Burglars entered the Wright Fashion Shop on the night of October 25, 1920 and made away with $2,000 worth of silks and furs. Entrance to the shop was made through a rear window.


Burglars entered the Wright Fashion Shop on the night of October 25, 1920 and made away with $2,000 worth of silks and furs. Entrance to the shop was made through a rear window.

When E.C. Trimble, new manager of the store, locked things up at 7 P.M., he was particular to notice that all windows and doors were locked. Merchant Policeman John Barnwell passed through the alley back of the store about 7:30 and said that the windows were locked at that time.

Shortly after 8 P.M., Trimble, who lived above the store, started down the back steps with a pet dog. The dog began to growl and snarled and attracted the attention of his master to the broken window. The bars over the window had been cut and bent upward with tongs, allowing a small man or a woman to enter the building.

Search inside of the building showed that 14 of the store’s most costly silk dresses, several silk underwear, and six of the store’s most costly plush coats, lined with fur, were missing. When Trimble noticed the broken window, the police were notified. By the time the authorities reached the scene, the burglars were gone. At the time, there were no clues as to the identity of the perpetrators.


Mary Hudson, better known to Shawnee citizens as “Grandma Hudson,” died on the night of November 17, 1920, at the home of her daughter, Libbie Oldham, on south Park Street. Grandma was 85 years old and one of Shawnee’s most picturesque and interesting characters.

For years, she had lived alone in a little cottage two miles northwest of the business section of the city, which she bought and paid for herself by raising garden truck and chickens. In the spring, Grandma paid a man to plow the ground for her garden, but all the planting, hoeing and other work incident to its care, she did herself. Not a square foot of the entire tract, which consisted of four lots, set idle.

She also raised several hogs for market every year and walked to town every day no matter what the weather or condition of the roads. She dragged a child’s express wagon in which she collected scraps for her hogs and chickens.

For the past year, Grandma had been failing in health and the trips to town became more and more infrequent during the past few months. A few days earlier, Grandma contracted pneumonia and was brought to the home of her daughter.

Mary Hudson was born in Dayton, Ohio, August 22, 1863. She was educated in the Columbus, Ohio schools, and taught for some time in Springfield, MO. She married in May of 1880, to Elijah Hudson at Springfield. They had five sons, two of whom died in infancy, and the other three, although they grew to manhood, had been dead for some time. Mr. Hudson died in 1903 at Jones, OK, where the family lived before coming to Shawnee.

Many people from all walks of life attended her funeral. Rev. Chris Matheson officiated the service.


Duane Russell, 14-year-old son of Mr. & Mrs. L.J. Russell of University Avenue, was drowned in the North Canadian River near the Mission farm, seven miles northeast of Shawnee on November 20, 1920.

Russell was one of 33 Boy Scouts, in company with Scout Executive O’Toole, and three scout masters, went for a hike to that part of the county. At 11 P.M. that night, parties which had been dragging the river all afternoon for more than a mile below the place where the tragedy occurred, gave up the search until the next morning.

Eye witnesses of the tragedy said that the boy crawled out on a rotten log, which extended from the bank to a little island in the river. The log broke, precipitating him into the water, which at that point was very swift and treacherous. William High of Troop No.3, made a heroic attempt to rescue the lad, plunging into the icy water and starting toward the shore with him. However, Russell panicked and grabbed young High in a strangle hold around the neck and it was necessary for the would-be rescuer to release him. High quickly made another attempt to assist the drowning boy, but with like results.

At this point, one of the scout masters plunged into the water a little further down the stream, but when the body passed that point, it was not visible and did not appear again until some 50 yards further down. It sunk almost immediately and was not seen again.

Searching parties, including several Shawnee firemen, dragged the river all afternoon, and over 100 sticks of dynamite were exploded at various points to raise the body.


The Shawnee High School football team suffered through another hard season in 1920, finishing the season with only two wins. Under first-year coach, Hugh McDermott, the team competed in almost every game, but fell a little short in most cases.

The season opened with a 20-14 loss to Henryetta, and then a close loss to the McAlester Buffaloes, 13-12. However, next they hosted Enid and pulled off an impressive 21-7 victory. Things started to look good with a 0-0 tie the next week against powerful Norman. Another tough loss at Oklahoma City by a score of 16-0 did not discourage the locals. Especially the next week when they destroyed Pauls Valley, 46-7.

The momentum continued the next week against perennial power Tulsa High School with a 7-7 tie. However, Shawnee failed to score in its final three games, losing to Sapulpa, 49-0; tied Okmulgee 0-0; and finished up with a 40-0 loss to Lamont. The season record ended at (2-5-3). The season raised the all-time mark for Shawnee High School football to (46-47-12).

(These stories and hundreds more appear in the first volume of Shawnee history, entitled: “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE EARLY YEARS, 1830-1929.” It can be purchased by calling Clyde Wooldridge at (918) 470-3728, or by visiting the Pottawatomie County Historical Society at the old Santa Fe Depot. It can be purchased for $35. Volume two, “1930-1949,” is also available for $30. They may be obtained as a package for $60. Volume three, “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE MIDDLE YEARS, 1950-1969,” is coming during the late summer or early fall. All three volumes are slightly over 400 pages with hundreds of photos and illustrations. They are fully-indexed, making it easy to look up individuals or places of business. Volumes four and five are scheduled in the next two to three years, bring the history up to the current time of publication.)

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.