Lula Brannon Briscoe, ca. 1903. Courtesy of the Brannon/Briscoe family
It’s time for Episode 15 of “Voices from the West,” our blog series featuring audio recordings of historical documents from the Museum’s Dickinson Research Center.
Our goal is to show that history is more than a timeline. At its core, it’s about people. And not just the famous and infamous, but the everyday and ordinary. If you missed previous episodes, you can start here.
The oldest of six children, Lula had moved with her family from Texas to the Chickasaw Nation in 1898. They settled in Sugden, a small community near today’s Texas border that consisted primarily of farmers. She married Robert Willis Briscoe and together they had five children.
Grass fire at night, ca. 1895. Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. George A. Addison, photographer. George A. Addison Studio Photographic Collection. Dickinson Research Center. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 2004.110.1.31.
The Daily Ardmoreite. November 24, 1903. Newspapers.com.
The Guthrie Daily Leader. November 25, 1903. Newspapers.com
Lula wrote this letter on a Friday after a particularly hard week. Prairie and forest fires in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas generated a thick smoke that made many people in Sugden sick, including Lula and her husband, Willis. Newspapers reported that in Fort Worth, “The rooms of houses, even with doors and windows closed, became filled with the smoke…” and “caused a smarting of the eyes.”