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August 3, 1996

One of the least known stories swirling up from the dust of the Cherokee Strip run on September 16, 1893, may soon be reported in detail by an enterprising couple from our neighboring city of Mannford.

An all-female community called Bathsheba evidently was established in an area between Perry and Enid after the great run. Its existence has been documented by reliable authorities but details of the odd enterprise have been obscured by the passage of time.

I have heard it said that such a place came into being, but I have not found much in history books to back that up. However, an interesting inquiry arrived the other day from a lady in Mannford, Ronda Stucks, who is researching that portion of the Cherokee Strip's earliest days in the Perry-Enid area. For some time now, she and her husband have been tracking down facts and rumors about the all-woman settlement and they appear to be zeroing in on many of the details which round out the story and help to bring it alive. All physical traces of Bathsheba's existence have long since slipped into oblivion.

A colorful lady known as "Kentucky Daisy" seems to have been the ringleader in starting the all-female community. The women, who were arch-feminists long before their time, prohibited males of all species from setting foot, paw or hoof in their town. I guess that means there were no roosters in the chicken coops, no bulls grazing on prairie hay, no rams in the meadows, no boars in the sties -- no males of any kind. Talk about a self-defeating movement. I have no idea why they were so embittered or why they chose Bathsheba as the name of their haven.

Mrs. Stucks has visited with Mrs. Mildred Highfill, one of our local historians, and Clyde Speer, site attendant at the Cherokee Strip Museum here, and has received assistance from both. The Perry Carnegie Library also was consulted, but Mrs. Stucks is searching for still more information. Contact her at P.O. Box 913, Mannford, OK 74044, if you can contribute to this story. She promises to share her discoveries with the public when all the details have been rounded up.

Like most of you, our little household has watched and enjoyed the Olympics for the past two weeks, especially the parts where Shannon Miller and other Oklahomans won their gold medals. I see where many of the print media experts are panning the NBC network for its so-called "storytelling" technique in televising the games, comparing it with contrived soap opera stuff designed mainly to lure more women viewers. You can understand the natural rivalry and consequently the brickbats coming from the ink-stained ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate who compete with the electronic glamorpusses on a daily basis, but personally I found little fault in the TV fare. The up close and personal stories about the individuals made it all the more human and enjoyable as far as I was concerned. Perhaps there could have been more from the wrestling venue, however. Folks around here never get satisfactory doses of that sport.

An unexpected bout with a pinched nerve and other problems related to the back have brought about a period of confinement for your faithful correspondent here, and lasting relief has not yet been achieved. Because of that, the Northwest Corner may be appearing on an abbreviated or irregular schedule for a while, but I promise to try to serve up a few of these whenever possible if you will kindly bear with me. Thanks for your indulgence. The hiatus will not be indefinite.