Alarmed by reports that the newly elected city officers might be enjoined from taking their seats, Democratic leaders hastily convened the newly elected aldermen after midnight on April 4, 1911.
CITY COUNCIL MEETING AT THE MIDNIGHT HOUR
Alarmed by reports that the newly elected city officers might be enjoined from taking their seats, Democratic leaders hastily convened the newly elected aldermen after midnight on April 4, 1911. The members of the Council were first issued their certificates of election and filed them. They were then sworn in; then swore in the Mayor. The mayor then appointed D.E. Jenner as city clerk, and the Council convened. Immediately after convening, the Council adjourned until the next morning.
The appointment of Jenner was considered by many as a good choice and that he was a capable man. Some considered him as a “machine politician” and were much disappointed with his appointment. There were also rumors that many of the appointments by the new mayor would meet strong opposition.
Within a week, there was much dissatisfaction over the assigning of the position of Chief of Police to J.F. Earnest by Mayor A.D. Martin. The opposition did not like E.E. Todd as City Attorney as well. There were many who believed that the new charter for city government was invalid on legal counts and the election of the new mayor and others should be considered void.
One of the parties interested, who supported the charter originally, was employed to fight the new administration. “It was bad enough to have the charter fraudulently perpetrated upon the people, but when following the first election, the city is turned over to a gang of politicians,” said one attorney. He went on to say, “I am one of the unfortunates who voted for Martin for mayor, but I am free to say that if conditions are left to remain the way they are now, what will happen to the city will be a plenty.”
There were also rumors of recall petitions being prepared for circulation. It was not known on what specific grounds the recall of Mayor Martin would be asked. The charter provided that a recall petition must set out the grounds upon which it is asked. It was required to be signed by 30 percent of those who voted in the preceding election. After the necessary number of signatures were secured, the petition must be filed with the city clerk. That officer must examine it to determine if it has the necessary number of valid signatures and then must present it to the Council. It was then up to the Council to order the recall election. Should the city clerk refuse to set mandamus proceedings in the Superior or District courts, then recall would be in order.
By the night of April 11, Mayor Martin proposed the naming of B. Frank Hill as Chief of Police and Jerry Spann as Assistant Chief. They were then unanimously approved. The change in appointments followed the refusal of J. Frank Earnest to accept the position as Chief.
Mayor Martin also made other appointments of patrolmen” T.J. “Tully” Darden, E.J. Neal, Tom Hewlett, S.L. Harris, and John Palmer. Objection was made to Palmer because he did not live within the city limits. He was replaced by William Davis. W.S. Simmons took the post as a plain-clothes detective, and stated that for the time, the position of James Cole in the same office would be abolished. The Mayor did not believe two were necessary. All the appointments were unanimously confirmed.
SHAWNEE CRACKS DOWN ON BOOTLEGGING AND GAMBLING
The death knell of bootlegging and gambling was sounded for Shawnee in late April of 1911. It was said that the fraternities were preparing to follow those who had already left the city.
The passage of a stringent “anti-bootlegging” law, together with the announcement by Mayor A.D. Martin that he expected it to immediately close every joint in Shawnee. He said that a “bitter warfare against gambling of all kinds would be waged. I believe that all of this movement against vice in our city is ‘on the square,’ and that it is ‘all off,’ with the green cloth, the joy water and the red light in Shawnee.”
The ordinance was unanimously adopted by the Council on April 18. It mirrored closely the state law.
OBU ANNOUNCES OPENING OF FALL TERM
The Board of OBU, from their offices on the third floor of the City Hall, made the public announcement of their intentions to open their doors in the fall. They said it would greatly assist them in their preparations if parents would write them or call the office to let them know about plans of enrollment for their boys and girls. Dr. John H. Scott, dean of the school, said it would materially help them in making their plans. Dr. Scott was recently elected at a meeting of the Board.
It was reported that there would be no delay in the completion of the administration building, and that ground would soon be broken for the dormitories. It was assumed that work was being pushed energetically, so everything would be ready for opening date as announced.
OBU SELECTS FIRST PRESIDENT
The general opinion around Shawnee and among Baptist was that a stroke of genius was performed when the Board of Trustees selected Dr. James M. Carroll as the university’s first president.
An enthusiastic mass meeting at the First Baptist Church, attended by 1,500 people, heard a splendid address from Dr. Carroll of Baylor University in Texas. He expounded on the new Oklahoma Baptist University. The meeting was called to order by W.P. Blake of the University Board, and Reverend F.M. Masters of Ardmore read from the Holy Scriptures.
Blake introduced Rev. G.W. McCall, the new pastor of the First Baptist Church. He gave a brief sketch of Dr. Carroll’s career in Texas. He elaborated upon the tremendous influence he and his brother had exercised on the Christian educational life in that state.
Dr. Carroll prefaced his remarks by the observation that he did not know just how he came to get into school work, as he never had any inclination that way. He said he preferred preaching to any other kind of work. He was anxious to get out of the work, he said, but the call from Oklahoma had been so strong that he thought he ought to come to Shawnee, and at least talk over the matter.
“If I take this work here,” he exclaimed, “I will have a domestic science hall, a manual training hall and industrial homes for boys and girls. I do not wish to detract from the value of other studies, but firmly believe that such things have a much more important place in education than has Greek or Latin or the modern languages. I would have them credited on the same footing as other studies.”
By the next day, Dr. Carroll accepted the position and began his tenure in building a new program for the Baptist education in the state. Arrangements were made for the caring of the university students, which was planned to open in September. The plan was to occupy temporary quarters in the First Baptist Church, along with the western half of the basement of Convention Hall for laboratories and the northwest room of the first floor for offices.
A special City Council meeting was held on May 18, to discuss the proposition of giving the Baptist people Convention Hall for the term. Before the meeting was called to order, the matter was fully discussed on the outside and it was agreed that pending the decision of the county seat contest, it would be unwise for the city to pledge Convention Hall. It might have to be used in case Shawnee won the county seat case, which was currently in the Supreme Court. The Baptist people then made the offer of the church building instead of the Convention Hall.
(These stories and hundreds more will appear in the first volume of the history of Shawnee. The first volume will cover from the creation of Indian Territory up to 1950. Look for it this summer in digital form.)