In December, James D. Conklin donated a model of the Conklin Hardware Store to the Talbot Library and Museum. James is the grandson of Henry and Ruth Conklin. The model was made by Paul Lantzer, the son-in-law of the Conklins, several years ago. Henry and Ruth operated the store for several decades.
The Conklin Hardware Store building was located on the southwest corner of Main and Colcord. The building was still standing in Colcord as late as 1985, but is no longer standing. The SW corner of Main and Colcord is now occupied by the Colcord Town Hall.
In January, 1946, Henry and Ruth Conklin purchased the Hardware Store in Colcord (then named Overman Bros. Store). The previous owners were Overman Brothers and Ed Smith/Elmer Andrews. The Conklins renamed the store Conklin Hardware and were successful entrepreneurs.
Upon buying the store, Henry built a new and larger ice house and grew the ice house route he had started for Ed Smith and Elmer Andrews.
Over time, Henry and Ruth enlarged the inventory/stock and introduced new variety items, including seasonal items. Customers would come from Fort Smith and Tulsa to pick up specialty items for holidays like Easter, July 4th, and Christmas. Ruth especially enjoyed selling children's toys.
After the Rural Electric Co-op was formed, and electricity was available to everyone in the area, Henry began stocking refrigerators. These sold almost faster than he could keep them in stock. Over time, the Conklins also did plumbing and electrical jobs.
Henry and Ruth were well liked in the community. The central wood-burning stove was a favorite meeting place for the townspeople. Henry worked to establish a water and sewer project in Colcord. He also served as the first mayor of Colcord after the town was incorporated.
The Talbot Library and Museum is honored to display the Conklin Hardware Store Model. There are memories of this store by so many people who have grown up in Colcord and those who still live in the area.
This post can also be found in our News and Updates section.
The Story of Two Towns: A History of Row-Colcord and the Surrounding Area, Volume 1 (1985)
The Talbot Library and Museum
[The following was written in 1954 and appeared in the "The Butcher Workman, Chicago, IL and in the International Molders' and Foundry Workers' Journal, Cincinnati, OH. A shorter version was later published in my book, In the Shadow of the Hills.]
Fear! There breathes no man who hasn't felt the icy fingers of fear seep in to his bloodstream. He knows the sickening feeling when it captures his courage. He hasn't any peace of mind until he understands how to cope with it.
A little fear is a good thing. Fear for our soul gives us love and respect for our God. Fear for our mortal body gives us the common sense to protect it. Through fear of our parents we learn to respect them and, in turn, we are shaped into better citizens in our adult life. But too much fear can turn strong men into spineless jellyfish. They become pawns upon a checkerboard of time, moved at the will of a few.
We have felt the effects of many fears in this century. They have turned levelheaded men into stampeding mobs, trampling the innocent and guilty alike. In our grandfather's time we feared anarchism. As a result, many innocent workers suffered hardship and humiliation. Only through the courage and willpower of our early-day labor leaders, were we able to overcome this evil. In the early thirties it was the great depression. Chaos was fast becoming the reigning king, before we found a solution.
Today we are faced with communism. Because we don't know how to deal with it we are letting tyrannical methods of combating it destroy the ideals and freedoms upon which this great democracy was founded. Strong men are becoming pawns of powers which would in time destroy our right to think, to believe, and to worship.
What can we do to overcome this, the most deadly menace we have faced in the history of our union? Part of the answer lies in education, tolerance, religion and sound economy. While we wisely spend billions for our defense, we pinch pennies for our educational needs. We need more teachers and more classrooms, so that we may give our children the individual attention they so badly need. A diploma is worthless paper unless the child has absorbed the knowledge its represents.
Fear is the forerunner of hate. When hate moves in, communism is close at hand. When Catholic is pitted against Jew, white against black, and majority against minority, communism will make inroads into our way of life. Without sound economy we have less chance to combat this deadly evil. When men are jobless and hungry they are weakened spiritually as well as physically. They are ready to grab the first golden egg offered to them, no matter how rotten the yolk may be.
The pillars of our great nation are common sense, courage, determination, respect for our fellow man. Let not the termites of fear, hate, prejudice, and greed destroy those cornerstones. Let us fight communism, certainly, but as sane men, not fear-crazed animals.
Source: A Bit of History by Virgil Talbot, Page 173.
By Keri (Stinchcomb) Parker
Virgil Talbot’s mission to “Preserve a Bit of History” has been the constant theme and mission of the Talbot Library and Museum (TL&M) since its inception. If we break down the meaning of the individual words in the “name” of the organization we find a very broad and complete understanding of “preserving history”.
“Talbot” – obviously, this is the surname of its found, Virgil Talbot.
In his own words…”I am proud of the name and perhaps more so than most because I came into this world without right or title to a family name and for sixty years I never knew the identity of my natural father. Mine was no joyous moment of birth—there was no proud father waiting, nor caring mother. But there was someone willing to take me into their arms and into their heart and call me their own. That person was James A. Talbot, better known as Jim. He gave me the Talbot name and I have proudly borne it ever since….The name Talbot is up there on that building, not as a tribute to me but to a man who was born on Cowskin Prairie near Grove, OK of ancestry reaching back to the Norman Coast of France, and beyond that to the Norsemen from the far north; whose people came over the long Trail of Tears and settled in this country some 150 years ago; a man who loved history and passed that love on to me; who loved to read and gave me that love.”
“Library” – a collection of manuscripts, publications, and other material for reading, viewing, listening, study or reference.”
There is no doubt this “library” has one of the most impressive collections of written history and genealogical materials in the entire country. People from across the fruited plain request information and use the research materials contained in these humble walls in order to piece together a small part of their own family history and culture. Is this what Virgil intended when he established the TL&M twenty-five years ago?
“Museum” – a building or place where objects of permanent value are kept and displayed.
Piecing together history is often accompanied with obtaining, retaining, and learning the purpose of artifacts that have fallen out of use in today’s society. For example, what was it like to make your own butter in a Daisy butter churn using your own cream from your cow? Learning specifics about these artifacts give us just a small picture of what life may have been like for those in long gone generations. Is this what Virgil intended when he established the TL&M twenty-five years ago?
We are sure Virgil intended for future generations to research and gain knowledge using the available publications in the library as well as to see, touch, and understand about the artifacts of the past. But, did he also hope for something more? Probably.
Perhaps he wanted people to desire an understanding of history and heritage. Virgil understood that heritage comes or belongs to one by reasons of birth or an inherited share or portion. Our personal and collective stories tend to be handed to us as part of our birth right, or in Virgil’s case, his adoption. These narratives, comprised of how one’s ancestors fit into heroic stories of perseverance and bravery, are told at the knee of a relative or as part of a community heritage group. Our narratives cut to the core of our identity---of who we are. We hold our identities close and our emotional integrity is wrapped up in our identity.
So after twenty-five years, the Talbot Library and Museum still hopes to continue to entice all of us to learn more of our genealogy, history and heritage so we can fully understand where we came from and who we are in hope we can make our lives and the future count for good.
In accordance with Virgil’s words, “I pledge to you that I will do all within my ability to assure that the Talbot Library and Museum will be here for generations to come.”
We hope to continue what Virgil began a quarter of a century ago.
Originally published in TL&M Genealogy Magazine Volume XXIII, Number Two, 2015
You may purchase past copies of TL&M Genealogy Magazine. Details here.
The Oklahoma History Center, in Oklahoma City, is celebrating its 10th anniversary by inviting audiences to step back into time with its new exhibit "Crossroads of Commerce: A History of Free Enterprise in Oklahoma". This exhibit opened up on November 18, 2015 and includes an object on loan from the Talbot Library and Museum-- a Grinding Box that was rescued from the Hildebrand-Beck Mill before its eventual collapse.
Above Photos are from the exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center featuring the Grinding Box from the Hildebrand-Beck Mill.
(Photo Credit: Donna Clark)
The Beck-Hildebrand Mill was built in 1907 and is located near US 412 between Kansas, Oklahoma and Siloam Springs, Arkansas close to the town of Flint, OK. The first photo of the Beck-Hildebrand Mill, shows the actual operating features from 1924. The second photo shows the condition of the mill in the late 1970's.
Hildebrand-Beck Mill: 1907, late 1970s, and Grinding Box in mill
According to the NewsOK.com website, this "exhibition tells the story of the state’s pioneers of commerce and economic development through five time periods from 1716 to the present day....The exhibition chronicles commerce in Oklahoma all the way from early interactions and trade with the Native American tribes to recent economic drivers, such as the MAPS programs and the arrival of the Oklahoma City Thunder."
The Oklahoma History Center is open Monday - Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.
The Sick and Dying at Elkhorn Tavern
Over the Ridge, the pea vines,
Will soon be spreading their green.
And the creatures of the wild,
Will drink from the cool stream.
But tonight, the cries of the dying,
Travel through the trees on the wind.
The awful agony of searing pain,
Drowns out the noisy battle din.
The stench of rotting flesh,
Mingles with the smoke of war.
Side by side lie Blue and Gray,
Brothers as they were before.
Here lies Johnny Reb,
His leg shot to hell.
There lies a dying Yank,
Suffering as all can tell.
They call it the Elkhorn,
this staunch old haven of rest.
No travelers tonight, only men
Who have met war's greatest test.
Source: "A Bit of History" by Virgil Talbot, page 71, Copyright 1986.
A good source for more information and photos about the Battle of Pea Ridge at Elkhorn Tavern, go to Civil War Trust website.
What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.
One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the "First Americans" and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.
The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.
The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.
In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month") have been issued each year since 1994.
Information courtesy of the Library of Congress and Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
History can be humorous. A great example is this fun story by Jean Hurt in one of the TL&M Genealogy magazines from 2011. Enjoy!
Nearly everyone has been affected the last three years by the economy tanking. Many people lost their jobs, lost money they had in their 401K, and had their homes lost to bank foreclosure. While the stock market has begun to recover somewhat, a lot of people are still unemployed. People are doing whatever they can to survive. I have read a log of strategies but I received one in an e-mail that was unusual.
If you had purchased $1000 of Delta Air Lines stock in 2007, a year later, you would have $49.00 left. With Enron, you would have $16.50 left of the original $1000. With WorldCom, you would have less than $5.00 left.
But, if you had purchased $1000 worth of beer at the same time, drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for the recycling refund, you would have $214.00 cash.
Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle. It's called the 401Keg. A recent study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found the average American drinks, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon.
I thought this was interesting but it only applies to the ones still young enough to be employed. If you are retired or have arthritis, which limits your walking to the bare minimum and have an overactive bladder, then this doesn't apply, and is more likely to be how many gallons to a mile?
--by Jean Hurt, TL&M Magazine, Volume XIX, Number One, 2011
[During World War II, mothers who lost a son in the service were called Gold Star Mothers and were given a pin with a gold star on it. There are not many Gold Star Mothers left today. When we published the Colcord History book, there were just two in the community. Now there is only one left. i wrote this sometime in the latter part of World War II and, later, Johnny Martin used to recite it over KRMG radio. It was published in my book, In the Shadow of the Hills.]
God...I did not want my son to go,
That...You and I know.
But if it was willed for him to die,
I'm proud it was for the Flag waving high.
Those who see me thru the window pane,
Do not know how I hoped in vain,
That my son might return to me,
And fully enjoy this land of the free.
God...I am only one mother,
Whose love cannot be replaced by none other.
Others know the loneliness that comes later.
But selfishly, I think my grief is greater.
Source: by Virgil Talbot, "A Bit of History", © 1986, Page 148
by A. D. Lester
Do you remember the "Right Place"? This writer remembers it for a number of reasons.
At one time the sidewalk was made of large pieces of limestone rocks. I remember those rocks because I helped to remove them and replace them with concrete. Likely the same concrete that is there now. This I am not positive.
I was employed by W.L. Miller, a contractor, who lived west of Siloam Springs, AR after he retired. Mr. Miller and his crew of workmen were building small bridges and culverts in Oklahoma on at least two state highways.
Mr. Miller placed a bid on building the concrete sidewalk mentioned above. Before we completed our last job in Oklahoma, he came to me and told me that he was low bidder on the sidewalk and he was granted the job. Mr. Miller's work in Oklahoma was building a small bridge at Tahlequah. From Tahlequah he came to Ballard, Ok and commenced building culverts and small bridges on the present Highway 59 (known at the time as State Highway 17). He constructed all the culverts and bridges from Ballard to Westville, OK. We then moved to State Highway 10 where every culvert and bridge was made of green oak lumber. We started building ahead of the grading crew, thus we had nothing in our way.
From State Highway 10 we moved the concrete mixer and wheelbarrows and small tools to Siloam Springs. We began building the sidewalk that ran in front of the "Right Place". We started north of the corner near the "Right Place" and built the walk to the bridge. So as I worked in front of it for several days, I well remember it. Likely, there are people now living in Siloam Springs who recollect the place much better than I. Therefore, the "Right Place" certainly belongs on the list of pioneer buildings and businesses.
Source: T.L.&M. Genealogy Magazine, Volume VII, Number Two, 1999; Page 39