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Novemeber 8, 2002

Sam Jerome of Orlando, a former colleague when we both worked for the Charles Machine Works, Inc., brought me some interesting material the other day. Included is a remarkably well-preserved copy of The Perry Daily Times, the first newspaper distributed here after the Cherokee Strip opening on September 16, 1893. The paper was printed in Guthrie and brought here for distribution. Bert Green was the enterprising publisher. The copy that Sam showed me was dated June 15, 1894, just nine months after the land run. The news content was minimal, if the copy Sam showed me is typical, but it is nonetheless interesting from an historical standpoint.

The pages are yellowing and very brittle, but the entire paper is protected by a clear plastic material that enables a reader to scan the front and back sides of the sheet without damaging it. Most of the "news" stories were canned material clipped from other sources, a common practice in that era, before the AP, UPI, CNN and others who deal in serving up news while it is news. Most of the ads, however, were from local businesses and they tell a story all by themselves.

On page one, two full columns on the right side of the front page are filled with ads about two columns wide and only a few inches deep. Here's a rundown on a few of those local merchants.

T.M. Richardson & Sons, bankers, stressed individual attention and responsibility to prospective customers. T.M. Richardson was listed as president, with D.C. Richardson and T.M. Richardson Jr. filling the posts of vice president and cashier, respectively.

Also in a prominent position on the front page was an ad for The Royal Palace, claiming to be an "elegant resort," operated by Jake and Fred Forch. "Wines, liquor and cigars of the best imported and domestic brands will be found (at the Royal Palace)," the ad stated. The ad also proclaimed that the Royal Palace had "convenient side rooms and courteous attendance." (The latter probably was a typo and should have read "attendants.") The Royal Palace was "on Sixth Street, west side of square," and that is confusing because Sixth street is on the east side of the square. Billy Reckert used to operate the Palace Cafe on the east side and that leads me to believe that the Royal Palace had something to do with the ancestry of the Palace Cafe.

Another ad was placed by the Smith Brick Manufacturing Company, located in north Perry, east of the railroad, where Perry-made bricks were "cheap as the cheapest." Several lawyers had small ads in a "professional directory" on the back page. None of the names are familiar to me, but maybe you've heard of some of them. Here's the list: C.S. Parrish and E.B. Mentz; Stewart & Sevier; Joe Rosenthal & Lee Wisby; C.A. Morris & J.W. Johnson; Barnes & Cook ("offices in the Decker building"). One physician also placed an ad. He was Dr. Pierce, physician and surgeon. His office was on "C Street between 6th and 7th," which means he was on the south side of the square. Office hours were 9 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. His residence was at E and 11th street, in case he was needed after office hours.

Thanks to Sam Jerome for sharing this interesting bit of history from the early days in Perry.