The dedication services for the new First Baptist Church of Shawnee was probably the biggest event in the young history of the city of Shawnee. Hundreds of people were turned away because of lack of room to seat them.

The dedication services for the new First Baptist Church of Shawnee was probably the biggest event in the young history of the city of Shawnee. Hundreds of people were turned away because of lack of room to seat them.

The history of the church was a magnificent story of a group of people dedicated to serving God in the community and an undying will to expand their impact on Shawnee. The building of the wonderful edifice on the corner of 10th and Union was a mere dream back in 1907.

Many people of that day gave their current pastor, L.C. Wolfe, credit as the guiding inspiration of fulfilling that dream. In the original plans, the cost of the construction was set at $25,000. However, after considering the future growth of the church, the pastor convinced the congregation that was not enough. By the time the plans were finally completed, the cost jumped to $60,000. However, the congregation stepped out on faith and marched on.

The church was in a tremendous growing spurt at the time. When Rev. Wolfe first came to the church in 1904, the membership was 164. At the time of the dedication, the numbers had grown to 800, and continuing to climb.

A couple of days before the dedication, the church held a banquet in their new banquet hall. It became the largest banquet ever held in Shawnee, with over 800 people in attendance. Representatives from all denominations in the city were present, along with businessmen and political leaders from all over the state. Although he was expected to be there, Governor Charles N. Haskell, did not show up.

On Sunday, June 27, 1909, the dedication services were held in the new building. Many people were turned away because of the size of the crowd. The keynote speaker was Dr. J.B. Gambrell of Dallas, TX.

A combination of speakers, music, scripture reading, and prayer dominated the program. It was even carried over to the evening for a second service, with Dr. J.F. Love of Atlanta, GA, giving the sermon.

During the day service, $1,500 were raised to help on retiring the final debt of $10,000 on the new building. Rev. Wolfe said he was confident that the remainder needed to pay off the debt would be raised shortly.

One irony to the proceedings was the resignation of Rev. Wolfe within a few weeks. He moved on to Amarillo, TX.


Without the slightest warning of any kind, a gasoline stove in the kitchen of one of the cottages at the Indian Mission north of the city burst into flames on July 8, 1909. This almost caused the tragic death of a 14-year-old white girl who was standing near. At the time of the accident, no one was in the kitchen, except Teresa Ratsloff, the unfortunate victim.

When the flames shot high in the air they completely enveloped the child before she realized the dangerous situation. By the time she stepped back from the stove, her clothing was a mass of fire and the flames were leaping up into her hair.

The girl’s screams were heard by her father, assistant farmer at the school, who was working in the yard a short distance away at the time. Rushing to her assistance, he caught the desperate situation in a glance, and unmindful of his own safety, feverishly jerked the burning clothes off the girl. It was a desperate undertaking, but to her father’s prompt action did the girl owe her life.

She was badly burned about the body, face and arms. However, through prompt medical attention, she was expected to recover. Both hands and arms of the girl were severely burned, otherwise, she sustained no other injuries.

Fortunately, the gasoline escaping from the tank on the stove did not spread to the floor of the kitchen. Thus, saving the cottage from possible destruction by fire. No other people were in the immediate vicinity at the time of the accident.


Forrest Adams, 22 years old, was shot and instantly killed on the night of July 12, 1909, by Dave Hendrickson, 20 years of age, following a fight between the two. Adams arrived at the Adams home on south McKinley and found Hendrickson calling on his sister, Laura Adams, who was 15.

Some time ago, Adams had instructed Hendrickson to cease paying attention to his sister. He refused to do that and on the night in question, when the brother ordered him to leave, he also refused.

Hendrickson was on the porch with the girl and her mother when the fight started. He and Adams clinched. Hendrickson was soon on the ground with Adams on top of him. The former then pulled a .25-caliber automatic six-shooter and shot his opponent five times, one shot entering the right eye, another the lungs and the others pierced his left side. Any one of the bullets would have caused fatality. Adams had no gun, but Hendrickson’s nose bore evidence of being struck a severe blow with a knife.

Adams arose after the shooting and ran about 60 feet, entering the residence through a side door and leaving through the kitchen door to fall dead a few feet outside. Hendrickson then ran to the residence of his father, who was a Rock Island Section Foreman. They lived on the Interurban route near the McClonkey farm.

It was there that Assistant Chief of Police Jerry Spann and Policeman Jim Hawkins arrested him soon after the affair was reported to the police station. Coroner Martin Fleming and County Attorney C.P. Holt were next on the scene. They made arrangements for the body to be moved to the morgue.

A murder charge against Hendrickson was made upon complaint of Assistant Chief Spann. The case was investigated and a Grand Jury was charged to take a look at the evidence the next day.

(These stories and hundreds more will appear in the comprehensive history of Shawnee. It will include an index of approximately 10,000 names, a glossary of office holders through the years, and a memorial-tribute section. Look for it in 2019.)