“A huge scream,” “a howling success,” either one or both of two and trite similar sayings are flat, insipid, inadequate, when it comes to describing the “Womanless Wedding” given at the high school auditorium on the night of January 7, 1921. The only phrase which would come anywhere near doing justice to the occasion was that it was the most successful piece of “dam-foolishness” that was ever presented to a Shawnee audience.

WOMENLESS WEDDING INVADES SHAWNEE

“A huge scream,” “a howling success,” either one or both of two and trite similar sayings are flat, insipid, inadequate, when it comes to describing the “Womanless Wedding” given at the high school auditorium on the night of January 7, 1921. The only phrase which would come anywhere near doing justice to the occasion was that it was the most successful piece of “dam-foolishness” that was ever presented to a Shawnee audience.

Every square foot of not only seating, but standing space was filled and hundreds were turned away from the doors, unable to get in. To describe the affair was as impossible as to pick out the most attractive member of the bridal party, or the most accomplished among the group of talented guests who were in attendance.

The entertainment opened with the precipitous entrance of Charlie Chaplin, who sprawled in true “movie” fashion across the stage, arousing shrieks of delight from the kiddies who filled the front rows of seats. “Charlie” was impersonated by J.T. Mauldin, who was master of ceremonies. He greeted the guests as they arrived for the wedding, escorting them up the aisle and introducing them to the audience and explaining their various talents. Except for the times when he just couldn’t resist flirting with “Theda Bara,” and other fair damsels among the guest, Charlie was ideal in his part.

Dwight Galloway as “Paderewski,” was the first celebrity presented. The contortions, gyrations, and gymnastics of this noted star, were highly entertaining, even if the performance was a rather surprising and trying ordeal for the piano. The second guest to arrive was “Theda Bara,” represented by Oscar Covington. He was always noted as one of Shawnee’s handsomest men, and as Theda, he was sure some vamp.

Robert Stamps and G.S. Easley as “Mutt and Jeff,” were ideal, and provided much of the fun and foolishness of the evening. Charlie Bishop was Mrs. Mutt, and was downright honest-to-goodness girlishly pretty. It was almost impossible to believe that he wasn’t the real article. “Little Cicero” was played by Clyde Moreland, and he completed the group. J.P. Curtright and E.C. Stanard were “maw and paw” of the bride and were thought by many to be the best of all. James Burton and A.V. Short were “little brother and little sister.

Preceding the ceremony, among the world-renowned celebrities, who entertained the audience were J.C. Jennings, as “Galli Cursi.” Professor David Unruh was “Schumann-Heink”; Ernest Hicks was “Alma Gluck”; Dr. Alonso McFarling was “Kathleen Pavlowa.” There many others as well.

At the last notes of “The Dying Wampus Cat,” played by Madame Pavlowa faded away, Paderewski struck up the inspiring strains of “Here Comes the Bride,” and the wedding party proceeded to the altar. L.W. Courtney was about the most ministerial looking minister who ever ministered, as he approached the execution block with the latest edition of the “Montgomery-Ward” catalogue under his arm. Other members of the party were Harry Crew and Henry Williams as “best men.” Malcom Meeks, Tom Douglas and Ross Johnson were the bridesmaids. Peyton Jennings was the Maid of Honor.

The entertainment was given under the auspices of the Boy Scouts, who acted as ushers, and Circle No. 2 of the Methodist/Episcopal Church South.

DUANE RUSSEL’S BODY RECOVERED FROM THE NORTH CANADIAN

The body of Duane Russell was found on the morning of January 29, 1921, a little before noon, 10 weeks to the hour since the boy was drowned in the North Canadian River northeast of the city.

S.J. Roelsch, who resided in that vicinity, was chopping wood one-half mile down-stream from where the tragedy occurred, and his little daughter called his attention to what she termed “a pretty hatchet” sticking in a log out in the stream. Roelsch saw at once that the “pretty hatchet” was a Boy Scout” axe in a scabbard, and that the “log” was the body of the boy for which search had been kept up unabated since the hour of the tragedy.

The body was found one-half mile below the bridge where the boy went down, and it was supposed that it had been buried in the sand and became dislodged within the past day or two. Roelsch phoned police at Shawnee, and a party at once accompanied L.D. Russell, father of the dead scout, to the river and brought the body to town.

The body was in a fair state of preservation, but in spite of the fact that it was planned to have memorial services for the dead boy, it was impossible to keep the body and burial was made at Fairview that evening.

BOXING RECEIVES STAGGERING BLOW IN SHAWNEE

The boxing game received a staggering blow on the night of February 22, 1921, when Ellis Shadid, of Holdenville, grabbed the hand of Peewee Martin, the Oklahoma City lightweight, and hoisted it over his head as the winner of a battle between Martin and Bobbie Riley of New York, at the end of the tenth round.

So unpopular was the decision that many of the fans could not restrain themselves and gave vent to their feelings in the usual way of hooting a referee, but the real staggering blow came when fans met uptown and shook hands, saying “nevermore.”

Not only the fight fans, but even the local newspaper chimed in on the awful decision that was made in favor of Martin. He was warned five times for fouling in the ring, the Oklahoma City native once going so far as to use his knee in defending himself.

Many fans saw Riley as the winner of the fight. He would have won had he fought rather than played with Martin. After defeating him in an earlier fight, it appeared that he took Martin lightly and did not give his best. The fight game in Shawnee suffered a severe blow in support after this fight, but not for long.

(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 sometime before Christmas. 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, bringing the history up to the current time of publication.)