Newspaper Archive of
The Perkins Journal
Perkins, Oklahoma
November 8, 2007     The Perkins Journal
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November 8, 2007

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THE JOURNAL, Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 05 ay Uriah Stumbo brought his "Groceries were lots Cheaper family to Oklahoma from those days," W'dbur said. "They Brown County, Kansas on had to be, for there wasn't much May 13, 18.89, settling one mile cash. Flour, hauled all the way south of the IXL school house from Arkansas City retailed for in the Forest City community. He put up a tent and started a grocery store. Soon the tent was replaced by a building, and twice a week Uriah would go to Guthrie for supplies, often accompanied by his eleven year old son, W'dbur. "We would drive in, unhitch and camp at a camp yard behind the store where we would stay all night, loading up and coming home the next day," Wilbur said. "We also carried the mail, being one of the first carriers in this district, and not under contract either. We had a big wooden box with a pad lock on it. This box was taken to Guthrie where the outgoing mail was taken out at the post office and return mail locked in until brought back." They also carried stamps. These trips taking up four days a week, W'dbur's mother, Sarah, and the other Stumbo children - Eddy, ForresL Henry, and Etha, would look after the store while Uriah was gone. There was a problem with title to the lots in Forest City, and the Stumbo family moved to Perkins in May 1890, opening a small store just south of where the post office is today. At that time there were only nine or ten businesses in town, many being groceries, including Joseph Weft, Rankin's, Jesse Stanton, Arthur Miles, and Fred Tryon. The stories vary somewhat as to the-first grocery merchant in Perkins and it may lay in a close tie between Rankin's and Joseph Wett Wilbur recalled, 'q'he first load of groceries coming into Perkins came down the river from Guthrie on a flat boat. Joseph Welt and a man who helped him, built a fiat boat up on the Cottonwood in Guthrie and floated supplies in to Perkins via Cimarron to start up the first grocery lines here. The store being located on the south line of the Wert property about where Guy McClain's house now stands, and called the Italy GroCery." from 75 cents to 90 cents a sack Then syrup came in wooden pails, and syrup and sorghum was big sellers. Salt came in barrels, there was Lyons and Arbuckles coffee the biggest sellers, and of course lots of bulk coffee and tea sold. We had a selection of dried fruits, and most stores handled a little general merchandise." ~When the Iowa and Sac and Fox lands were opened in September 1891, Uriah took a claim in the northeast qualter of Sec. 21 - Twp 17 N - Rge 2 E and moved his family to the farm, closing the store. W'dbur Stumbo was born in Brown County, Kansas on November 15,1877. Heattended school: in Perkins in the one room log cabin. On September 6, 1906, Wdbur married Allie B. Johns, a neighbor girl whose family had moved to Stillwater. They had two children - Wilbur Jr. who died as an infant in 1908, and Gwendolyn .born June 21, 1911. Sadly, Gwendolyn died at the age of three on July 10, 1914, from'summer complaint.' Other than three years spent in Grandfield, Oklahoma and three years in Colorado, the Stumbos made Perkins their home living at 315 E. Thomas. Wilbur worked on a farm until 1924, when they came to Perkins to manage the Farmers:Exchange, located at 102 N. Main Street. In 1932, W'dbur began managing the Vassar Hardware when I. D. Vassar went on the road selling dairy supply items. On March 23, 1937, Wilbur and AUie opened Smmbo's Grocery and Market at 126 S. Main Street, buying out Wallace Dickey's Grocery and Market. They handled a complete line of groceries and meats, and also had a cream station in connection with the grocery. "Back then large quantifies of common foods were sold, but the stock of a merchant today must include ten times the variety of those days," Wilbur explained in 1940. 'Wake for instance breakfast foods. The standard bulk oats in the old days took the place of today's shelves where nearly a whole section of shelving is needed to show and sell puffed rice, oats, bran and a hundred and one different varieties." Due to their health, the Stumbos sold their store to Mr. and Mrs. Howard Warren on October 1, 1945. The Warrens merged the store into their grocery across the street and it became known as the Nu-way Cardinal Food Store. The following article appeared in The Grocer-Dizer, an industry publication in October 1951: "Loss of only 29 cents in credit dealings with customers is the record hung up by Howard H. Warren, owner of the Nu-Way Grocery, Perkins, Okla. "Last year, doing an $84,000 volume, he nevertheless lost only 29 cents in charges. He remembers exactly how this happened, too. A customer lacked 6 cents of being able to pay for a package of cigareues and said he'd pay for it later, but he forgot. Another customer, hurrying in before closing time, wanted cigarettes, but said his money was in his other trousers. Dealer Warren said he could pay tomorrow. But tomorrow never came. ' Ihe Nu-Way Grocery owner says he is able to control credit because he knows everybody in Perkins (1,000 population) and knows whether they'll be able to pay. He doesn't just hope they can pay up. He is sure they can before he mists them. He sells coupon books, with 5% discount for cash. "Another thing, Dealer Warren forms a first impression of a person, and doesn't change his mind. If something tells him some applicant for credit won't pay his bil,then that person can-, talk all day long and it won't do him any g0od. '"The first of a series of fall demonstrations on Santa Fe Coffee and other Santa Fe goods was held Sept. 8 at the Nu-Way Grocery. "Lots of Santa Fe Coffee, Santa Fe Salad Dressing, Santa Fe Candy, and Santa Fe vegetables and flttits were sold, the store jam-packed all day long. Drawings were held event hour and numerous baskets of groceries were given away to lucky winners. "Howard Warren went inr the Uriah Stumbo's claim in the northeast quarter of Sec. 21 - Twp 17 N - Rge 2 E, Lincoln County. (I to r) Uriah, Forest, Eddy, Henry, Etha, and Sarah Stumbo. =/ /iiiiii ~ii !/i i :! i~: i The Charlie Skinner homestead at Barrel Springs southwest of Perkins. Skinner was one of the cowboys of Townsend & Pickett's IOA Ranch and took the claim in the 1891 land run. (I to.r) Chadie Skinner, Mima Skinner, and Mertie (Stumbo) Skinner. This photo was taken about 1894 and the Cimarron River can be seen in the background. Journal file photo I Last Saturday, Tom years Wayne and Geraldine located, fight across Bill Drake and his wife, Jackie, owned that farm up until Scott's body shop. Charles of Huntersville, North 2003. Drake was Tom Drake's great Carolina, visited Perkins. In 1894, Charles Drake's great grandfather. Their purpose was to ,visit grandchild died, and sinceCharlie Skinner was foreman for the Townsend . and Pickett IOA Ranch. '!i!,! :;i; Uriah Stumbo's wife cooked for the IOA ranch hands. Charlie married Myrtie !i Stumbo, Uriah's daughter and Wilbur Stumbo's sister. Olivet Cemetery southwest there was no cemetery Then Charles Drake's son of Perkins and also see the nearby, the child was buried Alex married Charlie and farms where their ancestors at Perkins Cemetery. So Myrtie's daughter Mima. lived over 100 years ago. then Grandpa Drake, as he So Tom Drake, who visited Tom and Jackie visited was called by friends and here Saturday, is a great great with Wayne Allen, and then neighbors, insisted thatgrandson of both Charles Wayne brought them out to the neighborhood have Drake and Charlie Skinner. the Olivet neighborhood, a cemetery and church Tom is also a descendant of Sherian Kennedy and I met building as soon as possible. Uriah Stumbo. them at the cemetery, and we Other neighbors were also Wayne Alien also showed showed them the graves of interested. Grandpa Drake us the log house that Charles some Drake family members gave two acres of his farm, Drake built in 1891, and the and also of the Stumbo a cemetery was laid out,two-story house he built im family. It was an opportunity and a church building was 1893. The log house was; to learn the connections of constructed. He also gave an used by Wayne and his fathe some of the families of the acre of land on the north side George for grain and feed neighborhood, of his farm for a schoolhouse, storage for many years. The:7 Wayne took us to the Drake Saturday Wayne showed ustwo-story house is still used farm, and we also showed where that schoolhouse was as a dwelling. Tom and Jackie the Charlie Skinner farm where Barrel :: Springs is located. Then Tom and Jackie were shown the .-Urial ,Stumbo mnr Sherian's parents, Charles and Elsie Grant, owned the Stumbo place, where Sherian Today I want to recommend a paperback book by Debo- and her sisters and brother rah Bouziden, ,Off the Beaten Path: Oklahoma," now in its grew up. sixth edition. It's a little guidebook to Oklahoma places, big The Skinner farm was and little. Many of them are hardly off the beaten path, like owned by Frank and Beulah Tulsa, the Oil Capital of the World, and Oklahoma City, the Cox for many years, still-growing capital of the state. As she says, there is a lot of Wayne and his parents history in this book. I like her quote from Will Rogers about moved to the Drake farm his home: "Oklahoma is the heart; it's the vital organ of our in 1946. and in more recent national existence." grocery business in 1938 and he has been in it continuously except for 18 months, while the war was on. Howard and his father, the late J. L Warren, opened up a store in 1938 and then later, later later, Howard sold out to his father. When he returned from war service, he bought the R. and L. Grocery, but this proved too small, and he bought out the Stumbo Grocery and moved his fixtures into it. He made this store over into the first modem store in Perkins and the first month after he moved, he increased the business $3,500 worth. ' rhe Nu-Way store has an east front and is located in the center of the main business block in Perkins. Interior of the building is all in white. There is fluorescent lighting, a U-type checkout counter, and modem equipment, including new type scales, shopping carts, refrigerated vegetable and produce cases, walk-in cooler, retail milk and butter box, frozen food case, ice cream cabinet, 12-foot meat display case, electric saw, grinders, etc. The store proper, or shopping area is about 25 feet wide and 60 feet deep. Gondolas are in the center of the store, with wide aisles between gondolas and shelving to allow plenty of room for customers to shop. A 27 by 27 foot warehouse is in rear. A 16 by 25 foot sheet metal garage serves as storage for eggs, pop cases, and empty cartons. "Mrs. Warren and their son, Lemy, 15 years old, both workin the store. Leroy also finds time to behalf back on the Perkim football team. A daughter. Ann, 18 years old, is in college. Velma Riley is a store clerk." In April 1958, they purchased an IGA Foodliner Supennmkel in Medford, Oklahoma and announced they would close their store in Perkins. "We= have purchased a store at Medford that offers a much:-, better opportunity" Howardl said. "We have found that the; facilities for having the type of store we wanted to operate fo~ Perkins folks were not hem, We have enjoyed the pasl 18 years in Perkins and have gained many wonderful friends and customers, which we will always appreciate." Don Wooldridge, Agent (405) 547-5126 We Do All Minor Repairs Computer Controlled Access Floor to Ceiling Steel Partitions Security Gate, Fence & Lighting Insulated Roof 24/7 Access Available VISA, MC & Discover Convenient Rent by Phone * -Free Disk Lock wlUnit Rental 417 W. Freeman * Perkins 547-8600 or 1-800-397-8673 II