Oklahoma celebrates its centennial year in 2007

By 1932, the nation, and the Oklahoma Panhandle were in the clutches of the depression. The Great Plains , Kansas , Colorado and Oklahoma had the added burden of the duststorms; but the worst were yet to come. It took the New Deal programs of F.D.R. and WWII to pull the nation from financial ruin; but in spite of misery, there was humor to be found in the misfortune of others...in mid 1932, four prominent Cimarron County men were mistaken for bank robbers. The story was told in the pages of the Keyes Advocate and repeated here from Alma Cryer's “Willowbar and the Dandy Little Town of Keyes ”.

Keyes Sept. 1932

Mistaken Identity of Keyes Men...Sunday while sight seeing in Amarillo, Chet Whiteman, Bert and Worth Wiggins and Burnia Griggs were apprehended for the participants in the robbery of the First National Bank of Nara Visa, New Mexico. The car driven by Bert Wiggins and the number of men answered the description the Amarillo officers received from officials of the New Mexico town.

The boys had gone into a restaurant to eat lunch and noticed their car being watched very closely be a few spectators, finally this crew grew to about 20 men armed with shotguns and paraphernalia to stop the worst kind of bandits. When through with lunch they thought they had better investigate the why of their car being the center of attraction, they found to their astonishment it wasn't the car at all but its occupants. The boys took turn explaining their identity but the law were skeptic to believe them, one of boys asked the law if they knew Grover Owen, I. H. C. dealer of Keyes, the answer flew back, “Yes, but you....sure not him”. Chet, our Mayor, and a leading business man found several salesmen in town over the week end and through Bob Stout, manager for Schilling products, and Bob Green, salesman for that company, proper identifications were given.

Chief of Police McDough and his men surrounded every car that would in any way answer the description of the bandits.

Later reports are that the real bandits have been caught and lodged in jail for safe keeping. The names of the arrested ones have not been disclosed.

April, 1934

Robbers Loot Post Office At Keyes...Postmaster Bound While Safe Is Robbed Of Money; Stamp Contents...A bold, quiet robbery was staged at Keyes last Friday night when two men over powered acting postmaster Loren Harris anc escaped with approximately $400.00 in cash and postage stamps.

According to reports, Harris was over powered and after being bound was placed on the floor and mail pouches piled upon him.

It is said the loot was taken from the safe which had not yet been securely locked for the night. No money order were molested.

Up to Wednesday evening no arrests had been made in the cases.

By 1935, the Depression was in full swing, but the worst of the dust storms, April 14, 1935, had passed; the county and the nation were on the mend. The rail road approached Keyes, and one farm family found a unique way of paying for improvments. Just ahead lay war...

April 1935

An Arrowhead Item...Many Cimarron county farm families have a hobby of collecting arrowheads and other Indian relics. The John T. Krone home, near Keyes, is modern as a result of the hobby, reports Walter M. Schnelle, assistant county drought director. In 1929 and 1930, Mrs. Krone made enough prize money in canning exhibits to buy all bathroom and kitchen equipment. Recently the Krones sold $56 worth of arrowheads and completed the farm water system.

August 1935

Rails To Connect...Physical Connection Of Santa Fe And Katy At Keyes Is Underway. . .Work started this week at Keyes on the connection of the Santa Fe and Katy railroads, and a carload of steel has been unloaded there with grading already underway.

The connection was ordered by the Interstate Commerce Commission last March. Approximately 365 feet of track costing $700 is involved in the improvement.

Connection of the two railroads will provide a more direct route for Cimarron county intrastate shipments, as well as shorter hauls to Oklahoma destinations, with an interstate rate eliminated, when the Katy inaugurates a regular schedule on its own.

The improvement is the result of a long and tireless fight by the Keyes Railroad committee and other individuals.

By 1944, the U.S. had been at war for three years, some of Cimarron County 's best had given their all. Some still living, were authentic heros.

March 1944

Keyes Soldier Makes Heroic Rescue In Italy ...During a recent enemy air attack on the Anzio Beachhead, Sergeant Guy A. Whisennand, Keyes , Oklahoma , saved the life of an American soldier by rescuing him from a flaming truck which had been hit by a bomb.

A Fifth Army Quartermaster soldier in an amphibian truck battalion, Whisennand was assisted by 4 volunteers in their bivouac area, and rushed to the scene. The bomb had set fire to two mobile laundry trucks, a British Lorry and had damaged near by buildings.

Discovering there was a trapped soldier in the laundry truck, Sergeant Whisennand entered the vehicle, which had a punctured steam tank. Gasoline flames covered the truck and there was a constant threat of the vehicle exploding. Whisennand moved the debris which pinned the soldier, and hurriedly carried him to safety, where he was sent to an aid station. Rushing back to the burning trucks Whisennand helped remove four British soldiers who were covered with earth on the edge of the bomb crater. After removing the wounded British soldiers to safety, Whisennand assisted in extinguishing the flaming trucks.

Since serving in the Mediterranean theater, Whisennand has participated in three invasions.