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By the middle of the 18th century the woollen trade was well-established in Oldham. In the 1790s, mechanized spinning and weaving caused cotton to supplant wool as the main industry. Oldham was a popular place to build cotton mills. Standing on the western slopes of the Pennines, where the damp atmosphere prevented the fibre from drying out and snapping when being spun and woven, six cotton mills had been built in the town by 1778. A branch of the Ashton Canal was completed in 1796 and this helped the local collieries to provide cheap fuel for the steam-powered textile machines.

Industrial workers in Oldham played a prominent role in the struggle for the vote. After hearing Major John Cartwright, explain his views on parliamentary reform in 1816, Joseph Healey formed a Hampden Club in the town. Oldham also had a flourishing Female Political Union, and John Tyas of the Times, claimed that 150 women from the organisation attended the meeting in Manchester on 16th August, 1819, that resulting in the Peterloo Massacre. After the passing of the 1832 Reform Act, Oldham elected the two Radical candidates, John Fielden and William Cobbett.

By 1838 Oldham had over 213 cotton factories. This was even more than other leading cotton towns such as Manchester (182), Rochdale (117) and Bury (114). The railways also helped the growth of the town. In 1839 a railway between Manchester and Leeds began operating. Three years later the Oldham branch of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway was completed. By 1861 the population of the town had reached 72,000.

The visitor to Oldham will find it essentially a mean-looking straggling town, built upon both sides and crowning the ridge of one of the outlying spurs which branch from Manchester, the neighbouring "backbone of England". The whole place has a shabby underdone look. The general appearance of the operatives' houses is filthy and smouldering.

Airless little back streets and close nasty courts are common; pieces of dismal waste ground - all covered with wreaths of mud and piles of blackened brick and rubbish - separate the mills, which are often of small dimensions and confined and crowded appearance. The shops cannot be complimented, the few hotels are no better than taverns, and altogether the place, to borrow a musical simile, seems far under concert pitch.

I observed as I walked up from the railway station, melancholy clusters of gaunt, dirty, unshorn men lounging on the pavement. These I heard were principally hatters, a vast number of whom are out of employment. Another feature of the place was the quantity of dogs of all kinds which abounded - dog races and dog fights being both common among the lowest orders of the inhabitants.

Millions of men and women died in their own towns and villages without ever having travelled five miles from the spot where they were born. How vividly I remember my first long journey away from Oldham. I had to attend a conference of the Gasworkers Union at Plymouth. To get there entailed a railway journey down the length of England.

Men of my own class were driving the engine and acting as porters. I remember a sensation of power as I glimpsed a future in which all these men would be teamed up together with mill-hands, seamen, gas-workers - in fact, Labour everywhere - for the benefit of our own people.

The least change of accent in speech, as we stopped at various towns, fascinated me, and I noted varieties of face, dress and manner. That was a wonderful journey for me, who had never before been out of the Lancashire murk. To look through the carriage windows and see grass and bushes that were really green instead of olive, trees that reached confidently up to the sun instead of our stunted things, houses that were mellow red and white and yellow, with warm red roofs, instead of the Lancashire soot and slates, and stretches of landscape in which the eye could not find a single factory chimney belching - this was sheer magic!

I began to experience an inexhaustible wonder at the gracious beauties of the world outside factory-land, and this sensation has never wholly left me. That first long railway journey was as wonderful to me as if I had been riding upon the magic carpet in the Arabian Nights.

And more and more strongly as I gazed, I felt a sense of indignation that the world should be so generous and so lovely, and yet that men, women and children should be cooped up in a black and exhausted industrial areas like Oldham, merely so that richer men could own thousands of acres of sunlit countryside of whose experience many of the mill-workers hardly ever dreamed.

Oldham - History

Oldham Historical Research Group

Links to Useful and / or Interesting Websites:

World War 1 Links Page HERE

George Street Chapel
The Restoration and Preservation of the George Street Independent Methodist Chapel in Oldham

Local History on Line
All you need to know about getting started with Local History

Oldham Fire Brigade
The website of Oldham-hrg member Mark Beswick

Heaton Park Tramway
Manchester Transport Museum Society
and on Facebook

History of Oldham Workhouse :
The Tramp Ward - an investigative account by
Oldham lady, Mary Higgs, & her companion.

Yesteryear - Oldham Then and Now
A Facebook page devoted to old photos of Oldham

Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society
Has an active Oldham Branch website which contains useful data.
Facebook page also contains info. on general & local history.

Spinning the Web
". a unique collection of some 20,000 items from the libraries, museums and archives of North West England which tell the story of the Lancashire Cotton Industry.
developed by Manchester Library and Information Service in partnership with local museums, libraries and archives

The The Internet Archive
" The Internet Archive is opening its collections
to researchers, historians, and scholars "
Read almost 20 million old books
on-line and free to download as .pdf files.

English Heritage
Collections of pictures to browse and view

British Library Images on Flickr.
Over 1 million images taken from books at the British Library.
They can be downloaded and used freely

Northern Mine Research Society
"... a group of people dedicated to the preservation and recording of mining history
. we are a founder member of the National Association of Mining History Organisations,
which acts as a forum for discussion and dissemination of information ..

British History On-Line
". digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources
for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles.
Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust .

Alan Godfrey Maps
over 2,500 reprints of old Ordnance Survery Maps
Different scales including street maps at 14" to the mile..
Oldham has a number of street maps listed, dating from 1906 onwards.

About us | Full History

In 1865, Joseph Oldham established a millwright general engineering shop somewhere near St Lawrence's Church on Stockport Road. Subsequently, the business moved to the south side of Hyde Road before a final move to the north side of Hyde Road on Edward Street.

Joseph's son, Orlando, joined him in 1878 and the firm of Oldham & Son soon became established suppliers to the local Manchester industries of, cotton, hat making, engineering and mining. At that time Denton and nearby Stockport, were the headquarters of the British hatting trade and indeed the recognised centre of the industry throughout the world.

Oldham & Son developed an extensive export business for the hat making machinery, and by the end of the 19th century Oldham were selling their plant to all six continents. A tradition of links with the USA had become established, and two-way licensing agreements were concluded with a number of American companies. Oldham finally ceased manufacturing equipment for the hatting industry by the firm's centenary in 1965, by which time the wearing of hats was the exception rather than the rule.

However, it was Oldham's involvement with the great age of steam as manufacturers of pistons, springs and packings that brought about their association with the mining industry. The many local Lancashire collieries were good customers, and in the 1890`s the firm decided to diversify into other products for the mining industry - namely jig pulleys (devices for controlling the descent of tubs or mine cars), tub wheels, steam dryers, stone dusters - to dilute coal dust with inert stone dust and even a percussive coal cutter, which was one of the earliest attempts to introduce mechanisation into the mines.

At the end of the 19 th century, virtually the only source of illumination for the million or so underground coal miners in gassy mines in Britain was the flame safety lamp. However, these lamps were not always as safe as made out to be and gas explosions ignited by the flame were not uncommon. Also, the level of illumination was poor and this had a serious effect on the productivity and health of the miner.

As early as the 1880's, experiments were taking place with battery powered lamps in Britain, Germany and the USA, but these early lamps were somewhat crude in that they were heavy, illumination was poor and the levels of safety provided were suspect. Attempts continued for the next twenty or so years, but it was not until there were two major explosions with the loss of nearly 500 lives – at Whitehaven and Hulton, Manchester – thought to have been caused by flame safety lamps, that a serious attempt was made to encourage the development of a battery safety lamp. Sir Arthur Markham, a leading coal owner, announced an open competition for a lightweight reliable battery operated safety lamp with a prize of £1,000 for the design that would overcome the dangers associated with the flame safety lamp.

Coincidently, Oldham & Son, already established as a supplier of equipment to the local coal mining and hatting industries in Denton, Manchester, had started to look at manufacturing a battery lamp a couple of years earlier, although the batteries were initially imported from USA.

The Oldham lamp produced for this competition had a cylindrical body with a glass dome on top (the lighthouse). Although Oldham & Son only gained second prize in the competition, it was the first to receive Home Office Approval and battery powered lamps rapidly replaced flame lamps for illumination purposes -although the latter continued to be used as the main means of detecting gas for the next seventy years! The patented Oldham Type C electric safety lamp was added to the Home Office “Permitted List “on the 13 March 1913 for use in hazardous / gaseous mines. Quickly establishing itself as the most popular electric lamp, it was soon in use in mines throughout the United Kingdom.

During the period of the Great War (1914 - 1918) Oldham & Son was given over to munitions, manufacturing shells for the war effort alongside the lead-acid batteries for their lamps. These developments led to the diversification of battery manufacture for many other applications, including lead-acid automotive batteries for commercial vehicles, cars and motor cycles, and over the years this expanded into the manufacture of traction batteries, which included submarine batteries, UPS and reserve products for emergency back-up, specialised military batteries including the starter battery for the world famous Spitfire fighter plane, and other leading technology batteries used in some of the first satellites in space.

In the 1930s Oldham & Son was advertising its accumulators (batteries) in the Radio Times, for use in powering wirelesses (radios), and it also ran its successful Lively 'O' advertising campaign.

The early mining battery lamps were, in fact, similar in size and shape to the flame lamp providing all-round illumination, being hung up in the work place. Initially, only single cell batteries were used but, before long, dual cells were incorporated to provide more light. However, handlamps had a major disadvantage in that, although they could be hung up in the workplace, the overall illumination was relatively poor. Whilst Oldham & Son made continuous improvements to the handlamp – with increased light output and reduced w eight - it was the introduction of the miners caplamp in the early 1930's which really marked the turning point in providing better illumination for the miner, enabling the miner to direct the light to where it was most needed. Oldham manufactured both caplamps and handlamps throughout the 1930's and 1940's.

Oldham had, almost since being established in 1865, pursued links with companies in the USA and as far as mine lighting was concerned negotiated a major association with the Massachusetts mining lamp company, Koehler, in the mid 1930's. This led to the first self-service one piece lighter weight, high performance caplamp being introduced into Britain. The concept of self-service meant that the miner put his own lamp on charge at the end of his shift and collected it, fully-charged, the next day. Koehler had the rights to the Americas, whilst Oldham supplied the rest of the world and rapidly became the leading supplier of lead acid battery caplamps.

It was not until after the end of the Second World War, with the nationalisation of the coal industry, that real change was in mine lighting technology was seen. In the late 1940's and early 1950's the NCB decided to replace all handlamps (both lead acid and alkaline types) with caplamps, and to phase out the use of alkaline batteries entirely. The alkaline caplamps were found to be prone to leakage and the NCB was facing numerous compensation claims for injuries sustained. Not that the lead acid caplamp batteries were totally free from leakage, but the nature of acid burns to the miner were far less serious than those from the alkaline batteries. This decision provided a massive sales opportunity in the UK market for the caplamp manufacturers, of which Oldham was by far the biggest with over 50% of the market. The other manufacturers were Ceag, Youle, Patterson and Concordia, and all four of them were using Exide batteries. By the late 1950's virtually all the 700,000 British miners were using self-service lead acid caplamps.

Another significant opportunity arose for Oldham after the second world war with electric traction power. A technology that had been in its infancy in the 1930s, suddenly came to the fore with a wide use of battery electric road vehicles for milk delivery, and by the start of the manufacture of fork lift trucks. Once again Oldham's knowledge of the mining industry proved useful and batteries were developed from the traction technology for electric underground locomotives.

For the next thirty years, commitment to continuous development in battery design and manufacture also saw the establishment by Oldham & Son of overseas factories in France, India, South Africa, Korea and Australia. Sales of mining caplamps from each of these factories, combined with increasing exports from the UK operation, led to the claim that Oldham had supplied more lamps to more mines in more countries than any other mining lamp manufacturer, with an estimated number of over one million lamps bearing the Oldham name in use in mines of all types throughout the world!

The lead acid batteries used in the 1950s were replateable types using hard rubber containers, soft rubber lids sealed with rubber solution, with the tubular positive plate being fabricated from tubes of slitted ebonite. Battery life was 18-24 months but acid leakage was not uncommon. To improve battery performance, Oldham introduced a new type of positive plate in the mid-50s introducing the Pg. tube (developed in Sweden) and replacing the soft rubber lid with hard rubber sealed with bitumen, the battery was no longer replateable, but the problem of leakage was significantly reduced. The next major improvement came in the 1970's with the introduction of polycarbonate battery containers and this, together with better control of recharging, led to an increased battery life.

The UK National Coal Board had standardised on the Oldham concept of key and spring charging contacts through the headpiece and insisted that the Oldham and Exide batteries were interchangeable on all four manufacturer's lamps. The aim was to reduce the Oldham domination of the market place, but the reverse happened with the gradual demise of the other four! The design though has continued to be adopted by many other manufacturers since this time, and is still the most commonly used method of safety protection of the charging contacts in a caplamp today.

Apart from the improved method of controlling the battery recharging profile, the other main Oldham initiative was in regard to caplamp bulbs. In collaboration with the bulb manufacturers, the original argon filled bulbs were replaced by krypton types in the 1960's, giving a greater light output and longer life. The next Oldham initiative, in the 1970's was to introduce a prefocus bulb and reflector combination, in place of the Miniature Edison Screw bulb and holder which was often difficult to focus correctly. Eventually the Krypton prefocus bulb was itself replaced by a Halogen type, which again improved the performance.

In order to more accurately reflect the company's activities in the manufacture of automotive, traction and standby power batteries, in addition to mine lighting and gas detection, Oldham & Son Ltd. became Oldham Batteries Ltd. in 1975.

In 1978 the company became part of the Hawker Siddely group, one of the largest and most successful companies in the United Kingdom. At the height of production in the early 1980s, the factory (which was still based in Denton Manchester), had expanded from the original small workshop of Joseph and Orlando Oldham in 1865, to cover a site of 12 hectares, with 950 employees.

Continuing battery and charging technology developments in the 1980s-1990s resulted, first in reduced maintenance, and then maintenance free batteries being introduced for Oldham caplamps. And in the middle of the 1990s, Oldham introduced a range of micro-processor controlled chargers. The key benefit of these chargers prevented calibration drift and by monitoring each lamp individually meant that every battery was returned to a full state of charge in the shortest time possible whilst extending battery life due to the exact profiling of the recharge to each battery’s individual needs. A further feature was the reprogrammable charge control profile which enabled the charger to be adapted to suit either lead-acid or lithium-ion battery types. As a result many of these chargers are approaching 20 years of service and still represent the leading technology in caplamp recharge around the world

In the late 1990s, rapid advances in both LED and lithium-ion battery technologies brought down the manufacturing barriers to producing a miner’s caplamp, and many new competitors have emerged in the market. Whilst many of these companies have concentrated on low-cost replaceable lamps, Oldham has maintained its philosophy of providing the brightest and safest lamp to the mining industry. Introducing the ATEX approved D-type LED lamp and the L16 lithium-ion battery in 2006, the range of Oldham lamps was amongst the first to receive full safety approval for use in hazardous mines.

Continuous improvement has seen the range of Oldham safety lamps expand in recent years, and now includes M1 approvals in addition to the first fully integrated (cordless) caplamp with intrinsically safe approval to work a full 12-hour underground shift.

Although the company has gone through various name changes over the years as a result of mergers and acquisitions, Oldham has maintained its roots with the mining industry and pioneered many developments and breakthroughs in extra safety personal lighting. Because of this, the “Oldham” brand name has been retained by Denchi Power for the cap lamp product that can trace its history back for more than 100 years.

Today, Oldham can boast the most powerful LED mining caplamp on the world market, as well as the safest and longest lasting lithium-ion battery pack, all certified to internationally recognised standards for use in both hazardous and hard-rock mines.

“The Leading Light” and “The Brighter Miner” have been part of the heritage, and Oldham is justly proud of the long tradition in serving the mining industry world-wide. Through innovation and continuous improvement without compromise, Oldham is dedicated to providing the best lamp to the industry where hands-free personal lighting is required for safety, performance and daily shift / yearly operational longevity.

Oldham History | Cotton, slavery part of past

By 1850 the perfect storm came together for those in the bondage of slavery. The demand for cotton produced more than 60 percent of total exports in the United States. The invention of the cotton gin, the new cultivars of cotton that allowed greater harvest per slave, the internal slave labor laws, and cheap Southern lands were some of the factors that contributed to the explosion of the cotton industry.

By going internal, documentation of the slave trade was somewhat opaque. Tax reports only required a slave owner to list ages and genders of slaves. Slave names were not required and documents regarding slave sales and transactions are rare in historic records.

These past few columns have focused on the family of John and Mary Taylor who owned between 1840s through the Civil War a palatial mansion, “Mauvilla,” in Westport, Ky., on 600 acres, as well as a large frame home, “Hollywood,” on an 11,000-acre cotton plantation in Arkansas. The Taylors had 10 children and reported over 200 slaves on tax records between their two estates in Kentucky and Arkansas. They traveled extensively between their two homes by steamboat on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

The Taylors came to their estates through a long line of family relationships. Mary’s stepfather, Peter Rives, was a land surveyor who took advantage of cheap land in Arkansas when the government offered large parcels derived from the forced removal of Native Americans.

John Taylor’s kinfolk had settled in Oldham County, some receiving large parcels of land from military service. (According to a Taylor descendant, Benjamin Taylor, John’s sister, Hetty Hawes Taylor Gibson and her husband, William Mallory Gibson, lived nearby at Sligo.) Both John and Mary were from families that had held enslaved laborers throughout generations and were accustomed to having servants and field hands at their disposal.

This perfect storm created an irresistible economic opportunity.

Large plantations operated by families such as the Taylors could expect annual incomes of a $250,000 (estimated at today’s inflated value) not to mention the values of their enslaved laborers (top dollar for “prime field hands” in 1850 was $1,600). Coastal ports such as New Orleans had nearly quadrupled in population with the increased cotton production. By 1860, 2 billion pounds of cotton were produced in the United States. This industry reached far beyond the Southern states by fueling the warehouse suppliers, markets and investors from the North. But once the cotton left the field it became “sanitized,” the cruel and unjust system of slavery that produced the cotton was ignored.

The prospect that a family operated a large cotton plantation in Arkansas by replenishing enslaved laborers from their farm and connections in Kentucky is understated. The family could cut out the middleman in the slave trade and rely upon family connections to replenish needed workers. This allowed for more control of the laborers by becoming more aware of the relationships between the slaves. Since these laborers were “undocumented” between the two states and only counted as numbers on tax records, accountability became seamless.

This Taylor story includes an association of connections between family Taylor members, their slaves and the descendants of all, cast within the web of this family’s enterprise. It serves as an example of the culture of the United States at a time when economics and social justice struggled under the umbrella of a new democracy. It took the personal suffering and sacrifices of the enslaved laborers, freedom seekers and abolitionists to question the exploitation of humans under the guise of democracy.

From this exploitation emerge the stories of two individuals: Robin Loucke, a great granddaughter and direct descendant of the Taylors, and Rev. W. H. Craighead, a man whose parents were enslaved by the Taylors at Westport. Both demonstrate how the shackles from their past did not deter their efforts to strive for a just world where all people are valued.

The Rev. W. H. Craighead

W.H. Craighead was born into slavery in 1861. His mother and father were enslaved laborers of John Martin and Mary Taylor at Mauvilla outside of Westport.

In an article from the Courier Journal (1937), he stated the following: “My mother told me I was born in 1861 on the Taylor plantation in Westport. I have only a very faint memory of the days of the War Between the States. I do recall, however, an older brother, who became a drummer in the army, rattling on the bottom of a tin bucket that we children might march in step. When it comes to my mother, my recollections are most vivid. She never had any schooling and could neither read nor write but she was a rather remarkable woman. As an expert housemaid in the Taylor home, she was at all times in close contact with the white people. There she absorbed all of the better things which the leisurely life in a cultured home could give. She was really well educated in many of the little niceties of life.”

Next week’s column: The story of the Rev. W.H. Craighead and his involvement in the civil rights movement continues.

Oldham History | Kentucky cotton plantation's roots run deep

Note: These series of columns are written as a tribute to the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture which will open at the end of this month.

OLDHAM, A History

  • (Research):
    Motto: 'SAPERE AUDE' - Dare to be wise.

The Anglo Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria comprised all that part of England north of a line in the south formed by the Humber, Ribble and Mersey rivers and an East - West line formed by the Ayrshire coast and the Firth of Forth. In this area the predominating culture was Celtic and remained so until the Synod of Whitby 663/4 AD when the Roman Church was given predominance by Royal Decree. It would not then be unexpected to find Celtic influences in the naming of local landmarks.

The twin monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow achieved predominance in Intellectual life not only in England but also all over Western Europe.. Additionally there were excellent libraries at the monasteries of Hexham, Whitby and Lindisfarne. The Lindisfarne Gospels (now in the British Museum) epitomize the skill of these early scribes in writing and illumination. The skill of the sculptors survives in stone crosses at Bewcastle and Ruthwell. The Venerable Bede, a theologian and historian, internationally famous in his own life time as well as afterwards doubtless owed his scholarship in no small degree to the excellence of the library at Jarrow (where he was a monk).

The name Oldham is then believed to be derived from a Celtic word denoting a feature of the landscape. Originally it would have been 'Ault Ham'. Ault, pronounced 'Aowlt,' meaning high or tall. Over the years the spelling changed to, aoult. owld, ould, ald, old etc. Today this change can be seen in names like 'The Old Man of Hoy', 'The Old Man of Storr' etc. The word 'man' is 'Maen'- Celtic for stone, so Ault Maen would be High Stone- appropriate for these tall stacks off the Scottish coast. Ham here, is not the Danish word of town or hamlet, but rather a Celtic word meaning Spur of Land. This can be seen in the name of Durham, (Dur is the Celtic Dwr- water). Durham is built on a spur of land around which a river runs. Oldham then was a high piece of land, a spur of the Pennines, (another Celtic word meaning hills). There are many Celtic names in Northern England. River Derwent, Kinder Scout (kin-dwr-scwd. head of the waterfall) etc (Kinder Scout is a well known local landmark)

Adam de Eccles became Lord of Oldham and Wernith. (Wernith is a Celtic word meaning Scrub land or land of Alders). He was succeeded by Alwardus de Aldhame of Werneth in 1207-1372. His sons were William de Wernith and Robert. William's family was, Richard, living 1324, Eva, who married Richard de Tetlow of Chember Hall and Adam. Richard had two daughters, and when he died, Margery, the elder, was married to John Cudworth from Yorkshire.

Alwardus de Aldhame (Testa de Nevil. Fol.372) in the relgn of Henry lll (1216-1272) held two bovates of land in Vemt for 19d and the moiety for one farthing. Thls Alwardus was the founder of the family of Oldham. In 1375 Margery sole heir of Richard de Oldhame (the last male heir in the line of succession) married John Cudworth of Yorkshire. At John's death this marriage conveyed Werneth Hall and its manor to the Cudworths.

The Coat of Arms of thls Oldham family consisted of :- Sable, a chevron between three owls argent. on a chief d'or three roses gules . Hugh Oldham claimed to be descended from this family, and wore a badge of an owl on hls sleeve. This is it - his rebus. In the Lancashire dialect Oldham is still pronounced "au'- dm".

History of the Odom, Odam, Odem, Odum, Odham, Oldham, "Adam"
families in England

"The Children of Woden (Odin)"

Robert Earl Woodham,
Odom Family Historian

The Odom (Odam, Odem, Odum, Oden, Oldham) family had their origins in Engl and. The family comes from several different counties scattered across sou thern and central England. Our ancestors took their name from several site s, some of which were small towns, others which were ancient holy sites. All of these places were named for the ancient Saxon god, Woden, one of the three primary gods of the "Old Religion" or Asatru, the religion of the ancient Germanic folk (in the areas which now include Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, England and parts of other modern nations). Woden, known as Odin in the Scandanavian countries, was the god of wisdom and in later times was considered the primary god of the three greatest gods.

Our Saxon ancestors invaded the island of Breton and conquered what is now England, starting in the 400's. They eliminated most of the existing population, pushing the remainder into Wales and Scotland and the county of Cornwall. They established several different independent kingdoms. Christianity has barely begun in Breton when the Saxons and their cousins the Angles conquered the southern part of the island. They all but wiped out the new religion. The Germanic normally did not build temples or buildings for worship. Instead, they worshipped in sacred forest groves and especially on hilltops. Some were sacred to a particular god or goddess.

Although the Old Religion had many gods and goddesses (the Aesir and the Vanir) the entire Germanic folk recognized three of them as their most important gods -- Woden, who was called Odin or Oden by the Norse in Scandanavia Thunor, called Thor by the Norse and Tiu, Tew, called Tyrby the Norse. Among the foremost goddess was Frig (Friga/Freyja). We can still recognize their importance in the our modern names for the days of the week: Tiu 's dage -- Tuesday Woden's dage -- Wednesday Thunor's dage -- Thursday Frig's dage -- Friday.

The various tribes of Saxons and Angles set up their own independent kingdoms and fought each other constantly over the centuries for dominance. When one minor king of the Angles sought aid from the Roman pope, he became the first Christian monarch on the island in order to get help from t he Romans. He forced his people to submit to the new religion at the point of a sword. Although the Angles were a small minority on the island, from that point on, the entire southern part of the island was called by the Roman popes "Angle Land" or England and the name stuck . Eentually, many of the Saxon kings also became Christian, although many in name only. They too, forced their subjects to accept the foreign religion in hopes of gaining dominance over the entire island. The followers of the Old Religion were forced to go "underground" with their religion and for generations to come, they practiced their religion in secrecy. The old holy sites were often given "hidden" names to hide their true identity.

Until after the Middle Ages, not even the nobles of England had family or surnames. Knights returning from the Crusades began to adopt such names. They had seen the culture and finery in Constantinople and Rome where the Greeks and Romans had "family" names and their admiration of these ancient empires instilled in them an awe for their culture.

It was not until the late 1300's and 1400's though that the common folk of England began adopting family names. One of the main causes for this was the constant taxes imposed by the kings. It was simply impractical to keep tax rolls of an entire nation of folk with only one given name. The main sources of these "family" names came from the man's occupation, where he lived (place names) or a personal characteristic.

Our Odom family name comes from the many place names which were holy to the old god Woden/Oden. The Saxon name for a settlement is "ham / hamme" and for a usually larger site is "ton" or modern "town". Many English and American communities have this suffix on the end of place names, such as Birmingham. "Woden's (Odin's) ham" would be one such place name.

The few British "authorities" which have mentioned an origin for our family name usually say it is a corruption of the name "Adam" and a few say it comes from a town named Oldham. I dispute both of these origins. After studying the origins of family names for several years now, I have discovered that these British "authorities" on the subject spent very little effort studying the origins of common folk. I found that one of these authorities was totally wrong on one particular family I am descended from. He said the family took its name from a small parish which he apparently found on a map but as it turns out, no member of that family had ever lived anywhere close to that small community--nor even in that county.

"The highest deity, by general consent, among the Teutons [Germanic folk, including the Saxons], was Woden, Wodan, or Wuotan, otherwise Odin (the Norse form). The word means all-powerful, l-penetrating Woden bestows shape and beauty on man and things, gives song, victory in war, the fertility of soil, and the highest blessings."

"The number of place-names in various countries compounded with his name shows the extent over which places were sacred to him or named after him ." G. T. Bettany in the Encyclopedia of World Religions (1890).

"The gods of the English still in place-names retain a firm hold on the countryside." Says Brian Branston in The Lost Gods of England. Such names as Wansdyke (Wodnes dic), an ancient earthen wall runs for several mil es from Hampshire to Somerset. Nearby are sites once known as Wodnes beor h, 'Woden's barrow', now Adam's Grave Wodnes denu, 'Woden's valley'. Many earthworks in England are called 'Grimsdyke', since "Grim" was one of t he "hidden" names for Woden after Christianity was forced upon the comm on folk. Grim is also incorporated in many other place names as well. Thro ughout England, old sites held the names of this god of wisdom: Woodnesbor ough Wornshill, Wednesfield ('Woden's field'), Wednesbury , ('Woden's fortress')

It appears that far more place names exist in England today that were on ce holy to the Old Religion than has ever been acknowledged by most Briti sh scholars--simply because as Christians, they do not wish to acknowled ge their "heathen" heritage. And it also appears that far more common fo lk took their names from sites once holy to the Old Religion than is commo nly recognized.

More coming. be patient as we work on the new site.

"The English surname Oldham is of local origin, being one of those surnam es derived from the pace where a man once lived or where he once held land. In this instance, Oldham can be traced to a place so called which is l ocated in Lancashire. This is derived from the Middle English "ald", mean ing "old", and "holm", meaning "island, dry land in a fen, promontory". T hus, this surname may also signify "one who lived by or near the old, long, cultivated river flat". The earliest written reference to this surname and its variant of Oldam dates back to the thirteenth century. Achard de Aldeham is registered in the Feet of Fines of Kent in 1218 and Richard de Oldham appears in the Inquisitiones post mortem of Lancashire in 1348. Robert Oldum is recorded in the Close Rolls of London in 1470. Ralph Oldham is listed in the Coroners' Rolls of Nottinghamshire in 1508, while one John Owldam is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire in 159 9. John Oldham, from Nottinghamshire, was registered as a student at Oxford University in 1610. There is also a record of the marriage of Charl es Oldham to Margaret Cohn which took place in St. George's Chapel, Mayfai r, in 1746. Notable bearers of the surname include John Oldham (1600-1636 ), who was an early colonist of New England, John Oldham (1653-1683), a sa tiric poet who published "Satires upon the Jesuits" in 1679, and Hugh Oldh am, who died in 1519. He was the founder of the grammar school in Oldha m, Lancashire, and a benefactor of Corpus College, Oxford."
The Historical Research Center, Inc.

Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Oldham
Written by Tim Oldham Saturday, 19 November 2005 The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname ***** OLDHAM ***** The distinguished surname of Oldham is one of the most notable Anglo - Saxon surnames, and its historical trail has emergeeists of time to become an influential surname of the Middle Ages and of the present day. In an in-depth research of such ancient manuscripts as the Doomsday Book compiled in 1086 A.D., by Duke William of Normandy, the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296) collected by King Edward 1st of England, the Curia Regis Rolls, the Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, Parish Registers, baptismal, tax records and other ancient documents, researchers found the first record of the name Oldham in Lancashire where they were seated from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects. Confusing to most, we found many different spellings in the archives researched. Although the name, Oldham occurred in many manuscripts, from time to time the surname was also spelt Oldum, Oldan, Oldhams,and these changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. There is one record of a father and eight sons. In the graveyard where they are buried, all nine have different spellings of their surnames. Many reasons were revealed for their spelling variations but many church officials and scribes spelt the name as it was told to them. The family name Oldham is one of the most notable of the ancient Anglo - Saxon race. This founding race of England, a fair skinned people led by General - Commanders Hengist and Horsa, settled in Kent from about the year 400 A.D. The Angles, on the other hand occupied the eastern coast. The Anglo - Saxon five century domination of English society was an uncertain time, and the nation divided into five separate kingdoms, a high king being selected as supreme ruler. By 1066, King Harold came to the throne of England which was enjoying reasonable peace and prosperity. However, the Norman invasion from France and their victory at the battle of Hastings, found many of the vanquished Saxon land owners to have forfeited their land to Duke William and his invading nobles. They became oppressed under Norman rule, and some moved northward to the Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire, even into Scotland. The family name Oldham emerged as a notable English family name in the county of Lancashire where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated as Lords of manor of Oldham and estates in that shire. They branched to Manchester in the same shire and to Cainham Court in Shropshire where Joseph Oldham was High Sheriff of Shropshire. Hugh Oldham was Bishop of Exeter in 1505. The southern branch were seated at Hatherley in Devon. They flourished on their estates for several centuries, intermarrying with other distinguished families of the area. Notable amongst the family at this time was Oldham of Lancashire. For the next two or three centuries the surname Oldham flourished and played a significant role in the political development of England. During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries England was ravaged by religious and political conflict. Puritanism, Catholicism, Royalist and Parliamentary forces shed much blood. Many families were freely 'encouraged' to migrate to Ireland, or to the 'colonies'. Some were rewarded with grants of land, others were banished. In Ireland, settlers became known as the adventurers for land in Ireland'. Called 'Undertakers' they undertook to maintain the Protestant faith. There is no evidence that the family name migrated to Ireland, but this does not preclude the possibility of their scattered migration to that country. Meanwhile the New Worlds beckoned and migration continued, some voluntarily from Ireland, but mostly directly from England or Scotland, their home territories. Some clans and families even moved to the European continent. Kinsmen of the family name Oldham were amongst the many who sailed aboard the armada of small sailing ships known as the 'White Sails' which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30% to 40% of the passenger list never reaching their destination, there numbers reduced by sickness or the elements. Principal amongst the settlers which could be considered a kinsman of the surname Oldham, or a variable spelling of that family name was John Oldham settled in Maine in 1626 John Oldham settled in Plymouth in 1621 Thomas Oldham settled in New England in 1635 Charles, George, Hugh, James, John, Robert, William Oldham all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860 Percy Oldum settled in Virginia in 1643 with his wife Elizabeth and son James. The trek from the port of entry was also arduous and many joined the wagon trains to the prairies or to the west coast. During the American War of Independence, many Loyalists made their way north to Canada about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists. 20th century notables of this surname, Oldham, include many distinguished persons, James Oldham. consulting Surgeon Arthur Oldham, Medical Officer Rev. Canon Arthur Oldham. During the course of the research it was also determined the many Coat of Arms matriculated by the family name. The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was : Black with a chevron between three silver owls on a gold stripe at the top three red roses. The crest is an owl on a tree on a small mound.

[email protected]:
Shirley Langdon Wilcox - e-mail of 29 Oct 1997 -

"Perhaps I am interpreting things incorrectly, but I thought the Richard Oldham born c1703 was a brother to Winefred's father John Oldham. I have them as sons of Richard Oldham b. 27 May 1671, St. Stephens Parish, Northumberland County, Virginia. As to hard evidence, the names of Richard's sons are in a 11 Sep 1758 Northumberland deed (4:299-301) of Rawleigh Oldham to John McGoon?. The tricky part, is making sure the right people have been identified since many of the first names were repeated in all the branches. The deed proves that Richard Oldham of St. Stephens Parish had died by that date, leaving five sons Peter, James, John George & Moses, and that James had already died leaving no issue. I have not studied the records enough to say positively that this our John, but it looks like it. As to Richard's parents, John & Abigail Oldham, I am reluctant to assign dates to him. I have not seen anything yet that leads me to believe that this John of Northumberland County, Virginia was the man born 9 Feb 1621/22 at All Saints Parish, Derby, England. I think this is a hypotheses only, with nothing to give it credibility as yet."

Subject: family search
Date: 19 Feb 2000 23:33:23 -0800
From: Michael Oldham
To: [email protected]

Hello. I am my name is Michael Oldham, and I am searching for any and all information I can find about my family's history. Any help you may be able to provide will be truly appreciated.

Letter from Samuel Oldham of Zanesville, Ohio to Wm. Miller of Madison County, Kentucky, 1 Aug 1908 "also a postal card from Hon. F. F. Oldham whose father was Wiley Oldham, a distinguished lawyer of Moundsville, West Virginia, and who died at Marietta Ohio Jun 1874. He was the son of Uncle Samuel Oldham, Ohio County, West Virginia, who was born March 5, 1792, died Nov 10, 1876. If you have the Oldham family tree by A. V. Oldham, esq of Louisville, Ky you will note that William Oldham's children were Judge John Pope Oldham, Major Richard Oldham, Abigail Oldham and William Oldham, the last named died when some four or five years of age. Judge John Pope Oldham married Miss Malinda Talbott, of "Huntsville, Alabama, daughter of Dr. Talbott of that place. They had four children, viz: William Oldham, Talbott Oldham, Sophia Oldham and Susan Oldham. Sophia married Hon. Judge Bullock of Louisville and had one child, John Oldham Bulllock, who married Miss Lorraine Turner of Wheeling, now WEst Virginia, they had four children: Horace, died in childhood, Edward died without issue, he was a law partner of ex-governor Boreman of Parkersburg, his step father, Talbott Bulock was City Attorney parkersburg, West Virginia, John Oldham married and was assistant Post Master of Parkersburg, where his mother lived 1898.

At the time cousin Wiley lived at Moundsville, Uncle Samuel was still living - his death did not take place until 1876. Wiley's information undoubtedly came from his father, Samuel, whose home was only twelve miles from Wheeling, West V ee, Abigail Oldham, daughter of Colonel Wiliam Oldham you will find that Emily Ann Churchill, the tenth (10) child of Abigail Oldham, married in 1842, Mr. Hampden Zane, of Wheeling, West Virginia, had two children: Abigail Churchill Zane, and Mary Eliza Zane, the former was born in 1843, date of death not given, the latter born Jun 17, 1844, she married George R. R. Cockburn, of Toronto, Canada, he was for some years president of the Upper College of Canada and a member of the Canadian Parliament.

I have a copy - second edition of the "Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States, by Henry Lee, Lieutenant Colonel, Commander of the Partisan Legion, during the American war," printed at Washington D.C. in 1822e atf Gates, General Green succeded Gates in command of the Department, which consisted of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. After Green's appointment, Maryland and Delaware were added. Washington detached Lieutenant-Colonel Lee and his Legion to the Southern Department under General Green, and served with that officer until the end of the war. The Legion was composed of Maryland and Virginia Troops. The 4th & 5th Maryland were Maryland's quota. John Oldham was Captain in the 4th, Lee says of Captain John Oldham 'that he was in every battle in which the Legion was engaged.' He was with Lee in the investment and capture of Augusta. His conduct on that occasion says Lee, or perhaps the editor, "To the name of Captain John Oldham too much praise can not be given - he was uniformly distinguished for gallantry and good conduct - with the exception of Kirkwood of Delaware & Randolph of Virginia, he was probably entitled to greater credit than any officer of his rank in Green's army. Captain John Oldham was at Eutaw Springs, but escaped injury. Captain Conway Oldham was present at that battle and was killed. Lieutenant Edward Oldham of the 2nd Maryland Flying Camp was 1st Lieutenant, June to December 4th Maryland and Captain 20th of May 1777, transferred then to the 5th Maryland. Conway Oldham was of the 12th Virginia. Edward and John were of the 4th Maryland, were they Kindred? If so, how close? Edward married Mary Ensor of Cecil County, Maryland, after the war and acquired a fortune by his wife. Johnson's History of Cecil county, Maryland, notes his marriage and then litigation that ensued in relation to the ownership of Bohemia Manor. The New Garden Monthly Meeting House of the Friends was located eight miles from Augusta. The Dunerry's Creek Meeting House was about six miles from Bedford, Pennsylvania. Fairfax Monthly Meeting was in Virginia, not far from Alexandria. Lieutenant-Colonel Lee was in command of the left wing of the fo ce sent out by Washington to suppress the Whiskey Insurrection in Western Pennsylvania.

I have not thus far been able to conclude my quest for Isaac Oldham, his parentage and his first wife. I had supposed that the John Oldham who died in Philadelphia in 1698, would have solved the enigma, but it seems that Jonathan Oldham,de settlement and distribution of the estate, unless he did so in some other province of Pennsylvania than that in which Philadelphia is situated. Hence, am at sea in the matter as usual. I trust that you have been more successful in the matter under investigation.

The 12th of July, I completed my 75th year, withal health has been fairly good. Will you kindly return me the Newspaper clipping and cousin Frank's postal in relation to Mrs. Boreman? In sending them to you I thought that they might b.remerly Miss Oldham and I trust her health is good and that your own is equal to the business requirements made upon you. I need not tell you how slow business revives, while politics have not reached the .

"The First Purchasers of Pennsylvania", Hanna Benner Roach, A group who purchased land from William Penn - (John Oldham purchased 250 acres on list XLVI) They sailed from Bristol in October on the Bristol Factor and reached New Castle on the Delaware River December 15, 1681. John Oldham arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682 (Source: pg 641, Hazard: Annals of Pennsylvania) This appears to have been a different John Oldham from John "Mad Jack" Oldham, or he could have reutrned to England for another of his visits.

I also have a note of a John who died in Cheshire, Pennsylvania abt 1698. There was a bond for administration for Jonathan Oldham 1698, Pennsylvania

Oldham Trail #1 Return to Forest Menu Oldham Trail begins in Buffalo Park, Flagstaff's urban forest park, and climbs gradually up the south slope of Mt. Elden, an extinct volcano. The trail gets its name from Oldham Park, an open area near Elden's summit. From that high perspective you'll get a bird's eye view of Flagstaff and the surrounding area including mountains, deserts, and canyons as much as a hundred miles away. Some prominent features that are easily visible are Oak Creek Canyon, Sunset Crater, and the Painted Desert.

Along the lower reaches of the trail, you'll encounter boulder fields and cliffs where there are hidden crevices to explore and rocky nooks that make great places to picnic. As you climb higher, the trail takes you from a ponderosa pine forest into groves of aspen and mixed conifer stands of spruce, fir and pine.

In Oldham Park you'll see evidence of a catastrophic burn that occurred in 1977. Although the area affected by this huge wildfire still looks barren from Flagstaff, up close you can see how nature is healing from this man-made disaster. Near Elden Summit, Oldham Trail joins the Sunset Trail which leads north a cross the top of Elden to Schultz Pass and south to the Elden Lookout Trail and east Flagstaff.

Length: 5.5 miles Rating: Moderate Use: Moderate Season: Late April to November Elevation: 7,000' to 9,000' Hiking time: 3.5 hours Location: At the rear of Buffalo Park in Flagstaff Access: The Buffalo Park parking lot is located on Cedar Street in north central Flagstaff. Another access point ison FR 557, the Mt. Elden Road, o ff US 180 north. USGS Map(s): Flagstaff West, Sunset West Notes: No motorized vehicles For more information contact: Peaks Ranger Station, 5075 N. Highway 89, Flagstaff, Arizona 86004, (60 2) 527-3630

Ship Arrivals - Passenger Lists The Morning Star

November 1683, from Liverpool, Thomas Hayes, master, from Liverpool

Henry Atherly David Davies Robert Davies and wife and children George Edge and wife, Joan "of Barrow" Humphrey Edwards, servant to John ap Edwards John ap Edwards and minor children Elizabeth, Sarah, Edward and Evan Mary Hughes, servant to John ap Edwards William ap John (Jones), wife Ann Reynold and children John. Alice, Katherine and Gwen Gabriel Jones, servant to John ap Edwards John Loftus William and Elizabeth Morgan Thomas Oldham Thomas Pritchard Gainor Roberts, sister of Hugh Roberts, married fellow passenger John Roberts Hugh Roberts, wife Jane and children Robert, Ellin, Owen, Edward and William John Roberts Richard ap Thomas and son Richard, Jr.

Subject: Re: Oldham info update
Date: Sun, 05 Mar 2000 10:16:46 CST
From: "Howard Oldham"
To: [email protected]

Thank you for the great e-mail! It is obvious that you know quite a lot about our families, and I would love to hear more. Do you have any narratives I could obtain, or buy?

Will the Oldham data base be updated with the information I gave you in my first e-mail? I note that the site seems to indicate it hasn't been updated sine 1998. Did I mis-read that? Please let me know about this issue, as I would like to see the data base updated.

I'm really interested in hearing more.

Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 23:08:31 -0800
From: "Roaming Ranger"


I am looking for John Oldham who came to America in 1622 aboard the Elizabeth and Anne landing at Plymouth, Mass

He was Killed by the Indians on his trading vessel "Shallup". His two sons Thomas and John were held for a time. Thomas Oldham is my descendent who married Mary Wetherel in 1656.

Any help would be appreciate.

Thank you, Very Much Indeed,

302 N. W. 18TH STREET DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA 33444 VOICE: 561-276-5124 FAX: 561-272-2447

The Roving Ranger Saddle Bags Express Open Range, USA

Here are some notes I have gathered over the years from various sources. Most of the emphasis in the research has been on men named George Oldham who may have been active as adults about the time of the American Revolution [April 1775-Nov 1873]. There were other George Oldhams probably of Northern Neck Virginia in earlier times, but these notes do not pertain to those of that era.

Note: I think I will have to divide this into several e-mails, as rootsweb does not permit longish e-mails.
I invite corrections and additions concerning these particular George Oldhams, especially the one in colonial and Revolutionary North Carolina and perhaps later in Kentucky, where many Oldhams of Caswell Co. migrated to Madison Co., KY and perhaps to Clark Co., KY.
These are not in chronological order.

Submitted by E.W.Wallace
Preparer: E. W. Wallace
Rev Jan 1998
Rev Aug 2002
Added to Dec 2005

GEORGE OLDHAM. WIR00807. George Oldham, the probable namesake of an earlier George Oldham of Northumberland Co., VA, is said to be a son of Richard Oldham, Sr. of Caswell Co., NC and thus a brother of Jesse Oldham [Sr.], later of Madison Co., KY. This is according to a correspondent. John Oldham of Caswell Co. NC was another brother
From a compilation of Revolutionary Accounts of North Carolina:
"The United States of America to the State of North Carolina Dr: For Sundries furnished and Cash paid the Militia of North Carolina Virginia and South Carolina as allowed by the Auditors of Hillsborough District in June 1782 as p:Report No. 82"
2022x To Capt: George Oldham for Militia Services of himself and Compy. as :Pay Roll No. 322 @ +400 - Specie 795.16 [pds]
(Weynette Parks Haun., North Carolina Revolutionary Army Accounts, Accounts of the United States with North Carolina [Treasurer, State], Book C [Part XIV], p. 1905)

(Comments: These two events, George's being appointed lieutenant and receiving a land grant during the Revolution, qualifies his direct descendants for Revolutionary War lineage societies. He took an oath of allegiance in order to be granted land.)

Oldham history | Ashbourne Inn: farm to table

Ashbourne Inn was one of the premiere restaurants in Oldham County during its heyday from the 1940s through the 1960s.

Located on the intersection of Sligo Road and U.S. 42, the Inn today is a private residence but retains its distinctive character as a luxury inn and restaurant from the past.

The Inn featured the produce, meat and produce grown at the Ashbourne Farms.

The Inn’s concept as stated on the menu: Ashbourne Inn, remodeled from one of Kentucky’s earliest homes, is the fulfillment of a long cherished desire to embody in a modern inn the concept of traditional Kentucky hospitality, flavored with the finest in American and continental cuisine. Nothing has been spared to attain this end. An expression of your enjoyment will be our richest reward.

Ashbourne Farms was founded in 1937 in Oldham County by W.L. Lyons Brown and his wife, Sara (Sally) Shallenberger Brown. Lyons began to assemble the first herd of registered Shorthorn in the area and at one time the Ashbourne Farm operation was almost 5,000 acres. This included farmland along Sligo Road and U.S. 42 and sections of Ashbourne were referred to as Faraway and Fox Den.

The farm was an important economic engine for Oldham County and employed many families, some of which lived on the farm.

Euline Mcintyre recalled her childhood years as Ashbourne:

“I was about 12, about 1948, when we moved to Ashbourne Farms. Dad had a good job offer there and Mr. Lyons Brown hired Dad and we moved up there — we got a nice home, huge garden, two acres of tobacco that we tended, all the milk we wanted for cream and eggs and two hogs. And we raised all the chickens for Ashbourne Inn’s restaurant. The Faraway Farm was where Ashbourne Inn was located, at the end of Sligo Road and 42. Mr. Brown was the most wonderful man and so good to us kids.”

“Meats such as pork were served at the Inn and also cured into “country cured, hickory smoked” hams, two years or older, that were shipped all over the United States. On Mondays, the Inn served only one dish, their “famous specialty: Waffles and Whole Chicken Hash, with dessert” for $1.50.

In addition the Inn specialized in: “Dinner Parties, Bridge Luncheons, Wedding Breakfasts, Business Dinners and Outdoor Group Picnics with Swimming Privileges in Lake Ashbourne.”

Nancy Doty, a LaGrange native, worked at Ashbourne Inn and fondly recalled her experience there:

“I married in 1951 I was working over in Ashbourne Inn. Ashbourne Inn was wonderful. Chef Wilson and Wallace Beaumont and Ann Winburn (all worked in the restaurant). That is where I learned to eat bologna and peanut butter because Chef said that was the best lunch that ever was and I believed him!!

“It was a restaurant in a beautiful building that had a formal dining room and a gift shop, carried Mary Alice Hadley potteries and really nice gift items. It was at the corner of Sligo Road and Hwy. 42 and later they (The Browns) built a six-room motel and they had a bridal suite in the motel. They gave little napkin rings that had bride and groom on them (to newlyweds), and when I married, I had a pair of them in my suitcase.”

Although Ashbourne Inn no longer exists, Ashbourne Farms is thriving with the Brown’s grandson, Austin Musselman, at the helm. Musselman is keeping the tradition of farm to table by growing local produce and livestock using sustainable farming practices and offering Community Supported Agriculture and meat for sale. In addition, new concepts and a new vision created by Musselman is broadening the farm’s perspective as a conservation model which will be examined in future articles.

You can contact Nancy Stearns Theiss at: [email protected] or twitter @Nancystheiss

Imported items from the menu included shrimp, crabmeat and Pompano. Pompano was a very popular fish from Florida served in the region during those years, which you rarely see today on local menus. Entrees which included a salad and vegetable of the day were:

What Oldham family records will you find?

There are 135,000 census records available for the last name Oldham. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Oldham census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 12,000 immigration records available for the last name Oldham. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 20,000 military records available for the last name Oldham. For the veterans among your Oldham ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 135,000 census records available for the last name Oldham. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Oldham census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 12,000 immigration records available for the last name Oldham. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 20,000 military records available for the last name Oldham. For the veterans among your Oldham ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

Our History

Oldham Lane is an offshoot of Baker Heights Church of Christ (located at 5382 Texas Avenue). The Baker Heights Church of Christ, near Dyess Air Force Base in southwest Abilene, had grown from its modest beginning in 1961 to over-capacity with no room for expansion. The most logical proposal was for willing Baker Heights members to help start a new congregation.

In the spring of 1995 approximately 70 persons opted to leave their roots at Baker Heights and become the nucleus of a new congregation which initially met at the former 16th and Vine Church of Christ building. The Baker Heights congregation had purchased a parcel of land on Oldham Lane in 1993 and the new group saw this as an excellent site for their new church home.

With an additional $17,000 from Baker Heights, plans got underway immediately to design the new church building. The group’s determination and zeal was expressed in a one-day offering of more than $100,000 toward construction. The building was completed and its formal opening was on August 18, 1996.The new building was designed to seat 800, but was initially configured to seat 500. Other features included a large family room, kitchen, 20 classrooms, and staff offices. Total cost was approximately $1.2 million, of which $825,000 was financed. Mr. Jimmy Jividen was Oldham’s first pulpit minister under the leadership of Elders Bob Childress, RJ Poe, and Dr. Tim Appleton. Oldham Lane’s first deacons were Chris Atkins, Larry Bell, Bob Connel, Eddie Dunn, Ken Dozier, Steve Jividen, Royce Scott.

Oldham - History


Source: Dallas Morning News. (Dallas, TX). June 26, 1921. Transcribed by a FOFG.

In the golden days of the cattle industry, when fences were unknown and grass was free, the Panhandle cowboys on a tear used to mount the bar in old Tascosa, Texas, and sing out:

"I'm a wolf and this is my night to howl. I've got two rows of teeth - one for ransacking graveyards and one for devouring human beings."

And they howled. For Tascosa in those days was the livest (sp) town in the Panhandle - a wide-open, red-hot coal of vitality, whose saloons, gambling palaces and dance halls never closed, day or night, except for funerals.

It was an oasis in a dreary waste. For miles and miles around the cattle ranches stretched away in grassy monotony, and under the broiling sun a man could ride all day without meeting another human being.

But in Tascosa itself all was different. Here was the Western Cowtown de luxe. Scores of sleek horses stood tied day and night to the rails at the side of the main street. Bronzed cowpunchers with jingling spurs and broad-brimmed hats swung sturdily along on high-heeled boots. From the brilliantly-lighted saloons, lurid squares of light ascended to the skies through doors that were seldom closed. Women laughed to the accompaniment of the rattle of dice on mahogany bars. From Hogtown way, the strains of lively music floated in the air. Poker chips clinked and men swore loudly. Now and then, with a rush of hoofs, a little knot of cowpunchers swung down the main street in close and swiftly-moving formation - bound for the open prairie and the long ride back to headquarters. Occasionally a pistol shot rang out - the trigger pulled now in a mere spirit of fun and hilarity, now with more sinister intent.

Dangerous days, but pleasant ones. An uncertain atmosphere where sudden death might be met just around the corner, but one in which the very elixir of life floated. The men of Tascosa were of the West - men cradled in violence who lived and died violently. None came here who was not prepared to accept it as it was. The calmness and peace of the older civilization, with its less poignant joys and sorrows, was purposely forsaken by these young and virile men of the frontier in order that whatever life held for them might be quaffed to the dregs in one swift drink - and forgotten.

Such was Tascosa in the late ྂs and the early ྌs and such was the spirit of its inhabitants.

And today, what? Is Tascosa a sleepy little village that, with the passage of time, has become tamed? Do the same men that once made these streets resound with their good-natured ribaldry and their wholesome laugher still hang on to life in the old town - sober, sedate and dignified citizens?

The answer is no. For Tascosa there was no such peaceful old age. True to the spirit of the times which gave her birth, she lived her life and died before the glory of those colorful days had quite departed.

Today Tascosa is no more. The solid double lines of adobe saloons and stores have given way before the ravages of the wind and the rain. Only with difficulty can one trace through the tangled grass and underbrush the line of what was once the main street. In its palmy days a town of several hundred people, it is now deserted except for one old woman and her dog. Desolation reigns supreme. The birds of the air and the little rodents of the field now hold undisputed sway over what was once the second city of the Panhandle.
After all, perhaps, it is fitting that it is so - fitting that Tascosa should pass into the discard along with the oldtime cowboy and the longhorn steer - fitting that this old town which buried so many of the boys with their boots on should itself finally be "bumped off" with its own boots on.

Tascosa's story has been hinted at here and there, but the tale as a whole has never been told. And yet it most richly deserves to be. At Tascosa, in the late 70's and early 80's, the "wild and wooly" West lived in epitome. At Tascosa it is that the famous Boot Hill Cemetery stands - the hill upon which are buried the bodies of some twenty-five or more men, all of whom "died with their boots on." At Tascosa it was, in the free grass days, that the old trail drivers often stopped for a few hours' rest before making the long jump to Dodge City. Here it was, also, that the famous New Mexico bandit, Billy the Kid, sometimes sojourned between killings. Here it was, too, that Pat Garrett, the man who "got" Billy the Kid, frequently stopped. And here it was, on March 21, 1886, that one of the most bloody gun battles of early Panhandle days took place - a battle in which four men were killed and two wounded, a battle that, in the matter of a successful fight against overwhelming odds, deserves to go down in frontier history as second only to the famous fight of "Wild Bill" Hickok with the McCandlas gang - one man against ten - and to that of "Buckshot" Roberts with the gang of Billy the Kid at Blazer's Mill, one man against thirteen.

There are several versions of this fight at Tascosa. Some say that it started in an argument about cattle. This report, however, probably owes its origin to the fact that three of the men killed were cowboys on the L S Ranch. One knowing this, and not knowing the real bone of contention, would naturally ascribe the cause of the hostilities to some kind of a mixup about cattle - as this, indeed, was a most fertile soil for the production of feuds and battles in those early days. However, the real cause of the trouble, according to persons who were there at the time and who are yet living, was that which is responsible for most of man's troubles, the same as that which started the original difficulty of mankind in the Garden of Eden - woman.

This is the tale of the fight. Len Woodruff, a Tascosa bartender and a former L X cowpuncher, had a sweetheart named Sally. Woodruff and Sally had a falling out, and the lady in the case began "keeping company" with Ed King, an L S cowpuncher. Sally, still holding a grudge against her former lover, asked King to "get" Woodruff for her. King, with the gallantry of the times, and perhaps also with a natural liking for a fight, proceeded to do his best to accommodate the lady. He made preparations to go gunning for Woodruff.

A few nights previous to the fatal shooting - so the tale goes - Woodruff, in company with a lady friend and Captain Jinks, the owner of the "Hogtown" dance hall, was sitting inside a building fronting on the main street of the town. Hoofbeats and yelling were heard outside. Woodruff walked to the window and looked out. Ed King, accompanied by two of his fellow-cowpunchers, Frank Valley and Fred Chilton, was riding past the house. King, who was pretty well "tanked up." was crying:

"Pretty Ed" was a cognomen he had manufactured extemporaneously for the purpose of humiliating Woodruff. Woodruff, of course, knew that the epithet was meant for him. He came back from his positon at the window and, sitting down again, burst into tears. He said he knew that King and Valley and Chilton were going to kill him.

"But I would rather be killed like a dog and buried here in Tascosa," he said, determinedly, "rather than to have anyone say that those ------- -------s ran me out of town. D-n me if I leave!"

A few nights later, on March 21, 1886, to be exact, Woodruff, who was tending bar at Martin Dunn's salon, closed up shop about midnight and went out by the back door. It was a clear, moonlit night. The stars were shining overhead, and all was deathly quiet except that, from across the street, where two or three saloons were still open, there floated the sound of music, the clink of glasses, the rattle of poker chips and the monotonous undertone of men's voices.

In his hip point Woodruff had a bottle of brandy which he was taking to "Rocking Chair Emma." A new sweetheart he had acquired in Hogtown, the underworld district of the town. With Woodruff was a man named Charlie Emory.

Emory and Woodruff walked from the rear door of the saloon to the street. To do this it was necessary for them to walk through a narrow passageway formed by the walls of two buildings. Naturally, in this passageway it was very dark and anyone on the street would be hard put to distinguish a man's form in the gloom. Hence, as Woodruff and Emory stepped onto the sidewalk of the street, they, to the surprise of all, came face to face with Ed King and a cowboy by the name of John Lang. Lang was a friend of King's.

No one knows to this day what words passed between these four men at this unexpected meeting, or whether any words were passed at all. All that is known is that the shooting started right there. All four men were armed with six-shooters and all used them. When the smoke cleared away Ed King was lying on his face in the street dead. Woodruff was shot through the groin and Emory was wounded in several places.

John Lang, King's companion, the only man not hit in the shooting, took to his heels and ran into Jim East's saloon, where Frank Valley and Fred Chilton were playing poker. He rushed over to the card table and informed these men that Len Woodruff and his gang had killed Ed King and that Charlie Emory was shot to pieces.

Meanwhile Woodruff has retreated to his sleeping-room, a little adobe square just at the rear of Dunn's saloon, while Emory had managed to drag himself into the shelter of a near-by blacksmith shop.

King's Companions Seek Revenge.

Valley and Chilton, upon being informed by Lang of what had taken place, jumped from their chairs, and running to the bar, demanded their six-shooters from Button Griffith, the bartender. In accordance with the standing order of Sheriff Jim East, they had turned in their guns at the bar when they entered the saloon. This was a necessary precaution in those days.

Button Griffith, of course, must have sensed that there was trouble in the air, and could perhaps have avoided further bloodshed had he refused to give these men their guns. Or perhaps by refusing he might have caused the letting of even more blood, including his own. Whatever his mental reflections might have been on this occasion, at any rate, he did not demur, but promptly handed Chilton and Valley their guns.

Immediately the two men ran out and cut diagonally across the street, passing along the side of Dunn's saloons and making toward Woodruff's sleeping quarters.

Meantime, a man by the name of Jesse Sheets, who conducted a little restaurant adjoining Dunn's saloon, heard the early shooting and pulling on his pants and shoes, had stepped out at the rear of his place of business to see what the rumpus was all about. As Valley and Chilton rounded the rear end of Dunn's saloon they "spotted" Sheets standing there in the dark. They took him to be Louis Bozeman, supposedly one of Woodruff's gang. Valley, therefore, at once stopped short, and, resting his gun along the rear wall of Dunn's saloon, fired. The bullet struck Sheets right between the eyes, killing him instantly. Valley cried to Chilton:

He then ran forward to join his partner, who was by this time nearing Woodruff's door.

Woodruff, taking advantage of the few moments of respite that had elapsed since the killing of King, had barricaded himself inside his room. He had with him his six-shooter and a 45-70 Winchester rifle.

Chilton and Valley, without hesitation, ran up to the door of the little adobe building that served Woodruff as a house, and in rapid succession fired five times through the soft pine of the door.

Woodruff realized at once that if he remained in the darkness of his room, he would be killed like a rat in a trap. The bullets plowed through the door as easily as if it had been made of butter, and the sod walls of the house leaked lead like a sieve. He made a desperate resolve. Liming to the door, he threw it open.

Within a few feet of him stood Valley and Chilton, guns in hand. Before they could recover from the surprise occasioned by the sudden and unexpected appearance of Woodruff, the latter fired point blank at Frank Valley. Valley fell in a heap with a bullet in the face. Chilton retreated, firing as he went. His objective was an old water well about fifteen yards distant form the house. Before he could get behind this cover, however, Woodruff drilled him through and through with his Winchester.

Not knowing how many more of King's friends might be after him, Woodruff then thought it best to try to escape from Tascosa. He was weak from loss of blood and suffering great pain from the wound in his groin. Using his rifle as a crutch he dragged himself down toward the creek and across. He then slowly made his way toward a ranch house in the distance. He still had the bottle brandy in his pocket and it now stood him in good stead. He was not ordinarily a drinking man - bartenders seldom are - but during the hours that followed, he kept up his strength by occasional sips of the fiery liquid. After several hours of painful crawling through the grass, he managed to reach the ranch house of Theodore Briggs. This was about a mile and a half from Tascosa. Here he remained until morning. Briggs cared for him. Shortly after dawn, however, Briggs went to Tascosa and reported to Sheriff Jim East that Woodruff was present in his house. East thereupon came over and, placing Woodruff under arrest, brought him back to Tascosa.

Woodruff was tried some time later at Mobeetie, and finally came off clear. He lived for some years afterward.

Ed King, Frank Valley, Fred Chilton and Jesse Sheets are all buried on Boot Hill. In the picture of Boot Hill accompanying this story may be seen the graves of the first three. Their graves are those marked with the limestone slabs, the only three stones of this character on the hill. These stones were no doubt put up by the L. S. ranch, for which the three cowboys worked. Jesse Sheets, the fourth victim of the tragedy, being only a poverty-stricken eating-house proprietor, whose family was not able to afford such a memorial, lies beneath the sod with only a wooden post to mark his last resting place.

This is, as near as can be ascertained, the real history of this gun fight. There are some old inhabitants of Tascosa who claim that Valley and Chilton were not killed by Woodruff at all, but were shot by the Catfish Kid and Louis Bozeman, who were concealed in a woodpile near Woodruff's house. However, this story is hardly plausible, as if this were the case, the five bullet-holes through Woodruff's door could not be explained. And those bullet-holes were actually there, and remained there until the house fell in.
At any rate, however, there was sufficient suspicion directed against the Catfish Kid and Bozeman at the time to cause their arrest and imprisonment. They were later tried and acquitted.

A. L. (Bud) Turner, who lived at Tascosa at the time of the time of this shooting, and who now lives in the same house as that formerly occupied by Theodore Briggs (to which Woodruff crawled for refuge) says that on the night of the fight, he and Tobe Robison (later Sheriff) were at an L. S. Camp on Rita Blanco. He states that he and Robison received orders to ride north and cut off the escape of Woodruff, Bozeman and the Catfish Kid. They rode as far north as the point where the city of Dalhart now stands, and then turned south toward Tascosa, arriving there at 3 o'clock the next afternoon.

Mr. Turner says that at the time of his arrival the whole town was in a great state of tension. Cowboys from adjoining ranches had ridden in from all directions. On March 22, during the afternoon, he thinks that there were at least 400 or 500 men on the streets of Tascosa, all armed and all siding with one faction or the other. For a while it looked as if a regular war would break out, but thanks to the strategy and cool nerve of Sheriff East, his Deputy, L. C. Pierce, and other leaders, further trouble was averted.

Ed King, the first man to be killed in this fight, had one notch on his gun, which means that, in his time he had killed one man. Strictly speaking, he was not a "bad man," as the term in those days was generally understood. He was a hard-working cowboy earning an honest living. But when "tanked up" he was rather easy on the draw, as is illustrated by the following story told by Sam Dunn, now of Amarillo, but formerly a cowpuncher on the Frying Pan ranch near Tascosa.

King, according to Mr. Dunn, was the only man who ever "threw a gun" on him. "When this incident occurred," says Mr. Dunn, "King was standing at the bar of Captain Jinks' saloon. He had a six-shooter that he called 'Old Blue.' He was leaning against the bar twirling this gun on his finger. As he rolled it, he would, at each revolution, cock it and let down the hammer. I was playing cards at some distance from the bar when I decided that I would like to have a drink of water. There was an old bucket with a rusty tin cup standing at the end of the bar beyond King. I walked over and dipped out a cup of water and started to drink. I had hardly taken a swallow when I heard King speaking to me.

"'What he h---- do you want?" he said.

"I did not stop drinking, but I did cut my eyes down and saw that King had his gun poked into my ribs. I finished drinking, keeping my eyes on the gun all the while. Then, as I reached down for another cup of water, I replied:

"'I just wanted to get a drink.'

"I drank the second cup. King kept his gun jammed into my ribs all the time. When I finished, I turned around and walked back to the poker table, and resumed my game. That was all there was to it."

Mr. Dunn said that he supposes the reason why King threw his gun on him was because he did not like to have a stranger come so close to him.

Another "bad actor" who, as has been said, is supposed by some to have been mixed up in this battle, was the "Catfish Kid." The Catfish Kid was of the type most despicable in frontier days. He was an imitation bad man - one who shot and killed for no reason whatsoever save for the pleasure of killing, and who usually shot when the other man was unarmed or at a disadvantage.

Old Tascosaites say that at one time when the Catfish Kid and Louis Bozeman were sleeping in a wagon yard at Tascosa, a poor, inoffensive German tramp came in and endeavored to take up his sleeping quarters in the same place. The Kid, who was a great bully, ordered the tramp to dance for him. The tramp either refused, or else did not dance to suit the Kid. At any rate, the Kid shot him dead in cold blood. For this murder he got sixteen years in the penitentiary. He died before the expiration of his term.

Tascosa, in its flourishing days, was the only town between Mobeetie, Texas, on the east, Springer, N. M., on the west, and Dodge City, Kan., on the north. Everything used in the town was freighted in wagons from Dodge City of Springer, the round trip requiring weeks and sometimes months. Whatever lumber was needed to build the town was brought in in this manner, as timber is a scarce article around Tascosa.

As showing the inaccessibility of Tascosa in those days from the populous centers of Texas, the account of the fight of Valley, Chilton, Woodruff and others was sent to the Galveston News by way of Fort Elliott (near Mobeetie) to Dodge City, Kan., and was then relayed from Dodge City to Galveston. The fight took place on March 21, 1886, but the account of it did not appear in The Galveston News until five days later. Thus, in frontier days, Tascosa was more like a part of Kansas or New Mexico than of Texas.

Even today Tascosa is hard to get to. It lies on the north side of the Canadian River, about thirty-five miles from Amarillo. One can travel in an automobile as far as Tascosa Station (on the south side of the river), but it is dangerous to cross the river in a car. A team of horses is usually used for fording and, due to the fact that there are only a few families at Tascosa Station, one can not always be sure when he starts out from Amarillo that he will find anyone to take him across to the old town. The better way to go to the ruins of the old town, therefore, is to go to Channing, Texas, north of old Tascosa, and then drive south about twelve miles until the silhouette of the headstones on Boot Hill strike the eye. This trip itself is an interesting one, as on the way down to old Tascosa one is apt to see plenty of coyotes and a few wild antelope. By this route also one passes by the old ranch of Theodore Briggs, to which place Woodruff dragged his wounded body on the night of the fight.

Tascosa, that lively little Cowtown of the eighties, now boasts of a population of one old lady. But this old lady is as interesting as any 200 or 300 people would be in an ordinary town. She is Mrs. Mickie McCormack, and she has been living in Tascosa for forty years. She lived in the old town when it was the best town in the Panhandle - and the only one besides Mobeetie. She was present on the night of the big fight. She saw the funeral procession wending its way to Boot Hill the following afternoon. Today she still exists among the ruins, a bent and pathetic little figure. Her only companion is a dog.

Mrs. McCormack refused to allow her picture to be taken, and was very reluctant to talk about herself. She was willing, however, to talk of the fight and of the early days of the town. She was asked if it was not rather lonesome in Tascosa now. She looked off toward the river for a few moments and reflected. Then, haltingly, she said:

"Yes, it is. This used to be a real lively town, you know. But I don't like it much any more." She sighed.

Inasmuch as she is the only person living among these ruins her remark about not liking it much any more contains quite a lot of unconscious humor. But the pathos of that reply is even great.

Mrs. McCormack is known to all the old-timers as Frenchy. Quite a lot of romantic stories are told about her past, but those in a position to know the real truth characterize these tales as "bunk." One story, for instance, is to the effect that she comes from a prominent and wealthy New Orleans family that she ran away from home and got married against her parents' wishes, and that now she refuses to give out any information about herself because she does not want her people to know where she is, preferring rather to die in old Tascosa, the scene of her youth and of her happier days.

This, of course, would make a nice story if it were true, but the more convincing evidence points the other way. Old inhabitants of Tascosa say that Frenchy was the wife of Mickie McCormack, a livery stable proprietor of Tascosa and "as fine a little Irishman as ever drank a toddy." Mickie McCormack died among the ruins of Tascosa a few years ago after his wife had spent practically the entire family wealth taking him on trips designed to bring back his lost health. After his death, which occurred only three days after his return to old Tascosa, his wife continued to live there with her dog. She has never left since - and perhaps never will.

The story of how Tascosa got its name is itself an interesting one. The original application to the Post-office Department was for the name "Atascosa," which, in Spanish, means "muddy," or "boggy." The lowlands of the Canadian River are full of marshes and bogs, the river bed itself being very treacherous with its quicksands and shifting holes, and it was for this reason that the namers of the town thought Atascosa would be suitable. But it happened that there was already an Atascosa County in Texas and an Atascosa River, so that the postoffice authorities refused to allow the new town in the Panhandled to have this name. Hence the "a" was struck off and the town named Tascosa. One well-known writer on Western subjects, Emerson Hough, in one of his books, several times makes the mistake of referring to this old town as "Atascosa."

Quite a few humorous little anecdotes of early days in Tascosa are told by oldtimers who once lived in the town. Here is one:
Before the courthouse was built, the town authorities used to have some trouble in finding a place to lock up prisoners. At one time a certain worthless character drifted into town, and, after getting into all kinds of trouble, finally landed plump in the arms of the Sheriff. This latter gentleman was a man of resource. He chained his prisoner, for safekeeping, to a pillar supporting the cottonwood beam in the roof of one of the town's largest saloons. When the saloon was closed for the night a roaring fire was built in the grate, and the prisoner left to sleep on the floor at whatever spot he might choose within the radius of the length of his chain.
But if the Sheriff was a man of resource, the prisoner was more so. During the night he decided he would like to have a drink. His chain was too short to admit of his getting as far as the bar. Therefore he tore up one of his blankets, and, weaving himself a lariat, tried his hand at roping bottles of brandy that stood on the floor at the corner of the bar. After several unsuccessful attempts he managed to "ting" a bottle neck and drag the liquor over to him.

This was encouraging, and when the first bottle gave out he persevered. When the "cold, gray dawn" of the next morning broke the proprietor of the saloon, coming into his place of business, found this redoubtable booze fighter peacefully unconscious in the arms of Bacchus. As mute evidence of his prowess empty bottles lay about him in a complete circle. What the proprietor said or what the Sheriff did is not a part of the record.

Another of the classics of old Tascosa centers around an individual by the name of Jack Ryan. Ryan and Frank James (not the brother of the famous Jesse, but another man.) were the joint proprietors of a saloon in Tascosa in the 80s. Ryan was called from the duties of this business at one time to serve on a jury. When the jury went out to deliberate, eleven stood for acquittal and Ryan alone stood for conviction. He was obstinate. He insisted that the prisoner ought to have his neck stretched, and announced that he would see to it that this little operation was performed, or else he would force the jury to report itself as unable to agree. Ryan's fellow-jurors pleaded with him, argued with him and very nearly fought with him in an endeavor to win him over to their side of the fence. But Ryan refused to give in.

Just at this juncture, Frank James climbed a ladder, stuck his head into the window of the jury-room and nodded excitedly to Ryan to come over. Ryan came. James whispered to him that the biggest and best poker game ever seen in Tascosa was at that very time in progress in their saloon, and asked Ryan for money. Ryan peeled three $100 bills of his roll, and gave them to James. Then he said:
"Hurry back! Don't let the game break up! Keep it going until I get there!"

He then returned to the conference with his fellow-jurors and told them that, while he personally believed in the guilt of the prisoner, he was forced to admit that human judgment was fallible and that, inasmuch as all of them seemed to be firmly convinced that the accused ought to be set free, he was willing to waive his own convictions in the matter and acquiesce in their judgment.

A verdict of acquittal was at once returned and Ryan hurried over to the poker game.

Jim East, Sheriff for four terms in Tascosa, has been mentioned before in this story. Just in passing, it will be of interest to remark that this same Jim East was one of the bunch that captured Bill the Kid and his gang at a little rock house near Stinking Spring, New Mexico, in 1881. East is the only survivor of the group that made this capture. He lives at present in Douglas, Ariz., where he is a well-to-do and much respected citizen.

Billy the Kid Visits Tascosa.

Billy the Kid, perhaps the most famous desperado of frontier days, was probably in Tascosa several times. One visit of his to the town is known definitely. In the fall of 1878 he came to Tascosa with his gang, consisting of Charlie Bowdre (latter killed by Pat Garrett), Doc Skurlock, Tom O'Folliard or O'Phalliard (later killed by Pat Garrett), Henry Brown and others. This gang, just previous to their visit to Tascosa, had been engaged in a horse-stealing expedition and had moved northeastward from New Mexico in disposing of their stolen property. They came to Tascosa and there got rid of the last of their stolen horses. They then spent a few days in the old town before returning to their stamping grounds in New Mexico.

During this stay in Tascosa Billy the Kid and his gang went from ranch to ranch "visiting" and occasionally taking a meal. At one time they stopped for a day or so on the ranch of a certain Captain Tory, a retired ship captain even then along in years. When Captain Torey heard of it he gave orders to his foreman that Billy the Kid and his men were not to be fed any more at the ranch, as he did not want people to think that he was "in cahoots" with this gang of cutthroats and robbers. This news came to the ears of the Kid.
Forthwith he looked Captain Torey up. Meeting him one day in front of Jack Ryan's saloon on the main street of Tascosa, he asked him point-black whether it was true or not that he had given his foreman these orders. Captain Torey said it was. Instantly the Kid drew his sixshooter and rammed it into the Captain's stomach, telling him that if he wanted to say any prayers he had better be quick about it, as he was going to fill him full of lead.

Captain Torey, believing that his life on this sphere was destined to end right then and there, broke down and said that he would take it all back. The Kid put up his bun. Later he told Charlie Siringo that he never did intend to shoot the Captain, but was merely giving him a good scare to teach him a lesson. Siringo tells of this incident in his book, "A Lone Star Cowboy."

Pat Garrett, one of the most famous, if not the most famous of all the peace officers of the Southwest, lived in and about Tascosa for about a year and a half, centering on the year 1884. Garrett was the man who killed Billy the Kid at Fort Sumner on the Pecos in New Mexico. At the time of his death the Kid was just 21 years old and is said to have killed twenty-one men, one for each year of his life, and this was not counting Mexicans. Garrett in 1884 was in charge of a company of Texas Ranger operating in Wheeler County and made Tascosa his headquarters.

C. B. ("Cape") Willingham, the last Sheriff of Oldham County, shot the first man ever killed on the streets of Tascosa. It happened in this wise: A group of drunken cowpunchers came riding into town from their camp, which was situated near by. As they galloped down the street they whooped and yelled and shot off their guns. One of the bunch, seeing a lady in her yard feeding a flock of ducks, took a shot at one of the birds. He drilled it dead center, all right, but at the same time frightened the lady to such an extent that she fainted.
The cowboys rode on down the street, drew up in front of Jack Ryan's saloon and entered. Willingham, armed with a shotgun, went to arrest them. As he neared the saloon, the Sheriff ordered him to get down from his horse and surrender. Instead of doing this, the cowboy reached for his gun. Before he could get it into action Sherriff Willingham planted a load of buckshot in his body.

This was the first occupant of a plot on Boot Hill. He was a stranger in Tascosa, he and his companions being in charge of a herd of longhorn cattle that was being driven up the trail north.

After this, killings in Tascosa came with such frequency that today no one knows the exact count of men killed "with their boots on."
The Famous Boot Hill Cemetery.

A few words about Boot Hill. In the days of Tascosa's prime, Dodge City, Kan., as has been said, was the nearest city of any consequence and the city to which the cowpunchers repaired to buy whatever equipment they needed or to have a good time. Now at Dodge City there was very early a Boot Hill Cemetery in which, before the town was a good year old, more than eight men had been buried. What was more natural than that Tascosa should attempt to emulate the example of Dodge City in the upbuilding of their own little metropolis? When Tascosa began to come into prominence as a wild and woolly cow town it was but the logical consequence that it should imitate the older Dodge City by establishing its own special Boot Hill.

The account of all these escapades and adventures, of course, sounds extremely wild and woolly. But it must be remembered that things were done in those times that today would be outlandish in the highest degree. In defense of these pioneers of the Panhandle frontier it must be said that the better class of the people got into the saddle and fashioned things to their own way of thinking just as soon as it was possible for them to do so. Prohibition was adopted in the Panhandle counties of this State long before it became law in other sections of the State. Today the Panhandle yields the palm to no other district of Texas in the matter of law enforcement and order.

Tascosa was a Mexican settlement as far back as 1870. Perhaps the first white man to settle there permanently was Henry M. Kimball, a carpenter and buffalo hunter, and later, at Channing, Texas, a blacksmith and wheelwright. Kimball first came to Tascosa on the fourth of July, 1876. During this year he planted a garden at Tascosa and hunted buffalo in the vicinity. He also did carpenter work in his spare moments for a Mexican there named Casimira Romero. In February, 1877, two men named Howard and Rinehart came to Tascosa from New Mexico and established a store there. They at first rented a place from Romero, but later, in April, 1877, they built their own adobe store. In 1878 the cattlemen of the region roundabout began to make Tascosa a kind of headquarters and from this time on its growth was rapid. In 1879 John Cone and a man named Duran opened another store in Tascosa and in the same year Rinehart, the former partner of Howard, opened a third store. This made three stores in 1880, and stores in those days meant a town.
Town Dependent on Ranches.

Tascosa's growth and prosperity as before said, were almost entirely dependent upon the near-by cattle ranches. In fact, it was the presence of these cowboys that is really to account for Tascosa's existence as a white man's town rather than as a mere Mexican settlement. The old town never did have any business other than that of selling liquor and a few supplies to the cowpunchers living close at hand and those who came through on the trail.

In 1879 and in subsequent years Tascosa was utilized as a kind of assembling point of the various outfits about to take part in the great annual roundups. There were no fences in those days and the cattle ranged all over the Panhandle and into New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas. Hence in the roundup outfits from these distant points came to Tascosa to help make the liquor flow and the town liven up.

Some of the ranches in the vicinity of Tascosa were the L. I. T., the L. S., the L. X. and other smaller ranches belonging to such old-time cowmen as Goodrich, Jim Kennedy and Nick Chaffin. Many of these ranches, of course, are today still in existence.

One County Seat Oldham County.

When Oldham County was organized Tascosa was made the county seat. James McMasters was the first County Judge, Bill Vivian the first County and District Clerk and Cape Willingham the first Sheriff and Tax Collector. Judge Willis was the first District Judge and J. N. Browning (afterward Lieutenant Governor of Texas and now a resident of Amarillo) the first District Attorney. C. B. Willingham now lives in El Paso.

In the early days of Tascosa, there were no organized counties in Texas north of the Red River. Oldham County was organized in 1880.

The Fort Worth & Denver Railroad came through Tascosa in 1887. For a few years this coming of the railroad "boomed" the town, but when Amarillo and Channing were incorporated Tascosa began to decline in importance. As Amarillo grew, Tascosa went backward until finally only a few people were left in the old town. At length the county seat was moved to Vega, and Tascosa's doom was sealed. Today it is no longer a town, but merely a mass of broken adobe.

There is something sad and at the same time something uncanny about a deserted town. Where once this noisy little cow village stood, today there are no sounds to be heard save those made by hundreds of little birds in the cottonwoods. Where formerly the main street of the town stretches its lurid way, today only a dim outline can be traced through the scrubby underbrush. Once along this street there were ranged two lines of solidly built adobe stores. Now only a single broken wall raises its jagged and crumbling outlines from the grass. Along that street forty years ago five saloons operated at full blast day and night, stopping only for funerals. Today the town is a mourning witness of its own funeral.

Forty years ago many famous characters walked up and down the road that ran through this cottonwood grove. Today most of them are dead. A few old-timers are still left, but it has been a long time since any of these has gazed on the site of old Tascosa, for the railroad runs south of the river and the old town can not be seen from the windows.

At evening the wind stirs the dead leaves at the foot of the cottonwoods, the rays of the setting sun glance through the boughs, flecking the grass and creek water with light, shifting shadows, a few little birds cheep as they go to roost, and then a deathly silence throws its mantle over the scene.

One can stand here and know intellectually that this place was once one of the wildest and wooliest and noisiest of all the town of the frontier, but even that definite knowledge can not bring back in all their old-time richness the atmosphere and coloring the vivid pictures of the old town as it used to be in the days of its glory. The contrast of today with yesterday is too great.

A History of Texas and Texans, Volume 2 By Francis White Johnson (Published by American Historical Society, 1914) -
Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

About three-fourths of the entire area of Oldham County was set aside and granted.as a portion of the 3,000,000 acres given to the syndicate of capitalists who furnished the money for the building of the state eapitol at Austin. As late as ten years ago it was stated that three-fifths of the county was held in immense pastures, and the process of breaking up the large ranch holdings into farms has gone forward more slowly in Oldham County than in many other sections of Northwest Texas. For this reason largely, the county, though in area one of the largest, has a very meager population, farming is practiced in only a limited way, and the agricultural settler has made less inroad against the ranchers than in other parts of the Panhandle. On account of these general conditions, the amount of "improved land" at the last census was only about 12,600 acres, and in 1900 the census reported about 11,500 acres of such land.

The number of farms increased from 23 to 87 between 1900 and 1910. The total area of the county is 987,520 acres, of which 513,855 acres were occupied in farms and ranches in 1910. As a stock range Oldham County has furnished immense numbers of cattle and other live stock to the Texas aggregate. More than thirty years ago the number of cattle was reported at about 33,000 and about 25,000 sheep. The last census enumerated 24,926 cattle and about 1,500 horses and mules. The limited acreage in crops is indicated by the report for 1909, showing 2,709 acres in hay and forage crops, 1,401 acres in wheat, and 693 acres in kafir corn and milo maize. In 1882 the assessed value of taxable property in the county was $443,875, of which more than three-fourths was represented by live stock in 1903 the property valuation was $900,247 and in 1913, $3,616,758, indicating that the greatest progress economically has been made within the last ten years.

Oldham had one of the first county organizations in the Panhandle, a local government having been organized with Tascosa as the county seat, in December, 1880. The population of the county at the Federal census of that year was 287, and at the election in the fall of the same year 187 votes were polled, which indicates that practically all the residents were males and of voting age and other qualifications. At the census of 1890 the county had a population of 270, a decrease in 1900, 349 and in 1910, 812. After the construction of the Fort Worth & Denver City Railway across the northeast corner of the county in 1888, a railway station was established called Tascosa, but was several miles from the county seat Town of Tascosa, which was on the north side, of the Canadian River. During the present century the Rock Island Railroad was constructed across the south border of the county. There are several other towns besides the county seat, including Adrian, Vega and Wildorado.

During the years before the railroad came Tascosa was one of the most notorious towns in Texas, a supply point for the various cattle outfits operating in the Panhandle, and a center for periodical revelry and dissipation for the cowboys. Nearby was an important adjunct of the town, known locally as "Boot Hill," where those who met sudden and violent death on the street and in the saloons of Tascosa were hastily consigned to their graves. Among all the old-timers who followed the trail across the Panhandle during the ྂs and ྌs, Tascosa has associations such as to classify it with such larger and more notorious cattle towns as Fort Dodge, Abilene and Fort Worth.


Source: A Complete and Comprehensive Description of the Agricultural & Stock Raising Resources of the Texas Panhandle Country, 4th Edition (Mar. 1893) - Transcribed by Cheryl

Taken its name in honor of Williamson S. Oldham, deceased, a distinguished jurist and orator in Texas. It is situated on the northwestern limit of the State, with New Mexico its western border. It also one of the third tear of counties from the northern limit of the State. It was formed from Bexar county in 1876, and contains an area of 1,477 miles. The Canadian river flows through the northern part of the county, and with its tributaries furnishes water the whole year. The general surface of the county is undulating, with broken cliffs and ravines on the border of the streams. The soil of the county is variable, its red and black loam predominating. Agriculture as a distinct business is not engaged in, stock raising being the principal industry. The Denver, Texas & Ft. Worth Division of the Union Pacific System passes across the northeast corner of the county, having a mileage of 21 miles in the county. Tascosa is the county seat, with a population of 400.

VALUE OF PROPERTY. - The assessed value of all property in 1887, $592,446 in 1890, $1,561,672. Increase, $969,226.

LANDS. - Improved lands sell for from $2 to $5 per acre, unimproved for from $1 to $3 per acre. The average taxable value of land in the county is $1 per acre. Acres State school land in county, 154,400. Acres of land subject to pre-exemption, 20,830.

NEWSPAPERS.-There is one weekly newspaper published in the county.

SCHOOLS. - This county has a total school population of 105, with 1 school house, and gives employment to 1 teacher. Average wages paid teachers: White -males $75. Total number of pupils enrolled during the year was 62, average attendance 37, and the average length of school term 100 days. The estimated value of the school houses and grounds is $500, school apparatus $250, making the total value of school property $750. Total tuition received from the State, $420.

FARM and CROP STATISTICS. - There are 10 farms in the county 18 farm laborers were employed on the farms of the county during the year, average wages paid being $25 per month.

Oldham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Oldham first arose amongst the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from their having lived in Oldham, in Lancashire. This was a town near the city of Manchester it has since been absorbed by that city. The place-name Oldham is derived from the Old English elements old, which means old, and ham, which means farm. The place-name therefore translates as "the old farm." Alternatively, Oldham could have meant "dweller by the long-cultivate river flat." [1]

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Early Origins of the Oldham family

The surname Oldham was first found in Lancashire at Oldham, an enfranchised borough, a parochial chapelry, and the head of a union, in the parish of Prestwich, hundred of Salford. Now part of Greater Manchester, the first record of the placename was found in 1226-1228 when it was listed as Aldholm. [2] "Oldham was for a long period celebrated for the manufacture of hats, which was established so early as the fifteenth century." [3]

Another possible origin of the name was found. "This place [(Werneth, Lancashire) which adjoins to the town of Oldham], anciently Fernet, was held in the reign of Henry III. by Alwardus de Aldholme, founder of the family of Oldham. His daughter and co-heiress conveyed the manor to the Cudworths, a branch of a Yorkshire family and from them the estate passed by sale to Sir Ralph Assheton, of Middleton." [3]

We can only assume that both sources are referring to that same family at different times. Early rolls list the first record of the name not in Lancashire but as Achard de Aldeham in the Feet of Fines for Kent. Richard de Oldham was listed in Lancashire in 1384. [1] The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Agnes de Oldom and Robertus de Oldom. [4]

Further to the north, Hoddam is parish in the county of Dumfries, Scotland. "This parish comprehends the ancient parishes of Hoddam, Luce, and Ecclesfechan, which were united in 1609. Hoddam, in ancient charters, is spelt Hodholm and Hodolm, signifying 'the head of the holm,' and is supposed to have derived that appellation from its situation on the bank of the river Annan, where the ground is flat and rich, and what is usually called holm land." [5]

Watch the video: Oldham Town Centre. Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre (July 2022).


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