Caddo Herald, December 28, 1934-
G. A. Crossett, editor and publisher
"Compared to the old South, Caddo is but an infant. Compared to Oklahoma, Caddo is a patriarch.
Caddo is first in Oklahoma in a number of things. The first Odd Fellows Lodge is still at Caddo. The third Masonic lodge was organized in Caddo, and the first Grand Lodge of Masons was organized in Caddo, in October, 1873. Granville McPherson, editor of the old Caddo Banner, was the first Master of the Lodge and the first Grand Master.
The M.K. & T. railroad had its terminus in Caddo for two years, 1870-1872. The first train ran across Red River December 25, 1872. During these two years Caddo was the most important trading point in Oklahoma.
The Caddo Herald is in its forty-fifth year, having continuously been published these years, and we have owned it lo, these last thirty-four years all by ourselves. There is but one other newspaper now in Oklahoma that exceeds The Herald in age, the Eufala Journal. Others were established and died; notably the Boggy Depot Star, which flourished a short while in 1873 at Boggy Depot, then a great trading place.
While Caddo was the terminal of the Katy railroad much goods were shipped here, thence transshipped by wagons to Sherman, Bonham, Paris, Gainesville, and other North Texas points. The soldiers and Indians of western Oklahoma were supplied by wagon freight from Caddo. The United States soldiers had been sent by train to Caddo, then marched to Fort Sill. General Frederick Grant and Lawton are remember by old timers.
Quite a trading post sprang upon what is now the site of Caddo. The railroad provided a large warehouse in which goods were stored while waiting for wagon trains. It is related that upon an occasion when a car load of liquor was stored in the warehouse, awaiting shipment to Paris, somebody got under the warehouse and with augurs bored holes into several of the barrels, catching the joy water into tubs. Be it remembered that it was not then lawful to introduce liquor into the Indian country. At any rate there was a supply for somebody.
Mr. C. A. Hancock, now in business in Caddo, came through here in 1868 with one of those long cattle treks that were so frequent after the Civil War. Texas had an abundance of longhorn cattle, but no market outlet. Kansas and Nebraska were being settled by Union soldiers after the civil conflict. Kansas needed Texas cattle to stock their farms and ranches. Texas, impoverished by the war, needed the money the cattle would bring. Hence it was no trouble to trade provided the goods could be delivered. Thus great wagon and cattle trains went north, the cattle and horses subsisting on the rich grasses of the country as they traveled. One route went directly through Caddo, another ran along the line of the Santa Fe railway, and still another ran along what is now the Rock Island railway through Chickasha and Enid. That route through Caddo ended at Baxter Springs, Kansas, others at Abilene and Arkansas City.
Coming back through Caddo as a mere lad, Hancock decided to stay, married, and had a great deal to do with building the country.
He relates many harrowing tales of wild game and wild men. He says he has shot many a deer from his front door in Caddo. He has seen many battles between desperados and officers, and being a merchant and trader, was useful to both sides, so he was never molested.
He recalls that in 1876 a message came for the General in charge at Fort Sill; but the regular courier had gone about a half day earlier, so he volunteered to try to catch the courier, which he did at what is now Pauls Valley, then called White Bead. The message called to soldiers north to avenge the massacre of Custer and his men at the battle of Little Big Horn in South Dakota.
To reminisce: When the Caddo Herald first came out in 1889, there were no telephones here. Not a newspaper had a linetoype nor a power saw, neither was there any telegraph news service in what is now Oklahoma. There was no daily newspaper at all. The Herald had an old Washington hand press and we printed 1400 copies two pages at a time- that meant 2800 impressions with old man killer each week. We did not have enough type for four pages, so after printing two pages we threw in the type and set it up again. Many is the time I have had type to freeze in my hand as I distributed it. I remember we had a Washington correspondent who sent us live news concerning Indian affairs. Melvin Cornish, now chairman of the State Tax Commission, recalled to me not long ago that he was one such and got the princely sum of $1 per month for the service.
There were no roads, no paving. Wagons just followed the lines of least resistance and to cross any creek followed the beds of dry ditches that ran to the creeks, then forded. Hancock built steel bridge across Blue at Nail’s Crossing in 1895, ten miles west of Caddo, in order to get the trade from the then settling Twelve Mile Prairie. Fort McCulloch is located just across Blue at this point. It was here that during the Civil War a company of Confederate soldiers were stationed under the charge of Captain J. H. Nail. A part of the old redoubt is still visible. Joel Nail, a son of Captain Nail, had vast gazing lands west of town, and was the first to try barb wire to hold cattle and horses. He tested the fence first by driving a herd of cattle against it to see if it would hold. It did.
Judge R. C. Freeny was the first man to stick a plow in the blackland prairies. People said he would starve to death, but he didn’t. He died of old age. In those early days people thought the prairies fit only for grazing cattle and horses. They cleared little Tom Fuller patches on the woods for gardens and corn. Wilson N. Jones was Governor in 1896. He had his ranches east of town, and amassed a fortune, leaving as you know, $100,000 for a hospital in Sherman.
I recall looking over my records that ninety-five percent of my business then was local: had very little outside advertising. Now fully half my business is from foreign sources, like Public Service concerns, automobile, tires, gas, etc. We had no chain stores, no chain gins, no chain oil mills. Caddo once had three banks, now has one. Bryan county once had 22 banks, now has five. Yet there are more people here than at any other time. There was a time in my recollection when a laborer had to pay a permit to breathe the Choctaw air, as did the lawyer and the doctor, the editor and the farmer. But Old Man Ad Valorem had not arrived.
There were no other taxes.
Also there were no schools, no county or state government, there were no political campaigns as we know them.
Likewise no picture shows. Once in a while a medicine show selling Wizard Oil at a dollar a bottle.
I remember the Katy charged 5 cents per mile one way to ride in its passenger cars. Had no busses, no automobiles and no bicycles. A Choctaw upon first seeing a doctor ride a bicycle remarked that “White medicine man heap big lazy. Him sit down to walk.”
I attended the first Press meeting in 1901 at Checotah, I believe. Was secretary when the Indian Territory Press Association consolidated with the Oklahoma Association in 1906. Omer Benedict was president. Once we met at Shawnee and Carrie Nation was there to keep the boys straight, but they spread out on her, and she never got her reform hatchet to working good.
The vicissitudes of time and of changing business conditions have entirely revamped the towns and the newspaper business, but the editors being so versatile, have kept ahead of their towns. In fact many promising journals have died, some are sick and some may never revive. But in the old days editors required little money, for their credit was no good anyway, everything COD express. Journeyman printers worked a while for their keep, and kept going. We bartered our subs for produce, and ads for clothing. We had little regard for prices, just took what we thought the customer would pay. We were not business men. We were artists.
Caddo was a thriving town when Durant was a switch; when Hugo was a prairie; when Madill was unborn; when Coalgate was un-thought-of; when Ardmore was only in Pennsylvania; when Idabel was yet to be; when Atoka was a small village.
Yet all have outgrown us. The reason is plain. We did not elect a delegate to Bill Murray’s famous Constitutional Convention; and tried to live upon the glories of the past. Finding out too late that we could not run the mill with water that is past. Yet Caddo’s part in the history of the state is honorable. That is secure. The future is another thing."
May 18, 1934
(Congressman Wilburn Cartwright appointed G. A. Crossett as acting postmaster due to the delay in testing applicants for the position.)
“Mr. Crossett has been editor of the Caddo Herald for the past 35 years; he has been in the same building for 31 years; has served as Chief Clerk of the Oklahoma legislature; has been with the State Tax Commission; served as county superintendent of Federal relief, and has received national recognition as a writer.”