Caddo Deserves Better Name -- Sherman Democrat, June 4, 1978

(NOTE: Jasmine McGee grew up in Bryan County and for many years ran a highly-successful travel agency in nearby Sherman, Texas. She wrote a weekly column called "About Home Folks" for the Sherman Democrat. Following is a portion of the feelings she shared with readers on June 4, 1978).

By JASMINE McGEE

Lots of people know about the dozens of bullets fired, three dead highway patrolmen, and blood in the yard of a modest frame home in Caddo, Okla., but we remember this lovely little town of tree-lined streets as a quiet, peaceful, wonderful place where we spent many a childhood summer.

Caddo has about 900 people and a two-block business area, but it spreads out in all directions and looks just like you would visualize a town of a hundred years ago, except for the automobiles instead of the wagons and horses. It was once larger than Durant, now the county seat of Bryan
County, and for years tried to re-win its place but long ago gave up the effort and settled back into being just the same friendly little town it was designed to be. People don't (or didn't) even lock their doors when they shopped or went to church.

May 26 was the bloodiest day in Caddo history, but old timers are giving thanks today that the two escaped convicts on a killing rampage did not get any farther into the inner town, or they might still be hold up today barricaded in the Caddo Nursing Home on McPherson street where there's plenty of food, with several dozen elderly people as hostages.

At the Slack home nearby where the actual shootout took place, there was damage but nothing like what it could have been if this helpless group of people had become involved.

When growing up, we used to ride the Katy train to Caddo. Our favorite aunt, Mrs. Lake Brewer, would be at the old concrete Caddo depot to meet us. For a week or so we had a room to ourselves and lots of food we weren't permitted to eat a home, like whipped cream, cakes, ice cream, pies and candy all of the time. Our uncle owned one of the two grocery stores on main street – Buffalo Street to be exact – the Bass store was across the street.

We recall the friendly law-abiding Christian folks we knew in those days from the old family names, and don't ever remember a brawl, a shooting, a fight or even loud talking. In our mind, Caddo was a quiet haven of security and family gatherings to swim at Armstrong River, Nail's Crossing, study the Catechism on Saturdays so we would know our Sunday School lesson the next day at the ancient white frame church. And then the birthday parties in the park were a highlight for the summer kids.

The rodeo is still going strong and the annual Caddo Corn Carnival queenship launched many a farm girl on a career or into a successful marriage.

Even the cemetery is named for a peaceful plot – Gethsemane from the Bible, meaning olive grove. The Caddo Civic and Cemetery Club is one of the liveliest groups in town. The sexton and his helpers in this tree-shaded burial ground are dedicated, and you will find this old cemetery in fine condition, even today.

Caddo was a part of Indian Territory before statehood and had some fine old families settling here, coming over the Trail of Tears from Mississippi: family names such as Folsom, Maytubby, Semple, Meadows, McCalman, Bass, Nail, Freeny, Boland, Durant, Edwards and many more. Old Landowners and founding fathers.

The old hotel was torn down several years ago but there is a bank, post office, cafe, grocery store, the Caddo Star newspaper, police and fire officials all crowded up on Buffalo Street.

Austin College students painted the old Presbyterian Church a few years ago and a former pastor, now a retired Missionary, the Rev. Lardner Moore who lives here in Sherman, began his preaching career there. The funeral homes in Durant furnished cardboard fans for the polished mahogany pews. They still come in their best clothes to funerals and overflow small churches and stand in the yard, sometimes closing the stores.

We just couldn't let folks remember Caddo as the place where the "thrill killers" were gunned down because to us it is still a lovely old town with lots to offer.

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