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Dragoons & Telephones
(Rebroadcast on June 13, 2001)

June 14, 2000

Historian's Notes

The circuit of the dragoon patrol through what is now Oklahoma is interesting for several reasons. The rest of the country really had no idea what the conditions were like in this area of the country, and the patrol found out first hand that usual tactics would not suffice in Oklahoma. Also, indicative of future white interactions with Native Americans, the Dragoon patrol, initially meant to intimidate and impress the local residents, became instead merely a source of embarrassment and ridicule.

Ah yes, the Telemobile. What else needs to be said about that? University students were perhaps more easily entertained in the days of yore. And it was interesting to see all of the predictions for the “near” future made by the telephone company representatives.

Resources for "Dragoons":

The Angie Debo Papers are held at OSU's Special Collections & University Archives.

Various articles from the Chronicles of Oklahoma.

Resources for "Telephones":

Daily O’Collegian. June 14, 1968.

Almanac Transcript

In Oklahoma History this week dragoons and telephones make the news.

One hundred and sixty six years ago this week a regiment of crack soldiers recruited from around the nation headed out on an expedition through what is now Oklahoma. Intent on impressing the native tribes with a show of power and signing treaties of peace, the dragoon expedition was a disaster from the start. The high heat of the region, a lack of water, an attack of mysterious diseases led to the deaths of numerous expedition members. In the first two days, twenty-three men were sent back, and a series of sick camps were set up along the way to house the rest of the afflicted. By the time the regiment met the Native Americans they had intended to impress, less than 190 of the original 500 soldiers were fit for action. Fortunately the tribes contacted: the Wichitas, Comanches, Kiowas and Osage, chose to befriend the soldiers and a peaceful relationship was established. Famed artist George Catlin accompanied the regiment and his sketches provided the rest of the country with their first look at the Native residents of the plains.

Students of Oklahoma State University were treated to a special surprise on this date in 1968 when the "Telemobile" paid a visit to the campus. A self contained traveling museum of telephone history, the Telemobile gave students and faculty a chance to trace the development of the telephone from its initial conception through to the present day. A special feature of the Telemobile allowed a glimpse into the future of the telephone industry including a prototype picture-phone which was said to be arriving in homes shortly. Recorded narration and special lighting effects heightened the experience for telephone mobile visitors. A complete trip through the exhibit took about fifteen minutes and several hundred people reportedly took the journey through telephone history that day.

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