“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Claremore in Rogers County, Oklahoma — The American South (West South Central)

Howdy Folks

The Official Will Rogers Poem

— by David Randolph Milsten —

Howdy Folks Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
1. Howdy Folks Marker
Well, here goes some scribblin' that's a little past due,
But I reckon I'm always a-thinkin' 'bout you.

I've been readin' the papers in my own little way,
And I see where you messed up my last birthday.

Through divine television I caught the dedication
And heard some tributes by a mighty swell nation.

Now that's a powerful nice shack you built on the hill;
But that's just like the Sooners, it gives them a thrill.

I never did nuthin' to cause all that fuss;
And sometimes, folks, I could almost cuss.

But, dern you, I love you, I guess it's my pride
That chokes me all up and hurts me inside.

I heard Jesse, Irvin, Cohan and Fred
And Amon and Eddie, what nice things they said.

I always called Claremore a big little town,
With guys like Mort Harrison and others around.

I see where Joe Crosson winged there for a day;
Remember him, Wiley? We slept all the way.

But I'll tell you the part which touched me the most,
And it ain't like me to speak up and boast.

It was when dear Mary pulled the curtain string
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my act in bronze -- what a homely thing!

But I guess it was sentiment that filled the place,
'Cause my kids kind of cried and I saw Betty's face.

God bless my old partner, she held up her head;
and though none of you heard me, she knew what I said.

And I spied Sister Sally with a shy little glance;
She's all the West means, charm and romance.

Old Jo had a job a-chisslin' my mug;
Why, I got more wrinkles than a Navajo rug.

So you're honorin' Oklahoma with a replica of me -
Move over Sequoyah, for another Cherokee.

Well, much obliged friends, for the money you spent,
And the words that were spoken by our President.

I wish you had erected a memorial to peace;
We'd be happy up here if war talk would cease.

But I ain't ungrateful, I just can't see
Such a hullabaloo 'bout a cowboy like me.

Well, so long folks, it's time to retire;
I got to keep a date with Odd McIntyre.

"Howdy Folks" has been designated the official original poem of the Will Rogers Memorial by enactment of the Regular Session of the Eighteenth Legislature of Oklahoma (1941), and describes the dedication of the Memorial on November 4, 1938. The characters mentioned are Jesse Jones, statesman, Houston, Texas; Irvin S. Cobb, noted writer; George M. Cohan,
Will Rogers Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
2. Will Rogers Memorial
"Howdy Folks" marker is on fence to right of center tree.
famous song and dance man; Fred Stone, stage and screen star; Amon G. Carter, publisher, Ft. Worth; Eddie Cantor, radio and stage comedian; Morton R. Harrison, member of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission; Joe Crosson, famous aviator who returned the bodies of Will Rogers and Wiley Post by air, from Alaska; Wiley Post, record flier with whom Rogers was flying at the time of his death; Mary Rogers, daughter of Will Rogers; Betty Rogers, wife of Will Rogers; Sally McSpadden, sister of Will Rogers; Joe Davidson, sculptor of Will Rogers statue; Sequoyah, famous Cherokee Indian whose statue is in the Hall of Fame in Washington; Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thirty- Second President of the United States of America; and O.O. McIntyre, noted columnist. The poem was written by the author of "An Appreciation of Will Rogers," an authentic biography. The poem has been set to music by Bainbridge Crist, American composer, and published by Irving Berlin, Inc. All rights are reserved, copyright 1939, David Randolph Milsten.

This installation made possible by the 1st Session, 34th Legislature 1973 State of Oklahoma
Dedicated Nov. 4, 1973
Erected 1973 by 1st Session, 34th Legislature, State of Oklahoma.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music
Will Rogers image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
3. Will Rogers
From a poster created by the Federal Art Project WPA commemorating Will Rogers Field Dedication, June 28, 1941.
EntertainmentNative Americans. A significant historical date for this entry is November 4, 1938.
Location. 36° 19.258′ N, 95° 37.904′ W. Marker is in Claremore, Oklahoma, in Rogers County. Marker is at the Will Rogers Memorial. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1720 West Will Rogers Blvd (Oklahoma Route 88), Claremore OK 74017, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Will Rogers Redbud (a few steps from this marker); Will Rogers (a few steps from this marker); Will Rogers Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Oklahoma Military Academy War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oklahoma Military Academy Killed in Action Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); George Washington (approx. 0.2 miles away); US Army M-41 "Walker Bulldog" Light Tank (approx. one mile away); Main Street of America (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Claremore.
Also see . . .  Will Rogers Memorial Museums. (Submitted on April 25, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 25, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,019 times since then and 77 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 25, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   3. submitted on December 4, 2020, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.

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Dec. 6, 2023