Highway 51

By Ralph Chain

Highway 51 runs in front of our home in eastern Dewey County. It runs across the state from Tulsa to the Texas state line. I can remember when Highway 51 was merely a dusty county road and was maintained with four head of horses by a horse-drawn road grader. My father told about when he was a boy, they used a walking plow to plow in the ruts so they could travel from home to Canton, Okla., on this dusty, dirt road which is now Highway 51.

When I was very small, I can remember huge cottonwood trees that grew almost in the middle of the road, because the road was so narrow. A relative of mine, who was in his eighties, visited us several years ago, and he remembers when he was very small coming down from Kansas to visit my grandfather and going around a huge stump that was still in the middle of the road.

I can recall, as a boy, watching cattle being driven from around the Taloga, Okla., and Seiling, Okla., area, down this dusty trail to Canton to the railroad because there were no railroads in that part of Dewey County, and all the livestock and produce had to come over this road. I can particularly remember one morning seeing three large herds of cattle, one right after the other, headed to the railroad at Canton. They belonged to the Stidham brothers who were large ranchers around the Taloga area.

Read more in the April issue of OKFR!