Docents and a ranger from the Will Rogers Ranch in Will Rogers State Park in California spent Saturday and Sunday getting to know the Will of Oklahoma, in particular Claremore and Oologah. They enjoyed every minute of their time. Thanks to the staff and cadre of Ropers (docents) at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Birthplace Ranch, Donna McSpadden in Chelsea, and Jan Miller, Lydia Jackson, and Maxine Rowden at the Oologah Historical Society, they learned a lot about the man born in Indian Territory and about his surroundings.
It was a special treat to meet Doris “Coke” Meyer from Bartlesville, Will’s great-niece and one of the few people who know Will the man. In Chelsea they visited Clem McSpadden’s old office, visited with Mrs. McSpadden, toured the Chelsea Cemetery, burial sites of Clem and Mary America Rogers and numerous other Rogers relatives, saw the Chelsea homes of Will’s sisters and homes built from kits ordered from Sears and Roebuck.
They certainly enjoyed Saturday night dinner at Buddy’s Grill, where they were greeted by Buddy Robertson and met Sydney Lewellen, whose poster won the Museum’s art contest two years ago and now hangs on the restaurant wall.
Then after a full day Sunday, which included a horse-drawn surrey ride with Dexter Bolin, a dinner of ham and beans and homemade desserts prepared by Ropers and a tour of Will’s birthplace house, they visited the Oologah Historical Museum and bank before dinner at Hammett House, where they met Bill Biard, a member of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission, and were surprised by Jennifer Rogers Etcheverry, her husband Mark, and Wyatt and Lisa McCrea (they visited the Joel McCrea Ranch in California) from the California ranch.
They also renewed friendships with Ropers who visited the California ranch last year. They took great pleasure in greetings from people along the way.
Thanks to everyone for their warm welcomes.