Reverend Hildred Ray O’Dell, saint and sinner

The defining moment of Hildred Ray O’DELL’s life was surely the embezzlement charges he faced in 1946. On 27 April 1946, Reverend Hildred O’DELL resigned from pastoring Gospel Tabernacle. The 1941 Polk’s Directory for Springfield, Greene, Missouri, lists Gospel Tabernacle at 933 Franklin Avenue and lists Reverend O’DELL as the pastor there even though he was arrested and transported to Laclede County, Missouri. Perhaps he was transported and charged in Laclede County because that is where the checks were cashed.

In any case, he had pastored Gospel Tabernacle for 9 years prior to resigning on 27 April 1946. That was a Wednesday (although some newspaper accounts reported that he resigned on Friday). On Friday, he cashed a $2,000 check that was supposed to have gone to the church’s general fund. On Saturday, he cashed another $50 check at Lebanon State Savings Bank and that was the last he was seen before his arrest. On Monday, 2 May 1946, the Missouri State Highway Patrol broadcast a pickup order for Reverend O’Dell. His arrest was swift and happened on Sunday, 8 May 1946 in Treece, Cherokee, Kansas. After his arrest, he signed a waiver for extradition and was transported to Laclede County, Missouri, where he was facing not only the embezzlement charges but also some civil attachment suits filed by “indignant members” of the church. Reverend O’DELL posted $25,000 bond and waived his Preliminary Hearing. His trial was set to be heard in the September term of the Circuit Court.

Pastor O’DELL issued a statement through his un-named attorney which said, “I wish for continued progress of the church, and ask former members to have the same faith in me that I have had in them in times past. I also ask them to hold this faith until I have an opportunity to tell my story at my trial.” Unfortunately, I did not locate any information about the trial or the outcome or Pastor O’DELL’s side of the story.

I can imagine scenarios that involved both his innocence and his guilt and I don’t feel he can be judged to be either without knowing all the facts. We are still “innocent until proven guilty” here in this wonderful country. What I do know is that by 18 December 1947, when Reverend O’DELL’s brother, Merritt Mildred, passed away suddenly of a heart attack, Reverend O’DELL was living in Los Angeles, California. At that time his father, Charles O’DELL was still living as were three of his sisters- Imogene O’DELL NORTH, Margaret O’DELL NEAL, and Lela O’DELL JOHNSON. All three sisters were living in near Treece, Cherokee, Kansas, where Merritt lived when he passed away. Based on Merritt’s obituary, I am presuming that their mother, Rose WALTON O’DELL, passed away prior to 18 December 1947. I do know that in 1930 at the time of the census, Rose was still living in Kansas with her husband and some of her children (including Hildred who was 21, single, and working as a Mill Man in a lead mine).

So, I leave Hildred’s case with you, having failed to resolve the issue of his guilt or innocence. I also give the family genealogists a caveat- this is my best guess as to Hildred’s identity based on the evidence available to me and using all available clues as to age, location, etc.

How do you find, jury- guilty or innocent?

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? Or, Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover?

We all have at least one moment in our lives where we made a bad decision.  We did something we wish we hadn't- made a decision, took an action, whatever it might be.  Or we feel we made the right decision/action but the consequences and resulting reactions were far from what we intended or wanted.  Unfortunately in life, a do-over is rare.  Having said that, I present to you this week's transcription.

The Tri-State Tribune
PIcher, Ottawa County, Oklahoma
Thursday, May 9, 1946

[Article title has been cut off on my copy]

Rev. Hildred R. O'Dell of Lebanon, MO., charged with embezzlement of funds from the Gospel tabernacle, his former pastorate, is in the Laclede county jail after his arrest at Treece, Kans., Monday.

The 45-year-old minister was arrested by Sheriff M. S. Harley and Deputy Sheriff Art Bray, who had picked up an order from the Kansas State highway patrol.  He signed a waiver of extradition and was taken to Joplin, where Sheriff Eldridge Simmons of Laclede county took him into custody.

O'Dell is charged with having withdrawn $2,000 in funds from a Lebanon bank April 26, the same day he resigned as pastor of the 30 member congregation where he had served for nine years.

This week we'll take a look at Reverend Hildred R. O'Dell as well as the law enforcement officers- M. S. Harley, Art Bray, and Eldridge Simmons. 

H. O. GREEN, 1891-1959, Patriot, Barber, City Councilman

We’re wrapping up this week’s City Council participants with H. O. GREEN who was sworn in as a new Picher City Councilman in May, 1946 (see Monday’s blog entry for the newspaper transcription). The final two participants that were named were Dr. H. C. HUNTLEY and Mr. NEEL. I have been unable to identify these two men.

Henry Oscar GREEN (aka H. O. and Oscar) and his twin brother, James Arthur (aka J. A. and Arthur), owned a barber shop in Picher. They both served in WWI. They were born in 7 February 1891 in Booneville, Logan, Arkansas, to Henry Augustus and Matilda Jane McNERLIN GREEN. Their siblings included Thelma A., John B., Annie M., Cordia V., Marvin I., Rosa “Rose” Ella, and Casper Taylor.

In 1900 and 1910, both boys lived with their parents in Logan County, Arkansas. Then WWI came. It is unknown whether the brothers served in the same unit or same places together. J. A. was a Private in the Army. I was unable to find H. O.’s rank. J. A.’s WWI Draft Registration card gave his home address as Booneville, Logan, Arkansas in 1917/1918. He listed himself as single and a farmer and stated he had no one depending on him for support. I was unable to locate a WWI Draft Registration card for H. O..

However much time the two of them spent together before the war, after the war was different. In 1920 H. O. (going by Oscar) was in Sallisaw, Sequoyah, Oklahoma, living on Choctaw or Chickasaw Avenue. He lived in the home of Mary B. SALES as a boarder and he was single. Mary’s son and the other boarder in the home were both barbers. It would seem that this is where H. O. learned his trade as a barber. No occupation was listed for him on the census record. J. A. was living next to his parents in Logan County, Arkansas, and working as a farmer. He, too, was single.

Whatever happened to separate them, they were living close to each other again in 1921 in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, where J. A. (going by the name Arthur) married Lottie Corley on 10 August 1921. A couple of years later, H. O. marred Edna PIERSON on 25 December 1923. H. O. and Edna listed their residences as Sallisaw, Sequoyah, Oklahoma, but the marriage record was filed in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. So the assumption is that when they married, they also moved from Sequoyah County to Ottawa County.

J. A. and Lottie must have followed then or shortly after because by 1930 J.A. was living in Picher and H. O. was living in nearby Quapaw, Ottawa, Oklahoma. In 1930, H. O. listed his occupation as barber and stated he was working at a barber shop. He and Edna had two children- Billy Ann who had just turned 4 at the time of the census and Bobby (a son) who was a month shy of turning 3. Both children were born in Oklahoma. J. A. listed the same occupational information (barber working at a barber shop) and he and Lottie had one girl, Joyce, born in Oklahoma. J. A. was living on the 600 block of River Street. H. O.’s address was not specified on the census record.

As with the WWI Draft Registration cards, I could only find one of the brothers’ WWII Draft Registration cards. Henry Oscar GREEN was residing at 427 Emily in Picher, Oklahoma, in 1942. He stated he received mail at 218 South Connell Avenue in Picher. This was also the address he gave for his barber shop. He listed his nearest relative as his brother, J. A. GREEN, who lived in Picher at that time. The card describes H. O. as being 5’9, weighing 205 pounds, and having brown eyes and brown hair and a light complexion.

The next we hear of H. O., he was being sworn in as a new City Councilman in Picher in May, 1946. According to a family history found online, H. O. had a second marriage to a woman named Grace and he passed away on 11 November 1959 in Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma. J. A. passed away on 30 December 1983 in Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma.

Finally, sometime after WWII, this photo was snapped that includes H. O. Green. He seemed to be very active in his community later in his life. One thing I noted about the photo is that it lists H. O. as “Chaplin”. I am uncertain whether that pertains to his position within the VFW or his position during his military service. This would be one avenue of research that interested family members could pursue. This photo was found at which is an excellent resource about people in the Picher-Cardin, Oklahoma area.

Thank you, H. O. and J. A. GREEN for your service to the American people.

Archie L. Hise, Patriot and City Councilman

1913 was possibly the most difficult of Archie Hise’s life. Possibly. On 15 February 1913, Archie’s brother Charles was in an “unavoidable” automobile accident and died as a result. Just two months later, on 16 April 1913, Archie’s father passed away due to heart disease. Within a few years, Archie entered the military. I imagine there wasn’t a more difficult time in Archie’s life than the decade between 1910-1920.

Archie Lee Hise was born in in February 1895 in Brooklyne, Missouri to Isaac and Sarah Jane THOMPSON HISE. (Brooklyne, Missouri, is possibly Brooklyn, Harrison, Missouri. One family tree gives the birthdate 14 October 1894 and another family tree gives a birthdate of 14 February 1894 with a birthplace of Webb City, Jasper, Missouri, but I am uncertain where they are getting their information. I believe the more accurate date is the date given on the 1900 census which occurred just 5 years after his birth. I am also using the birthplace listed on Archie’s Draft Card registration as opposed to the unsourced family histories.) His siblings were Alice A., Charles, Ethel, Roxy, Cleo (a girl), Irene, Bruce, and Gladys. Everyone in the family was born in Missouri except Isaac, who was born in Tennessee.

The family (mom, dad, and all children from Alice to Cleo) lived in Joplin Ward 1, Jasper, Missouri, in 1900. The lived somewhere between 1503 and 1426 Hill Street. Isaac was a teamster and Charles was a laborer. By 1910, the family had moved to Webb City Ward 4, Jasper, Missouri. They lived on Devon Street which was classified as “mining land”. Isaac was still working as a teamster and Alice and Chas were no longer living in the home. The family had increased by three children- Irene, Bruce, and Gladys.

On 15 February 1913, Archie’s brother Charles was in an “unavoidable” automobile accident and died as a result. Just two months later, on 16 April 1913, Archie’s father passed away due to heart disease. Their mother Sarah, provided the information on Charles’ death certificate. She gave Charles’ birthplace as Green[e] County, Missouri, and his birthdate as 10 May 1884. She stated that the family lived in Webb City, Jasper, Missouri. Charles was about 3 months away from celebrating his 29th birthday. He was single at the time of his death. He is buried at Carterville Cemetery in Missouri. Archie’s sister, Alice A. HISE PORTER, provided the information on her father’s death certificate. She stated that Isaac was born 8 October 1849 in Nashville, Tennessee. She was able to provide Isaac’s father’s name (Jim HISE) but not his birthplace or any information about Isaac’s mother. Charles’ death certificate: Isaac’s death certificate:

In 1917-1918, Archie completed his WWI Draft Registration Card. He gave his birthdate as 14 October 1894 and his birthplace as Brooklyne, Missouri. At this time, he was living at East 2nd Street in Webb City, Jasper, Missouri. He stated that his usual occupation was as a mechanic but that he was unemployed at that time. He was single and stated his family consisted of his mother, brother, and three sisters. He stated he had previous military experience as a Private in the militia for one year in the state of Missouri. His physical description is “tall, slender, brown hair, brown eyes”.

In 1920, Archie has his own family- his wife, Nora GOFF HISE. They are living at 910 East 9th Street in Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri. Archie is working as a mechanic and Nora is a homemaker. Although Nora is listed as Archie’s wife in 1920, the only marriage record I could find was dated 17 June 1922 in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. (Archie’s sister Gladys was also listed as having married in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, on 2 March 1925.)

Archie’s WWII Draft Registration Card was completed in 1942. At that time he lived at 311 North Treece Street, Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma. He gives his birthdate as 17 November 1894 and birthplace as Springfield, Greene, Missouri. He states he is unemployed and lists his sister as his contact person – Gladys Velcher at 420 North Netta Street, Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma. He is described as being 5’9 and weighing 165 pounds. He had brown eyes, gray hair and a light complexion. He must have grayed early since he lists his age as only 48 years old.

The last piece of information I can find about Archie is the newspaper article transcribed on Monday’s blog entry where we find him being sworn in as a Picher City Councilman. This swearing-in happened in May, 1946. The unsourced family histories referenced earlier in this post give Archie’s death date prior to 1946. However, there are several discrepancies between the unsourced family histories so any information would need to be documented and verified by anyone researching the Hise family.

By all accounts, Archie lived a normal life. A mechanic who took his civic duties seriously with service to both the nation (military) and his town (Picher City Council). A man who lived through a rough year in 1913 with the loss of two close family members.

Let this post be a “thank you” to Archie for his sacrifices to maintain my freedoms.

Frank POOLE, politician and used car salesman, 1940’s Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma

This week we’ve learned about Picher’s Mayor L. VOYLES and City Councilman Ed DOBBINS (1946). Today we’re going to talk about Picher’s City Councilman #2, Frank POOLE. I believe Frank was the son of James Franklin and Willie Helen KNIGHT POOLE. He was born 15 November 1913 in Midland, Sebastian, Arkansas. He had five half-siblings: Delbert Sherman “Dee” POOLE, Eula Edna POOLE, Pleasant “Pleas” POOLE, Sr., Mazie Belle POOLE, and Gussie Dorene “Johnie” POOLE. He had four full-blood siblings: Helen Dorene “Dimple” Poole, Lorraine Doris Poole, George James Poole, and John Harold Poole.

In 1920, the family was living in Jim Fork, Sebastian, Arkansas. The family consisted of James and Willie, Willie’s son Elbert DENSON from her previous marriage to James Monroe DENSON, and James and Willie’s children- Willie H. (a daughter), James F. Jr. (our Frank POOLE), and Lorine (Lorraine). Willie H. (the daughter), James F. Jr., and Lorine were all born in Arkansas.
In 1924, the family can be placed in Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma, where James and Willie’s son- John Harold- was born.

In 1927, Frank POOLE is listed and pictured in the Joplimo – the Joplin High School Yearbook (Joplin, Jasper, Missouri). He took part in the Boy’s Glee Club and is pictured both with his class as well as with the Glee Club.

By 1930, the family had moved to Spring Valley, Cherokee, Kansas. The family in 1930 included James Sr., Willie H. (the mother), James F. Jr., Lorraine, George J., and J. Harold. James Jr. and Lorraine were born in Arkansas and George and J. Harold were born in Oklahoma. In 1930 the family was living next to Pleasant POOLE’s family. Pleasant was James Sr.’s son from his previous marriage to Alise “Ada” Catherine JONES.

Family history posted on the internet states that James F. POOLE, Jr.’s first wife was Thelma PEEVY. No other information about Thelma is given and I have not found any information about her in my own research. The family history spoken of here can be found at
On 17 December 1938, James F. Jr. (now going by “Frank Clyde POOLE”) married Vera Maxine MARTIN. Both Frank and Vera lived in Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma, at that time. A notation verifying the marriage can be found at

We can place the family in Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma, in 1943 due to the high school graduation of Harold J. POOLE. (See paragraph below)

The next piece of information found about Frank comes from an article in the 22 August 1945 issue of The Joplin Globe newspaper. The article states that Frank’s brother, Private First Class Harold J. POOLE, had returned home from overseas having received a medical discharge from the Army after a war injury that resulted in the loss of his foot. The article stated that Frank lived at East F Street (presumably in Joplin, Jasper, Missouri) at that time. The article verifies his mother as Helen POOLE “of Blue Mound”. The article also states that Harold graduated from Picher High School in 1943.

In regard to occupation, the online family history states that Frank worked in the mines in “the early days” and later became a car dealer and salesman in the Miami, Ottawa, Oklahoma, area. Frank also had a dealership in Picher for at least 14 years. He started the used car lot in 1946 and was still operating it in 1960, per ads in the Picher school yearbooks. The car lot was located on Connelly Avenue in Picher. During this time, he married his third wife, Naomi E. CHAMBERS MARSHALL. They were married on 20 June 1951 in Benton County, Arkansas. At that time, Naomi was living in Picher and Frank listed his residence as Miami, Ottawa, Oklahoma.

I have found several different death dates for Frank, but none about which I feel confident enough to pass on in this blog. Additional information about extended family includes the death certificate of Frank Clyde’s half-brother Pleasant POOLE at The informant was Frank Clyde’s half-brother Delbert S. POOLE. Their father is listed on the death certificate as Frank POOLE. Their mother is “unknown”.

Ed Dobbins, City Councilman Picher, Oklahoma 1946

Yesterday we took a look at Mayor L. VOYLES. Today we’ll look at Ed DOBBINS- one of the men who was sworn in as a newly elected official to City Council in May, 1946.
Edward Martin DOBBINS was born 13 January 1877 in Gilman, Iroquois, Illinois to Patrick and Katherine BERRY DOBBINS. Ed had an older brother, Timothy D. DOBBINS. Katherine reported in 1900 that she had 6 children but only 2 were living. Records show the two living children to be Ed and Timothy. Patrick immigrated to the US from Ireland and Katherine (also spelled Cathrine and Catharine) was listed both as being born in Illinois and in Ireland on the 1880 census record.

The DOBBINS family was living in Iroquois County, Illinois, in 1880. By 1900, the family (Patrick, Katherine, and Ed) was living in Galena, Cherokee, Kansas. I was unable to locate Timothy in 1900. He is undoubtedly listed as a boarder, lodger, or hired man but where he was is not known. Timothy’s wife, Mary E. HAINES DOBBINS, and their son John David, were living with Mary’s parents in Webb City, Jasper, Missouri.

In 1910, both Ed and Timothy D. were living in Jasper County, Missouri, with their parents along with the now-widowed Timothy’s sons- John and Albert. Since the Dobbins family was interviewed on the 2nd or 3rd of May, 1910, Ed was still single. His wedding to Lilly M. WRIGHT WATSON happened a little over a month after the census date, on 20 June 1910 in Carthage, Jasper, Missouri. In 1910 prior to marrying Ed, Lilly was a widow raising three children- Ben, Dempsey, and Georgia WATSON- from her marriage to George W. WATSON. On 24 August 1910, just a couple of months after Ed’s wedding, his mother, Katherine Jane BERRY DOBBINS, passed away in Missouri. ( Her husband Patrick was the informant for the death certificate and stated that Katherine was born in Illinois and that her parents- David Berry and Kate Condon- were both born in Ireland.

On 12 September 1918, Ed completed his WWI Draft Registration Card. At that time, he stated his birthdate as 13 January 1877. He was working as a blacksmith at Fort Worth Mining Company in Douthat, Ottawa, Oklahoma. His nearest relative is Mrs. Lillie Dobbins. He is described as having blue eyes and brown hair and is of medium height and medium build. He was 41 years old.
In 1920, Ed, Lilly, and Georgia were living in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. Ben and Dempsey WATSON are not listed as living with the family in 1920.

Ed’s brother, Timothy, died 6 October 1921 in Missouri. ( Ed was the informant for the death certificate. Timothy’s middle initial is “B” on his death certificate. In 1921, Ed lived in Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma, according to information on the death certificate.

I found no information to indicate what Ed might have been doing or where he lived between 1921 and 1942. On 25 April 1942 however, Ed completed the WWII Draft Registration Card. He gives his birthdate as 13 January 1878. He is described as being 5’10, weighing 170 pounds, a light complexion, blue eyes and gray hair. He was 64 years old at the time he completed his draft card. Ed was unemployed and living at 429 South Vantage Street, Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma. He listed Gillman, Illinois, as his birthplace. His contact person on the card was Ernie WOODS who lived at 440 South Treece Street, Picher, Oklahoma. Today, Treece Street stretches between 4th and 5th streets in Picher and Vantage Street is one block West of Treece Street. Both streets lie to the West of Highway 69 in Picher.

Then, in May of 1946 we find Ed listed in the newspaper article that was transcribed in yesterday’s blog entry. We find him being sworn in at the May City Council meeting in Picher after becoming an elected official to the Council. It was, no doubt, an exciting time for him. Son of an Irish immigrant father and first-generation-American mother; having lost almost all of his family by this time; having worked as a mine laborer (1900), short order lunch cook at a restaurant (1910), and blacksmith (1918 and 1920); at the age of 66 he now finds himself in a position to influence events in his town.

Sadly, I don’t know anything more about Ed- whether he had children of his own, what happened during his time as a City Councilman, or his life after 1946 other than that his nephew, John David, died in 1956 in Missouri. ( I am not even certain that Ed was alive in 1956. But I know that in his later years, he did have at least one bright moment when his peers showed their support for him by electing him to City Council.

Mayor L. VOYLES, 1946 Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma

The exciting or stressful times in our lives are easy to talk about, but most of our time is spent on mundane things. This week we’ll focus on the more mundane tasks- specifically, the Picher City Council meeting of Monday, May 6, 1946. There were a couple of highlights to the meeting for at least 4 of the attendees since they were sworn in as the newly elected officials to City Council. Here is the newspaper transcription from The Tri-State Tribune of Picher, Ottawa County, Oklahoma dated Thursday, May 9, 1946.

“City Council Meets”
The regular meeting of the City Council was held Monday night, with the mayor, L. VOYLES presiding. Claims were approved and the new elective officers were sworn in. They were: Ed DOBBINS, Frank POOLE, Archie HISE and H. O. GREEN.

Sufficient funds were set aside to buy a street truck and $500 was voted as a payment on the grader. Dr. H. C. HUNTLEY and Mr. NEEL of Miami, county health officers, were present at the meeting ad a discussion was held on sanitation in the city.

[Note: If more of this article exists, it was cut off on my photocopy of the paper. Also, capitalization of last names was added by me to more easily identify names for genealogical purposes.]

This week’s participants were difficult to identify. Upon review of records, residents in the area who may have been Mayor L. VOYLES include Lawrence VOYLES who resided in Picher as of the 1930 census. He was born about 1891 in North Carolina and was a collector in 1930.

Another possibility includes James Lawrence VOYLES, born about 1889 in North Carolina who resided in Quapaw (Picher area) in 1920 and was a miner. It is very possible that Lawrence and James Lawrence are the same person.

There is a Louis Sumner VOYLES residing in neighboring Craig County, however I have found nothing to indicate that he ever lived in Ottawa County. Since all records indicate that Louis Sumner VOYLES lived in Craig County all his life, I have discounted him as a possibility.

In both the 1920 and 1930 censuses, Lawrence VOYLES and James Lawrence VOYLES are single. Records indicate that James Lawrence’s parents were William Lafayette and Talitha Rose REES(E) VOYLES. One of James’ siblings, Goldey I. (a brother), also lived in Ottawa County, Oklahoma in 1920. James Lawrence was residing with an Osburn family who also had other persons of different last names residing in the home in addition to James Lawrence.

I was able to locate a website stating that Lawrence VOYLES was Picher City Clerk in 1921. ( I have not found any further information about the Lawrence VOYLES residing in Picher in 1930.

This is, unfortunately, all the information about either Lawrence or James Lawrence VOYLES that I have found. I have been unable to find any other articles, photographs or any other information to help positively identify Mayor VOYLES. For being a public figure, Mayor VOYLES left very few clues that he existed.