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Nancy Bellzona's Picture Book
The Collins - Woodson Wadley

Woodson WadleyPICTURE: Woodson Wadley, Son of Adah Gertrude Jones Wadley and Daniel Wadley.


My father got tired of farming because he had to hire help. He moved to Perry, Oklahoma and opened a bicycle and repair shop. In between times he worked at Oklahoma City since they stole the capital from Guthrie, which was the first capital. A new railroad was put in from Denver to the Gulf of Mexico, called the Denver, Enid, and Gulf.

A new town was laid out called Marshall, Oklahoma on this road between Enid and Guthrie. Dad decided he wanted to put in a bicycle and repair shop there and we moved to Marshall where he built a business and was there when the train came in. The people who built their homes and businesses were disappointed. The railroad wanted the people to pay them a big price to build the depot there. They were not able to pay so the railroad built the town one mile south and the people had to move to it. Some moved their buildings, others built new buildings. All businesses moved but some people lived in their homes and drove a mile to work. There was old Marshall and new Marshall. There was an opening of new homes by a lottery. You paid a ticket and if you drew a number you had a new home.


Dad wanted to come west, so he sold his farm homestead which was ten miles east of Marshall, and his bicycle shop and came to Tyrone, Oklahoma for the opening. He could not file again, so he bought a relinquishment. He loved this western country but after three years of crop failures he went back to the Osage.

I met my husband in the meantime and we were married, September 6, 1905. this began our own pioneer days of happy times and hard times. We started off wrong. Dan went to Liberal, Kansas and got his license. He should have gone to Beaver City, Oklahoma for a license to be married in Tyrone, Oklahoma. We were going to be married at his father's home and everyone was gathered there for the wedding. The preacher, Brother Ihde, of the First Baptist Church, looked at the license and said, "You can't be married here, you will have to go to Kansas to be married.

The Kansas line was three miles north of Tyrone. The preacher and his wife got into their buggy. The best man, Glenn Liston [now of Amarillo], Dan's sister, Ellen, was in Glenn's buggie, they were dating then. Dan and I was in our buggy. We drove out north over the Kansas line, near Wide-Awake School and was married out there on the beautiful grassy prairie. We came back to the house for the wedding supper and there was a party. The older folks visited and the young folks went next door to a large half dugout where we were going to live.

We were having lots of fun when some of the rowdy boys of that day decided they would "chivaree" us. They climbed up on the roof with their boots and spurs on and would slide off, climb up, and slide off again, while everyone inside was playing games.

We were lucky the preacher knew about the license. Some more folks were not so lucky. A real estate man and his wife, Mr. Haden Sayler and the depot agent Mr. Wicks and his wife lived together, one for three months, the other six months, before they knew they weren't married. They had to drive over the Kansas line since they had their license at Liberal, Kansas and were married in Oklahoma and Kansas too.

When we were married, Dan was working for Mr. Huber, in his general store and U.S. Post office. He worked in the store and Post Office wherever he was needed. He had filed on a homestead seven and one half miles south of Tyrone on the south side of the correction line. Before he was married he could go out and stay all night on it once every six months until he proved it up. But when he married, he had to move on it. We didn't have but only his wages to live on. Before we had to move onto the farm, they got the first mail route out of Tyrone which went south by our farm, then east, and north back into Tyrone. We were the first to carry that mail, and most of the time Mrs. Healy was the Post Mistress. Dan signed a paper for his brother-in-law, Bill Martin, to be his substitute.

Bill was sick a lot and we found ourselves as the carrier. There were thirty-five miles a day and we had to be on time. Those days when it rained, I think it rained frogs. You had to drive over the little toads and you could hear them popping as the wheels rolled over them.


Now, came the time we had to move to the farm. We did not have money to build a home, and he had a small half dugout he had built to batch (term meaning bachelor). There was one window and one door. The door was a slanting door like a cellar. The floor was dirt. I crocheted rag rugs for it. We papered the ceiling and walls with newspaper we bought at the Post Office which you could buy for a nickel a tow sack full. I papered the walls right on over the dirt wall in heavy layers. I hung the paper from the wall board down. After so long the papers would turn yellow, and the mice would eat holes in them. I would get a new sack of paper and paper right over it, again. I don't know which was the biggest pest, mice or fleas.

I had never had fleas. I had seen them only on dogs. These were smaller; yet not like the stick tight that gets on chickens. They would get in the seams of your clothes. You couldn't rest, day or night. We would undress on the chairs at night and step from the chair to the bed.

The next morning, the floors would be black with fleas. Everyone had them. We would go to entertainment and when any one left the room we knew he was going out to shake the fleas off. Some people put liver on paper by their beds, to catch the fleas. We didn't have the liver.

We didn't have money to buy horses to farm. We went out on the range and caught wild horses which had never been broke to use and we broke them. By broke I mean we trained them to get used to the harness and pulling.

Dan worked in town part of the time and we drove back and forth to work. We got us a wild buggy horse and it was doing just fine, even if it had never been driven before. One day we were coming back from town when she took a notion she didn't want to pull any more. She started running. I had my foot on the little step on the side, fixing to jump. She stopped all at once and threw me out, caught me between the wheel and the bed. She started kicking, got her leg caught over the shaves and couldn't get it off. I was trying to get out of the way. I said, "Oh Dan! she is going to break her leg. She is going to break her leg!

He went around to her head, trying to hold her. This was the only time I can remember him ever speaking angry with me. He said, "Get out of there before she gets loose and starts running again. I can't hold her."

For the first time I noticed where I was. I got out and went around to the front with him. She took out after me and he could hardly hold her. She would lift him up off the ground. My uncle lived about a quarter of a mile from where this was taking place. Dan told me to go get him. He said he would try to hold her until he got there. I did, and the two almost never got her home with the buggy. They took her back to the range the next day. They told him she was the wildest thing on the range, and there we had been driving her for about three months, sometimes when there was snow all over the ground. This was when "ignorance was truly a bliss."

We had to put up fence for the pasture. Dan and I always worked together. I was small, so he could not see me a mile away. He decided he would go to the fence corner since he was tall and I could see him. In order to stretch the barbed wire we put the spool on the back of the wagon. He fixed it so as I drove it would unwind. He got to the corner and waved for me to drive straight to him. Well, when I started the horses up it began to unwind and it scared them. They started to run. I tried to stop them but I couldn't. I knew enough to keep them going straight ahead. Well, it didn't take me long to string that wire. We had several runaways with our teams, and our team of mules too. We had built a small calf shed near the road. We were driving along the road when the horses were spooked by the shed.

They ran about one half mile before we could stop them, right on out across the prairie. It was pretty rough riding but we made it. These were the hard times, the sad times, and the fun times.


A barber and another man had farms that joined just west of town. The barbers name was Benedict. He and his wife were Italians. The other man was a Jew and a bachelor. The barber was an ill-natured man. The two men had trouble over a fence line. They met out at the fence one day and the Jew shot and killed the barber. He came clear at his trial and lived there a long time, but he said he would be killed first, even if he was right and it was in self defence before he would ever kill another man.

There was another shooting out of town between a Mr. Dryant and a Mr. Adams. I can't remember if one of them was killed or not, but one had an eye put out. They met at a cross fence on the highway and went to shooting at each other.

There was a man who lived about half a mile from our farm on the correction line who killed a young man. I can't remember the boys name. He left our store and was killed on his way home by a Mr. Jones. I can't remember why.

One day Mr. Davis's sister Ellen and I went to the south side of town to a store to shop. AS we came back home, down main street on the north side, we ran into a fight. It was right out in the street in front of the store.



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