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00:00:04 - Family history of Jack Carman

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Partial Transcript: EC: This is an interview with Jack Carman, June 7, 1979. Why don’t we start with just you. Tell me where your folks came from? What you know about why they came if you do, anything like that.

JC: Well, my folks came from Billings, Missouri out of Springfield, Missouri a little ways. And my dad used to buy cattle in the early day and down in Indian Territory and took [indecipherable] train back to St. Louis, and he got acquainted in this country. Finally, he moved down, moved his family down. He had five children, and [inaudible]. Yeah, he just had one child then, and the rest of us was born here in Bristow.

Segment Synopsis: Family history of Jack Carman including their move from Billings, Missouri

Keywords: Billings Oil Company; Billings, Missouri; Springfield, Missouri; buying land; cattle business; oil boom; trading with Indians

00:02:01 - Childhood memories in Bristow

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Partial Transcript: EC: Well, when were you born?

JC: 1905.

EC: Alright, what were some of your early memories about your childhood? Anything special, you know? What do you remember about Bristow and what life was like, what you did?

JC: My dad had a Model T Ford Agency here in Bristow during the boom, and I wasn’t but about 12 or 13 when I learned how to drive one of those Model T’s pretty early in life. Every time we sold one to a farmer, why I’d have to teach them how to drive. They never had driven before or hardly ridden in a car. That was quite an experience for me.

Segment Synopsis: Childhood memories in Bristow including working at Model T Ford Agency

Keywords: Model T; Model T Ford Agency; date of birth; driving

Subjects: Childhood memories in Bristow

00:02:50 - Attending School

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Partial Transcript: EC: You went to school here?

JC: Yeah, and graduated and went to OU, and graduated there, and coached a couple of years. I decided I didn’t want anymore of that, so I came home and started farming and bull dozing and a little bit of everything.

EC: What were the schools like when you went to school in Bristow?

Segment Synopsis: Attending school in Bristow and college at OU

Keywords: Mr. Hutton; OU; bull dozing; farming; sliding on railing; superintendent; two-story school

Subjects: Attending School

00:04:20 - Oil Boom

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Partial Transcript: EC: You mentioned the oil boom. When you think of the boom, what years do you mean?

JC: Well, I don’t know exactly but it was about ’23 or something.

EC: Right.

JC: That’s way back there, and I was, I was born in 1905. But they had two or three after that and that was the first one anyway.

EC: What do you remember about the town of Bristow as the boom hit? Do you remember any changes?

JC: Yeah. We used to have dirt streets, mostly, I think, when the boom hit. I remember there was dirt streets and they had wooden sidewalks, they followed along in front of the stores and buildings. And if you was pretty heavy and you could step on the outside of one of those boards was about four foot wide in front of the building, while then the other ones would fly up.

EC: Well, do you remember the cotton days and all the wagons in the street?

JC: Yeah, gosh yeah. We had a lot of fun playing on the wagons that came in town.

Segment Synopsis: What the town of Bristow was like during the oil boom

Keywords: 1923; born 1905; cotton days; dirt streets; oil boom; wagons; wooden sidewalks

00:05:38 - Jobs in School

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Partial Transcript: EC: Did you have any jobs that, oh in high school or as a teenager? Did you work around town at all?

JC: Yeah, I worked plenty but it was for my dad.

EC: In the Ford Agency, mainly?

JC: Well, I was just kind of a small kid, and when they’d get a car load of Model T’s in the train, why they had the body off of them and the chassis, you know, all in the same box car. My job was to put the body on the chassis and bolt it down, so they would go together.

Segment Synopsis: He worked for his dad at the Ford Agency putting cars together and teaching farmers how to drive

Keywords: Ford Agency; Model T; driving; jobs

Subjects: Jobs in School

00:06:50 - Jobs after College

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Partial Transcript: EC: After you got out of college, what kind of business did you go into?

JC: Well, like I say, I coached two years over at Poteau. That was the start of the depression. We got married that year and graduated. Let’s see what else did I [inaudible], huh? Yeah, had my first new car. I was really on top until I found I didn’t like coaching too well.

Segment Synopsis: Jobs after college including coaching at Poteau for two years

Keywords: Poteau; The Depression; coaching; new car

00:07:18 - Memories from Youth

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Partial Transcript: EC: Did you, when you were a child, what kind of things did kids do? Horseback riding or what was the fun part of life when you were a kid?

JC: That’s a hard question. [inaudible]

EC: Any of them pranks?

JC: Oh yeah. Had one past time of Halloween, you know we all had outhouses, and at night we’d shove ‘em over. Then they modernized those out houses, you know, and put water system in them in the outhouse and it was a little harder to push over then with plumbing in there.

Segment Synopsis: Memories from youth including pranks and 4th of July picnics

Keywords: 4th of July; fireworks; ice cream; outhouses; picnics; pranks

00:08:44 - Events During the Oil Boom

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Partial Transcript: EC: Did Bristow seem crowded to you during the oil boom?

JC: Yeah, it was crowded. There was about twenty-five to thirty thousand people here compared with five or six they got now, counting the cotton wagon [indecipherable].

EC: Was it a typical oil town in the sense that there was fights and gambling or whatever?

JC: Yeah, money changed hands pretty freely, and fortunes were made and lost over night or gambling, you know.

EC: There’s a former marshal I have only heard about, Uncle Billy?

JC: Billy Freshour.

Segment Synopsis: The population of Bristow grew during the oil boom which made for gambling and fights and the need for US Marshal, Billy Freshour.

Keywords: Billy Freshour; Paul Jones; The Depression; US Marshal; Well's Grocery; cotton wagon; gambling; jail; population

Subjects: Events During the Oil Boom

00:11:55 - Politics in Bristow

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Partial Transcript: EC: Were you ever involved in politics in Bristow?

JC: Yeah, I run for County Commissioner once and that’s [indecipherable] from now on.

EC: Who were some of the people who were involved in politics? Were there two sides? Was there democrats versus republicans or were there factions in town? How would you describe the politics in Bristow?

JC: Well, [inaudible] I never did take part. Yeah, my dad was a republican, of course, I was, too, and all us kids. I never forget my dad never did take much part in politics, but my mother and brother did, my older brother. He got beat, too.

Segment Synopsis: Jack ran for County Commissioner and Mark Schrader was mayor

Keywords: WWII; county commissioner; politics; republican; town leaders

00:13:57 - Notable Events in Bristow

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Partial Transcript: JC: On harvest day, you know, everybody got their guns up shooting, you know, celebrating. Somebody accidently shot the rope from the flag pole, and they thought there was a traitor there in the crowd shooting the flag down.

EC: Well, had there been any, particularly, oh, amusing things that have happened in Bristow over the years or exciting things that you happened to see? Were you involved in any of those bank robberies or anything like that?

Segment Synopsis: Notable events in Bristow including harvest day, bank robberies and race relations

Keywords: Ku Klux Klan; Tulsa; bank robberies; harvest day; race relations; riot

00:16:06 - Indian Relations and Moonshine

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Partial Transcript: EC: How do you feel that the relationship between Indians and whites has been?

JC: We hadn’t had any trouble there. They weren’t very [indecipherable] but they did get along and didn’t get in much trouble. They liked liquor like all other Indians.

EC: Where did the liquor come from in Bristow?

JC: Huh?

EC: Where did the liquor come from in Bristow?

JC: Oh, moonshine mostly. Made it out in the country. Once instance when I was out on the farm, this fellow came up and said, “Say you making whiskey over on the back side of your place?” I said, “Hell no!” He said, “Well, you got a still running over there.” And I said, “Well, hell, let’s go over there and look at it.”

Segment Synopsis: Indian relations and a moonshine still on Jack's property

Keywords: Indians; liquor; moonshine; still

Subjects: Indian Relations and Moonshine

00:17:25 - Major Land Owners

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Partial Transcript: EC: Who were some of the major land owners around Bristow?

JC: Oh, the Kelly’s has been some of the first. My dad, of course, was in that early. Used to, all you had to have was a bottle of liquor and a deed and you could buy land pretty cheap. And then the court had to approve all the Indian deals, of course.

EC: Do you think there was a good bit of that done?

JC: Yeah, there was some of it, but more and more crude work on the lease and all that. The oil business was trading land, you know.

Segment Synopsis: Major land owners included Jack's dad and the Kelly Family

Keywords: Indian land deals; The Kellys; liquor

00:18:06 - Building of Heyburn Lake

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Partial Transcript: EC: I know what I wanted to ask you about, this Lake Heyburn?

JC: Who?

EC: Lake Heyburn or Heyburn Lake out here?

JC: Yeah, Heyburn Lake.

EC: I judge there was some controversy about the building of that.

JC: There was on my part.

EC: Well, tell me about it. Tell me about it. I don’t know anything about the story.

JC: Well, Brick Kirchner and I bid on the clearing of the lake, you know, getting the brush off of it. First job we ever had that large and that kind of a job. We started the clearing on it, a $120,000 job, and about three-fourths done [indecipherable] was good up to that date.

Segment Synopsis: Jack and Brick Kirchner worked to clear the land for Heyburn Lake just in time for floods to ruin their progress

Keywords: Brick Kirchner; Heyburn Lake; building Heyburn Lake; floods; lawsuit

Subjects: Building of Heyburn Lake

GPS: Heyburn Lake
Map Coordinates: 35.9526° N, 96.3027° W
Hyperlink: Heyburn Lake
00:19:58 - Sports

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Partial Transcript: EC: I take it that sports were pretty big in Bristow in your high school days…sports, athletics?

JC: Oh yeah, because the oil boom mostly. The men had the money and they wanted to bet on the team. They wanted Bristow to win, and if we had a weak spot on the team why the coach or somebody would hire this kid’s dad whose job was here and that he would be living in Bristow legal to play on the Bristow team. It was several pictures there of boys that had been moved in, you know, from [indecipherable]. We played for the state championship down in Oklahoma City against Norman.

Segment Synopsis: Sports and betting on sports was big during the oil boom in Bristow

Keywords: Norman; Oklahoma City; athletics; betting; cheating; oil boom; sports; state championship

00:21:47 - Travel

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Partial Transcript: EC: You mentioned, speaking of trips, you mentioned earlier that you used to go to Colorado in the summers. Where did people from Bristow go for vacations? Colorado?

JC: Well, yeah, Joe Abraham had a big family, and he did about like my dad. He’d go out there and rent one of those houses, you know. They had a big family, and dad would just lay around there and enjoy the cool nights and rest up. And us kids was kind of on our own. I sold newspapers and did a little guide. A whole lot of people wanted the kids to show them where just sight-seeing tour was.

Segment Synopsis: People often vacationed in Colorado and most of Jack's business connections were in OKC

Keywords: Colorado; Norman; Oklahoma City; Siloam Springs; business connections; cattle market; travel; vacations

Subjects: business connections in OKC; vacation to Colorado

00:23:11 - Buildings Around Town

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Partial Transcript: EC: Let me ask you, what are some of the houses or buildings still standing that you remember as being some of the oldest?

JC: [Indecipherable] Grocery on west sixth street, Dr. Schrader (ph) had this kind of nice house right here next to the park.


EC: Okay, any others? Bill Cheatham (ph) house on 11th.

JC: Joe Abraham had this large brick house on 8th Street that’s still standing. One of the daughters lives in it.

EC: What about downtown? Are there any of the buildings that are the original old ones?

Segment Synopsis: Jack's dad built the first brick building and made the bricks for the building

Keywords: Bill Cheatham; Community State Bank; Dr. King; Dr. Schrader; Joe Abraham; Mrs. Albert Kelly, Sr.; Reba Carman; first brick building; first hospital; making bricks

Subjects: Buildings Around Town; First brick building; First hospital

00:26:11 - Reba's Family

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Partial Transcript: EC: Tell me about your family. Who was your father and where did he come from?

RC: My father came, my family came from Tennessee. And the day we landed in Bristow, I was six-months-old, and he had just graduated from medical school in Tennessee and had taken a trip out in Oklahoma, down in the southern part of the state, way down in the south part of the state to find a location. And he didn’t like what he had seen in the south and he started back home on the train and met a drug salesman. He told him that there was a little settlement, Newby, 10 miles south of Bristow here, that badly needed a doctor. So he went down and he liked it, so we went back to Tennessee and brought the family out. And we lived in Newby about four years.

Segment Synopsis: Reba's family came from Tennessee when she was six-months old where her dad, Dr. Wells settled their family in Newby

Keywords: Dr. Wells; Newby; Tennessee; family

Subjects: Dr. Wells; Reba's family

00:27:19 - Reba's Memories of Bristow

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Partial Transcript: EC: What are some of your memories of Bristow as a child?

RC: Well, I can remember how rough it was during the oil boom.

EC: Rough? How?

RC: Well, women just couldn’t go out on the streets alone. We lived, at that time, over on East 7th Street, and right down there where Well’s Grocery Store is, was a livery stable. And on that main street, right across from where Johnny Roberts now lives, was the livery stable. And I remember how carefully we used to have to walk by there, because it was a pretty rough place.

Segment Synopsis: Women didn't go out at night alone during the oil boom because the streets were rough. Bristow felt small enough to feel close but large enough to have things like the Chautauqua and Billy Sunday in OKC.

Keywords: Billy Sunday; Chautauqua; The Depression; WWI; flu epidemic; oil boom

Subjects: Rowdy times during the oil boom; doing without during The Depression; seeing Billy Sunday; the Chautauqua visiting

Hyperlink: Chautauqua
00:30:16 - Town Doctors & First Hospital

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Partial Transcript: EC: Now, your father was a doctor. I’ve heard some interesting stories about some of the doctors here in town. Do you have any…

RC: Not my father.

EC: No, no, but…

RC: I can guarantee you that!


RC: Well, they’re the ones that ruled the town.

EC: They ruled the town?

RC: You’re right. The town and the politics of the town.

Segment Synopsis: Reba's dad, Dr. Wells, along with three other doctors, formed the Bristow Clinic & Hospital.

Keywords: Bristow Clinic & Hospital; Bristow Memorial Hospital; Dr. Bisbee; Dr. Hollis; Dr. Wells; Dr. Williams; John Collins; Mrs. Kelly; doctors; politics

Subjects: Bristow Clinic & Hospital; Bristow Memorial Hospital; doctors were town leaders

00:32:50 - Church Involvement & Catholic Relations

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Partial Transcript: EC: Well, have there been any particularly exciting or amusing things in Bristow that I haven’t asked about that you remember? Things that happened to you or that you saw?

RC: Um, I don’t think so. My mother and family were very much involved in the Methodist Church, and I have grown up in the churches and have been familiar with all of them here in Bristow and watched their growth and their organization. The first brick church, first church we had in Bristow was the First Christian Church and it was over on East 9th Street. And the little church that sits down here next to the new City Hall was one of the original. It’s been used by several different congregations. The Catholic used it. The Presbyterian used it. And the Christian Science have it now.

Segment Synopsis: Reba was very involved in the churches of Bristow, attending the Methodist Church, and recalls Catholic relations being good. The first brick church was the First Christian Church.

Keywords: Catholics; Ed Abraham; First Christian Church; Lebanese; Methodist Church; Syrians; Useph Abraham; church; first brick church

Subjects: Catholic relations; First Christian Church; attending the Methodist Church