Bickel Family of NW Oklahoma Territory...
With the talk of Anthony Wholesale Grocery & Bickel Bus Line, this writer took her research to the "Pioneers Footprints Across Woods County" - pgs. 66-67, to an article written by Marguerite May Bickel Hobbs.
We start with H. M. Bickel, Judge in Alva. Judge Bickel was born in Newark, Ohio, May 19, 1845, died December 19, 1905, Alva, Oklahoma. H. M. Bickel married Elizabeth Jane Johnson, in Iowa City, in 1869. Elizabeth was born in Burlington, Iowa, February 12, 1846. Elizabeth was English, calimed a noble, Lord Salisbury. It seems he ran off to America with family treasures he could salvage, such as fine china and cut glass.
After H.M. and Elizabeth were married, they left Iowa for Kansas (McPherson) in 1883. Later they moved to Bethany, Missouri where their first child (Francis Harold) was born in a wagon on the road to Bethany, MO. It seems that Francis fell out in the way of the wagon wheel and was killed -- buried on the plains.
Elizabeth and H.M. taught school in Bethany, Missouri where their second son (Travis Waldo) was born.
H.M. and Elizabeth children were: Francis Harold, Travis Waldo, Milt (bank cashier, lawyer, state senator, and died at height of career of flu epidemic in Alva), Guy, Eva (died of whooping cough, pneumonia), and Pearl.
H. M. Bickel made trips to Salina and Hlastead, Kansas for supplies -- taking 2 to 3 days at a time.Meanwhile Elizabeth braved dangers of pioneer days with an old musket and dog named Carlo.
H.M. & Elizabeth and their family lived for 1-1/2 years in Bethany, Missouri when H. M. was appointed Receiver of US Public Land Office in 1885 uncer President Cleveland. In the Spring of 1886 they moved to Larned, Kansas.
The Bickel family made the Run of 1893 when Cherokee Strip opened -- locating on East side of square in Alva. H. M. was the US Land Commissioner, Alva before statehood. he owned the land in the center of Alva (2-block area where the courthouse and city hall are today. Bickel donated the 2-blocks in the center of Alva for the courthouse and city hall.) besides land east of square, 1-block on Barnes Avenue, northeast corner.
Bickel's home there was made of wood and was brought from home in McPherson. It was torn down and moved to Alva in the late 1890's.
H. M. made the Run of 1893, but his family followed in a wagon and joined J. M. in Alva after the 1893 Run.
Travis Waldo Bickel put into operation, maintained the first telephone system in Alva (consisting of 7 phones owned by George W. Crowell, PC Emberson, Business & Home, George Harbaugh and S. B. Share).
The Bickel building, eastside of square housed the first Linotype machine that was brought to Alva by H. M. Bickel and his son, Milt. They did custom linotype composition for 6 Alva newspapers. Allen Doughty ran the linotype machine -- for 6 years he set practically every line of type for Alva Review, Alva courier, Alva Pioneer (the leading newspapers).
The Alva Pioneer was established, 1893 by W. E. Hatfield -- he distributed papers before settlers had time to pitch their tents or start digging their dugouts.
Travis Bickel was a manufacturist and machinist in early days. In 1906 he owned, operated the first bicycle shop, repaired sewing machines, guns. Later he opened a machine shop and auto repair & welding shop. Travis was a member of first fire department. He was also vice president of the school board for eight years. Travis died in 1944 at the age of 77 years.
In 1938 Travis ran for governor of Oklahoma on the Democratic ticket. His main platform plans were pensions for the elderly and crippled children and homestead exemption.
Travis Bickel was an inventor, but never followed through to get his invention patented - such as his electric automatic curtain control for theaters; thermometer for hatcheries.
Travis married Eva May McNeely May 19, 1897, May 19, 1897, woods County, O.T. Eva died at age of 80 years, in 1957 and is buried in the family plot in the Alva Cemetery. She was a hard working pioneer woman -- always reading -- willing to give helping hand to those who needed it.
Travis and Eva's children were: Violet Ruth (died Aug. 11, 1932), Raymond Custer (died Oct. 29, 1972) and Marguerite May.
In the article in the "Pioneer Footprints" book, Marguerite May remembered the Hennesee's Department store on the west side of the square. She mentioned that you had to walk up steps to a high boardwalk that was covered to protect you from dirty, muddy streets or horse and buggies. She remembered the white horse that pulled the fire wagon. She also remembered the milk man and grocery boy with their wagons and horses -- and the ice wagons where you could get a piece of ice. Plus... she remembered the good times in the park in the center of town with the big trees, band concerts that were held every week. Which... H. M. Bickel had a big part in establishing.
Those days are gone now and Alva is NOT the Alva of those earlier pioneer days where neighbors helped neighbors unconditionally.
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