The Oral Darnell family began when Oral and Vida M. Gates were married 7 Mar 1915 and moved to their first home to work for Mr. Delair. Our romance began on a beautiful September evening in 1913. My brother, Roy Gates, and I went by horse and buggy to an ice cream supper in the Duckworth School house. Church was held in the same building but was called Bethel Church. There was a young man that I hadn't met working for our neighbor. We and our parents knew his aunt and uncle that he had come to visit.
This young man asked a friend of ours to introduce him to me. He then asked me to eat ice cream with him. He had come on horseback to the supper. He first asked me if he could walk with me to the buggy and he also asked Roy to ride the horse home and let him take me home in the buggy. I was agreeable to the arrangement. On the way home, he asked me to go to Sunday School and Church on Sunday afternoon. I agreed.
On Saturday afternoon, he took a load of wheat to town for his employer. While there, he bought a new buggy. On Sunday when he was ready to come for me, another young man took a picture of him in his buggy. This picture is one of my most precious possessions today.
The ice cream supper was the beginning of our courtship and we were married. To this union was born 4 sons. They are Henry Gates, 30 March 1916 to April 1966; Victor Lee, 22 May 1917; Donald Bryce, 21 Aug 1920 and Orville Otha, 27 July 1924. Henry passed away as the result of an accident and has gone to spend eternity with his Heavenly Father.
Victor earned his Bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University at Stillwater, OK. He graduated and served in WWII. He is now a Dairy Inspector for Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County.
Donald is manager of the Co-op Elevator at Kingsdown. He really enjoys his work.
Orville also earned his Bachelor's Degree from Oklahoma State University. He served in WWII as a Chaplain's Assistant. He is now a salesman of advertising for a telephone directory in San Antonio, TX.
We celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary in 1975 and had all our remaining children together - the first time in several years. We have 12 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
We lived together until Oral's death 3 April 1976. We had lived together 61 years and 4 weeks. The last 7 years spent together were probably the happiest times in our lives. I have spent my 84 years with Coldwater as my address from the beginning. (written about 1981 by Vida Gates Darnell)
Although the article doesn't mention it, my guess is that Oral and Vida operated the Darnell Hotel in Coldwater, which I understand has been closed for years although I'm pretty sure someone told me a few months ago when I visited Coldwater that it has been purchased by Leroy Fose and that he is renovating it. I stayed at that hotel one night in 1982 when visiting Coldwater with a friend who wanted to stay in an "old time" hotel and recall that it was tended by an elderly lady at the time; I suspect she was Vida Darnell tho' I don't recall her name.
When I visited Comanche County in November 2004, I saw the somewhat bizarre "restoration" of the Darnell Hotel by Leroy Fose. In artistic terms, it is best described as "post-modern". -- Jerry Ferrin
Oral and Vida had 4 boys as stated above, the youngest boy's name is spelled Orval not Orville. I know this to be true because he (Orval) is my father. Thank You, -- Thomas Darnell
Hi! Just a note to let you know that Vida Mae Gates Darnell was my grandmother--O.O. (as he was lovingly known), my grandfather. They did not own or operate the Darnell Hotel in Coldwater. However, the hotel was run by relatives of O.O. I don't have the specifics at this time but I do recall the elderly lady residing and running the Darnell hotel early in my childhood was called "Aunt Frankie" Darnell! -- Linda (Darnell) Hubbard
There's a photo of Victor, Orville, Donald, Henry and Vida Darnell in 1965 on page 332 of Comanche County History and the preceding history is on p. 332-333.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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