the news in small town America, 107 years ago today


If you picked up a copy of a newspaper from a small town in the rural United States from roughly a century ago, how would it read? Have you ever wondered?

Located just a few miles from my hometown is a little town named Comanche. Recently, while doing some genealogical research, I came across a copy of The Comanche Reflex, the local newspaper for Comanche … dated July 7, 1905. Understand, that’s not only 107 years ago, that’s two years before Oklahoma even became a state.

Following are some extracts from that issue. These extracts make up close to one-third of the entire issue and these excerpts are typical, not extraordinary, of the time and that paper. They appear here in the order they appeared in that issue. None of the individual entries have been abbreviated or condensed. Advertisements and news do not appear separate in the original issue and so, they do not appear separate as they’re reproduced here.

Read this and your mind will immediately fill with questions. What was truly important to the people who read this news? How big was the world to them? What must it have been like to live in a community where there was real “community?” When did “privacy” actually come into being and when did it die? Etc.


The Comanche Reflex
Comanche, Indian Territory
Friday, July 7, 1905

J. P. CLEMENTS read our item about the onions brought to this office by JOHN GUEST and immediately went out to his patch and gathered us a bunch that beat the Guest onions. The largest one measured 14 1.4 inches in circumference. He also says he can beat the peaches MR. LESTER brought.

* MISS ALTA TANKERSLEY who went to Wichita Falls, Texas for a visit with her grandmother has been quite sick since her arrival there. MRS. TANKERSLEY and son ARTHUR went there to be with her.

* Little “DIGGER’ ALEXANDER happened to quite a painful accident while handling a loaded shot gun shell. He found an old shell and removed the shot, then applied a match, causing an explosion which burned his hand severely.

* FRED LEACH and GABE YATES, who are attending school at Fort Worth, came home Sunday for a week with their parents.

* Street Commissioner DEATON with a grader and a force of hands did some excellent work on our streets last week.

* CLAUD OWENS bought a fine team. Price $800.

* I see great flocks of chickens in the neighborhood old enough to kill. They don’t have to be as old here as the old woman in Arkansaw said they had to be there before they old enough to kill.

* OLD MAN HOWE is truly entitled to the sobriquet of ‘the man with the hoe.’ As soon as he gets over the corn and cotton, he goes back and commences at the beginning again. He says if the cotton and corn grew as fast as the weeds, we would have to get step ladders to pick the cotton and balloons to gather the corn.

* A neighbor going by MR. SHAW’s cotton field the other day and ran across BERT lying in the shade of a cottonwood tree. He said, ‘Hello, Bert, what are you doing here?’ ‘Laying by my cotton, said Bert.

* J. N. LITTLE made a business trip to Hastings.

* Some of the Red School house boys want to know if NEW LITTLE’s lover ever found him when he was lost in the cotton patch, sure boys, and are ready to help JOE, JOE, the dog faced boy.

* MR. MORGAN, who has been confined to his bed for several weeks, is reported no better.

* Well, farmers, bring your wagon tires to W. A. ISAAC and he will do you right.

* MRS. KATIE SIMPSON was visiting at MR. LESTER’s Sunday.

* Mr. and Mrs. MENDENHALL, Mr. and Mrs. MAUDLIN, FRED DOVER, and JESS RELMS were visiting at Mr. Lester’s Sunday. They were treated to some excellent plums and peaches.

* DR. J. W. DUNCAN, physician and surgeon, office at Weakley’s Drug Store, Phone 5, residence phone 37.

* BOB HAYES, who is engaged in carpenter work at Hastings, spent Sunday here with his mother.

* Good ear corn for sale, raised in the Beaver bottom, 50 cents per bushel by W. E. SCHWABA at the mouth of Walker Creek.

* J. F. BROWN is among the number who have deposited $1.00 with us for Comanche’s popular paper for another year.

* The Border Queen Dining Parlor, meals 25 cents. Opposite post office.

* A baby girl arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. BLAKEY on Wednesday of last week.

* GREENUP PEVELER and sister, MRS. THRESHER, moved into the residence vacated by R. P. PAYNE and family.

* MRS. H. W. SITTON, who has been visiting at her home in Arkansas, expects to leave there in a few days, en route home, she will visit a sister in Okmulgee before arriving here.

* ‘White Man,’ the delivery horse of WEBB Brothers, got ‘foxy’ Thursday morning and ran off with GRANT FARLEY. Grant got scared and jumped and hurt one of his legs severely.

this went thru my mind


Basic Christianity: Hope for Life

Christians, nationalism, patriotism & the Fourth of July: A collection of various links & views:

Happy Fifth of July! by Timothy Archer

“The truth is that apart from Christ, Americans are as enslaved to the principalities and powers as any other person or group. That is why freedom is only found in Christ.” (quoting K. Rex Butts)

What are Some Helpful Ways to Celebrate July 4th in the Church? by Brian Croft

“… I do believe there are some things we can do in our worship services that celebrate the freedoms we have in this country, but take a more gospel focus in doing so.  Here are 3 we have done in our church that I feel accomplish this.”

A Nuanced Allegiance to the United States by Brian LePort

“… I hope that as Christians we can be reminded that our truest citizenship is “in heaven” (as the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3.20). When we live for the Kingdom the United States benefits as does the other nations of this world. The way of Christ is best.”

A Fourth of July Treatise – America and a National Religion by Paul Smith

“Why are we not a Christian nation? Because we never were a Christian nation. Our founding documents preclude our ability to be a Christian nation.”

God Does Not Love America by Karen Spears Zacharias

“God does not love America. If that offends you, you have a problem. God does not love Israel. Israel as a nation is a construct of the Truman Administration and some legal wrangling within the United Nations. I know we have been taught — truly indoctrinated — to think otherwise. I get it. It’s a hard truth to realize that as a nation God is no more devoted to us than he is to Afghanistan or Iraq, Iran or North Korea.  It’s like learning that your mama loves your brother as much as she loves you. It’s disappointing to not be the favorite. But when it comes to nation-building, God does not play favorites.”

Human rights: A Cruel and Unusual Record by Jimmy Carter

“The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.”

LifeWay Christian Bookstores: Christian Bookstores and Their Chokehold on the Industry

“… LifeWay Christian bookstores recently banned the movie ‘The Blind Side’ from their shelves due to language and objectionable content.”

Marital fidelity: 10 Keys to Avoiding the Tragedy of Infidelity by J. Carl Laney

“… my wife … and I … are taking precautions to make sure that … disaster does not take place with us. Over the years we have discovered ten keys that have helped us to avoid the tragedy of marital infidelity.”

Religion: How We Know What We Know – Does Religion Cause War & Pain? by Patrick Mead

“It seems John Lennon had it wrong. Imagining a world where there was no belief, no heaven, and no hell won’t bring paradise on earth, no matter how much Harris and Hitchens say so. It seems the data argues otherwise.”

Temptation: How to Resist Temptation Like Jesus by Wayne Stiles

“Jesus’ knowledge of the Word of God remains a model for us of faithfulness under fire.”

Vacations: Vacation Sabotage: Don’t Let It Happen to You! by Matt Richtel

“The secret to not killing your vacation revolves around understanding not just your motives, but also your brain and the role it plays in undoing your precious time off.”