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Cloud Chief Monument
September 15, 1999

John C. McCornack
Yukon, Oklahoma


Cloud Chief

Cloud Chief Monument

In a town called Cloud Chief, Oklahoma
There is a special monument
Dedicated to an Indian Chief
It’s everything that he would want

Preserved as well is the school
Takes you back a hundred years
It really gives you chills
And might even bring some tears

Although the school yard is vacant
You can almost hear the sound
Of the excited little children playing
As they’re racing all around

You’ll see farm equipment as it was
Back in the olden days
The outhouse preserved as well
Yes, back then it was the craze

Thank goodness we can experience
As though back in time we’re sent
To see the town just as it was and the
Wonderful Cloud Chief Monument!

Marilyn Lott © 2008 - 143

Cloud Chief

In Memory of Cloud Chief

Cloud Chief

Until 1902, the closest town to the Stubblefields and Wards was Cloud Chief, approximately eight miles north. Cloud Chief was established in the Run of 1892 and was named for a prominent Cheyenne Indian chief. It was the closest place for the Stubblefields and Wards to buy sugar, flour, coffee or anything else they needed. For a few years (until Cordell got the railroad) Cloud Chief was the county seat of Washita County.

To give an idea of what Cloud Chief was like back then, here is an excerpt from an address given to the Oklahoma State Historical Society by Edward Everett Dale, noted Oklahoma educator and historian of the West: (I attended many a class in Dale Hall, a building named after him on the OU campus.) “My first visit to Cloud Chief must have been in the summer of  1898. More settlers were coming in, schools were springing up rapidly and my brother was to conduct a county normal  institute at Cloud Chief for four weeks, which it was my privilege to attend.

It was a very small town at this time, quite remote from any  railroad. There were a few stores, two hotels, the Iron and the Central and two saloons known as the Elk Saloon and the Two  Brothers. The courthouse, which stood in the middle of the central square, was a long, low wooden building consisting of a single room. Desks were placed along the walls, each with a chair and a sign designating it as the "office" of the county clerk, sheriff, school superintendent, and so on. Only the county treasurer's desk was separated from the rest of the room by a low railing and had an iron safe beside it. In the middle of the room were placed rows of chairs separated from the desks of the county officers by a wide aisle. Here district court was held, the judge sitting at a table just in front of the first row of chairs.

Two young men teachers attending the county institute cooked their meals over a campfire in the rear of the building and slept each night on pallet beds on the courthouse floor. They had a wide variety of choice since they could sleep in the office of the county clerk, superintendent, sheriff, or any other county officer, or in the district court room. All were enclosed by the same four walls. Travelers also often stopped their covered wagons back of the courthouse and slept inside on the floor, particularly in cold or rainy weather. With no locks on the doors it was in the true sense a "public building." A short distance from the courthouse stood the jail, a low wooden structure in which the county had recently installed two steel cells of which the citizens of the town were inordinately proud. Formerly the jail had consisted of only a single room with a big cottonwood log inside to serve as a seat for men confined there. Ordinary prisoners were merely put inside and the door locked. More desperate offenders were put inside, chained to the cottonwood log and the door locked.

The town's water supply came from a public well in the central square fitted with a pump and trough. The water was clear but so strongly impregnated with "gyp" that most of the supply for household use was hauled from springs two or three miles away or, in the case of some families, taken from a cistern. Most of the some forty teachers attending the summer institute boarded with families in town at a weekly rate of two dollars. In some cases, however, there were no beds available for men so they slept on blankets spread on the prairie grass. The small ranchmen who had hoped and planned for an indefinite period of free range soon realized the extent of their error. Someone crossing the western part of the country on horseback from north to south in 1899 saw almost no settlement for many miles. In fact there was virtually none from the Canadian to the valley of the Washita, which was the better part of a day's ride. Some five or six years later there was a family living on practically every hundred and sixty acre homestead.”


In Memory of the Cloud Chief School


Cloud Chief School
at the time of Monument dedication

The World of Mom:

My mom taught me

No one ever says
"It's only a game"
when their team is winning.


Back view of school

The boys outhouse

The boys school outhouse
Still ready for use after all these years


Room in which I studied Algebra under Mrs. Herrin


Some guests arrived by tractor


Cloud Chief Monument

To an outsider it is just a red granite stone
So why do people get caught up in the hype
For me it is more like a special reminder of
Where Ruby Robertson taught me how to type

It stands for my school years at Cloud Chief
Where many memories come flooding back
It was here I learned Algebra and English
Plus life lessons to set me on the right track

----- John


Thanks for spending a little time in my world !

John McCornack

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Monument Signs  

I enjoyed this "page" so much, You have a unique way of bringing pictures to life, its as though you have been there yourself. {meaning the viewer}. It is though I have personally met you. Thank you so much for the opportunity of viewing your side of life.

Nice pictures of your old school. The boys latrine reminded me of my third grade school , we had a similar situation. This is a true statement. I was in third grade in 1954 and we used the old scratch and splatter quill ink pens. It was a two room school and the other room was first grade. It s nice to bring back some of those memories

I am one of those nuts who stops by road monument signs and reads them -- I always think that if someone puts up a monument, they must have strong feelings about it, so it's worth taking the time to read!

Cloud Chief Cotton Gin

Hi, I am a descendant of George M Hurst, who by family legend, had a part in establishing the Cloud Chief cotton gin. Do you have any information on that cotton gin? I am interested in reading anything I can find on it. Thanks. Beverly Duncan, Denton, Texas


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