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December 26, 1996

As you pause amidst the colorful hues of shredded wrapping paper, surveying remnants of molded plastic and cardboard containers, torn ribbons and bright but crumpled bows, wondering where first to begin the less than exciting process of cleaning up the whole mess, a few thoughts are submitted for your consideration on this day after Christmas. Shrug away any lingering doubts that the wrong selection was made for even one of those on your gift list. The thought truly does count most of all. Don't fear the logic or wisdom that led to the final choice. And besides, most stores expect dozens of exchanges anyway. You know you did your best.

Mrs. Otis J. Knott of Route One, Box 188, Perry, recently inquired about an all-black community that was to have been established in Noble county at the time of the Cherokee Strip run on September 16, 1893. Her question followed the recent information in this space about the all-female town of Bathsheba that sprang up between Perry and Enid during that time period. Mrs. Knott says the all-black town was to have been located about two miles east and two miles north of Perry, on the north end of the property where the Knotts live. Part of it was on the Harry Hansing place.

Mrs. Knott writes: "The first I heard about it was in the 1970s. My husband said he had heard of it from his Dad but he did not know any of the particulars. We were having an abstract brought up to date and talking to Jack Dolezal. He brought up the subject and showed us the map, one that I would sure like to have a copy of. The streets were all laid out and named, and the town was to have been named Arnett. I've wanted to know more about it ever since I heard of it."

I have heard vague references to such a community, but I've heard more about the proposed all-black town of Liberty. That information is contained in The First Generation, in the chapter about C. T. Talliaferro, the much-admired early-day Perry merchant who made the run on foot. According to that account, several blacks in the Langston community of Logan county planned to settle Perry and call it Liberty, letting the whites have Wharton, one mile south of this city. The plan was abandoned because not enough blacks were successful in staking homestead sites in Perry. The Arnett settlement, however, apparently would have been something else altogether.

If anyone can furnish information about the proposed town of Arnett, I'll be glad to pass it along.

Another request for information comes from Margaret Norman Froebel, now of Houston but a former resident of this city. Margaret is the daughter of Mrs. Gertrude Norman Lockett, who taught school in Noble county for a number of years before she also moved to Houston. Margaret and her husband, Dick, have developed a little cottage industry as an outgrowth of their interest in collecting antique thimbles.

Since 1982, they have provided a mail order business dealing in these items. Some of them are gold-banded sterling silver, some are all sterling, and others are of aluminum or plastic. Each of the small pieces is embossed with distinctive and artistic designs that are coveted by hundreds of collectors. The Froebels' service includes a periodic newsletter listing the description of available thimbles, including their value. Margaret and her husband also have developed a device called "Thimblescope" which has a magnifying lens on one end for examining microscopic designs like those found on thimbles, or other small objects.

Margaret herself has a collection of several thousand sewing thimbles ranging from 14k gold with diamonds and rubies to plastic advertising thimbles. One aluminum thimble in her collection advertises "Mayhew Hatchery, Perry." She is looking for more information about that business. She also would like to add more thimbles from Perry to her collection and she would especially like to have a pair of plastic pieces that were advertisements for two local grocery stores - one that was operated by Louis Stanislav, who died recently, and the other by the late H. C. Galaway.

Can someone provide a little help here? I'll be glad to pass the information along to Margaret.