“Shawnee is a good point for the location of a packing house for the southwest country and the company which I represent thinks very favorable of the proposition to establish one here,” said a representative of one of the largest Chicago packers.


“Shawnee is a good point for the location of a packing house for the southwest country and the company which I represent thinks very favorable of the proposition to establish one here,” said a representative of one of the largest Chicago packers.

Apparently, he was sent to Shawnee by his concern to investigate the advantages of the city and to locate a site in the event that it was decided to build. The suggestion was that probably, it would be built near the present slaughter houses and were on railroad track property just south of the corporate limits.

The public announcement was that the intention of this packing company was to invest $100,000 in a building alone, and to handle all kinds of products. Numerous employees would be required to operate the plant and a large stock yards would be established.


Some of the promoters of the local organization visited the track at the south end of Broadway Street and declared it to be the ideal location for an improved facility. There was about a half mile of track and 43 acres. The track would need to be widened and a grand stand built. The Oklahoma Racing and Fair Association left a spot in their schedule for Shawnee. It was also thought that baseball fields should be laid out in the area. The plan was to organize a stock company of those interested. It was generally believed it would add entertainment for the citizens of Shawnee and bring several visitors to the city.


It had been known for some time that the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma was figuring strongly on locating a university in Shawnee. It was generally believed to be the logical place for the school and if the city gave proper assistance, there would be no doubt about its establishment of the institute in Shawnee.

As usual, the citizens of Shawnee, after hearing this news, became excited again about the possibility of a university in their city. The Commissioners who would make the final decision in September expected to receive a proposition from Shawnee.

It was known that all departments of a higher learning institution would be maintained within such an Oklahoma Baptist university. The Convention was confident of maintaining a good endowment for the school from all over the nation.


Chief of Police William F. Sims was suspended from office by Judge B.F. Burwell on July 3, 1907, after a petition was filed against him by two Shawnee residents. The petition contained 10 counts, supported by affidavits. They alleged that he had long been guilty of allowing gambling in Shawnee under his personal knowledge.

Judge Burwell also set Tuesday, July 9, as the date of the hearing of the merits of the petition. The petition was filed in Oklahoma City, but the hearing was set for the county seat of Pottawatomie County at the Tecumseh courthouse.

Charley McKnight and John Garrett signed the petition presented to the judge. It was supported by special affidavits sworn to by Johnny Jones, Garrett, and others. The petitioners were represented by attorneys J.M. Van Winkle and J.S. Adams of Shawnee. Chief Sims was accompanied to Oklahoma City by City Attorney P.O. Cassidy, who represented him.

“The county authorities want me to allow gambling to go on unmolested in Shawnee. I have constantly refused to let that happen,” said Chief Sims. “I do not believe the county authorities are behind the present effort to ousts me from office, but it is enough for me to say that the men who signed the petition against me are gamblers.”

Alleged gambling had been the cause of much friction in Shawnee for some time. Newspaper reports revealed that many of the citizens of Shawnee and the county had attempted to suppress the practice.

Over the next couple of days county authorities were busy issuing subpoenas, mostly for the defendant. Many of the people issued were at a loss why they were called. A meeting was called two nights before the hearing by supporters of the Chief to protest the hearing.

The general feeling about how the hearing would go was mixed. Many felt it would be quickly dismissed, while others thought he was in trouble for his actions.

Once the hearing started on July 9, the interest in the case far surpassed any in the history of Pottawatomie County courts. Over 340 subpoenas were served, at a great cost to the county. About 300 by the defense and 40 by the prosecution. Among the witnesses were numerous women, which caused considerable unfavorable comment in view of the purpose for which the petition was filed.

The first two trolley cars bearing witnesses left Shawnee early that morning and were loaded with guards. Long before court was called to order at the courthouse in Tecumseh, the town was swarming with people from Shawnee.

The case was scheduled to start at 9 A.M., but was delayed because the judge did not show up until after 10. The restlessness and noise of the spectators was irritating to the judge, leading him to address the crowd and warned them that quiet must be maintained.

In the case against Chief Sims, there was considerable disappointment on the part of the plaintiffs. The demurrer offered by the defense attorneys was sustained by the court. Permission to make an amendment to the original complaint was granted by the judge. The court then adjourned until the afternoon.

The prosecution was placed under County Attorney Sargent P. Freeling, with the plaintiffs being allowed to keep their attorneys. It led to the postponement of the case and carried over until the next term. The demurrer was eventually overruled. The defense immediately filed an application for a change of judge, claiming that the court was prejudiced and bias in its opinion. The judge said he would attempt to acquire another judge for the case.

Marion K. Farrall was selected as Chief of Police in Shawnee during the suspension of Chief Sims. This tenure lasted until October 19. A few others were stipulated as interim chief before Farrall was officially recognized.

(These stories and many more will appear in the history of Shawnee, scheduled for publication in 2019.)