The “good roads law” was completed by the legislature under which the question of issuing $50 million of bonds for the construction of hard-surfaced roads throughout the state would be submitted for a vote to the people.


The “good roads law” was completed by the legislature under which the question of issuing $50 million of bonds for the construction of hard-surfaced roads throughout the state would be submitted for a vote to the people. The vote would take place on May 5. It would give Pottawatomie County 64.5 miles of hard-surfaced road, putting the county on the interstate Arkansas-Oklahoma-Texas, east-west road. This would furnish a northeast outlet to Texas via Asher, Stratford, Sulphur, Davis and Ardmore.

The road measure was originally outlined by E.E. Hood of Shawnee. When it was finally adopted, had very few changes. Known as the “Good Roads Bill,” was completed on March 17, and then filed on the 21st. It provided for the issuance of a bond this large and allowed 25 years to pay for it. It would be paid for through the automobile tax, the gross production tax, and the income tax.


The Convention Hall was well-filled on the night of March 26, 1919. A large number of seats were put into place and still more were needed. The choir was rapidly built up by the faithful music committee, and the untiring work of the music director for the revival, William J. Ramsey. He promptly went into action at 7:30 P.M. and for 45 minutes worked like fighting fire.

Evangelist Rev. Mordecai Ham was described as starting the revival slowly. Someone said that he “had not brought his surgical tools into operation yet.” Others said if that was true, “what will happen when he does begin?”

Ham set forth several counts in God’s indictment of the church, namely; profanity, treason, robbery and blasphemy. He said in Israel’s latter days, a state of formalism utterly devoid of spirituality developed. That state continued down to the advent of the Savior and was exemplified in His day by the Scribes and Pharisees upon whom He continually heaped withering denunciation.

“Our’s is a day of limitations. We can make honey that never saw a bee, butter that never knew a cow, and we have a Christianity not acquainted with Christ. It is perfectly orthodox,” he said. Ham not only believed in the Divinity of Christ, he knew it.

He said he was wise to the imitation game too. In the beginning, the opposition to the church of Christ took the form of persecution, and it clung to that method for several centuries. Then it moved to the great literature of writers and philosophers like Voltaire, Paine and Bob Ingersoll. “However, that too, proved futile, and so the next method of opposition by limitation was in ‘Theosophy,’ ‘Eddyism,’ ‘Russellism’ and the Laodicean type of religion found in the churches everywhere.”

He went on to say, “How many of you would serve God if you were to get nothing out of it? You care for nothing, save to keep your own little miserly soul out of hell. But don’t get the idea you are saved just because your name is on the church roll. You may wake up in hell and be mightily disappointed.”

The Ham-Ramsey revival would continue for almost two months in Shawnee, with hundreds being converted or rededicating their lives to the cause of Christ. However, it would also create a stir among the non-believers and opposing groups.


The rapid growth and fine condition of OBU was evidenced by the figures released to the public in early April of 1919. The numbers were made public by President F.M. Masters.

It showed the enrollment since 1916 had a consistent growth: 1916 at 143 students; 1917 at 215; 1918 at 314; and for 1919, the numbers grew to 325. The figures showed an increase of well over 100 percent in the four years. Since the completion of the administration building, a girls’ hall was erected and paid for. On April 2, ground was broken for a $50,000 boys’ hall and gymnasium.

When the ground was broken on the new structure, Robert Hamilton, missionary to the Indians, and David Cooper, an Indian ministerial student, moved the first shovel of dirt. The second spade of dirt was thrown by J.H. Fisher, of the State National Bank. He was the first man in the state to take a full share in the building and received the first stock certificate.

Robert Vanderslice, one of the students, followed with the third shovel of dirt, representing a gift of his father of $100 in Liberty bonds. Many others followed with their turn.

Rev. E.L. Compere represented the First Baptist Church and made a short, stirring address on the need of the building. President of the board of trustees, George E. McKinnis, also made very appropriate comments.

The building was planned as a three-storied, fire-proof structure. The cost was set at $50,000. It would accommodate about 75 male students when the entire building was completed.


The Baptist Convention of Oklahoma, which maintained and controlled OBU, made known through its official organ, “The Baptist Messenger,” that Dr. F.M. Masters resigned as president of the university, effective at the end of the school term. The word came in early May of his actions. He planned to return to preaching and pastoring.

The Messenger went on to say, “We can readily understand how any man who has had years of experience in the pastorate, will be drawn back to that work. However successful he may prosecute other lines of denominational activities.”

When Dr. Masters became president of OBU, the school situation was in a precarious condition. There had been many difficulties attending the efforts to establish Baptists schools and a great many of people had lost faith in the whole school program. With the opening of OBU, under the administration of President Masters, people began to see a solution and realized that all their former difficulties had been lessons preparing them to build one great school successfully.

The Baptist Convention wished heaven’s richest blessing upon Dr. Masters and prayed that he be led into just that place of service wherein he shall best glorify his Master and that the trustees and board may be Divinely guided in selecting a successor to fill the important position.

(These stories and hundreds more appear in the first volume of Shawnee history, entitled: “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE EARLY YEARS, 1830-1929.” Volume Two, entitled “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE EARLY YEARS, 1930-1949,” is also available for purchase. Both can be obtained at the Pottawatomie County Historical Society. Volume One is $35 and Volume Two is $30. They can be purchased as a package for $60. Volume Three, entitled: “REDBUD CITY, SHAWNEE, THE MIDDLE YEARS, 1950-1969,” will be available in the late summer or early fall.)

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.