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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1895

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1895 — The first city general election was held, pitting B.S. Barnes against John Richard Hudson. Hudson was chairman of the local Democratic Party. The "Town Party" (B.S. Barnes et al) developed a split that resulted in most of the Democratic ticket being elected, including Hudson for mayor. He won his seat by one vote that was supposedly cast by a regular bar customer at Hudson's Midway Saloon.

It is not clear whether Hudson was elected to the council by the public, and then voted mayor by members of the council, or whether the public voted him in as mayor. Nonetheless, his shenanigans while he was mayor, duly reported in the local newspapers, while not illegal, were so embarrassing to the city leaders that his name is left off the "official" lists.

Hudson's position as mayor was an empty honor. He had nothing to do, only to run his "booze emporium" and occasionally call for the sheriff's force in Newkirk to "come down here and read the riot act to untamed galoots who were shooting up the town."

Buildings Sprout Up

Dan, Ed, and John Donahoe purchased the flourmill at a sheriff's sale. The Donahoes added new buildings, new grain elevators, and new equipment to the mill, making it one of the finest of its kind in the area.

Mayor B.S. Barnes purchased the large L-shaped Midland hotel in the west part of Cross and moved it to the northeast corner of Fourth and Grand in Ponca City. This helped start the move of Cross citizens into "Peerless Ponca." Barnes and Dave Donelson organized a new business.

 As moving contractors, they moved houses from Cross to Ponca City. At the end of a month, the prairie was dotted with houses moving south, and at the end of six months, nearly all of the business buildings and residences had moved into Ponca City.

There was a certain amount of social life in early Ponca City. The Bois D'Arc Dancing Club was in the Chase Opera House, which was on the second floor of a grocery store downtown. Dr. Fred Sparks was the dancing master and W.E. Scott, designated as chief musician, played the violin.

John Calloway built a livery stable at the corner of Second Street and Central, and Owen and Art Stacy constructed a blacksmith shop on the opposite corner. The Stacy building had forges in the front and a wheel repair shop in the back. The back end, which had a dirt floor and was partitioned off from the main shop, was a favorite gathering place for Indians. The second story became a woodwork and paint shop.

A water well was dug on Grand Avenue and hitch racks were placed up and down the street.

There was not much law in town. Many cattlemen, big ranchers, tough cowhands, horse thieves, and bandits came into town to patronize the many barrooms and gambling houses. Text Starts Here