In Justice of the Peace Hal Johnson’s court on August 26,1911, the case charging assault and battery against Mrs. T.W. Armentrout and Norman Bentley were dismissed. T.W. Armentrout, complaining witness, failed to appear in court. He was a Main Street barber to whom his wife recently administered a whipping with a buggy whip. This happened while Bentley held him. Armentrout was found in the company of another woman.

ARMENTROUT CASE DISMISSED

In Justice of the Peace Hal Johnson’s court on August 26,1911, the case charging assault and battery against Mrs. T.W. Armentrout and Norman Bentley were dismissed. T.W. Armentrout, complaining witness, failed to appear in court. He was a Main Street barber to whom his wife recently administered a whipping with a buggy whip. This happened while Bentley held him. Armentrout was found in the company of another woman.

Justice Johnson received a letter from Armentrout, written from Oklahoma City, stating that because of the warrant out for him on failure to pay child support, he would be unable to appear in the case. He feared he would not be able to make bond and would have to lie in jail until his case was disposed. He went at great length into the history of the case and asserted that he did not believe he was guilty, under a proper interpretation of the law. He believed it was intended only for such as deserting a child on a doorstep or at a railway station, leaving it helpless without expecting ever to see it again. He deplored the fact that he couldn’t be in court for the preliminary because he thought his wife and Bentley should be punished.

SUDDEN DEATH OF THOMAS McCURRY

“This will teach you not to be too hard on a poor cripple who is trying to do the best he can to take care of his obligations. If I had been given a little time, I would have paid everything that I was obligated to pay.”

This was a short extract from a letter left by Thomas B. McCurry in an envelope addressed to the newspapers of the city. It was addressed to certain person with whom he had business dealings, and whom he charged with having driven him to self-destruction. The letter was headed, “Cause of This Act.”

The dead man also left other letters, directing the settlement of his business affairs. He requested his younger brother, Joe McCurry, to stay at home and keep house for his father.

McCurry, because of some transactions in which he had collected monies for certain parties, was recently put under bond for embezzlement. On August 26, he waived his preliminary hearing in Justice Hal Johnson’s court. This trouble evidently preyed upon his mind and caused his self-destruction. It was suggested that he contemplated this action for several days. He had remarked to a friend in a jocular way, who was teasing him about his trouble, that he “would never look through prison bars.”

McCurry had purchased strychnine from a local druggist on August 24. No coroner’s inquest was held.

He was a well-known young man in Shawnee. He lived on north Bell Street. He lived with his father, J.M. McCurry. His father was at the time in the barn hitching up his horse when the younger McCurry was stricken. The younger brother Joe was at home at the time.

McCurry was in the yard waiting for his father to “hitch up” so he could drive to town and complained of being cold. He re-entered the house and almost immediately fell to the floor. His younger brother hastened to secure a physician, who arrived within a few minutes, but too late to save his life.

The dead man was a cripple from birth, with his lower limbs being dwarfed in such a manner that he had to walk on his knees. Despite this affliction, his ambition to get along kept him busy at one thing and another and he was self-supporting. He conducted a collection insurance and real estate agency and was doing well in business.

McCurry came to Shawnee in 1907 from Alabama with his family. He was identified with the Republican Party and was twice a candidate for office. He ran for City Assessor and County Assessor. In both races, he did well, but the Democratic majority was against him. He was described as a man of cheerful disposition and made friends everywhere.

CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY BONUS PAID

It was announced at the end of August of 1911, that the Catholic University bonus was paid. This was the final deal in the matter for settling the issue. This meant work on the school would begin just as soon as the contracts for the buildings were let. This meant the school would be ready to open in the fall.

An abundance of money for the principal buildings was on hand. The work would not stop until the university was completed. A five-story administration building was the first on the agenda, along with the laundry and power plant. The other structures would quickly follow. One wrinkle was that the completion was contingent upon the sale of lots surrounding the campus. This appeared to be a small point, since the sales were going very well.

DATE SET FOR OBU FIRST TERM

Entrance examinations and matriculation of new students were set for September 18-20, 1911 at OBU. Instruction was scheduled to commence on September 21. Many students were enrolling, and the prospects were that the school would have a good attendance during the first session.

Arrangements were made for recitation rooms in the Convention Hall and the First Baptist Church. These locations were considered as excellent temporary quarters until the completion of the administration building on campus.

Work on the administration building was well under way, but slightly delayed. It was expected to resume shortly. The plan called for the erection of the dormitories as soon as the main building was completed.

Just before the opening of school, President J.M. Carroll sent the following message to the Baptists of Oklahoma:

“This is to be our first year of active work as a school. Our ambition is great, and our ideals are big. It is our purpose to attempt and expect great things. We shall confidently look for the hearty and unanimous co-operation of the Baptists hosts of Oklahoma. With such co-operation, we shall most conscientiously strive to make our school the genuine pride of every Baptist in our new state, and the pride also of every true citizen of the territory.”

John Hart Scott, Dean, made the following appeal to the people of Shawnee and vicinity:

“I have received several inquiries from friends of the university in Shawnee as to how they can best assist the upbuilding of the institution. There are a great many ways to assist. We need large sums of money to construct buildings, purchase equipment and pay salaries of teachers. But currently, we need pupils more than anything else. The matter of equipment has been well settled. The buildings for the coming year have been decided upon. The one crying need is for numbers of earnest young men and women, who will throng these halls and give tone and power to the work. The citizens of Shawnee and this county are able, not only to get approval for this institution, but also to give it help at this important juncture.”

One of Missouri’s most famous athletes, who won the Missouri championship in all-around athletics during the previous year, arrived in the city to take the position of athletic director at the school. His name was W.E. “Bill” Overlees and he came from William Jewell College in Liberty, MO.

He was well known in the world of sports through his marvelous showing in the past season. He was considered the premier athlete of his weight in the “show-me” state.

Concerning plans for the season with the school, Overlees made no statement, because students were not on the campus yet. However, he had in view several husky boys who had promised to come out for football practice. Interestingly, he would be the athletic director, coach, and player.

Arrangements were being made for a hall to play basketball and other indoor sports during the winter season. A lease was also taken on an athletic field conveniently located.

(These stories and hundreds more will appear in the exhaustive history of the city of Shawnee. Volume One, the “Early Years, 1870-1950,” is due for publication in the summer of 2018. It will appear in digital form, with a printed copy available at a higher cost. Look for more details in the future.)