Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma
In his 1936 book entitled "Pott Country and What Has Come Of It,"* John Fortson wrote the following about the establishment of the town of Asher in southern Pottawatomie county:
"Probably no other townsite in Pottawatomie county was opened with as much ballyhoo and fanfare as Asher. G.M. Asher, A.B. and W.C. Jones, promoters of Asher townsite, employed Graham Burnham, a free lance newspaper writer living in the community, to do the publicity work. Beautifully descriptive stories appeared in Kansas City and St. Louis newspapers. The new railroad, the large trade area, and the possibility of a direct connection with Indian territory across the river were played up. Result was, when the townsite was opened October 30, 1901, the group of eager pioneers included men from all over the country, with many from Shawnee and Oklahoma City, and one from as far away as Chicago.
The first family on the ground was that of J.W. Bristow, who started a restaurant. The first buildings housed the Jim Duncan general store, the Sam Pearce blacksmith shop, the Gloyd lumber office, the Canadian Valley and Asher State banks, the Mammoth store, promoted by Shawnee men and later sold to Scott and Hampton, who turned it later to Mr. and Mrs. Walter Atkins.
Among the town's first industries were a brick plant operated by the Bobiers, a sawmill near the depot owned by Estes, and a gin built by Tom Lovelady. The first drug store was opened by Charlie Pottinger and J.M. Remington, both of Shawnee. The first furniture store was that of Pickens and Snider. Snider, who had been the first jeweler in the county at Tecumseh, was in charge of that end of the Asher business. Walker Olds opened his newspaper plant and began publishing the Asher Altruist.
A four-room school house was soon built in the north part of town, with Theodore Shackelford as superintendent. Since then two new buildings have been constructed and two districts have been consolidated with the Asher school.
The first church is Asher, the First Baptist, had its origin as an interdenominational church at Avoca. Rev. William Lowther was the first minister. Among the first Baptist members were the T.S. Prices, Harry Scotts, Hamptons and Hookers.
Next was the First Methodist, organized by F.M. Forston, Dixie Hazlewood, the Umphenhours, M.W. James, the Snoots, Rawlings and others. Asher's third church was the Church of Christ.
The town soon became a center of baseball interest. Manager Frank Walker sent the fame of the Asher Indians far and wide. Both Waner boys, now in the big league, played for a time on the Asher diamond.
Asher had many small fires in the early years, but in 1922 two blocks of the best business houses went up in flames. This was a strong blow for a town that had fought an uphill battle since its much-publicized opening. The railroad into Indian territory failed to materialize, and even a highway bridge was long in coming. Construction of the Highway 18 bridge served to offset the fire loss. Since that time Asher's valiant citizens have had their hands full keeping the ravenous South Canadian from eating away their precious bridge."
*John Fortson, Pott Country: And What Has Come Of It;
USA: Eakin Press, 1936; pp. 72 & 74.
The photo below is of a newspaper add encouraging people to move to ASHER, published in December 1901: