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CAROLE GILL: Local lore and trivia

July 9, 2013

The week ahead will be a busy one for Buckley Public Library. Today at 11 a.m. our toddlers and pre-schoolers will ‘Dig Into Reading’ for about half an hour. We had a fun time last week, and it was great to see the younger kids again. Wednesday at 10 a.m., the Magic Archaeologist will be passing through Poteau to share his finds with our elementary school kids. At 1 p.m. Wednesday, magician and entertainer Steve Crawford, who seems to know the Archaeologist well, will have a magician’s workshop for our teens. This is a rare opportunity to learn from the magician star of Fox TV’s former show “Magical Mystery Tour.”
Our Summer Reading Program’s reading rewards from area businesses will continue until Wednesday, July 31, so bring those kids by to pick up books and fill their summer with stories and exploration.
Thursday, July 11 at noon, it’s the adults turn with the Stitchers holding a reorganizational meeting with new information for the group. Everyone is invited to bring your own lunch and drink.
Now today’s question is: How well do you know your own back yard and local history? See how you do on these rather random questions about the Poteau area:
What happened near Poteau in 1910 that helped secure Poteau’s future and bring the area into the industrial age? When the Civil War ended, Captain James Reynolds, and his wife Felicity moved to LeFlore County and built an unusual home. Where is it, and what was it called?
From the rural Eastern Oklahoma community of Bug Tussle to the University of Oklahoma, he received the Outstanding Male Student award while living at his Aunt Myrtle’s home to save money. While at OU, he was chosen as a Rhodes scholar to study at Oxford University. Years later, as Speaker of the U.S. House he was next in succession to the U.S. Presidency, after Lyndon Johnson, at the time of President Kennedy’s assassination. Who was this man and what is his most apparent connection to the Poteau area?
In my generation, I personally remember U.S. Presidents John Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George Bush and Vice President Lyndon Johnson visiting our area. But Poteau was visited by a White House emissary in the early 1900s as well. What was that about?
What was the name of the settlement was established in 1881 with a Post Office 10 miles west of Shady Point? The post lasted only about a year and a half, but another post office was established nearby for the Latham community in 1901.
This Oklahoma governor and later U.S. Senator chose as his political legacy what we would now call environmental issues balanced with industrial development. What event while he was governor crystallized this vision and what was the title of his book advocating this vision?
What was the law enforcement arm of the Choctaw Nation dating back to the pre-statehood days of the Indian Territory? In fact, there are so many interesting facts relating to the Native Americans of this area, I’ve decided to save those for a future piece.
All of these questions can be researched at Buckley Public Library in our regular collection, the Oklahoma collection and in the Genealogy room. Your community library is a repository for local history.
The genealogy room is a great place for independent research as well as discussions with knowledgeable volunteers. For those interested in hometown and regional history, Buckley is the place.
Answers: The first natural gas well hit pay dirt. In a few months, No. 1 was showing 1,800,000 cubic feet at 355 pounds pressure. Civil War Captain Reynolds built the “Reynolds Castle” at Cameron. Poteau Junior College was renamed to honor Speaker Carl Albert who was instrumental in developing the school to the outstanding educational resource it is now. In 1919 Woodrw Wilson’s Vice President Thomas R. Marshall was traveling by train to Oklahoma City when a delegation of Poteau leaders met him at the Boonville, Ark., stop and invited him to speak in Poteau. He agreed, and a procession of cars brought him to Poteau from the Howe switch, and here he addressed the gathered crowd. The community of Opossum was near Latham, named for the Opossum Creek tributary of Brazil Creek. Governor Kerr wrote the book “Land, Wind and Water” after the devastating floods in eastern Oklahoma in 1943. The Light Horseman policed the Five Civilized Tribes in territory now known as eastern Oklahoma.

Carole Gill is the children’s and young adult librarian at Buckley Public Library in Poteau. E-mail her at carolegill@oklibrary.net.

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