3984Report on Kingfisher
- Apr 19, 2006I got home from Kingfisher last night. It was a very enjoyable trip and I had a fun four days
there. I stood on the street corner that Don was born on (I think) and that was very cool.
The street was renamed Don Blanding Avenue in 1958, and runs through the entire town. I
took a picture of Blanding and Main.
There was a front-page story with my photo in the local newspaper a few days before my
talk. Also, the marquee on one of the local banks was advertising the talk as well.
My talk went for an hour, with questions afterward and some gifts were then presented. I
then had a book signing and refreshments were served. How did I do? Hard to say. I was
nervous at first but then relaxed a little bit. The library did not have a powerpoint remote
clicker so I had to sit down at the table and manually turn the pages of my slideshow. I
would have preferred to stand. I reviewed Don's life, showed artwork, pottery designs, lots
of photos, told stories of his childhood in Oklahoma, presented a minute-long, live-action
film clip in color of Don talking about Hawaiian customs, then ended with a 12-minute
film I made using Don's reading of Vagabond's House accompanied by illustrations from
all his books. The drawings in the film zoomed in or out, and faded into each other. I
gained some confidence and learned some do's and don'ts, and I think my next talk will
profit from what I learned.
There was a respectible crowd of 35 folks, including two from the Great Plains Museum in
Lawton, 100 miles away. I finally got to meet Jim Whiteley, a nice guy, but didn't have a
chance to talk to him afterwards. They left before I could chat...probably to get back
The mayor and his wife, the previous mayor, a judge, and lots of locals were in
attendance. I had loads of fun and sold some books and CDs too.
On the research front I got some microfilm time in (a few references to the family) and had
a breakthrough for the researchers in the group:
The Kingfisher Times, Thursday, September 10, 1896
"Mrs. H. L. Blanding (error in the initials) and family will leave Kingfisher thursday evening
for Minnesota where they will stay for a time, then join Mr. Blanding either in Colorado or
wherever he decides to locate."
So this is the mysterious period that Hugh was in Colorado. We were trying to figure this
out a few years ago because Don said once his father lived in Cripple Creek, Colorado for a
time and broke both legs in an accident.
Ida and kids must have stayed the fall and winter in Minnesota with her sister Ada.
Then I went to the county courthouse and discovered in the old record books that Hugh
and Ida had owned at least nine parcels of land in the city of Kingfisher at various times.
Ida was always listed first, which is unusual for the time. Included in the papers was a
document that Ida had signed on August, 1897 in Mapleton, North Dakota, giving Hugh
power of attorney over their land in Kingfisher. It listed Hugh as a resident of Victor, El
Paso County, Colorado (I live in El Paso county, by the way).
The power of attorney document was then stamped and recorded in Kingfisher three
months later...so I'm assuming they mailed it or one of them returned to Kingfisher. Jesse
may have stayed in Oklahoma the whole time because there is a mention of her visiting
Kingfisher from Enid on Christmas 1897. She may have been at school, as she was old
enough to be on her own by then, or the family may have all returned and settled in Enid
by that point.
I'm now excited about going back to Oklahoma for another talk...maybe Enid or Lawton
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