Archive for the ‘Bartlesville’ Category

House Genealogy: Small World

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Who was Charles D. Bates, first known owner?  Where did Lucy Leigh and Catherine Brown, sisters and second known owners, come from? These burning questions were raised by the Fayetteville city directories.  I am getting closer to the answers.

Charles D. Bates was a pastor, probably Presbyterian, who moved around quite a bit, but his people were from Washington County (that is, they were from these parts).

Lucy Leigh Brown was a violinst, who came from Columbus, Ohio to stay with the Bates family in Spring 1921 at our house. And, apparently entranced by the beauty of Northwest Arkansas, she stayed.  This does not exactly answer how she came to know the Bates family, but we can certainly come up with hypotheses.  (And it raises another question: Why was Charles D. Bates called a contractor in the city directory? Human error or moonlighting or … ?)

May 11, 1921 Story May 21, 1921 Advertisement

The May 1921 advertisement (right) announces that Lucy Leigh Brown, violiniste [sic] is residing at our house.  The May 1921 clipping (left) says:

Miss Lucy Leigh Brown of Columbus, Ohio, professional violinist on the concert stage, is coming to Fayetteville the latter part of this week and will spend the summer here at the home of the Rev. and Mrs. C.D. Bates. Critics are said to have compared Miss Brown’s playing with that of Maude Powell.

That leads to a third question: Who is Maude Powell? Maude Powell (1867-1920) was a world-renowned concert violinist from Aurora, Illinois, where she lived at 16 N West Street. Her father was superintendent of the (East) Aurora public schools, and she would take the Burlington Northern Santa Fe to downtown Chicago for violin lessons. She studied with Joachim in Germany (1884-1885), and evenually toured the world. She was the first solo instrumentalist to record for Victor. Famous Chicago violinist, Rachel Barton Pine, recently released a Maude Powell tribute album. 

I bring this up in a small-world sort of way. My great-great-grandfather Barzille Winfred Merrill (1864-1954) was also a concert violinist from Aurora, Illinois. His New York Times obituary credited him with founding the first high school orchestra in the United States at East Aurora in 1880 (we know he was teaching there in 1886), and he also studied with Joachim (1900-1903), where he developed a neuralgia so he could no longer play full concerts and turned to music administration.  He later became the first dean (1921-1938) of the music school at Indiana University.

My great-great-grandmother/his wife Alma Etta Shedd* (1864-1892) grew up at 428 Claim Street, Aurora, no more than half a mile away from Maude’s childhood home. Their daughter (my great-grandmother and namesake) Elisabeth (1891-1954) lived with her grandparents on Claim Street for a while, and, like Maude Powell, took the BNSF to Chicago for violin lessons. She would go to the Marshall Fields department store afterwards for tea. (We used to take the BNSF to Chicago to work.  The Little One came, too, since her daycare was on-site at Don’s office.) 

As far as I know, nobody has put B.W. Merrill and Maude Powell together in the last thirty or forty years.  Let alone connected them to Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Small world, huh?

Throughout the Fayetteville newspapers (indexed through 1924) that are more-or-less searchable on, I find the Bates family and Miss Brown intertwined, with Bates children playing at recitals led by Miss Brown, and Mrs. Bates and Miss Brown (and Miss Mildred Gregg) having recitals of all of their students — usually at Miss Gregg’s studio at 205 Dickson Street.  It is not clear what church Mr. Bates served, if anywhere, but he frequently was responsible for the invocation at public events. 

What happened to the Bates before they appeared in Fayetteville? First, I found a Charles D. Bates in Pottsboro, Grayson County, Texas in the 1920 census.  (He was a Presbyterian pastor.) So that may be him. (Charles D Bates, age 52, head; Catherine, wife, age 45; Dortha, daughter, age 11; Charles Jr., son,  age 8; Joe, son, age 6. Charles and Catherine were born in Arkansas, while the children were born in Oklahoma.  They were renting.) 

Then, I found C.D. and Catherine in Oklahoma City in the 1910 census, with Dorothy and five lodgers.  They had been married five years, and she had had one live child.  Joe and Charles Jr. weren’t born yet.  (His parents were born in Tennessee and Illinois; hers, Tennessee and Texas.)  In the 1900 census, he was in Hickory Flat, Warren County, Kentucky.  A boarder with the Blewett family, he was single, born in August 1867, and a minister of the gospel. 

I believe, based on an unsourced tree on and various corroborating evidence, that Rev. C.D. Bates’ full name was Charles Dyer Bates, born August 9, 1867 to Peter Russel Bates and Clementine Perette Dyer of Washington County, Arkansas.  Peter (1833-1907) and a wife Sallie (1835-1918) Bates are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery near the University.  Katherine Patterson Bates (1874-1956) is buried there, too.  (If you left your scorecard at home, she is probably Mrs. C.D. Bates and thus Peter’s daughter in law.)  Senator Fulbright is also buried there.  Clemmie P. Bates, wife of P.R. Bates (12 Jan 1839-06 Dec 1892), is buried in Whiterock Cemetery, near Lincoln, Washington County, Arkansas.

In yet another small world coincidence, it appears that C.D.’s daughter Dorothy Bates moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma (where I grew up), and was teaching in the public schools there in 1930.  She lived with her aunt and uncle, Loren (age 54) and May W. (age 48) Campbell, and their daughter, Martha.  Dorothy was 21, and single.  (The Campbells were both born in Arkansas, and his parents were born in Tennessee, as was May’s father.  Her mother was born in Missouri.  So it is not immediately evident to me how May was blood kin to the Campbells.)  Mr. Campbell was an insurance agent.  They lived at 157 Dewey Avenue. I don’t know where Dorothy’s parents were in 1930 or what happened to them.  Yet.

* I wore Alma Etta Shedd’s 1890 wedding skirt when I married Don in 2000.  My own grandmother Alma had given it to one of my aunts for safekeeping until I was ready to wear it.  I don’t remember telling her that I would want to wear it, but I did and I am glad she knew it.  (Another aunt of mine wore it in the 1980s, and I loved it then, but I didn’t get married until 2000, and my grandmother had died four years earlier.)  I do miss her. 

Share on Facebook

Kiddie Park, Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Kiddie Park was the main reason for going to Bartlesville.  We got there the last day it was open this season (the last Saturday in August) so it’s too late for you to go this year. 

The Little One had been pining for a Ferris Wheel,* and Kiddie Park has one just her size.  (You have to be shorter than three feet, ten inches.)  We were lucky it was open.  The floods earlier this summer had closed it down for about a month.  (Nothing like the flood of 1986, which nearly covered the train depot, but enough to cause problems.)  We were also lucky our friends had mosquito repellant for us since it is in Johnstone Park, through which the Caney River flows. 

Turtle Roller Coaster Turtle Roller Coaster 

Ferris Wheel Getting on the Ferris Wheel

Carousel Riding the carousel (Always, in our family, the last ride of the night.  As it turns out, it was my mother’s tradition as a child, too.  So this is a third generation tradition.) Can you see how tired she is?

After she ate nearly a whole bag of cotton candy, and spent two hours riding the turtle roller coaster, the little airplanes, the big airplanes, the pirate swing, two sessions of jumping in the moon walk (which she insists is called a convertible for reasons known only to someone at Vacation Bible School), the big roller coaster (too dark for a good photo, but it was my brother’s introduction to roller coasters) now known as the Little Fireball, the train, and, finally, the carousel, she was more than ready to go home.  (Unusual, since she is never ready to leave anything.) 

I carried her out to the car, and on the way, she announced she felt sick.  She didn’t actually throw up — chewing gum plus psychology can sometimes do wonders to settle a queasy stomach. 

Although I’d been asking her all evening about pottying, she didn’t need to go until we were half-way back to the friends’ house where we were staying.  Then, it was a potty emergency (but not to the point she wanted to stop and use the grass).  So, we rushed on home.  As we pulled into the cul-de-sac, I realized the backseat was oddly quiet.  She had fallen asleep in the middle of her potty emergency.  I did wake her up, and got her to potty and bathed, but she slept hard that night.

Total cost:  six dollars (including a dollar for the bag of cotton candy).  (Most rides cost a quarter, although the train, carousel, and bigger roller coaster cost fifty cents.  I rode the train, carousel, and bigger roller coaster with her.  Her grandmother accompanied us on the train.)

Future plans:  She is setting up Kiddie Park playdates for next summer with Fayetteville friends.  She also uses it as a conversation starter when she needs one.  (Last night, she asked our 4-yo neighbor if he had ever been to Kiddie Park.  He hasn’t.)

*Did you know the first Ferris Wheel was at the 1893 Columbus Exposition in Chicago?

Share on Facebook

My old ‘hood

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

I grew up on a block of ranches, in a neighborhood of ranches, in a subdivision of ranches in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  In fact, my grade school was Ranch Heights.  There were plenty of ranches, although not much in the way of heights, being Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain and the waving wheat can sure smell sweet … you get the idea.*  There was a single two-story house with white columns a block north of my house, and it still looks out of place.  We went over to Bartlesville last week, and I snapped a few pictures of our old neighborhood.

dscn0411.JPG Our old house.  We planted the river birch in front and the two red oaks in back.  The birch was surrounded by a circle of daffodils, which I thought made a nice fairy ring when I was little.  They were planted a lawnmower’s width from the birch so Daddy could mow.  The people who bought it 23 years ago whitewashed the tree trunks, and (I think, but maybe it was a hallucination) put whitewashed tires around as landscaping decorations.  A little out of place.  They have since sold to a retired couple.  I think the current couple removed the evergreens and softened the landscaping around the house.

dscn0412.JPG Our neighbors across the street.  They just had to remove the maple in front, due to disease and age.  Their daughter was my age and their maple was a great source for helicopters.  We stopped to visit while we were there.  (They’re about the only ones still living on the block whom we knew.)  He had a debilitating stroke a year or two back, but his brain is still working.  It didn’t take much to make it possible for his wheelchair to get in and out of their ranch.  A very small ramp, and he’s in.  I didn’t ask what they had to do for the bathrooms.  I think our main bath could have been converted pretty easily for a wheelchair (widen the door, change out the tub for a roll-in shower, and reduce the number of cabinets so the chair could turn around), but our master bath was 3/4, and small.

dscn0413.JPG My favorite babysitter and her family lived next door.  Her parents passed a few years ago, and we just learned one of their sons died recently.  One of their grandsons was the emergency room doctor in Tulsa when our neighbor across the street was rushed down there after his stroke. 

*Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical is the source for Oklahoma’s state song.  It is the only state song I know of that came from a musical, although there are other state songs that are recognizable.  (Georgia and a couple of those from Tennessee, for example.  Kansas’ state song is Home on the Range.)  Any of you remember your state songs?

Share on Facebook