County Sheriff T.J. “Tully” Darden looked for little opposition to registration on June 5, 1917. He believed that while in some precincts, there may be a number refusing to register for the draft. He believed this in all cases that local officers would be able to handle the situation and summarily stop anything like an organized or general movement against the registration.

SHERIFF EXPECTED NO TROUBLE IN REGISTRATION FOR THE DRAFT

County Sheriff T.J. “Tully” Darden looked for little opposition to registration on June 5, 1917. He believed that while in some precincts, there may be a number refusing to register for the draft. He believed this in all cases that local officers would be able to handle the situation and summarily stop anything like an organized or general movement against the registration.

Darden did not believe that the anti-registration propaganda had made much headway in Pottawatomie County. There was much action to the east in Seminole County. Organized gangs were refusing to register for the draft and turned to violence in many cases in that county, and they were encouraging other areas to join in the protests.

MAN BEATEN TO DEATH

Charles Youngs, a butcher, son of George Youngs, died at the general hospital on the morning of Friday, June 22, 1917. The results of wounds received early in the day, when he was beaten with a neck yoke and left in an almost dying condition in a buggy shed on the farm of Francis Morton, an Indian, seven miles northeast of the city.

Jose Harris, an Indian, had left the city with Youngs early Thursday evening. Mrs. Mary Morton, daughter-in-law of Francis Morton, was with them. They were arrested that night north of the Country Club by Sheriff T.J. Darden.

A message came to Shawnee early that evening that a man was being beaten to death at the Morton farm, and the sheriff and others started out there in cars. Later a message came that there was nothing to it, but the cars had gone. Still later, another message came that a man was badly hurt and was dying, and to hurry a doctor out.

Youngs was found lying on a dirty quilt in a buggy shed on the Morton farm. He was literally beaten to pieces and was a horrible sight. A neck yoke lying in the shed covered with blood had evidently been used. His assailant had left and no information concerning the facts could be secured. The Morton family had fled from the place when the trouble started.

As the posse returned to Shawnee with the wounded man, they found Harris and Mary Morton north of the Country Club. Their hack was standing in the road. The Morton woman was lying asleep on the front seat with her baby in her arms. Harris was lying in the road, in front of the front wheel of the hack, with the lines tied fast about his arm. The horses were standing still.

Harris was aroused and questioned about the case, but declared he had no recollection of any fight. He was taken to Tecumseh and locked in the county jail. The woman was sent to a rooming house for the night but was held as a witness.

SHAWNEE YOUTH MAKES NAME FOR HIMSELF

Charles G. Higgins, a graduate and a leading member of the 1915 class of Shawnee High School, returned home from Chicago in late June, where he had been attending the university for the past two years. During those two years, he had made a very brilliant and enviable record, both as an athlete and a stellar student.

He had attracted the eyes of the Chicago coach, Amos Alonzo Stagg, on his first visit to Chicago, where he entered a high school track meet, which was held in the summer of 1915. The meet was attended by the best high school athletes in the country. In the fall, he was induced to attend the University of Chicago.

In his first year, he starred on the freshman football team, and later showed signs of a coming star in the weight events on the freshman track team. In his sophomore year, the first year that he was eligible for varsity sports of any kind, he completed his wonderful work of the year before and easily landed a regular spot on the Chicago football team. At the end of the season, he was chosen on the All-Western team, an honor no other Oklahoman had ever received.

In the spring, he took up his track work. He captured many gold and silver medals during the season. He ended up the present school year in a maze of glory by winning medals at Stagg Field in the Big Nine Conference Track Meet.

He enlisted in the Hospital Corps and was waiting for his first call. During his first stay in Chicago, he was made a member of the Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

FIVE INJURED IN RUNAWAY ON SOUTH BEARD STREET

Late on the afternoon of July 5, 1917, all injured in the runaway were resting comfortably. None had broken bones, though all were badly skinned, and scratched, and suffered painful injuries.

The two wagons collided just at the seed houses of the Oil Mill. Those in the wagon were Mr. & Mrs. R.F. Buckmaster, their daughter, and two grandchildren.

There was great excitement occasioned by the accident. It appeared that the bridle of one of the agency team, fell off near the corner of Main and Beard. The team was going south and started to run. Mr. Buckmaster was driving south on Beard in the middle of the street. When the other team became unmanageable, the driver jumped off. The team headed straight for the Buckmaster wagon. Bystanders yelled at Buckmaster, but he apparently did not hear.

As the horses of the lumber wagon saw that a collision was imminent, they appeared to try to avoid the other wagon, spreading apart as far as possible. But, when they struck, they leaped into the wagon bed, knocking the occupants out and pulling the heavy wagon over them. Two children in the Buckmaster wagon held on until the wagon had crossed the Katy tracks, and then jumped off.

COUNTY DEFENSE COUNCIL ORGANIZED

The executive committee of the Pottawatomie County Council of Defense was recently appointed by Governor R.L. Williams in late July of 1917. They first met in the offices of Stanard, Wahl, & Ennis and organized themselves. S.P. Larsh of Tecumseh became the Chairman; H.C. Myers of Shawnee became the Vice-President; and George Southgate of Shawnee was selected as Secretary-Treasurer.

The organization would cooperate with the Red Cross Agricultural Volunteers and other such organizations in the county, and with the state council. The state council outlined the purposes of the councils.

“The purpose of the county councils of defense is to provide a medium through which the citizens of each community can cooperate in the task of helping to win the war.”

It was described as a kind of community Chamber of Commerce, with its activities directed to some extent by state and national organizations. However, they were free to take up whatever emergencies that rose in the county. The first task of the executive committee was to organize their own council.

(These stories and hundreds more appear in the first volume of the history of Shawnee, along with many photos. The book is 426 pages long and is fully indexed for easy reference. A Christmas special is underway with a price of $40 each. Volume two, covering the 1930s and 1940s is going to press this week and may be ready for Christmas also. Look for a package special that will be announced next week. Volume three, covering the 1950s and 1960s, will be available sometime next year. Contact the PCHS or call Clyde Wooldridge at (918) 470-3728 for purchase and details.)

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.