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March 28, 2000

Herewith, another addition to our make-believe list of Noble county's "Top Ten" for the 20th century:

Dr. D.F. Coldiron. A pioneer country doctor who treated adults and children back in the days when house calls were made every day, if necessary. Sometimes that meant long buggy trips late at night or early in the morning on badly rutted and barely discernible rural roads. He delivered babies in family bedrooms years before hospitals or birthing facilities were available in this area. In 1956 he received a TV set from the community at the fairgrounds upon his 80th birthday. The event was conceived and put together by Noble county farm women as a tribute to Dr. Coldiron's dedication to health cares. He served the Marland, Billings and Red Rock areas before moving his practice to Perry in 1918.

Daisy Lemon Coldiron. In addition to her role as the wife of Dr. Coldiron and the mother of their three children, this lady staked her own claim to fame as a published poet and a columnist ("Aunt Sally") in the Daily Oklahoman. A collection of her poems, published as "Songs of Oklahoma," was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in literature. She also was an activist in the public health service of Oklahoma, where she shared her husband's interest in care of young children.

Kenneth K. Coldiron. This son of the above couple could not be omitted from such a list. He joined the Exchange Bank and Trust Co. after military service in World War II, and eventually became chairman of the board. A tireless civic and church worker, he probably led or assisted in every worthwhile cause that came to this county before his death in 1998. He coached the Perry high school wrestling team while still a senior there and maintained a lifelong interest in the sport, which he passed along to his sons. As a young man in the 1920s, he was a member of the Zouave troop that traveled with the famed 101 Ranch Wild West Show throughout this country. He had a seemingly endless storehouse of fascinating tales and facts about some of the early days in this county.

Dennis Flynn. His name is seldom heard today, but in the era following the Cherokee Outlet land opening in 1893 he was a powerful political figure from Noble county. His impact on not only Perry and Noble county but on all of the Cherokee Outlet has been significant and long lasting. He was an almost legendary hero of the settlers who staked claims in the run. Flynn served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Noble county in the years before statehood in 1907. He masterminded a bill in Congress to grant "free Homesteads on former Indian reservation lands to the run pioneers. Final passage of the measure in Congress lifted an indebtedness of $15 million from the homesteaders. After leaving Congress he returned to Perry and became vice president of the Noble County Bank, which later became the First National Bank (now Perry's First Bank). In that capacity, he hired an itinerant architect named Joseph Foucart to design a home for his bank. It was built in 1902 at the southeast corner of the square and has been preserved to this day. The so-called Foucart building now houses offices of the Perry Chamber of Commerce, Perry Development Coalition and the Perry Main Street organization.

We'll continue with this informal list in a subsequent column.