On March 18, 1913, just four days after the legislator's visit to Shawnee, Governor Lee Cruce signed the “McMechan Resolution.” It accepted Oklahoma City's proposition to donate 650 acres of land and $100,000 to the state to be used in the construction of a state capitol building. The resolution, which was passed by the Senate, was approved by the governor as soon as it was presented to him for his approval.
STATE CAPITAL BILL SIGNED BY GOVERNOR CRUCE
On March 18, 1913, just four days after the legislator’s visit to Shawnee, Governor Lee Cruce signed the “McMechan Resolution.” It accepted Oklahoma City’s proposition to donate 650 acres of land and $100,000 to the state to be used in the construction of a state capitol building. The resolution, which was passed by the Senate, was approved by the governor as soon as it was presented to him for his approval.
STRANGE CASE PUZZLED POLICE
Helen Williams, alias “Billy Williams,” was arrested on April 6, 1913, by City Detective T.J. “Tully” Darden and a Rock Island detective. She was fined $10.50 in police court at the evening session.
The woman, who was 22 years of age, transformed herself from a girl to a boy in the ladies’ restroom at the Rock Island station. She went in as a girl. With a pair of scissors, she cut her hair short and replaced her dress with a woolen shirt and a pair of new trousers. Her dress was wrapped into a neat bundle and tied about with a newspaper.
The matron noticed the transformation and notified the officers. They captured the girl as she was climbing out the north window of the ladies’ room, trying to escape.
The police were at a loss to determine what the girls’ purpose was. There was no train due out at the time she was found. They also said she could have bought a ticket out of town with the money she expended for the suit of clothes she had. She refused to explain what her reasoning was for the transformation. She was a frequent visitor to the police court for a variety of charges.
OIL MEN SAY SHAWNEE MAY BE CENTER OF NEW OIL FIELD
Oil men from Tulsa and elsewhere over the state declared that within six months, Shawnee was destined to become the center of the oil industry of Oklahoma. The field being developed near Shawnee was all directly tributary to the city, and Shawnee, they said, would be the logical center. These same oil men, who looked the ground over, declared that when development work started in earnest, the new field would be found to be a wonder.
The three local companies were rapidly closing their leases and were all in shape to commence drilling as soon as they secured the leases they needed. Aside from the leases, the companies were taking many individual leases. Oil was in the air, and a great deal of enthusiasm developed for a speedy beginning of drilling near the city limits of Shawnee.
Development work was being prosecuted in Seminole County, where two rigs were set up near Seminole. At Wewoka, the Laganda Oil and Gas Company was drilling near the Rock Island depot. The Revenue Oil and Gas Company was getting out rig timbers for a location about one mile north of the town. To the northeast of Shawnee, a local company was ready to drill at their location, four miles south of Prague.
Locations were made southwest and southeast of Shawnee, and drilling was in progress at several places. By this time, there was still a lot of secrecy about the plans of many of the companies.
BOND ISSUE APPROVED BY ATTORNEY GENERAL
Mayor Frank P. Stearns received word in early May of 1913, that State Attorney General Charles Orville West had approved the bonds voted some months earlier by the city for buying land for park purposes. The proceeds of the sale of the land was to be used to help complete the administration building at OBU.
The money was available for use, and work upon the university at once. The Baptists were expected to fulfill their part of the agreement. That was evident by a member of the board who stated that they were ready to get to work. They said they would take up the matter of building two dormitories, and other buildings, as rapidly as possible. The key was for the city to come through on their commitments.
The Benedictine Order was active in the construction of one of the most modern and complete university buildings in the southwest. They made good on every agreement they made with the city. They claimed they would have a university that the city of Shawnee could be proud of. Their work had been pushed in recent weeks and was anticipated to be completed soon.
With construction work on the universities under way, Shawnee prospects were at the time especially bright. The splendid crop outlook, the city development, the possible oil fields, along with the universities, made the era of growth in the city look very prosperous.
YOUNG BOY DROWNED IN NORTH CANADIAN
In the sight of his schoolmates, with whom he was on a picnic at the old Mill Dam east of the city on May 20, 1913, Julian Tobin drowned. The 14-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. T.P. Tobin sank beneath the waters of the North Canadian and was drowned. His body was recovered about three hours later and was brought to the Longmire-Draper Company Morgue.
The children in the eighth-grade of the Irving school left for the dam at 4:30 P.M., for the annual commencement picnic. They were accompanied by Miss Graham, their teacher. They traveled to the site on a hay wagon.
After enjoying the usual picnic sports and festivities, some of the boys desired to go in swimming, though the water was very cold. All were out of the water except Burford Pace and Julian Tobin, who stayed in and were beyond their depth. Standing near the rocks below the falls, Tobin was drug by the current to deeper water, and could not get back. The Pace boy tried to save him and was nearly drowned himself when Tobin seized hold of him. The children on the bank shouted for help, and a young man who lived in the neighborhood rushed for a boat. Before he could reach the drowning boy, he disappeared.
Messages for help were sent to Shawnee, and a dozen automobile loads of men with ropes, grappling hooks and dynamite hurried out to the scene. At 9 P.M., two men, George Strauss and Walt Sugart, living in the vicinity, recovered the body from beneath the falls near where he sank.
Profound sorrow over the death of the boy was generally expressed. His father was in Kansas on business at the time of the tragedy. His mother was ill at her residence, being in critical condition for several months. He was an only child.
Young Tobin was described as a lad of gentle manners and was generally beloved by all who knew him. He was a favorite with his schoolmates, and of such gentlemanly conduct as to attract attention wherever he went. His teacher was completely prostrated by the sad occurrence.
(These stories and hundreds more will appear in Volume One of the history of Shawnee. It is currently being printed and should be ready for publication and distribution any day now. There will be only 500 copies printed, so be sure and get your pre-paid copy to guarantee your possession. The pre-pay cost is $50, plus tax; while the cost jumps to $55 when the books arrive. Contact Clyde Wooldridge at (918)470-3728 or the Pottawatomie County Historical Society at (405)275-8412 for your copy. You may also purchase a flash drive at any time that is now available. You may also go online to the Society’s website and purchase from their bookstore.)