History

10 Years Ago

Several gas wells have been drilled recently south of Bradley and east of Rush Springs. The Anadarko Woodford formation has been found to produce an economical amount of gas liquids and oil.  That formation generally comes  from western Oklahoma, into Grady County from northwest to southeast, extending on into western Garvin County and northeastern Stephens County.  In Grady County, the formation is generally found at a depth of approximately 10,000 feet. The drilling technology advancements over the past few years have allowed this formation to be accessed and produced successfully with horizontal drilling. 

A brisk north wind Friday night forced the Redskins to use their ground game for a 47-6 victory over the Riverside Savages.  

The Redskin attack came early in the game as the Savages found the Redskin defense an obstacle too tough to crack through. 

The Rush Springs FFA recently elected chapter officers. Those officers are: President, Jakobi Mays; Vice President, Layce Graham; Secretary, Kaytie Jones; Reporter, Dava Ballard; Treasurer, Christian Mays; and Sentinel, Riley Shook.

Jamie Reneé Jones and Trent Dean Parrish, both of Rush Springs, are announcing their engagement and upcoming wedding on Friday evening, October 19, 2012. 

20 Years Ago

The first case of West Nile Virus has been reported in Grady County.

A 1997 graduate of Rush Springs, Ryan Goodwin has been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force after recently completing the Air Force ROTC program and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace  science from the University of Oklahoma. His parents and other family members attended the ceremony on the OU campus.

Former students of the Stover School gathered for the sign dedication on the former school grounds. The group included Irvin Coffee, Lois (Sisk) Martin, Patsy (Coffee) Pelton, Derrol Young, Thelma (Cook) Waggoner, Billie (Verner) Bulla, Ted Bulla, Reba (Martin) Ellis, Mytrice (Miller) Maddox, Henry Brown, Verl Miller, Wilma (Verner) Willis, and Judy (Redmond) Kee.

30 Years Ago

Rush Springs school officials received notice last week from the Oklahoma State School Board Association reminding them of the Supreme Court’s ruling that prohibits prayer at all ball games, graduation ceremonies, or any other type of school program even though the prayer is not offered by a student or school official.

Ad: Attention Rush Springs Citizens, you are hereby notified that Kevin Worden will turn 16 on Sept. 15, 1992, and thereby eligible to obtain a legal driver’s license. Beware and stay off the streets­—this has been a public service announcement. Happy birthday from your family.

“I would like to thank the community of Rush Springs for the cordial welcome and support you’ve shown during the past year that I have been employed with Callaway-Smith-Cobb Funeral Home. My wife, Cavin and I hope to continue serving our friends for many years to come.” —Robert Newman

40 Years Ago

Roy Smith, longtime Rush Springs resident, celebrated his 93rd birthday Saturday, Sept. 11, when his children and other relatives gathered at the United Methodist Church in Rush Springs. The gala was hosted by Mildred and Henry Smith.

The big attraction in the September 21 election will be a replay for the battle of betting on the ponies. It will be the second time Oklahomans will have voted to legalize wagering on horse races. Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing lost in August 1974. 

The Dust Bowl Moto X is now open 3-1/2 miles south of town under the ownership of Jimmy Norton. Races for the dirt bikes are held each Saturday and Sunday.

Mr. and Mrs. S.T. Bernard returned Monday after spending the past week in Denver attending the dedication of the new building constructed by the Farmers Union as their new National Headquarters. Bernard owns the Bernard Insurance Agency in Rush Springs.

50 Years Ago

Senior Class officers elected for the 1972-73 school year are Jeannie Charlson, president: Mike Teel, vice president; Linda Miller, secretary, and treasurer; and Jerry Pendley, reporter.

The children of Mrs. E.W. Melton honored her Sunday with a birthday dinner. Eight of her children were present.

Bill Porter showed the grand champion flock and Brian Heath, grand champion ewe lamb at the Grady County Fair.

Officers elected at a meeting of the Band Parents group are Neal Owen, president; Delmer Dodson, vice president; Mrs. Betty Teel, secretary and treasurer, and Mrs. Joyce Caveny, reporter.

The Lydia Sunday School Class of the Southern Baptist Church met Monday in the home of Mrs. Katherine Meek. Mrs. Era Skaggs, class teacher, voiced the opening prayer.

Showing at the movie theatre in Marlow, Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio”. Admission for adults $1 and 50¢ for children.

The first load of peanuts of the season has been received by Bernard Enterprises, Inc. and came from Troy Blackwell of Wayne.

60 Years Ago

Excerpt from a Letter To the Editor: “We were very honored here in Naples, Italy on Sept. 6 when the vice president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, visited the Allied Forces Southern European headquarters here in Naples. I told Mr. Johnson that my father-in-law raised the biggest watermelons in the country at Rush Springs, Oklahoma and invited him to stop by sometime and pick himself one. My father-in-law is M.A. Brumley, my wife’s name is Hester.—Donald N. Leonard, S-Sgt, USA.

Ten Rush Springs women enrolled at Oklahoma College for Women in Chickasha. They are Edna Combs, Oleta Conover, Mary Jane Eubank, Eleanor Hawthorne, Euzelia Lindsey, Mona June McAdoo, Sherry Sue Murray, Gussie Letha Parish, Ethel Sharp and Margaret Ann Vincent.

70 Years Ago 

Leo “Tubby” Lester was elected to head the senior class for the new school term. Harley Garrett was chosen by the juniors, Joe Tunnell by the sophomores, and Mae McKinzie by the freshmen.

The Cox City School will spend around $1,000 to $1,300 for a new red oak hardwood floor on their gym.

Jim Lowry was voted in as a new member of the Rush Springs Lions Club when they had a record-breaking 53 persons for their regular Tuesday meeting.

Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Sharp and Jimmie attended the dedication of a new Methodist Church at Ryan Sunday.

Mr. and Mrs. S.T. Bernard returned Monday after spending the past week in Denver attending the dedication of the new building constructed by the Farmers Union as their new headquarters.

80 Years Ago

The first bale of cotton ginned here this season was brought in by O.L. Meredith on Sept. 10. He received a cash premium of $32.

Jack, Jim, and Buster Lowry, Jack Hawpe, Earl Stubblefield and J.V. Wilson returned Sunday night from a fishing trip in eastern Oklahoma.

Virgil Bernard, senior partner of the Bernard Agency, nationally known watermelon brokers, has accepted a position as an instructor at the Texas A & M College in College Station, Texas. He will leave Friday to take over his duties as a mechanical engineering teacher. His brother, Cicero, is a science instructor there.

Pvt. Pete Sorrels of Brownwood, Texas, came Friday to visit with his wife and he returned to his station Sunday.

90 Years Ago 

DeArthur Wilson, former Grady County officer, now a member of the State Bureau of Investigation was one of the officers engaged in a gun battle with murderers and bandits in eastern Oklahoma during the weekend. Three officers and three bandits were killed. The officers got out into the open and fought the bandits in a manner similar to that of old-time peace officers. Wilson was not injured.

Mrs. Eddie Shook of Shreveport, La., Misses Bonnie Harper, Euzella Jolley and Elda Schlemann were entertained in the home of Mrs. Berniece King Monday. The girls were classmates for 12 years in the Rush Springs Schools.

A group of friends were entertained Saturday evening at the Pursley ranch, honoring the ninth wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mr. Ira Jackson and the birthday of Sonny Jackson.

History of Rush Springs

Rush Springs gets its name from the large springs near the head of Rush Creek from which the early town got its water supply. 

The term “Rush” is believed to be taken from the many rushes that grew along the banks of the creek, others have said because of the “rushing” water that flowed from the springs. 

Rush Springs is one of the oldest settlements in Grady County, Okla. Its history may be divided into six periods:

1) The first period up to 1858, the springs served as a camping place for Indian tribes from very early days. The Wichita Indians first moved by the springs and settled on Rush Creek about four miles southeast of the present town around 1850. 

It was at this place that the famous “Battle of the Wichita Village” transpired.

2) The second period between 1865 and 1892 deals with the famous Chisholm Cattle Trail. It was over this trail that thousands of head of cattle were driven northward across the territory from Texas to Kansas to be shipped by rail to eastern markets.

Rush Springs is located on the historic Chisholm Trail that passed about one and one-half miles east of the town. The springs here became a watering place for many herds of cattle. 

This trail ceased to be used after the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad was built across the territory in 1892. 

Old wagon tracks worn into sand rock are still visible along the trail.

3) The years from 1871 to 1878 constitute the third period. Fort Sill had just been established and supplies had to be shipped to it from points in the eastern part of the Indian Territory. 

Supplies were first shipped from Fort Smith, Arkansas, Fort Gibson, Boggy Depot, and Atoka.  After the building of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad across the eastern part of the territory, Caddo became the main shipping point. 

Government freight and many passengers as well as the mail were hauled from here to Fort Sill. The route between the station and the fort went by way of Rush Springs. A stage stand was built and a little town sprang up. 

4) The years from 1878 to 1892 constitute the fourth period. During the latter part of the year 1878 the Huntley Ranch was established on Rush Creek near the site of the old Wichita Village. The ranch became a stage stand and a freight station for local settlers. 

A post office was established at this place in 1883. It was known as Parr. This post office was moved to Rush Springs in 1892.

5) The fifth period begins with 1892 when the Rock Island Railroad came through by the springs. The town took on a rapid growth. It became one of the government freight stations to Fort Sill and was very active for nine years.

6) The sixth period dates from 1901 when the Frisco and Rock Island railroad lines were extended to Fort Sill and Lawton. The freight trade ceased at Rush Springs. Since then, the town has depended on ranching, farming, and oil interests for its existence.

As the history of Rush Springs unfolds one can readily see that there were in reality two towns at two different times; the Rush Springs during the period from 1871 to 1878 and from 1892 until the present time. 

*All historical facts taken from the book “The History of Rush Springs” by Hobart D. Ragland.

First Festival

The Rush Springs Watermelon Festival has been held contin­u­ously since 1948 but actually had its beginning in 1940 and has become one of the most popular festivals in the state. The Festival was held in 1940, 1941 and 1942 but dis­contin­ued for five years because of World War II. The Festival resumed in 1948. This year marks the 77th year for the festival which has always been sponsored by the Rush Springs Lions Club.

Ada Mae (Tims) English was the first watermelon queen and she still re­sides in Rush Springs. Okla­homa Governor, Leon C. Phillips, had the honor of crowning the first watermelon queen that year. The crowning took place in the school auditorium as the fes­tivi­ties that night were rained out in the park and everyone moved inside.

The festival began as a hometown event with a crowd estimated at 4,000 gathered in the park that evening for the closing activities which included serving free watermelon. Rossler F. Henton was the first festival chairman. He, along with R.O. Gibbs and “Pop” Eitelman, were committee members who worked out the details for the community event. That year, the Rush Springs Gazette stated, “Rush Springs is Okla­homa’s leading wa­termelon shipping point” and, “the oldest CCC Camp (Civilian Conservation Corps)  in the state is locat­ed in the Rush Springs city park.”

The Festival has proven popular since its beginning and has gained state and even national notoriety. The crowds have in­creased in number to around 20,000 to 30,000 visitors each year. Over 50,000 pounds of wa­ter­melons are purchased from area watermelon growers and served to festival visitors during the day.