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Catesby - 100 Years


click links below to view photos of the days events and other Catesby information.


     The only traces remaining of the old Catesby townsite is one house, which is owned by Donny and Anna Swenn. Anna say's "Donny is sheriff and I am Mayor of Catesby" She also referred to herself as "half the population" of the town. All traces of the sod store, the school, Earl Crail's garage and filling station, the bank, post office, livery stable, rooming house and other businesses that once stood in this town are all but gone. Only the memory of them remain, but the spirit of the early-day settlers of Catesby will always be strong.

     July 6, 2002, a centennial celebration was held. Organized by Anna Swenn and the centennial committee, several events and displays were available. By 10:00 a.m., many folks had arrived at the Church to view the 19th Century Art Show by the founder of the town, Eben Rose. Other items on display included quilts made or owned by former Catesby residents. Many photographs of by-gone days, school registers, plat map showing the land owners in 1910, barbed wire collection, and many other memories of the time. A surrey, pulled by two mules, was on hand for those who wanted to take a ride. The surrey and mules, owned by John Shepherd (who was born in Catesby in 1914), was driven by one of his grandsons. Outhouses were provided for the visitors at the church and the town site, as well as a wash basin to freshen up. Canopys were in place, along with tables and chairs to enable visitors to get out of the sun (and a little rain) and to reminisce with family and friends.

     A US Postal employee was on hand with an official U.S.Government Centennial Post Office stamp, which has the face of "Ella Rose" who started the Catesby Post Office, for those who wished to send mail to family with the Catesby post mark. This stamp was good for July 6, 2002 only, but for the cost of the postage stamp, everyone was able to send their mail that day only from Catesby, Oklahoma. Commemorative envelopes were available, stamped with the Catesby post mark for those who wanted a collector's item as well.


     Martha Tyson, along with her sons, Mabry and Ed, with their families, were on hand for the celebration. Martha is the granddaughter of Catesby ap Roger Jones, (hero of the Mexican and Civil Wars) the towns namesake. Several descendants of Eben and Ella Rose attended the days festivities. Some of his granddaughters were dressed as pioneer women, which added to the ambiance of the celebration. Also in attendance were descendents of Frank Baker, another early day pioneer; several Crail and Shepherd family members, who had family born or living in Catesby in the early days, were also there for the festivities.

     A ceremony was held at the Catesby United Methodist Church 3/4 miles east of old town site at 3:00 P. M. There was standing room only inside the church, with many others gathered outside listening to the events taking place. The program was opened with a welcome from Anna Swenn. Anna also thanked the many people who helped put this all together and introduced several guests. Opening prayer was given by Marvin Carnagey. Pianist, Kay Carnagey played while everyone sang "You Are My Sunshine". Speaker, Cecelia Vanderslice, a Rose family descendant, told the history of Eben and Ella Rose, their trip to Catesby and building the sod home, part of which was used as a grocery store and post office.

     Following a 5 minute break, Daveine Larkey sang "Proud To Be An American". Mabry Tyson gave a history of the Catesby name and told stories of Catesby ap Roger Jones' Civil War days aboard the C. S. S. Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack). Ralph Baker, descendant of Frank, told a few stories of the early days of Catesby then led everyone in the Lord's Prayer. Closing song "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder" was sung by all.

     The water melon feast at the original Catesby sod store site 3/4 mile west of the church was held after the official ceremony. The baseball game was played at 7:00 p.m. north of the church. Other activities for the event included a skillet toss, local music and Cowboy Poets who provided entertainment for the crowd.

     An article printed in the June 2002 issue of Oklahoma Living as well as the June 30, 2002 issue of The Sunday Oklahoman helped spread the word about the celebration. In addition, CNN flashed a banner at the bottom of the screen. Anna Swenn gave an interview on a Chicago rock station, and a BBC station carried the news as well. Many Catesby ap Roger Jones relatives across the country and in England e-mailed the webmaster and Anna with congratulations and to inform us that the Catesby-Jones families were holding a large family reunion in England July 12-15, 2002. They are now talking about the possiblilty of holding a future reunion in Catesby, Oklahoma.

More stories and photos will be added as time permits after webmaster returns from vacation.

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