I asked Betty Chapman to share with

a few stories about growing up in Blaine County.

What a treat for me....... and for you....... the reader!


 I, Betty J. Justice Chapman was born in Greenfield,
Oklahoma on December 25, 1928…

I was born at home and
(according to the account told by my parents)
had to wait until the doctor delivered a baby boy
about 3 or 4 miles from my house…

Now, they didn’t have phones at that time, so
I'm not sure how my dad located the doctor,
but Dr. Browning delivered me.


My parents were Harold (H.E.) Justice and Zora Duncan Justice (both deceased)…. I had two brothers—Eugene (Earl E.—“Gene”) Justice and Donald H. Justice.

Gene was married to LaHoma Graham and had two children: Ron (now Senator of Oklahoma District 23) and Beverly Justice Passmore.

Donald (Don) was married to Ann Ewing (has two sons—Derek and Michael). Donald remarried Edna Rawls and they have one son (Bryan).   Don and Edna have “Don Justice Real Estate” in Watonga.


Harold, Eugene, Betty when she was 4 years old

Most of the activities I had as a child consisted of work.
My daily activities included milking the cows and separating the milk--
before and after school. 

I had to gather eggs; pump water and bring it into the house; and bring in wood for the stove (oh, yes, I always had to do the dishes);


My farm work included chopping cotton
and pulling bolls and/or picking cotton.


But, even with the work,
I had a fun childhood.

The house where I was raised no longer exists.


Dad later built on an additional 3 rooms.


I was probably about
5 years old, at that time.
(I thought it was a mansion!)


Harold Justice and Zora Ellen Duncan Justice(Betty's parents)

in the background is Annie Justice (Harold's mother) she is holding Gene Justice, so this must be 1923.

When I was born,
there were only two rooms --
not two bedrooms -- two rooms!


Betty's yard which consisted of sand burrs and blow sand - she would run and play despite the stickers in her feet!

In the 60’s Dad bought a house in Fairview and had it moved onto the home-site.   That house still stands.  However, since I was married in 1947, I never lived in that house.

the home place (maybe in the 30's)
located 8 miles south, 1 mile west, 1/2 mile south, 2 miles west and 3/4 mile south of Watonga

I don't recall any stories that my parents told me.  However, I do  remember one thing that my daddy taught me when I was very small….....I  don't think that I had started to school, yet.  He taught me the ABC’s (backwards) and he was so proud of that.

Now, just how much do you think I have used that?  But, my daddy thought it was neat.

I really have used that (once)… I was about to say my ABC’s backwards for Young At Heart!

That made quite an impression, don’t you know?


My entertainment was playing in a playhouse. I had a playhouse for several years.  I drew off the rooms in the sand
with a stick. I had boxes and cans—sticks and leaves for the kitchen.  I didn’t play with dolls much, but I did enjoy playing with paper dolls.   I could spend hours in the playhouse or playing paper dolls.  I had three very close cousins who also enjoyed these games and we spent many hours doing so. But, I didn’t have to have someone to play with.  I had imaginary friends—“Make-believe” friends.     Really, they never argued or had any problems with what I wanted to do!


Some of my special memories of Greenfield, include J.F. Awtrey’s Store: Joe Taylor’s Produce; Harrington’s Drug Store and John Ridenhour’s Barber Shop. (I believe, that four generations of the boys in my family got haircuts from John Ridenhour) 


When I was very little, J.F. Awtrey had a “Penny Throw” for kids. He would throw pennies on main street and the little kids
would run and pick them up—then go to his store and buy candy or go to Harrington’s and buy a “snappy-pack” which was a
little carton of vanilla ice cream on one side and orange sherbet on the other side, with a little wooden spoon on top to eat it with. 
It was so good
and a fun thing to do…(much different fun activities then, than now).

We sold our cream/eggs at Joe Taylor’s Produce, then took the money across the street to J.F.Awtrey’s Store, and
bought groceries.  That was called “Trade’s Day”. It was always on Saturday,
and as a child, I thought that Saturday was “Trades’ Day”.  Well, it was for me.





Our groceries at that time, didn’t consist of any chips/and dips, or snack items.  Mostly, we bought sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, mustard, vinegar, (the very basics).  

They did buy two pounds of peanut butter.  It was dipped from a large tin can (like a 25 pound lard can). Then it was
put into in a cardboard container with butcher paper liner (to absorb the excess oil). This container was much like the kind that hamburger is packaged in, today.

Sometimes they bought shortening, but most of the time, we had our own hog lard, (rendered from Dad’s butchering a hog).  Hog lard makes wonderful pie crusts (and my mother made fried pies) You think those weren’t good…If so, you have (another thing a comin’)!  


Betty's granddad's home place - Harold was raised there - south and west of Geary

E. A. Justice (Betty's grandfather) with his
parents (Benjamin and Isalothus Palina MaryAnn Drupiney Campaign Helm Justice)

They called her "piny" 

Because of Betty's great-grandmother's long name, when family members have to run a quick errand, they will say, "I'll be back faster than you can say 'Isalothus Palina MaryAnn Drupiney Campaign Helm Justice'"!

The only thing that I remember that was not basic,  was that we bought “a dime’s worth” of candy, every Saturday…Mr. Awtrey would fill the smallest brown sack with peanut brittle squares, hard candy and the wonderful  “three-color” coconut squares.  Then, because it was so full, he would leave the top open, then he would tie a twine string both ways, around the top and bottom of that sack.  That is such a fond memory of Mr. Awtrey.  Actually everyone that knew him loved him.

 We had our own milk and eggs (and at that time our own pork)...Dad butchered a hog and salted it down with Morton Salt. Usually, my dad and an Uncle would butcher together.

One day they would butcher for one family and on another day for the other family.

There is absolutely nothing better than fresh pork chops, sausage and country cured ham and my mom’s homemade biscuits and gravy.

Of course, her homemade bread was by far the best that I’ve ever eaten.  It was made from a “Life Everlasting Yeast Starter”.  We kept that starter good by borrowing and loaning with our neighbors (Claude and Jesse Ball). Mother baked bread once a week. She made 3 loaves of bread, a big pan of buns, and a pan of cinnamon rolls.


We went to school the first two grades and two or three weeks
of the 3rd grade at Victor Country School just about 2 miles from our home.


By that time, Greenfield School had become consolidated and Gene was in the 8th grade so he could go there.  But, Dad didn’t want me to continue to go the Country school by myself, so he paid for me to transfer to Greenfield in the 3rd grade. 


I graduated from Greenfield H.S. in 1946.


Some of our neighbors that I remember were: 
     Charley and Maggie Martin;
Grandma Martin; (and her grand daughters-Eilleene and Wathena Adamson who lived with her);
     Clyde and Blanche Smith;
Keith and Ruth Dunn;
     Frances and Margaret Reddick;
Burr and Maude Cook;
     Shelly and Edna Ball;
Sam and Alice Ball;
     Merle and Ruth Ball;
Keith and Phyllis Shrader;
     Felix and Georgia Null;
Alva and Fannie McClung;
     Claude and Jesse Ball;   
Fred and Ruth Roach;
     Obe and Althea Thompson;
Ed and Babe O’Neal; 
     Walter and Zona Wigington (children were Curby and Lona);
     Golden family (children were Martha Geneva, Numand).


Betty's 8th grade graduation


Greenfield girls (probably sophomores)

One memory from High School is that I went out for Girls Soft Ball.


I’m not sure why!


I was not particular interested in playing ball, but apparently, I was willing to learn.


However, I didn’t actually impress my Coach.  When I got up to bat, and actually hit the ball…I threw the bat (and hit a girl)…


nearly killed her (I was told)…


Anyway, my Coach said to me, “I’ll tell you what—I’ll give you a half credit to get off of my team”. 

I said, “I’ll take it”.   I have never located that ½ credit!


The irony of this story is: My twin daughters were both Coaches.  One retired in 2008, and one is retiring in 2009. (31 years each).


My earliest memories of Watonga would have been in the early 1940’s and include the Parade on “Old Settler’s Day”
(later called “Pioneer Day”).  There was always a big crowd in those days because people didn’t have many
opportunities for entertainment.


I’m sure that Greenfield school was dismissed to attend, because Pioneer Day was in September. 

Another thing that I remember is when Veatch Drug Store began selling “double-dip ice cream cones” at a nickel (one flavor or two). That was a special treat…

I remember that later, Veatch Drug Store got Central Air Conditioning!  If you ever heard people talk, They talked then, “why would anyone put that cold Air Conditioner in a business…You go outside and get hot….then go inside and get cold…It will never work” Well it did. Of course, now most businesses have Heat and Air.  Many homes have Heat and Air.


Betty and Bill in front of Wheeler Plumbing and Electric. 
(Carol Wray helped us figure out which street we are looking at.  Wheeler Plumbing and Electric was at 106 S. Prouty, so we are looking south from the Main Street and Prouty intersection.)

My first job was at the Nickel Inn in about 1945. (I was about 16)  Press and Edna Gray were the Owners and they were wonderful to work for.  Mary Louise Rother is their daughter.  She was probably not more than 4 years old when Edna passed away.

I waited tables and cooked the hamburgers.  Hamburgers were a nickel.  We served hamburgers, Coney Islands, soup and chili. 

I loved the work…I had never eaten
in a restaurant until I started to work
there so it was a real exciting time for me,
and I had some funny experiences.

I remember, that at that time there was a “Dr.Pepper slogan”  “Drink Dr. Pepper at 10-2-and 4”. When I was working there, I could have whatever I wanted to eat.  Since I wanted a Dr. Pepper with my hamburger…I began to have both a hamburger and a Dr. Pepper  (at 10-2 and 4)…. I suddenly began “blooming”.

I gained more weight than I had ever had. So…I had to put a stop to that little treat. I remember the time that a man ordered a hamburger and said to “cut the onions”. When I served it to him, he said, “I told you to “cut the onions”...I said, “I DID”…Honestly, he did not want me to cut the onions, he wanted me to leave them off…why didn’t he just say that?


Betty, 13 years old, just now as tall as her mom

Chapman Family, 1948

Bill, Betty, DeLores, Bob, Gladys, Tommy Chapman, Carl Steiner, Betty Chapman Steiner

Another remembrance of working there was my difficulty with a man who came in often and ordered a bowl of coffee and cup of soup…I was so aggravated at that order, I finally asked Press what I could do and he said, “the next time that he orders that, give it to him”…I did and that was the last time that he ever ordered it that way…Such a simple answer to what to me, was a real problem..

From 1945-1948 I worked at several different places.  I worked at the Nickel Inn, Stewart’s Dry Goods Store; McFarland’s Dry Goods Store and Ruth’s Beauty Shop.

After I graduated from highschool in 1946, I moved to Watonga and lived in a bedroom upstairs at Paul and Eunice Hursh’s and had “kitchen privileges”.  However, Mrs. Hursh was a wonderful cook, and many times, my “kitchen privileges" extended to eating what she cooked.  She made a delicious tamale pie and wonderful coconut pie…Her meringue was always “sky high”.


I have known many interesting people who lived in Watonga during those years.

In recalling some of those, I remember Raford and Mattie Scott.  Raford was Blaine County Sheriff, and Mattie worked with me at the Nickel Inn.  In fact, I also lived with them for about 2 months during my first summer work. 


Bill and Betty's first house at 1020 N. Prouty


There was a funny thing that happened while I was living there.  My friend Gerry Cowan came to visit me one day.  Her husband, Orval Cowan, was in the Military, at that time, and was stationed somewhere in the states; but she was still in Watonga. 

She made the suggestion that each of us do a facial.  For this facial we were to beat an egg and rub it on our face and let it dry.  Then she told me that we should not laugh!  She said that if you do, it will crack.   Well, we did that, and her cousin came to visit her, and I don’t know what prompted it; but guess what, we laughed…IT CRACKED!  NUFF SAID.

That was just always a standing joke between Gerry and me!

I remember Clemon Clewell’s mother was the City Librarian when I was living with Mr. and Mrs. Hursh.  I had never been to a City Library before, and when I asked her about what type of book she would recommend, she recommended books by Grace Livingston Hill.  I read several of those books that summer.  All of them had the plan of Salvation in them, and were great books for me. I will always be grateful for her suggestion.


 E. A. and Annie Justice
(Betty's grandparents on her father's side)

Sam and Nancy Duncan at their 50th wedding anniversary
(Betty's grandparents on her mother's side)




I met Bill Chapman at the First Baptist Church and we were married in November 30, 1947.  I was working at Ruth’s when we were married.  We lived across the hall from the Beauty Shop in what was at that time “Temple Apartments”.  Others living in those apartments at that time were Fred and Lorraine Malaney and family; Burton and Thelma Brandt and family; and Chuck Kolar. 

We lived there for 6 months then bought the new little house at 1020 North Prouty, built  by Harry Hartenburger (Lumber Yard Man).  Bill worked at Chapman-Sandusky Chevrolet (later Chapman Chevrolet) and I worked at Ruth’s Beauty Shop until I went to work at Stewart’s.  I only worked there a little while when T. W. Moseley asked me one day if I would be interested in being the Draft Board Clerk. 

He was Chairman of the Draft Board.  I was interested and was hired and worked there almost 5 years (until about 3 months before our son was born in Dec. 1953.).Another irony of that story is, that we moved from Watonga, to Griffin, Georgia in 1963 and returned to Watonga in 1965. When we came back to Watonga, E.T. (Gene) Moseley approached me about whether I would be interested in working at the Post Office. Gene was the son of T.W. Moseley.  He was Postmaster, at that time. 

Because the job offer was basically for 2 hours per week, there were not too many people who were interested.  Therefore, I took the Postal Exam and passed it, and was hired for that job as Part-Time Clerk.  Later, my hours increased, until several years later, I was working full time, and in fact, retired from the Post Office, in December, 1988, with 22 years experience. Actually, my title was “Part-Time-Clerk-Carrier”.

 However, somehow the “carrier” aspect of that title never really registered with me, as meaning that I might, actually, be required to “carry the mail” some day.  I had walked the route with Mail Carrier Neil Haight.  I was learning the route and how to handle the mail; but, I don’t think that I really gave it much thought.

Well, one morning it was raining cats and dogs, and Gene called me to come to work.

I said, “But, Gene, it’s raining”.  HA!   (famous last words)
Gene said, “Yes, I know, but we need you to carry, today.”

You know, the Postal Slogan was  “The mail goes through, rain-snow-sleet or hail”.

(that may not be the slogan, now)

I went to work.  I carried the mail, and I did not drown nor even melt.

In those days, people went to work whether they felt like it or not!


Betty, Rennaye, Jammaye

Bill and Betty with

Rennaye, Trey and Jammaye



Four Generations - Trey, Bill, Tommy, Bill's grandma

Four Generations - Trey, Betty, Harold, E.A.


I was saved in a Revival Meeting in Victor Country School house in 1939.  The Preacher who was preaching that Revival was J.W. McCulley.  I was baptized in my Aunt Millie Black’s pond, and became a member of the FBC at Greenfield. 

I moved my church membership to FBC at Watonga, in l946.  I met Bill Chapman in BYPU (Baptist Young Peoples Union) and we were married in November 30, 1947.  I began teaching Sunday School in the Jr. and Intermediate departments. 

I began teaching a women’s class in about 1956, and am still teaching women (not the same women)  I have taught for 50 years.  (we were gone for 3 years)


Betty has always been active in the First Baptist Church in Watonga.  This was 'note burning day'!

Trey, Jammaye, Rennaye on an Easter Sunday


My favorite job as an adult was at the Post Office.  It was always interesting.  When, I first began there, we got lots of packages through the mail, especially at Christmas.  That was when “mail order catalogs got your business”. We always tried to get every package delivered before Christmas Day, if at all possible.

As a Retiree, my favorite position is as Sunday School Teacher to the Women that I teach every Sunday morning. I enjoy my life and especially enjoy living in Watonga, Oklahoma.



This is a list of some of the businesses that I remember in Watonga,

from the 40’s to the 70’s.


TG&Y Store; Phillips-LeGate Grocery; Shawver and Justice Grocery; O.D.Sargent’s Grocery;  

 Russworm-Slaten Grocery; Watonga Cheese Factory; Rice Hardware (now Clewell;s)

Ben Franklin; Stewards’ Radio and Appliance; Rook and Ann Theaters; Orndorff’s News  

 Stand; Shorty’s Barber Shop; Nick Kline’s Barber Shop; Landes Beauty Shop; Ruth’s Beauty  

 Shop; Berniece’s Beauty Shop; Frances’s Beauty Shop; Pearl’s Beauty Shop; Velma’s Beauty  

 Shop; Landes Bakery; Zee’s Café; Quality Bakery; Highway Café; City Café; Nickel Inn;  

 Loewen Equipment; Roedell’s Equipment; Jameson’s Hatchery; Woolman’s Cleaners;  

 Harry’s Cut Rate; Eley’s Grocery; Veatch Drug; Babb Drug; C&R Drug; Tune’s Furniture Store;  

 Bixler’s Mens Wear; Tyler’s; Garvey’s; Tincy’s; C.R.Anthony’s; Sears Catalog Store;  

 Montgomery Ward Catalog Store; Watonga Sheet Metal; Chapman Chevrolet; Buick Dealership  

 (I think someone by the name of Harris was owner); Ford Dealership (Charley Johnson was  

 Mgr.)—Charley’s wife, Nellie worked at the Post Office; Smoke Knappenberger was the  

 Postmaster; Noble Hotel (now Noble House); Chaufty Studio; McDonald Hotel; Sims Service;  

 Brinson’s Hardware; Dr. Pepper Bottling; Williams Jewelry; Waldrop Jewelry; Ball Jewelry;  

 Ball Furniture; Williams Furniture; Elliott Furniture; Western Auto; Ben Roach Plumbing;  

 Pennels Laundry; Elmo Sims Used Cars; White Auto (L.O. Jackson); Otasco Auto (Joe Eichling);  

 Ark-La Gas; Wheeler Plumbing and Electric; Watonga Ice and Locker; Davidson and Case  

 Lumber Yard; Long-Bell Lumber Co. (now S & L); Conoco Service Station; Phillips Service   

 Station; ; Sinclair Service Station; Sims Service Station; Charley Hawes Hardware; Loy’s Hardware;


The Doctors at the Watonga Clinic and Hospital at that time were Dr. A.K. Cox; Dr. Virginia

Curtin; Dr. H.R. Anderson; Dr.W.F. Bohlman and Dr. Fred Perry.



Betty has two grandchildren:
Cassie O’Hair, who will be graduating from Texas A&M Corpus Christi , in May, 2009.  
She is engaged to Adam Kerns, also graduating from Texas A&M Corpus Christi

Will O’Hair who is an 8th grade student at Crockett in Amarillo, Tx.

Rennaye, Betty, Trey, Jammaye

Rennaye painted this on Don Justice's barn, Trey standing beside the painting

if you would like to comment on this story, email woodruff@watonga.com


 After reading your story the first time I sure enjoyed our great phone visit. The fact that some of your memories crossed with mine and my family, made it even more meaningful for me. This story is a wonderful "living" tribute to you and to Blaine Co. folks. I just re-read the story and I can say I feel very privileged to be your friend. Lou Rother

Thanks, Aunt Betty, for taking the time to put this info on the Watonga site! I really enjoyed it and it was great to see all the pictures! (I especially enjoyed the picture that included Mom and Dad! Could I have a copy of it?) Take care and talk to you later. Much love,
Susan Kay Steiner

Just read Betty Chapman's story again.  It is great to hear her recall the old familiar times that we all remember, but she has such a talent for putting it together.  She is a lot like Laura Ingels Wilder . the lady who wrote "Little House On the Prairie". She can breath life into the story.   

Of course my favorite part is when she tells about my Grandpa, John Frank Awtrey. 
David Awtrey


Betty Chapman's history of the Greenfield-Watonga area brings back a lot of memories. I graduated from Greenfield in 1958 and remember most of the people that she mentioned in the wonderful article. My dad was the depot agent for the RocK Island in Greenfield from 1947 untill they closed the depot in late 1950's. Nancy Dickens called my sister Winnie(married to Dr. Jack Balenseifen) and I the" railroad kids"as our family lived in the Greenfield Depot. Many a night we worried that a train would jump the tracks and come crashing through our house.

J.W. Prentice

I have not known Betty for very long, but she has become one of the dearest friends I have. I was so blessed by this glimpse into Oklahoma history and the sweet little details of her life. Her whit and love of life jump off the page as she shares from her heart. I am thankful for her wonderful memories and her willingness to share with us all. Thank you for this wonderful addition to the Watonga home page.

May God richly bless!
Janine Swank
My name is George Martin and I too grew up in Blaine County, went to School at Greenfield, and Watonga was our destination each and every Saturday. I remember Betty very, very well. As far as those people she remembered knowing, many of the names were very, very familiar. Charley and Maggie Martin were my Grandparents, Clyde and Blanche Smith were my Uncle and Aunt (my Dad's sister) and Frances and Margaret Reddick were also my uncle and aunt )again, another sister of my father). My Dad and Mom were Hank and Lola D. Martin. I attended Greenfield School from 1942 through 1953 when I enlisted in the United States Air Force. Thanks again for a wonderful nostalgic trip down memory lane.
best regards.
      George Martin
Betty, This is a wonderful profile of your life and I thoroughly  enjoyed your memories, history, and pictures.  Thanks also, for including my parents and me in your story.  Mary "Lou" Rother  P.S. May our Lord continue to bless your life

I grew up in Greenfield so I really enjoyed Betty’s story.  She is a very interesting and sweet lady.  Glenda DeSpain


The history lesson and the life of Ms. Betty Justice Chapman was very interesting.
It brought many points of Watonga and Greenfield's early day history to many people, including her own family.
I an proud to consider her one of my very best friends and also my Sunday School teacher.
I consider myself her promotional representative manager as I have alerted people far and wide to tune in to the Watonga website.
I have one other thing to say regarding Betty, ' She's a Hoot ', isn't she ?
               Phyllis Humphrey

Thanks for your comments directly and indirectly:
     DeLores Chapman,  Jan Eggar, Ruth Kennedy, Shirley Lettkeman, Judy Chapman, Vicki Beals, Regina Glass, Doris Franks, Neil Scott, J.W. Lehmann, Donna Davis Robinson, Terry and Retha Beals, Dana and Barry Bessinger, Jan Franks and Ann Evick