Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

C-Town Story


Remember this blog?

And this one?

Along those lines, I’m sharing more of Mrs. Crowell’s book, “In the Triangle Country.” It’s Omega’s fault I didn’t share yesterday as I’d planned. (That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.)

She wanted to see the book, and since I have a real problem telling Baby Sister no, I took it to work. She read it, but I didn’t remember to bring it home. 😦

In one of those earlier blogs, I told you early C-Town had 13 saloons at one time. Mrs. Crowell names two of the saloon owners–Tom Jordan (he might have been Col. Jordan’s son) and George Collins. Early C-Town had several church’s that are still here today.

But C-Town wasn’t all wild times and shoot-’em-ups. Even from the beginning, C-Town had a spiritual side.

“The first sermon preached in Indian Territory was by a traveling evangelist and Sunday School organizer in December 1893. There was no preacher because it was hard to get preachers then.”

First church established in C-Town? Baptist. (Not surprised, are you?) It started up in 1893. (J. C. Price was the preacher.) Methodists in 1894.

The Christian Church got started in 1901 and on July 3, 1902 dedicated the first church building here.

The Presbyterian Church began here in 1905, the Nazarene Church, 1916.

In the early days here, the churches were more non-denominational and when one church had a revival, everyone attended, whether they were members of that church or not.

It was just neighbors going to church together to hear about God. Weather permitting, meetings were held in a church yard or the East Side park. Nail kegs with boards laid across them were used for benches.

You never heard such singing.

Schools in Triangle Country were subscription schools.

According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture: Subscription schools were funded by a monthly tuition fee paid by the parents to the teachers. In turn, the teachers were responsible for securing a place of study and for paying the rent from their earnings. It was not uncommon for classes to be conducted in a tent, dugout, home, or church.

Because of the low pay, many teachers were women, and they typically received one dollar per pupil per month. Attendance usually lasted a few months, because children were needed to help with harvesting and other farm chores.

One of the early teacher’s name was the same as one of our streets–Miss Florence Drown. She later married JP Martin, who had the dry goods store.

In 1894-1895, we got our first schoolhouse on what’s now East Wichita.

The first telephone came to C-Town because Dr. Sutton (who had a street named after him) and Osman Gilbert (who has his own street, too) had it installed in the barber shop.

In 1904, the Pioneer Telephone Company put in a switchboard with a magneto (or crank) phone. The switchboard manager was a man, but the operators were women. (Go figure that one.)

Mrs. Crowell says,

“(the operators) were Rutha Bare and Maud Powell. Rutha later married Charles Bailey and Maud married Jim Crady. It wasn’t until 1917 that the first upright telephone was installed.

(Typist’s note: Mrs. Charles Bailey was the mother of Opal Crowell, author of this history of Cleveland.)

Susan’s question: When my family first moved to C-Town, we went to a grocery store called Crady’s. Mr. Crady, who owned the store, was a very nice old man who gave us a bag full of candy every month when we paid the grocery bill.

Anybody know if Mr. Crady who owned that store was the Jim Crady who married Rutha the operator?


Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

2 thoughts on “C-Town Story

  1. Father-in-law says his grandparents had a grocery store on the front of their house in Cleveland when he was a kid. Don’t know anything about it other than he didn’t get much candy. I also don’t know what their last name was.

    • We’ve GOT to find out more about that, Dan’el Don. I remember a little store down the street from my grade school. I believe the family lived either in the back of it or right behind it. I wonder if it was the same family? Or at least the same house?
      ASK HIM THEIR NAME. (Please.)
      I meant to tell y’all yesterday, China’s Aunt Peggy (Peggy Moss Fielding for people who aren’t fam) is writing their family history and said to tell everyone hi. I’m looking forward to reading it! (You’ll want to, too.) 🙂

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