Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompt #5-Another generation of Cheeks comes to Mangum
Prompt: Talk about your genealogy adventures while on vacation. Doesn’t everyone plan a little genealogy visit during vacation? Take your readers along for the ride.
I haven’t gotten to do as many of these as I intended. In fact this is the first one of the weekly prompts that I’ve had time to post. So much for good intentions. A couple of years ago, my older brother who lives in SC came back to Oklahoma for Christmas along with his wife and two grandchildren. He doesn’t get back this way very often so we tried to do as much as possible in the few days he was here. One of the thing he really wanted to do was visit our father’s hometown, Mangum (Capitol of Greer County), OK. The “Capitol” thing is something I will have to explain later. So two days after Christmas in 2007, we set out. Our party consisted of my brother, my two sisters, myself, our four spouses, a daughter of one sister, and the two grandchildren.
Mangum is filled with memories for my brother and I. We lived there several times when we were growing up, spent entire summers there several times. It was where we went “over the river and through the woods” to grandmothers’ houses. It was home to some of our favorite relatives. It was where we went each time our soldier father went off to war. It was these memories that my brother wanted to share with his grandchildren.
One of the first things we did was go to Grandma Cheek’s old house. It was quite a shock and certainly not what it looked like when she lived there. She was always an immaculate housekeeper and a wonderful cook. Her neat, little, white frame house looked like a shack. We were glad she is not around to see what has become of it.
Grandma Cheek's house
Just north of town is the farm where our great grandfather Cheek homesteaded before 1903. We have never been able to do more than see it from the road. One of these days I will find out who owns it and get permission to go out to the farm house.
Cheek family farm
If you are in Mangum at lunch time there is only one option-the Hamburger Inn- right on the Square.
We were a little late for lunch and they were going to close soon so we had to chose from a limited menu. But we had a great time and enjoyed examining the antiques? collectables? memorabilia? junk? on the floor, the walls, the ceiling, the tables, etc.
Lunch at the Hamburge Inn
One of the group went exploring and came back saying, “You all have got to see this.” Most of the tables had old copies of the Mangum Star covered with plastic along with other items from the past. And one of the papers from World War 2 had a front page story about officers from Mangum in the 45th Infantry Division. Among the officers was our father, Captain James Edmon Cheek.
Mangum Star photos
Dad is the second from the left. That find was certainly worth the price of gas for the trip.
Our next stop was the Old Greer County Museum.
Old Greer County Museum and Hall of Fame
This is one of the truly unique, local museums in the country. It is housed in the old hospital building, staffed totally by volunteers, and filled with the treasured artifacts of hundreds of families and communities. Each of the old patient rooms is sponsored by a different family, community, or organization. For more information about the museum go to their website at http://www.oldgreercountymuseum.com/index.html
The picture at the top of the article was taken on the stairs at the museum by one of the friendly staff. The real find at the museum was in a back room where they had hundreds of old photographs and negatives from the Fike Studio, an regular part of Mangum life for many years. During one of our stays we lived next door to the Fikes and my brother and I spent many hours playing with their daughter, Susan. To tell the whole story of the museum is way outside the scope of this article, but I promise a follow-up not too far in the future.
Of course no visit to Mangum is complete without going to the cemetery. We no longer have any relatives living in Mangum but we do have a lot of them in Riverside Cemetery.
Our great grandparents, Robert Bruce and Carrie Savannah Cheek who are in the blog’s header picture.
Three Cheek gravestone
Notice that the stone includes not only Robert and Carrie, but also Robert’s sister, Columbia Cheek.
Our grandparents, Marion and Anna Cheek.
Grandma and Grandpa Cheek
There are many more Cheeks in the cemetery but I don’t want to neglect our mother’s family, some of whom also lived in Mangum. But only her mother and one of our uncles is buried there.
Her name was originally Paralee Tennessee Lancaster. She married an Orand, then a Bex, and then a Smith and decided she liked Pauline better than Paralee.
If you are ever in Mangum when the lake is down it is obligatory on your way out of town to stop and see the remains of the town of Lugert which was covered when they built the lake. But this being Southwestern Oklahoma, the town reappears from time to time like Brigadoon.
Look carefully and you can see the foundation and floor of one of the houses. When we got down to it we discovered it had a cellar but after a little digging, we decided we were just not equipped to do a “dig.”
It was a great trip which give my brother and I the chance to relive a lot of old memories. Our sisters are both much younger and never lived in Mangum or knew very many of our relatives who lived there. But it is a very important part of our family history and I was glad to be able to share it with another generation of Cheeks and with you.