The following is an index and short synopsis of articles included in the September 2018 issue of Digging History Magazine, on sale here for $2.99.  Subscriptions (the best deal) of varying lengths are available here for purchase.


Article TitleArticle TopicSynopsisKeywordsIssue Date
When Red Meant Radical: Oklahoma Red Dirt SocialismOklahoma SocialismOklahoma's late nineteenth and early twentieth century brand of socialism was more of an "agrarian socialism".Oklahoma Socialist Party, Marx Jefferson and Jesus, Jim Bissett Agrarian Socialism in America, Oscar Ameringer Mark Twain of American Socialism, Red Dirt Socialism, Oklahoma socialist newspapers, Musings of the Old Kuss, Sledge Hammer, Tenant Farmer, Sword of Truth, Working Class Union, Green Corn RebellionSep 2018
Give Me That Old Time SocialismOklahoma Socialism and Evangelical ChristianityIt wasn’t that adherents believed in socialism as a religion. In fact, many who trekked out in the Oklahoma woods in the early 1900s likely participated in religious “camp meetings” or “brush arbor meetings”. The concept was appropriated by Populists for political purposes in the late nineteenth century. These Populists would target Baptists, Methodists, and some of the Holiness sects, and actively recruited preachers from these religious traditions to participate in their Populist gatherings. By the early 1900s the concept had been likewise appropriated by the Socialist Party as a means to further its political agenda.
socialist encampments, Give Me That Old Time Socialism, Give Me That Old Time Religion, Crutcho Park, Eugene V. Debs, Mother Jones, Oklahoma socialist encampment, East Texas socialist encampment, Grand Saline encampment, Eastland County Texas SocialismSep 2018
Believe it or not stranger things have happened: Old Rip the Horned ToadRip the Horned Toad encased in a time capsule and unearthed years later supposedly alive and well.Such was the case in regards to a “garden-variety” time capsule for the town of Eastland, Texas. In 1897 the town was beginning construction of a new courthouse and a hollow cornerstone was being prepared to serve as a time capsule. Surely many late nineteenth century-everyday items were deposited, but only one such deposit would be remembered and eventually become wildly “famous” years later. A large crowd gathered on February 18, 1928, and for evidential purposes a county judge and Methodist pastor presided over the opening of the time capsule.
Astonishingly, the horned toad was still alive, and in honor of Rip Van Winkle, was named “Old Rip” and placed on display. The news quickly spread and newspaper after newspaper around the country carried stories.
Old Rip the Horned Toad, Eastland Texas, Eastland County Texas, time capsule, Calvin Coolidge, horned toad shortage, horned toad extinctionSep 2018
Milton Colony: The Bonds of SocialismThe small town of Milton, Oklahoma was, for a short time, home to a socialist colony founded by Dr. S.T. Peet.While the town of Milton is no more – another Oklahoma ghost town – this is not a ghost town article (see this month’s ghost town stories on page 39). The town started around 1870 in Le Flore County, an eastern county bordering Arkansas when someone built a mercantile store.
The town had no name as yet, although local residents called it “Needmore” – as in the store was always out of needed products. After another store was built in 1885 the community began to grow and had a name – Milton.
By 1910 Milton was a growing community with more stores, a cotton gin, grist mill, two hotels, churches and schools. By all accounts it was a pleasant, growing and industrious town, one that caught the attention of Dr. Stanley T. Peet, a Muskogee philanthropist. Who was Dr. S.T. Peet, as he was generally known as in newspaper accounts through the years?
Milton Colony, socialist colonies, Oklahoma socialism, LeFlore County Oklahoma history, Greenback Party, Dr. S.T. Peet, Credit Clearance Benefit Association, socialism, lithographic stoneSep 2018
Cassius Marion StevensCassius "Cash" Marion StevensTo say Cassius “Cash” Marion Stevens lived an interesting life might be a bit understated. A 1947 newspaper article described him as a “former cowpuncher, wanderer, laborer and present truck-gardener, [who] rates as Shawnee’s No. 1 poet.Shawnee poet, Milton Colony, Charlotte LangthorpSep 2018
May I RecommendBook reviews for September 2018Killers of the Flower Moon - highly recommended.Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBISep 2018
Essential Tools for the Successful Family ResearcherTips for genealogists - new collection of yearbooks at, Oklahoma research resources.One of the best resources is the Oklahoma Digital Newspaper Collection. There you will find early Native American publications dating back to the 1850s, as well as newspapers from small towns, newspapers stemming from Oklahoma’s radical political era, African American newspapers, and more. yearbook collection, Gateway to Oklahoma History, Oklahoma digital newspaper archives, Oklahoma birth and death records available onlineSep 2018
Dying (or Lying) to Get on the Dawes Rolls (or how my ancestors were Indians one minute and the next, not so much)A story (sometimes humorous) about one families attempts to be designated as having Indian blood and their names placed on the Dawes Rolls.Speaking of “real Indians”, more than a few people tried to (and succeeded, at least initially) to get on the Dawes Rolls. While some were already living in Indian Territory, some were living elsewhere. Such was the case of the family and extended family of my third great grandmother, Elizabeth Louisa Boone Hensley Brummett Dodson (more on her elongated name later).
The whole kit and caboodle had received admission in the U.S. Court at Ardmore (Indian Territory) on December 21, 1897. Although I’m unsure as to the process by which they applied, it does appear they had decided to pursue Choctaw citizenship en masse (perhaps 40-50 individuals). However, most of these individuals have “Date of Application for Enrollment” noted as either September or October 1898. Perhaps Elizabeth’s family was required to reapply.
Elizabeth Louisa Boone Brummett Dodson, Martha Jones, Dawes Rolls, Five Dollar Indians, Dawes Commission, Choctaw Tribal, John Wesley Brummett, Mary Angeline Hensley, Choctaw Indian blood, Dawes Rolls fraudSep 2018
Oklahoma Ghost TownsBeer City, not exactly a town at all, nevertheless has a wild and woolly history (brief though it was). Moral was the exact opposite -- no liquor allowed. Cayuga was founded by "Indian millionaire" Mathias Splitlog.Much like the all-female “ghost towns” of Bethsheba and Daisy Colony (highlighted in the May 2018 issue), Beer City was never an officially organized town – although it did have a marshal of sorts. Amos Lewis “Lew” Bush, Beer City’s self-proclaimed arm of the law (who may have also been a rustler of sorts), was gunned down by the local madam, Nell Jones, better known as Pussycat Nell, for trying to enrich himself and levy taxes on her saloon.
Moral was one of many small towns which sprang up between the years when Oklahoma Territory was organized and statehood in 1907. The town’s name was said to have been chosen due to the lack of saloons – there were none to be found.
The story of this Oklahoma ghost town can best be told by relating the story of its founder, Mathias Splitlog, “the millionaire Indian”. By all accounts, like the 1980s Smith-Barney advertisement, he "made money the old-fashion way" – he earned it.
Mathias Splitlog, Millionaire Indian, Moral Oklahoma, Beer City Oklahoma, Pussycat Nell, Oklahoma Territory No Man's Land, Dr. Jesse Mooney, Cayuga Oklahoma, Oklahoma ghost towns, Grand Lake of the CherokeesSep 2018
God's Land, But No Man'sThe so-called "Neutral Strip" or "No Man's Land" created when Indian Territory was established has a unique history all its own, including attempts at setting up self-governance outside the auspices of the United States government.At least one Eastern newspaper made an effort to understand what the West was about when it sent a reporter to write a history of the so-called Neutral Strip of Indian Territory (what we now call the “Oklahoma Panhandle”). Appropriately enough, it was called “No Man’s Land”.
The area belonged to the United States, one of the greatest civilized nations on earth, yet it was without laws of any kind.
Oklahoma Territory, Indian Territory, No Man's Land, Cherokee Strip, Cherokee Outlet, Beaver City Oklahoma, Oklahoma Land RunsSep 2018
Nineteenth Century Rainmaking (Part IV): The Moisture AcceleratorThis article concludes the four-part series on late nineteenth and early twentieth century rainmaking schemes.Frank Melbourne had mysteriously disappeared and been exposed as an utter fraud. Yet, that didn’t stop other so-called rainmakers from attempting to make a buck. The early twentieth century’s most famous rainmaker was called the “Moisture Accelerator”.
Charles Mallory Hatfield, aka the “Moisture Accelerator”, was born on July 15, 1875 in Fort Scott, Kansas and sometime in the 1880s his family moved to southern California. In 1894 they moved to San Diego County where his father bought a ranch. As a young boy, Charles sold newspapers on the streets of the city.
Although Hatfield was later employed as a sewing machine salesman, he also studied “pluviculture” – rainmaking – in an attempt to create his own secret formula. By 1902 he had a formula of twenty-three chemicals which actually produced a bit of drizzle at his father’s farm located in the San Diego area.
nineteenth century rainmaking, The Moisture Accelerator, Charles Mallory Hatfield, San Diego 1916 flood, Frank Melbourne, Rain WizardSep 2018
The Dash: Too Tough to Die (no matter how old she really was)Aunt Lizzie Devers was quite a character whose story, and her ever-changing age, was in national headlines in the 1930s and 1940s.This woman, known to the country throughout the 1930s until her death in 1946 as “Aunt Lizzie Devers”, was quite a character.  To research her entire life, however, would be a monumental challenge for even the most experienced and well-seasoned genealogist.  In fact, it appears there is only one person at who has attempted and there is no guarantee as to its veracity.
If the hundreds of newspaper articles written about her are to be believed, however, Aunt Lizzie Devers had quite an interesting history.  The following is compiled from those 1930s and 1940s newspaper articles.
I can’t say what her full birth name was, except her first name was probably Elizabeth since she went by Lizzie.  Her father was said to have been full-blood Cherokee and her mother Dutch-Irish.  The only definitive census records which indicate her Native American ancestry are for the years 1930 and 1940 where she is clearly enumerated as “Indian”.
Aunt Lizzie Devers, Trail of Tears, General ShermanSep 2018