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Contributed by Robin Ezell
Interview #9413 page 461
GAMBLING IN GUTHRIE 1889
I was an 89'er. I got hold of two town lots in Guthrie. That was the wildest of all the openings and I made them all. Tents sprang up over night in the middle of what were to be streets and everywhere were lot-jumpers galore; might made right and everywhere the gambling tent flourished. My brother, Worrington Lucas, Bob Dalton, myself and four other men were deputized as officers to form "a law and order" rule.
The first thing was to clear the streets of tents. We had the survey line as a guide to street lines so we started at Oklahoma Avenue from the depot to First Street, then turned south and cleared that. When we met opposition we just cut the guy ropes of every tent that stood on street property, our guns helped to emphasize what we were doing.
Every other door was a saloon but Dick and Bill Reeves had them all beaten. They had every man who could handle a hammer jump in and help them put up the first frame building in Guthrie, on the corner of Harrison at First Street. Before there was a roof on the building they had the roulette wheel going. One experience with Dick and Bill I shall never forget, now will any of the old timers' who were there at the time. An old gypsy with $1800.00 savings came along and dropped in at Reeves' gambling hall; the roulette wheel was operated with a "squeeze" or spindle secretly located under the operator's and he could stop it on any color. They proposed to the old gypsy that he put 50 cents on a certain number and if he stayed nine times he could double his winnings. (They didn't figure him for more than $800.00 and knew they could outstay him on that). But he stayed the nine times with $17.50.00 in, the capper had $1750.00 in, and a "Sooner" had $1750.00 in. They gypsy called for his money and winnings.
Then the gamblers, Dick and Bill Reeves resorted to strategy. Shooting started in the rear of the gambling hall, the crowd pushing out and the leaders pushing the gypsy on out so they in the excitement, they, Bill and Dick, could take he money. The gypsy came to me and Ed Puterbaugh, another officer, and told us what had happened. We went back to the gambling hall with the gypsy. There was only $85.00 on the wheel, which the operator gave to the gypsy. A man with a goatee had fled with the rest of the money. We officers said, "? Come on, we'll get your money". The gypsy said, "I've plenty of horses and Winchesters". We got on our horses and set out. Some gamblers had put some "high life" on the hip of Ed's horse. This is sort of an acid that eats into the flesh. The horse went to bucking. Ed shot at the gambler, who hid in the restaurant. We started west, crossed Cottonwood Creek after the gambler. He had gotten across on horseback behind a soldier who did not know who he was. There was a soldier encampment across the creek
Thinking he would make his way back to the rest of the gamblers we went back to the tent about two blocks from the Reeves gambling hall. This was a large tent where about seventy-five gamblers slept and ate. We stationed men around the tent and then I went through; saw no one who looked like the man with the goatee. I noticed a man wrapped in a sheet who looked very pale. I asked him what was the matter; He said he had been sick. After I went out of the tent I followed a hunch about the "sick man". I went back and found his paleness was make-up; his face freshly shaved of its goatee, but the money was gone. The fellow's girl had shaved him and made him up as a "sick man".
So I went outside. A mob was forming. You will find pictures of this in the hands of old timers. Photographers were always on hand to pick up exciting episodes in that "hell-roaring" town. The mob wanted to burn Reeves gambling hall, but we were "the law" and had to prevent it. We said, "Come on, we will make Dick and Bill Reeves pay the gypsy the $1750. There seemed to be three blocks of humanity around us. We got to the hall, took Dick and Bill and said, "Pay the gypsy". They wrote a check on one bank for $800.00 and the balance of the other bank. Handed checks to the gypsy who said, "no good". We said, "Dick, you and Bill here be here at eight thirty in the morning when the bank opens and see that those checks are good". At eight thirty the next morning there was a crowd again with plenty of guns and in hanging mood. Bill wrote a check for $800.00 on one bank, the gypsy took it to the bank and cashed it, gave the money to his wife, who was standing near. Then he took a check for the balance to the other bank and brought the cash to the waiting wife. The gypsy asked, "What do I owe you?" $50.00 apiece to each officer", I replied. We always tried to protect the under dog in those days, for there were sharks waiting for them at every turn.
Interview #10186 page 435
Clyde Stanley Hyde
Olsmith Arms Company was at different places in town, but the place I best remember was at about 206 South Division Street in a small building. All to the east or most all was vacant and the farmers used it as a feeding place and the horse traders, of whom there were many, used the yard as a trading place.
The Reeves Brothers Saloon, with the gambling hall and honky-tonk to the west, adjoined each other. I have spent many days and nights in and out of the saloon, the gambling house and even attended the shows at the honky-tonk, but want to say right here, that I have spent in my whole life only one dime, 10 cents in all, for whiskey or beer and that was for whiskey, and another fellow drank that. I have drunk perhaps a teacup of whiskey, and maybe two gallons of beer, but the dime is all I have been out for them. I was only ten years old when I started going in and out of the saloons with the other boys but I don't recall ever being ordered out of either a saloon or gambling hall.
One day in Reeves a United States marshal drew his gun ___ the bartender I took cover behind a post over toward ___the gambling part of the building, but the marshal cooled off and he and the bar-keeper soon made up. I do not remember the marshal's name, there were two brothers, both marshals.
Interview #10628 page 509
Fred L. Wenmer
Northwest corner Harrison Avenue and Second Street. Reeves Brothers Gambling House. They began business April, 22, 1889. Ran day and night for eighteen years. These lots are vacant now.
Interview # 9961 page 135 Mrs. Charles H. Scrutchfield
The Reeves brothers had a saloon and barbershop on the northwest corner of Harrison Avenue and Second Street. They offered my husband more money than he was making in his own shop, so for two years he barbered for them and rented out his place.
Interview 10610 page 82
For three days I furnished the groceries; after that they bought the grub and I stayed with them three weeks.
Every evening they would go up town and they did not come home until almost morning and never got up until late the next day. One morning I found a big roll of bills in the grub box. They asked me if I didn't see it, and I told them "Yes", but that it wasn't mine so I left it just where it was. I soon learned that these men were gamblers, and were doing business in a tent.
One night they asked me if I would do some hauling for them, and the next morning woke me up about three A.M. and I harnessed my team. We went to the railroad tracks and loaded sixteen hundred feet of lumber off a car onto my wagon. It was such a load that we could not come up the Harrison Avenue hill, but we had to go away around and come up Second Street from the south. We unloaded the weed on the northwest corner of Harrison and Second Streets and there they build the Reeves Brothers Gambling house and saloon for it was the Reeves brothers with whom I had been living. They made lots of money and always had rolls of bills, yet they stole the lumber or part of it to build their building. I went back near Cushion and bought some land which I still own.
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