Monday, February 18, 2008

Newspaper Archives

Originally posted HERE on Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Yesterday, I spent part of the afternoon looking for obituaries and other newspaper articles online for part of my husband John's family. His mother grew up in Oklahoma City, and several months ago I discovered that the OK City newspaper has an archive online back to 1903! His grandmother's maiden name was Eckroat, an unusual family name that had many relatively prominant members in the Oklahoma City area, so it was easy to find articles about them. I paid for a 24 hour subscription to the archives, and I was able to download 24 articles that mentioned members of the Eckroat family. My most exciting discovery was the obituary for his grandmother, Mary Catherine (Baechler) Eckroat who died in 1943. It had been printed on page 3 of that day's newspaper, and included a photo. Unfortunately, the archives online are made from microfilm copies of the original newspaper, and that page had a part of the left margin cut off, as well as part of the photograph, but I was able to figure out most of the words, and it was amazing to see the family resemblance between my mother-in-law and her grandmother, below.

Obit copied from The (OKC) Oklahoman, Jan 9, 1943, page 3

(Words and blanks inside []s are illegible or added by me. Also, she was born in Canada, not in France.)

Services Set Monday For Mrs. Eckroat
City Church Worker, Native of France, Was State Pioneer

Mary Catherine Eckroat, 79 years old, wife of the late John A. Eckroat, pioneer resident of Oklahoma City and early contractor and builder here, died Friday afternoon in her home, 601 Northeast Tenth street. Services will be held at 9 a. m. Monday in Corpus Christi church, and burial will be in Fairlawn cemetery. Rosary will be recited at 3 p. m. Sunday and at 8 p. m. in the Watts and McAtee funeral home chapel.

Born in France, Mrs. Eckroat came [to] Oklahoma with her husband in [ ]. The couple first settled on a [ ] southwest of the city where now [ ] located Packingtown. Later they [mov]ed to another farm southeast of [the] city. Eckroat subsequently played [ ] in the laying out of the section [kno]wn as Eckroat addition.

[In] addition to his farm activities, [Eck]roat engaged in the building con-[tract]ing business here, and became [ ]ly known as builder of many of [ ] early establishments of the city. [Bus]iness blocks, homes, and such [bui]dings as Corpus Christi church, St. [Jose]ph's church, St. Anthony hospital, [Sac]red Heart church, and St. Jo-[sep]h's orphanage were among those he [bui]lt.

Mrs. Eckroat was active in many [cha]ritable and other organizations of [the] city. She was one of the first [me]mbers of the Altar society of Cor-[pus] Christi church, and prominant in [ ] activities of the church.

[S]urviving her are six sons, Frank [of] Mission, Texas; John, William, Daniel, Lawrence and Paul, all of Ok-[la]homa City, and four daughters, Mrs. [Ma]ry Koelesch, Sister Mary Philomena [an]d Mrs. Lillian King, Oklahoma City, and Mrs. Rose Stvirenzski of Enid. [Sh]e also leaves 33 grandchildren and [ ] great-grandchildren.

The archive for the Oklahoman are available at: and the rates are reasonable.

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