Tangible proof that Shawnee was to have a new federal building was at last in evidence. A temporary office and tool house were erected in front of the site at the corner of 9th and Bell streets. George H. Diassellis, representative of A.M. Lumberg of St. Louis, was the contractor.


Tangible proof that Shawnee was to have a new federal building was at last in evidence. A temporary office and tool house were erected in front of the site at the corner of 9th and Bell streets. George H. Diassellis, representative of A.M. Lumberg of St. Louis, was the contractor.

Diassellis expected to stay in Shawnee until the building was finished. He estimated time for the construction was about nine months. He planned to use local contractors for all the work. He also said he was excited about the site chosen for the post office and that it would be of the capacity to handle a population of about 40,000.

The construction began in early January and would continue to change the face of the northeast part of the intersection of 9th and Bell streets. This building would be well-constructed and still in use in the 21st century.


William N. Maben, attorney for the striking railroad shop-men of the city, and former district judge, was arrested at his home on January 6, 1923, on a charge of criminal contempt. The charges were based upon alleged violations of the federal court injunction issued in Shawnee and Chicago on July 28. The injunction prohibited conspiracy to keep workers from filling the places of shop-men on strike. Maben was released on bond of $1,500 and would be brought before United States Commissioner Ernest Chambers the next day.

The complaint against Maben charged that on December 24, he entered the City Café at about 10 P.M., and drew two revolvers, which he pressed against the body of C.M. Johnson, a blacksmith employed at the railroad shops. He then made a declaration:

“If there is a ‘dirty scab’ here in the house, and I want to kill him.”

Maben was quieted by friends and left the restaurant, the complaint said. The charge was supported by affidavits of Johnson, who lived on north Union Avenue, and W.E. Billmeyer, of north Beard Street. They swore to be in the café and heard Maben make the threats. Maben’s arrest was made on an order of attachment issued by Federal District Judge John H. Cotteral on motion of United States District Attorney William Maurer.

Johnson’s affidavit alleged that Maben declared when he drew his guns in the café: “I am looking for a Ku Klux Klansmen, or if I can’t find him, a scab will do just as well. I want to kill a scab.”

Maben had appeared in federal court for many of the strikers who had been charged with violation of the federal court injunction. He usually appeared in Oklahoma City to make bond for the men charged.


It was decided to change the title of the Benedictine College, well-known as the Catholic University of Oklahoma, to St. Gregory’s College in early January of 1923. Originally, that was the title under which the institution was dedicated. It was considered as the more expressive of the present scope and purpose of the school.

It was with reluctance that the Benedictine Fathers agreed to accept the title of Catholic University after the establishment of the school. However, several benefactors insisted that the principal Catholic institution of the state ought to have that ambitious title.

Currently, the trend in the education world had changed. The modern view that the official title should accurately indicate the scope of the work of the school, rather than its future possibilities. The Fathers, therefore, gladly reverted to the original title, which kept before the mind of the patronage of the great Benedictine Pontiff and Doctor, St. Gregory the Great.


Renewing the explosion terror, a charge of dynamite rocked the northwest part of Shawnee on the night of January 16, at 8 P.M. The concussion wrecked the home of George M. Petty on north Louisa Street.

The explosion was caused by dynamite, being tossed under the rear of the house. The charge broke most of the windows in the house and demolished a shed room on the rear. It also tore the gas meter loose, allowing the gas from the main to escape into the wreckage. Police believed that the marauders planned for the sparks to ignite the escaping gas to set the house on fire.

Since the offer of $1,000 reward jointly by the Rock Island Railroad and the City of Shawnee for the capture of the dynamiters, the explosions had stopped, until this incident. The initial charge of explosion series occurred on November 8, when a stick of dynamite was placed in the yard of Dean Runnels home on south Louisa Street. The second shook the downtown district, with an explosion on November 17, in the rear of the municipal buildings. This was followed on the next night with a charge that shook the north and west part of the city, but the location was never determined.

On November 25, the R.L. Allen home on north Pennsylvania was dynamited. The charge demolished the front porch of the home. The fifth concussion wrecked the home of Ralph Brown and Leo Gulleys on west Ridgewood on November 28.

All of the houses wrecked were homes of men in the employee of the Railroad Shops. Runnels, Gulleys, Brown, and Petty were employed by the Rock Island, while Allen was working for the Santa Fe.

ATTENTION SHAWNEE CITIZENS AND BUSINESSES: If anyone is interested in placing a Tribute/Memorial page in the upcoming third volume of the history of Shawnee, please contact the Historical Society, and they will get word to me. I will then contact you for the details. You may want to purchase a tribute page for your family in some way. Or you might want to give attention to your business, or possibly your family’s business of the past. Civic Clubs may want to give a tribute to the history of their organization. The cost is $100 per page and it will appear in the final four volumes. You may also contact me directly at (981)470-3728, or by email at cewool@live.com.

 (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 more than 400 pages with hundreds of photos and illustrations. They are fully indexed, making it easy to look up individuals or places of business. Volume four 1970-1989; volume five 1990-2009; and volume six 2010-to the present, are scheduled in the next two to three years, bringing the history up to the current time of publication.)

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.