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.