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Red Cross & First Newspaper

June 21, 2000

Historian's Notes

I thought that this story was interesting for what it revealed about the Native American situation at the time. One of the wealthiest men in Oklahoma was unable to do as he chose with his own money. My guess is that some white overseer somewhere was concerned that he would no longer have any money left to steal and so attempted to stop the generous donation. Just my personal theory.

I was doing some research on Beaver County and had heard that the newspaper in Beaver was one of the state's oldest papers and, if it was still being published, it would be the oldest. A quick call to Beaver confirmed the suspicion and another Almanac subject was born.

Resources for "Red Cross":

Daily Oklahoman. June 24, 1917.

Resources for "First Newspaper":

Couch, E. (1999). Oklahoma trivia. Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press.

Oklahoma Almanac. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Dept. of Libraries.

And finally, a phone call to the U.S. Post Office in Beaver, Oklahoma.

Almanac Transcript

Hello, I'm Steven Kite welcoming you to the Oklahoma Audio Almanac where we turn the pages of history to bring you the stories of our state's past.

Eighty-three years ago on this date the Oklahoma Red Cross was in the midst of a state-wide fund raiser. The Red Cross, as well as other local charity organizations, organized the drive to aid the thousands of Europeans entangled in the massive destruction brought about by World War I. In a move that surprised and delighted the organization, Oklahoman Jackson Barnett, a member of the Creek tribe and resident of Henryetta, donated $50,000.00 to the Red Cross society after having already investing $650,000.00 in Liberty Bonds.

Although Jackson, deemed the wealthiest Native American in Oklahoma, lived comfortably on his own and managed his farm with ease, he had been deemed incompetent by the state and had to negotiate his Red Cross donation through a series of so-called "guardians." In a statement to the press, Jackson claimed that he would give the government $50,000.00 anytime to fight the Germans.

When news of Jackson's donation was made public, the 63 year old bachelor was not only swamped with letters of congratulations and thanks, but also with dozens of wedding proposals from around the country. Women from all over the United States sent in pictures and proposals hoping to be the lucky one chosen to look after the aging Barnett and his money. Jackson refused all offers.

Also this week the first newspaper started up in "No Mans Land," what is now the Oklahoma Panhandle. In Beaver City, a supply stop for the Jones-Plummer cattle trail and now the county seat, The Beaver City Pioneer came out for the first time on June 19th, 1886. Citizens could finally receive news of the area in a timely manner. Although the paper was bought and sold a number of times and experienced several name changes, the ongoing concern now titled The Beaver Herald Democrat ranks today as one of the oldest newspapers in the state.

Eighty-Three years ago, A E Freeman invited interested farmers to his farm near Collinsville to witness a farming demonstration that had the possibility of revolutionizing the industry. Rather than purchasing both an automobile as well as horse and plow, Freeman proposed that the family vehicle could be used to do the everyday field work. Freeman in the demonstration used his car to operate and pull various farm implements accomplishing the work of four horses at twice the speed. Apparently Freeman's demonstration had a considerable impact and farmers around Rogers County began utilizing their family cars for plowing, planting and harvesting...and that's what happened this week in Oklahoma History.

I'm Steven Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a production of the OSU Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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