soft drinks, and party favors for everyone, with a merry-go-round for entertainment. Appearing at one party, Ho Ho the Clown (an Oklahoma City television personality) entertained and handed out prizes to the guests.
In 1900, the first train depot was built - Gus Schwartz was the ticket agent. They had been using an old boxcar as a depot while waiting for one to be built. The first telephone office was opened in the north end of the bank by C. L. Minnich. Jeanette Haywood was the operator.
Coyle's first Post Office was located in Gephart's Drug Store. The store was originally in Langston, but moved to Coyle where it also carried dry goods and groceries. Harry Gephart was appointed the first Postmaster on May 5, 1900. J. T. Owens administered the oath of office to Mr. Gephart, with B. J. Dodson and Charlie Lee putting up his bond of $500.00. George and Guy Owens were the first mail carriers between Coyle and Langston. The Post Office was later located in a building about three doors west of Gephart's Drug Store, where Mr. Traylor was the Postmaster. It was moved again in 1907 to the first building west of the Lee Hardware Store, where it remained until July 1, 1966, when a new modern Post Office was built. On March 22, 1973, the Post Office caught on fire, destroying it, and the office was moved to the Masonic Lodge building. A Mobil Unit was brought in and placed to the east of the lots where the old Post Office burned. Other early Postmasters were Mr. Pfalzgraph, who didn't finish his term - Mrs. Wandell filled in for him; Mr. Brookman; Mrs. Wandell from 1933 to 1948; and Clarence Phillips.
Cotton was the main industry of Coyle. The Co-Operative Gin was built a mile south of the town. It was operated by W. J. Fouts for a couple of years, when W. H. Coyle bought it and moved it into town. The Houghton-Douglas Gin and The Moss & Barrett Gin were already established in Coyle. The Moss & Barrett, later Moss Steen, was located at the east edge of town.
Soon after the opening, the first school was organized. It was the decision of the people to have a mixed school, but Frank Thompson would not have this, so he taught the children in a granary on a farm belonging to George Carter. Soon, a one room schoolhouse was built on the southwest corner of the Thompson place, and they called it the "Lily White School," District 84. The teacher was Miss Zoe Goodrich. A year later, in 1900, the town built a new school. It was a one-story building just east of the Baptist Church. M. E. Trapp was Superintendent and Miss Bee Goodrich was the teacher. Mr. Trapp boarded with the Rev. John T. Owen's family. Twenty-five years later Mr. Trapp became Governor of Oklahoma, and it was said that Mr. Trapp exchanged a teacher's desk for a Governor's desk. Eventually, this school building was enlarged by adding more classrooms and a second story. In 1915 Bee Crystal was the teacher, and Margaret Doolittle was the County Superintendent. In 1924 a new school building was built.
The first newspaper in Coyle was The Cimarron Valley Clipper, established in 1900. Mr. E. J. Garner & Clarence F. Wandell were Editor and Business Manager. The newspaper was weekly, having eight pages, and cost its subscribers $1.00 a year. In 1904, E. J. Garner was owner, George S. Barger was Editor - in 1905, E. J. Garner and Mrs. G. L. Garner, Editors - in June 1911, E. J. Garner and C. F. Wandell, Editors - in August 1911, C. F. Wandell, Manager and Publisher - in 1940, Olis Arnett, Editor - in 1941, C. F. Wandell - in May 1946, Byron N. Jacobs, Publisher & Gerald Jacobs, Editor - in October 1946, Alta "Tot" Dobson, Editor - in November 1946, Mrs. C. E. Nelson, Owner, Editor & Publisher, Alta "Tot" Dobson, Associate Editor - in March 1947, Bruce T. Heydenburk, Bryon L. Lehmbeck & James H. Scott, Editors & Publishers - in June 1947, E. Foster Atkinson, Editor & Publisher. The newspaper ended publication December 30, 1948.
In 1900, Drs. J. D. Kernodle (or Kernolde), White, and Spurgeon began their practice in Coyle. One of Dr. White's sons was a Dentist in town. A few years later, Drs. Spurgeon and White left Coyle and Drs. Stagner and Boutin came to town. The medical profession was much different back then from what it is today. The doctors were on call day and night, driving a horse and buggy - or just riding a horse - through all kinds of weather. Since most of their patients were people they knew from the small community, the doctors had genuine concern and compassion for them, sitting up with them all night if necessary.
Coyle is located just south of the Cimarron River, and people wanting to get from one side of the river to the other either had to ford it, catch a ferry, or cross in a boat. There were ferryboats at most of the main fords to take people across when the river was too high to ford. The Iowa Ford located a mile east of Coyle, was the most used crossing in that area. People would drive their team and wagon right onto a large flat ferryboat, owned by the Reynolds boys, and then they would pole it across the river where you could drive off on the other side. John Shehan was the ford breaker. He used his large span of mules to do this. However, during the rainy season the Cimarron would flood, causing the water to be too deep to ford. This meant that people living on the north side of the river couldn't get into town to trade, so a bridge was built about 1896. The bridge was built where the Bucke Ford was located - about a mile north of Coyle, where Highway 33 now crosses the river. This first bridge was built of wood and would wash out every year when the spring rains caused high water. In 1900, donations of money and labor from both Payne and Logan counties made it possible to build a better bridge of piling. This bridge wasn't much better than the first one, as parts of it washed away with high water. Eventually, the entire bridge was washed down the river. The problem was so bad that merchants in Coyle kept a boat at the river crossing to ferry customers across to do their trading. They would also haul groceries and other merchandise their customers had bought down to the river in a horse-drawn buggy. The floods made it difficult for the dairymen to deliver milk on their route. They would bring milk in a horse and buggy, ring a bell at each stop, then measure milk out by the quart into the customer's container - charging a nickel a quart. In 1909, a steel bridge was built. A large celebration was held, where a carnival queen was chosen - Julie Allison. A large crowd watched as she drove a gold spike into the bridge. Sarah Townsend won the prize for wearing the prettiest cotton dress. This bridge burned in 1930, and was replaced by a better bridge.
In the early days of Coyle, all of the streets were dirt - consisting of red clay. During the rainy seasons, people had a difficult time crossing the streets without sinking in the mucky, muddy mess. Women's long dresses would become stained with the red clay mud, which was very difficult to wash out. Main Street was dirt until 1928 when they started paving the area of Highway 33, which runs through Main Street. Some of the town's men, including Arthur Arnett's son, Wilbur, worked on the paving. Coyle has been flooded many times over the years - the first in 1902 - again in 1908 - and many times since then. Some floods caused water to stand 18 inches deep in the stores and homes, leaving the walls stained from the red muddy water. Sometimes the water was so deep people would have to cross the street by boat, boys caught catfish ten inches long on Main Street, and bales of cotton from the Barrett Gin were washed away as far as the depot. In 1957, it flooded twice in less than three weeks.
The first Sunday school met in the Houghton-Douglas Cotton Gin. Brother J. T. Owens was the first preacher. Owens had secured two church lots, but the carpenters and stone masons were not able to keep up with the demand for buildings, so the church had to wait to be built. People of all faiths met in the gin to worship together, sitting on nail kegs or boxes as seats. In 1900 the First Christian Church was built by Bill Sanders and Lee Brown - it was dedicated on June 2, 1901. A noon basket dinner was held, followed by a praise service that afternoon. It was a happy occasion for everyone, and large crowds attended the services. The new members contributed $400, which went toward the church debt. After the dedication, church members decided to share the church building with the Baptists and Methodist in Coyle. The Christian Church members met two Sundays a month and the Baptists and Methodists each met one Sunday a month in the building. In April 1907, 16 pews were bought at a cost of $175. Owens was a founding member of the church, as were W. A. Humphreys of Guthrie and Brother Hazelrig of Mulhall. The three ministers took turns preaching at the new church until the first resident minister arrived, J. E. Chamness of Stillwater. Mrs. Bill Knight was one of the early Sunday school teachers. The Cimarron River was used for baptisms until J. W. Coats, minister of the church, built the baptistry in 1923. Coats also built several classrooms and the south basement. On July 26, 1995, this historical old church was burned to the ground after lightning struck the steeple, destroying the pews bought in 1907.
The Baptists built a church in 1902, which burned in October of 1931. They rebuilt the church where it now stands, adding more rooms later. The Methodist used the Baptist Church for a while, but later built a church, which was dedicated in 1924. They bought a bell from the Convent at Langston, made in Belgium of part gold and part silver. Before it could be installed, it was stolen. They found the bell later, but it was broken in several pieces and could not be used. The Lutherans had a church in Pleasant Valley, which was purchased and moved to Coyle by the Assembly of God Church in May 1947.
The first wedding was the marriage of Al Garner and Eula Lewis, the daughter of Jim Lewis. Brother J. T. Owens performed the ceremony. They all came here from Missouri. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Wilfred Rupe was the first baby born in Coyle. The town's folk gave him two city lots because they were so proud of him.
On the town's second anniversary the population was about 400, and it had become a small boomtown. Most small towns such as Coyle were called "Saturday Towns." The people worked hard, but on Saturday they would go into town to shop, socialize, maybe go to a restaurant, and enjoy some entertainment and recreation. Some would have their photograph taken at Mr. Henthorn's photograph gallery, located south of the Hubbard house. Others might rent a riding horse or carriage for the afternoon, from the livery stable south of Lee's Hardward. They soon had an opera house, which provided all kinds of entertainment. It was located east of the Houghton Hardware in the upper story of an implement and hardware store. Local citizens put on plays for charity, and lodges sponsored suppers. Each winter, lyceums came for a week or more to entertain every night. Once or twice each year, Mrs. Breaux, director of music at Langston University, provided entertainment by bringing the glee clubs, orchestra, and plays to the opera house. Unfortunately, this building burned in 1916.
Another source of entertainment was provided by a Fall Cotton Carnival, held for several years after the founding of Coyle. The streets were turned into a real carnival, with a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, lemonade and popcorn stands. One year at this carnival, one of the businessmen offered a prize to any couple who would have a public wedding. The couple that responded to this offer was Fannie Weldon and Lee Brown. A platform had been built right in the middle of the street between the First National Bank and the Lee Hardware. The couple was married on this platform for the entire town's folk to see, with Brother J. T. Owens performing the ceremony. In return, the couple was presented with several pieces of furniture. About 1902, there was a baby show at the Cotton Carnival which offered a prize. Although many hopeful mothers entered their babies, they were all disappointed except one. Ruth Bucke won as the prettiest baby, but some thought Harry Barnett should have got the prize.
Charlie Lee planted the first tree in Coyle on the east side of his Hardware Store. As the elm tree grew larger, a bench was placed beneath it so the town's folk would have a shady place to rest and visit with their neighbors. It wasn't long before this corner became known as "Whittler's Corner," with men sitting there - some whittling, while they spun their yarns, relived wars, had a few arguments, shared the news and gossip. Whittler's Corner was so well known to the people of Coyle, that an announcement in the October 14, 1948 issue of the Cimarron Valley Clipper stated, "Congressman Mike Monroney of the fifth district and candidate for re-election will speak in Coyle at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, it has been announced. He will speak to the voters on Whittler's Corner." Whittler's Corner lasted for the life of that old elm tree, which was for many years - the conversations changing with the times.
Because of the large shade trees that line the streets of Coyle, many folks passing through town have called it "the little town with big trees." These trees were planted years ago with the help of Jimmie Weldon, who was well known in the early days.
Soon after the town of Coyle got started, Frank Kress and his younger brother, Harry, opened up the first saloon. It was located in a frame building on the north side of Main Street. Then Joe Coy and Clarke Welch opened up a second saloon a block south of the depot in a stone building that later became the Dick Goble gristmill and grocery. When Frank and Harry Kress decided to go to Colorado, they sold the business to Herman Zemke, who built a brick, two-story building. Ben Higbee, of the banking family, was accidentally shot and killed in this building. Ben was a cashier in his father's bank and had recently been appointed city marshal of Coyle. It was a Saturday night on January 31, 1904, when Ben went to the saloon, where several young men had already gathered. There was a friendly scuffle and Ben's .45 caliber gun was knocked from its holster. The gun accidentally discharged when it hit the floor. The bullet struck Ben in the groin, traveling upward damaging his intestines, liver, and lungs, then lodged in his left shoulder. He died the next day on the operating table. Soon after this accident, the Higbee's sold the bank and left Coyle. There was another shooting in 1904. Coy Shehan had a quick temper and had been training as a boxer. He and two black men from Langston, brothers named Turner, had been feuding for some time. They met in the street in front of the Joe Coy and Clarke Welch saloon, where they had a shoot-out. John Inman was hit and killed by a stray bullet. Coy Shehan was hit by two bullets, but lived. Previous to this shoot-out, Coy had been in a brawl with another black man from Langston over a card game at Zemke's Saloon. Coy had gotten the worst of it, and wanted to finish the fight when the man came to town the next time. The man returned the following Saturday night, and Coy was waiting for him. He hit the man behind the ear, stunning him. Coy then jumped on him, sprawled him on the edge of a pool table, and proceeded to beat him. According to rumor, Coy was using brass knuckles. At this point, two of Coy's friends, the Woodside boys, started beating the man with pool cues. There was a large pool of blood on the pool table. Somehow, the man managed to escape and left town. Because of the drinking and gambling, saloons were a breeding ground for fights and shoot-outs. About this time, Carrie Nation waged war against drinking and saloons, and the two saloons in Coyle soon went out of business. In November 1907, the prohibition law went into effect when the constitution was signed, and all saloons in Oklahoma and Indian Territory were closed.
In 1914 Mr. Fruin bought the land in the south part of town from John Henderson. He then divided the land into town lots and sold them at auction. About 2000 people attended a big celebration that day, with barbecue being served for dinner. The lots sold like hot cakes. When the people of the town were asked to choose a name for this new addition, the Methodist ladies wanted to call it "Highland View", and this is the name that was chosen. The town grew rapidly during the first twenty years. The population increased to the point that they couldn't build houses and stores fast enough. In 1917, a deep well on the north side of town provided water that was piped into businesses and homes. In 1926, Oklahoma Gas & Electric provided electricity. In 1931, gas was piped in, and in 1965 a sewer system was installed.
By the 1920's Coyle had a silent movie theater. Bette and Sigmund Goldsmith, from Pennsylvania, owned a dry goods store on the north side of Main Street. The Henthorns owned a funeral home, photography studio, and furniture store. In 1923, Emma Hillerby ran a family style hotel and restaurant on the south side of Main Street, across the street from where McAnally's store is today. Loyde and Pearl (Arnett) McCamey, owned a gas station and café on the south side of Main Street. Later on, in April 1961, Loyde was elected Town Clerk of Coyle. After learning to be a barber working in Jake Shellhammer's barbershop, Isaac McCamey ran the barbershop on the north side of Main Street.
In 1926, T. B. Slick Company was drilling for oil about three and a half miles southeast of Coyle when the well blew. Word spread rapidly throughout the town that oil was spewing over the top of the derrick. This was exciting to the people and they wanted to see such a sight, so they loaded up their cars and drove there to see it. School was let out so the children could go along. By the time they got there, it had been roped off and the people had to stay a half a mile away from it, but they enjoyed it even at a distance.
In 1930, the First National Bank in Coyle was robbed. Mr. Fruin was president of the bank. His two daughters, Miss Carlotta Fruin and Mrs. Clarence Beltz, were having lunch together at a Coyle cafe when the robbery took place. The bank was robbed again on January 20, 1965. At that time, Miss Carlotta Fruin was executive vice president of the bank, and her sister, Mrs. Clarence Beltz was director of the bank. Ironically, Miss Fruin and Mrs. Beltz were again having lunch, while watching the inaugural ceremony on television at Miss Fruin's home in Guthrie, when they were notified of the holdup. Kenneth Harris, cashier of the bank, remained calm enough to get the license number of the robber's car, as did Steve Douglas, owner of a grocery store across the street from the bank. Mr. Douglas hurried to his home near the store to get his shotgun, then followed the robber in a pickup driven by Bud Carrier. They lost the suspect's car when it turned off the highway, but he was arrested five hours later about 50 miles northwest of Coyle. All but $84 of the $3,380 stolen was recovered.
In the 1940's, some of the people and businesses in Coyle were the Coyle Theatre, Evan's Food Market, Lambeth Drug, Hillerby Farm and Home Supply, Sam Page's Fixit & Welding Shop, Longan Service Station, Arnett's Grocery and Market, Wide-a-Wake café, Eckman Insurance Agency, Bill's Texaco Service Station, Coyle Produce, the Cimarron Valley Clipper, and the First National Bank. Rev. D. L. Cooley was Pastor at the First Christian Church in 1941, John Fry was the Bible School Superintendent - In 1948, Harrie S. Young was Minister & W. D. Daniel was Superintendent. Rev. T. L. Denton was Pastor at the Baptist Church in1941 - Rev. L. L. Scott was Pastor in 1948. Rev. Ray Tower was Pastor at the Methodist Church in 1941 - Rev. Clint Purtell was Pastor in 1948. Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Mains were Pastors at the Assembly of God in 1948; Mrs. Pauline Majors was Superintendent. It appears the town missed having a new dry goods store in 1948, as the Cimarron Valley Clipper stated: ".....there was a guy in town last Friday looking into the possibility of bringing a dry goods store to Coyle, but somehow his apparent dissatisfaction with everything left us satisfied when we saw him drive away....."
This bit of history would not be complete without my mentioning someone the Coyle citizens thought so highly of that they named the city baseball field after him. Pat T. Smalley was the son of Keith L. and Wilma M. Smalley, and the great grandson of Isaac D. Smalley. He was born east of Coyle in Payne County on March 14, 1934. He had lived in Coyle all of his life, with the exception of the years 1953-55 when he was in the service. He married Fannie Bentley in 1952. He was an outstanding civic leader, a member of the Friends Chapel Church; a member of Eastern Star, Master of Cimarron Lodge No. 184 A.F. A.M., of Coyle; member of the Scottish Rite Consistory in Guthrie; and a 32nd degree Mason. He was also Past President of the Northwest Division of Rural Letter Carriers Assn., and treasurer of the Oak Grove Cemetery Association. He signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals while still a high school senior back in 1951 and was catcher for two years with the Cardinals. He also played two years with the U. S. Army team and then returned to Coyle. During the 50's and 60's he taught sandlot ball in Coyle. He was a member of the Bob Brown Tire Company of Stillwater that won the Oklahoma semi-pro title in 1964. He represented the state in the National Baseball Congress Tournament at Wichita, Kansas. Pat Smalley saved little league baseball in Coyle by stirring up enough interest among the parents to reorganize the league in 1969. He was also responsible for the improvements made on the Coyle Baseball Park. He coached a team for several years. While delivering mail to rural Coyle during a snowstorm on February 8, 1979, Smalley suffered a massive heart attack. He was 44 years old.
The Coyle City Council honored Pat's memory by voting to name the city baseball field "Pat Smalley Memorial Park." A marker was placed in the park honoring Pat as athlete, coach, and beloved citizen of the community. The Coyle citizenry also established a Pat Smalley Memorial Fund for two outstanding senior baseball players - one from Coyle and the other from Perkins-Tryon. The dedication was held on April 29, 1979, with Bill Brown presiding and introductions by Harold Flasch. Pleasant memories of Pat were given by representatives of the Coyle Post Office; patrons on Route one, Coyle; the Rural Letter Carriers Association; the Cimarron Masonic Lodge No. 184, A. F. & A. M.; the Perkins-Tryon All-Sports Boosters Club; the Stillwater American Legion Baseball Team; the Perkins Little League parents; the Coyle Little League parents; Pat's Little League team; the Pat Smalley family; and other friends. Ms. Esther Figgins, Pastor of Friends Chapel, gave a prayer. Lloyd Smith, Mayor of Coyle, gave dedication of the Pat Smalley Memorial Baseball Park and Marker. The Marker was donated by two of Pat's friends, Max and Leland Warren. The first annual Pat Smalley Memorial Baseball Game was Pat and Harold's Little League Team vs. The Old Timers.
The people who built Coyle wanted a town that was wholesome and good, a place where they could rear their children in a Christian atmosphere. When I was a child in the 1940's, I lived with my grandparents in Oklahoma City, and it was always a joy to go to Coyle and visit with my great grandparents, Arthur and Fannie Arnett, and with my great grandmother, Leaoda (Smalley) McCamey, Graham. One special visit was when Arthur and Fannie celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in November, 1947 - all of the family gathered in the home of Ruby and Larkin Upchurch (their daughter), and so many of the town's folk came to honor them. There were still several stores and a movie theater there, and I will always remember seeing the men sitting under the elm tree at Whittler's Corner. For a city gal, visiting Coyle was a treat - going to my Uncle Willis "PeeWee" Arnett's farm - going horseback riding and splashing in the pond, clothes and all - having wiener roasts and going swimming in the Cimarron River - going to the little movie theater. When my Aunt Ruby & Uncle Larkin Upchurch lived on their farm, I visited them for a week. I had such a wonderful time while there (except for getting trapped in the outhouse when their bull got loose) that I didn't want to leave when my grandparents came to get me, so I was allowed to stay another week. In the late 50's and early 60's I lived in Coyle for a few years, and I will never forget how close and friendly the people were. People have come and gone since then - many of the young people go away to college, then on to seek employment in larger cities, settling where they find jobs. Some come back to spend their retirement years in their hometown, as my grandparents, Loyde and Pearl McCamey, did. They built a two-story house on top of a hill in the Highland View edition, east of the ballpark. A few years after Loyde died, Pearl became an Avon Lady in Coyle, and remained one for several years. Now they have gone on to a better place, as so many others have. It remains to be seen what will happen to Coyle when the new highway bypasses it. It's sad to see the small town struggling to keep Main Street alive - it holds very fond memories for me, but if they have the tenacity of their ancestors, I know the town will survive.
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