Key Information

Ghost-Town Tales of Oklahoma: Unforgettable Stories of Nearly Forgotten Places, By Jim Marion Etter

1996 [ISBN: 1-58107-074-1; 256 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches, soft cover] $17.95

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ghost_town_tales_okA rare collection of accounts of incidents and legends throughout the state – intriguing bits of the past generally not found in conventional works of history. Used in some schools as a teaching aid. Included in the 26 chapters are descriptions of a crucial battle between Indians and Spaniards in 1759; a place where “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was composed; the wild and woolly past of a town called Navajoe; a whiskey-smuggling scheme that set a train depot on fire; a young man who left the oil fields for Hollywood; a scary light that has haunted a lonely road for years; and where once a strange but lively party took place in a moonlit cemetery.

The Contents

San Bernardo (Petersburg) — The Battle, 1759
Spencerville — Belle Starr, circa 1888
Oklahoma (Whitefield) — Belle’s Ghost, circa 1889
Navajoe — The Gamblers, 1890
Ingalls — The Church Party, 1893
Melvin — `Cherokee Bill,’ 1894
Tamaha — The Jail, circa 1896
Grand — The Grave, circa 1896
Corner — A Pint for Every Boot, circa 1899
Florence — The Saloon, 1901
Hamburg — The Wedding, 1902
Salt Springs — The Race, 1921
Bigheart (Barnsdall) — A Different Line of Work, 1922
Hess — Red River, circa 1922
America — Local Spirit, 1925
Paw Paw — Floods, circa 1927
Strong City — Mexican Firewater, 1929
Oktaha — Andrew’s Burial, 1932
Caney — The Vigilantes, 1934
Akins — Pretty Boy’s Funeral, 1934
Possum Hollow — `Turn ’em Loose!’, circa 1934
Peoria — The Spook Light, circa 1946
Medicine Spring — A Treasure Story, circa 1950
Dempsey — The Tornado, 1955
Keokuk Falls — The Last Drunk, circa 1957
Lost City — The Falling Star, 1970

Reviews

“A reviewer’s delight!” – Joan C. Hewitt, Oklahoma book reviewer.

“Should be required reading in Oklahoma schools.” – Craig McVey, veteran Oklahoma history teacher.

“… a look at Oklahoma that brings the past galloping into today.” – Frank Boggs, retired columnist and editor, The Daily Oklahoman.

The Author

Jim Marion Etter is a retired, award-winning reporter for The Daily Oklahoman whose offbeat, folksy writing about his home state has earned him the reputation as “Oklahoma’s master country storyteller.” A writer of both fiction and nonfiction, he’s the author of five books and a contributing author of four others, and has written for numerous magazines including Persimmon Hill and Western Horsemen. A native of the small Muskogee County town of Oktaha, he now lives in Oklahoma City. He’s also been a newspaper and television reporter in Laredo, Texas – “El Charro Flaco” – and has served as a military journalist and translator in Latin America.