Madill - Around the Square
Memories of Lo Rene Taliaferro Reirdon (1908-2000)
Almost all of the old timers in the county know the interesting history of the Corner Drug Store and what it means. The vital role it has played in the community life of Marshall County since 1906, when D.B. Taliaferro, one of the founders and builders of Madill, Indian Territory, erected the building. A young man, 20 years of age, he had moved from near Gainesville, Texas, to the Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, in 1886 settling with his family at Lebanon, I.T.
Lo Rene Reirdon (1908-2000) was the daughter of D.B. Taliaferro and we share with you her notes, which were started years ago. Jack Irby Blalock was a key person in recording some of the events.
The Corner Drug building in Madill dates back to 1906 when D.B. Taliaferro built it adjoining the Scott-Leeper building on the east which had also been built by D. B. Taliaferro in 1900. The barber shop is also a part of this block.
The first owners were Dr. J. L. Holland, (father of Mildred Holland) and T.A. Blaylock (Jennings father.)
The store had had dutch screen doors with a ceiling fan to keep out the flies. At the far end of the drugstore there was a fan on a stand, which was means of cooling the building.
The corner drug store was heated by a large pot-bellied stove in the rear that sat in the center of a 2x 4 frame filled with gravel. Jack Irby thought this was for fire prevention but later found out it was for tobacco spitters to spit into.
Farmers who brought produce to sell used the west side of the Corner Drug each year. The prices became cheaper toward the end of the day.
The Whittler's bench was also there and sometimes for a joke would be wired to electricity for a slight shock. It was whittled in two several times.
On Saturday afternoons 1st Avenue to Taliaferro street was blocked off. A horse raced down the block, the riders dismounted and lit a cigar, mounted and raced back, The lucky one who reached the finish line with cigar lighted won the race and were treated to a cherry phosphate.
The vacant lot on Lillie Blvd. was where all tent shows and medicine shows were held. It also served as a skating rink. The Opera House was located on the S>W> corner west side upstairs of the W.N. Taliaferro Bldg. now known as the Little Bldg. Later a skating rink was located there.
Dr. Holland and Mr. Blaylock sold to (Forney) H.F. Keller and Dan Davis. Jack Blalock bought out Kellerss interest who remained as pharmacist and when the Townsend brothers, Bill and Elmo became owners, they retained his services, also. They sold their interest to Mrs. Dora Tubbs who later sold the drug store to Fred C. Blalock, who owned and operated it as pharmacist from 1915 until his death.
When Forney Keller, father of Sosh and Nub, was the druggist, he was kept busy rolling pills" and concocting cough syrup. Along with his partner Jack Blalock they originated a sugar cure for hogs and treatment of pork at hog-killing time. (It became very popular and widely used.)
The Shoot Out
On the 1st day of employment for Jack Irby, some friends came by and wanted him to go swimming. They were Homes and Kenneth Long. Their dad, Crockett Long had a state job in Okla. City. He was home for the weekend and was taking his sons swimming.
Forney Keller was teaching Jack Irby how to chip ice.
The boys were with him when he heard shots, which he thought, were firecrackers. (The Corner Drug was known for all kinds of pranks.) Jack Blalock pushed the boys thorough the screen door, which was hooked. Someone had thrown some water out the back door and Jack fell in the puddle. He returned to a sad situation inside and saw people die. Wiley Lynn and Crockett Long killed each other and one innocent bystander.
This was the first place to sell beer in Madill==both draught and bottle. The first week, the customers were not allowed to consume the beer in the drug store. They had to go to the back of the store.
While Mrs. Tubbs was proprietor she had a room for the youth who could come play the nickel Odeon and dance after school and before and after the movie. The movies were 15 cents and on buddy nights they were two for a quarter. In 1934 Hoyt Brack had a gasoline motor popcorn machine and sold popcorn at the drug store during the week and on the weekends he moved it to the picture show.
The new soda fountain was equipped with a spigot in front of the fountain so customers could help themselves to ice water. A barrel was provided with a tin cup on the sidewalk with ice water for thirsty passers-by and customers. Curb service was also a courtesy of the Corner Drug. Jack Irby was in the seventh grade (about 1933 or34) when he was hired as a car hop, before the days of the drive ins, when the drug stores provided curb service. Cokes were delivered to the beauty shop as they were ordered. Water was taken to the girls in the First National Bank building on the second floor twice a day. He related that there sure were a lot of broken glasses!
Ira Dollar became the new owner in 1956 and after ten years' ownership sold the Corner Drug to George Smith in 1966.The present owner Calvin Harkins has photos and many stories that have been told to him through the years.
Of course, no history of the Corner Drug would be complete without mentioning Uncle Trim Howeth. His home was on Frances Street, named for Aunt Frances, his wife, where he and his family lived in a log cabin on Taliaferro land; across the street, northwest of the pecan grave, east of Hwy 70. He sat on a chair provided by the drugstore out in front of the store. Uncle Trim in his later years worked for the banks after closing time and took great pride in polishing the brass plates, door handles and spittoons until they were gleaming and they fairly shone.
When Jack Irbys parents, Jack and Cleo, had the Palace Hotel, they met all trains in a STAR touring car. The drummers would have their trunk shows in the lobby of the Palace Hotel. All merchants came there to view the wares instead of salesmen going to businesses. This was a two story building located on the corner (Where Trammels is now located) built by W.N. Taliaferro in the early days of Madill. After a fire destroyed the building the B&H filling station was built on the west corner of the block.
Jack Irby was born in 1920 and worked at the Corner Drug Store and later he and Cleo ran the Palace Hotel.
One of Madills early day barber shops had an elevated tank at the rear, which was filled by pumping water from a hand operated pump. Arthur (Tody) Ables and a neighbor, Floyd Young, used to get the job of pumping the water into the tank whey they were about 12 years old. The job took them four hours of hard work-for which they were paid 10cents each. They took their money and went next door to the drug store, where they promptly drank two milk shakes-at 5 cents each. It was first known as the Palace Barber Shop.
Fate, Straud and Claude Benson and a Epper owned and operated it for many years.
Ted Hale is the owner today.
Submitted to the Marshall County Archives by Ella Brown firstname.lastname@example.org USGENWEB ARCHIVES NOTICE: These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or presentation by any other organization or persons. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material, must obtain the written consent of the contributor, or the legal representative of the submitter, and contact the listed USGenWeb archivist with proof of this consent. The submitter has given permission to the USGenWeb Archives to store the file permanently for free access.
Earlier Times Recalled --- Madill 51 Years Ago
Sand streets, cotton wagons and metal awnings on slender poles were a common sight in Madill 51 years ago. The year was 1910 and Oliver O. Wilkerson, a former county resident, remembers the time well. He was a dashing young man of 15 at the time. Wilkerson was the son of late W. W. Wilkerson who farmed in the Raborn and Antioch areas. The Wilkerson family had moved to this Indian Territory area in 1897 from Pottsboro, Tex., where Oliver was born December 25, 1895. The now retired Wilkerson who lives in Electra, Tex., worked with his father on the farm until 1926 when he moved to Ardmore. From there he moved to Lubbock in 1928 and then to Electra last July.
Wilkerson was in town last week recalling some of the downtown square area as he remembered it. Looking over the photograph appearing with this story, he recalled that the picture was made in front of the Chaney Studio about where the Paul Armstrong Shoe Shop now stands. The wagon and team to the right were used by W.J. Reed's grocery store for deliveries. At the extreme right is the old First National Bank building now the location of Main Automotive. Cotton wagons which were quite common to the day are parked at the east side of the courthouse. Other identifiable business locations remembered by Wilkerson include Biles Drug Store at the present location of Peterson's and Vandervort Brothers grocery and dry goods. The area also featured a saddle shop and theater along the north side.
While remembering these early years, Wilkerson said his father first moved to the Jeff Arbuckle place at Grantham. At a later time the late Mr. Wilkerson left the county with the going to Roswell, N. M., with the thought of moving his family there. This was about 1908, the year of a flood that turned the trip into a 30-day excursion. Wilkerson said the family was ready to give up on their father returning, thinking he might have been drowned trying to make his way back home. After having the family possessions packed and ready to move, Mr. Wilkerson moved his family from Grantham to Raborn, rather than New Mexico.
Photo and article submitted to the Marshall County Archives by Dan James. USGENWEB ARCHIVES NOTICE: These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or presentation by any other organization or persons. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material, must obtain the written consent of the contributor, or the legal representative of the submitter, and contact the listed USGenWeb archivist with proof of this consent. The submitter has given permission to the USGenWeb Archives to store the file permanently for free access.
© 1998-2001 byLinda Simpson