July 6, 2001
O.H. Hovey was an early-day resident of this community, a colorful, if outspoken, figure throughout his long life. In the early months of 1935, the municipal elections in his adopted city of Perry seemed to be pretty routine. But it was time to elect a mayor, city clerk and four council members, and the tempo of campaigning that spring may have reached a new peak. Perry’s only newspaper, The Perry Daily Journal, stuck to non-partisan reporting but a strident new voice could be heard by reading the columns of a single sheet flier written, printed and distributed by Mr. Hovey. He was a printer by trade and he felt he had been deprived of some job printing business with the city during the first term of Mayor G.D. (Ted) Newton. To retaliate, Mr. Hovey used his printing press in an effort to kick the mayor out of office.
Many people knew Mr. Hovey by sight. His slight figure was distinguishable by a long, white beard that waved freely in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl air. A small leather cap usually was perched atop his head and he normally wore a jacket over a shirt buttoned at the collar. His one-cylinder Oldsmobile created a stir when it brought him to Perry in 1906, but he abandoned his car in favor of walking as he grew older. He died in 1940 at the age of 91. Occasionally, Mr. Hovey would start up a weekly newspaper, only to drop it when advertising revenue dipped too low. For the anti-Newton campaign in 1935, he named the irregular publication Hovey’s Election Revival Leaflet. It was unabashedly political (think anti-Newton) in nature and no advertising appeared in it. Only one side of the sheet was used but comic illustrations, bearing the likes of Jiggs from the popular Maggie and Jiggs strip, dressed up the one-page sheet.
The Election Revival Leaflet dated March 19, 1935, stated that the sheet’s mission was “For Guidance of Brother and Sister Sinners of My Large Flock.” Mr. Hovey may have chosen the “revival” theme because at that time a city-wide revival was being held in a large tent, called the Revival Tabernacle, just a few yards from his print shop, near the present location of the Perry Police Department. The revival was sponsored by the Presbyterian, Christian, Methodist and Baptist churches with Rev. George Rose as the visiting evangelist.
Mr. Hovey wrote: “I had intended to hold one of my ‘Election Revivals’ about this time, but have been so blamed busy for several days and nights, printing election ballots for the City of Perry and Red Rock, with other work, that it has been impossible to concentrate and do justice to this very important affair. I have therefore let the more or less good brothers and sisters of my flock give their ideas as to the situation. The members of my flock, as you know, are not a silk stocking crowd. They are mostly working people like myself, doing their best to carry on in these depressing times, and trying to provide food and clothing for their wives and children. Read what they have to say and see if you don’t think they have good plain common sense.” What follows is a mixture of personal comments by Mr. Hovey and some other statements, none of them attributed, mostly taking pot shots at Mayor Newton.
Portions of the above were taken from the Revival Leaflet that was published about two weeks before the general election. We’ll have more details of the primary election and the subsequent torrid 1935 general election in the next Northwest Corner.