Got an Antique?

The television show “American Pickers” will be filming in Oklahoma this October and November. The hosts are looking for people in the area with unique antique collections and interesting stories behind them. Individuals only, no stores etc. See the flyer if interested.
People who have one of a kind items to sell may reach out to them on phone number 1-855-OLD-RUST (653-7878), or email, which is:

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Code Talker

A number of Cherokees served as military “Code Talkers” in WWI and WWII.
One such soldier was Nowata resident and Cherokee Nation citizen George Adair. Born in Braggs, Okla., May 24, 1887. He was married in Nowata, OK in 1907 to Edna F., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adolphus McCoy. Adair enlisted in the U.S. Army in September of 1917. After his basic training, Adair was assigned to the 36th Division and sent to the line in France in World War I. Adair, along with other Cherokees, was put in the telephone service. It was those Cherokee soldiers’ responsibility to receive and transmit crucial orders in their native language. Cherokee and other tribal languages were alien to the enemies of the Central Powers, rendering them unable to decipher the American communications spoken in those languages. Unfortunately only Adair’s name remains known among the Cherokee who performed code talking services. The Cherokee Nation is seeking information from relatives of any other Cherokees who may have served in this capacity. Historians say it is impossible to know how many Allies’ lives were saved thanks to the Cherokee and other Native code talkers in both World War I and World War II. Learn more about our veterans by visiting the Museum (Re-opening this summer).GeorgeAdair - Version 2


The renovation of the new Nowata Museum building (formerly the Landers Grocery) is essentially complete. We want to give the public a chance to view the improvements before beginning to construct exhibits, etc. An open house is planned for Monday, February 29th, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. The building is located across the street from the Depot Cafe.
This will be the most modern museum in this part of the state and will be a fantastic addition to the culture in Nowata. The Nowata Historical Society invites you to come have refreshments with us and see the progress that has been made so far.
The work of inventory, cataloging, and packing the museum items is ongoing, and we expect to have our Grand Opening in July of 2016.


We value all the contractors that made the renovation such a success.

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Pauline Nesbitt…

Nowata County resident Pauline Nesbitt thrilled audiences in the 1920’s and 1930’s with her horsemanship and trick riding. She was born Jane Slovensky in 1907 and was raised on a Wisconsin farm. After taking up bronc riding and trick riding she settled on to a ranch west of Nowata. In 1938 Nesbitt won the World Champion Trick and Fancy Rider title.

Visit the Nowata County Historical Society Museum for much more information and photos of Pauline Nesbitt.

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The following article by the Justin Boots Co. highlights her career:

Cowgirl Spotlight – Pauline Nesbitt

May 16, 2012

On October 26, 2011, eight amazing women were inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. These women are an inspiration to not only those that have a Western heritage, but to women everywhere. Justin Boots feels that these women and their stories should never be forgotten. Throughout the next eight months, we will feature one new inductee every month. We hope you enjoy their biographies and are as inspired as we were. The women who shaped the West truly changed the world.

Pauline Nesbitt

An exciting trick rider, known for her flair and split second timing, Pauline Nesbitt was one of the most thrilling rodeo performers of her era. Born Pauline Slovensky in 1907, she and her twelve siblings grew up on a farm in Stanley, Wisconsin. At age thirteen she first rode a bronc while visiting friends in Gonzales, Texas, and from that moment, she was intrigued.

Her admiration for Tad Lucas’ daring trick riding performances led to a shift in her rodeo career and she, too, flourished as a trick rider. From Melbourne, Australia to Oklahoma City, St. Louis to Fort Worth, Texas and all points in between, Pauline’s shoulder stands, under-the-belly stunts, and spectacular quadrille routines were world renowned.

In 1929 she married rodeo clown Jimmie Nesbitt, who she met on the circuit. He convinced her to quit bronc riding and concentrate on the trick riding that made her famous. The couple toured the major rodeos throughout the 1930’s and 40’s. The twosome made a top-notch team. He wowed crowds as a bullfighting rodeo clown while she won their hearts as a trick rider. The couple even did a stint with the Ringling Brothers Circus. Pauline finished fourth in the trick riding at Madison Square Garden in 1934, and performed there throughout the late thirties. It was during that era that she achieved her greatest fame. Pauline won her first trick riding championship at the 1937 Fort Worth Rodeo, where she successfully defended her title in 1938.

The Nesbitts lived in Fort Worth for a while but eventually made Nowata, Oklahoma their home base, on a ranch where they raised cattle and horses. During rodeo season, however, their time together was spent on the road in their car, pulling a trailer with Jimmy’s mule and Pauline’s pinto, and a lap dog named “Tiny.” Pauline continued into the 1930’s to rodeo and maintain her ranch. She even appeared at some of the World War II All-Girl Rodeos.

In addition to training all of her own horses, Pauline, like most of her peers, made all of her own costumes. Her love for Western fashion was highlighted in several articles, and she modeled women’s Western wear for the Sears Roebuck Catalog. She named one of her favorite horses “Moray” (a phonetic spelling for moire) because of the patterns of his spots reminded her of watermarks on silk.

For her athleticism and horsemanship, and her notable contributions to the sport of rodeo, we are so pleased to honor Pauline Nesbitt with induction the National Cowgirl Museum’s Hall of Fame.

Thanks to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame for much of the above information.

Some Flag Waving…

Not many people know that Nowata has an official City Flag. In 1976, for the USA Bicentennial Celebration, the city held a contest for a city flag to be designed. The entry of  W.W. “Spike” Radcliff was chosen and the design is a combination of Indian symbols and colors, described as follows with their meanings (click on the flag for a larger view):

Printing:             Indian Ribbon

Rainbow:            Prosperity

Nowata:             Delaware for “Welcome”

Green:               Growth

Oklahoma:         Choctaw for “Home of the Red Man”

Sun:                  Happiness

Red:                  Valor

Running Water:   Constant Life

White:                Purity

Feathers:            Our Brothers

Blue:                  Loyal

Black:                 Foe

Nowata Flag

If you are interested in seeing a Nowata City flag, there is one on display at the Museum; also there is one in the City Hall conference room.  Radcliff was the owner/operator of Personality Barber Shop and later Spike’s Shop in Nowata.  Over the years Spike has cut the hair of thousands of Nowata men and boys. He was the originator of Spike Railroad Park, a contributor of many drawings and murals to the community and school.  He was a talented artist and there are many of his paintings in Nowata homes.  “Spike” Radcliff passed away August 1, 1998, at the age of 81.  His wife, Laverne Radcliff, was one of the faithful Docents at the museum.

These flags are available for purchase at the Museum Gift Shop for $125.00.

Power to the People…

1910 was the year that electric service first was introduced in Nowata. The Nowata Electric Light and Power Company was formed by W.D. Dodge, Roy Dodge, D. W. Lovett and B. L. Brookins. The company was purchased in 1911 by the Crystal Ice and Power Company. There was a generator housed in a metal building just south of the present day Nowata Filtration plant at the corner of Elm St. and E. Choctaw Ave.

In 1916 the newly formed Public Service Co. of Oklahoma purchased the company and remains Nowata’s provider today. PSO’s roots can be traced back to 1889, when the Vinita Electric Light, Ice and Power Company was chartered in Indian Territory to provide electric service to that community. PSO was incorporated May 29, 1913 in Oklahoma City, by consolidating that company with electric companies and related businesses in Tulsa, Guthrie, Coalgate, Lehigh and Atoka.

PSO’s founder and first president was Frederick William “Fred” Insull, who moved PSO’s headquarters to Tulsa in 1916. Insull was the nephew of Samuel Insull, a former secretary to Thomas Edison, who later became one of the most prominent figures in the electric utility industry.

In the Nowata Museum you will find an electric stove made in 1916. It was owned by Dick Graham who was an employee of the electric company for many years. The stove has the outward appearance of a wood burning stove, but had some interesting features…such as a drop-in stew pot, which functioned much like the crock pots of today.

1916 Electric Stove

1916 Electric Stove