MINCO-OKLAHOMA — If, by chance, you remember a wheelchair that belonged to store owner J.B. Branham, if you heard stories about the tornado that hit Sell Reynolds farm back in April of 1927, then, chances are you’re from Minco or you know someone like Virginia Hayes.
“So much connected,” remarks a visitor to the Minco Historical Society Museum.
“Yes,” replies Virginia, who is one of the museum’s founders and curators. “There’s a lot of connections here at Minco.”
“My grandchildren are 5th generation.”
Hayes is one of hundreds of town residents brought into the world by ‘Doc’ Little.
“Most of us were born at home,” she says.
A.C. Little had a general practice here with his half-brother Jesse for generations.
Virginia points to a lamp with a bell as a base.
“This lamp was in the waiting room of Dr. Little’s office,” she says. “If you came in and there wasn’t anyone to greet you then you rang the bell.”
10 years ago Virginia says the museum committee didn’t have 2 wooden nickels to its name, just a shared sense of history.
Someone in town donated the land.
A call came in from California to give the money it took to build the museum itself.
“Then we really had to get it rolling,” she says.
Pieces of history started coming in too.
The Halvorsen family moved away from Minco in 1924, but they sent back the last surviving platter in a set that moved with them.
“The grand-daughter said it needed to come back home,” says Virginia.
Not many would remember crossing the Canadian River on the Star Ferry, or getting stuck in quicksand if you tried to drive across.
Minco even had its own college for a while, run by a teacher named Meta Bond.
The lumber from the school’s main building is still in use.
“The funeral home here is built from the wood out of that,” says Hayes.
The Rock Island Depot is gone.
So is the man who built most of the brick buildings in Minco, John Ellis.
But someone brought in the black suit he used to wear.
Virginia holds it up, “This is from pre-1900,” she says.
Quite often, items important to one generation slip through to people who’ve forgotten their meaning.
In Minco, and other places too, people like Virginia Hayes try to catch them to show how far we’ve come.