It’s (mostly) the Truth

 

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May 30, 1972

Memorial Day is a day for 'remembering' . . . and a question posed at the Cherokee Municipal Cemetery yesterday about the first grave there sent me to the L. R. Smith history to find the answer to the question.

 

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It seems that soon after the 'Strip' was opened, burial grounds were established near the Stella Academy by the Friends and at Auburn, which was a church two miles south and five and one half west of Cherokee.

 

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When it was seen that Erwin (later moved to present Cherokee) might develop into a town, there became a need for a cemetery near that point with the result that W. S. David proposed that he would donate one acre from the southeast corner of his farm for cemetery pruposes . . . provided that some non‑secretarian organization take it over and care for it . . . At that time there was no such organization so a committee was formed to act until such a group came into being.

 

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Robert Barry owned the southeast quarter of the same section . . . A brother‑in‑law of David and a Catholic, he deeded a like portion of his farm to the Catholic Church for cemetery purposes at that same time, in 1897.

 

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 A short time prior to 1897, the J. W. Howard family and the W. H. Ford family' had each lost a baby, burying them on the Howard farm one mile east of Cherokee on Fifth Street . . . As soon as the new cemetery had been platted, the childrens bodies were moved there, the Ford child to the Catholic Cemetery and the Howard child to the (later) MWA Cemetery.

 

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The first person immediately buried there at death (1897) was the the baby daughter of Mr. and Mrs.. Gus Girardot who lived two and one half miles west of the new cemetery site . . . On May 12, 1899, Mr. Robert Jackson was buried there and on August 1 of the same year Mrs. Cicero Stout died and was buried there.

 

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In 1900 the Erwin Camp of Modern Woodman was organized, and being the first 'non‑secrearian' group became owners and caretakers of the cemetery until it's transfer to the City of Cherokee in 1960 . . . With caretaker Bruce Phelps in charge since that time . . . plus forty years interest in the cemetery as a MWA director.

 

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By co‑incidence . . . The question about those first graves was posed by Florence Baker and Mary DeWitt who I found in my search to be cousins of the Girardot baby (perhaps they knew) . . . If not, the babys grandmother was their father's sister.

 

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And in that same search, I found sons of daughters of homesteaders still living on the same claim to also include Mary DeWitt and Ruth Adams on the John Turner homestead . . . Robert Jackson and Roscoe Shafer still living on their family farms . . . all in the immediate Cherokee vicinity . . . I'd bet there are several others . . . by george.

 

June 2, 1972

Our 'No New Taxes' governors, David and Dewey are fuedin' over who gets the blame for the 're­evaluation' tax raises in some Ok lahoma counties.

 

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Up here in our county, there is no big fuss . . . The re‑evaluation didn't change things much . . . Our property has always been valued high enough to pay the tax bill for the schools and local government we needed . . . or wanted . . . plus the high cost of that re‑evaluation study the State Legislature hung on us a few years back.

 

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Now . . . Those counties in the state who have long operated on the county assessor 'buddy system' . . . or believed that the 'homestead exemption' was supposed to exempt even the best homes from all taxes . . . and believed that the railroads, corporations and big land owners should foot all the tax bills . . . sure needed fairer property valuations . . . and less hollering.

 

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After all . . . It isn't the valuation of property that causes the high taxes . . . It is the levies imposed by the tax spending units of government in each county . . . It is time for all our state's citizens to realize that 'if you want the benefits—You gotta pay for them' . . . So, why holler . . . or blame either David of Dewey . . . or for them to blame each other.

 

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Had thought I might run for the State Legislature this year . . . You see . . . only Rep. Lynn Thornhill and I (or maybe Sen. Bryce Baggett) know exactly where our new district is . . . and I have Lynn's maps . . . and none of us can describe it for print because it is just too darn complicated . . . The Supreme Court looked it over and left it alone, said it was OK . . . If Hannah Atkins and the Blacks think they are being discriminated against down at the City in that re‑apportionment . . . she'd ought to try running as a Republican wheat farmer from Alfalfa County in this crazy district.

 

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The way I figured it was that I was only known in this county . . . so would likely lose it (only 5,000 votes) . . . But if I stayed out of all those other counties and kept my mouth shut, I might get enough} of those votes (20,000) to sneak in . . . After all there is go ing to be enough confused voters in this 'crooked' line district who won't know whether their legislator is from Enid, Ponca City, Burns Flat or Ingersoll.

 

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This 'One Man—One Vote' business is a great thing for everyone . . . but the people and the politicans.

 

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But . . . I decided not to run . . . Figured that if those Vance Air Force boys (also in our district) ever found out that I was partial to the United States Navy . . . they'd likely sink my boat for sure . . . Besides . . . If I was a member of the Legislature it would be sort of awkward to write in this column some of the stupid things 'they' do down at the State House . . . by george.

 

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