Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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In My Small Town World

I might have mentioned I absolutely love my small town. People who speak disparagingly about it will get a fight from me because, I LOVE OUR TOWN! It’s not perfect, but it’s darn close!

So I wondered who first established C-Town. Naturally, I turned to Wikipedia. Here’s what I found.

After the Cherokee Outlet opening, a homesteader by the name of Willis H. Herbert established a town named Herbert by opening a post office on the current townsite of Cleveland on October 28, 1893.

Most people from these parts know about the town of Herbert. And we’re all VERY glad they changed the name!

The Post Office department subsequently withdrew the approval of the Herbert post office. The post office was then moved 100 feet, and reestablished under the name C-Town, named in honor of then President Grover Cleveland on April 19, 1894.

By 1900, the town’s population was 211. Before the discovery of oil in the area, the town served as a trade center between the local farmers and the Osage Tribe who lived on the reservation was on the other side of the Arkansas river.

In 1904, a railroad line owned by the Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad (later known as Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway or Katy) from Oklahoma City reached Cleveland and crossed the Arkansas River into Osage County.

On May 27, 1904, the first oil well was spudded near the community, and it caused an influx of oil workers and other people. At the time of statehood in 1907, Cleveland had 1,441 residents.

I thought the next part was very interesting. It’s “Notable people from C-Town.”

  • David Bivin – author
  • Lincoln Ferguson – President of Beta Upsilon Chi
  • Tony Perkins – president of the Family Research Council and a former Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives graduated from Cleveland High School in 1981.
  • 1952 Heisman trophy winner Billy Vessels was born in Cleveland in 1931.

All the men mentioned are wonderful people, but there’s a couple of names missing, and I’m not sure how to get them added.

One is Gulf War hero, Craig Berryman.

This is from Fox 23:

 Gulf War POW Recalls Torture by Iraqis

Marine Maj. Craig Berryman can’t shake the memory  of his 37 days as an Iraqi prisoner of war.

The Cleveland, Okla., native says a day hasn’t  passed in the last 12 years that he hasn’t thought of how Iraqi soldiers  tortured, kicked and starved him in 1991.

Iraqi guards broke Berryman’s left leg, beat him  repeatedly and threatened him with shooting and mutilation. A lighted cigarette  was twisted into an open wound on his neck, and his requests for medical  attention were ignored.

He lost 25 pounds in 37 days and caught a case of  dysentery that lasted two years and is likely to cause him digestive tract  problems the rest of his life.


The other person I’d like to see listed there is U. S. Army Specialist Ashley Jones, who was seriously injured in Afghanistan. Her injuries included the amputation of one foot.

And of course, I’d like to see some people listed who we’ll never see there, because they kept their good deeds to themselves.

Such as the woman I heard about who took a family groceries, just when they were desperate.

And the man who won a drawing for several hundred dollars and passed the winnings along to a family in need.

And the folks who secretly gave Christmas Jars so someone else could have a happy Christmas.

If you have another moment, try googling Christmas Jars. You’ll find a link to Jason Wright’s website and probably a link to Amazon and B & N so you can buy the book. But you’ll also find stories about people who received Christmas Jars from someone who knew about living in a Small Town World.

Did you hear any Christmas Jar stories? If you did, could you share them with me? I’d love to learn more about C-Town’s history, too.

  • W-o-w!!! (