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

Bristow Pioneers Plaza

 
 
The Abrahams Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
1. The Abrahams Marker
Inscription.
[There are several dozen family histories on permanent markers on the plaza. One marker is transcribed, while the names on the other markers are listed for future reference]

The Abrahams [on Panel 1]

Only a little inquiry is needed to establish the fact that Joe Abraham was one of the first and foremost in the early commercial and cultural development of Bristow. Born March 20, 1865, he came to America in 1896 from his native Beirut, Syria (now Lebanon), arriving in New York City through Ellis Island. There, officials advised him to change his name from Saleem Ibrahim Nahra to Joe Abraham which would be easier for people to remember. He had only $10.50, and a friend in Buffalo, New York loaned him $15 worth of merchandise to sell. He kept sending money back to his friend to buy additional goods as he peddled his way westward, living on the road and selling to farmers and settlers. Several months later he arrived in St. Louis, Missouri and stayed there for 18 months, peddling into the countryside. Joe saved $200 which he sent to his father in Beirut to repay him for his passage to America. In 1898 he headed westward again and eventually settled in Oklahoma Indian Territory in Bristow, which was just beginning, with three or four small buildings and dirt streets. Joe opened his own store
The Abraham Family Album Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
2. The Abraham Family Album Marker
in a frame building at what is now 8th and Main, and by adding one department after another, he soon had the largest mercantile store in town. Joe's advertising, written in his own words, was typical of the broken English he spoke. People frequently mailed copies of "The Bristow Record" to friends in other states so that they might enjoy reading his unusual and interesting ads. Farmers travelled out of their way to patronize his business because of his fairness and generosity, well expressed in his ad slogan "Joe Abraham, The Poor Man's Friend." He generously extended credit to needy citizens and did not discriminate. It was by this sort of trade that he prospered.

Joe developed a penchant for land, and it wasn't long until he owned many farms and thousands of acres of oil and gas interests. He drilled a large gas well in 1908, and for a time his Bristow Gas Company supplied most of the lighting and heating gas for Bristow. His main interest besides real estate was the cotton business. At one time, he owned or operated twelve gins and became one of the largest cotton dealers in the South.

Although Joe was unable to read or write, when it came to arithmetic, his mind was as keen as an adding machine. He employed a bookkeeper but seldom needed to refer to records to recall at will the details of his businesses, even complicated fractions necessary to figure large
Abraham Buildings on Main Street image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
3. Abraham Buildings on Main Street
West opposite the Bristow Pioneers Plaza
cotton transactions. Many of the finest buildings in Bristow were built by him, and at one time he owned four of the best blocks on Main [S]treet. His faith in Bristow never waned, and he was planning more buildings when he died.

Fannie Longacre moved with her parents from Missouri to Bristow on January 14, 1899 and worked in their boarding house where she met Joe. She was of Scotch-Irish, English and Indian descent. The Longacres were direct descendents of Sir Francis Drake of England and Pocohontas, who was an Algonquin Indian of the Delaware tribe in Virginia. Fannie loved to play the harmonica for square dances. She and Joe were married June 18, 1899, and their first home was in the back of Joe's store. Fannie was a good mother, the matriarch of the family, and noted for her even temperament. Those close to her cannot recall her saying an unkind word about anyone. She was more reserved than Joe, and they made a good match. She read the newspaper to him every day. They had five children: Louis, Herbert, Francile, Jack and Pauline. Joe's businesses in later years were built around his three sons, and Fannie was active in the management until she retired in 1956. Joe had an outstanding characteristic that those who knew him best understood and loved in him: His lavish devotion to his family. His wife and children were everything to him.

Joe was a devout Catholic
Bristow Pioneers Plaza (West Facade) image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
4. Bristow Pioneers Plaza (West Facade)
On Main Street
and one of the founding members of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Bristow and a large contributor for its construction. Before its completion, Mass was held in the living room of the Abraham home at 120 West 8th Street. Following tradition, a Bishop had to bless the home before services could be held there. The house was built in 1905 from native sandstone rock. Fannie lived there until her death February 5, 1974. Since that time the house has served as a home for only the descendants and families of Joe and Fannie.

During a visit to his homeland in 1921, Joe arranged for the construction of a school in his native village, Badoon. Yearly he sent funds to pay the teachers and defray expenses of the school attended by approximately 200 children. Joe appreciated the advantages of education more keenly because he never had any formal schooling. His literary accomplishments were limited to signing his name in printed capital letters.

In everything Joe was public spirited and was distinguished for his readiness to help others less fortunate. As a loyal American citizen, naturalized in 1902, he believed there was no other country in the world that responded so quickly to the efforts of an honest man as the United States of America. On November 7, 1927, when the bell at Saint Joseph's tolled its last respects to Joe, it had an echo from the school-bell in far-off Badoon,
Bristow Pioneers Panel 1 image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
5. Bristow Pioneers Panel 1
Syria, his birthplace.

Written April 1997
by Joe and Fannie's grandchildren.

—————————

[Non-transcribed Bristow Pioneers marker titles]

Panel 1
The Marshal J. Groom Family Bristow High School Class of 1940 The Cooper Family Larry and Cheryl Coy The Hake Family Albert and Dorcas Kelly The Kelly Family Dunaway Funeral Home

Panel 2
The Newton Girls The Bill Newton Family The Earl Ford Family Bill and Wanda Newton's Family Bill and Virginia Boerstler Coryell The Mackensen Family Haleem Joseph and Fadway Hamra Westhafer Family and Business Saint Joseph Catholic Church Red Bird Shoe Shop Bristow Garden Club Bristow High School Class of 1932 The McMillan Family The James Johns Family The McGehee Family Ernest & Hazel Spriggs

Panel 3
The Chadderdon Family The West Family

Panel 4
The Freeland Family Roy A. and Ruth Bryan Krumme Krumme Family Album

Panel 5
The Smith Family The Bolins

Panel 6
Ethan A. Mills and Family The Moore Family The Ellis Family First Christian Church The Bud Greer Family The F. M. Milburn Family The Kemp Family Bristow High School Class of 1933 Dr. Martin A. Yourman - James E. Yourman The
Bristow Pioneers Panel 2 image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
6. Bristow Pioneers Panel 2
Wallace Family

Panel 7
The Vining Family The Bristow Wildflower Run The Chapman Family Stanley and Irene Henson Henson Family Album

Panel 8
The Fosters The Foster Family Album Bristow High School Class of 1957 The Fuscos The Joneses The Monfort Jones and Allie Brown Jones Foundation Bristow Western Heritage Days The Stanford Shoppe Bristow Business and Professional Women's Club Bristow High School Classes of 1941, 1942, 1943 R. R. (Brick) Kirchner The George S. Carman Family
 
Location. 35° 50.003′ N, 96° 23.437′ W. Marker is in Bristow, Oklahoma, in Creek County. Marker is on Main Street (State Highway 16/66), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Markers are in the plaza on Main Street, west of the former railroad passenger station. Marker is at or near this postal address: 105 North Main Street, Bristow OK 74010, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bristow Concrete Walk (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); 45th Infantry (Thunderbird) Division (approx. 0.9 miles away); Cpl Larry E. Caldwell, US Army (approx. 0.9 miles away); SFC Donald J. Hurt, US Army (approx. 0.9 miles
Bristow Pioneers Panel 3 image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
7. Bristow Pioneers Panel 3
away); Major Quince L. Brown, USAAF (approx. 0.9 miles away); Cpl Peter W. Klingensmith (approx. 0.9 miles away); AMM1 Clifford Murl Satterfield, US Navy (approx. 0.9 miles away); USS Gunboat Charleston (PG 51) (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bristow.
 
Categories. Settlements & Settlers
 
Bristow Pioneers Panel 4 image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
8. Bristow Pioneers Panel 4
Bristow Pioneers Panel 5 image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
9. Bristow Pioneers Panel 5
Bristow Pioneers Panel 6 image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
10. Bristow Pioneers Panel 6
Bristow Pioneers Panel 7 image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
11. Bristow Pioneers Panel 7
Bristow Pioneers Panel 8 image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
12. Bristow Pioneers Panel 8
Bristow Pioneers Plaza Panels 1-4 image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
13. Bristow Pioneers Plaza Panels 1-4
Bristow Pioneers Plaza Panels 5-8 image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
14. Bristow Pioneers Plaza Panels 5-8
Bristow Pioneers Plaza (East Facade) image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., January 16, 2011
15. Bristow Pioneers Plaza (East Facade)
Showing small amphitheatre at plaza
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 24, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,038 times since then and 62 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on April 25, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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