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The Redbud City: It happened in September

Clyde Wooldridge
Contributing writer
Three of the four inductees Russell Compton, Chris Dockrey and Bill Ford stand with friends and other alumni from SHS after being inducted into the 2019 SHS Football Hall of Fame on September 6, 2019. Jerry Compton’s sister Darla Reynolds accepted the award on his behalf.

1875 – A group of Mexican Kickapoos were removed from Old Mexico and brought to what is now Oklahoma. There were 426 men, women, and children placed on lands west of the Sac and Fox Reservation, mostly northeast of McLoud. They were given rations and a station was built about five miles west of present-day Shawnee and called “Kickapoo Station,”

1891 – The Land Run of 1891 was a set of horse races to settle land acquired by the federal government through the opening of several small Indian reservations in Oklahoma Territory, just two years after the original run. The race involved approximately 20,000 homesteaders, who gathered to stake their claims on 6,097 plots of 160 acres each.

The settlement took place in September of 1891 and included three land runs. On the 22nd, a land run was held to settle Iowa, Sac and Fox, Potawatomi, and Shawnee lands, with an estimated 10,000 people on hand. On the 23rd, a run was held to settle Tecumseh, the predesignated location of the county seat of County B, or later, Pottawatomie County. Finally, on the 28th, a dash was held to settle Chandler, the predesignated location of the county seat of County A, later named as Lincoln County. Those land runs also expanded Payne, Logan, Oklahoma, and Cleveland counties.

1895 – The Supreme Court ruled that the Secretary of the Interior had the right to approve the construction route of the Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Gulf Railroad. He eventually chose the route through Shawnee instead Tecumseh for two main reasons. First the railway convinced him it was the cheaper route for the road, and secondly, some of the property owners in Shawnee gave the railway the incentive of “free land” if they would build through their city.

A census was taken in late September and it was reported to the City Council on September 23, that 2,507 people lived in the confines of Shawnee.

100 Years ago – The first of Shawnee’s soldier dead to be returned from overseas for burial, arrived in the city on September 3, 1920. The body of Bartelles Tatom, eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. E.S. Tatom of north Draper Street, arrived from New York under military escort on the Rock Island train. He would be buried with full military honors on September 5. Tatom, who was 22-years-old at the time of his death, died at Liverpool, soon after landing in September of 1918. He suffered from bronchial pneumonia, following an attack of the flu. He was in the band with the 109th engineers.

75 Years ago – Five city youths, ranging in age from 16 to 18, were charged Friday, September 21, 1945, with assault with a dangerous weapon after a Davenport football player suffered head injuries the night before. A missile was thrown into the Lincoln County team’s bus. The injured boy, George Wooden, suffered severe head cuts and was treated by a Meeker physician.

The incident occurred on Highway 18 south of Meeker as the Davenport team was returning home after defeating Shawnee’s “B” team, 18-0. No football players were involved in the escapade, but one city high school senior was among those charged.

 50 Years ago – Dr. Grady C. Cothen, OBU president, was elected president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on Thursday, September 17, 1970, by the seminary’s board of trustees. He submitted his resignation to the OBU trustees the next day.

Dr. Cothen had been at OBU since July of 1966, and was expected to leave OBU in mid-October and assume his new post in mid-November. The 10th president of OBU came to the Shawnee school after serving as executive secretary-treasurer of the Southern Baptist General Convention of California.

During his four and one-half years at OBU, enrollment increased from 1,378 to 1,675; university valuation physical plant and endowment went from $10 million to $19 million; and operating financial support by Oklahoma Baptists increased from $400,000 to $750,000 per year.

10 years ago – Frank Kennon, who symbolized Shawnee High School football as both a head coach and a loyal fan, died at 11:30 a.m. Friday morning, September 24, at Unity Health Center. He was 83. Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Shawnee’s First Baptist Church.

Kennon, a 1947 Shawnee High School graduate, took the Wolves’ head coaching position in 1964. He was at the Shawnee helm until 1971. Prior to accepting the SHS assignment, Kennon coached at Tuttle, Wellston, Oilton, Blackwell and Woodward.

Five Years ago – Oklahoma Baptist started in September its first foray into the NCAA in 2015 with a team chocked full of experience at a different level. The 2014 Bison went through the competition with a high-octane offense that averaged 479 yards of offense, going (8-3). With a returning cast that garnered 13 pre-season All-America nods, OBU had the look of a top contending NAIA squad. But 2015 would see the Bison leave that level behind for a much more rugged pasture: NCAA Division II and the Great American Conference.

One Year ago – Members of the community and fans of Shawnee football witnessed a reception honoring the four men being inducted into the 2019 Shawnee Football Hall of Fame Friday September 6 from 5-7 p.m. The reception was right before the first game of the season. The reception was held in the southeast corner of the Shawnee Performing Arts and Athletic Center (PAAC) that was just west of the football stadium.

The four inductees were Jerry Compton, Class of 1976; Russell Compton, Class of 1969; Chris Dockrey, Class of 1987; and Bill Ford, Class of 1960, were inducted during halftime at the football game.

William “Bill” L. Ford, of Shawnee, was inducted along with 10 others into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame at a banquet on October 26, 2019 in Norman. Mr. Ford received the Major General Doug O. Dollar Public Service Award for his exemplary community and military service.

Ford attended the University of Oklahoma from 1960 to 1964, and was active in the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program as well as a left fielder on the OU baseball team. He received a Bachelor’s in Business Administration degree in 1964, and later a Master in Business Administration degree in 1967.

(These stories and hundreds more appear in the six-volume history of the city of Shawnee, entitled “REDBUD CITY.” The first three volumes are available for purchase by calling the Pottawatomie County Historical Society. Volume 4, (1970-1989), is almost finished and should be ready for publication and purchase in October. It contains hundreds of photos and near five thousand people in the stories throughout the pages.)