Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Queen City

Do you have this book? I’d forgotten all about it (and I’m not sure where I got it.) But it’s full of beautiful old history, written by Opal Bailey Crowell. (I’m afraid I didn’t know Opal.)

There’s no publishing date on it and is about ten pages long. I’m sure it could have been much longer. 🙂

On the last page of narrative, she says,

Much more could be written about C-Town. This is what I remember and wanted to share in these pages from my childhood. In the Triangle Oil and Historical Museum are picture of many people mentioned here and street scenes of Mainstreet in early days. I am grateful to my husband for his encourgement and support in my efforts.

In the beginning, Opal says, “It has been said the first Indians here were Mayan or Aztec.”

I had no idea.

Mrs. Crowley tells of Confederate soldiers who came up into this territory. She said they could hear some of the people and see travelers moving around. “Some of the people were rough, rowdy, lawless outlaws, liquor runners and horse thieves.

“There was no law here.”

Then in 1882 the government appointed a Cherokee citizen, Col. J. W. Jordan, special agent for the Cherokees and a deputy U. S. Marshal of the war department to establish law and order.

(Sounds like the beginning of a great movie. Doesn’t it?) Col. Jordan’s wife’s name was Tennessee, his two sons Lee and Tom.

Main Street was growing with more businesses and no name for the town. It (C-Town) had been called “Queen City, Rag City, Triangle Country, Gate City, Indian Territory, Indian Meridian, Dixie, Flatiron and Township 21.”

So 16 men from the area got together to form a company and name the town. J.W. Jordan, Dr. Sutton, RL Dunlap, Dave Holler, Thomas Mann, TL Rouse and Dave Hendrick.

To select the name for C-Town and elect city officers, 64 people voted. Grover won the vote 52-12.

If you look closely in that picture above, you can see a water well in the middle of the street. There was plenty of water there for a drink or to water horses, but not enough to fight a fire, so the town built a wind mill, a water tower and two fire plugs.

She says,

The water tower “didn’t always work as so many rowdy drunks kept it shot full of holes.”

All manner of folk came into C-Town, and there were 13 saloons (among other establishments, I’m afraid) to accomidate them!

She also says it was illegal to sell liquor to Indians in C-Town, so they made a hole behind the bar and handed the liquor out the hole to the Indians. (And took money through there, too, I imagine.)

I love this part–

At times it (C-Town) was a wild place. The Doolins, Daltons, Henry Star, Bitter Creek Rose of Cimarron and other notorious men and women often came to town to trade. The business men sold them what they wanted but were careful to keep an eye on them.

She says because C-Town folks treated the outlaws decently, no businesses in the town–not even the banks– were ever robbed, and C-Town might have been a place they hid out.

C-Town’s history really does have the makings of a great movie. Makes me wonder . . . where’s John Wayne when you need him?