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It happened in January

Clyde Wooldridge

1879 - The Sacred Heart Mission Post Office opened on January 30 and closed on May 24, 1888. The Post Office for the town of Sacred Heart opened May 24, 1888, and closed August 31, 1954. The newspaper was the Indian Advocate. The site selected for the school and mission was a well-known landmark called Bald Hill.

1895 - On January 1, snow was cleared away, trees cut down and sawed into blocks, which were used as foundation material for the new business houses which were owned and occupied by Mr. Bradley. The house was just one-half block north of the real-estate office and north of the future location of the Norwood Hotel.

1895 - On Jan. 21, about two and a half months after their first meeting, the newly incorporated town of Shawnee’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution to send a lawyer to Washington, D.C. to try to persuade the Secretary of the Department of Interior to route the railroad through Shawnee.

1904 - The main school building and dormitory of the Shawnee Indian Mission, two and one-half miles south of the city, was entirely consumed by fire on January 27. Shortly after 1 P.M., the roof was discovered to be on fire and in an unusually short time, the whole building was a mass of flames.

1906 – The new City Hall was dedicated and opened for business at the corner of 9th and Broadway streets in mid-January.

1910 - It was announced in Shawnee that the consummation of the $3 million deal of which had been only rumored in the past was complete. Through the efficiency of the Chamber of Commerce, the city had secured a “monster” packing house, union stockyards and three new railroads.

100 Years Ago - City Physician, Dr. J.H. Scott, said 387 cases of flu were reported to him during the last week of January,1920. He said those figures did not cover the ones who had not consulted with a doctor. There were many who were afflicted, but only with mild cases. When all levels of the disease were added up, it was suspected there were more than 500.

1930 - Snow bound, with the mercury five degrees below zero, was the condition in Shawnee on January 17, when the worst blizzard in 20 years swept in from the Rocky Mountains to virtually isolate the city. With a record snow of 13 inches already on the ground, the storm piled on several more inches and paralyzed traffic in and out of the town. The Oklahoma City highway was under four feet of snow for two miles, and more than 200 motor cars were stranded between OBU and the Acme schoolhouse.

1940 - Shawnee’s dream of a large and modern airport, where planes could land without tangling in telephone wires and bounding into hollows, was one step nearer Thursday, January 18, and civic boosters hoped the “go ahead” sign was looming for the project. T.E. Thompson, city manager, announced that afternoon a deal to trade for the 80 acres of Indian land adjoining the present airport on the south was arranged and the proposal would go to Washington for approval. It was the first definite forward step on the airport project in many weeks.

75 Years ago - A school painting foray by Shawnee High School students early Tuesday morning, January 23, 1945, at Seminole resulted in cancellation of the night’s non-conference basketball game with the Wolves. Willard Brokaw, Shawnee principal made the announcement public during the day. Seminole High School authorities cancelled the contest after the front of the school building was painted black and white in “Wolves” lettering. A Seminole school bus was also accorded a thorough plastering.

1950 - Jim Thorpe, whom his Indian mother named “Bright Path,” was named the greatest U.S. football player of the century in the opinion of sports writers and broadcasters who participated in the Associated Press poll in January of 1950.

1960 - Fabulous Farrell Johnson, the 6’3” senior center, shattered a 40-year-old all-time Shawnee High School scoring record by ramming in 34 points on Friday night, January 29, at home against the Oklahoma City Classen Comets. This led the Wolves to a resounding slaughter of the visitors, 75-48.

50 Years ago - The Antoine Bourbonnais cabin, perhaps the last unrestored remnant of the Shawnee area of the 1880s, went on sale to the highest bidder at 10 a,m. on Tuesday, January 6, 1970. Prospects Monday looked slim that it would be purchased by an organization that would preserve it for posterity, although the heirs offered to give it away. The County Historical Society, Cowboy Hall of Fame, and a Texas tourist attraction owner talked at various times of acquiring the old cabin. It was built in 1882 and was offered for sale along with a 9.575-acre tract on which it stood directly south of the Mission Hill Hospital.

2000 – Law enforcement officials conducted a brief search New Year’s Day for a suspect who left the scene of an injury accident on SH 9 Saturday afternoon, January 1, later finding him hiding beneath a well-cap in a residential well house. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Reed said Virgil Brian Massey, 27, was apprehended by troopers James Watson and Jerry Treadwell as he hid in the well house in a detached garage east of SH 102 and SH 9. The accident occurred about 2:50 p.m. as Massey, driving a Chevrolet Beretta, failed to yield to oncoming traffic as he entered SH 9, turning left from a private driveway east of SH 102.

10 Years ago – Captain Travis Palmer of the Pottawatomie County sheriff’s department, who was injured in a traffic accident while responding to an emergency call earlier in the week, was released from the hospital Wednesday, January 20, and continued his recovery at home. He was injured in the crash at Garrett’s Lake Road and Kickapoo Street while on duty Monday. He was responding to an injury pedestrian accident on Brangus Road that later resulted in the death of that victim.

Five Years ago – Area law enforcement officers reported it was a busy New Year’s, with reports including a pursuit, a race on Interstate 40, a local bar disturbance and numerous drunk drivers arrested. Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Lt. Matt Byers, who said extra deputies were out for saturation patrols, said of all the New Year’s holidays he worked over the past 16 years, this was by far the busiest. Along with numerous arrests made for those driving under the influence of alcohol, Byers said deputies also stopped the drivers of two Ford Mustangs who were allegedly “racing” along Interstate 40 at speeds near 108 mph.

One Year ago – Opening arguments were held Tuesday, January 29, and six law enforcement witnesses testified in a Pottawatomie County trial for the woman charged in connection with the 2017 death of Tecumseh Police Officer Justin Terney. A jury of six men and six women, along with two alternates, heard the trial of Brooklyn Danielle Williams, 24, who was charged with second degree murder. During opening arguments, District 21 Prosecutor Pattye High read the charges to the jury, outlining that Williams was accused, on or about March 26, 2017, of engaging in the felony offense of harboring a fugitive and concealing Byron James Shepard, a person she knew to be a fugitive from justice.

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.