The Untimely Passing of Will Taylor – June 12, 1896

Will Taylor, of whom we made mention last week as being dangerously ill, died last Friday evening of Bright’s disease. He had been confined to the house but a few days. The funeral took place on Saturday, interment taking place in the city cemetery.[i]


[i] Claremore Progress. (Claremore, Indian Terr.), Vol. 4, No. 20, Ed. 1 Saturday, June 20, 1896, newspaper, June 20, 1896; Claremore, Indian Territory. (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc181854/: accessed September 14, 2020), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

Perhaps W.B. Taylor Birth (Sep. 19), 1871. Death (June 12), 1896. Burial Woodlawn Cemetery, Claremore, Rogers County. Plot CP2-12-L6.-6E. Memorial 38361167.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/38361167/w.-b.-taylor Accessed: September 14, 2020.

Claremore’s First Views of Moving Picture Magic

What was the first moving picture theater in Claremore? This is a tricky question. Historians are wary of tagging any event or landmark as “the first” since someone else will inevitably appear with an earlier example and prove them wrong. The answer to the “first moving picture theater in Claremore” question also depends on one’s definition of movie theater.

In February 1904, The Claremore Progress announced, “One of the best entertainments of the season will take place at the (Windsor) opera house tonight. Prof. Henry’s Electric Theatre and Edison’s latest moving pictures will be the attraction” (Claremore Progress,2-13-1904). In 1904, the mystique of Thomas Edison’s unique “movies,” short lengths of “film” that lasted for only several minutes, drew curious crowds due to their sensational novelty.

The introduction of the moving picture phenomenon into Claremore, Indian Territory, in the early 1900s opened an entirely new venue of entertainment, even adding new vocabulary to the local language. Moving pictures (pictures projected onto a viewing screen in rapid succession simulating motion), nickelodeon (a movie venue so named for its five-cent admission charge), theatorium (a moving picture venue), theatre (a fancy spelling of theater), and illustrated songs (glass lantern picture slides projected onto a screen accompanied by vocal music) soon became common-placed household words and phrases. Of course, this decade was called the silent movie era since “talkies,” movies with integrated sound, had not yet been invented.

“A moving picture show in the Elk (Hotel) block is drawing large crowds every evening,” The Claremore Messenger enthusiastically reported, in June 1907 (CM,6-21-1907). A one-story, framed building on the east side of J.M. Davis Boulevard, midway between Will Rogers Boulevard and 4th Street, labeled a “Theatorium,” is noted on Claremore’s 1907, Sanborn Fire Insurance Map. Could this Theatorium be the first movie house in Claremore?

“A new five and ten-cent ‘theatorium’” opened in Claremore in September 1907. O.A. Neis, who owned and maintained the theatorium, outfitted the business “very conveniently and has the best of machinery for the purpose. The pictures will be changed three times a week. The new establishment opened today and will be open every afternoon and evening, and is to be a permanent affair” (CM,9-20-1907). Mr. Neis named his theatorium the Mystic Theatre. By October 1907, The Claremore Messenger advertised,“Good music and much fun at the Mystic Theatre” (CM,10-11-1907).

Yet the Mystic Theatre was not solely reserved for moving picture shows and illustrated songs. Vaudeville, a combination of live song, dance, comedy, and a variety of other acts had also taken center stage.  “The little Mystic Theatre, on Third street, is getting its part of the patronage. Mr. Neis is trying very hard to get attractions to please his patrons, and the continued good attendance shows how well he does it. Last week in addition to regulation performance of moving pictures and illustrated songs a fine show of the Passion Play was given for three nights, then came a celebrated family of acrobats and contortionists who showed for three nights, giving satisfaction” (CM,12-6-1907).

Sadly, in December 1907, the Mystic Theatre took a final bow, “folded its tent,” and went out of business. “This little theatorium has been… conducted in a most commendable manner by Mr. Neis and family. We do not know where they are going from here, but the people of the town they do go to can rest assured they will receive good treatment at the hands of the show” (CM,12-13-907).

So the question still stands. What was Claremore’s first movie house?Perhaps, one of Claremore’s earliest was O.A. Neis’s Mystic Theatre.

By Christa Rice, Claremore History Explorer

This story was published in the Claremore Progress Weekend Edition, September 2022.

Death of Dellie Sanders – September 5, 1900

“The six months’ old child of Mr. & Mrs. Charlie Sanders died Tuesday night of summer complaint. Interment took place Wednesday in the city cemetery.”[i]


[i] The Claremore Progress. (Claremore, Indian Terr.), Vol. 8, No. 21, Ed. 1 Saturday, September 8, 1900. (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc183243/). The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

Dellie “Infant Dau. Of C. & A. Sanders.” Birth 25 Feb 1900. Death 5 Sept 1900 (aged 6 months). Burial Woodlawn Cemetery, Claremore, Rogers County, Oklahoma. Plot CP2-14-L4-3E. “Little Dellie is gone but not forgotten. Budded on earth to bloom in heaven.”

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/8479941/dellie-sanders

The Sad Death of George Luton – August 29, 1899

“At Rest. Georgie Luten [sic], aged ten months, the youngest son of David E. and Rebekah L. Luten [sic], after a short illness, died on Tuesday afternoon, August 28 [29]. Another sad loss to a loving home. The funeral services were conducted at the cemetery, near this city, Wednesday afternoon, by Rev. W.H. Shank, pastor of the Baptist church.”[i]


[i] The Claremore Progress. (Claremore, Indian Terr.), Vol. 7, No. 30, Ed. 1 Saturday, September 2, 1899. (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc182040/) The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

“George Luton. Son of D.E. and R.L. Luton. Born Nov. 21, 1898. Died Aug. 29, 1899.”

George Luton. Birth 21 Nov 1898. Death 29 Aug 1899 (aged 9 months). Burial Woodlawn Cemetery, Claremore, Rogers County, Oklahoma. Plot CP2-13-L9.-4W.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/28866127/george-luton

Who Loves a Black and White Western?

Dale Robertson 1959. *

Who loves a good old, vintage, black and white Western? I’m especially interested in Westerns set in the late 1800s because they give a glimpse into what downtown Claremore, Indian Territory, may have looked and felt like in its early days. I’m curious to see how directors depict wood, rock, and brick buildings with their interior furnishings; the conveyances (trains, wagons, buggies, and horses); the local churches, schools, and businesses (banks, dry goods stores, and even saloons), and the historical fashions.

One of my favorite TV Westerns is Tales of Wells Fargo (NBC, 1957 – 1962)[i]. I was delighted to discover recently that the popular Wells Fargo cowboy star Dale Robertson (1923 – 2013)[ii] was, according to Dale’s biography Bucking Hollywood, born in Harrah, Oklahoma, and later in life lived on his ranch in Yukon.[iii] Even more remarkable is that when Dale Robertson “was only six, Will Rogers, fellow Oklahoman and friend of Dale’s father, looked down at him and said, ‘Why, I ought to take that boy to Hollywood. He’s a natural. He’d do right well out there.’”[iv] Though Robertson did not go to Hollywood until much later in life, this prophetic word of Claremore’s favorite son rang true.

Robertson also remembered Will Rogers giving him another bit of advice laced with Rogers’s characteristic dry humor:

“‘If you do go to Hollywood,’ said the veteran actor, ‘don’t get into a dramatics school. A man’s voice is as individual as his face, and he shouldn’t change it. Stay natural with your Oklahoma drawl. Look what it did for me. They want you natural in Hollywood. The drama coaches will put your voice in a dinner jacket, and most people like their grits and hominy in everyday clothes.’”[v]

Another interesting morsel of Robertson’s Claremore history is that in 1942, before joining the U.S. Army in World War II, Dale Robertson attended Claremore’s Oklahoma Military Academy (OMA) where he enjoyed playing in the athletics programs while there. In fact, Robertson’s biography records, “he won twenty-eight letters in sports.” There is even a photo in the biography of “Dale kicking the football at OMA.” [vi]

Oklahoma historian, John Wooley concurs in his book, Voices from the Hill, The Story of Oklahoma Military Academy[vii] where Wooley shares a photo titled “Class of 1942 Former Cadet Dale Robertson” when Robertson made a visit to OMA later in his life.

So, the next time you see an old Western starring Dale Robertson, remember, this actor is an authentic cowboy who is forever linked to Claremore’s history.

By Christa Rice, Claremore History Explorer

Sources:

*Public Domain https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/Dale_Robertson_1959.JPG

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tales_of_Wells_Fargo

[ii] Dale Robertson (born Dayle Lymoine Robertson). Birth 14 Jul 1923, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. Death 26 Feb 2013 (aged 89), San Diego, San Diego County, California. Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/105902410/dale-robertson

“Dale Robertson, a Horse-Savvy Actor in Westerns, Is Dead at 89.” By Douglas Martin. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/arts/television/dale-robertson-actor-dies-at-89.html

[iii] Bucking Hollywood. “A Sad Situation Long Before Dale was Born.” By Susan Robertson. Page Publishing Inc., 2019. No pages listed. https://books.google.com/books?id=3wSSDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT13&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Voices from the Hill, The Story of Oklahoma Military Academy. By John Wooley. Hawk Publishing Group, Tulsa. 2005. p. 111, 293.

Untimely Death of Annie Beard – February 19, 1898

“Obituary. Mrs. Annie Beard, relict of John M. Beard, died Saturday night (19 February 1898?) at her home here a little after seven o’clock, after a long and painful illness.  The deceased was born in the Cherokee Nation August 25th, 1858, and had resided almost continuously here ever since. She was a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church and Rev. L. Dobson, D.D., conducted the last sad rites on Monday, when interment took place at the City Cemetery. A large circle of friends extend sincere sympathy to the bereaved children.”[i]

Unfortunately, Mrs. Beard’s tombstone is no longer visible at Woodlawn Cemetery. Nor is she listed in Findagrave.com

Annie Beard. Birth 25 Aug 1858, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Death 19 February 1898 (aged 39), Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Burial Unmarked Grave at Woodlawn Cemetery, Rogers County, Oklahoma.


[i] The Claremore Progress. (Claremore, Indian Terr.), Vol. 6, No. 3, Ed. 1 Saturday, February 26, 1898, newspaper, February 26, 1898; Claremore, Indian Territory. (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc181856/:accessed September 14, 2020), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

Other members of Annie Beard’s family follow – John M. Beard, Clarence M. Beard, Ora M. Beard.

John M. Beard, Born Nov. 3, 1855 Died Dec. 9, 1894. Woodlawn Cemetery, Claremore, Oklahoma.

“Marshal Beard Killed. That was the word received here just about noon Sunday, the tragedy occurring at Bob Hendrick’s five miles southwest of here. Beard arrived from Ft. Smith on the morning train Sunday and in company with Deputy Pulse of the Muskogee Court left for Bob Hendricks’s to return a saddle he had borrowed. Upon their arrival there, they met James Price a noted character who is wanted in different places on various charges. Price immediately threw his Winchester down on Beard and demanded of him if he had a warrant for his arrest, and Beard assured him that he did not and got out of the buggy and started toward Price with extended hand, but Price still covered him with his Winchester, when all of a sudden Beard jumped behind the wagon and pulled his six-shooter, firing at Price the ball passing through his coat; almost simultaneously with his shot, Price fired, the bullet taking effect in Beard’s head at the side of the nose, below the eye, the bullet coming out at the back of the head. Beard expired almost instantly his neck having been broken. Price then covered Pulse with his Winchester but being assured that he was not armed and upon the pleading of Hendricks he did not fire. Price then walked over to Beard’s prostrate form and took his six-shooter and searched his pockets to see if he had a warrant for his arrest; not finding it he mounted his horse and rode off.

“Mrs. Beard was immediately sent after and after she and Drs. Linn & White arrived the body was removed to the deceased’s home here.  The funeral took place on Tuesday evening and was largely attended nearly all of the business houses of the city closing. Services were conducted by the Rev. C.C. McGinley, interment taking place in the city cemetery. The deceased had been marshal of our city for the past two years and was a fearless and efficient officer. He was also a Fort Smith deputy and had the past few months been very successful in caging some noted criminals. He leaves a wife and three children to mourn his untimely and sudden taking off, and they have the sympathy of the community.”[i]

“Will Join the Cook Bandits. Guthrie Capital: Deputy Marshal John Beard, of Claremore, I.T., was shot and killed yesterday morning four miles south of there, while trying to arrest Jim Price, a local tough, wanted by both the United States and Cherokee authorities. Deputy United States Marshal Beard and Pulse went after Price, who got the drop on them. Beard stepped behind his wagon and took a shot at Price, who returned the fire with a Winchester ball which pierced Beard’s brain. He then, after driving Pulse away, fled to the brush, saying he was going to join the Cooks.”[ii]

“Deputy Beard Killed. Shot by Jim Price, Whom He attempted to Arrest. Claremore, I.T., Dec 9. – Deputy Marshal John Beard of this place was shot and instantly killed this morning about 11 o’clock, four miles south of here at the Hendericks’s place while attempting to arrest Jim Price, a local tough, who has been scouting from the authorities for some time. He is wanted by both the United States officers and the Cherokee authorities. Deputy Marshals Beard and Pulse, also of this place, drove out to Hendricks’s place this morning. Jim Price had just ridden up and dismounted. Price covered Marshal Beard with his Winchester and began backing off. Beard alighted and followed him, when Price ordered him to stop. Beard said: “Oh, I don’t want you, Price still advancing.” Price said: “Keep away; don’t you come near.” Beard remarked: “I only want to shake hands with you,” and, stepping behind a wagon, drew his revolver and fired, piercing Price’s coat, but not wounding him. At the same instant Price fired, the ball taking effect below Beard’s right eye and passing out the back of the neck, killing him instantly. Price then advanced to shoot the other Marshal, who was unarmed, and had taken refuge behind the horses, when Hendricks, who was standing by, begged him not to shoot, and ordered the Marshal to get out. He obeyed. Price took Beard’s revolver and looked through his papers for the warrant and then backed off to his horse, mounted, called his dog and said: “Good-by, people; I’m off to join the Cooks.” And he rode into the brush. Several Marshals left here to take up the chase and word was sent to Wagoner to head him off, as he was going that way.”[iii]

“The Sad Intelligence reached this city Sunday that deputy John M. Beard, of Claremore had been killed by Jim Price who he was trying to arrest near that place. Beard was very well known in Vinita and throughout Cooweescoowee district; was a brave and efficient officer. The whole country will regret to hear of his untimely death. This is two marshals that have lain down their lives in trying to arrest outlaws within a week and in the same section of country.”[iv]

“The killing of John Beard by Jim Price last Sunday brings to mind a conversation between Beard and Price, while the latter was under guard here some time ago on the charge of hog stealing. Price objected to something Beard had done and informed him that he would kill him, and Beard replied, when you do, I want you to take my gun. Last Sunday witnessed the fulfilling of the threat and the carrying out of the dead man’s request.”[v]

“Got the Drop on the Officers. Claremore, Ind. Ter., Dec. 10. – Deputy Marshal John Beard of this place was shot and instantly killed yesterday morning four miles south of here, while attempting to arrest Jim Price, a local tough, wanted by both the United States and Cherokee authorities. Deputy United States Marshal Beard and Pulse went after Price, who got the drop on them. Beard stepped behind his wagon and took a snap shot at Price who returned the fire with a Winchester ball which pierced Beard’s brain. He then, after driving Pulse off, fled to the brush, saying he was going to join the Cooks.”[vi]

“Our Twin Babies. Clarence M died Aug. 13, 1888, Aged 7 mo & 13 days. Ora M died Oct. 11, 1888, Aged 9 mo & 11 days. Children of J.M. & Annie Beard. There was never no flower that bloomed of my choice but was teh first to fade away.” Woodlawn Cemetery, Claremore, Oklahoma. Woodlawn Cemetery worker Alan said he found the broken off portion of this monument in a discard pile below the cemetery. Plans are to reattach the stone and return the top to its rightful prominent position.
Carrie Daughter of J.M. & Annie Beard Died June 26, 1889 Aged 6 Years. 5 Mo & 9 Days. This child leans on its parent’s breast leaves there its cares and is at rest with God.” Woodlawn Cemetery, Claremore, Oklahoma.

Sources:

[i] Claremore Progress. (Claremore, Indian Terr.), Vol. 2, No. 47, Ed. 1 Saturday, December 15, 1894. Accessed September 14, 2020. The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

John M. Beard. Birth 3 Nov 1855, Oklahoma. Death 9 Dec 1894 (aged 39), Rogers County, Oklahoma. Burial Woodlawn Cemetery, Claremore, Rogers County, Oklahoma. Memorial ID 8499052. 

“John was born in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory and was killed near Claremore, Rogers County, Oklahoma. He married Lovely Ann Bushyhead on July 10, 1873. They had three children (Elizabeth, Henry and Beulah).”“Deputy Marshal Beard is memorialized at Panel: 27-W: 8 on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC and on the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial.”

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/8499052/john-m-beard Accessed: September 14, 2020.

[ii] Hodge, J. C. The Beaver Advocate. (Beaver, Okla. Terr.), Vol. 8, No. 20, Ed. 1 Thursday, December 20, 1894. Accessed September 14, 2020. The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

The Woodward News. (Woodward, Okla. Terr.), Vol. 1, No. 30, Ed. 1 Friday, December 21, 1894. Accessed September 14, 2020.  The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

[iii] Rolla Herald (Rolla, Missouri). Vol. XXIX, No. 17. Thursday, December, 13 1894. https://shsmo.newspapers.com/image/128309241/?terms=%22John%20Beard%22&match=1 Accessed: September 14, 2020.

[iv] Indian chieftain. [volume] (Vinita, Indian Territory [Okla.]), 13 Dec. 1894. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025010/1894-12-13/ed-1/seq-3/> Accessed: September 14, 2020.

[v] Claremore Progress. (Claremore, Indian Terr.), Vol. 2, No. 47, Ed. 1 Saturday, December 15, 1894. Accessed September 14, 2020. The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

[vi] The Pineville Herald (Pineville, Missouri), Vol. I, No. 4.December 14, 1894. https://shsmo.newspapers.com/image/580560805/?terms=%22John%20Beard%22&match=1 Accessed: September 14, 2020. 

The Sad Death of Samuel Flippin – August 21, 1898

“Samuel, infant son of Mr. & Mrs. J.F. Flippin, died at Vinita Sunday of cholera infantum. They were on a visit to Mrs. Flippin’s parents. The remains were brought to Claremore Monday and buried in the city cemetery. The bereaved parents have the sympathy of all in the loss of their little one. It was aged two months and twenty-one days.”[i]


[i] The Claremore Progress. (Claremore, Indian Terr.), Vol. 6, No. 29, Ed. 1 Saturday, August 27, 1898. (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc181890/) The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

Samuel Flippin Birth 1 June 1898. Death 21 Aug 1898 (aged 2 months). Burial Woodlawn Cemetery, Claremore, Rogers County, Oklahoma. Plot CP2-5-. -L6.-2W. Memorial ID 29685473.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/29685473/samuel-flippin Accessed: September 15, 2020.

Parents: James Fugette (1870 – 1938) and Mary Lane Little (1875 – 1934) Flippin

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/29685041/james-fugette-flippin Accessed: September 15, 2020.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/29685424/mary-lane-flippin Accessed: September 15, 2020.

Siblings Mary Theresa Flippin Reed (1896 – 1981) Rachel L Flippin (1899 – 1901) Ruth Ailene Flippin Oldham (1902 – 1985).

Mrs. Schmitz and Her Bird Hotel, established 1908

In 1908, Claremore, Oklahoma, was widely known for its fancy hotels and therapeutic health spas. City fathers established the town as a vacation and respite destination in the middle of the western United States where guests could enjoy the medicinal benefits of drinking and bathing in Claremore’s legendary Radium Waters.  Numerous hotels were constructed to house the weary travelers who arrived in Claremore by train, wagon, or even newfangled “motor machine.” 

Perhaps even long-time Claremore residents have not heard of the Schmitz Hotel, though it once played a significant role in the city’s hospitality trade.

The widowed Laura Alice Schmitz, builder, owner, and proprietress of the Schmitz Hotel, first spread her wings in Claremore in July 1908, when L.P. Grimsley sold her his lot at 319 West Will Rogers Boulevard for $2,800 (Claremore Messenger,7-24-1908). Oddly, by September 20 of that year, L.P. Grimley was dead (Claremore Progress,11-21-1908).

Before the end of 1908, Mrs. Schmitz broke ground for what eventually became her 25×135 feet, three-story brick hotel (CP,4-26-1912). Christened the Schmitz Hotel, this was one of the finest buildings in the city. Tanner Brothers furniture store occupied the first floor. Mrs. Schmitz established her up-to-date rooming house with private baths on the second and third floors and carried out a respectable hostelry profession (CP,12-19-1908).

The Schmitz Hotel Business Card circa 1908-1915. Courtesy Randy Leach Collection. Used with Permission.

Yet, unexpected challenges lurked in the hotel business.  One night, “a sneak thief” entered a guest room of the hotel and stole four dollars from a patron’s pockets.  Mistakenly, the patron left his door unlocked but was awakened in time to get a view of the thief. However, when an arrest was made by Policeman Buchanan, the patron was not able to positively identify the thief; the suspect was turned loose (CP,6-24-10).

An independent businesswoman, Mrs. L.A. Schmitz surprised her friends in March 1914, when the announcement was made that Rev. Cameron of the Methodist Church had united her and Mr. S.A.J. Bird in holy matrimony. The wedding was recorded as a quiet affair celebrated in the parlor of the Schmitz Hotel (CP,3-13-1924).

The year after the wedding, the newlyweds opened the Bird Café in the newly renamed Bird Hotel. By then, Mrs. Bird had developed a solid reputation having conducted her rooming house for over six years. With the addition of a dining room, café, and office on the first floor facing Main Street, the business took on the air of a prosperous hotel (CM,3-19-1915).  Traveling men described the Bird Hotel as being “one of the nicest $1.25 hotels and cafés in the state” (CM,3-26-1915) because of its first-floor restaurant, gas heat, electric lights, 33 modern rooms, and two-story columned portico addition on the front sidewalk. Also noteworthy were the heavy pocket doors, large glass windows, the skylight atrium in the middle of the building that added natural light and ventilation to all floors, and the exquisite decorative pressed tin ceiling tiles.

Schmitz aka Bird aka Twin Oaks Hotel front left with balcony. Will Rogers Boulevard, Claremore, Oklahoma, looking west. Photographer Blair Photo. How many business buildings do you recognize today?

Unfortunately, the Bird Hotel became “heartbreak hotel” as Mrs. Bird was granted a divorced from Mr. Bird in 1919 (CP,8-28-1919). The previous year, Mrs. Bird had let her hotel business fly free. Thereafter, a parade of proprietors took on the hostelry’s management, even changing the hotel’s name. The Stevens took possession in January 1920 doing extensive renovation and changed the name of the hotel to The Saratoga (CP,1-29-1920). The Stevens sold the Saratoga to C.B. Beamer in 1921 (CP,5-5-1921).

By 1925, the name of the Schmitz/Bird/Saratoga Hotel was changed to the name familiar to the Claremore community today – Twin Oaks Hotel.  This tall building continues to elevate Claremore’s downtown south eastern cityscape sheltering unique recollections of Claremore’s past.

By Christa Rice, Claremore History Explorer

This story was published in the Claremore Progress Weekend Edition, August 13 & 14, 2022. If you would like to read the unabridged version of, “The Twin Oaks Hotel,” please click here.

Dr. Otto Rogers and Cora Hicks Wedding – August 9, 1905

“Rogers – Hicks. One of the prettiest weddings of the season occurred at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. A.F. Parsley on the night of August 9th, when Dr. Otto Rogers, of Fort Gibson, was married to Miss Cora Hicks, of this city, by Rev. J.R. Finley, of the Presbyterian Church.

“The ceremony was preceded by the song, ‘O Promise Me’ by Miss Hannah Rosenthal, immediately following which the wedding march was played by Miss Clara Hicks. The bridal procession was headed by Misses Pauline and Cora Parsley, flower girls, followed by the bride, who was escorted to the alter by E.D. Hicks, of Tahlequah, her nearest and eldest relative of the name, followed by Misses Lola Lipe and Ella Rogers, bridesmaids, and Mrs. George Arnhart, matron of honor. From an opposite direction came the bridegroom, headed by Fred Parsley, Jr., and accompanied by Ross Hicks and J.F. McClellan, groomsmen. The two processions met at the altar when the ceremony was quickly and impressively performed.

“The ceremony was followed by hearty congratulations of over fifty friends and relatives, after which brick ice cream, cake and punch were served. The happy couple took the midnight train for points in Colorado, where their honeymoon will be spent, thence home to their friends near Fort Gibson.

“The Parsley home was beautifully decorated for the affair, the color scheme being white and yellow. The bride looked charming in a gown of cream peau de soie, with point lace yoke and bertha, and veil draped with bride’s roses and golden beads. She carried bride’s roses. Miss Lipe was gowned in white silk mull over yellow taffeta, Miss Rogers in silk rosebud mull and Mrs. Arnhart in white silk waist and accordion plaited skirt.

“Miss Hicks was a very charming young lady and will be greatly missed by Claremore society, as well as by Mr. and Mrs. Parsley, whose home was hers also. The Pocahontas Club, for which she was an active member, loses one more member. Dr. Rogers is a young Man of sterling worth and integrity.

 “Out of town guests were Mr. and Mrs. E.D. Hicks, Joe and Miss Clara Hicks, of Tahlequah; Misses Gertrude and Ella Rogers, Fanny Nash and Mr. Clifford Rogers, of Fort Gibson and Mrs. George Arnhart, of Fairland.

“There were many beautiful and useful presents among which were: A.F. Parsley, cow; Mrs. A.F. Parsley, Satin damask table linen; Mr. and Mrs. E.D. Hicks, berry set; Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Stapler, cake plate; Mr. and Mrs. J.M. LaHay, cream ladle; Mr. and Mrs. Will Fry, olive spoon; Mr. and Mrs. Dillingworth, cream ladle; Mr. and Mrs. Griff Harnage, cut glass berry bowl; Mr. and Mrs. R.S. Saunders, doily; Mr. and Mrs. William Hall, sofa pillow; Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Gibbs, antique center table; Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Johnston, Battenberg table cover; Mr. and Mrs. Teece Chambers, rocker; Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Bushyhead, berry set; Mr. and Mrs. Louie Nash, sugar spoon; Mr. and Mrs. B.W. Starr and Charley, cream ladle; Mr. and Mrs. George Walkley, butter knife; Mrs. M.B. Church, sofa pillow; Mrs. A.E. Woodson, pie fork; Mrs. V.C. Chambers, quilt; Mrs. George Arnhart, hemstitched table cloth’ Misses Nash, dessert, table and tea spoons; Misses Bond, pickle fork; Miss Annay Sappington, cup and saucer; Miss Lola Lipe, cup and saucer; Misses Rosenthal and Parsley, granite kitchen set; T.L. Brown, clock; Clifford Rogers, berry spoon; C.V. Rogers, couch; Ross Hicks, set Japanese cups and saucers; Alt Atkinson, cut glass vinegar cruet; Master Fred Parsley, pickle dish’ Pocahontas Club, McKinley oak rocker.

“The groom’s present to the bride was a handsome solitaire diamond ring. The bride’s present to her bridesmaids were spoons and to singers pearl stick pin. The groom presented scarf pins to his groomsmen.”[i]


[i] The Claremore Progress. (Claremore, Indian Terr.), Vol. 13, No. 29, Ed. 1 Saturday, August 12, 1905.(https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc183648/: accessed October 19, 2021), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

Purcell – Johnson Wedding – August 1, 1915

“Miss Hazel Purcell Marries – Miss Hazell Purcell, one of the accomplished and popular members of Claremore’s younger society set, sprung a surprise on her many friends here Sunday when she went to Tulsa where , at the hour of 2:30 p.m., at the home of Mrs. T.F. Gailey, 310 S. Frisco, with only a few friends and relatives present, she was married to W. Reid Johnson, of that city, Rev. Kerr, of the Presbyterian church officiating.

“Miss Purcell is well known to many of our readers, having been engaged in the show business here until recently when she leased The Electric Theatre, which she owns, to Humphrey Brothers, of Wagoner. She has many friends here who join Progress in wishing her much happiness.

“The groom is employed in the offices of the Gulf Pipe-Line Co., at Tulsa, and although we are not personally acquainted with him, we understand that he is a young man of clean habits; is a worker, and a man well worth the choice he made in a life companion.

“The young couple will make their future home at Tulsa and will be at home to their many friends her at that place.”[1]

[1] Kates, W. C. Claremore Progress. And Rogers County Democrat (Claremore, Okla.), Vol. 23, No. 26, Ed. 1 Thursday, August 5, 1915.(https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc181562/). The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

Mary Hazel Purcell Johnson. Birth 5 Jan 1896, Nowata, Nowata County, Oklahoma. Death 3 Dec 1993 (aged 97) Springdale, Washington County, Arkansas. Burial Rose Hill Memorial Park, Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma. Plot Section Abbey 2nd L-431 Row D. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/77166229/mary-hazel-johnson

William Reid Johnson. Birth 18 Oct 1893, Cleburne, Johnson County, Texas. Death Jan 1985 (91), Springdale, Washington County, Arkansas. Burial Rose Hill Memorial Park, Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma. Plot Section Abbey 2nd L-431.5 Row D. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/77166286/william-reid-johnson

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