Shall Shawnee annex Tecumseh and become the fourth city of Oklahoma? That was the crux of the proposition brought to Shawnee on February 25, 1925, by a representative body of citizens of Tecumseh. They asked for a conference with the citizens of Shawnee. The avowed purpose of the union of the two cities was to forever decide the county seat question. Also, to afford a more economical administration of affairs of the county and to make a strong and more influential city.

MERGER PLAN PROPOSED

Shall Shawnee annex Tecumseh and become the fourth city of Oklahoma? That was the crux of the proposition brought to Shawnee on February 25, 1925, by a representative body of citizens of Tecumseh. They asked for a conference with the citizens of Shawnee. The avowed purpose of the union of the two cities was to forever decide the county seat question. Also, to afford a more economical administration of affairs of the county and to make a strong and more influential city.

Dick Richards, commissioner of the first district, pledged himself in the meeting not to vote for the expenditure of one dollar toward the building of a new courthouse until the two cities were united into one. Arthur W. Goar, commissioner of the second district, said that he came in good faith and promised that “no courthouse would be built until this matter was settled.”

The keynote was struck by Goar at the very outset. He had just come from the men’s meeting at the tabernacle and said he could do no better than to use the text of the preacher, “Let us reason together.”

He urged that the two towns be brought together to the end that they could then work on unity on all matters of public interest. He heartily endorsed the suggestion that Tecumseh become a ward of Shawnee. This would increase the valuation largely and operating the two cities at a very definite saving of the cost of one.

Clyde G. Pitman said that he could appreciate the benefits to Tecumseh by consummation on this movement. He thought that Shawnee would be equally benefited by the increase in values, population and prestige. S.P. Larch, chairman of the Tecumseh delegation, felt that the good of the county should be considered and that not only should the courthouse be considered, but the need of a system of improved highways be thought of in this connection.

Mayor Charlie Hawk of Shawnee admitted that he had not given the matter any thought, but he would see where a union of the two cities would ultimately lead to the building up of the county and that through this and that, all future dissension as to the location of the courthouse be eliminated. J. Lloyd Ford said he appreciated the disposition of Tecumseh in the matter and agreed that the courthouse and improved roads were both needed. He was totally in favor of building a new courthouse.

Roscoe C. Arrington said the question was as old as the welfare of the two cities. As a resident of Tecumseh, when the first county seat contest was staged, he took an active part. After he came to Shawnee, he saw the matter throughout again and in both cases Shawnee lost. He was in favor of building at once, pointing to the fact that there is no fireproof vault today and that its destruction by fire would complicate matters of business relating to records for the next 25 years and be of incalculable damage.

“With the present spirit,” he said, “these two cities can be built together. Later the superior court can be abandoned, and this county be made one judicial district, thus effecting a savings of more than $12,000 to the county. Other branch officers now maintained in Shawnee could also be abolished and effect a savings. I can see no legal barrier to the annexation of Tecumseh.”

Kib H. Warren was opposed to any harm coming to Tecumseh. He felt that the highways between should be improved, and that electric lights and water be supplied the people.

“Great good could come to the county by union of the two cities,” he said. “This should lead also to the acquisition of Benson Park as a permanent home for the county fair. A union of the two cities should be effected before the courthouse is built.”

BIG REVIVAL ENDS

The night of March 2 marked the last service of the mammoth revival, which had been in progress in Shawnee for the past month. It met in a huge tabernacle on north Union Street. It was “trail hitter night,” and all who made confession during the revival occupied the center section of the big tent.

This included the 56 who hit the trail two nights before. The total number of converts up to that point had reached 800. This did not include the small children who went forward at the children’s service, only adults and children above 10 years of age.

Because of the increased interest, which marked the closing days of the campaign, the ministers and other workers of the 10 churches of the city which united for the meeting, were confident that the final roll of the “trail hitters” would surpass 1,000. The 800 did not include the 250 who went forward and dedicated themselves to special Christian work, following Rev. James Rayburn’s powerful missionary sermon.

By the end of the services, a total of 1,158 souls “hit the trail,” meaning they went down the isle and made decisions for Christ. 

LOCAL CITIZEN ENDS HIS LIFE

H. Moses, 62, of north Market Street, died in a local sanitarium on March 12, an hour after he had fatally wounded himself by firing a charge from a .38 caliber revolver into his chest. He had been working in his garden and retired to his room, where the suicide took place. He was found lying on the bed by roomers at the residence. Ill health and despondency were assigned as motives.

Moses had been a resident of Shawnee for several years, having moved to this place from Ardmore. He was once reputed as a wealthy man. He gained a wide acquaintance in Shawnee. His wife was an employee at a local department store. She and his son were the only local relatives.

No message of any character was left for the public, although neighbors who attended the wounded man discovered a sealed note addressed to his spouse. With it had been placed insurance policies carried by the aged citizen, together with receipts for premium paid.

Only one shot had been fired from the revolver. With several houses close by, the explosion was heard by many people and soon a sizable crowd had collected. The wounded man was rushed to the hospital. County Attorney Randall Pitman said he saw no reason to have an inquest on the event.

(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. Volume three, “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE MIDDLE YEARS, 1950-1969,” is now also available, its cost is $35. All three volumes are more than 400 pages with hundreds of photos and illustrations. A combination of two or three can be purchased at $30 each. They are fully indexed, making it easy to look up individuals or places of business. Volume four 1970-1989, is scheduled for the fall of 2020; volume five 1990-2009, should be available in the fall of 2021; and volume six 2010-to the present, is scheduled for the fall of 2022. They are also available on thumb drive at the PCHS Museum.)

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.