Last week Myrtle Edmond, Madge Gentry and the Pushmataha Historical Society received a rather surprising gift in the mail from Hon. Elton Gallegly, Congressman from California and former Antlers resident.
Three plaques commemorating the Historical Society’s hard work and dedication, which specifically mentioned Myrtle Edmond and Madge Gentry for the passion and professionalism they showed when the Congressman visited the Historical Society, with the speech that the Congressman gave in front of the House of Representatives on December 31, 2012 in the second session of the 112th Congress.
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in tribute to the Pushmataha County Historical Society in Antlers, Oklahoma, and in particular Myrtle Edmond and Madge Gentry.
As historical societies go, the Pushmataha County Historical Society is relatively new, having been founded in 1984. But the Society’s staff and volunteers know their town, its history, its people, and their place firmly rooted in the heart of America.
My family hails from the Antlers, Oklahoma, area. When I was a young boy, I would travel by train, arriving and departing from the Frisco Depot, which now houses the Pushmataha County Historical Society. Myrtle and Madge were at the society headquarters when my wife, Janice, and I stopped by on a recent trip and asked a few questions about my ancestors. They responded by enthusiastically researching everything they could find on the Gallegly and Williams family branches. Myrtle even wrote down, by hand, all their research in great detail and gave it to me.”
Myrtle Edmond had previously served on the society’s cemetery identification project and helped identify and inventoried almost 12,000 burials and grave sites at approximately 119 locations.
“RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) Volunteers operate the Historical Museum for the benefit of the community and tourists to preserve the area’s history, primarily of Pushmataha County. Mr. Gallegly wasn’t the first person of significance who has visited the Depot. We have also recently had a pair of gentlemen who traveled form England, one of who's relatives were a pilot who is connected to the AT6 Memorial.” said Verne Jackson, Historical Society/Wildlife Heritage Center Museum. “We have had people from nearly every State in America, as well as other Countries. The Historical Society, that sponsors the Museum in the Depot, is made up of all volunteers, there are no paid positions.”
The Society was founded in the 80’s with the porpoise of preserving and restoring the old Frisco Depot before it was destroyed. The first project the Society undertook was too catalog all of the local cemeteries and burials therein.
“Mr. Speaker, Antlers, Oklahoma, is America. It has seen its share of hardships yet continued to bounce back. One of the most devastating tornadoes in the history of the state struck Antlers on April 12, 1945. Out of a population of 3,000 people, 55 were killed, including my uncle, Dennis Dixon Gallegly. One third of the city was demolished. The city has suffered devastating fires (like the one that took the Courthouse during the Great Depression). Floods have washed away homes, but they can’t wash away Antlers, or the spirit of its people.”
We invite the people of Pushmataha County to stop in and visit the Historical Society's Museum in the Historic Frisco Depot in Antlers and thank them for all they do, have done, and will continue to do to preserve and celebrate our area’s history.