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June 18, 1999

Travis Roberts of Bellaire, TX, collects samples of old tokens that were used years ago by barber shops, pool halls, bakeries, saloons and other businesses. He says the kind he's looking for are stamped or imprinted with "Good for a Nickel," or a dime, or some other amount. They were used for services or merchandise, like our present day "Perry Bucks." In some cases, they could be traded directly for a loaf of bread, a drink, a shave, a ride, or any number of things. They were an advertising medium, usually stamped in metal and looking like real coins, but they came in many shapes and sizes. Mr. Roberts hopes to add items like these from Perry to his collection. If you're interested in more information, his address is Box 1168, Bellaire, TX 77402.

Some of our friends have had interesting experiences while tapping into the internet for the Mormon family data base that recently became available electronically. The demand for that kind of information is so great, web users have been limited to 15 minutes per request. Millions of families have joined the search for their roots, and the Mormon files are the most reliable and the biggest source of that kind of data.

The Noble County Genealogy Society is attempting to expand its own file of family histories. For one thing, these will be used to assist those who come here in pursuit of information about homesteaders and other early day residents. The second volume of their family history book is being compiled. If your family is not included, contact Darlene Roads, president of the society, to see what you need to do to be part of this documentation. Also, the Cherokee Strip Museum on West Fir Avenue has an ongoing program of gathering family histories for its collection. Perhaps yours should be there, too. Check with curator Kaye Bond or site attendant Clyde Speer at the museum for more on this subject.

Faye O'Dell and his family spent a few short years here while he served as athletic director of Perry schools and a counselor to troubled young people of all ages. He also put in one year as coach of the Perry Maroon football team during a transition period in that athletic endeavor. Those who knew him were aware of the impact he has had on so many young lives and he continues that work through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Recently the city of Cushing honored him by naming their football facility O'Dell Field. Before coming to Perry, Mr. O'Dell was junior high and senior high coach at Cushing, and he also served stints at Cleveland and Drumright, but we will always think of him as one of our own. Mr. and Mrs. O'Dell now live in retirement in Edmond and their health is not the best, but they continue to serve young people and others in more ways than we'll ever know. Cushing's tribute to him was well deserved.

Many Perryans have been watching with interest as another of the town's historic homes undergoes renovation. The old W.E. Merry home at Seventh and Jackson appeared to be in danger of collapsing until recent years when it was purchased by Bob Avery of Covington, who specializes in restoring old houses. The so-called Merry home, a two-story frame structure, was last occupied by the late Mr. and Mrs. B.M. Coombs. Mr. Merry, their predecessor, was a Perry pioneer and a former postmaster. A photo of the Merry home appears on page 59 of the March 29, 1917 "Industrial Edition" of The Perry Republican. Recently, Mrs. Jo Wollard Garten of Ponca City, daughter of Perry pioneers Mr. and Mrs. G.C. Wollard, visited the Merry home reconstruction site together with a granddaughter of the late Ella Merry Hayman, daughter of the Merrys. The granddaughter lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.