The year 1921got off to an eventful start with weddings, holdups and drownings.

The year 1921got off to an eventful start with weddings, holdups and drownings.


“A huge scream,” “a howling success,” either one or both of two and trite similar sayings are flat, insipid, inadequate, when it comes to describing the “Womanless Wedding” given at the high school auditorium on the night of January 7, 1921. The only phrase which would come anywhere near doing justice to the occasion was that it was the most successful piece of “dam-foolishness” that was ever presented to a Shawnee audience.

Every square foot of not only seating, but standing space was filled and hundreds were turned away from the doors, unable to get in. To describe the affair was as impossible as to pick out the most attractive member of the bridal party, or the most accomplished among the group of talented guests who were in attendance.

The entertainment opened with the precipitous entrance of Charlie Chaplin, who sprawled in true “movie” fashion across the stage, arousing shrieks of delight from the kiddies who filled the front rows of seats. “Charlie” was impersonated by J.T. Mauldin, who was master of ceremonies. He greeted the guests as they arrived for the wedding, escorting them up the aisle and introducing them to the audience and explaining their various talents. Except for the times when he just couldn’t resist flirting with “Theda Bara,” and other fair damsels among the guest, Charlie was ideal in his part.

Dwight Galloway as “Paderewski,” was the first celebrity presented. The contortions, gyrations, and gymnastics of this noted star, were highly entertaining, even if the performance was a rather surprising and trying ordeal for the piano. The second guest to arrive was “Theda Bara,” represented by Oscar Covington. He was always noted as one of Shawnee’s handsomest men, and as Theda, he was sure some vamp.

Robert Stamps and G.S. Easley as “Mutt and Jeff,” were ideal, and provided much of the fun and foolishness of the evening. Charlie Bishop was Mrs. Mutt, and was downright honest-to-goodness girlishly pretty. It was almost impossible to believe that he wasn’t the real article. “Little Cicero” was played by Clyde Moreland, and he completed the group. J.P. Curtright and E.C. Stanard were “maw and paw” of the bride, and were thought by many to be the best of all. James Burton and A.V. Short were “little brother and little sister.

Preceding the ceremony, among the world-renowned celebrities, who entertained the audience were J.C. Jennings, as “Galli Cursi.” Professor David Unruh was “Schumann-Heink”; Ernest Hicks was “Alma Gluck”; Dr. Alonso McFarling was “Kathleen Pavlowa.” There many others as well.

At the last notes of “The Dying Wampus Cat,” played by Madame Pavlowa faded away, Paderewski struck up the inspiring strains of “Here Comes the Bride,” and the wedding party proceeded to the altar. L.W. Courtney was about the most ministerial looking minister who ever ministered, as he approached the execution block with the latest edition of the “Montgomery-Ward” catalogue under his arm. Other members of the party were Harry Crew and Henry Williams as “best men.” Malcom Meeks, Tom Douglas and Ross Johnson were the bridesmaids. Peyton Jennings was the Maid of Honor.

The entertainment was given under the auspices of the Boy Scouts, who acted as ushers, and Circle No. 2 of the Methodist/Episcopal Church South.


L.J. Long died on January 29, 1921, at about 4 A.M., at Bristow and the body was brought to Shawnee that afternoon and was buried the next day.

Long was shot while sitting in his office a week earlier, one week after going to Bristow to engage in the dairy business in partnership with Dr. John Ryan. A masked man entered the office about 10 P.M. and without warning or explanation, fired a bullet from a revolver which passed entirely through the body, penetrating the right lung and liver. For the first three days, hope for the injured man’s recovery was held out, but on Thursday peritonitis set in and although he made a brave and remarkable fight, the odds were too great.

It had been a long time since the community had been as deeply stirred as it was by the dastardly murder of Long, who for the past 11 years had been on of Shawnee’s most highly respected citizens. Rev. R.B. Moreland, who with the four daughters of the murdered man, had spent the week at his bedside, said the feelings were running high in Bristow. There were threats of lynching the three suspects lodged in the jail there.

Lonah J. Long was born January 19, 1874, at Stanton, VA. He was married in 1893 and had two daughters. He came to Shawnee in 1910, and during most of his years of residence, was engaged in the dairy business. For a number of years, he conducted the White House Dairy west of the city. Many friends and citizens of Shawnee attended the funeral for this “highly revered” businessman.


The body of Duane Russell was found on the morning of January 29, 1921, a little before noon, 10 weeks to the hour since the boy was drowned in the North Canadian River northeast of the city.

S.J. Roelsch, who resided in that vicinity, was chopping wood one-half mile down-stream from where the tragedy occurred and his little daughter called his attention to what she termed “a pretty hatchet” sticking in a log out in the stream. Roelsch saw at once that the “pretty hatchet” was a Boy Scout” axe in a scabbard, and that the “log” was the body of the boy for which search had been kept up unabated since the hour of the tragedy.

The body was found one-half mile below the bridge where the boy went down, and it was supposed that it had been buried in the sand and became dislodged within the past day or two. Poelsch phoned police at Shawnee, and a party at once accompanied L.D. Russell, father of the dead scout, to the river and brought the body to town.

The body was in a fair state of preservation, but although it was planned to have memorial services for the dead boy, it was impossible to keep the body and burial was made at Fairview that evening.

(Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian. He is researching and writing the history of the city. Look for its publication in late 2018.)