In 1909 Shawnee was known as the 'Proud Princess'

Clyde Wooldridge
At the end of the decade in 1909, the Santa Fe Depot, with both its passenger and freight service, was one the most active enterprises in the city. 
(Photo courtesy of PCHS)


With the words, “Now, damn you Allard, I’m going to kill you,” Ernest Protho, formerly in the employ of the latter as a pressman, entered the office of the Shawnee News shortly before 5 P.M. on August 9, 1909, and leveled a revolver at Lou S. Allard, editor/publisher of the paper. The drunken condition of the would-be assassin alone accounted for the fact that the publisher of the News was still alive.

Protho was discharged a couple of days earlier and was paid off. Later the man claimed that $1.50 more was due him. An altercation ensued, followed by the former pressman being politely “floored” by the strenuous publisher. Protho then went to another room to the sink to clean up after he lost some blood in the rumble.

The fired pressman’s temper began to rise and turned to the point that he realized he needed to “get even” for all the events that had taken place. Accordingly, seeing a piece of stero-type base lying handy, he picked it up and was about to throw it at Allard, when he was prevented by another employee, who was standing by his side. Protho was immediately ordered out of the office. As he left, Protho made threatening remarks toward Allard to the effect that he would shoot him.

Two hours later, he attempted to carry out his threats by returning to the News office. As he entered the door, Allard was seated at his desk, behind a partition in the front office. His back was turned to the door, but as the man entered he wheeled in his chair to face a revolver that was leveled directly at his face. The weapon was only three feet from where the publisher sat, as Protho leaned through an opening in the partition.

Allard realized immediately that to survive he had to “step lively.” Accordingly, he ducked behind the partition and around the corner, where he leaped at his former employee, grabbing him with both hands about the wrists. His action turned the revolver toward the ceiling, and when it discharged, the bullet found a resting place “on high.”

So close did the bullet pass Allard that the powder burned a large hole in the back of his shirt. After the gun was discharged, the assailant still had his hands on the trigger. Other employees rushed to the scene and seized the weapon from Protho. However, Allard had only just begun, wanting to make a good job of it.

The two then clinched. The former pressman was again “floored” and exhausted when the police arrived. It was necessary to pour cold water on him as he was partially unconscious from the service of blows administered to his face.

Protho was arraigned in police court the next day. He was charged with shooting with the intent to kill. His chances of escaping a stiff penalty and prison time appeared slim.

During the mix up at the News office, a lady employee who was in the inner office, made a dash for the press room. She was so frightened that she fainted. Her sister, in trying to get out of harm’s way, jumped through a narrow aperture in the partition between the front office and the private one.


Ex-Chief of Police William F. Sims was found guilty of bribery in District Court at Tecumseh on September 30, 1909. After being out for only 30 minutes, the foreman of the jury announced that they had reached a decision and he was instructed to report the jury finding to the court.

There had been a notable lack of interest shown by the citizens in the case since the beginning. At the time the jury delivered their decision, there were very few in the courtroom besides the directly interested parties.

He was sentenced by Judge Russell to three years in the state penitentiary at McAlester. The sentence followed an overruling of a motion for a new trial filed by counsel for the defendant. They immediately gave notice of appeal following the passing of the sentence. Bond was set at $7,500, pending the appeal.


With about 500 people in attendance, the cornerstone of the new high school building was laid on October 6, 1909, in impressive ceremonies. Members of the local Masonic Lodge were in charge. W.P. Freeman of McAlester, acting as grand commander, a special appointment of grand master H.L. Muldrow, since he could not attend.

Members of the School Board, city officials, instructors at the school, citizens, and a number of students were present. Several items were placed inside the cornerstone: Several Masonic items, copies of the Shawnee Herald and News, a descriptive catalog of Shawnee, and a list of officers and standing committees of the city of Shawnee.


Ex-Police Chief William F. Sims, who was in a party composed of several Shawneeites, was on a fishing trip south of Tecumseh for a few days. On the morning of October 7, he was taken seriously ill and left immediately for his home in the city.

At Tecumseh he was given medical aid and was requested by the physician there to remain at his home until he felt better. Sims insisted that he would be able to continue the fishing trip, but by the time he arrived home, he felt worse. It appeared at first that he was suffering from congestion of the stomach, with fever.

Within a couple of months his friends had apprehension about his recovery. Physicians finally diagnosed that he probably would have to undergo surgery for appendicitis.


The Shawnee High School football team kicked off its 1909 season with a resounding 23-0 victory over Sacred Heart on October 9. This was the first victory in the history of high school football in Shawnee. They had only played 12 games since its inception in October of 1905.

This would prove to be its first winning season, finishing with a 3-2 record. The scores were 23-0 & 18-0 over Sacred Heart; and 18-0 over El Reno. The losses came to Norman, 41-0; and to Chickasha, 18-16. The all-time mark went to (3-14-0).

(These stories will appear in the exhaustive history of the city of Shawnee, due for publication in 2019/2020. It will appear in traditional book form, possibly as much as 1,200 pages, or more. It will also be available digitally for those who prefer. It will contain a fully-indexed section, with thousands of names and businesses noted. It will also contain a glossary, noting many of the office-holders throughout history in the city and county. And finally, a tribute/memorial section for the remembrance of love ones and tributes to organizations or businesses.)