On July 29, Drs. Peggy Redshaw and Jerry Lincecum led History Day at Hagerman NWR, with former town and area residents sharing memories of life in the town that was replaced by Lake Texoma. Today's post from Peggy and Jerry is one of the History Day follow-up stories:
Claud Crook has one of the most interesting stories about leaving Hagerman in 1943, shortly before the waters of Lake Texoma swallowed up the town. At the age of six in September 1942, Claud entered First Grade in Hagerman School. He remembers the three-story school building, with an auditorium on the top floor. Even before he started to school, Claud had occasionally recited a short poem for a PTA meeting held in that auditorium. He had older siblings in school and they would bring home literary pieces which his mother would help him memorize.
By the time Claud entered school the enrollment was pretty low, since the completion of Denison Dam and flooding of land around Big Mineral Creek was anticipated. Claud’s father worked on the MKT section crew which was constructing a new spur line to replace the one running into Hagerman. He borrowed $100 to buy the rent house his family lived in there in Hagerman and hired a moving company to transport it into Pottsboro, where he had purchased a lot from Austin Harshbarger (with more borrowed money).
The Hagerman school remained open until Christmas Break in 1942, and Denison Dam was completed about the same time. So in early January, the Crook’s house was jacked up by the movers, with all their possessions still inside, and they spent one more night in the house there in Hagerman (in the middle of a road). The next day the house was moved into Pottsboro, but still not placed on the lot. So the family slept in the house a second night “on the road”.
There was another complication as the movers started to place the house at its new location in Pottsboro, on what is now East St., not far from the school. The wheels of the truck hauling the house got stuck in some soft dirt. Completing the job required help from a man who brought in a county road grader to get the house moving again.
Claud and his family were now residents of Pottsboro, and he joined a First Grade class there, with a different teacher and nobody he knew. It was like starting school all over again.