Friday, November 27, 2009

T.J. Archer Part 2

When Ann Mowbray arrived at the Tulsa train station, having been summoned by her father to come play the organ at his church, T.J. Archer and some other citizens were sitting on the porch in front of his store. As Reverend Mowbray escorted his daughter past the store, T.J. said, “There goes my wife.” One of the other fellows said, “I’ll bet you a box of cigars that she’s mine.” Archer took the bet and sure enough, about a year later they were married.

To meet Annie, Archer attended the Methodist church where her father pastored.
Born in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire England, the Rev. George Mowbray came to Tulsa as a pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church in 1887.

After they were married, they lived in a room in the back of Archer’s store for the first 3 years, where their first child was born. He then bought 32 acres in North Tulsa and built their first house in the 500 block of North Main.
About 14 years later, a larger brick home was built in the lower lot at the corner of Easton and Main. It had 7 bedrooms, a parlor, a library, a dining room, a kitchen and one of the first modern bathrooms.

1902- Front Row: Beth Thomas (Meeks), Matie Harley Thomas (Joyner), Grace (Mowbray) Winterringer, (Baby) Mildred Winterringer (Wickizer), Helen Mowbray, Hannah Elizabeth Mowbray, (baby) Madeline Mowbray (Harris), Gertrude Winterringer (Carr), George W. Mowbray Sr, Georgia Archer (Young), front of Georiga, Melton Winterringer, Annie (Mowbray) Archer. Back Row: Heck Thomas, Matie (Mowbray) Thomas, George W. Mowbray jr, Mame (Robertson) Mowbray, Mabel G. Archer (Curry), James V. Archer.

1906- From left to right: Annie C. Archer, and her mother and father, Hannah Elizabeth Mowbray, and George W. Mowbray

The Archer children attended the “subscription” school at the church, where parents paid $1 per child to attend. It went from 1st to 8th grade. There were no organized public schools at that time.
1894 The school sat on the north side of Boulder and the MKT Railroad tracks.

The Story According To Mabel Archer Curry:
One day in 1895, one of Archer’s friends, an Indian by the last name of Perryman (first name unknown), came into his store inebriated and told Jeff he was going to shoot him. Perryman had been seen down at the train depot shooting at boys’ toes to see them jump before coming into the store. Jeff told him that he didn’t want to do that because they were friends. So instead of shooting Jeff, he shot at the floor, into cans of blasting powder. There were three explosions, the force of which knocked Jeff into the heavy shelving, set his clothes on fire and blew the roof off the building. He got out with his clothes on fire and ran up the street to the doctor’s office. Perryman was blown over the railing, over the safe and was killed instantly.
Archer was treated for his burns, but there was no hospital in Tulsa, so he was taken home where he died one month later from his injuries. He left behind 3 children ages 3 ½, 1 ½ and a baby born 4 months after he died. His widow Annie never remarried.

George Mowbray, who had been living and preaching in Stillwater with his wife, returned to Tulsa and took over running the store with Annie, later becoming Tulsa’s 5th mayor, the first president of the Commercial Club as well as an undertaker and real estate broker.
photo taken around 1912-
A street and a brick store were later built and named The Archer Building in 1909, to commemorate the life of Thomas Jefferson Archer. The building under construction (2nd story framing and window frames are visible), on the left, was the Archer Building.

A piece of that history lies in the Vintage Gardens at the Tulsa Historical Society.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tulsa Pioneer: T. J. Archer

Thomas Jefferson Archer came to Tulsa in 1882. An orphan child, he had worked hard and had saved enough money to buy a tent. He followed the railroad workers, pitching his tent along the right of way when they were building the Frisco railroad from Vinita to Tulsa. He sold work gloves, work shoes, tobacco and quinine (which everybody had to take for malaria), and a few groceries- staples like coffee, beans and rice. When the railroad team moved on, so did he. But when the railroad people got to Tulsa, they stopped. So T.J. got a bill of sale for half a block of property. It started at the railway line and First Street.

In this map of Tulsa as a tent town in 1882 or 1883 Mr. Archer's tent is number 4
click to enlarge:
He pitched his tent right there, selling gingerbread cookies and coffee as that was all he had left until the next train came in. Another family by the name of Hall moved in across the street and opened a general store.

T.J. quit selling groceries and put in some hardware and furniture stock. This was his first store- Archer is in the center with his hand in his vest:
In a memoir told by Mabel Archer Curry (daughter) in 1978 she says:
“My father (Thomas Jefferson Archer) had a little store where he sold dry goods, and later farm equipment."
Archer is again in the middle, wearing the buttoned jacket; to the right is the town Marshall. Gentleman on the left is unknown. The store, at this time, had been upgraded:
“Farmers would come in and buy things from him, sometimes on credit. When they gathered their crops, they would either pay him, or if they didn’t have the money, they would pay him with livestock. When he received livestock from people, he would put them in a feed lot. At the end of the year, he would ship a carload of cattle to market and take the money from the sale and buy stock for the store. In that way he was able to buy some land and build a house.”
Livestock out behind the store:
Interior shot of the store. In it we see buckets, lanterns, wagons parts:

In this next interior shot....:
...we see horse collars (hanging from the ceiling on the right), rifles, pistols, ammunition, and black powder (kegs on the right), cook stoves (center), oil lamps and other household goods (on the left). A soda fountain can be seen in the left background. Mr. Archer is leaning on the counter.
Archer also sold furniture. This is the interior of his furniture store around 1892:
This is looking south on Main Street, Tulsa Indian Territory 1892. Thomas Jefferson Archer's 2nd Tulsa store building located on left:
The house that Archer was able to buy was very nice, indeed. Daughter Mabel: "The house had 5 rooms and a picket fence. The house was always painted green and had flagstone walks from the street to the house.”

Next up: The family and an untimely death.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

Technical Difficulties
My old pc died and I am working off my little netbook while waiting for my new iMac to arrive. Blogging is a little challenging right now, but I did not want to miss the opportunity to honor the Veterans today with a few pictures from the Beryl Ford Collection, to keep this Tulsa History related. 

In 1917 a parade was held to honor patriots and encourage young men to enlist in aniticipation of the U.S. entering the war in 1918. Photo was taken from top of the Robinson Hotel.

(click on photos to enlarge)

Tulsa honored Company D, 11th Engineers, 36th Division when they returned home on June 12, 1919 with the Arch of Welcome.
The arch was erected on Main Street between 3rd & 4th Streets and was built at a price of $3500 and paid by public subscriptions. It was made of paper mache and thrown away after.
Below: Veterans Day Parade, circa 1970's. Dode McIntosh, the last appointed Creek Indian Chief, in his World War I uniform. The parade started at approximately Frankfort and 3rd streets. Today the KOTV television studio is located on the intersection's southwest corner.

Thank you, Veterans, for serving.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More Downtown Memories

Other nostalgic memories of the Downtown Tulsa in the 1950's and 60's that Mr. Burns shared with me:

Locust ParkOne of the first city parks, located between 13th and 14th, from Cincinnati to Detroit, Burns recalls it having a tennis court, wading pool and public building (post office?) where people voted. And now, if you look on a Google map, you can see where the park was- it is noted as Locust Playground. click on photos to enlarge
A view (via Google):
Here is a newspaper clipping from the 1950's featuring neighborhood kids and Locust Park:

Riverview School
Burns attended Riverview School which was located around 12th and Guthrie- 512 W 12th. This photo shows the school from a distance (12th and Denver):

The place where the school once stood is now a Firehouse. However, if you look closely at the parking lot, you can see the raised cement border indicating where the playground was:

For more interesting information, photos and history on this neighborhood visit the Riverview Neighborhood webpage..
Burns recalled the neighborhood around where the Civic Center now stands. In this photo, taken when the 1957 Plymouth was going to be buried, you can see that neighborhood in the background. This was in front of the courthouse on Denver:
More pictures from the downtown neighborhoods-
3rd and Denver, 1953:
West Denver between 4th and 5th (new courthouse in back):

North Denver and 5th- Al Musik's Drug Store:

Burn's mothers came to Tulsa in 1931, graduating from Central High School.

A few more miscellaneous items he shared with me:

More memories:
"I remembered Hackett's bowl for two reasons, the one on Main had pool tables and my little brother was in a league on the one off Detroit. My mom told me the first TV they ever saw was at the Green Dragon Lounge on the corner of 15th and Main. 

Do you remember Coleman's on the other corner, home of the cowboy sandwich?"

I don't. Do you?