While going through some of my Grandfather's papers for the prior blog post about him, two questions popped up that had me curious. First of all, where was South Carolina Avenue- the first house my grandparents lived in? The other question pertained to a found document that indicated something significant had occurred here in October of 1923. A trip to Central Library's was in order.
Knowing my grandmother arrived here in 1924 I pulled that years city directory and searched for the street definitions. I learned that South Carolina Avenue had originally been named Dorothy Street and that it was located: "one block east of Cincinnati between 17th and 18th Streets". First question answered.
The document I found was this (click to enlarge):
So, I had to find out what in the heck was going on here October 1, 2 and 3 of 1923. Grandpa had been on the job barely a year and was being deputized….?
During the tumultuous short term of Oklahoma's 5th governor, Jack Walton tried to appease both parties which alienated both from him. His problems went from bad to worse and KKK activity was increasing during this time- so much so that he placed both Okmulgee and Tulsa Counties under martial law with the additional penalty of suspension of habeas corpus- something strictly forbade by state constitution. When an Oklahoma City grand jury prepared to investigate the governor’s office, Walton put the entire state under martial law on September 15, 1923 with “absolute martial law” applicable to the capital. Impeachment demands were rampant and legislative leaders responded with a call for special session. A petition was circulated, adopted and a public vote was planned for October 2, which would allow the legislature to assemble on its own motion. Walton tried his best to stop the vote, claiming the day before, "There may be bloodshed, but there will be no election." He ordered the entire National Guard, numbering about 5,000 men to mobilize and claimed to have 22,000 men to assist in keeping the polls closed.
This in turn caused city officials to appoint Special Deputies to help the police keep peace. At 7:00 pm the ballots and boxes were collected by officials along with the Special Deputy Sheriffs and delivered to the courthouse where they were tallied. The Tulsa World reported that during this time Boulder was roped off between Fifth and Sixth Streets in front of the courthouse with police positioned on the sidewalks and the Special Deputy Sheriffs in front of all entrances to the courthouse. Entrance was denied to those without official authority.
In The End
On October 17 the legislature met in reply to the call of Speaker of the House, W. D. McBee. The house developed twenty-two charges against Walton and voted for impeachment. On October 23, Walton was suspended and Lieutenant Governor Martin E. Trapp became active governor.
Source: The Tulsa World