devouring books and hearing the old stories on many subjects, I
am amazed at the tidbits of information on which my mind seems to
focus. Why certain items interest me while others are passed over
I can't explain. Here are a few examples of this strange interest.
Almost every old-time cash register I have seen in museums during
my lifetime have a small narrow marble top located just below the
keys and above the cash drawer. Recently I learned the reason for
this attractive addition. The small marble slab is actually a coin
quality tester. Friend Bill Marquis of Old Stoney and a fellow historian
demonstrated the test.
First he tossed some of today's pennies, nickels and quarters onto
the marble slab revealing only a dull "thunk" as they struck the
hard surface. Then he pulled out his lucky old-time silver dollar
and tossed it onto the marble. There was a distinct bell-like ring
signifying the difference in the amount of silver in the coins.
It seems there were a lot of slugs and diluted coins way back when.
The tester was cheap, and the sound beyond question. This is a long
way from the technical pen used by today's clerks to detect counterfeit
bills. The same purpose but a different technology altogether.
times history has written how the Burnett family, owners of the
famous 6666 ranches, took the brand and name from an incident where
property was won with a poker hand holding four sixes. According
to sources close to the earliest Burnett owners and employees who
worked for them on the original ranch in Denton County, this story
is not true.
Jeremiah Burnett sent his first trail herd to Kansas and with his
profit bought a another ranch adjoining his home ranch. He realized
the 6666 brand would be hard for cattle rustlers to change so he
bought the brand along with the land, and it's been used to this
was reading the story of Lewis Clinton "Judge" Hawes, an early resident
who arrived in No Man's Land in the Oklahoma Panhandle in 1883 and
paid his first taxes in 1884. Like most early settlers of the area,
Hawes lived in a dugout for years, building corrals and barns and
planting trees to protect his livestock from the Panhandle blizzards
before finally building a frame house for his family.
As his brood grew in number, he kept adding shed-type rooms around
the outside walls until he ran out of house sides. When this easy
building option offered no further expansion, he had carpenters
saw the original house in half, with hand saws, of course, at that
With foundations built, teams of horses and mules were attached
to one-half of the house and it was skidded outward to fit the new
foundations, allowing for a large living room and more attic bedrooms
to be built between the old original halves.
I have heard of most every building option imaginable except this
one. Mr. Hawes must have had a lot of common sense in his makeup.
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" September
1 , 2009 Column